Tuesday 25 October 2016

By definition, Brexit puts a border between UK and Ireland

Published 04/10/2016 | 02:30

‘Brexit could lead to the dismantling of the EU’
‘Brexit could lead to the dismantling of the EU’

The recent speech by the British prime minister tells us what too many people have been trying to cover up, ie, that Brexit is a momentous decision with enormous implications not alone for the UK but also the EU - and not least for Ireland.

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The Brexit vote could be the beginning of the break-up of the UK. But the implications go much further than that. It also could be the start of the dismantling of the EU. The EU is a unique union of nearly 30 European democracies, each of which, after centuries of imperial and totalitarian warfare, signed a treaty to co-operate in matters of mutual interest.

The UK is tearing up that treaty. In relation to Ireland, Brexit is a re-declaration of the economic war of the 1930s. At best, the Brexit vote will have a deleterious effect, as yet undeclared, on the billion-euro trade between the two countries on these islands.

In relation to Northern Ireland, Brexit tears up the Good Friday Agreement, which was supported in a referendum by the majority of people on this island. By definition, Brexit is a decision to put a border between the UK and the rest of the EU. Otherwise, there was no point in voting for it. That border runs right across Ireland, and the UK's answer to that seems to be, "So what. Suck it up."

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Fears for unborn under Zappone

Our unborn children, present and future, our next generation of Irish citizens, are seriously threatened given recent comments from the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone. She recently stated on RTÉ News that she would prefer to see a wide-ranging abortion regime introduced to Ireland.

We need leaders protecting those under their care, not proposing their destruction. One might think about the tragic end unborn children could meet, should these life-limiting views be acted upon. If abortion is made freely available, there is no other civil liberty or choice available for those children.

Séamus Enright

Doora, Co Clare

Pay gardaí what they deserve

I am fed up hearing the gardaí being compared to other groups regarding their pay. Judge Conroy, in his reports on Garda pay and conditions, set out the reasoning on why gardaí were unique and should not be compared to other workers. The Government signed up and agreed to implement that report.

Gardaí have no seat at the pay negotiating table and are left to accept what others decide as their pay rate. What other unarmed group of workers must go out and face drug-crazed criminals as well as those who, tanked up with alcohol, wish to take the law into their own hands?

The gardaí are the buffer facing the ever more threatening protest groups. They patrol country roads in the night hours, in all types of weather, not knowing what they are likely to face and with back-up many miles away when they are confronted. Urban areas bring similar dangers, with knives and guns a regular hazard to be faced.

When you deny workers the right to be members of a trade union, the right to strike and the right to be at the table to negotiate their pay, then pay them for such denials. Stop [comparing them with workers who have such rights]. Pay the gardaí the rate for the job you are asking them to do and forget about fobbing them off with comparisons to other groups.

Tony Fagan

Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Mayo have earned our respect

Imagine what it is like for a Mayo person watching the 'Sunday Game' as the 'experts' tell the nation that Mayo won't ever win an All-Ireland.

Let's get back to the real world for a moment. The greatest team ever has played Mayo six times since 2012. Each time, Dublin have been put to the pin of their collar by Mayo. The last two seasons saw both games going to replays and the death before the dice stopped rolling. There is a narrative abroad that Mayo people elicit sympathy and a raised eye.

Ask Jim Gavin or Diarmuid Connolly if they view Mayo in such a fashion. Mayo, in the words of James Horan, have been for the last six years consistently competitive. If Dublin are seen as the team of this decade, then recognise that it's Mayo that has driven them to it, not Kerry, not Meath and certainly not Derry.

We don't want anybody's sympathy. We would like respect.

John Cuffe

Dunboyne, Co Meath

Faith and politics

When I initially heard of Brendan Howlin's remarks regarding a theocracy, I assumed that someone had proposed setting up an Isil-like state in Ireland.

I was amazed when I discovered the actual context involved. Apparently, Archbishop Eamon Martin had made the reasonable point that Catholic politicians should take very seriously the teachings of their Church when considering the life and death issue of abortion.

As a leader of the Church, the archbishop would be remiss if he did not issue such guidance. In fact, the Catholic Church allows much more latitude in general on matters political and social than many other organisations.

For example, Mr Howlin's and other parties regularly apply the draconian use of the party whip when bullying their members into compliance on various matters.

This form of secular theocracy is much more pervasive and invidious than anything applied by the Catholic Church. In this context, it's hypocritical in the extreme for Mr Howlin and his ilk to attempt to curtail or censor debate on this vital issue. In a healthy, pluralist society the archbishop, and other religious leaders, have every right to inform their members, be they politicians or not, of the core teachings of their Church.

Eric Conway

Navan, Co Meath

Support for local libraries

As a librarian, I find it heartening to see so many people come out in support of their local libraries.

I don't think there is a librarian out there who stands in the way of technological advancement. However, our objections to open libraries are many.

Of course we are going to object to technology that could potentially replace the human interface, or reduce the level of service that we have worked so hard to maintain during the recent recession despite the many cuts to labour, pay and service provision.

We have provided a service of warmth, comfort and accessibility, without question or barriers, to the jobs market via daily papers, local notice boards, internet access, etc.

We see the ordinary person from whom those in the Dáil seem so far removed. In some small towns and villages, the local library is the only community space.

'Open' technology will not give the full service enjoyed by those who avail of the 'staffed' hours.

Liz Fay

Librarian, Cork

Irish Independent

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