An all-time low
• I believe that as a country we have, thanks to the present regime, descended into a pit of meanness from which we may never recover.
A banker retired from a failed bank is getting an annual pension equivalent to giving the respite grant to 405 deserving families every year. And there is no shortage of such guys throughout the collapsed banking system.
Reducing the respite care grant by €325 will save the State €26m a year and keep Ireland running for 17 hours at current borrowing rates.
Reducing the home package for over-70s will add €61m a year to the State's finances and keep the country going for 41 hours.
But the biscuit must go to the genius who decided to stop paying €2,540 to everyone reaching the age of 100. This will mean a saving of €1m a year and keep this once proud nation out of poverty for a princely 40 minutes. Yes, 40 minutes for around 40,000 years of living and contributing by the 400 or so citizens who will reach 100 in 2013. What, in the name of all that is decent and worthy, has become of us?
If Ireland keeps going the way it is, it may be safe to assume that few if any of us will live to see 100.
Foxrock, Dublin 18
• Charles Trevelyan is cursed in song and story by generations of Irish people for the heinous crime that he perpetrated at Ireland's last time of great economic disaster. He oversaw the transfer of immense wealth from this country to augment the coffers of foreign interests while the people of Ireland suffered unimaginable deprivation.
I greatly fear the Government will be viewed with similar contempt and wrath by generations of Irish people to come. While the disaster is not as acute and consequences not yet as grave, the action is prompted by exactly the same ideology that saw huge quantities of food exported while a large proportion of Irish people perished.
The action now is just as wrong as it was then. Repayment of massive debt unjustly foisted on the Irish nation is not possible in the economic conditions of the 21st Century. Efforts to achieve this impossible task will impoverish Ireland to the levels of past centuries and drive more of our people to the four corners of the Earth.
Conditions of production, employment and growth are utterly changed by the advance of modern technology; and present policies are completely unsuitable to address the situation. This reality will not even be considered by the Government, never mind addressed. If they persist with illogical and futile policies of a different era I fear the fields of Athenry will lie low again.
Tubbercurry, Co Sligo