Letters to the Editor: Carter's intervention over prostitution law is ill judged
The letter by former US President Jimmy Carter to the Taoiseach and members of the Oireachtas urging the Government to criminalise the purchaser of sexual services but not the seller is an almost unprecedented intervention in the internal affairs of another country.
It says that Ireland should take a lead, which would inspire others to follow. It is highly significant that the letter was written at the prompting of the Immigrant Council, which has been relentless in driving the campaign.
The intervention of Mr Carter, though well motivated, is ill-judged. Ireland should be allowed to make decisions on its own laws without outside interference, which is all too common today.
The argument has been repeatedly made that trafficking for sexual purposes and prostitution are two separate things. This country has stringent laws on trafficking and the authorities have reported a decline in numbers of trafficked persons for all purposes from 2010 through to 2012.
The further claim that the so-called Swedish Model would "prove to be an extremely effective deterrent" is not supported by the evidence. Indeed, two Nordic countries have rejected the Swedish Model after extensive investigation: Denmark in November 2012 and Finland earlier this year. According to the Danish report, "a criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services will most likely not have any actual effects on the reduction of prostitution in Denmark because a ban on the purchase of such services will be extremely difficult for the police to enforce."
Moreover, the PSNI, in a report to the Stormont Assembly, questioned its value also: "Recent PSNI experience and investigations in Sweden have highlighted concern that significant levels of trafficking and prostitution still exist despite the introduction of legislation to criminalise the purchase of sexual services". It states baldly, "The majority of prostitution within Northern Ireland is through independent prostitutes who are not trafficked or controlled by organised crime groups".
Ultimately, this is a debate about freedom: the freedom of consenting adults to make decisions about their private lives.
David Walsh, Maynooth, Co Kildare
David and Goliath at Croke Park
In light of Donegal's progress to not one but two All-Ireland Football Finals this September, it is time that the notion of dividing the county into two is given active consideration to give the rest of us a chance.
Congratulation Donegal, you were the best team on the day and no complaints, but you do get my point...
Brendan O'Murchu, (Hurting Dublin Supporter), Blackrock,Co Dublin
It's hard to put into words what happened in Croke Park on Sunday, so I will leave it to Jim McGuinness's lovely sister, Noreen, who sent the following text to my wife and I, on her way home after the match: "It was a day that dreams are made of. A proud Donegal supporter on the way home".
Well, to me, that just said it all, like all the many proud Donegal supporters, a very proud sister, who was so proud of her wonderful brother, who along with his wonderful team, was without doubt "the David that slew Goliath" against all the odds.
Brian McDevitt, Glenties, Co Donegal
Israeli action is not a land grab
I wish to take issue with the article by Robert Fisk regarding Israel's "land grab" (Irish Independent, September 2). Really? Firstly, it's a housing project in Judea and Samaria, not a settlement in the West Bank.
Secondly, it is not Palestinian land. There is no such thing until there is a Palestine. There is no Palestine because the Arab League doesn't want one. All the Arabs want is to rid the neighbourhood of the infidel state of Israel. The Palestinian Arabs, both Hamas and Fatah, have no independent capacity to act, nor do they want to live in peace alongside the Jewish state.
If they wanted a new Arab state next to Israel, they could have had it in 1948, 1967, 1973, and when former US President Bill Clinton, and former Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Olmert made proposals, but they don't want it. They are accustomed to the role of UN welfare bums.
So stop gnashing your teeth over the poor so-called Palestinians. If they wanted a country, they'd sign a peace treaty with Israel and set up internationally recognised borders within which they could build as they wished, and so could the Israelis, and they would have to forgo the dream of destroying Israel.
By the way, this new plot of land Israel is planning for was considered by the Bush administration as an area Israel would keep in a peace deal. US President Barack Obama knows this.
Len Bennett, Montreal, Canada
Prayers in state schools
Why are state schools still saying prayers at the beginning of school each day?
Surely in a secular society this type of thing should be prohibited, especially when one considers the huge ethnic changes in population over the last 20 years?
Paul Doran, Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Media speculation in Ashya case
Whatever the motivation of the parents and family of young Ashya King to bring him abroad for treatment of his condition, the endless speculation in the media does little to help this desperately ill child, who cannot speak for himself.
Over the coming days, no doubt, there will be many who will come forward with opinions on the family, their beliefs, their lifestyle, the kind of cat they owned and what they had for breakfast. There will be accusations followed by sympathy and then accusations again.
Focus needs to be on the child. Whether there is a specialist somewhere in Europe who will come forward with the treatment he needs, or whatever the outcome may be, Ashya is the most important person here. May he live to tell the tale.
Marguerite Doyle, Santry, Dublin
Scourge of Ebola is a global issue
Your report on the dreadful Ebola outbreak is informative for several reasons. First, the outbreak is the world's foremost health problem at the current juncture.
As the virus continues to ravage some parts of West Africa, it is important to remember that the virus first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease derives its name. But what makes the recent outbreak so serious and so severe is not only its geographical distribution over huge swathes of land which have been racked by civil war, and overwhelmed by disease, despair, destitution, overpopulation and mounting foreign debt, but also the severe shortages of healthcare facilities, which are either severely disrupted or largely destroyed.
Most healthcare facilities there lack running water, electricity and essential equipment, and healthcare workers with adequate protective equipment who are trained in infection control are in short supply.
Burial ceremonies where mourners come in contact with the deceased's body have been recognised as one of the main routes of virus transmission.
The disease is threatening to become a humanitarian crisis of international proportions if we do nothing to stop its transmission.
Hence the need for the emphasis on international health cooperation, the transference of modern technologies and top expertise and the categorical commitment of global political and medical authorities, engaging community participation, to deal with the scourge of the disease.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob, London, NW2