Had Humphries been on the dole, he'd have got 10 years in jail
Tom Humphries deserves equal and fair treatment from the judicial system. This has not happened. The very things that mitigated him getting a soft sentence, ie. being a pillar of society, his penmanship, his job, his status, all of those should have been factors that saw a stiffer sentence imposed.
Instead the ruling seemed to cast weight to the status of Humphries, not the 14-year-old victim. We learned he was credited for pleading guilty. That occurred last March, five years after the case was initiated. Presumably all avenues of escape for him had closed, hence that guilty plea.
Humphries got a sentence that fits many people's view of how Middle Ireland takes care of its own. Had Humphries been a guy on the dole, I have no doubt the book would have been thrown at him along with a 10-year sentence.
A number of people emerge with credit from this horror,
Good men have, I suggest, suffered severe reputational damage for believing his lies. Donal Óg Cusack and David Walshe did a hard thing. They stood by a liar, not aware of the full facts. Their careers are affected by all of this.
I coached girls from U8 up to U16 in the GAA. I shudder at the implications for each and every male coach involved with kids. Everyone is tarnished by a man who sent 16,000 texts to a child.
My years of following our criminal justice system, its multi- tiered hierarchy of sentencing and distributing justice makes me concur with a former editor of 'Private Eye' who stated that the courts are like casinos and roulette wheels. For some, they dispense justice. For others, outrage.
Take your choice in the Humphries case.
Tracker scandal most convenient
I sense that the justified outrage about the disadvantaged pensioners, due to the inflexible application of the deeply flawed averaging regulations, is being overtaken in the media and in the minds of the politicians by the tracker issue and the banks.
This is precisely what the politicians want to happen - move the focus of attention to some other injustice and ideally one not perpetrated by the State, so they can get away with doing little or nothing about the "bonkers" pension issue. Now 'lets get the venal bankers' is the mantra of the politicians!
Both of these issues, trackers and pensions, reflect very badly on all involved. The first seems to be a severe indictment of the banks and their supervisors. The second is undoubtedly a disgraceful indictment of successive governments.
How much hardship has been inflicted on each cohort would be an interesting calculation and I would be amazed if the total, cumulative hardship inflicted on the disadvantaged pensioners is not a multiple of that wrongly inflicted on all of those tracker victims. These cash amounts should not be too difficult to have computed and perhaps outrage could be calibrated accordingly and redress so prioritised by the relevant perpetrators?
John Blake Dillon
Immigration is bad for Europe
At a speech recently in New South Wales, President Michael D Higgins took issue with those who are suspicious of mass-immigration, referring to their views as "old-fashioned, ignorant, anti-migrant prejudice" derived from the "politics of fear".
Part of the problem with the waning quality of discussion and debate is the urge - particularly on the left - to resort to abusive labels when referring to people whose views one disagrees with. This is particularly ironic in the President's case, since he called for a "mature debate" on immigration in Ireland in an interview given to RTÉ on the very same state visit to Australia. Referring to people as "ignorant" and "prejudiced" is hardly a good start.
Furthermore, in the past two-and-a-half years, Europe has been subjected to a spate of horrific Islamist terror attacks. This mayhem has been perpetrated by immigrants, refugees, or those of immigrant backgrounds living in Europe. If this arouses a "politics of fear", then fright seems to me justified.
Dismissing concerns over immigration in Australia of all places seems particularly myopic. The President made some dutiful noises about Irish immigrant culpability in the marginalisation of Australia's Aboriginal people, but he dismisses the possibility that migration could have negative consequences in Europe.
In fact, the recent terror atrocities prove immigration already has had marked ill-effects in Europe.
Thurles, Co Tipperary
Wallace and Dáil business
I see Mick Wallace has been banned from involvement in business for six years. What about Dáil business? Is he free to influence new legislation, senior appointments and other important affairs of State? Perhaps the Public Accounts Committee might look into this matter. I also wonder whether all members of the Justice Committee are happy with the present membership.
John P Masterson
Carrickane, Co Cavan
Debate around the Eighth
I read today of the amazing operation done by Dr Micheal Belford in Houston, Texas (Irish Independent, October 25). He removed the baby and womb from the mother so that a spinal defect could be fixed before birth. Modern medicine is truly amazing.
He injected the foetus with anaesthetic before operating on the spine. That's where a thought struck me - why would a doctor inject a foetus with anaesthetic? After all, it's only a foetus so why should it get an anaesthetic?
Now, that last statement was a bit flippant. But why would a surgeon be concerned with the wellbeing of something so small? Because the surgeon is worried about the wellbeing of the life he's trying to help before it's born. Like he would any patient.
That point should at least have some input in the Eighth Amendment debate.
Now in the UK, around 200,000 abortions are carried out every year. Out of those figures, only a small percentage are due to medical, physical and psychiatric reasons, all of which are thoroughly deserving of special treatment and understanding in any humane society - and that's why we need proper debate about repealing the wording of the Eighth.
Many say 'you're a man, what has this got to do with you?' Well, I have daughters and nieces, and how I want society to be in the future is my business.
So is there any way we can have facts from both sides of the argument stated clearly without shouting each other down? So that ordinary people don't lose interest in the debate before the referendum gets an actual date...
Tuam, Co Galway