Even a small country like Ireland needs informed politicians
In September the plight of the family of the innocent toddler Aylan Kurdi broke the hearts of billions of people around the world.
In November the plight of the hundreds of families of the dead and injured in the Paris atrocity did the same.
Now we read the knee-jerk reaction by some letter writers, that all Syrian refugees should be suspect, and for this reason alone assistance to them should cease.
It's time for people to demand more from their elected politicians, than "empty meaningless words" (WB Yeats).
The voter elects the politician; alas the voter's responsibility does not stop there. The world is getting smaller every day.
This means the demands on small nations, like Ireland, require politicians of great integrity, well informed about international and EU policies, as equally as local and national politics, with the ability to make change where required.
As the sign on former US President Dwight Eisenhower's desk stated: 'The buck stops here'.
We are fighting an ideology
Professor Neville Cox's article (Irish Independent, November 17), while an excellent defence of Islam and Islamic law, is hopelessly naive in the face of modern terrorist ideology.
The Koran, in book 9:5, states "and when the forbidden months have passed, kill the idolaters wherever you find them and take them prisoners, and beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush".
The "option" is subsequently given to convert in order to avoid slaughter.
The most cursory reading of this book contains enough exhortations to violence to stir even the most laconic youth to action.
We are not fighting an army, we are fighting an ideology. The struggle is for thought processes, not territory.
The tools and text of this ideology are found in the teachings of Islam.
The proponents of the savagery we saw in Paris are chosen by hateful imams because they are smart, organised and efficient.
Far from being weak and easily led, they seem to be in possession of characteristics indicating that the opposite is true.
Professor Cox's citing of the 'baghi' would have been a valid point in the year 631, yet in 2015 such a punishment holds little currency for a suicide bomber.
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Backlash helps Isil to recruit
I wonder if Seamus Hanratty (Letters, Irish Independent, November 19) is aware that his tirade against multiculturalism and Islam is precisely the sort of reaction that Isil wants us to have to them here in the West?
If we respond to the atrocities in Paris by panicking about 'the dangers of Islam' and start to treat innocent Muslims with even more suspicion and fear, we will do nothing more than stir up bitterness and resentment, which Isil will then use as propaganda to recruit even more young people.
By all means, go after the extremists and the jihadists. By all means, tighten border security.
But do not make the mistake of allowing fear and hysteria to colour our view towards Muslims even more than it already has.
Newport, Co Tipperary
Secular society has failed us
Once again we are having an adolescent conversation in Ireland and failing to learn from the mistakes of others.
Both the US and UK have very kindly conducted experiments over the last half century, essentially trying to reinvent the wheel in educational terms, and in both cases with disastrous consequences.
Secular-based educational systems have built the seeds of their own destruction. Secularism, in all spheres, always fails to learn the lessons of its own past - making the same pathetic and ghastly mistakes over and over again.
Thus the horrors of the French Revolution and its reign of terror morphs seamlessly into the evils of the Bolshevik and Nazi ideologies of the 20th Century.
The problem with secularism is that it holds the past in contempt, and armed only with the irrational fads and fashions of its own time, is doomed to disaster.
Thus it's no surprise that its educational results in the UK and US have been uniformly appalling.
There could be no greater testament to this failed experiment than the spectacle of its main ideological proponents doing all in their hypocritical power to ensure that their own children secure places in the academically superior faith schools.
Let's leave the present successful system as it is.
Navan, Co Meath
Marriage equality at last
AT last, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community has secured marriage equality.
The people of Ireland voted in large numbers for equality and we have moved a long step away from the dark days of being LGBT in Ireland.
We no longer have to hide and being gay is no longer the love that dare not be named. When I was growing up it was hard to be gay in Ireland. In May 2015 Ireland made history. I am overjoyed that so many voted Yes and delivered equality for a minority group in Ireland.
I proposed to my partner on the historic day and he said yes. I look forward to celebrating our life together with friends and family. We are over 16 years together and he has been my rock my strength and my best friend. I am delighted that we can now at last have that love recognised in civil marriage.
As much as I am so overjoyed, I also acknowledge that the struggle for civil rights in other parts of the world is ongoing and I give the shoulder of solidarity to my brothers and sisters in places like Russia and Uganda where the laws need to be changed.
Also to Northern Ireland where my LGBT family are not as equal in law as the rest of Ireland. I hope for a future where no child has to hide their sexuality and where no person feels that suicide is their only option. Ireland has sent out a clear message that all LGBT people are equal and there is no room in our new and equal society for homophobia.
I am so delighted that as we approach 2016 the line in our proclamation that says "cherish all the children of the nation equally'' has become more of a reality. I am very proud to be Irish and very proud that we are the first country in the world to bring in same sex marriage by referendum.
The people have spoken and they have said yes to love and yes to equality.
Cllr Francis Timmons