* I was thrilled to discover that the Department of Jobs For The Boys has being carrying out its remit in an exemplary manner.
The carping that followed the news that the son of one member of the department received his just reward for overtime is simply beyond my comprehension.
Jobs For The Boys was formed in order to dispense child benefit to families of members of the Dail. Its motto is "McGuinness is good for you".
Many TDs have been forced to drive the cheaper end of the sports car market, and drink champagne from less reputable sources. I know quite a number of them who can barely afford their second homes or their regular trips to Florida.
I am reminded of a story told about a saintly member of the ruling class who was blessed by God with the rare gift of bilocation. He could be in the Dail and in Morocco simultaneously.
We should all pray to St Ming for the courage to clock-in while at the same time being abroad.
Edith Road, Oxford
* Ray Dunne (Letters, May 20) highlights the distinction between medical termination and abortion. If any facet of the pro-choice argument can be reduced to such semantics as arguing the dehumanising term "medical termination" versus what is the "abortion" of a human life, then surely that's reason enough to be pro-life?
* I am writing this letter in the house I bought a few years ago in the Castlerea area of Co Roscommon. I grew up in Co Antrim and all my life I took things like turning on the water tap and having a drink of water for granted.
But if you were to drink the so-called drinking water here you would be risking serious illness – as was the case for at least 10 people in Roscommon last week.
For more than two years now there have been warnings on the local radio not to drink the water without boiling it first. This, in my opinion, is a total disgrace. If this were the case in the county were I grew up, the minister in charge of the department would have been sacked.
Castlerea, Co Roscommon
A POEM ON SUICIDE
* I refer to the article by Miriam Donohoe, May 14, on Donal Walsh. It prompted me to submit this poem on suicide.
Smiles betray sorrow in their
They try so hard to keep normality
A stranger in their midst, want to
Tragedy of a young man's suicide
Family's eyes in pain try to screen
Broken smiles, faint cries of glee
As they raise a glass, feel inside
Grief of a son's suicide
Each family gathering is a witness
To who is missing presence not
A ghost appears when they try to
Reminder of a brother's suicide
Days and nights turn to months
Still there's not a day they do not
Normality is something from the
When they were once a happy
Destroyed, bury their lives, turn the
Consequences of a suicide.
Address with Editor
FINE GAEL WAY OUT OF LINE
* While I find the recent comments made by Alan Shatter on national television regarding Mick Wallace to be extremely disturbing, they pale in comparison to the condescending dismissal of the issue by several Fine Gael TDs and ministers.
For a government minister to put private information about a political opponent into the public domain is questionable at best.
A more serious matter, however, is how the minister came to have such knowledge. That is an issue worth looking at, particularly in the light of the heavily criticised report into the penalty points issue.
The fact that the Taoiseach has no compunction in supporting the actions of Mr Shatter, given the potential Standards in Public Office and data protections issues that have been raised by such actions, I believe demonstrates how little importance Fine Gael attaches to these issues, in comparison to party loyalty.
Crumlin, Dublin 12
ETHICS AND STEM CELLS
* Most reports on the recent breakthrough in human embryonic stem cell research neglect to point out one very important fact. The research produced a technical breakthrough, not an ethical breakthrough. It does not remove the need to deliberately kill human embryos and therefore does not address the ethical objection that many people have to human embryonic stem cell research.
Emeritus professor of biochemistry,
University College Cork
* Congratulations to Paddy O'Brien, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, on his letter entitled 'School of Terror'. I and my siblings attended such a chamber of horrors in a small sleepy village in Ireland during the 1950s and 1960s.
Sadistic punishments were administered on a daily basis. This included the cane, punching and also being hit with the duster and scissors.
It was a three-teacher school and two of those teachers in my mind were not fit to slop out pigs let alone teach children. I don't blame the parents as back then the parish priests and the teachers were placed on a pedestal.
I would love to name and shame the teachers and school involved but once again I tremble with fear at the horrific memories they invoke.
Name and address with editor
* I have been following with interest the abortion debate and I find the Catholic Church's interfering in state issues tyrannical. Yet again the church fails to take into account the non-Catholic population. Let them legislate for the Catholics if they so wish, but count the rest of us out!
Thus, I propose a piece of legislation: no abortion under any circumstances for Catholics – the rest of us may avail of the service if the mother's life is in danger.
Address with editor
WE NEED RETHINK ON JOBS
You are running an ad in your newspaper at the moment, "we are defined by the choices we make". Very true and very relevant. We, and you, are making very wrong choices at the moment. We are choosing to ignore a reality that stares us in the face and by so doing we allow a cancer to develop in society that could prove disastrous.
I refer to employment, or rather unemployment, which is the greatest threat the world faces. Your recent editorial (May 17) was upbeat about the influx of 800 additional jobs, and so it should be. Your editorial, however, is cautious and restates the eternal conundrum: "we need better job creation, but how?" And it is that "how" which presents the greatest challenge of the 21st Century.
It is wonderful news that we can produce practically everything in abundance and don't have to work so hard any more, but it could be the catalyst to destroy society if we allow the mass, or even a substantial and growing section of society, to be excluded from the dignity, security, well-being and feeling of inclusion secure employment brings.
There must be a major rethink of the work/jobs relationship and what role jobs play in the technological world of the 21st Century.
Tubercurry, Co Sligo