Madam – I see that a Dutch company is seeking volunteers "from all the nations" for a planned trip to Mars. It envisages the planet being colonised and populated in the not too distant future.
Could this be the solution to our own employment problem, and a way to relieve the effects of austerity?
The company involved in the Mars One initiative has cautioned that anyone travelling would have to say goodbye to all their family and friends. Well, that would come naturally to a lot of us, emigration having proved such a friend to the Live Register and to the reputations of politicians.
Ireland's Mars Pathway to Work Scheme would have to be compulsory of course because you'd always get the malingerers that the Government never tires of reminding us are "out there" busily conniving to avoid work. Anyone unwilling to take up this opportunity to alleviate the unemployment crisis could be assessed by a panel comprising six psychiatrists, a social welfare inspector, and a garda.
There would be a few downsides, naturally, but we'd take those in our stride. The air isn't great, but could it be any worse than the air of desperation that pervades our own fair land? It's a barren landscape, they say... but after years of austerity could it be any more daunting than our own bleak horizons? Solar winds will lash you up there, we're told. We'll survive that too, having endured the icy winds of recession blowing around our ankles for years.
Wouldn't it be great to be able to look through your telescope at the Red Planet of an evening, and know that there really are little green men and women living, and more importantly, working, up there?
John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny