Government should take inspiration from our sports heroes
What a week - Robbie Henshaw, just 21, scoring the only try in the game when Ireland beat the might of England in rugby on Sunday, followed by an almost Lazarus-like comeback from Padraig Harrington on Monday to win the prestigious Honda Classic.
Is it great to be Irish or what?
Both Harrington and Henshaw are past players of GAA sports, so it was doubly great to cheer on these two wonderful men.
Harrington is to be loudly applauded for his never-give-in attitude -many other golfers who have gone through a lean spell such as Padraig, would have long since given in.
Henshaw is such a breath of fresh air, the rugby world is now his oyster, and we're going to hear an awful lot more about this kid!
What a great little island - we breed the greatest racehorses in the world, and the ones we don't breed we train. We then take them overseas, like next week for instance to Prestbury Park where we will probably win most of the Group One prizes, and yes, of course, they will all be ridden by Irish jockeys, so is there anything at all we're bad at?
Sadly, I have to admit there is one thing, and it's this, we seem to be unable to elect a government to do what we want it to do, or to be more precise, to do what it is they promise to do.
If only our politicians were half as good as our sports men and women, who try so hard against all the odds, who get on with the game without complaining about their opponents.
Well done Padraig, well done Robbie, and good luck to our riders and horses at Cheltenham next week.
Ah, it really is great to be Irish!
Clonsilla, Dublin 15
Yates should give Kenny credit
In his column 'Yates Anthology' (Irish Independent, February 28), Ivan Yates states that "Last Saturday Enda Kenny's speechwriters failed to grasp an opportunity to set out a vision for society" and, later, "We already know he (Kenny) has no ideology or political conviction."
Mr Yates's on-going bee in his bonnet about the Taoiseach, with whom he once shared a Fine Gael office, seems to be an obsessive and perhaps jealous disorder.
Ivan is big into the vision thing, it seems, yet he opted out of politics as a young man, having been a minister for two years.
And he tells us in his book that his health almost collapsed during that trying time when a cattle disease briefly hit the country.
Can Mr Yates give Mr Kenny and his Government any credit at all for exiting the bailout, getting rid of the promissory note, achieving the highest growth rate in Europe, and creating jobs at an admirable rate?
And as for the vision thing - as George Bush once said, we can leave that to the extreme left.
Ivan is now a pundit - perhaps he might return to politics to put his wisdom into practice, as he also wants a new party?
Ballina, Co Mayo
We need more female lawmakers
Mary Sullivan tells us that the first International Women's Day was held in 1911 (Letters, Irish Independent, March 5).
The fact that over 100 years later, and nearly 100 years after women got the vote, men still comprise nearly 90pc of the Oireachtas emphasises the fact that progress has been slow.
Women comprise half the electorate. And it is clear that the next election presents an important opportunity, as many more women will be on the ballot paper.
By increasing the proportion of female representation in the Oireachtas, we will give women the opportunity to use their expertise, knowledge and insights, and improve the quality of our democracy.
Sutton, Dublin 13
New Land League's Bertie link
I find it incredible that the O'Donnell family is receiving support from the New Land League.
One of its leaders has links to Bertie Ahern and the building boom, a period which brought the country down.
Speculative investment has cost us, the taxpayers, millions.
Naas, Co Kildare
I'm reminded of the old song, 'The Folks Who Live on the Hill'.
"Someday we'll build a (bog-standard) home on a hilltop high/ You and I, shiny and new/Cottage that two can fill/And we'll be pleased to be called/The folks who live on the hill.
"Someday we may be adding a wing or two/A thing or two..."
Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
Pape's spurious appeal
I'm writing to you regarding Pascal Pape, a French rugby player who kneed James Heaslip in the back causing damage to three vertebrae during the Ireland vs France match, whereupon Heaslip had to miss subsequent matches.
Pape appealed the 10-match suspension (a more than lenient penalty) handed down by the rugby committee set up to deal with such matters. In my opinion, Pape should have his suspension increased to 12 or 13 matches for having the temerity to appeal such a fair punishment.
This would dissuade other offenders from making spurious appeals.
There should also a time limit of 24 hours for players to make such an appeal.
Address with Editor
HSE spends too much on staff pay
I read about a doctor describing conditions for elderly patients in A&E as being like Guantanamo (Irish Independent, March 4). A few pages later, I read about a retired HSE employee being re-hired on a contract for six hours per week on the incorrect salary of €156,000 a year instead of the 'new entrant salary' of €109,000.
Truly, we live in a banana republic - the HSE will never offer a decent health service to the public, when two-thirds of its expenditure goes on pay and pensions, with the other third left to cover all other services. People need to remember this the next time they protest about lack of services in a HSE that seems to exist solely to service itself.
Paddy Mc Dermott
Tullamore, Co Offaly