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Article 16 is like a spaceship, ominously orbiting the planet

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The British government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, consistently threatens to trigger Article 16. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The British government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, consistently threatens to trigger Article 16. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The British government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, consistently threatens to trigger Article 16. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Article 16 reminds me of an old-time Russian Sputnik orbiting the planet. It habitually comes into view, frequently making the headlines and is invariably ‘up there’ in the public consciousness, mainly because we are under continuous threat of it crashing and causing all kinds of destruction.

If we are to believe current commentary, its trajectory has never been more susceptible to collision.

At this point, most of us are a bit like Laika, the unfortunate canine passenger on Sputnik 2, slain by the venture many orbits ago.

Michael Gannon,

Co Kilkenny

 

Broadband absence a failure of successive governments

In August 2012, the minister for communications, Pat Rabbitte, announced the National Broadband Plan (NBP), describing it as “the rural electrification of the 21st century”.

Three years later, the new minister for communications, Alex White, published a draft strategy which included a promise of a 2020 timeline for delivery. This has not happened.

Attention is turned to an article which appeared in this newspaper last Friday (‘Company behind the National Broadband Plan is about to seek new financial backers’, Irish Independent, November 12).

Taoiseach Micheál Martin recently admitted that half-a-million people would still not have access to high-speed broadband by 2025.

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Imagine how well we would have coped with pandemic restrictions if remote working had not been impeded by “huge gaps in rural broadband availability”.

Successive governments have failed to deliver basic rights to the citizens of Ireland.

Hugh McDermott

Dromahair, Co Leitrim

 

Vaccine passes doing more damage than the unjabbed

I must congratulate Larissa Nolan on her article (‘It’s not enough to obey Covid restrictions, you must love them’, Irish Independent, November 13).

In her article, Ms Nolan calls upon people not to fret over “the phantom of the unjabbed”, but warns of Orwellian Big Brother controls being imposed on society which, among other reprehensible things, give rise to the unwarranted demonisation of the unvaccinated.

When 93pc of the Irish population are vaccinated and mixing freely everywhere, it must be those people who are passing infection back and forth blithely between themselves. I suggest this because, as we know, vaccination does not fully prevent transmission, and the effect of vaccines wears off after six months or so.

The 7pc of the population who are unvaccinated and not permitted to mix indoors with the 93pc cannot therefore be contributing much, if at all, to the present high rate of infection.

This is only logic and common sense – two things sadly missing from the whole Covid-19 episode. We have a crazy situation now, where a vaccinated person who is infectious can enter a bar or restaurant using a vaccine pass and spread the virus, but an unvaccinated person who is not infectious is forbidden entry.

Ironically, though, the vaccine pass is now keeping the unvaccinated safe – by barring them from pubs, restaurants and cafés – while making the vaccinated unsafe by allowing them to spread infection freely among themselves inside pubs, restaurants and cafés.

Geoff Ward

Rossmackowen, Co Cork

Money’s too tight to mention... in fact, we have none at all

My grandchildren were very confused when I described the coins and notes which made up the first Irish pound from 1928.

The breakdown was as follows: two 10-shilling notes, eight half-crowns, 10 two-shilling coins, 20 one-shilling coins, 40 six-pence coins, 80 three-pence coins, 240 pennies, 480 half-pennies and 960 farthings.

These days, when making most transactions, you tap your card to complete the purchase. How quickly we have come from old money to metric money to no money.

Tom Moloney

Clonmel, Co Tipperary

 

After the letdown of COP26, it’s time to listen to Thunberg

The roar of promise from the COP26 climate summit closed to a whimper.

For a number of countries, such as Tuvalu, the watering down of climate controls will lead to a rise in water levels and, eventually, the flooding of this island.

It’s time to listen to young people, especially Greta Thunberg. The adults have nothing useful to say.

Dennis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia


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