Letters to the Editor: 'A salute to the women who make Christmas so special'
On behalf of all the men and children of Ireland, I would like to thank the women of Ireland for all the emotional and physical labour they put into making Christmas such an enjoyable occasion for all of us.
We’d be lost without them. It is worth remembering that, on events leading up to the first Christmas, St Joseph was also a very peripheral figure – he just led the donkey.
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Swords, Co Dublin
Consultants earn their corn and pay into the public purse
Eilish O’Regan (‘Doctors who can reject €96,196 pay rise highlight hurdles in drive for a one-tier system’, Irish Independent, December 20) documents consultant earnings. Admittedly the salary is ridiculously high, €250,000 with virtually no accountability (the leader of the country gets €185,000, which is an anomaly). This can be trebled with private practice – most of which is earned off-site.
However, any private practice in public hospitals generates multiples of that income through bed occupancy and subsidises the public system.
Depending on the specialty, it is impossible to get access to beds for elective work, eg orthopaedic surgery, and this will not change overnight unless we build a massive low-risk “elective” hospital. This is one of the main reasons for working off-site.
New consultants and new salary, with no private practice, without guaranteed beds, will sit around doing nothing and they won’t stick that for long, especially the surgeons.
When my overall income is divided by two after tax and taking into account the millions I generate for the public service, I cost the Government nothing. In fact, I am in positive balance, so I don’t feel bad about skiing with the part-time GPs.
Dr Michael Foley (retired obstetrician)
Rathmines, Dublin 6
Rejoining Commonwealth would shame our nation
Malcolm Byrne TD (‘United Ireland could celebrate The Twelfth and rejoin Commonwealth’, Irish Independent, December 18) suggests that in return for northern Unionists agreeing to a united Ireland, the Irish State might rejoin the Commonwealth and make July 12 a national holiday. British Commonwealth re-entry would lead to a role for the British monarch in the new all-Ireland state, perhaps even as joint head of state. The Irish State, for all its faults, is a democratic republic with a carefully crafted written Constitution, whereas Britain is a semi-feudal, caste-ridden monarchy with no written constitution.
Britain is also a military aggressor and predator on the global stage.
Also, how would Irish citizens react to the thought that their new joint head of state would be the commander in chief of the British armed forces, whose record in Ireland needs no retelling.
Malcolm Byrne’s proposal openly challenges the continued existence of the Republic of Ireland, separate from Britain.
A political taboo has been broken, so to speak.
The re-anglicisation of the State would once again bring about attitudes of subservience and servility among sections of our political and social elite. Britain, undoubtedly, would continue the practice of handing out gongs to selected Irish citizens in the form of knighthoods and other titles of ‘nobility’. We would be shamed once again.
Our relationship with our nearest neighbour must be based on our sovereignty and independence, not on whether we agree to return to the Commonwealth.
Irish separation from the embrace of the British polity and the existence of a republic are non-negotiable basic principles which underpin our post-colonial political ethos and identity.
Templeogue, Dublin 6W
Animal welfare must be a key factor in election campaigns
It has been a mixed year for animal welfare. In June, the Government announced a phasing-out of fur farming, in response to a 20-year campaign against this nightmarish practice which involves the unnatural confinement and cruel gassing of mink.
However, this Christmas, hundreds of foxes will be hounded to exhaustion and death for sport, and provincial newspapers will connive in the ongoing cover-up of what this medieval practice really entails. Happy-clappy colour pieces will appear underneath bucolic pictures of red-jacketed people on horseback setting off from village squares, fronted by tail-wagging hounds.
But we never see pictures of the hunted animal having the skin ripped off its bones, or of a fox being dug out of its underground refuge to be thrown to the pack.
I hope the upcoming election yields a new crop of TDs who will give the animal kingdom a fair deal.
Callan, Co Kilkenny