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Claim will damage soldiers

Sir -- Our brave soldiers are now looking for extra payments for helping out during last year's flooding and presumably this year's snow and freeze up. Surely they should be delighted to have a real job, even if is only for a couple of weeks every year.

Personally I find their claim outrageous and offensive, and will do nothing but damage the reputation of our army. God help us, if we are ever invaded. PDFORRA would be looking for a huge "decency payment". Please drop this stupid claim, and save our soldiers from widespread derision.

S Brown,

Dublin 13

Hurtful to see gardai criticised

Sir -- Though a long-retired sergeant of the Garda Siochana, it still hurts me to see the almost daily criticism of the gardai in the media, mostly in regards to events over which they have no control.

During the past few weeks alone, they were criticised in court over a murder committed by a man who had been released from prison without their knowledge.

I would like to point out that gardai have done their job when a prisoner is taken to court and convicted. It is not the gardai who cause these people to be released.

The following day, they were criticised because of the actions of clergy.

But how could they have known what was happening if they received no complaints? The next day it was about the late Gerry Ryan, when the people who knew what was happening to the man remained silent?

They are criticised in relation to the non-prosecution of certain bankers, when adequate time was given to these people to hide and dispose of incriminating evidence before the gardai were asked to investigate. I even heard a man on radio complain bitterly because gardai were not there to solve the traffic chaos which was caused by the snow.

I wonder do people realise that the entire strength of the Garda Siochana is approximately 12,000, which is divided into four shifts, thus leaving 3,000 on duty in the whole country at any one time. That many could be utilised in Dublin alone. Yet they are expected to do the impossible at all times. Is there any other organisation which has to face that kind of scenario every day, with rarely a word of appreciation?

John Barry,

Malahide, Co Dublin

Sunday Independent