Had Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe chosen to put extra duty on alcoholic drinks in the last Budget, few could have objected. The extra tax revenue could have gone to fund our health services.
Instead, the Government has chosen to force retailers to increase their margins on cheaper drinks. Not only have they done so in compliance with the law, but my local supermarket has increased the prices of mid-range alcoholic drinks as well – presumably to maintain the price differential between mid-range and budget brands. Only the most expensive brands have been spared a price increase.
This will increase inflation, which is already at very high levels for hard-pressed consumers, and also serves to increase the profits of already very profitable supermarket chains and other retailers.
It hits the less well-off disproportionately while leaving the well-heeled and their top-of-the-range beverages untouched.
A duty increase would at least have increased prices across the board, but the Government has again chosen to protect the rich at the expense of the hard-up.
Frank Schnittger, Blessington, Co Wicklow
Regarding Russia’s defence of its western borders against Nato expansion, it is instructive to record that the United States, under the Monroe Doctrine, still retains the foreign policy position that opposes European colonialism in the western hemisphere.
This means that any intervention in the political affairs of the Americas by foreign powers is a hostile act.
The most concrete example of the outworking of that doctrine was the Cuban Missile Crisis, when President John F Kennedy took the world to the brink of nuclear war in the early 1960s to force Russia to withdraw its nuclear missiles from Cuba, which it duly did.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, America promised former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev there would not be one inch of Nato incursion into former Soviet territories.
That promise – somewhat akin to various broken pledges by British prime minister Boris Johnson’s Tories today – was flagrantly broken over the past 20 years by Nato with its eastward expansion into Poland, former Yugoslavia and Latvia, to name but some.
Is it any wonder that Ukraine, the original heart of Mother Russia, becoming a member of Nato is a “red line” not to be crossed for Russia?
The days of American hegemony over the rest of the world are firmly over.
Russia and China will not tolerate American colonialism eastward any more than vice versa.
Maurice O’Callaghan, Stillorgan, Co Dublin
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks like a smiling clown, but in reality only the clown part is true if he is going to test more missiles.
He has fired what is believed to be a ballistic missile into the ocean.
Given that many of his people are starving, is this some weird fishing expedition or is it just the usual provocation of Japan and the rest of the world?
Missiles cost millions, which could be used to feed his people instead.
Why are so many despots concerned with spending big money on weapons that, if used, would lead to their country being flattened in a day by whoever they attack?
They could spend money on their citizens so that those waving flags in support might be smiling because they have full bellies rather than a fear of being shot if they don’t smile enough.
This is one leader the world would be better off without.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia
We are to get 800 new gardaí. That’s continuing a policing policy to tackle a health pandemic, it seems.
It appears it’s easier to employ 800 police personnel rather than 800 nurses or even funding an extra 100 acute hospital beds.
Can you imagine the lift that the nurses and Covid-weary public would have got with the announcement of 800 extra beds?
Put bluntly, it’s akin to buying 800 batons when we actually needed 800 agricultural implements to grow and nurture society.
People are tired – tired of the pandemic, tired of tired policy.
This latest announcement won’t lift the people’s spirits, it will only increase oversight on us.
John Cuffe, Dunboyne, Co Meath