Letters: A slice of common sense is required on sugar in yoghurts
I felt compelled to write after reading "healthy yoghurts have more sugar than chocolate bars" on Monday. Parents are already bombarded with nutrition misinformation from the media.
While I agree that some yoghurts contain excessive amounts of sugar, that does not equate the nutritional value of all yoghurts to that of chocolate. An avocado contains far more fat and calories than a Dairy Milk bar, does that mean we should be avoiding them?
Furthermore, a slice of water melon contains three-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar – should they also be banned from children's lunch boxes?
Yoghurts are a source of protein and calcium, which is particularly important to children whose skeletons are still developing. The National Children's Food Survey (IUNA 2005) found that 30pc of Irish children aren't getting enough calcium in their diets. The children of Ireland will not thank you for that image of the Flake bar beside the yoghurt when their bones are looking like Swiss cheese at the ripe old age of 30.
Finally, all yoghurt contains at least one teaspoon of lactose per 100g. Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in cow and breast milk. It is not associated with dental caries or obesity. This means that in the example of the Glenisk yoghurt that contains two-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar, given that one of those is lactose, it contains only one-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar, most of which probably comes from the fruit added to it. So put that yoghurt back in your child's lunch box but, as always, look at labels and pick the ones that are comparatively lower in sugar and fat.
SENIOR PAEDIATRIC DIETITIAN, BSC HUMAN NUTRITION AND DIETETICS MINDI, TEMPLE STREET CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, DUBLIN 1
O’Connell Street is a tacky mess
Are there any plans to meet with fast food outlet representatives and other businesses on O'Connell Street to discuss adapting their shops fronts in keeping with what would be expected of a main street of a European capital city?
The city council and councillors have continually allowed these premises and others to have shop fronts which are tacky and a letdown to our capital's main thoroughfare.
The 2016 commemorations will be beamed worldwide. Do we want to portray O'Connell Street as one full of fast food outlets or gambling casinos, etc? Furthermore, will the vacant site across from the lovely Gresham Hotel be developed before then? Are there any plans to deal with these issues? We have a Lord Mayor's office, TDs for the area and seven north inner city councillors, all of whom seem to have fallen asleep on the job in relation to O'Connell Street. Planting trees, repaving and sticking up the Spire doesn't fulfil their duty to the main street of a city that pays them generous salaries.
The great and the good will be falling over themselves to be in O'Connell Street for this event, as will most Dublin councillors. Foreign dignitaries will be present; what impressions will they take home? One would hope that in 2016 they will have a street worthy of the sacrifice made by the men and women in 1916 and not a grubby thoroughfare full of tacky shops and undeveloped sites.
RATOATH, CO MEATH
The anti-austerity bandwagon is in full throat throughout the country.
Its basic message blames foreigners for bankrupting this country. It also proclaims that if we shake down a few 'super rich' and the odd multinational, who were unwise enough to set up here, there will be no need for austerity. Neither proclamation is true.
SHIELMARTIN DRIVE, SUTTON, DUBLIN 13
At least we atheists keep trying
In response to A Rogers ('The beliefs of atheists', Letters, May 20) . . . universe, space, galaxies, solar systems, stars, nutrition stars, planets and life, etc, etc did not happen by accident, it just happened . . . yes I agree that we atheists don't know it all and never will, but at least we keep trying to understand . . . I don't believe (I stress that I) that Himself clicked his almighty fingers, gave us Adam – less a couple of ribs, Eve and all of the above . . . good riddance to the giant insects, dinosaurs, giant mammals, etc.
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
One of old guard is still standing
There has been considerable debate suggesting that Micheal Martin is making considerable efforts to distance Fianna Fail from the old guard of the 1997-2011 administrations, with particular reference to the party's moves to reverse Mary Hanafin's nomination for the local elections.
I had a look at the cabinet that Bertie Ahern proposed to Dail Eireann for approval on June 26, 1997. Of the 15 people in that cabinet (which did not contain Ms Hanafin), five were still sitting around the cabinet table in January 2011, just weeks before that year's general election. Four of the five did not stand in that election, the fifth was a certain Micheal Martin.
In seeking to identify elements of the Fianna Fail "old guard" that alienates the electorate, perhaps Mr Martin need not look any further than the nearest mirror.
KILCARN COURT, NAVAN, CO MEATH
Let’s redress gender imbalance
It is not surprising that a recent poll commissioned on behalf of Women For Election found that an overwhelming majority (69pc) of the public want more female councillors.
Our electorate is not stupid. Voters know that a more equitable representation of society on our local authorities will enable them to better reflect the communities they serve.
Yet as we move towards tomorrow's vote, just 17pc of council seats across Ireland are filled by women. Explanations often involve "time pressures", "family responsibilities" and "gender bias". These contain elements of truth, but I believe that it is not within one side's gift to solve this problem.
Women must be willing to overcome their apparent reluctance to serve and start putting themselves forward for selection. Only by doing so, in significant numbers, will we be in a position to demonstrate our contribution to political process.
As a candidate for Fine Gael in the Stillorgan ward of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council I hope to play a part in redressing this imbalance. Studies suggest that I should bring to political life attributes such as compassion, empathy, honesty, inclusiveness, and an ability to compromise and get things done. I hope this is true, and indeed that I can offer more as well.
Mostly, however, I'd like to be elected on the merits of my own candidacy and not because I fulfil a quota. The ratio of female councillors should have improved by Saturday and hopefully it will motivate others. Ultimately it is only women who can change our representation in politics.
MOUNT MERRION, CO DUBLIN
FG slow on severance pledge
I was flabbergasted to hear that former Justice Minister Alan Shatter was entitled to €70,000 severance pay, while he sits as a TD. Whether he decides to waive this payment is a matter for his conscience. However, I take umbrage with Fine Gael whose 2011 manifesto included a commitment to abolish severance pay to ministers. This begs the question, why has it taken the Government three years to draft and sign a 14-page Act?
PAUGHANSTOWN, DUNLEER, CO LOUTH