Full steam ahead to a brave new world of gender equality
I can hear grown men howling - "Get your hands off my Thomas!"
Too late chaps, Thomas the Tank Engine is going to be joined by a bunch of new girly machines.
This is the brave new world of gender balance, so two new female engines are set to join Emily - the only girl previously allowed into the Tidmouth Sheds boys' club.
It shouldn't be so hard to get used to though, many men already refer to their cars as 'she'.
While we're at it let's have a discussion about the 'Mr Men' books.
For 10 years there were no 'Miss' books.
When they did arrive in 1981 they were called 'Little Miss'.
In the interests of positive discrimination for girls I would like to request that, for the next 20 years, the male-gendered books are given the diminutive title of 'Little Mr Men', while the girls can identify with a female gendered series called 'Ms Woman'.
Here are some examples:
Little Mr Greedy, Little Mr Nonsense and Little Mr Nosey.
Ms Neat, Ms Giggles and Ms Splendid.
Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Safe havens under attack
There was a time when a church was a place of safety or refuge, either by law or by convention, and at times people could 'hide' in a church building. They considered themselves safe because no one would commit violence in a 'holy' place. This idea of a safe haven has come under attack both literally, in Texas, and metaphorically around the world. It's not just a matter of who can have guns and certainly not the horrifying suggestion of bringing more guns for more safety.
It's a worldwide issue of many people needing a place of safety and a right to be safe. We have a long way to go until we really feel safe.
Fathers need to teach 'conduct'
There has been a very legitimate angry reaction to the recent 'Weinstein'-type allegations, but we should be careful we don't throw the baby out with the bath water. In other words, not all men are sexual predators.
Men need to self regulate and step in when others cross the line. In particular, fathers need to teach 'gentleman codes of conduct' to their young sons long before they become adults. Although most of us agree, we need more than a "cop yourself on" remark, to curtail misbehaviour.
Kingswood, Dublin 24
It's all hot air without the evidence
According to the director general of the Environmental Protection Agency (Irish Independent, November 7) 1,500 "premature deaths" in Ireland in 2014 were "directly attributable to air pollution". Surely such a statement, presented as fact, requires supporting evidence.
D H Michael
Ballina, Co Mayo
No shame for me or my granny
I am an active campaigner for reproductive rights in Galway and I am writing to discuss why I personally am fighting for the right to free, safe, and legal abortion in Ireland.
I am a PhD candidate. I spend the majority of my days reading contemporary records relating to the long history of control and subjugation women and children have faced under the Irish State. Women with no options fled to England after having been forced to give up their babies or while trying to conceal their pregnancies. English bishops wrote back to Catholic Primate of Ireland John McQuaid begging "please deal with your problem at home!"
We would like to think we have moved past this time, but women every day are still taking flights and ferries to access their human rights and receive what is considered elsewhere basic healthcare. Every day that I am studying these records and hearing these stories, I get angrier, but I am reminded of Phil Scraton's lecture on his Hillsborough research and fight for justice where he told us not to separate academia and activism and not to lose our rage in the process.
I am an American and a dual citizen of both countries. I am the granddaughter of a Galway woman. When I was manning a pro-choice stall months back a woman shouted at me "your granny would be ashamed!" My granny would not be ashamed, were she alive today.
She would be proud because she remembered the state of things for women in Ireland that she left behind when she moved to the United States. Like me, she loved Ireland but wanted to see a better future for those who came after.
I hope that you will take the time to consider the deeply negative ramifications that this amendment has and how your vote for repeal will help us move forward as a society.
Address with editor
Why so bitter about cup levy?
Once again Ireland leads the way! Smoking bans, plastic bag levy, and now a disposable coffee cup levy. I would welcome such an initiative here in Belfast; I particularly love the suggestion of a 'fast track' coffee queue!
I fear, however, your correspondent Paul Melia, in favouring an outright ban on disposable cups, has not thought this through. For those of us who travel, would the ban apply in airports? Would I have to forgo my morning caffeine fix if I forget my re-usable cup? Would one coffee chain refuse to serve take away coffee in a mug from a rival establishment?
No, sir, just this once your minister has made the right call. An outright ban would simply lead to a black market in disposable cups. It doesn't bear thinking about.
Instead of just bringing your own coffee cup with you, why not bring the kettle as well and make your own?
Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Farmers' carbon tax pass unfair
It is about time the question of harmful emissions arising from agriculture was seriously addressed.
Farmers are the first link in the food chain, but are the only group in the chain exempt from carbon tax.
The giant milk processing plants are enormous energy users - but pay carbon tax. So do meat processing plants. The transport companies that bring milk and animals to the processing plant pay carbon tax, as do the companies delivering the finished products to supermarkets. Supermarkets pay tax on their energy usage for heating, lighting and refrigeration. Lastly, the customer pays carbon tax on the fuel used in journeys to and from the supermarket and on the energy used to cook the food at home.
So why should farmers be the only link in the food chain exempt?
Portmarnock, Co Dublin