Let's be thankful for who we are and what we have this New Year
In terms of Irish history, there are three new years every year.
We have the Celtic Samhain or Halloween, then there is the new light born of the solstice on December 21, and of course there is January 31. All are full of symbolism and meaning.
The New Year we celebrate today marks a fresh start, as the earth completes another 365-day marathon around the sun.
People and particularly the media have a tendency to look back as the cycle is completed.
Thus we'll revisit the near revolution over Garth Brooks, the water charges and sundry other convulsions that this time next year will seem like so many tiny tempests in china tea cups.
You will also be bombarded with diets and fitness programmes on how to attain the body beautiful and a balanced life.
All are predicated on dissatisfaction with the way things were, are, or might be.
My belief is that we would all be a lot happier if we could accept who and where we are, and be thankful for what we have, while we have it. Everything is temporary, including trouble.
Certainly we can hope and trust that things can be better, but there is an old saying that one shouldn't waste energy trying to push the river.
There is an ebb and flow in life, and if we can learn gratitude and acceptance in the certain knowledge that everything passes, and remember to enjoy the journey; then the space for us to overcome our difficulties will open up, and we can make the best of all our lots.
Killiney, Co Dublin Hope for 2015: a real statesman
Ireland as a society is clearly on a journey to an undefined destination, and for many decades now our political leaders have, at best, functioned simply as effective 'pot-hole fillers' on this uncharted road.
Important issues like creating jobs, education, an effective health system, etc, are the potholes, and, like the poor, they may always be with us. But without an overarching vision indicating where the road is taking us, we can never hope to build a meaningful society.
My hope for 2015 is that we and our political system may begin the process of spawning a dynamic leader who is a real statesman (or woman). One who puts an agreed vision for a truly ethical and right-living society in Ireland before ego or power or personal wealth or party.
Maybe it's time now for each of us, the voters, to consider the type of society we aspire to have; to demand higher ethical standards from our politicians, business executives, and religious leaders; to seek out remarkable and visionary leaders; and to constantly look for that trace of greatness in ourselves and others as we all work to make Ireland a right-living example to the world?
Glenageary, Co Dublin
Pro-life amendment saves lives
As a result of last week's extremely sad right to life case, a number of commentators have attempted to use this tragedy to bad mouth those who dared to vote yes to the pro-life amendment in 1983, and to push further for an abortion regime in Ireland.
The facts are that, largely thanks to that amendment, Ireland has one of the lowest infant/maternal mortality rates in the world. Our rates are much lower than those in the US and UK, where abortion on demand has corrupted the entire medical profession.
Many would argue that last year's infamous legislation is already a step too far. In fact, on a contrasting basis, those who voted in favour of the 1983 pro-life amendment have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Quite the contrary.
Navan, Co Meath
Give out Cabinet jobs on merit
Our Taoiseach has let it be known during the past week that he would consider appointing senators to Government based on merit.
Why not take this a step further and set up an non-political, unpaid advisory body, whose task would be to draw up a list to be presented to the Taoiseach of candidates who would be capable of taking on the role of a minster in the Government.
This list of candidates should have a proven track record in their own fields of expertise, have excelled in management and demonstrated their ability in reaching certain goals within their area of work.
Even to be on this list would be recognised as an honour in itself.
Should the Taoiseach ignore this list and appoint his own 11 nominees to the Seanad and to Government, we will be in a better position to make a more considered evaluation of his judgment in making his appointments to Cabinet.
Glanmire, Co Cork
A modern Robin Hood struggle
If there is one thing that we ought to be able to unite on, it is surely this: It is in all our interests to support both the arguments and the moderate approach of the Ballyhea protesters. We cannot possibly pay the debts of foreign bankers and it is foolish as well as cruel to try to do so. They are ruinous for Ireland and the Irish people.
It is an old struggle in modern economic form. To put it in English terms, it is the struggle between Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Dr Gerald Morgan
The Chaucer Hub
Trinity College, Dublin 2
We must use our God-given gifts
Christmas day has gone for another year.
Many people will have exchanged gifts - some doing so in the traditional manner emulating the Three Wise Men who presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus. Others will have done so for no other reason than it's what's done nearing the close of another year.
A New Year is upon us and resolutions will be made. Perhaps this is a good time for everyone in Ireland, and in particular those who have been elected to govern, to discover what gifts they carry from God and if those gifts are being delivered as intended by the sender?
Perhaps unfortunately, messengers and/or gift bearers, have also been gifted with free will and quite often they chose to serve mammon rather than God.
This is most obvious when we consider a cruel fact that the wealth of just 85 persons exceeds the total wealth of 3,500 million of the Earth's poorest people.
Totally overlooked, in a society that is no longer God-orientated, is the fact that over 2,000 years ago God sent a present, or gift, to all humankind in the form of His Son, Jesus.
It can be said, without fear of contradiction, that this one person's enormous impact on the world has never been equalled by any other person, regardless of their achievements.
All He did in the final three years of his life on Earth was to encourage us to be charitable to one another, perhaps by each working for the common good of all humankind and by doing so reaping the reward of eternal life after death.
For bringing that message to humankind He was sentenced to death by a mob.
Fortunately, we don't all have to prematurely die to deliver our God-given gifts to humankind.
Humanity fails to recognise the fact that God, despite not making His presence visible, has always been active sending messages and gifts carried by every single baby that exists in a mother's womb and is then born, and that includes you, dear reader.
Perhaps this New Year, whether you believe or disbelieve in God, you could ponder on what message, or gift, you bear for humankind and resolve to play your part to the full?
Dundrum, Dublin 14