Sir - One of the major reasons why we do not have effective government is the domination of our Government's time by Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is like a child growing up that requires a great deal of attention. Every time the assembly goes down or major events take place, a litany of intensive talks start that take up large volumes of time.
One has to wonder if there was any time for domestic politics at all? The British government has criticised the amount of time Northern Ireland has taken from them in dealing with its affairs, diminishing the attention it should have been giving to other parts of its jurisdiction.
Irish governments have ended up more absorbed in Northern Ireland than in the Republic - with resultant emigration and homelessness.
Northern Ireland has been given enough time and attention by our successive governments down through the decades. It is time our declining and perishing Republic got some special attention.
Sir - I was very interested in Brendan O'Connor's piece about the problems with residential services being provided for people with disabilities (Sunday Independent, 16 August).
Most people who are at all concerned about such matters know that it is supposed to be government policy to implement the recommendations in the Report on Congregated Settings and to move disabled people who live in inappropriate congregated settings into a place of their own choice in the community. The current spate of HIQA inspections and closures should help speed this along.
Inclusion Ireland states on their website that "people living in congregated settings will move to dispersed housing in ordinary communities, provided mainly by the housing authorities. These will have the same entitlement to mainstream community health and social services as any other citizen, such as GP services, home help, public health nursing services, access to primary care teams. Persons with disabilities will have access to specialised services based on an individual assessment. They will receive the supports they need to live independently and to be part of their local community."
The HSE's National Service Plan 2015 states that "people with disabilities should have access to the supports they require to achieve optimal independence and control of their lives and to pursue activities and living arrangements of their choice…In 2015, the focus will be on supporting people with disabilities…'to contribute to the realisation of a society where people with disabilities are supported, as far as possible, to participate to their full potential in economic and social life, and have access to a range of quality personal social supports and services to enhance their quality of life and well-being'... The new models of service delivery will ensure that individuals' strengths and personal goals and ambitions will inform the development of their care plans and that individual's will be enabled to live their lives as full citizens within their community."
So far, so good. However, it appears that those who are making these recommendations and writing the National Service Plan have a very different view of how things should be done to those who actually work in local HSE Services - and they are very seriously at odds with each other.
When elderly parents are providing 75pc of all care for an adult disabled person and they need a break (maybe just to attend to their own medical care or hospital admissions) and they ask the HSE for support, the HSE's first response is always to take the person out of their own home and put the disabled person into a nursing home with elderly people - which is totally inappropriate.
It appears that the people writing these reports and making these recommendations inhabit an entirely different planet to those who are actually dealing with such matters and making decisions at local level.
I hope the Sunday Independent will continue to highlight issues regarding the human and civil rights of people with disabilities, creating public awareness of the issues and ensuring that the Government acts in compliance with the UNCRPD in regard to all these people.
Brendan O'Connor is doing a good job on this.
Enfield, Co Meath
Sir - Willie Kealy's solution to the refugee crisis ('Sending aid is not enough any more', Sunday Independent, 16 August) might work, depending on answers to the following questions.
Is Islam a religion of peace? Or is Islam a brutal, intolerant remnant of medievalism, waging a merciless war against both its internal dissidents and the modern secular world? What evidence do have we for either view? Is it even possible that Islam is currently both of these? If so, is there an ongoing conflict between Islamic modernisers and traditionalists?
Can we handle the refugee crisis in a way that strengthens the moderates and not their murderous opponents?
Sir - I came across one of your obituaries last week (Sunday Independent, 16 August) quite by accident, as one tends to skip over these, unless the name is well known.
The one that caught my eye was for Dr Cyril Daly, who campaigned back in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly on his own, for the abolition of corporal punishment in Irish schools. It was finally abolished in 1982.
He said: "The Irish child is a human being with human rights."
Just like many, I suffered this dreadful indignity in school.
May this good man rest in peace, as well he deserves to.
Brian Mc Devitt,
Glenties, Co Donegal
Sir - I refused to take some literature from an Anti-Water Charges protester in Dublin on Saturday last. This went down very badly whereupon I was called " a bloody blueshirt".
This irritated me no end because as a life long West Ham Utd supporter, the idea of being seen as a Chelsea fan is a fate worse than death. These protesters really know how to hurt.
Pat Burke Walsh,
Sir - It is, perhaps, by accident that Eoghan Harris hit upon at least one truth in his opinion piece last week when he referred to a 'mischievous media'.
In his rambling stream of consciousness on potential coalitions (a fine piece of performance art in its own right), Mr Harris claims I told your reporter Daniel McConnell that I would consider going into government with Sinn Fein.
This is a surprise to me as I have had no discussion at all with Mr McConnell on this matter, nor with any other reporter from the Independent, daily or Sunday edition.
Colm Keaveney, TD,
To clarify matters, Daniel McConnell's story in the Irish Independent of August 10 featured quotes from three FF deputies he spoke to and also included a number of previous quotes from other FF deputies, Mr Keaveney among them. Daniel McConnell did not purport to have spoken to Deputy Keaveney afresh for that story.
Sir - It is great the way RTE TV current affairs can take weeks off in summer and just buzz off!
If newspapers decided to do the same, they would not survive. But then RTE with massive state subsidies is living in the world of take-it-or-leave-it current affairs.
Sutton, Dublin 13
Sir - The fact that Claire Byrne's picture appeared on the front page (Sunday Independent, 16 August), under the heading: 'My Toughest Year', had me wondering had a loved one passed away or had a family member been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Maybe RTE had offered her a zero hours contract on the minimum wage? Could it be that she and her family were homeless and depending on some charity for housing?
But no, thankfully it wasn't any of those things which thousands of other families face every day. Claire's definition of tough comes from the fact that when her second child was but 10 weeks old she decided to return to work and leave her and her 14-month-old brother to be cared for by someone other than herself.
No doubt it is stressful - but I think Claire needs a reality check and realise there are thousands of families and individuals who are having the toughest year of their lives and would give anything to be in her position.
Claire might keep that in mind and be extremely grateful for what she has.
Sir - Niamh Horan should write an article about a mother struggling to keep a roof over her head while working and trying to bring up a family.
They have a tough year every year. Claire Byrne (Sunday Independent, 16 August), is far from struggling.
(Name and address with Editor)
Sir - I can't take life as it's unfolding anymore. But the true crumbling of all that we know and love came with the news last week in the Sunday Independent of the possible/probable candidature of the coy Miriam O'Callaghan in the next presidential election.
The lovely lady, who has always put herself firmly in the front line of self-promotion in all that she does, now shyly tells us she is "too busy" to be considering such an honour at this time. So we must await another one of her royal pronouncements while she continues to leave us guessing.
She must really believe we are all agog and hanging on her every word, but I'm already close to forgetting who I am talking about. Oh, yes, now I remember.
Why would the people of Ireland vote into the Áras a pretty woman when we can have the likes of Michael D, a poet and a scholar of all things labour?
And would there be enough bedrooms in that Phoenix Park property to house all of Miriam's children, I ask? She hasn't thought this through properly, I'd say, but I, for one, am willing to suggest a compromise.
If she'd step away from her "reluctant" presidential ambitions in favour of the most beautiful woman in Ireland, Rosanna Davison, or even the lovely lesbian Rose of Tralee, then I promise, as indeed would all the voters of Ireland whom I know I speak for, to ignore Ms O'Callaghan as consistently as we do now, when she comes on RTE to flirt with us. Any of the other two would get my vote.
Bantry, Co Cork
Sir - Your feature on "the joining up of the Red and Green Luas lines" (Sunday Independent, 16 August) perpetuates a myth.
These lines will simply bisect each other in a junction at right angles, without any provisions for passenger interchanges.
The first Green Line stop northbound will be by the GPO. The "connecting" Red Line stop is over 100 metres away in Middle Abbey Street. The Red Line serves Dublin's two main rail line termini and the central bus station, but obviously the genius planners expect luggage-laden travellers to brave the elements in transferring from the Green Line to the Red Line.
And why hasn't the width of the median in O'Connell Street been reduced, thus enabling trams in both directions rather than going southbound via the extremely-narrow Marlborough Street?
And as for pedestrianisation: Suffolk Street? Presumably this means all bus services using Dawson Street currently will be re-routed round the houses - y'know, Nassau Street, Westland Row and Pearse Street to regain their existing routes at Westmoreland Street but not stopping until half-way up O'Connell Street.
And in the other direction, presumably these same services will use Kildare Street, a considerable parcels-laden distance from the shopping area? How about Kildare Street two-way, buses, taxis and Luas only?
Sir - The article 'Top 10 Jobs of Tomorrow' (Sunday Independent business section, August 16), makes alarming reading. Simon Rowe explains that whereas up till now, technology has replaced manual work, it is now set to cut a swathe through professions like accountancy, law and architecture - with banks and post offices being replaced by mobile money agents operating a digital money service.
In their eagerness to appear on-trend and modern, our leaders seem to ignore the importance of work, which is essential to provide for one's self and one's family and is the most convenient way to collect taxes.
As more of us are shoved onto the dole queue, the welfare system will collapse and chaos is sure to follow.
We are sleepwalking into a living nightmare. Disruptive technology indeed!