Letters to the Editor: 'Time to rethink backstop'
Sir - Every time I hear Leo Varadkar or Simon Coveney pontificate about the welfare of the nationalist community in Northern Ireland, it sends a shiver up my spine.
Yes, it's good that he gives succour to nationalists who live and ply their trade across the Border - but the current instability caused by the approaching storm of Brexit is of such an existential dimension that the Taoiseach's full attention must focus on the workers and people in this jurisdiction.
There is no time left for grandstanding. He must swallow his pride and act in the best interests of our economy. In plain language, he must be prepared to re-negotiate the terms of the backstop, if that is what's needed.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
In this respect, he must enlist the help of his European allies and do whatever it takes to save our bacon.
He will get only one shot at this. The UK will not always be governed by raving Brexiteers. Its people have been duped by weak leaders. The UK will rise from the debacle that is currently unfolding in Westminster. We cannot afford to lose such a long-standing ally. Making a play for the green vote on the question of 'where stands the nationalist community in Northern Ireland' will not keep the wheels of commerce ticking over in this jurisdiction.
You are Taoiseach of Ireland, Mr Varadkar. Therein lies your remit!
Killester, Dublin 5
Stevie Wonder: life, love, music
Sir - It was a privilege and an honour to see Stevie Wonder in Dublin last week. Apart from being a lot of fun, Stevie sent a strong message to the world about life, love and music.
It was a great performance - and yet Stevie must have a kidney transplant at the end of September. Just thought I'd let you know, in case anyone else is facing such a scenario.
Lackenalooha, Co Cork
Lost generation of smart-phone users
Sir - I usually buy your paper for the sports (though I don't always agree with Joe Brolly and Colm O'Rourke). However, I was taken by a piece by O'Rourke in another section of your paper - on the "lost generation of smart- phone users".
I agree that in 20 years' time this smart-phone generation may be unable to form healthy long-term relationships.
I have seen many changes in my lifetime and possibly the greatest change is the internet.
These changes have in the main been for the good. However there is a darker side. I sometimes grow angry and depressed the powers that be fail to recognise this as one of the greatest social evils of our day. But then I become hopeful and optimistic that, as in the past, some social reformer may emerge to give us leadership.
However in the light of Leo's knee-jerk comments about "sinning priests" it seems unlikely that leadership will come from the politicians.
Carlingford, Co Louth
A superb reflection on taking a dip
Sir - The recent letter from Billy Ryle on the joys of sea swimming on these long summer days was a super reflection on nature.
Glenageary, Co Dublin
Health service failure is a national disgrace
Sir - Once again our health system makes headlines for the wrong reasons.
CervicalCheck not sending results of over 800 women and blaming an IT issue is a national disgrace after all the previous problems women in Ireland have encountered with screening and results. It clearly is a case where the system is not just broken but was never that soundly solid in the first place where our women's health is concerned!
Kilcoole, Co Wicklow
GAA guests all the way from Australia
Sir - I attended the finals of Feile Peil na nOg, played at various venues in Mayo two weekends ago, and was stunned by how far the GAA has spread its wings.
A perusal of the lists of finalists shows that the Feile is a true international competition. We had teams from south London, New York, north London, Hertfordshire, western Australia and Gloucestershire.
There were probably other teams from faraway places who exited in earlier rounds. I know San Francisco competed in previous years. Bringing an Under 14 team from western Australia is some achievement, and can I salute all concerned?
Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire
Women footballers a credit to game
Sir - Now that the USA has claimed the top slot, can I say what a treat it was to see the Women's World Cup played in such a sporting manner.
Players did not surround and abuse the referee if they did not agree with her decisions. They did not fall on the ground with the least touch. They did not try to get their opponents sent off at every available opportunity. And they did not roll around on the ground in apparent mortal agony when fouled.
Hopefully their male counterparts will take note.
Cleveragh, Listowel, Co Kerry
Smoky towns are a risk to our health
Sir - Smoky coal is ruining the health of rural towns, so said Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley.
Apparently a ban on burning coal was introduced in 1990, in Dublin and extended gradually to urban areas.
Now pollution is worse in rural towns than cities.
We, a small group of casual walkers have been on about this very same subject for years.
It is prevalent in winter, especially on foggy nights when the black acrid smoke can be seen and smelt, and whatever else people burn at night .
Richard Bruton, who is seemingly against all previous advice and analysis, has now decided to reject an extension of the ban. Obviously Richard is not living in a town like Mallow. His excuse is that there are certain legal challenges from some companies.
Let us have a guess at who those companies are, and why are they more important than people's health?
I just wonder if people in Mallow and other rural towns, people affected by asthma and other serious respiratory illnesses filed some legal challenges to Richard's office, might he suddenly become very health-conscious, and decide that people should come before profits.
Mallow, Co Cork
I'm switched on to my newspaper
Sir - While making a short bus trip the other day I felt a bit out of place. I was reading a newspaper, while a few fellow passengers, male and female, young and not so young, were staring into their mobile phones.
Although a regular user of the internet via a laptop, I have refused to become addicted to social media and am not on Facebook or any of its equivalents.
In contrast, a daily newspaper is part of my staple diet and pleasure is gained from going through the pages of same.
Navan, Co Meath
Take responsibility for medication
Sir - I refer to Dr Maurice Gueret's article in Life magazine (Sunday Independent, July 7) in which he notes that "Ireland plans very well for some emergencies, while not planning at all for others".
I have worked in pharmacy for 35 years and in recent years have seen a huge increase in the lack of responsibility by patients for their own medication. Longer pharmacy opening hours seem to have made people even more complacent about essential medication. Since the advent of pharmacies providing a prescription collection and delivery service, it has become even more evident.
If somebody suffers from a chronic condition, especially one which could prove life-threatening, surely they or their carer should shoulder the responsibility for having sufficient stock of their medication to hand.
There was ample notice of bad weather in the days leading up to the storm which Dr Gueret mentions, with plenty time for people to procure essential medications.
In the pharmacy where I worked - we went to work that morning to get the deliveries out to patients before trying to battle our way home in hazardous conditions at great peril to ourselves.
It is so very sad to think that somebody died a possibly preventable death, so please, please make certain that you always have an inhaler, or in the case of severe allergies, an EpiPen on your person.
Old Mallow Road, Cork
Sky-high prices see sports fans lose out
Sir - On Saturday, July 6 my wife and I had the pleasure of attending my nephew's wedding in Tyrrellspass, Co Westmeath.
The wedding had a Kildare/ Westmeath/ Galway connection, and naturally we were all looking forward to seeing some part of the Mayo/ Galway match.
There are four public houses in this very pleasant village - so that seemed a simple task.
However once we inquired, it turned out that due to the high cost of installing Sky, it was not practical for these businesses to have the service.
So the Galway guests were disappointed (though the result didn't help either).
The GAA is always telling us how the game is all about the grassroots - but what about a small village like Tyrrellspass? For it is a place whose youth and elderly will never see GAA matches if this trend continues.
Newbridge, Co Kildare
'Fidelity to nation' can't be ignored
Sir - The disclosure of a plan to potentially repatriate Lisa Smith raises serious questions about the State's obligations to renegade citizens.
Ireland's Constitution (Article 9(3)) states that "fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens", and one must question the compatibility of Lisa Smith's citizenship with her decision to align herself with the so-called Islamic State.
Furthermore, Article 9 (1(2)) states that the "loss of Irish nationality and citizenship shall be determined in accordance with the law", and Ireland's leaders should reflect upon their sworn commitment to uphold the Constitution, and preserve the sanctity of citizenship, by enacting appropriate legislation to revoke the citizenship of individuals who abdicate their constitutionally enshrined duties as citizens.
Cape Town, South Africa
Single serves a real advantage
Sir - Does anyone know why there are two serves in tennis? I believe matches would be more exciting and have longer rallies if there was one serve. This would also reduce the advantage of power serve and volley.
Confey, Leixlip, Co Kildare
Racing hero Piggott should be honoured
Sir - As a nation, Ireland is recognised the world over for involvement in racing at the highest level. We were recently given a demonstration of the highest quality of our trainers, horses, jockeys, and supporting staff at Royal Ascot (aka the Queen's back garden).
In an interval during the racing, Lester Piggott was interviewed and a sculpture unveiled in his honour.
Lester, you will remember, was once dubbed the housewives' favourite. He was then found guilty of a crime and did the time. He took full blame. But doing his time did not satisfy the establishment so his OBE was taken from him. A cruel blow.
Through history and right up to the present day, high-ranking people have committed more heinous crimes without suffering the hardship he has suffered.
I believe that the racing fraternity, from top to the bottom, should lobby in any way they can for his honour to be restored as soon as possible.
There are many people involved in deciding who gets honoured but the Queen has the final rubber stamp.
Lester Piggott is a legend and should be cherished not victimised. The time has come for full forgiveness. By the way, I have never met Lester Piggott.
Government backs insurance rip-offs
Sir - Having noticed how the Green Party excelled in the recent elections in both Ireland and Europe, it would appear that they are all waking up to the realisation that climate change is getting out of control at a rapid pace. David Attenborough's recent speech seems to have hit the spot when he told us that even civilisation, as we know it, is in grave danger of extinction.
But how far will our Government go to incentivise people to do their little bit for the environment?
As for me, within the last couple of weeks, I took it upon myself to trade-in my relatively new diesel car, for the sake of the environment, and replaced it with a hybrid model which uses electricity and little petrol when driven properly.
Imagine my surprise when, on changing my insurance, the company not only did not reward me, but punished me by slapping on almost a third of the premium I had already paid for renewal in May. When I queried the extra charge, all I got was 'blah, blah, blah, it is not a full electric car, it has a stronger engine and is a more expensive vehicle'.
I am a man of more than three score and 10 years and my days of speeding are past - but still I got no soot out of them.
I just cannot imagine what it would have cost if I had traded in a hybrid for a diesel car, probably an extra €1,000? It seems to be a win-win situation for the insurance companies. Haven't they a lame duck Government sheltering them?
James JJ Heslin,
Keenagh, Co Longford
Great Zorro story captured my heart
Sir - I just wanted to say thank you to Liam Collins for his lovely article in last week's Sunday Independent about "Zorro of the Liffey".
He captured the life of Gerard Dowling and gave a very sensitive and heartfelt tribute to this truly unique individual. I finished reading with a tear in my eye and a prayer on my lips for his gentle soul.
Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan
Dublin two-team loyalty dilemma
Sir - All this talk in GAA circles about splitting Dublin in two is all very fine. But which 'Dublin' team will we cheer for in the final?
Swords, Co Dublin