Letters: Gaelic football fans the real losers in dull All-Ireland final
If Sunday's fare in Croke Park is a forerunner of what we can expect in next year's All-Ireland football final then I can only suggest there will be no shortage of tickets for anyone.
I feel truly sorry for all players who played in this year's final. They were confined to orders not to express their skills and talents, which I have no doubt they have in abundance. However, it appears there is now a law of win-at-all-costs. It doesn't matters if what they serve up to their loyal fans is boring and a step nearer to what is played in the soccer world.
The song about building a wall around Donegal almost happened on the pitch on Sunday. All we were short of was the blocks and mortar in the middle of the pitch so that each team could kick the ball over the wall at selected intervals.
It's sad when the only exciting memory of this fiasco of a final was the unfortunate mistake made by the Donegal goalkeeper which allowed the Kerry forward a free shot into the net.
GAA fans deserve better than this - and county boards better wake up and instruct their managers that the game is meant to be played for the enjoyment of the fans. If this kind of football continues it wont be long before people think twice about paying for something they can do at home for free - and that is to fall asleep.
Fred Molloy, Dublin 15
Paisley a man of contrasts
Tributes to Ian Paisley have tended to define him in terms of numerous deliberately-ambiguous characteristics. These are driven by the Irish injunction not to speak ill of the dead.
For instance, the claim that Paisley was a man of conviction implies that this was a virtue. To have unmovable conviction is often an indication of pathological inability to see beyond one's own beliefs.
Ian Paisley was determined to keep the Catholics at bay, colluding in depriving them of basic rights, particularly equality of treatment.
He was steadfast in his determination to have no truck with Irish nationalists, particularly the IRA.
His thunderous rabble rousing declaration, "Never! Never! Never" was chilling in the determination to perpetuate the injustices that defined life for so many in the North.
Paisley was the chief influence in sustaining the radical antipathy between the Protestant and Catholic communities.
It was his determination not to budge one inch from the Protestant supremacy in the North that eventually led to the violence that marked the life of the region for years.
Attempts to bring together the warring parties were frustrated by each side desiring to fire the last shot. There seemed to be no hope of mutual forgiveness of the wrongs of the past.
Shakespeare's Mark Anthony said: "The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones", but the good that Ian Paisley did will live after him; in the end, he saw that if we want closure on the dark history of the North we have to be prepared to forgive and seek reconciliation with those we have learned to despise.
It is a strange irony that Ian Paisley showed us that way; like his God, he worked in mysterious ways.
Philip O'Neill, Oxford, England
Time to help out the poor
To tax or not to tax!
Average citizens don't fully understand the tax system. I know that from long experience.
Between direct tax on wages and indirect tax example vat, surcharges, fuel excises, and tax on new homes Ireland collected over €37 billion in 2013.
Dr Michael Collins, senior researcher with the Nevin Institute, has completed a comprehensive study of the tax system in Ireland by gathering and analysing information from regular household surveys, CSO figures and data from the Department of Finance. His key findings were that people on middle income pay the least amount of tax while those on the bottom and top income pay the most tax.
Startling as it may seem our direct income tax is progressive, while our indirect is regressive.
Politicians are trying to make a case for tax relief for the "squeezed middle" earners. This is a myth. Citizens on low income need tax relief and waivers if society is not to pick up the tab further down the line in the shape of homeless, poverty, and illness.
Many on low income have slipped into poverty in the last six years, they are struggling to maintain some semblance of pride and dignity while trying to eat regularly and keep the bills paid. There are other, better ways of collecting tax.
Tax is critical for the operation of a democratic civil society. Ireland's leaders need to ensure the poor do not suffer by indirect tax.
Dermot Hayes, Ennis, County Clare
Who wants to be a billionaire? It's the most lucrative position in the world, with just three recorded in Ireland - though I'm of the opinion I could name five off the cuff!
The number of billionaires around the world in 2014 remains static since last year at 2,325 - surely a rare species! Europe is the place to be if you're one of this select group, according to a new report carried out by Wealth X and UBS (Irish Independent September 19).
More billionaires - 775 - live in Europe than any other continent on Earth; most of them reside in the UK and Germany. North America is the second-most popular continent, with 609. Their total global wealth is $7,291 trillion.
It was also of note in the report that the fastest-growing segment of the billionaire fraternity - in terms of wealth and source - are those who inherited only part of their fortune and became billionaires through their own entrepreneurial endeavours.
Most of the fortunes were made in finance, banking and investment. This professional species are thin on the ground here, leaving endless opportunities for bright young Irish sparks of the future. In the process, they would create a real employment boom.
James Gleeson, Thurles, Co Tipperary
Health service is ailing
Last Wednesday my brother-in-law was taken by ambulance to Tallaght Hospital A&E unwell and in a distressed condition.
Thirty-three hours later a bed became free and he was admitted.
He spent almost half that period lying on a trolley in the hallway of the busy A&E department while the clearly over-worked staff did their best to attend to patients.
I'd be surprised if the intolerable situation is not replicated in other under-funded and under-staffed hospitals across the country.
At the same time as this deplorable state of affairs continues the Government is hinting at tax cuts in the upcoming Budget - a vote-grabbing stroke if ever there was one.
The leopard clearly hasn't changed its spots, despite protestations from the political class that auction politics are a thing of the past. Finance Minister Michael Noonan would better serve the country if he forsook the tax cuts bribe and put any money he has to spare into the desperately-needy hospital front-line services and provide beds for sick.
Frank Khan, Templeogue. Dublin 16