Government should stay neutral and seek peaceful solutions
The threats being issued by the leaders of US and North Korean governments indicate that the risk of nuclear war is now possibly greater that during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
At least in 1962 we had two intelligent, pragmatic leaders, both of whom compromised to avert a nuclear war.
Now we have the opposite, two national leaders who are behaving irrationally and recklessly.
While it is impossible to predict accurately what will happen if the shouting war develops into a shooting war, a possible scenario is the US will begin by attempting to shoot down any further North Korean missile launches and may also attack North Korean missile launch sites and other targets using sub-nuclear bunker bursting bombs.
If this happens, a possible response may be massive artillery attacks by North Korea on South Korea.
Since North Korea does already have some nuclear weapons, there is a very serious risk of these being used and possible US nuclear strikes in retaliation.
Our Government has been silent on this threat to humanity, and the Irish preparations for a nuclear disaster, either a civil or a military one, are almost non-existent.
Experts are already saying that most sea food in the Pacific is already unsafe for human consumption due to the Fukushima disaster.
While it would be irresponsible for Ireland to be assisting North Korea at times like this, allowing Shannon airport to be used by the US military is also irresponsible.
Our Government should now be restoring Irish neutrality and using its good offices towards creating international peace and avoiding nuclear war.
Newtown, Castletroy, Limerick
Family time too valuable to give up
The EU plan for closing the gender pay gap is represented as an important strategy. However, what the EU actually wants here is contrary to what a lot of women want, including myself - which is to reduce or stop paid employment for a period of life, in order to have time to take care of our children ourselves.
It's only fair that men and women should have the same opportunity to get a job and equal pay for the same work (all other things being equal), and any injustices in these areas should be eliminated. But aiming to eliminate inequality between men and women in their long-term salaries is not the same thing, keeping in mind real differences exist between men's and women's priorities in life across the population.
As David Quinn's recent column ('Sexist employers are not to blame for gender pay gap - children are', Irish Independent, July 28) on the gender pay gap points out, over twice as many women as men work part-time, and recent surveys have found the majority of women who work part-time in paid employment and/or look after their own children at home are satisfied with these arrangements.
It concludes that "the only way to achieve the aim of eradicating the gender pay gap completely is to override the wishes of vast numbers of people".
Personally, as a mother and professional, my years of limiting paid employment to part-time hours have cost me financially in the short term and long term (and contributed to the gender pay gap).
But they have been priceless for me and, I hope, worth something to my sons. The privilege of time with family is too valuable to give up, either for the financial benefits, or for the sake of artificial, misguided and counterproductive gender equality goals on pay. Meanwhile, looking beyond the money, how about recognising and rewarding the diverse contributions of hard-working men and women, whether inside or outside the home, whether paid financially or not, with the respect they deserve?
Credit where it's due
If Trump is using words that Kim Jong-un can understand, then the North Korean dictator is doing better than most of us.
Box Hill, Victoria, Australia
History not on America's side
I see that the American government has now raised paranoia to an art form. It seems to see enemies everywhere.
One small sovereign state in the Far East, North Korea, is merely testing armaments in order to defend itself, and has presented no threat whatsoever. To anybody.
However, the warmongering American government is promising "fire and fury". Essentially, the Americans are trying to act as a global policeman.
I note, however, that no politicians have yet to climb on an aircraft and actually have any dialogue with Kim Jong-un, who is portrayed by the liberal, left-wing media as a dictator.
Yet why should we all succumb to democracy, which also has its flaws? Myself, I much prefer a benevolent dictatorship to the lily-livered societies that democracy spawns. Remember Singapore, once led by the amazing dictator Lee Kuan-Yew.
However, I digress. Should we be worried by all the sabre-rattling? I don't think so. It should be noted that America has lost every single Far East and Middle East war that it has indulged in since 1945. That's 72 years.
Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the list is endless. The mighty USA defeated by chaps in funny hats carrying bamboo spears and Kalashnikov rifles.
If the US was to start World War III, it would probably vaporise nearby countries, because American forces are not great at actually hitting the enemy.
In fact, they have much more success at killing their own troops. They've even coined a term for it - the so-called 'friendly fire'.
Maybe it would be best for the Americans to just focus on their own country, and stop trying to run the world. From where I'm standing, they don't seem to be doing a very good job at either.
Leo should lead on diplomacy
I was just wondering what was Ireland's strategic plan for the eventuality of a nuclear winter? Is duck and cover going to be as good as it gets?
Might I propose that it may be pertinent, in the face of the absence of a plan, that our Taoiseach stands up and adds his weight to the calls for diplomacy?
Address with editor
Heading for a correction
I am writing in connection with a report in your newspaper under the headline which reads: "Jason beaten 10 times with a bat and a brick" (Irish Independent, July 26).
This is ungrammatical as you cannot have two a's in the same sentence.
It should have read: "Jason beaten 10 times with a bat and brick."
Killiney, Co Dublin