One of the great benefits of our democracy is that like most states we get the opportunity to change our Government every five years.
The right to vote is a privilege that everybody should use – there’s absolutely no point in complaining if you don’t use your franchise to make your point.
We have come through more than 8 years of pain with everybody suffering to a greater or lesser degree. The results of the measures that had to be taken are only now beginning to be obvious –falling unemployment, a reduction in forced emigration and the growth of a feel good factor. International confidence in Ireland as a nation has also increased and our little country is seen as a warm and welcoming location for foreign holidaymakers.
On the other side of the coin we have not yet got to grips with the crisis in our health system, our schools which are still overcrowded and underfunded together with the never-ending debt misery for many and the scandal of homelessness which appears to be worsening. Our infrastructure is creaking in many areas as a result of minimal capital expenditure since the recession hit.
The years ahead will be a test of our ability to deal with these problems and to get the State to assume its responsibility to each and every one of its citizens. Our individual humanity should be reflected in the composition of any new Government and the basic common sense of the majority of us should ensure that problems are dealt with in a practical and sustainable way. The human rights of all citizens must be respected but they must also be helped to achieve these rights and get rid of the current dependency culture. As Pope Francis recently said we must build bridges not walls.
The stability in our finances, if nurtured over the next five years, will give us scope to make huge improvements in all the areas of deficiency listed above. Inclusiveness will have to be the name of the game and careful planning, rigid budgeting and a will to continue to take unpopular measures if necessary must be the key attributes of a new Government.
Any new Government must be composed of a sufficient number of like-minded parties and individuals who will have the commitment to agree a plan and carry it through. The stability of the outgoing Government has shown the need for a Taoiseach to have a sufficient majority to be able to act effectively.
I sincerely hope that people will carefully listen to all the candidates before making their choice. You should look for candidates/parties who have a vision for the whole nation. Candidates who are standing on sectional or strictly local issues may have a certain attraction but will they contribute to the solutions to the national and international problems we face?
Imagine a Dáil composed of 158 individuals, each pushing their own narrow agenda? In the words of King Lear “that way madness lies”. Happy voting – I think it’s pure coincidence that when you rearrange the letters of ELECTION RESULTS you get… LIES – LET’S RECOUNT…