I AM writing to congratulate Dr. James McDaid on his decision to resign his seat from the Dail (Parliament) in protest against the Irish government’s failings over the economy and their desire to hang onto power at whatever the cost.

While I am not a McDaid supporter and I totally disagree with his solutions to our country’s economic woes, he is 100% right in his analysis of the current political situation.

The present government with its wafer thin majority does not have the mandate from the people to propose a four-year economic plan, and does not have the moral authority to try to pass one of the most crucial budgets in the history of this state.

McDaid is correct that the only way that we as a country can tackle our problems is to hold a general election. Once a new government is formed, then and only then can we seriously address the situation that we face.

At present, we are in dire straits with this lame duck administration whose solutions to the problems only make things worse.  Our present Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen trumpets on about how we have to make the tough economic decisions to satisfy the money markets and the European Union.

He continuously states that their course of direction will bring about a revival in Ireland’s economic fortunes.

These actions seem to be working well.  At the time of writing, the interest rate demanded by investors to lend money to Ireland is now a record high of 7.9% (the German rate is 2.4%) and does not look like decreasing.

Cowen should consider the real reason why the money markets see Ireland as such a basket case, and that is the complete lack of political leadershipRealistically, if we look at the problems of Ireland through the eyes of an investor, why would anyone in the world want to invest in a country whose leader is described as a “drunken moron” on American TV.  If you wait for the commercials, you can spot his predecessor Bertie Ahern (along with the other skeletons) perched in the cupboard.

Leaving our leaders’ personalities aside, this government’s economic response seems to punish those who were least responsible for our plight.

Their proposal to double student fees seems particularly callous. Fees for undergraduate study will now cost around 3,000 euro per year. Some argue this is a necessary evil, but when you take into the context that unemployment rate is 13.6%, it is definitely not.

I have a son who recently qualified as a secondary teacher, but he is finding it next to impossible to find any meaningful employment. His fees for his course last year cost up to 6,500 euro.

If the proposed changes take place, the fees for 2011/’12 intake will cost 13,000 euro, and when they graduate, the chances are that they will have to emigrate. This does not make sense.

While the violence against the Gardai (police) during the students’ protest in Dublin last week cannot be condoned, it is easy to understand the students’ frustrations.

Then again maybe this is way that our new “smart economy” is supposed to work.

Joe Harvey
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal