Sunday 23 November 2014

In the interests of justice, Shatter must resign

Published 28/03/2014 | 02:30

Retired Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter
Retired Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

* Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was the wrong man to resign this week; it should have been Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

Mr Callinan, as commissioner of An Garda Siochana, was a decent public servant who came down hard on dissident (self-described) republicans and organised criminals.

Mr Callinan, throughout the current controversy, stuck by a principle and was made a fall guy for Mr Shatter as a result.

Mr Callinan, as commissioner, was well-respected by rank-and-file gardai. It is a great shame that Irish law enforcement has lost a good man this week in the form of the former commissioner.

For justice (for all concerned) to be done, Mr Shatter, of whom there are now serious questions as to his competency in overseeing the administration of justice in Ireland, must be made to resign.

JOHN B REID

MONKSTOWN, CO DUBLIN

THE PRICE OF DEMOCRACY

* It has taken three years for some to realise this "controlled and cohesive Government" is anything but.

A debt of gratitude is owed to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar for his timely, very important public outrage about the arrogant manner of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

An insult not alone to the whistleblowers, but the Public Accounts Committee and, by extension, the citizens.

What I find disgusting is the absolute, ridiculous subservience by Fine Gael TDs to their colleague, Justice Minister Alan Shatter, because of his ability to write and introduce bills.

Each and every TD is a representative of the people in the Dail, therefore each one of them has the right to introduce a bill to the House. That some have not the ability is of no consequence in a democratic Republic, whereas subservience to "eminent people" is fraught with danger for any democracy as we have witnessed.

Mr Shatter would do well to employ a ministerial adviser akin to the slaves Roman senators had, to tell him throughout each day, "Remember man you are mortal". I fear this would go over the heads of some of his cabinet colleagues.

If Taoiseach Enda Kenny had nous, he would be chastened by these events and bring the major changes he promised prior to the election to fruition.

Alas, winning seats for Fine Gael at the forthcoming local and EU elections takes priority over the goodwill of the citizens of Ireland.

DECLAN FOLEY

BERWICK, AUSTRALIA

CLEAN AS A WHISTLE

* I wish to nominate Maurice McCabe for the vacant post of Garda Commissioner and John Wilson for Deputy Commissioner.

If courage, integrity, endurance in the face of adversity and competence are requirements for the job, there are not two finer candidates.

DR MARK HARROLD

MALAHIDE, CO DUBLIN

FOOD WAR IS HEATING UP

* May I refer to Eilish O'Regan's article "Study links birth defects to austerity" (Irish Independent, March 19). May I suggest that austerity is only part of the problem.

Today, home cooking of fresh food is being replaced by quick foods, processed foods and pre-cooked meals.

Most processed foods are super-heated to kill off all bacteria (a must) but in doing so it kills the natural vitamins, enzymes and renders amino acids unavailable to the body.

The result? – an unbalanced diet creating the natural bodily reaction to eat more (looking for missing nutrients).

This only increases the carbohydrates and mineral intake (what is left after over-heating) leading to deficiencies and obesity.

The lack of folic acid (the brain food) is the result of not eating fresh vegetables, whole grain, lentils, meat, milk and cheese that has not been over-heated.

Folic acid is most important in regulating embryonic and foetal nerve-cell formation for normal development and in hardening of the arteries. It should be taken before conception and is more efficient with vitamins B12 and C.

If we as a nation wish to improve our heath, we must revert to consuming fresh, basic foods that are home-cooked.

This should be encouraged by the HSE, Government and supermarkets. After all, Ireland produces the best food in the world and we should live on it.

DAVID THOMPSON

CASTLEGARDE, CAPPAMORE, CO LIMERICK

GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE

* I just finished reading about Deirdre Roche Doherty's story (Irish Independent, March 27). An amazing young woman, who, against all odds, is alive and living a normal life, as normal can be, after what she has been through.

A victim of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and a triple transplant recipient (heart, lung and kidney), she became the first ever woman who has undergone a triple transplant to have a child, let alone two.

I think the least we can do, in her honour, is sign an Organ Donor Card as soon as possible so more people like Deirdre can live.

You can actually help someone, you may never meet, with the ultimate act of kindness. Just imagine that after you're gone, your donated organs will help keep others alive. It is at no cost to you and you can save a life or two. It's a real no-brainer.

KEVIN DEVITTE

WESTPORT, CO MAYO

STORY DOESN'T HAVE LEGS

* Writing in this newspaper yesterday, Paul McNeive criticised An Taisce for seeking greater levels of public transport, cycling and walking in commuting to work at the former Dell plant in Limerick.

The plant is due to be refurbished and enhanced by Regeneron, a US bio-pharmaceutical company.

After Regeneron applied for planning permission, An Taisce wrote to Limerick County Council asking the council to request Regeneron to develop a mobility plan to guide the company, over time, to achieve higher levels of public transport, walking and cycling for travel to work.

The benefits of having such a plan include reduced congestion, better air quality, improved employee health and, as recent studies have shown, improved employee well-being and retention.

However, Limerick County Council granted planning permission without requesting any definite plan to boost public transport, cycling and walking.

To say this jars with Limerick as Ireland's Smarter Travel Demonstration city is an understatement. Limerick has been granted €9.3m of public funds to increase public transport, cycling and walking.

An Taisce then appealed the transport condition of the permission to An Bord Pleanala. Only the transport condition was appealed, something very clear from the document itself.

Regrettably, a local election candidate issued a press release that neglected to make this clear, and a small number of news outlets covered the release without checking the story – or without making any contact with An Taisce for balance and fairness.

Mr McNeive was unfortunately wrong-footed by the misreporting described above.

Also, the story has moved on. An Taisce and Regeneron have since worked together on a revised mobility plan and the appeal on the transport condition is no longer before An Bord Pleanala. Regeneron and An Taisce followed this up with a joint press release.

JAMES NIX

POLICY DIRECTOR, AN TAISCE

Irish Independent

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