Kenny has pushed an exhausted family one step too far
No one will ever stand over my grave and say "wasn't she great at paying her water tax" but it will be at that exact moment that my children will evaluate the quality of the years I gave them.
Meanwhile, we work, breaking our necks and our children's hearts trying to keep up with tax after tax, with nothing left by the end of the month. We never financially over extended ourselves or left a bill unpaid, but still my two very young children are out of their home every day for longer hours than the average industrial worker ... as we work to meet another tax on our income.
Our reasons for not protesting before were exhaustion, anxiety, fear and not a minute to spare, but this is where it ends.
As the Irish Government has chosen to protect those responsible for the financial crash and has seen many pensioned off, I'm choosing to protect my children.
To do this, I will do whatever it takes to give my children back their childhood ... they will be at home, collected from school by me, and enjoy the security of a home life that should be an option afforded to every child. This will obviously mean a reduction to our income, resulting in overdue bills and unpaid taxes but that stress will be a holiday compared to the exhausting days we currently endure, dragging the children from their beds at 6.30am, starting and ending the day in a house filled with children's tears of frustration and confusion as we pay for others' greed.
So you see, this Government has pushed an exhausted family one step too far. Let's see who picks up the tab in the long run, Mr Kenny.
It's not rocket science
Surely there is a group of rocket scientists somewhere in the world scratching their heads in utter bafflement at the manner in which Irish Water was set up.
Item one, they might posit, whatever you do, don't set up a bonus system for the senior managers, in a country where the majority of the people are barely able to feed their children, and in a country that was ruined by bankers driven to lend recklessly, partially as a result of a bonus culture in banking.
Item two, don't talk down to people, by telling them that they misuse or overuse water.
Item three, don't go asking for personal information that the police would need a court order to obtain.
Item four, don't make people pay for leaks on top of paying for water - it isn't the people's fault that successive administrations failed to do what they were elected to do.
Item five, whatever you do, don't threaten to reduce people's water to a trickle if they refuse to cooperate with the water regime, that's just mad; not even the maddest dictators, presiding over the meekest populations, would do something like that.
Lisdowney, Co Kilkenny
As a recent convert to vaping (using electronic cigarettes) I was astounded to discover that the practice is banned in the Aviva Stadium - not because it is criminal or dangerous, but because it is "unregulated".
On several occasions my view of the game was impeded by slack- bladdered drinkers going to the toilet. Is this "regulated"? If not, why not? I felt like kicking their ankles.
The Irish scrum and lineout caused me grave discomfort in the chest and heart areas. Will they "regulate" for this?
And Mike Ross was compelled to play for 74 minutes. Surely this should be "regulated"?
The result was great, and I vaped all night when I got home.
Swords, Co Dublin
Solving the surrogacy dilemma
Surrogacy seems to me a fantastic way for a couple who desire a child that is genetically theirs, but who are unable to carry that child into the world without the help of another woman's womb. However, our legal system has been unable to agree with what most of us would understand as the "mother", ruling that it is the surrogate who must be considered the legal mother of a child.
In response, the suggestion was made in this paper by David Quinn to ban the practice of surrogacy altogether (Irish Independent, November 8, 2014). While there might be room for debate about the ethics of "renting your womb," it seems to me rather draconian to not allow a sister, friend, or even well-meaning stranger to help another woman in this manner.
Might I suggest a very simple solution to this whole affair: a 'surrogate birth form', whereby both the genetic and surrogate mothers' names appear, with one of these names being marked as the legal guardian of the child.
In this manner, the contribution of all parties is acknowledged in the legal record of birth and it is clear as to whom the child belongs.
Ennis, Co Clare
The godless delusion
Whatever we may think of the churches' role in Ireland today, we are no better served by some of the alternatives. We are regularly regaled with naive forms of atheism expressed by the parroting of half-baked ideas, providing neither hope nor insight in a very needy world.
Equating religious faith with belief in the Tooth Fairy or in Santa Claus is taken as a killer blow to belief in a god. Many of my atheist friends find these views an embarrassment, as they trivialise one of the most significant debates of our time. We are well rid of the god disposed of by Richard Dawkins in 'The God Delusion'. He has done us all a favour. This was a god conjured up in his worst nightmares - a cruel, fickle, domineering and enslaving monster, threatening the torture of hell as the price to pay for non-submission to his autocratic rule.
To be fair to Dawkins, however, he had mostly in mind the excesses of the American television evangelists who seem impervious to the evidence of science in our understanding of the origins of the universe.
Thankfully, there are many very articulate atheists and secularists who have a genuine concern for the truth. They have a refined sense of what most believers actually believe, allied to a genuine appreciation of truth and sincerity. In their hands, atheism becomes a reasonable alternative to theism, particularly when engaged in offering a vision of the future that resonates with the needs of the world.
The default position of atheism, for me, is not so much radical belief but agnosticism, acknowledging that dogmatic certainty from whatever quarter is oppressive. I find the intelligent forms of atheism illuminating, sending me back regularly to reflect on my own position.
Coalition restored Irish pride
Dermot Ryan's letter 'If ever we needed a cool, calm and righteous leader' (Irish Independent, November 8, 2014) is, in my opinion, a classic of bias and delusion. I wonder which government Mr Ryan is referring to when he says publication of the letter is "a bombshell and a political disaster for the Government". I am sure he means the last FF/Green government, which allowed this to happen, especially FF, which used pride itself on being a republican party but left the country in the grip of ECB and the IMF. Oh, the irony. Indeed, at that stage we had no option whatever the posturing, but to enter a bailout just to keep the lights on.
Maybe he might acknowledge the success we have had in growth, jobs and restoring our national pride at home and abroad under this administration. But I won't hold my breath.