Sir - It's over 25 years since the Ayatollah Khomeni issued the fatwa on Salman Rushdie for "blaspheming against Islam". We are not 'rushing to judgement' when we say we are weary of this medieval barbarism and its relentless quest to stifle debate and censor commentary.
In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo atrocity, sections of a cowed public express vague fears about the potential 'Islamophobia'. This is a construct of the addled, fevered, post-colonial imagination.
What's remarkable is not that the odd incident of anti-Islamic sentiment may occur after such a brutal assault on our way of life but how rare and isolated such incidents actually are. The civilised and dignified restraint being shown by the French public is remarkable.
Our own history is one of censorship and religious intolerance. We cannot let our liberal instincts carry us blindly towards appeasement, in the face of such evil. We should champion life and all the things that make it a bit more bearable and that includes satire and freedom of expression.
Pressure is on Creighton's party
Sir - I do hope that Ms Lucinda Creighton and her political cohorts in this newly found party Reform Alliance are successful with their future endeavours.
And I can say with certainty that having politicians of the calibre of Shane Ross is a good platform too to begin with, as I respect him for his honesty.That's a refreshing approach.
We need political honesty instead of this two-faced hypocrisy we have been enduring for decades. That type of intolerable underhanded deceitfulness infuriates me as the citizens of Ireland have been and will continue be the financial victims of too many unaccountable political regimes for far too long.
Therefore, I am hopeful that people like me can be assured that, all the members of this newly founded party will succeed in their endeavour to firmly invoke the true meaning of the word "reform".
The present regime has wilfully failed dramatically to even begin the process of reform. Our politicians epitomise the true meaning of self-preservation, and that has been achieved through their abuse of power. That's why the people have been let down too often and I do believe this country is in urgent need of serious political restoration.
Having said that, and owing to Ms Creighton's previous political affiliations, I would have some reservations about her party policies on reform. But I shall remain an optimist in the hope it won't become an over-ambitious party whose members will forget the principles on which the party has been founded.
Moreover, I don't want to see or even hear of them entering into coalition or amalgamating with the big boys and ending up yet another failed statistic in the annals of political history.
In all honesty, no political party has even attempted to prioritise the future security for long-term employment for the people of this country despite all their pre-election reassurances and promises. Hence, I believe the pressure is already on Ms Creighton's party to bring about a more trustworthy political establishment so that we've a more equal society for the good of all us Irish citizens.
Matthew J Greville,
Real change is what we want
Sir - Your front page last week made it clear why our country is still heading downhill fast on a greasy mattress of lies and deception in all areas, especially health, environment and finance.
FF and FG are now proving that they have never been in genuine opposition, except for photo opportunities. They are now planning to confirm that they have both been living from the trough of decent people's taxes and wish to continue that party at all costs.
Integrity - no thank you.
For anybody to decry Lucinda Creighton or Sinn Fein is to deny what FF and FG have done to the country over the last 15 years. We desperately need real change in several areas and they might just bring it. To even consider electing a FF/FG coalition is the equivalent of contemplating taking two brands of headache pill for a broken leg.
Stephen should've joined Lucinda
Sir, Stephen Donnelly ("Move to challenge the status quo is to be welcomed" Sunday Independent, January 4) welcomes Lucinda Creighton's political initiative.
He appears to support her guiding principles and suggests that like her, he is working to positively change the political system.
Why did he choose not to join Lucinda's political initiative where his talents could be best served in achieving their common goals?
Lucinda is on a certified loser
Sir - New skin for the old ceremony wrote Leonard Cohen. New party, whispers Lucinda Creighton. Is she so far removed from the people that she assumes them to be desperate?
Eddie Hobbs was a poster boy for Celtic Tiger Ireland but is now a (re) visionary on how it went belly up. An unknown councillor, John Leahy, and that's it. The rest to follow.
Ms Creighton, apart from a single issue has backed her countyman, Mr Kenny and FG. What's new and radical about that - apart from keeping an each-way bet viable?
The next election will split four ways. Sinn Fein, FG, and FF will be the main parties. Probably a disparate number of Independents will equal if not surpass the Big Three. But Ms Creighton carries all the relevancy of a loser's betting docket.
The Irish people have had a bellyfull of insignificant little parties screwing them. In that I include DL (alias Labour), Greens and the PDs.
Sad when we look back with tinted glasses at Charlie and Bertie and say " Yerra were they that bad?" Ireland needs many things at the moment. An opaque talking shop fronted by Eddie and Lucinda is not one of them.
New centre-right party not needed
Sir - Lucinda Creighton, the ex-Fine Gael TD and junior minister, has decided to grace the Irish people with a new political party, yet to receive a name. She and her nameless party have yet to announce their economic and social policies.
However, based on her previous actions in Dail Eireann when she was a member of Fine Gael and supported the austerity measures, we may expect similar. She is on record (in the Sunday Independent of January 4) as stating that she favours the continuation of the incorrectly named property tax and the new water charges.
Although she has stated that she favours the abolition of the universal social charge, her previous actions in relation to this speak volumes.
She did not oppose it when it was implemented. The only difference that may be seen between this yet-to-be-named party and the party that she and some of her colleagues left is their opposition to the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill.
It may also be stated that Fianna Fail are no different.
In this country we do not need another centre-right party.
Dr Tadhg Moloney,
Let us have a new Proclamation
Sir - Since the 2008-2009 crisis, the Irish citizen pays significantly more in tax, whether it is the water charge, the LPT, the Universal Social Charge or the pension levy.
Throw in the 23pc in VAT now compared to the 21pc before the crisis and what have we got to show for it?
Better public services? More resources for education? A more efficient and effective health service? None of the above.
Add to this a stealthy reduction in government funding for registered charities, and the calculus is simple - we pay more, we receive less, despite the Government benefitting from its lowest ever borrowing costs.
Yet our semi-state entities and quangos still want the best of both worlds - private sector pay and public sector pensions and job security.
I no longer have faith in the Irish Government, having unfashionably supported the need for some measure of austerity when it was needed. With a booming economy, falling unemployment, and low interest rates, this much austerity is no longer needed.
I would love to see the political parties come together to produce a blueprint for Ireland's social and economic future that provides a means for our children to live in a cohesive and economically viable society, punching above its weight internationally.
Timely tips for the year ahead
Sir - This year, for other people: try a smile (it will make them feel good). For the mind - try to read more (it will encourage you to write more... which will mean more letters for the Letters Page). For the soul - try to pray more (nothing is impossible to God). For peace - ignore the bullies (they're just very sad people). For the future - try to leave the past behind, and live and enjoy one day at a time.