Losing medical cards means we are excluded from proper care
The cancellation of our medical cards has made it clear to my wife and I that the onset of major illness, necessitating hospitalisation or expensive medication to be paid for in full, would unquestionably be beyond our means.
This fact, I suggest, could only be readily apparent to any authority or authorities entrusted in examining our financial situation.
In an examination of pensioners over 70 years of age, if you hold a medical card and your income is above a stipulated ceiling, then you forfeit your right to retain the card or cards.
The combined income of my wife and myself is above the ceiling in question to such a limited degree that in the event of serious illness we would be faced with exclusion from appropriate care and, indeed, hospitalisation.
This would be to face exclusion, in the words of eminent anthropologist and author Claude Levi-Strauss, "from the universe of human obligations".
This is not an uncommon experience in these days of The New World Order.
Mullingar, Co Westmeath
Free our GPs from Fempi cuts
General practice could substantially shorten our ever-increasing hospital waiting lists, as published by the National Treatment Purchase Fund, if given the resources to develop and expand.
Right now, Irish general practice, the foundation of our health service, is on its knees because of the drastic financial cuts inflicted by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (Fempi).
Additionally, conditions of service under the existing medical card contract are repelling new GPs.
A weak and dispirited GP workforce struggles to supply cost-effective services while being ignored and abandoned by the Government, the HSE and Department of Health. Waiting lists are now developing to see a GP due to the shortage of GPs. Patients are being forced into seeking services in the costly hospital setting which should be available to them in general practice.
The traditional gatekeeper role of GPs no longer applies, as they are now gatekeepers to services which are beyond reach, or have queues which would not be tolerated in any other European country.
A robust GP workforce would manage patients in their community setting, prevent unnecessary admissions, and thereby provide bed capacity for more complex cases and elective admissions, whilst providing quality community care.
I strongly urge that the Government immediately reverse the draconian Fempi cuts to general practice to allow it to fulfil its true potential. Without a strong, vibrant, well-resourced general practice workforce, this health service will never be reformed.
Dr Michael Harty TD, Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee
Kilmihil, Co Clare
GAA fans get money's worth again
'Fantastic', 'hard as steel', throw in a few more superlatives and you'd still come up short in your attempt to describe this Mayo team.
That takes nothing away from The Kingdom, who played their part in giving us all a game to remember.
Sure, there were mistakes a-plenty, not just on the pitch, but from the sideline as well, but no one deserved to lose and thankfully no one did.
At the end of the season, the boys from the West may return with or without Sam, but their fans can never feel shortchanged. They have at all times received value for money. There is another football game where all or most of the players are millionaires, and few if any give the kind of enjoyment dished out on Sunday by these men who do it for the love of the county and the jersey.
Thank you Mayo and Kerry, long may the game remain amateur.
Clonsilla, Dublin 15
Leave killer robots in sci-fi movies
The development of artificial intelligence driven 'killer robots' actually seems an example of natural stupidity.
The open letter to the UN from 116 founders of companies asking for the development to be examined is a start but only a very small first step.
Although the 'Arnie Terminator' seems a long way off, the possibility of a computer-controlled killing machine is a worrying development when considered in the light of the truism that 'to err is human, to really foul things up requires a computer'.
Killer robots should be left in the world of science fiction.
Box Hill, Victoria, Australia
As a Muslim, I condemn Isil
I am deeply grieved by the fact that innocent people in Barcelona lost their lives to a barbaric terrorist.
Once again Isil, or the 'Islamic State', has claimed responsibility for an atrocity in Europe. I, as a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, condemn in the strongest terms this evil attack and the 'Islamic State'.
The leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has stated: "Those who shed the blood of the innocent have nothing to do with Islam and the Holy Prophet." The victims and their families are the focus of my prayers.
Maryam Mosque, Galway
Vigilance in age of lone wolves
Spain is not alone in grief and mourning. This is yet another vile and abhorrent crime against humanity that contradicts the universal values of peace, tolerance, openness, moderation, diversity, inclusiveness, social justice, solidarity and egalitarianism that we all share.
Spain will remain a model of co-existence reminiscent of the Moorish era when Andalucia personified harmony between the faithful of different confessions.
It is not enough to utter words of renunciation after every terrorist attack. Isil is not in retreat. Its sergeants are swelling, not dwindling. We are failing again and again in addressing this scourge.
As we expect more attacks in Europe, we shall be vigilant and change our approach in the age of lone-wolf terrorism.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
We must protect Old Dublin
It was with disbelief that I read Mary Reynolds' letter (Irish Independent, August 17) in which she highlighted Dublin City Council's decision to replace the cobbled streets of Temple Bar with a smooth surface.
Apparently Fáilte Ireland is concerned about women in stilettos toppling over. Perhaps they should look to France, where there are some medieval towns surrounded by walls, battlements and mottes together with cobbled streets in which modern commerce and tourism is vibrant, for example, the medieval cities in Guérande and in Carcassonne.
I totally agree with her that Old Dublin must not vanish.
We must keep our cobbles and protect our past.
Drumraney, Co Westmeath