Our successful democracy should be celebrated more

Over the past week we have commemorated the deaths of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins. But by focusing on personalities, we have perhaps lost sight of the outstanding achievement of the time – the establishment of a successful independent democracy.

Their principles ensured that Ireland had free democratic elections, equal voting rights for men and women (before the UK), a free press, an independent judiciary, a professional civil service, a police force unarmed and an army subject to the political will of the people, and not the other way around.

The state-building process was so successful that by 1932 power could be transferred peacefully between former civil war rivals. These achievements were not guaranteed and were not replicated by the vast majority of new states created in Europe at the time, 17 of which succumbed internally to totalitarianism or authoritarian dictatorship.

Our country may have been culturally conservative but politically under the leadership of Griffith and Collins, and their supporters WT Cosgrave, Richard Mulcahy and Kevin O’Higgins, we established a strong and prosperous liberal state with a commitment to law and order, rather than political violence.

We must do more to recognize, cherish and celebrate this achievement.

Jim O’Leary

Dublin 16

Red in the teeth and the claw? There might never have been a need

Maurice O’Callaghan (“Leo Varadkar’s attempt to rewrite history 100 years later is political tally at its worst”, Letters, August 20) disputes the idea that there could have been “an alternative to the war” to obtain the independence of this country.

In support of his statement, he cites, for example, “the historical facts” that “Collins was red from the teeth and the claws.”

Mr O’Callaghan seems to forget or ignore the fact that between 1912 and 1914 the Imperial Parliament in London passed a law giving autonomy to the whole island of Ireland with a parliament in Dublin. This was supported by almost all of Irish nationalism at the time, including Patrick Pearse.

The only problem was that the imperial parliament rushed to apply its own law and instead imposed a border on the island of Ireland. If the imperial parliament had implemented its own law, it’s safe to say that it wouldn’t have been necessary for anyone to go red from their teeth and claws.

Anthony Levy

Sutton, Dublin 13

It’s time for a United Republic with a merger of FF and FG

Could the commemoration of the centenary of Michael Collins be a clear indication that Civil War politics is now over with a Fianna Fáil Taoiseach and Fine Gael Tánaiste addressing it?

Anyway of a united island of Ireland, now is the time for a united republic through political union between the two parties.

Joe Harrison

Point of Spain, County Clare

We should give our athletes a real sporting chance

Winning an Olympic, World or European medal is never easy and every medal won must be precious. These events are noted around the world and help keep Ireland in the public eye…

If we’re really serious about international sport, we should re-evaluate our support and stop, or at least reduce, support for our indigenous games that aren’t of interest to anyone outside of our own diaspora.

It should be obvious that countries of similar size continue to outperform us in virtually every sport, except maybe boxing.

In the meantime, we must rely on our new Irish citizens to raise our flag on the podiums of the world. They are really welcome.

David Ryan

Co Meath

Here is my little guide to this budget and all budgets

For many years, the outcome of the budget, for me, has been the same – a pint more or less each week. I will be amazed if this one will be different!

Michael Foley

Rathmines, Dublin 6

The return of the rain recalls the genius of a farmer with JFK

While the long warm spell has now passed and the rain has returned, it brings to mind a story told during the late US President John F Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in 1962. Apparently he remarked to a local farmer at how difficult it must have been to predict the rainfall. “Well,” replied the farmer, “if you can see the mountains, it’s a sign of rain, and if you can’t see them, it’s raining.”

Leo Gormley

Dundalk, County Louth

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