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Letters to the Editor: EU needs a trade deal with Britain and won't be denied by Border issues

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Brexit talks: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during a EU summit in Brussels. Image: AP

Brexit talks: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during a EU summit in Brussels. Image: AP

Brexit talks: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during a EU summit in Brussels. Image: AP

Britain is Germany's biggest car market. Approximately one out of every seven cars manufactured in Germany is sold in Britain. When the chips are down, Ireland would be very naive to think a lucrative market like Britain will be put in jeopardy because of rash promises regarding the Irish Border made at a time the EU was using every trick possible to dissuade Britain from leaving.

Agreements made at the end are far better than those made or promised at the beginning of negotiations. Because Britain imports substantially more than it sells into the single market, the EU will ensure Brexit will be quickly followed by a trade deal ensuring trade passes easily through border checks, regardless of where that border is located. Car workers in Germany need the British market, and a few hundred kilometres of Irish Border is not going to deny them.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry, Co Sligo

I started college in 1977. In school, I loved English, so I chose English archaeology, geography and sociology, though to be honest I had not much of a clue what it was all about back then.

Then one morning this guy called Michael D Higgins bounces into our classroom.

I would have to say he opened my then 17-year-old head to the world, making all of us passionate about social justice.

What drove me to write this letter was that amid all the impossible election demands, and despite chasing around the country for his campaign, Michael D still found the time to visit UCHG (the regional hospital) to visit a friend of mine who is in coronary care in Galway this week.

That is the kind of man he really is.

Margaret McCarrick

Devon Gardens, Galway

President made me proud with his dogged praise

As a Paralympian, I know what it is like to devote yourself to representing your country.

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My sport is not a hobby, you don't just turn up and win a medal in the discus. When you are representing Ireland, it takes a lifetime of commitment to get there.

This summer, the Irish Para Athletics team were competing at the European Championships in Berlin.

As mainstream media were paying scant attention to us, I tweeted our daily results, #unofficialreporter. Suddenly I was reporting on my own success, winning gold for Ireland.

As the congratulations messages made their way to me, the one that I was most proud to receive was from President Michael D Higgins.

I replied on Twitter, saying "anytime Miggledy hope the dogs are keeping well".

Some thought I was making a cheeky joke.

In fact, it was a recognition that the President had welcomed me and other Paralympians to Áras An Uachtaráin as his guests, where obviously I got to meet the famous dogs and have the photo to prove it.

Niamh McCarthy

Carrigaline, Co Cork

Age must be a factor for highest office in the land

I HAVE received notification that my driving licence is due for renewal. Being over 70, I must furnish a medical report to enable me to obtain a renewed driving licence.

This contrasts with a man we are about to elect (without a medical report) to the highest office in the land.

He will be more than 80 years of age less than halfway through his term in office.

An Irish solution for an Irish problem.

Daniel Clancy

Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare

Our anti-blasphemy law is essential to democracy

THE offence of blasphemy, which is the subject of Friday's referendum, only applies where someone "intends" to be "grossly abusive" to believers.

We ask our teenagers to use social media responsibly because words and images can be deliberately used destructively.

This law - passed in 2009 - merely mirrors the values expressed in countless anti-bullying policies up and down the country.

At a communal level, we know from the bitter lessons of history, be it centuries of anti-Jewish rhetoric to the defamation of the Yazidi religion by Isil, that such vitriol sets the scene for frightful horrors.

Furthermore, at state level, where laws do not provide an objective definition of the 'offence of blasphemy' and a means of resolving grievances in accordance with the 'rule of law', extremists fill the void - compare the cases of Asia Bibi in Pakistan, and that of 'Charlie Hebdo' in Paris.

Right across Europe, anti-blasphemy laws work unobtrusively to protect people from being undermined and marginalised because of their religion. They are essential in any functioning democracy.

Ours is particularly exemplary and ought to be vigorously promoted worldwide.

The Stephen Fry incident - intended to discredit the law - showed how vexatious complaints are dismissed almost instantly.

I will be voting No.

Gearoid Duffy

Lee Road, Cork City

Let's remove the law as a battleground in Republic

The blasphemy law is a direct impediment to freedom of thought and speech.

The intellectual clarity of the late Christopher Hitchens must not be suppressible by the courts.

The response of public intellectuals towards Christian denominations is different than towards Islam.

The reason of self-preservation is obvious.

Developments in the sciences have changed the very foundations of argument.

Religions have proven very dangerous to the lives of millions over millennia. Let's remove the law as a battleground in the Republic.

Remove blasphemy from the Constitution.

Professor Bill Tormey

Glasnevin Avenue, Dublin 11


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