While many people were engrossed in the pageantry and military precision that marked the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth, I wondered what the total cost to the UK taxpayer for all of this will be?
Ten days of mourning may have brought the new prime minister Liz Truss some settling-in time, but she and her Tory government have had to watch as the pound devalues while Brexit and the cost-of-living crises bite.
While she and her supporters push the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill through parliament, the consequences of that decision could have long-term detrimental effects on trade and any future agreements with the EU as she travels to the UN General Assembly and attempts to persuade US president Joe Biden to expand trade deals between both countries.
Mr Biden has already voiced his concerns and warned the UK that any interference with the Good Friday Agreement, which the Protocol Bill could cause, will not be tolerated and could affect any future trade agreements.
Now that the UK’s period of mourning is over and people return to their normal lives, the task of providing for citizens during a cost-of-living crisis will focus minds for some time to come.
Freezing energy bills for the next two years will have many economists and opposition politicians wondering who will pay for all of this while refusing to introduce a windfall tax on the main energy suppliers.
The opening lines of Shakespeare’s Richard III are: “Now is the winter of our discontent.” This is apt in the present circumstances and in view of his having reigned for only two years. Will this be Ms Truss’s and the Tories’ fate?
Christy Galligan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Robin Schiller’s article (‘More gardaí needed, says GRA after patrol car is rammed’, Irish Independent, September 21) on the disgraceful Cherry Orchard incident on Monday night was highly informative.
However, it was marred by using the word “joyrider” to describe a serial car thief. I would urge you to abandon the use of this word and write “car thieves”.
If we trivialise crime, we should not be surprised when young criminals believe, with some justification, that their criminal activities will be treated trivially.
Cornelius Logue, Quigley’s Point, Co Donegal
Joy Tendai-Kangere (‘The queen was exceptional, but her death shines a light on brutal British colonial rule’, Irish Independent, September 20) makes a glaring error when she says “the Commonwealth had been reduced to just 15 of the 32 countries it once comprised”.
The Commonwealth is a political association of 56 member states, the majority former territories of the British empire.
Anne James, Greyabbey, Co Down
YOU inform us in your editorial (‘Funding state pension must not become onerous burden on workers’, Irish Independent, September 21) that the new plans will see the “state pension age remain at 66, but people will be offered a choice to work until they are 70 in return for a higher pension payment”.
This obviously means a two-tier pension scheme will be created to go along with our two-tier health service, but it also raises a serious issue as to whether this is discriminatory and, in the process, could leave the Government open to claims by those who started work and were contributing PRSI at the age of 16. This arises because citizens who go on to university will usually not start work until they are 21.
If both retire at 66, the person who started work at 16 will see no increase for the five extra years they put in at the outset, yet the Government seems to be proposing a higher pension for those who work an extra five years at the end of their career.
For the benefit of government ministers who seem to routinely struggle with concepts such as fair play and justice, the simplest way to put it is that a person who starts work at 16 and retires at 66 will have made 50 years of contributions.
A person who starts work at 21 and retires at 70 will have made only 49 years of contributions, yet we are told that worker will get up to €60 a week more. Surely the person who started work at 16 is entitled to at least the same consideration, given they have made the same or more contributions during their working life.
Jim O’Sullivan, Rathedmond, Co Sligo