Let Rory and The Donald putt
Sir - There are a load of objections from the tender and the easily oppressed because Rory McIlroy played golf with President Trump.
It's a mad world we now inhabit, when a golfer is held up to ridicule because of whom he plays a round with.
I have no doubt that there are folk crying into their muesli what with Brexit and now our Rory having a day off to have fun with the top man in the US.
"No free speech for bigots," we'll hear them cry when the anti-Rory bandwagon gets the legs they believe Rory's golf so richly deserves, and I can already hear it being built as the clamour for his head drowns out the rational senses.
"He didn't play for Ireland in the Olympics," is a tweet I saw on RTE's website which obviously clears everything up if we are having any doubts between this and putting with The Donald.
The gentle "democratic liberals", who are in continuous trauma caused by their own loving but hateful view of the world's people that they ordain to be cast into the darkness, are so frustrated it is only a matter of time before they begin using naughty four-letter words like ordinary mortals - and who could blame them?
What next? A self-imposed ban on themselves cycling three or four abreast on public roads in protest?
I'm all in agreement with this suggestion I humbly make, and hope they pick up on it.
Eleanor gives dog food for thought
Sir - Eleanor Goggin (Living, Sunday Independent, February 19) said her rice salad "looked like something my dog would throw up and it tasted much the same". That begs a question - but, on second thoughts, I don't think I want to know.
Sir - To say "'John McColgan captures the indomitable spirit of the Island's people" (Love Haiti, LIFE, Sunday Independent, February 19) is an understatement, to say the least.
Mr McColgan's series of aesthetic and stunning photographs not only "speak a thousand words", they release the love that the Haitian people emanate despite the horrendous disasters, including a catastrophic earthquake, a cholera epidemic and a tropical cyclone, that have sadly visited their country since 2010.
John McColgan's photography is laced with emotion.
His photographs truly give the sense that these beautiful people are filled with pride, dignity and hope.
Understanding what makes people obese
Sir - Niamh Horan's coverage (Sunday Independent, February 19) of "concerns about the move to normalise models who are overweight and obese" is symptomatic of a misguided and outdated view of obesity which sees the irresponsible and reckless behaviour of affected individuals as a burden on society, while at the same time congratulating the multinationals that are driving the obesogenic environment.
The notion that making it socially acceptable to be overweight will unleash a run on hamburger restaurants belies a misunderstanding of the complex neurobehavioral determinants of body weight.
Stigmatising excess body fat rather than the unhealthy dietary behaviours which cause obesity is like stigmatising lung cancer rather than smoking, or liver disease rather than excess alcohol consumption. It is missing the public health point.
Rather than complaining about the distasteful appearance of overweight children, we should tackle the environmental factors making them fat. Such an approach won't be good for the coffers of our broadcast media, which rely on the sale of advertising space to fast-food restaurants, confectioners, brewers and wineries while at the same time trying to "transform" the health of the nation. Is it any wonder that a pejorative, regressive and inaccurate "personal responsibility" narrative is given so much prominence?
Though well meant, efforts to constrain the social acceptability of being overweight do nothing to enhance public health and instead shift the focus away from meaningful, if politically unpopular strategies, to encourage healthier lifestyle behaviours in us all.
Moreover, mixed messages about the extent to which obesity is a personal choice perpetuate a widespread misunderstanding of the obesity issue by policymakers, legislators and the general public as well as a complete lack of investment and strategy for treating patients affected by obesity.
Dr Francis Finucane,
Galway University Hospitals, and honorary senior lecturer in medicine, NUI Galway
The position of women over men
Sir - In her letter (Sunday Independent, February 19), Mary McGill stated: "A long-standing aim of feminism has been the realisation of a more liveable world for all, women and men alike." She then goes on to quote the words of Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote: "I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves."
At present, married women in this country have the legislative power to evict their husbands from their homes without having to provide any justification for the eviction. This power is available to women simply by going through a simple legal process using sections 2 and 10 of the Family Law Act, 1995.
Hundreds of men are removed from their family homes and their children's lives every year in this way. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that no married man can truly describe himself as a homeowner in Ireland today.
When I hear the National Women's Council of Ireland and the Mary McGills of this world calling for the repeal of this draconian legislation, I just might believe her claim that "a long-standing aim of feminism has been the realisation of a more liveable world for all, women and men alike". Until then, I will see feminism for what it is: a movement that seeks to put women in a position of dominance over men.
Feminists speak for a small vocal group
Sir - I certainly do not agree with Mary McGill's criticism of Niamh Horan's depiction of feminism (Letters, Sunday Independent, February 19) and take issue with Ms McGill's claim that feminism is not focused on domination but "is a diverse, vibrant school of thought and activism".
Try telling that to those who disagree with some feminism campaigns and are afforded no hearing whatsoever. Talk is cheap about choice, but there is no support for women who opt to stay at home and rear their own children, nor for those who oppose abortion because they value each and every life, no matter how short.
Women who choose either of these options are totally ignored by the National Women's Council, which receives vast funding from the Government but is quite unrepresentative.
I have yet to see any criticism of gender imbalance in abortion where the abortion of girls is much greater than that of boys.
Why no mention of this? Because it might lead to any lessening of abortion, the deliberate killing of a baby in the womb?
Personally, I think it is most insulting to insinuate that most women want abortion legalised. It's only a small but vocal group, with the backing of the media, that pushes that agenda and Ms McGill has the wrong handle on the media here. "The sustained backlash orchestrated in part by sections of the media," she refers to, in fact are those who drive the abortion agenda.
Human rights should apply equally to women and men so every effort should be made to ensure that this is not driven by unjust agendas.
Mary Stewart (Mrs),
Students told of medicine sociology
Sir - In recent times, there have been many complaints regarding the huge fees charged by members of the medical, pseudo, and quasi-medical, professions.
Like Bobby Darin and Billy Fury, I contracted rheumatic fever in my teens but unlike those famous singers, who died a few years after open-heart surgery, I have survived that kind of operation by decades.
When I was taken to St Columcille's Hospital, in Loughlinstown, Co Dublin, in February 2002 with a respiratory infection, a group of students came to see me because I had received an aorta valve replacement in July 1977.
Individually, and in twos and threes, they came to examine me, until I was exhausted; and yet, as a former teacher, I endured this torture knowing that the study of my condition might save lives. One student, a native of India, wrote a brief sketch of my medical history for her thesis.
The day before my discharge, the entire group assembled to ask me further questions, and to answer mine. Recalling my impoverished youth, caused by chronic illness, I decided to educate these sons and daughters of wealthy people, regarding the sociological aspects of medicine. They reacted by asking me, and each other, "What is the sociology of medicine?" I explained to them what it is and gave them an idea of the financial effects that chronic illness had imposed upon my life during my late teens and early twenties, when I earned less than £3, in what was then a job-starved country.
They were not alone sympathetic to, but appalled by, this brief sketch of the financial and related hardships I had endured over those years. It was my hope that when qualified to practise medicine, they would reflect upon what I had told them, and be compelled to give special consideration to their future patients' social conditions...
I admonished them as follows: "After you graduate, and become consultants, remember that patients who have suffered with prolonged illness or who are suffering from chronic illness are invariably poor, because not alone have they to bear medical expenses, they are unable to earn decent incomes; therefore, do not send them huge bills."
The group seemed perplexed, until one of its members, a wit, consoled me, saying: "Don't worry, Mr MacCarron, we'll send you small bills!"
Enda's experience is crucial for Brexit
Sir - Since 2002, when Enda Kenny was elected the leader of Fine Gael and went on to be our leader in the most serious financial crisis to hit our country, he has taken constant negative criticism from the media.
His leadership has been challenged by leaders within his own party, which I would say is for no other reason but to have a Dublin Taoiseach.
Compare the stamina, tenacity and experience of Enda Kenny to carry on regardless to improve the country to a UK prime minster who walked off the stage when he lost a vote after having a referendum for the wrong reason.
Enda Kenny's unscripted speech in the Liverpool Irish Centre to a captive audience before the referendum showed his deep understanding of the potential fallout of Brexit both to the Irish at home and in the UK and Northern Ireland, the EU, and also the issue of emigration.
Ireland needs Enda Kenny and Co, their contacts, and their experience to deal with Brexit in the next two years, and not a change of guard or an election midstream for their own political and selfish gain.
The spiralling cost of children's hospital
Sir - The astronomical cost of the National Children's Hospital is shocking.
But that it's being built at an unsuitable and totally wrong location, while there are much more suitable site locations, is more worrying.
Even at this late date, one would hope they might come to their senses. It's the future children, and their parents, who matter and who should count.
Time to opt for a greenfield site
Sir - Estimates for the proposed new children's hospital at St James's have just passed the €1bn mark and are set to go even higher - and this doesn't take into account fitting the place out, which could involve another €200m.
So how come the price of this white elephant is spiralling out of control, and how much further will it go before the first block is laid? We know already that parking in the vicinity will be virtually impossible and if you are lucky enough to get a space in the lavish underground car park, it will cost you "an arm and a leg".
So is it too late to move it to a more suitable site, where access won't mean taking your sick child to the hospital via the nearest Luas stop? It's not too late, minister, to switch to a greenfield site before this project bankrupts the State - again.
Poor experience of nursing homes
Sir - I have to respond to your article on nursing homes (Sunday Independent, February 12). I have personal experience of private nursing homes, as my mother had to become a resident of one. She stayed a few months in one, before I moved her to another nearer to where I live.
My experience of both was negative. When my mother was a resident for some months, a carer fell on my mother. I was not informed by the home - my mother is mentally alert and told me. They had her leg covered by a dressing. After a few days, I demanded to see the wound and I knew it was infected. I rang the doctor, who attended the home and learnt that he did not know about it. She was then put on antibiotics but, as it was 10 days since it happened, she had to go to hospital and be put on a drip.
The second serious incident my mother alleged to me was that a carer deliberately cut her leg, which was covered by a dressing. My mother still has her sense and said to me: "Why does that carer hate me?" She stopped eating, got very ill and again ended up in hospital, but due to the great care, made a good recovery.
My mother told the hospital doctor about her experience and said: "I don't want to go back." The hospital doctor referred her for a place in a public nursing home, where the care and respect she receives from all the staff is lovely - plus, it is spotlessly clean. I now know, and so does my mother, what a nursing home should be.
I dread to think that all nursing homes will become private, because from my experience, they were cold, impersonal, money-making businesses, which expected staff to work long hours for little money.
Minister Harris, please consider more HSE-run nursing homes, as older people deserve at least as much as other sections of the community.
Name and address with Editor
Sir - Research is a great thing, but what I don't know is if living long is a blessing or a curse!
Trying to be independent and doing things for myself, unless I ask for help, is what I want, but well-meaning people hinder me.
I leave my life and each day in God's hands, so to whom it may concern: "Thanks, but no thanks."
I am not an invalid, or an imbecile yet, but saving is a dirty word now. I hate waste! Wilful waste makes woeful want, and I see it all around: in general, food, clothes - things more abused, not used. We are only passing through to wherever.