Tag Archives: Ireland

Garret FitzGerald

(From Martyn Turner in the Irish Times)

Not many politicians are described as people of integrity, maybe the current generation can learn from Ireland’s now departed elder statesman.


Some last minute electioneering

Strange that apart from Joan Collins (the postal worker, although the actress standing in Dublin south central would be interesting) the independant candidates election material (that comes via the postal system) only arrived yesterday while Fine Gael have been bombarding us with recycling propoganda and posters.

Watching the leaders debate a couple of nights ago didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

I found Micheal Martin extremely irritating and rude -insisting he should get to finish his point while constantly interrupting Enda, who seemed to need to learn to speak up for himself. Eamon seemed to be putting a lot of distance between himself and the other two, and at least did take Micheal to task for claiming the other parties had no credibility, which seemed just a little hypocritical.

But we all know elections should be about policies not personalities or “we’ve always voted for x”. Votomatic takes you through a number of questions to see where you align on a selection of policies. From the facebook comments it seems a lot of people are more aligned with Sinn Fein than they’d like to be…

One week until election day

With public confidence in our government and politicians at a record low it would be easy to give up on voting. “Sure what’s the point, they’re all the same” is a frequently heard comment. The recent events in Egypt, and spreading throughout the Middle East remind us that living in a democracy, albeit a flawed one, does give us the opportunity to influence how our nation is governed. As followers of Jesus we want to ‘seek the good of the city’ and be good neighbours. Voting is one way of pursuing God’s agenda of justice and ensuring that the ‘least’ in our communities are treated fairly.

To that end Sean Mullan (EAI) and Patrick Mitchel (IBI) have written a helpful article looking at 10 areas for Christians to consider when voting such as justice, generosity, money and work, power and accountability.

The Elections Ireland website provides a helpful overview of who is standing in your constituency and links to their websites and policies.

Another interesting site is The People’s Economy set up by David McWilliams, Brian Lucey and others who have long been predicting what the government seemed oblivious to. It has some helpful FAQs and the odd satirical video…

As we approach the election, the challenge for all of us, and especially followers of Jesus is not just to stand idly by but but to use our votes wisely. That means voting for something, not just against things, it means looking at a broad range of issues – not just being single issue voters. It means no matter who is elected holding our political representatives to account, not just complaining but being willing to write, call and meet our politicians to ask them the difficult questions and agitate in a peacefully persuasive manner.

One thing is certain in my mind – it is time for a change. Fianna Fail have for too long had a monopoly on  power and from my perspective have been steeped in corruption from the days of Charlie Haughey’s brown envelopes to Bertie and Brian being in bed with the bankers and developers.  As the Vanity Fair article noted:

Ireland was the first European country to watch its entire banking system fail, and yet its business-friendly conservative party, Fianna Fáil (pronounced “Feena Foil”), would remain in office into 2011. There’s been no Tea Party movement, no Glenn Beck, no serious protests of any kind.

At least with this election maybe we can register a protest vote to say it’s time for change…

Is a snap election a good idea?

So Brian has gone. Not the best person to lead the party but still the one to lead the country.

For the next 7 weeks at the least -in his eyes. Within minutes the opposition were calling for a snap election and Brian Cowen to dissovle the Dail. a day later Fianna Fail’s coalition partners the Greens pulled out of the government leaving it likely we’ll have an election within four weeks. Now I’m not sorry to see Fianna Fail out of government and from some of the polls it looks like a while before they’ll be back. Their previous leaders such as Bertie Ahern and Charlie Haughey have not exactly covered themselves in glory, being more likely to be associated with brown bags of cash and corruption. Ireland desperately needs some leaders who will demonstrate integrity and the best interests of the people ahead of their own party or wealth of their cronies.

But is a snap election the best way? Do any of the other parties have solid policies to lead us out of the mess we are in? Would it be better to wait another few weeks, or is it best just to get another coalition in who will struggle along? Do we have any other options?

Irish politics certainly isn’t going to be dull over the next few weeks…

Developing young Christian leaders in Ireland

I have dreams of God’s kingdom coming here in Ireland, dreams of that kingdom breaking through in every sphere if Irish life and society that ripples around the globe. In those dreams it is young people, listening to the Spirit who make those dreams a reality. Young people from the inner city, young people with African and Eastern European roots, and young middle class Irish people all working together. All the colours bleeding into one as an Irish prophet once said…

So how can we make that a reality?

What would it look like to invest in and develop young Christian leaders in Ireland who allow the kingdom to break in? Who will lead God’s mission in 21st century Ireland in innovative ways, who aren’t afraid to take risks?

This is where I would like your help.  Helping make this a reality is a part of my job. What are the key areas these young leaders need to develop if this is to become a reality? What are the experiences they need to have? What do they need to learn, not just in theory but in practice? What sort of foundations do they need to have?

What do you think?

The Lisbon Treaty Vote – What’s the Story?

Having just become a resident of Dublin, although still waiting on a bank account, I’m a little at a loss to understand the whole deal about Lisbon. I haven’t moved in time to vote. The posters all around for the yes and no campaigns certainly don’t help with an informed decision. 23092009505From the yes campaign promising jobs to the no campaign scaremongering about the loss of freedom, the European defence agency (despite Ireland’s protected neutrality), and reduction of minimum wage to €1.84 none if it inspires confidence. Michael O’Leary backing the yes vote also doesn’t exactly inspire. So I was excited to see one politician (Gay Mitchell MEP)  had produced a handy guide to the treaty, promising a reasonably fair overview. All ready to get tucked in over a cuppa, I was then appalled to discover that said politician’s booklet had been distributed with a catastrophic print error. Over twenty pages of the 72 page booklet were missing. Now if you can’t even print your own booklet properly, never mind check it before you distribute probably a few thousand copies, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. So is there anyone out there who can give me a fair synopsis of the issues?