Tuesday 21 January 2020

Extra pay for 'super-junior' ministers illegitimate and absurd

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Article 28.1 of the Constitution declares explicitly that the Government shall not consist of fewer than seven, or more than 15 members.

The Constitution does not authorise the appointment of so-called 'super-junior' ministers of state with a mandate to loiter at Cabinet meetings without either credentials, a purpose or a function.

There is no difference in ascendancy between one minister of state and any other minister of state.

Therefore, the principle of paying so-called 'super-juniors' a premium of €16,000 annually plus additional entitlements to pension and gratuities is absurd, illegitimate and outrageous.

If the Taoiseach is to persist with the practice of creating synthetic platforms of self-importance for grandiloquent and sententious panjandrums, he should urgently hold a constitutional referendum to reflect this but immediately desist from dipping into the pocket of taxpayers to fund remuneration premium payments for ill-defined roles that have never left a mark on society that is permanently distinctive.

Myles Duffy

Glenageary, Co Dublin

Harris must pass Alcohol Bill

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar specifically tasked Health Minister Simon Harris with the passage into law of the Public Health Alcohol Bill.

Are we to believe that, after what seems like an eternity, we are finally going to see the Public Health Alcohol Bill become law or will it once again be blown off course by the lobbying of the alcohol industry?

I'm certain all our policymakers are well aware of the harms associated with alcohol abuse and yet the present and previous governments have been incapable or unwilling to address the problems surrounding alcohol abuse.

The question they have to ask themselves is which is more important, the health and well-being of the citizens of our country or the profits of the multinationals?

There has been a deliberate prolonged campaign by the alcohol industry and its supporters, political and otherwise, to delay or destroy the progress of the Public Health Alcohol Bill. This bill contains measures that will help to save lives and it will also have far-reaching positive consequences for our children and grandchildren.

The longer this bill remains dormant, then the responsibility for so many alcohol-related illnesses, mental health issues and deaths should be placed firmly at the feet of those who are preventing its progress. Whether Mr Harris has the bottle to put the well-being of citizens before the profits of the vested interests remains to be seen.

John Higgins

Ballina, Co Mayo

North can go under the dome

According to your paper's editorial (Irish Independent, June 20), British Prime Minister Theresa May, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and also British Brexit Secretary David Davis are all seeking "as near as possible an invisible border" between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

But if a hard Brexit comes to pass, the only way to have an invisible border might be to have one that is some kind of see-through force field.

Perhaps a force-field like that in horror writer Stephen King's book 'Under the Dome' might find itself on their agenda. This could actually be a very effective border because it could resist even a nuclear attack. But unfortunately, according to King's book, the citizens imprisoned within the dome found themselves turning against each other, taking the law into their own hands and causing general mayhem.

But hopefully such a prospect won't be as bad as Reginald Maudling's description of "an acceptable level of violence" in the seventies, eighties and nineties in Northern Ireland.

Sean O'Brien,

Carnanes South, Kilrush, Co Clare

Actually Leo was using charm

Leo Varadkar's first foray into 10 Downing Street was met with a mixed reaction. Some would rush to detract from his performance, citing schoolboy giddiness with a reference to the movie 'Love Actually'.

I saw the press conference with Theresa May and Mr Varadkar fielding media questions from start to finish. Mr Varadkar did well. He showed his humanity, sense of humour but also a friendly and quiet determination to get the job done and push the Irish agenda.

Ireland has always punched above her weight and her people have used their charm to do just that. Mr Varadkar did that in London as our Taoiseach, so credit where it is due.

The handling of the Whelan saga is another matter entirely!

Killian Brennan

Malahide Road, Dublin 17

Lessons from FitzPatrick trial

"Garda fraud squad will be called to investigate Templemore slush fund..." your headline (Irish Independent, June 20) reads. How could any citizen have respect or confidence in such an investigation, or in the force in general? Of course, if the Government and gardaí wish to bury this alleged crookery, they will assign the Office of Corporate Enforcement to the case, as we learned from the Sean FitzPatrick trial.

Frank Quinn

Ranelagh, Dublin 6

Victim's bravery commendable

I was very shaken after reading Conor Feehan's article (Irish Independent, April 26) headlined: "I want to expose rapist for safety of others" - victim.

It made me ashamed to be a man. But of course an action such as this takes a very evil man indeed.

I have a habit of using the word "wonderful" to describe something or someone that impresses me. But not even this is good enough to describe this particular courageous young lady, Dominique Meehan from Donegal.

As a result of her courage, her assailant, Keith Hearne, has now been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

The whole country should be very proud of Dominique.

Brian Mc Devitt,

Glenties, Co Donegal

Share and share alike

"Church history is being made" in Castleblaney according to your paper (Irish Independent, June 19).

While it is great news that Catholics are to share use of a Church of Ireland building, it happened some years ago in Westport and it was not an uncommon occurrence where I lived in rural England and where I was principal of a joint RC and Anglican secondary school.

Alan Whelan

Killarney, Co Kerry

Irish Independent

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