This election has taken on a jaded feel. Like ploughed ground being tilled again for the umpteenth time with the same old chestnuts of health, housing, childcare, rural decline and all the other topics that have been around for decades. You cannot blame a cynical electorate for the old refrain that "they're all the same".
Yet the population at large must share the blame for the stagnation, for it is they who elect them.
Ireland at heart is a deeply conservative country when it comes to economics.
As a people we pride ourselves on being generous, but at heart we are capitalist to the core. We hold private property as sacred.
Home ownership and land is to be fought for, and retained by long loans and hardship and should never be a human right handed to those less fortunate, who fail to meet the criteria.
Healthcare, as well, is not something you should be able to walk in off the street and access. It's something that can be bought if you have the means.
As for education, that can be bought too depending on your salary, post code, and connections, and so on.
The key to any change in this country lies with the young. They look at the landscape and see themselves shut out of the dignities of human existence.
Politicians can't change everything. However, politicians who are given a mandate to fundamentally deconstruct our casual view of inequality could make a start. It would possibly involve some constitutional reform, and again the young have showed they are not afraid to slay sacred cows.
The older generation in this election should look in the mirror, and ask themselves whether Ireland in 2020 is a just and equal place, and should vote for those candidates who might make it more just.
Those who entered the GPO over a hundred years ago envisaged an Ireland of fairness and equality.
Let's remember and honour them next Saturday by electing candidates with a similar vision.
Dooen Glebe Newmills, Co Donegal
Comparison to 1950s Irish was medically inaccurate
I read with interest your article entitled "1950s Irish were much more attractive than today's generation due to healthier diet: top doctor" (Irish Independent, January 30).
This piece clearly and unapologetically equates attractiveness with health.
It assumes erroneously that an "elegant" picture of our slender ancestors somehow provides information regarding their cardiovascular health, nutritional status, incidence of disease and life expectancy.
In the era of social media, aesthetic appearance is often used as a proxy for health and wellness by those seeking to profit from our insecurities.
As a doctor, the medical inaccuracy of this comparison is glaringly obvious.
For a teenager reading this piece in search of accurate information on healthy eating, or an adult struggling with body image, this inaccuracy, especially when coming from a healthcare professional, might not be.
We live in a society which, despite efforts by many, has a very narrow definition of what is "attractive" - a body shape attainable for reality stars and those who post heavily filtered photographs on social media.
We must be more aware of the pressure these sort of statements place on people to conform to body ideals which are damaging to both physical and psychological wellbeing.
Instead we should focus on promoting a balanced diet (which should not contain tripe), encouraging moderate exercise and rejecting the toxic diet culture which promotes the pursuit of "attractiveness" and unattainable body goals for profit. This is the antithesis of health.
Dr Niamh Hogan
Deaf and disabled voters demoralised by election
I wish to express my deep disappointment at the apparent lack of respect for my beloved Irish Sign Language (ISL) among the political parties during this General Election campaign.
I cannot help but notice on social media that deaf and disabled voters feel obliged to remind the political parties of their responsibilities to our communities at this time, that is to ensure elector accessibility.
A few days ago, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government instructed disabled electors to inform them if their polling station is not accessible in order to allow them to transfer their vote to an alternative venue.
On February 8, myself and other members of the deaf community will have to cast our vote having had little or no access to party manifestos or access to individual candidate plans and policies.
Despite the enactment of the Irish Sign Language Act in 2017 and ratification of the UN Convention of Rights for Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2018, no party has translated their campaign material into ISL, and other accessible formats are being ignored or sidelined also.
Intentional or not, these actions are contrary to Articles 9 and 29 of the CRPD, which call on the State to ensure that political participation and political-related information are fully accessible for both deaf/hard of hearing electors, and the population of disabled electors.
More than that, the situation for deaf and disabled voters can only be described as demoralising: carry out your own accessibility assessment of the polling station in advance or risk not being able to exercise your democratic right (and duty); pester parties and candidates for information you can understand or risk having to pick who you want to represent you at the highest level of political life based on a few slogans, or worse again, a logo, or even a photo.
As civil rights activist Anita Hall once said: "We've got to understand that all disenfranchised people have something in common... the pursuit of justice really is about equality for everyone."
Dr John Bosco Conama
Oldcourt Road, Dublin
We must never forget the real meaning of horror
In the week in which we marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I would like to share some thoughts.
I visited Auschwitz and Birkenau a short time ago.
I stood on the lookout tower overlooking the vast camp of Birkenau. At one stage I was alone, the tourists had rambled off. I imagined armed guards all around me. I could nearly smell them smoking. I imagined a goods train pulling in not so far from my view. Guards shouting. Dogs barking. Kapos and guards bellowing, woman and children to the left and men to the right.
Now I'm just imagining my three daughters and grandchildren.
One daughter with two beautiful children aged five and two, girl and boy respectively.
Her husband a fine fit man. My eldest daughter a single mother with a five-year-old beautiful boy.
My youngest daughter (just married) with her six-foot-four-inch fine, fit husband.
Within an hour my girls and grandchildren will definitely be brutally murdered. The two husbands will probably be put on work detail until they are no more.
We must live for today, but let us never forget the real meaning of horror.
Man's inhumanity to man and more so, woman and beautiful children.
Address with editor
Bailout means there are no repercussions for FAI
People are furious that the FAI has been bailed out with taxpayers' money to the tune €20m.
The raison d'etre for the FAI and its mission statement may all be very laudable.
However, it should have been let fold and a new entity to promote football emerge from the ashes once the old management structure had been totally and utterly purged.
Where is the accountability here? Where are the repercussions for those who brought about these circumstances?
They will be back looking for more, and meanwhile we will still have 82-year-old ladies eating their dinner standing from a plastic container on a window ledge on our capital city's main thoroughfare on a cold January evening.
This is not an Ireland for all it would seem, but this seems that it is the ordinary persona future we can all look forward to.
Use your vote wisely!
Malahide Road, Dublin 17