Should MPs speak in the south?


For the first time in Northern Ireland’s 100-year history, a Republican party came out on top in elections to its Assembly, while common ground shifted increasingly towards pro-pro a constitutional change saw a huge increase in votes. Given the growing interest of the North and the South in preparing for reunification, is it not time to extend the right to speak in the Dáil to the representatives of the North?

While allowing Northern MPs to speak in the Dáil would in itself be a reaffirmation of the Irish Government’s commitment to deepening relations between all the islands in the interests of reunification, the extension of speaking rights is also demanded. by the current political situation north of the border. With the DUP’s deeply irresponsible refusal to form an executive following the electoral success of Sinn Féin and the Alliance Party, the people of Northern Ireland are left without a clear voice as Westminster decides to unilaterally change the NI protocol against the expressed wishes of the majority.

Allowing northern MPs to participate in Dáil debates would provide them with an invaluable opportunity to voice the concerns of their constituents and ensure that the true extent of northern sentiment is heard – not just the view of the DUP, which seems so present in Westminster only because of Sinn Féin’s longstanding abstention policy. It could also help address representational concerns about the protocol, as northern MPs could contribute to the debate in an EU member state.

Indeed, the presence in 2021 of Alliance MP Stephan Farry on the joint Oireachtas committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement suggests that the opportunity to speak in Dublin would be seized by more than nationalists alone. .

Extending speaking rights in the Dáil to the 18 northern MPs has long been the policy of Sinn Féin and Aontú. Yet this is by no means a partisan proposition; the 1998 all-party Constitution Committee to consider the issue of northern representation also recommended in 2002 that northern MPs “be granted a limited right of audience in the Dáil”.

Following these elections to the Assembly, one thing is clear: northern nationalism is confident and the happy medium persuasive. If the Irish government is serious about creating the “shared island” that the Taoiseach so often talks about, then extending the Dáil’s speaking rights would certainly be an appropriate first step.

Fionnan Uibh Eachach


Co Dublin

The failure of democracy

The decision of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), led by Jeffrey Donaldson, to block the formation of a power-sharing executive in the Northern Assembly triggers memories of the sad days that everyone hoped had passed.

The DUP’s refusal to take part in a government with a Sinn Féin prime minister is another exercise in throwing bricks in the democratic electoral process to thwart democracy.

This brick-throwing exercise by the DUP recalls Mark Twain’s famous story, “Party Cries”, about his visit to Armagh for the dedication of St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in 1883. Twain writes: “About half the The inhabitants of Northern Ireland are Protestants and the other half Catholics. Each party does all it can to popularize its own doctrines and attract to them the affections of the irreligious. One constantly hears of the most touching examples of this zeal. After the dedication of the cathedral, Twain describes that when the Catholics returned home, “the roads were lined with groups of meek and lowly Protestants who stoned them until the whole surrounding region was marred with blood. I thought only Catholics argued this way, but that seems to be a mistake. Each man in the community is a missionary and carries a brick to warn the lost. Ulster poet John Hewitt captures an image of his homeland in his poem-play The Bloody Brae: “Heaven is here, and hell is here beside it… / And violence breeds like the thistle blown upon the world.” But there is reason to hope that a growing number of citizens will rejoice in the words of another Northern Irish poet:

History says, hope not for this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime, the long-awaited tidal wave of justice may rise.

And hope and history rhyme.

( The priest of Troy, Seamus Heaney)

Robert Lyons




Too many questions remain

We, the constituents of Wicklow, call on Minister Stephen Donnelly to delay any imminent Cabinet decision on the new National Maternity Hospital move deal until a proper review of the contracts has taken place and all documentation and pending responses have been provided.

Legal opinions on contracts are not of the same opinion. Many of those who highlight their concerns do so from a place of professional expertise and with supporting evidence.

Documents such as the maps referenced in the published lease have not been made public. Additional documents that appear to be missing include, but are not limited to, the indemnification agreement between the Saint Vincent healthcare group and the Sisters of Charity, and detailed correspondence between the Sisters of Charity and the Vatican. If there are no hidden conditions on the transfer from Elm Park to St Vincent’s Holdings CLG, there should be no problem with the publication of this correspondence. As Minister Donnelly admitted, there is deep public distrust and surely this needs to be addressed? The patients of the new maternity should not fear a Catholic influence in their care and should not be suspicious of the medical care they will one day receive.

If changes are made to contracts based on expert feedback you have received that has been discussed in the public domain, it would be appropriate and fair for the updated documents to be reviewed. This project will cost the taxpayer at least 800 million euros. Due diligence must be complete and all outstanding concerns must be resolved.

Minister James Reilly announced the National Maternity Hospital’s move in 2013. Since then, the National Maternity Hospital, the Sisters of Charity and St Vincent’s Healthcare Group have been embroiled in a decade of negotiations. Surely it is right that our duly elected government representatives have sufficient time to consider this agreement on behalf of the women of Wicklow and Ireland?

Ultimately, it is the women of Wicklow who will benefit or pay the consequences of this agreement. This agreement should not continue while so many questions remain.

Kiera O’Toole (South Wicklow Together for Yes) Sarah Murphy (North Wicklow Together for Choice and Equality) Dave McGlinn (West Wicklow Together for Yes) Mary Diskin (President Bray & District of Trade Unions) Cllr Lourda Scott (Cathaoirleach Greystones MD) Councilor Mary Kavanagh (Wicklow) Councilor Joe Behan (Bray East & Bray West) Jennifer Whitmore TD (Wicklow) Sandy Connolly (Better Maternity Care)

Have some respect for science

According to reports, a message from the IBEC-sponsored Dublin Climate Summit this week was that scientists need to be more responsive to the needs of society and business. Obviously, there still exists among our so-called leaders an illusion and ignorance about the function of science in society. Science is the process by which we seek out the facts that underlie our understanding of how nature and the physical world work. The recent IPCC report was the collation by more than 1,000 scientists of data from 34,000 studies, objectively analyzed using accepted statistical methods, which tells us that we are heading to the edge of a cliff.

Moreover, the irrefutable fact is that the main driver of this accelerated deterioration is our current economic model of unsustainable growth.

As we face the greatest existential crisis humanity has faced outside of nuclear annihilation, hearing corporate executives effectively ask scientists to manage their expectations is depressing. Following Leo Varadkar’s declaration that the state will pursue reasonable goals, this raises the question of what planet do these individuals live on?

It is certainly not the one where India is experiencing increasingly extreme heat waves, or the one where the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) has indicated that we are likely to experience warming of more than 1.5°C before the end of this decade.

Our business leaders would do well to learn about the scientific method, one of the greatest achievements of human science, and understand that its only outcome is truth.

Barry Walsh

Avenue of lime trees

black rock



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