Sir - So, after the non-launches of the non-party parties, where are "the new politics"?
Clearly Lucinda Creighton, (who will probably be around for the long haul in some form), will lead what can, on her terms, be only a niche 'fragment' party. If that.
Shane Ross wants to construct a deliberately unstructured non-party which will zealously never actually be part of governance. Or responsibility. But such an arrangement would ensure that government, (even in a time of economic crisis when executive decision and consistency are and will be essential), has to wheedle and bargain in the US mode to get every sub-clause through.
It's painfully obvious that the Coalition has run out of political elbow room.
The election has to be in or before April next year. But 'events' - by which I mean the capacity of this Kenny un-led Coalition to create accidents, and the evident tension between government partners - could change that date. A significant section of the population has lost confidence in our political culture - not just to tell it as it is, but to manage our politics and lead our society.
In the absence of common-sense leadership, some of those who are now exercising the very un-Irish right to march, have lost all sense of the realistic.
But most of these ordinary protesting citizens do not want fantasists - be they either of the latter-day Trotskyist variety or of the Sinn Fein brand.
They just want to live their lives and get on with things. (And they'd also like some of their grandchildren to remain living in Ireland.)
Some of us are sure that if a pragmatic social democratic party was on the electoral menu, it would have a coherent group of at least 20 TDs in the next Dail.
They might be able to bring some 21st Century reality into what will otherwise be a mess.
Maurice O'Connell, Tralee, Co Kerry
Sir- In Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman's well crafted and convincing article he places "slagging" in "an abusive area."Slagging has been defined as "the delicate art of teasing someone in such a fashion that they look forward to it."
Samuel Lover said: "A sense of humour keen enough to show a man his own absurdities, as well as those of other people, will keep him from the commission of all sins, or nearly all, save those worth committing."
There are people who, for whatever reason, are unable to take a slagging and they have a right to live too - but I believe they should be obliged to wear some form of badge proclaiming 'I can't take a slagging'.
Mattie Lennon, Blessington, Co. Wicklow
Sir- Clear correct use of language is a rarity in newsprint in Ireland these days. And so, the eloquence expressed by Mark Patrick Hederman in properly praising the individuality, uniqueness and nobility of President Michael D Higgins is comforting and justified.
John K Murphy, Wicklow Town, Co Wicklow
Sir - Well done to the Abbot of Glenstal. Mark Hederman, on his article on the personal insults aimed at our President.
It's not comedy, it's embarrassing, ignorant and insulting - and the imitator is no oil painting himself. President Higgins does a brilliant job in China representing Ireland. Only he could do it.
Mary Comerford, Carrick-On-Suir, Co Tipperary
Sir - I was very pleased to read the article by Mark Patrick Hederman in the Sunday Independent last week. He said everything that I had felt in relation to the ridicule of President Michael D Higgins.
I'm glad that the Abbot has succeeded in bringing this matter to public notice and calling it as it is, bullying!
It had nothing to do with freedom of speech but was mockery and ridicule of a person's appearance, and was an insult not just to the person but to the Office!
Berna Gordon, Cobh, Co Cork
Sir - On the day that 3.7 million people marched in support of satirists' inviolable right to lampoon, Abbot Hederman castigated comics for poking fun at our own President.
Notwithstanding the fate of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo, Abbot Hederman identified the real victim of satirical journalism: Je suis Michael D. It is a backward and elitist view that certain members of our society are above light-hearted scrutiny by virtue of the position they hold.
If anything, the President is unduly sheltered from the full rigour of media scrutiny and is afforded too much reverence in commentary and reportage.
Records related to Aras an Uachtarain are precluded from FOI. Oliver Callan has done us some service by shining a satirical spotlight on a matter that was not, or could not be, subjected to usual levels of scrutiny.
Abbot Hederman was wrong to imply that the parody of public figures in exalted office in Ireland is a recent phenomenon. When Sean T O'Kelly, another president of short stature, was preparing to throw in the ball in Croke Park, a supporter in the crowd shouted: "Cut the grass, we can't see the President!"
President Higgins is eloquent, compassionate, intelligent and urbane - but this shouldn't preclude him from the fearless work of satirists, the importance of which was recognised and celebrated by 3.7 million people in Paris last Sunday.
Darragh Mc Donagh, Oranmore, Co Galway