Letters to the Editor: We owe so much to men like Tommy Meehan and my father
I was very sorry to see that Irish WWII veteran Tommy Meehan had passed away at the age of 93, and while I never knew him personally, I feel we all owe so much to these men who gave so much for the freedom we enjoy today.
My father, Thomas Lucas from Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, is also an RAF WWII veteran who took part in the invasion of Normandy in 1944.
Originally from Fenagh in Co Carlow, he joined the Royal Air Force at the height of WWII in 1943.
He served in France, Germany and Belgium during the war and during his 22-year RAF career he was stationed at 28 different airbases worldwide.
He retired in 1968 and returned to his beloved Ireland.
He is now 94 and still in relatively good health and can still recall the night in Belgium when a bullet from an enemy sniper's rifle almost ended it all for him.
He was decorated with the France and Germany Star, the 1939-45 Star, the King George VI medal and the long service & good conduct medal. As his only son, I am still very proud of him and men like Tommy Meehan.
Terrorists draw on inequality
Movements such as Isil, Al Qa'ida, Hezbollah and Boko Haram emerge out of situations of socio-political inequality, deprivation and dissatisfaction which develop or are created.
Legitimate and peaceful requests, demands and movements for change, get hijacked by violent extremists, often backed and perhaps instigated by foreign governments and multinational companies with vested or projected interests in the region.
Convenient ideologies such as religion and nationalism are harnessed to gain wider support. Focus is thus distracted from the underlying cause of unrest on to the popular ideology.
In the current Middle East situation, focus is pointed towards Islam instead of towards the socio-political structure of the Middle East, which evolved or was created following the two world wars.
Nazism emerged from the humiliation of Germany's defeat in the First World War.
In Northern Ireland, the IRA campaign emerged from the situation of discrimination and inequality following the partition of Ireland. The legitimate and peaceful Civil Rights movement was hijacked by the Provisional IRA. Funding and support came from abroad, as it also did for the violent reaction from Loyalist paramilitary groups.
The lesson to be learned from terrorist atrocities is that such violence will continue until the underlying causes of discontent are addressed and rectified, and will recur unless such causes are foreseen and ameliorated.
To this end, foreign-national and multinational vested interests must be restrained or constrained and redirected towards the worldwide common good.
I wonder, are we all vicariously responsible for the phenomena of Isil, Al Qa'ida, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, Nazism, Fascism, IRA, INLA, UVF, UDA, UFF etc?
Strabane, Co Tyrone
It is still home of the free?
After lawmakers in the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to halt a programme aimed at resettling Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn homeland to the US, perhaps the people of France could respectfully request the return of the Statue of Liberty?
Gary J Byrne
IFSC, Dublin 1
'We'll be grand' is our policy
I wonder how the Minister for Defence and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces can be so confident of the ability of the Defence Forces to meet any potential terrorist threat to the country when they cannot be sure as to what form any threat might take.
One of the most likely threats would be that of a hijacked aircraft entering our airspace. Since the Air Corps doesn't have the radar to track a threat or any aircraft capable of intercepting one I suppose we would have to ask the RAF to bail us out. Again.
I get the impression that Irish defence policy is "Hope for the best, sure we'll be grand" and because we're neutral we don't require a properly resourced defence force.
Actually the opposite is true. All the other European neutrals - Sweden, Finland, Austria and Switzerland - can stand alone with properly equipped air forces. Their policy being a more realistic "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst". Sure we'll be grand - I doubt it.
Legal profession still scot free
It seems that the legal profession is set to continue on its very expensive merry way despite calls from the Troika and the Competition Authority to radically overhaul legal practices here.
The Troika, fully cognisant of high legal fees internationally, has looked askance at the scale of such costs in Ireland and has repeatedly and publicly demanded root and branch reform.
No less than 34 years of reports, commencing with the Restrictive Practices Commission in 1982, have consistently recommended full-blooded reforms and the result - after almost five years of a legal services bill going through Parliament - is that Minister Fitzgerald wants more reports!
One fatal flaw in the current system for ordinary citizens who find themselves having to avail of legal services is the division of the profession into two branches.
This ensures that a litigant must first go through a solicitor before seeing a barrister, who will advocate for him or her in court.
The potential for error in relaying ordinary communications involving two people is not unusual.
Consider the potential for such error when complex issues of fact are in play and a third party, or perhaps even more, is involved.
This egregious situation is left totally unaltered as is core areas of self (serving) regulation by the Law Society and the Bar Council.
It would appear that a rear-guard action by an entrenched vested interest has neutered any meaningful reform and the citizen, individually as litigant or potential litigant and collectively via their direct and indirect taxes, is again at a severe loss.
It is a dire situation that in a republic, (but Ireland, perhaps fittingly, is not even that in name) this state of affairs for a cosseted golden circle is set to continue.
In the meantime the hapless citizens await our elected law makers in the Dáil and Seanad to effect meaningful change.
The track record here is abysmal and the cost (to paraphrase a British politician referring to sex) is damnable.