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Boris Johnson holds a press conference at Brexit HQ in Westminster, London, after David Cameron has announced he will quit as Prime Minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Boris Johnson holds a press conference at Brexit HQ in Westminster, London, after David Cameron has announced he will quit as Prime Minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Boris Johnson holds a press conference at Brexit HQ in Westminster, London, after David Cameron has announced he will quit as Prime Minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Sir - The EU will damage its reputation and credibility if it behaves in a silly, immature manner by trying to 'punish' Britain, or creates unnecessary difficulties or problems for Britain or the British people.

The EU claims to be a responsible, intelligent, mature, democratic, caring establishment.

It must demonstrate its responsible behaviour now in how it handles Britain's decision to leave.

Theirs was a democratic decision, arrived at by the free voting of the people of Britain.

And their decision, in the interest of democracy and freedom of expression, must be respected and be seen to be respected. Any petty 'punishment' would be anti-democratic and anti-freedom.

There is a lot wrong with the EU. Now it needs to look at itself. It needs to become more people-centred and more centred on the individual rights of member countries. It must respect the rights and needs of each country and its citizens.

Yes, we are European, and we want to be European, but we are also Irish, and we want to be Irish.

David Cameron is a big loss to England and he will be a big loss to the EU. He gave the people the opportunity to vote and decide. They voted and made their decision.

Margaret Walshe

Dublin 15

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Coursing is vile animal cruelty

Sir - Both the Government and Fianna Fail have rejected calls for a hare coursing ban on the basis that the "sport" is regulated and that prohibition would backfire.

What a weak argument in favour of a practice that involves the use of hares as live bait, to be terrorised, mauled and tossed about like broken toys for human amusement.

By the same logic we should legalise dog fighting, cock fighting and badger baiting and regulate them as legitimate pastimes.

Why not go further and lift the ban on paramilitary groups and gangland activity? Instead, we could ask the dissident republicans to use longer fuses on their pipe bombs and beseech the gangsters to engage their rivals more discreetly in future and use silencers on their weapons when shooting in a public place.

How sad that these gutless politicians are endorsing a vile form of animal cruelty and that hares can't vote.

John Fitzgerald

Callan, Co Kilkenny

No matter the evil, love conquers all

Sir - What a superb opinion piece by Donal Lynch (Sunday Independent, June 19) on the Orlando murders and the need for global empathy in a complex situation. Those murderous events in Orlando have touched us all; this is not a time for narcissistic sectarian sympathies.

At this time of appalling tragedy and senseless slaughter, it must be remembered that love will conquer all. Our thoughts, prayers and deeds must be with the families and friends and those directly impacted.

What is not helpful at this time is for any group to claim this tragedy as their own, especially middle-class media types. This is not a time for divisive identification politics or for any group to engage in an exclusive narrative of victimhood.

The consequences of certain Catholic or Protestant communities empathising only with their own victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland had a lasting lesson that still needs heeding if we are to move forward and remove the hate of homophobia.

Judith Goldberger

Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Some things will never change

Sir - Tom Cooper (Letters, June 19) talks nonsense in referring to the attitude of the DUP and other unionists in the North to homosexuality and gay marriage.

I am not a fan of the DUP and have been very critical of them in the past, but why should they be expected to change their deeply-held views on an issue just because it has become fashionable to do so? I would remind Mr Cooper that 38pc of nationalists in the Republic voted against gay marriage in the referendum, so it could reasonably be argued that they also share the views of the DUP on this issue, as indeed do many nationalists in the North. We may as well expect Sinn Fein to abandon its aspiration for a united Ireland so as not to offend unionists.

So what if Tom Elliott announced that he would never attend a gay pride march? Surely that is his choice. Are we all now expected to attend events we have no interest in? Is Martin McGuinness now expected to attend Twelfth of July demonstrations?

A Thompson, Co Tyrone

Summertime, or so we're led to believe

Sir - My Google logo told me that June 20 was the first day of summer, but in Bantry it felt more like the last day of autumn.

Who decides when summer is here, because it's certainly not the weather.

Robert Sullivan,

Bantry, Co Cork

Open the doors, let them come

Sir - The message of this letter to your readers is simple: history proves that there is no hiding place for those who sit on the fence and allow the rise of ugly nationalism. I have been on that fence for many years, working as a physician here and abroad, but the emergence of the Trump/Farage axis in the western world and the recognition of a similar vein of demagoguery that has been alive in the Middle East for decades has shaken me from my slumber.

I am simply asking that all right-thinking citizens and, indeed, our welcome visitors write urgently to their local political representatives and prevail upon them to open our borders to our brothers and sisters from eastern war zones.

We don't want merely to "take our fair share" - we need to take all who present themselves; if it is a million, then so be it. We will work together to create the most diverse society in the world. It will not come close to the nightmare scenario some would have you believe; it will not only be the most inspiring humanitarian act of human history, it will enrich us both spiritually and economically.

Of course, there will be many naysayers to this initiative, from those who point out the problems of our own homeless to those who worry about our physical and economic security, but I don't buy it. It's very simple - let's just do it.

The slogan is #letthemcome. Remember what Einstein said: nationalism is an infantile disease; it is the measles of humanity.

Colin Doherty

Rathmines, Dublin 6

We can't keep ignoring problem

Sir - Fewer and fewer people trust their leaders any more. Many believe they have become an elite in the service of economics alone - either Marxism or capitalism. Perhaps there will be a period of chaos now, used and abused to cobble together a new version of European unity, as always in the service of economics. The EU will continue with Britain being as much part of it as before, while the root reason for the Leave decision, immigration, will be, as always, ignored.

Yet our planet buckles under the weight of seven billion people, and this cannot be accommodated on a planet which cannot grow. So immigration in reality is a human overspill, and it can be seen on every street in Europe. Hiding or denying or ignoring this means ever more fear and rejection because, unlike the elites, the common people who face its consequences will not ignore it. Human population growth is behind almost every ill we face - pollution, species extinction, wars, social chaos and climate change. It has now finally reached into politics. Ignoring it is no longer an option.

John MacBreg

Drumcondra, Dublin 9

Time for a new direction?

Sir - Considering that Britain is our largest trading partner and nearest neighbour, should we not follow suit and leave the EU and even consider rejoining the Commonwealth? There are two billion people in the commonwealth, and these would all become potential customers. We would have markets in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and dozens of other countries with no tariffs or trade barriers

Ireland benefited greatly when we joined the EU initially, in particular the farming community; we were considered one of the poorer countries. Now, apparently, we are a wealthy country in comparison to others in Eastern Europe. Therefore, we would not benefit any more from EU funding - indeed, we would now be a net contributor.

Let us not forget that all the EU organisations imposed the bailout on Ireland. The Irish GDP is less than 1pc of the GDP of the whole EU. Why, then, were all the austerity measures imposed on us. I will never understand why one small toxic bank (Anglo Irish) could possibly cause contagion of all the large banks in Europe. Our political leaders of that time have a lot to answer for.

One last point, the idea of joining the British Commonwealth may be anathema to those of republican or nationalist persuasion, but this would eliminate the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Mike Mahon

Templeogue, Dublin 6W

Abortion and the right to life

Sir - I write in response to Amnesty International Ireland executive director Colm O'Gorman's letter (Sunday Independent, June 19) in which he calls for a balanced debate on abortion in Ireland. This sounds reasonable, of course, but I would advise Mr O'Gorman that if he wants balance he should start with his own contributions to this debate.

There are two principal parties involved in every abortion scenario - the pregnant woman and the unborn baby. When Mr O'Gorman speaks on abortion, he refers only to the pregnant woman. Amnesty International claims that the pregnant woman has the human right to abort the unborn baby under certain broad circumstances and that the unborn baby has no legal right to life. And, lest you think that this is a grossly unbalanced stance, Amnesty International assures you that it is perfectly reasonable because the United Nations assigns no legal right to life to babies not yet born.

But, of course, to ignore the rights of the unborn child is a grotesque oversight. It is a biological fact that an individual human life begins at conception with the formation of the human embryo. Although this embryo is housed in the mother's body, it is not part of her body. The embryo is a unique new individual, genetically distinct from the mother. I make this point because of the often-heard claim that a woman should have control over her own body. Of course she should, but a pregnant woman, in addition to her own body, houses the body of another person.

This newly-formed embryo is undeniably biologically human and marks the beginning of a continuum of human development that eventually ends in death in old age. At every point on the continuum this human being is endowed with the rights that naturally attach to a human being, and the most basic right of all is the right to life. Amnesty International, on the other hand, asserts that human life and the consequent human right to life only begin at birth. But this flies in the face of the biological facts, and neither Amnesty International nor the UN has the right to do that.

I am not unmindful that difficulties often arise in pregnancy. If circumstances arise during pregnancy that are medically adjudicated to threaten the woman's life or to ruin her health, I think that no reasonable person would oppose abortion in these cases.

In circumstances such as fatal foetal abnormality, pregnancy arising from rape and so on, abortion can seem to be a solution. Although there is some room for debate here, it is difficult to see how such circumstances can negate the right to life of the unborn. In such circumstances, better outcomes could ensue by offering the pregnant woman all necessary help, including comprehensive counselling, palliative care and the option of an arranged adoption, but allowing the baby to live.

William Reville

Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, Co Cork

Green Army in for a rude awakening

Sir - The Green Army will be praised to the heavens for their good behaviour and placid nature. Publicans will exclaim with glee that "we had to close the bar, they drank the place dry". Some of the fans will miss their plane home, having been up all night "celebrating". Enda's heart will burst with pride when he is summoned by Hollande and given a pat on the head in recognition of our great ambassadors abroad. "The best fans in the world" might get a plaque.

When the fuss dies down, the Government will do its best to bring in minimum pricing on drinks, saying: "We drink too much, it's not good for our health." You couldn't make it up.

Gerry Dunne

Balbriggan, Co Dublin

Pride and glory

Sir - The Boys in Green, the supporters, management and team have warmed our hearts. There is a joy about the supporters - their good humour is infectious. We were three-nil down to Belgium and they still sang as if we were winning.

Our win over Italy was wonderful for many more reasons than just qualifying: Robbie Brady's run to his family after scoring; the tears of joy; the sense of pride. When the match ended, Roy Keane hugged and kissed Martin O' Neill and congratulated every player like a proud father would embrace his son. Keane has won almost everything in the game, but never has he expressed emotion like he did last Wednesday night.

For me the real story is Martin O'Neill. His modesty and humility say everything. He has the divine ability to treat victory and defeat just the same. He is an ambassador for all of Ireland's great qualities, hard-working, humble, focused and supportive of others.

Our team is far, far greater than the sum of their parts. Our team are not household names - they play for each other and for us. Regardless of the result against France, we have made a big impression on and off the field and our team, their management and our fans have enhanced the nation's reputation.

Xavier McCullough

Limerick

Technology not always the answer

Sir - We have never lived in a more technologically advanced era, however, the progress stops there. Despite the great leaps that have been made in gadgetry and communications, our society as a whole is reeking of social problems where progress is scarce or non-existent.

Technology is doing nothing to bridge the ever-widening social gap in a chronically alienated, disinterested, and desensitised society that reeks of addiction and violence. As a nation we have looked to the future through technology's eyes only and imagined an information super-highway, but not a human super-highway in advancement. Many State agencies and non-governmental bodies struggle daily with people who are falling by the wayside in a rat-race to a bottomless pit of financial misery and personal strife.

In the background of this high-tech era there is so much human suffering and grief. This great revolution in technology may be doing more harm than good in delivering a virtual world of humanoids, not humans, who spend their days in cyber world. We now live in a lifeless culture, where millions of people stare at TV screens and mobile phones endlessly; many have created a virtual life for themselves, far removed from any real human or cultural existence or experience. Yes, technology has done marvelous things, however, it has taken us apart in other ways too and hollowed us out to become robots enslaved by it - while doing little to solve problems such as social exclusion, homelessness, addiction, or bring about a better society.

Maurice Fitzgerald,

Shanbally, Co Cork


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