Sunday 17 February 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Question is not what can the EU do for us, but what can we do for EU?'

TIES: An Irish tricolour flies next to an EU flag near the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Reuters
TIES: An Irish tricolour flies next to an EU flag near the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Reuters
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Elections to the European Parliament are due to be held this year and it is very important the electorate takes them seriously and focuses on the real issues that affect the community as a whole and vote only for candidates that have the interest of Europe at heart.

I have no doubt there will be maverick candidates running who will be there only as obstructive and negative forces trying to feed off  disgruntled or marginalised elements of the electorate.

The European Union is not perfect but then again, what is perfect for one section of the electorate is poison to another.

No reasonable person can deny our membership of the EU has been very good and has brought many benefits from an infrastructure, economic and cultural point of view.

It is now time to ask not what can Europe do for us, but what can we do for Europe?

I see some correspondents to this paper have a very negative view of Europe and seem to take the Brexiteers’ view, extolling the virtues of referendums as the only true democratic means of making decisions. Democratic decisions are only valid when taken by an informed and enlightened electorate, which rarely is the case.

During the UK’s referendum on whether or not to leave the EU, it was clear from listening to the ordinary voter that they were totally misinformed by false comments from high-profile Brexiteers and slogans painted on buses stating how all the money going to the EU could be transferred to NHS – all later to be exposed and admitted as lies.

Ignorance of the issue is no defence. Most countries in Europe do not use referendums as the means of making decisions and my experience to date makes this easy for me to understand.

One of Churchill’s famous comments was that “a five-minute conversation with the ordinary voter was the best argument you could make against democracy”.

The comments heard from the ordinary voter during the Lisbon referendum gives some credence to his assertion.

Paul Connolly
Co Kildare

Ireland is still the thorn in the side of the British

On Monday afternoon I watched the commemoration ceremony of the first Dáil, on RTÉ, coming from the Mansion House in Dublin.

At one stage I switched over to the BBC News channel to see what was happening in the House of Commons and Theresa May was being subjected to her by now commonplace drubbing by fellow MPs.

I wondered what would the people who sat in that first Dáil make of proceedings if they were alive today.

For the first time in the history of our nations, it could be argued that we have the upper hand in negotiations over Britain, backed up by the European Union.

How we play this card or, more specifically, if we are prepared to show flexibility on the backstop could determine the course of Brexit over the coming months and may have ramifications for years to come.

As long as Britain has a presence in part of our island, we will always be a thorn in its side. The “Irish question” rumbles on 100 years after that momentous day of January 21, 1919,

Tommy Roddy
Salthill, Co Galway

Dáil must stand up for Good Friday Agreement

A hundred years ago, Ireland declared its independence from Westminster. Dáil Éireann met for the first time in the round room at the Mansion House.

A challenging task greeted them, as it does now today to their successors.

Britain, amid its torrid, existential Brexit crisis, is now threatening to destabilise the Good Friday Agreement, with Theresa May offering up the backstop, of which she herself was architect, in order to appease the right wing of her party and the DUP.

Dáil Éireann and its leaders, just like those of yesteryear, need to remain resolute and strong and protect Ireland and her integrity. There can be no climbdown from our position. The Good Friday Agreement needs to be protected.

Killian Brennan
Malahide Road, Dublin

AI takes on a whole new meaning in countryside

Could driverless/autonomous cars give a new lease of life to the rural drinker? I joke not...

We are living in an age where rural Irish drinkers feel under attack and are experiencing a huge culture change. Isolation, loneliness and lack of social interaction are having a profound effect on country life.

There was a time when AI meant artificial insemination, which was a game-changer for small/medium-size farms (which either couldn’t afford or didn’t want to keep a stock bull).

They could get their cows in calf to a quality bull by using AI – a sort of Uber, high-speed, semen-delivery service.

“The times they are a-changing” – and nowadays AI means artificial intelligence which we are told could see us “driving” autonomous cars in the future.

Could this herald a joyous return by the rural drinker to his/her old merry ways without fear of breathalyser or prosecution? You can hardly be charged for drunk-driving a driverless car.

“Yes, guard, I was drinking, but I’m not actually driving... the car is...

“So, I’ll have the same again, sure haven’t I me postcode programmed into that fancy, new, smart car of mine...”

Pat O’Brien
Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare

Veganism simply a choice of what food’s good for us

To make it easier: in the traditional sense, vegan is not a ‘diet’!

It is just about choosing products that are better for you and your environment.

Eve Parnell
Dublin 8

Irish Independent

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