Fine Gael is a mixed-up party, like every political party. On several major political issues it has scored points and achieved great success amongst the young.
Be careful with the young. They are not thoughtless and they are not fickle. They care about the future more than we do. They will live in it for longer. The young are better educated and more engaged. But they are impressionable. In ways we understand but they do not.
Sinn Féin is a party that does not “believe” in anything. Their professed central political organising principle is “a United Ireland”. And they, clearly, when all is said and done, have not made a scintilla of effort designing it or persuading anyone to voluntarily participate in it. No plan. No ability to speak to the other side. No interest in speaking to the people whose consent is required. A very troubling and noticeable quality.
If it comes to pass that Sinn Féin becomes the government of my beloved Free State, we can but hope their oath of office will contain a promise to sincerely ‘do no harm’.
If this is the best we can expect for the first quarter of the century, then we must grin and bear it.
All the old certainties we associate with a democratic republic are being swept away.
I am writing this as a person who does not attend any church or religious meeting of any sort.
Ireland is recognised internationally as a Christian country.
Over the centuries, many men and women gave their lives for the right to practice their religion as they saw fit.
Part of Irish culture and tradition has been to place a crib in homes, churches, and various places frequented by members of the public.
In recent times some people have objected to religious objects being displayed in public places, in particular cribs.
I fully respect the right of any individual or group to express views and or opinions.
As Ireland is a democracy, I do not believe these people should have the right to force their views/opinions on the majority.
Michael A. Moriarty
Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s support to commemorate Michael Collins is welcome but commemorations 100 years on from the foundation of the Irish State should be broader.
The first commemoration at Béal na Bláth in August 1923 was led by Collins’ replacement as head of the Irish National Army and Minister for Defence, Richard Mulcahy. At the same time, a cenotaph was unveiled on the grounds of Leinster House by Collins’ replacement as head of government, WT Cosgrave.
Speaking then of the monument erected to the pro-Treaty Arthur Griffith and Collins on Leinster Lawn, Cosgrave said: “The tragedy of the death of Griffith and Collins lies in the blindness of the living who do not see, or refuse to see, the stupendous fact of the liberation these two men brought to pass.”
One year later in 1924, the memorial cross to Collins at Béal na Bláth was unveiled by President Cosgrave, with annual commemorations continuing since.
While we seek to remember the greatness of Michael Collins, his 1916 comrades, and successors of the pro-Treaty side Cosgrave and Mulcahy established the institutions of the Irish State amidst the ruins of a bitter and costly civil war. Both men founded Cumann na nGaedheal in 1922 and became future leaders of Fine Gael. The new Irish Free State, or Saorstát Éireann, was also led by Ministers Patrick Hogan and Kevin O’Higgins who both died at a young age.
All these statesmen were focused on governing and not popularity; their work essential, but not glamorous. Indeed, this sentiment was put best by President Erskine Childers in 1974 saying: “We do not do half enough to commemorate the lives of those who worked for Ireland.”
Councillor David McManus (Fine Gael)
South Dublin County Council
The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be remembered for his brave stance against aartheid and his role in the dismantling of that dehumanising system. I hope his example and achievement will also help to counteract racism in today’s world.
Racism doesn’t just give offence. It destroys lives and can, as we know from Europe’s dark past, result in torture, persecution, and even the deaths of those targeted by it.
Every day, somebody in Ireland is made to feel less than human, or less entitled to be alive or to be living in this country, by other human beings who either fail to understand the effect of their behaviour or just don’t care.
The situation is not helped by groups and individuals who deliberately stoke up hatred and suspicion, especially online.
While nobody is entirely free from prejudice of one kind or another, we need to be cognisant of the impact of hate speech, anti-Semitism, and the use of casual racial slurs.
Racism itself is the only unwelcome stranger in our midst that needs to be kicked out of our country.
“We’re all in this together” the Government says, but we’re not, are we? Society was never so alone, abandoned in a sea of depression, of division, of aloneness. The psychology of blaming Covid’s spread on one section of society, the so-called “unvaxed”; of blaming it on misinformation by another, labelling them ‘conspiracy theorists’; of blaming those who dare to question, labelling them fools, disloyal or deranged, of blaming it on the elderly who must cocoon, on the young who just want a little bit of freedom and now on healthy children five to 12, have all had their toll, begetting the psychosis of mistrust, of suspicion and division.
We are all now cocooned if not in body then in mind, confined in the mistrust of where we are and where we’re headed.
Kevin T Finn
I note the recent glut of comments, correspondences, and articles in recent editions of yours and other news publications discussing the need for constitutional change and amendments to the document at the core of our state’s self-governance.
It seems to me that repeated amendments, however desirable, are short cuts in an attempt to appease the clamour for greater change and rarely address the core issues driving the desire for change.
Given our great freedoms and the luxury of free speech, surely it is a responsibility of ours to advance the cause of freedom and equality and give future generations the gift of even greater freedom and security,.
If it is not too impertinent of me may I suggest that the time is now ripe for major reforms within the nature of our state, a movement for greater and more open democracy not just through reforms and amendments of the constitution, but with the governing documents, our Constitution?
Is it too bold to suggest that we look to build an open society with community at its heart through new governing documents that better reflect the needs and goals of this and future generations enshrining at its heart the security and freedom to rewrite their governing documents so as to best suit their time and place securing their freedoms within an ever changing environment upon a global tide of ebb and flow of greater powers and influencers?