Sir - I called to my elderly mum, unexpectedly, one lovely sunny day and took her for a drive.
It wasn't her birthday, but she loved an opportunity to get out of her now so-quiet house.
We went to Howth and she treasured, so joyfully, that simple meal in a coastal cafe.
It is a beautiful memory, still with me, as it always will be.
I should have done it more often!
Excuses are easy to make, but we know that, truthfully, when we could have, we should have.
If we had the chance again, we would do so much more to do a good deed.
Blackrock, Co Dublin
If we remove the past, oblivion awaits
Sir - We are treading on dangerous ground. The removal of the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol may seem, on the surface, like the honourable thing to do given the current political and social climate. However, impulsive reactions often lead to regret. Unfortunately, this has sparked a widespread rallying call to remove and eliminate traces of the past which do not sit with present-day values.
Buildings, statues, street names, movies and books are targets; all products of the past which include positive and negative connotations.
It is unreasonable only to analyse the adverse nature of these things, then proceed to juxtapose the results against how societal standards are constructed in the present day. These things are a reminder of the past, and if we decide to eradicate the negative aspects, we will end up in the future with a version removed from reality.
Where does the obliteration stop? Do we trace every suspect street name, every old movie line, or script that strays outside the new code of practice or any publication that dares to address a controversial topic? If this line of thought continues, we are entering the realms of censorship which has no place in a progressive society.
The past is diverse with many disturbing and distressing aspects - sharp reminders which assist in creating awareness for the future. Remove them and the world is heading towards oblivion.
Tullamore, Co Offaly
Calm counterpoint from O'Hanlon
Sir - Not for the first time Eilis O'Hanlon offers a calm counterpoint to the increasingly hysterical condemnation of the US in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.
The alacrity with which the left marches on the American or Israeli embassies in this country and throughout the western world is in stark contrast to their silence and lack of protest about other countries who are far more deserving of their opprobrium. Like China or Russia, for example.
It saddens me how racist we Irish are
Sir - Well said Ita O'Kelly ('We have serious lessons to learn...') I am always saddened at how racist us Irish are in so many things. Our schools pay lip service to it and generally our politicians do likewise. Even more shamefully, we, the citizens, are not as generous in our welcome as myth would have you believe.
Gender inequality a major issue here
Sir - I was delighted to see Ita O'Kelly's article on the inequality of power ('Where are the women as men take up all the seats?', May 31). This is a major issue in our country and needs to be called out more.
All national and corporate organisations must be made to have gender equality - otherwise our children who look on see the disparity and take it as normal.
Look at our national television service. The Late Late Show, in its long history, has never had a female presenter, apart from Miriam O'Callaghan who replaced Ryan Tubridy for two shows.
Not showing equal coverage of female sport on radio and TV is biased; legislation should be used to correct this. If Cora Staunton was male she would be a serious star.
The only way to improve numbers attending female sports is by creating a hype that all girls want to be associated with. If we really believe that both sexes are equal, then we should insist on this.
Equally, we need to rethink how to get more women into the Dail. Half the seats should go to women. And the Dail should sit within normal hours so as not to discriminate against women who are often the main carers of children.
We need more awareness of how women are treated in inheritance in this country. I am forever hearing stories of women left out of inheritance completely only to have everything left to the boys - but the girls are still expected to care for their parents.
This needs to be stopped, otherwise this dysfunctional behaviour will continue through the generations and men will feel they are superior to women -this is how abuse thrives.
If we want a more equal society then we need to be serious about gender equality.
Lip service will no longer suffice.
As Ita O'Kelly' said: "Sisters, if there is no seat at the top table, perhaps the time has come for us to bring our own chairs."
Dr Mary Ryan,
Consultant endocrinologist and senior lecturer, University of Limerick and Bon Secours at Barrington's
Remember we all have choices
Sir - We all have choices. We can complain about the deadly consequences of this virus or instead we can use this as a wake-up call to get healthy.
We can bemoan not being allowed to have mass gatherings or we can treasure those closest to us.
We can speak and talk for Ireland or we can be a listening ear to someone.
We can follow the road travelled by others or we can decide to plan the route that suits us best.
We can go around angry and bitter or we can act in a caring and empathetic way.
We can ignore that racism exists or do something about it by educating each other.
Nelson Mandela said: "May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."
Athlone, Co Westmeath
Why we must not forget about cancer
Sir - Sincere condolences to almost 1,700 families who have lost a loved one to this pandemic and to those not able to attend an Irish final farewell.
Lately there has been good news regarding our statistics on Covid-19.
It has been great to see our roadmap out of lockdown for economy and mindset has accelerated in a lot of areas.
Cancer, however, has not disappeared and this needs to be addressed immediately.
Many were on waiting lists for months before this virus - delays in the likes of BowelScreen and BreastCheck are unfair to so many with a life-threatening illness.
Fast tracking of services like CervicalCheck and other health matters need prioritising over non-life-threatening services such as shops and hairdressers.
The politicians seem to be dictating the pace, so get the priorities right.
Kilcoole, Co Wicklow
High time now to revisit Main Street
Sir - It is very disappointing to see so many journalists, though not all thankfully, in both the print and broadcast media using the term the 'High Street' when referring to shopping and general business matters in Ireland.
Every town and village in Ireland has a 'Main Street' and in the few locations which actually do have a 'High Street', it is not generally the main or principal street, so the term is totally inappropriate to Ireland but most appropriate to our nearest neighbour.
So come on ladies and gentlemen of the media, surely accuracy is all important.
Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Cartoonist Tom draws laughs
Sir - The Tom Mathews cartoon ideally located on your letters page is usually good for a laugh; however, the lockdown period has brought the best out of your esteemed cartoonist.
He has hit a real seam of form recently and a visit to the back of the Sunday Independent now induces a guffaw.
He has caught the comic element 'isolation' and 'social distancing' often produces. He is to be complimented.
Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Joyce and Heaney in our own words
Sir - Claire Connolly's article on the Irish love of English literature (Sunday Independent, June 7) brought back amusing memories of the comments of two titans of Irish literature in this regard.
James Joyce highlighted in a tone of moral indignation how: "The Irish, condemned to express themselves in a language not their own, have stamped on it the mark of their own genius and compete for glory with the civilised nations. This is then called English literature."
Seamus Heaney, then newly appointed professor of English at Oxford, was a little more succinct but equally cutting.
When purportedly asked when travelling through security the purpose of his visit to the UK, he is said to have replied: "To educate the English."
In my humble opinion, that is worth a Nobel Prize all on its own.
Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Wishing for more than vague words
Sir - I was intrigued by the long wishlists of the parties hoping to form the next government ('Parties scramble for coalition deal as nation reopens', June 7). If all their hopes and dreams are to be realised, Ireland will surely be the best little country in the world.
But I notice the worrying lead-in to their demands - "broadly agreed"... "want a commitment"... "wants to bring in"... "has been put forward"... "raised the possibility of"... "wants to ban"... "wants to increase".... "want to phase out"... "wants to link"... "which would support"... "is proposing'...
All far, far too vague.
And for a country in the throes of a national emergency with a rocky road up ahead, the politicians would be wise to listen to the key need at the top of the electorate's urgent requirements: the need to have the country administered by a mature leadership, seeking realisable goals.
After a century, it is a disgrace to have the ghosts of the Civil War still playing such a pivotal role in Ireland's life.
So glad Sarah Caden showed such courage
Sir - Sarah Caden needs to be commended for opening up her heart in Life magazine last week. Her article on how she fought accepting Down syndrome as part of her identity was an emotional read. It touched my heart how she laid all her feelings bare - fear, shame, guilt, avoidance, anger - and then how she found her way back on to the path she'd veered off.
I'm glad she shared her experience, however heart wrenching it was for her to put pen to paper on such a personal topic. We're all finding our way back off unexpected paths and hopefully we can portray the type of courage Sarah has shown.
Malahide, Co Dublin
Fianna Fail paid election price for stance on abortion
Sir - Eoghan Harris states: "There are many reasons why Fianna Fail had a poor election in February" (Sunday Independent, June 7). I agree, but contend that they lost eight seats and a large number of votes because of their stance on abortion and Repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
The 70pc of those who voted for repeal may have been the majority, but that does not make their action right.
No matter what number support abortion, it can never be considered right to kill an innocent baby in the womb. It is somewhat surprising that Eoghan Harris supported Repeal of the Eighth while decrying the violence of Sinn Fein.
Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin defied the delegates at the party's ard fheis in pushing for repeal and consequently is responsible for their losses brought about by the refusal of their supporters to support his stance. He abandoned his principles to do what was considered the popular thing and is responsible for his party's dismal showing in the election.
Principles have to come before courting popularity and it never pays to ditch them for a mess of pottage.
Well done to the few TDs in the party who stuck by theirs in spite of the campaign of vilification they and their supporters endured.
Right will win out in the end and I look forward to the day the Irish nation wakes up to the harm abortion legislation has and is doing to our people and sets about atoning for the taking of innocent lives.
Ardeskin, Donegal Town
The need for civil debate
Sir - Whatever happened to the rules of common debate? Whatever happened to good manners and courtesy?
We seem to have lost them in this spiral of vitriol the world is spinning in.
Why is everybody so hot under the collar, so nasty, vicious and vindictive in their agreements? If you have a point of view you should be free to express it and allow others to reply - without others getting personal and verbally threatening.
It seems like the whole world thinks they are right and everyone else wrong.
We can't all be right, just like we all can't all be wrong, so let's cool it and agree to disagree and respect each other's point of view.
Just because JK Rowling gave her honest opinion on a subject matter, which, like you and I, she has a right to do, why should she be demonised and threatened by those who disagree with her opinion and refuse to debate with her?
Just as we have been asked to show kindness throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, can we not do likewise and extend that kindness to political and social debate and in every day intercourse?
Old Bawn, Dublin 24