Saturday 19 January 2019

Assessing Trump's health won't lead to a radical prescription

Hidden illness: John F Kennedy. (Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)
Hidden illness: John F Kennedy. (Photo by National Archive/Newsmakers)
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The comments about US President Donald Trump's health, both physical and mental, are concerning. A lot of print space has been devoted to it and the possible ramifications, but little to the level of other reporting.

There are many precedents regarding hidden illnesses in the US presidency - Franklin D Roosevelt with polio, John F Kennedy with Addison's disease and Ronald Reagan with (probably undiagnosed) Alzheimer's disease. A number of leaders in the US and other countries have either hidden or lied about frailties that would have most likely kept them out of the job. Sadly, there are also many apparently healthy who suddenly pass.

Doctors are subject to rules of privileged information and cannot generally be required to divulge patient information. A permitted report could range from "in good health for their age" - basically still alive - through to "has some concerning health issues" - make sure they pay the bill on the way out. The more detailed the report, the more it can be interpreted, with a blood pressure reading of 140/100 being high for most people, although not as much for older people. Any release of information will need detailed notes and explanations for the majority of readers.

Even if there are medical concerns, they probably won't matter unless there is a severe problem with Mr Trump's mental health issue, which probably is not being assessed. The complexities of trying to remove a 'broken' leader generally require the support of both sides, and this is not going to happen.

Dennis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia

 

SF distaste is setback for unity

A three-month suspension (with full pay) for Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff (who does not do his job) and the blind eye (with full pay) for Northern Ireland's finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (who does not do his job) is more proof of Sinn Féin's continuing callous insensitivity to its victims.

Mary Lou McDonald, who justified McElduff's tweeting with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre as "quirky", deems the 'punishment' as "proportionate". I suspect proportionate is a chilling concept, familiar to the relations of Tom Oliver, Garda Jerry McCabe, Robert McCartney, Jean McConville and thousands of other Irish families. "Preposterous" might be more fitting.

This latest Sinn Féin sectarianism comes hot on the heels of the menacing cheers for the IRA at the party's recent Ard Fheis, and its shop's sales of the juvenile "IRA undefeated army" T-shirts. All this in contrived ignorance of the fact that the IRA was defeated - embarrassingly by itself - so riddled was it with informers (at all levels) in the pay of the British.

The irony of this latest bout of sickening bigotry is that it sets back for decades the cause of a united Ireland because, unfortunately for all genuine Irish patriots and for unionists, Sinn Féin still "has not gone away, you know".

Brian Morris

Blackrock, Co Louth

 

Pay the price for lower sea wall

On previous occasions, the Government has helped with remedial work to houses and businesses where there is a problem with flooding that is out of the control of residents.

Therefore, if residents in Clontarf, Dublin, wish to have the partially built sea wall lowered, then I would suggest it is made clear to them that if they get flooded in future the Government will only fund necessary works such as the roadway and paths, etc, and they will be fully responsible for all other repairs.

M Finn

Portobello, Dublin 8

 

We're being led a merry dance...

It was mind-numbing to watch the hyped-up programme 'Dancing with the Stars' on Sunday night. Where and who were the stars? The absolutely ridiculous questions and comments by the hosts were embarrassing, to say the least.

I see the entire show was repeated on RTÉ2 on Tuesday night. Have the scheduling people in that organisation lost their minds? We're paying a licence fee for this? You've got to be having a laugh.

Tom Kelly

Newbridge, Co Kildare

 

Our troops are being put at risk

On Tuesday morning, Israeli military forces are reported to have fired several missiles and rockets at Syrian army positions near Damascus, in unprovoked attacks. The reports indicate that some of these missiles were fired from Israeli occupied Syrian Golan Heights, where Irish peacekeeping troops are stationed.

Given that under international laws Syria would be entitled to respond by attacking the launch sites of such missiles, this could put Irish peacekeeping soldiers in serious danger. Some of the Israeli missiles were also reportedly fired from Israeli aircraft flying in Lebanese air space, where a further contingent of Irish peacekeepers is based.

The Irish Government should contact United Nations headquarters about these reports and should also ask the UN Security Council to investigate these reported very serious breaches of international peace.

Edward Horgan

Castletroy, Limerick

 

Saoirse makes us all proud

I wrote the following two years ago after seeing the movie 'Brooklyn':

"Just saw the beautiful Irish movie 'Brooklyn', with the best young actress in the world, our own Saoirse Ronan. The camera just loves this young lady, she is pure magic. We should be very proud of our young talent in this country."

What more can I say? Now she has a Golden Globe and may be in line for an Oscar. Wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing 'Lady Bird'.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

 

TDs must be held to account

The increase in TDs' salaries is an insult to people living on our streets, those getting eviction orders through our courts, the suffering patients in our hospitals awaiting operations, and the taxpayers who get up early every morning to go to work while Leo Varadkar goes spinning in the gym.

Our politicians reward themselves with huge increases they don't deserve while our country is in turmoil, with little sign of real recovery. We live in an unequal society, one for the rich and nothing for the poor. We, as citizens, are fooled by the sweet talkers in the Dáil, who always look after the elite - the bankers, property developers and the landlords of this small country. We should confront the politicians when they come looking for votes at election time.

Noel Harrington

Kinsale, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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