* Writing in the 'Weekend Review', Derek Davis articulated the sentiments of many older citizens when he wrote about 'fear' as the driver for maintaining private health insurance.
The comparison made by Davis between ageing people and old cars – both needing more maintenance – is a very apt description of the reality of ageing.
Paying what they see as 'protection money' to ensure timely access to properly resourced private health services is one way older people can reduce the sense of 'fear'.
Another emotion that can also be readily identified is anger. Anger at the deliberate targeting by the Government of those who continue to subscribe to private health insurance rather than rely on the under-resourced public system.
Of course, it is an easier option to target one segment of society in order to provide an imaginative stealth tax revenue stream, rather than tackle the failed entity that is the HSE.
Public health patients are charged at a rate of €80 per bed night, while privately insured patients are to be charged €800+ for the same bed night.
The privately insured patient can well carry the additional cost, what with their 'gold plated' health insurance plans.
The minister with responsibility argues that there is no justification for a rise in the cost of private health insurance as the increased charges will only cost an additional €30m.
But the service providers have estimated the increased cost at €130m. Where lies the truth?
Since 2009, the Government has deliberately targeted those of its citizens who choose to ensure ready access to the health services they may need, through private health insurance.
Pity the same Government has not shown a similar degree of determination and targeting at those whose responsibility it is to manage the provision of the hospital care needs of the population.
GREYSTONES, CO WICKLOW
* I would like to congratulate this wonderful lady Louise O' Keeffe on her successful case in the European Court of Human Rights which helped give recognition to children's rights. This is very personal to me, and I thank her with all my heart, for her determination and courage.
I do not remember one happy day of my school life. Most of my school childhood memories are of corporal punishment. The thing to remember is that any kind of childhood abuse, be it sexual or otherwise, remains with the child for the rest of their lives and makes it much more difficult to survive in life afterwards. You are, without doubt, a courageous and wonderful lady.
NAME AND ADDRESS
* In the recent 'less religion, more literacy/numeracy' debate, sometimes I get the impression that some people think maths is real and religion is airy fairy. When I was a boy, some days, instead of going to school, I went to the local livestock mart with my father. One day, he bought two heifer calves. He paid a good bit more for one than the other. Since then, I have never trusted that one plus one equals two. And on some mart days, my father never bought or sold a calf, but we never came home after buying or selling a negative number of calves, bull or heifer.
KILKENNY WEST, GLASSON, ATHLONE
* The papers on Monday reflected on the reality that Ireland's relationship with alcohol has taken another twist. The 'Neknominations' phase that has been gaining popularity amongst Irish youths has now taken the life of 19-year-old Jonny Byrne from Carlow, with 22-year-old DJ Ross Cummins also dying of an alcohol-related incident. But who is to blame?
I would attribute the blame to three factors: social media, lack of education and the Irish drinking culture. It is undeniable that without social media, a craze like this could not spread like wildfire. Youths need to be made aware of the dangers of social media and the Government needs to acknowledge the reality that cyber-bullying occurs on a daily basis.
KINSALE, CO CORK
* Isn't it telling that one former finance minister (deceased) could give €30bn overnight to save just one bank, while another (living) cannot even come up with €10m to bail out (literally) much of the citizenry of his own country? Apparently, the situation does not even warrant an emergency cabinet meeting. From my perspective, 1,500km away, that would be a "no-brainer''.
SAN PAWL IL-BAHAR, MALTA
* Why does RTE insist on treating viewers like idiots? I am referring to their latest failed venture into comedy where viewers are expected to watch so-called funnymen for almost two hours on programmes such as 'Next Week's News' and 'Trojan Donkey'.
I believe one of them has a slot at Vicar Street.
At least there you have a choice. Unfortunately viewers have no such choice except to reach for the remote control.
The only people who think the programme is funny are the panellists. I believe God created the world in seven days. Then, thankfully, he created the remote control.
RATHFARNHAM, DUBLIN 14
* Having moved to Ireland from California, I've never been able to understand the attitude to bus lanes.
In California they are known as HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes and are open to any vehicle carrying two or more occupants.
Sure, initially there were abuses, the most common being to carry an inflatable doll on the front passenger seat, but once the California Highway Patrol had copped on to this, the abuse was, er, deflated.
On the I-80 corridor into San Francisco, the HOV lanes require a minimum of three people per vehicle. However, at the suburb of Hilltop there is a Park 'n' Ride (eh, Dr Varadkar, where are the Dublin Park 'n' Ride sites?) where people queue to be picked-up by private cars thus making a complement of three and allowing use of the HOV lane, which in peak hours by-passes the toll booths of the Bay Bridge.
All very efficient.
Operational only at commute times, with the requisite number of occupants, the California HOV lanes are open to buses, coaches, taxis, limos, cars and motor-cycles, etc.
Why are there no such equivalents in greater Dublin?
BALLINDERRY SCHOOL HOUSE FOUR MILE HOUSE, ROSCOMMON
* Just when you thought it might be "safe to go back in the water" we now find that Kenny Egan is trading in his boxing gloves for a career in politics, while Mick Wallace (TD) might be moving in the other direction to a career in sport, as he has recently been togging out in a football jersey in the Dail.
The country may be falling apart but it's great entertainment!
KESHCARRIGAN, CO LEITRIM