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Laddish TDs should grow up

Sir --Just imagine it, our three democratically elected boys, Messrs Wallace, Flanagan and Ross huddled in the corner of the Dail sneering, name-calling and insulting a female parliamentary colleague. So much for equality, dignity, respect and good example which these small-minded men are expected to promote.

Our three boys need to worry more about talk code and respect code than dress code.

Unfortunately their male mind-set and boorish attitudes are still with us. God save Ireland from this type of ignorant, disrespectful behaviour. It appears to me that they suffer from having big egos but low self-worth and self-esteem. Overgrown laddish schoolboys.

David J Fitzgerald,

Lower Glenageary Road,

Dublin

Shake-up of showbiz politics

Sir -- Recent events have prompted me to once again reflect on how politics is covered generally in the media.

Unfortunately, political integrity and commitment are often presented as if they occur only at the extremes.

The media should stop confusing a reasonable, balanced approach with that of "bending the knee" or less than wholehearted commitment.

The reality is that it is very often the politics of hope -- whether that be the centre left or the centre right -- that offers solutions to the problems facing our society. Those of us committed to consensus politics are as committed to that political approach as the extremes are to theirs -- the difference being that balanced advocates try to find solutions, the extremes just try to find scapegoats.

Perhaps, therefore, over the summer the media might begin to lead the way in shifting political reporting and commentary away from the "showbusiness approach" so beloved by RTE and some other media outlets.

Perhaps too, political reporting will no longer be based on whose son, daughter, cousin, nephew or niece will inherit the family seat or make an appearance on a reality TV show or what colour shirt or T-shirt they wear, but rather on their policies. It would make a nice change and it might even give us politicians that deliver.

Councillor Dermot Lacey,

Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Stop publishing rubbish on Gaza

Sir -- Could the Sunday Independent please stop publishing the type of rubbish penned by Jim Roche of the Irish Anti-War Movement in last Sunday's letters page.

Mr Roche was droning on about Israel's policy on Gaza, a necessary policy as Gaza is inhabited by a terrorist entity. Hamas, a depraved rabble of religious fanatics, has called for the public execution of homosexuals and, via Sharia law, the complete suppression of women's rights.

Mr Roche was reacting to an article in your paper by Ruth Dudley Edwards. She and a few other brave writers are calling it like it is as some of these flotilla people are harbouring a deep hatred of Israel.

Mike O'Neill,

Dooradoyle, Limerick

Holocaust no longer an excuse

Sir -- Eoghan Harris (Sunday Independent, July 10, 2011) is entitled to use the Holocaust as the continued excuse for Israel's reaction to anyone who is the slightest bit pro-Palestinian, but the Palestinians are not responsible for any of the things that happened during those years when millions were murdered. Why should they have to take the collective punishment for those who were responsible?

Throughout history Jews have been generally treated badly, but they generally fared better under Muslim rulers than Christian if one thinks of all the pogroms in Europe over the centuries.

Now it is a different story -- the Jews are in the majority and, not satisfied with Israel, they want to take the best parts of the West Bank for the settlers.

In Gaza the situation is even worse -- surrounded by the might of the Israeli army, they live in a country half the size of Louth with a population of four million, and they can't get out! So who can blame anyone for siding with the Palestinians when is it Israel which is this time causing the problem?

Gemma Hensey,

Westport, Co Mayo

Amazed at Ictu call for boycott

Sir -- It was with astonishment that I read of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) demands for boycotts and expulsions against the state of Israel. The actions called for are designed to undermine and eventually destroy the only democracy that exists in the Middle East.

Has Ictu nothing at all to say to the deeply oppressed women of the region and the terrorism that is continually employed against gay people? I note that former Ictu president Patricia McKeown was one of the speakers in favour of boycotts. Let me remind Ms McKeown that the speech she made in Killarney could just as easily have been made in Tel Aviv without sanction. But if she tried making a speech in favour of women's rights or gay rights in Gaza, she knows and I know that she'd likely be murdered, just as Muslim female school teachers have been murdered for the crime of trying to educate female school children. Yet there are no calls by Ictu for sanctions or boycotts in support of the rights of women in Muslim countries. Why not?

Eddie Naughton,

The Coombe, Dublin 8

Card charges at travel agents

Sir -- I refer to the article by Louise McBride on credit card charges by travel agents (Sunday Independent, July 10, 2011) and contrary to what she says we don't "whack" on the charges when clients pay by plastic. My main issue with this article is the suggestion of us "pocketing" €100. Certainly in the case of MD Travel we pass on the charges levied on us by the credit card companies -- on average 2 per cent, depending on the card used -- and no more. Often we can make the payment "direct to airline" and in this case there is no fee.

We do not charge any fees for Laser or debit card payments.

Times are hard enough in our industry without the public being led to believe that we pocket credit card fees.

Maureen Delmar,

Donabate,

Dublin

Louise McBride writes: The article did not state that every travel agent in the country is pocketing €100 for every credit card booking. As explained in the article, as travel agents often charge credit card booking fees of between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent, the booking fee for a €5,000 holiday could be as high as €125.

Making Pope accountable

Sir -- So Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is going to introduce a law making it an offence to withhold information on crimes against children and vulnerable adults. Will this law apply to those representatives of a foreign state that are responsible for education as well as to us lesser mortals? The foreign state? The Vatican, where the Pope is head of state.

Susan Cook,

Kilkenny

Jump at chance to ban coursing

Sir -- Political opportunities for a politician to leave a legacy that changes society are rare, but when they arrive it is a measure of the politician's intelligence to act on them. Therefore, one hopes that Jimmy Deenihan TD will grasp the opportunity to be a political undertaker and consign hare coursing to its eternal rest.

The annual application by the Irish Coursing Club for a licence to conduct live hare coursing has landed on his desk. A ban would see Ireland crawl out of the gutter in terms of the treatment of animals.

John Tierney,

Campaigns Director,

Association of Hunt Saboteurs,

Dublin 1

Sunday Independent