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Love him or loathe him, Paisley - the enigma - will be missed

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Ian Paisley

Ian Paisley

Ian Paisley

It is crystal clear from the various views of Ian Paisley that at the end of his life he was an enigma to g people, especially to the opinion-formers trying to assess him.

Paisley was a tub-thumping anti-Catholic bigot on the stump. This was a man who bullied, intimidated and shouted down people who opposed him while at the same time exercising great charm in one-to-one meetings.

I still remember an amazing 'Late Late Show' with Gay Byrne hosting Paisley and what seemed like the majority of the Paisley family during his pre- First Minister period.

Paisley came over like everybody's favourite film star. He was humorous, affable, witty, tolerant and extremely charismatic.

There was no sign of the Free Presbyterian preacher who would rail against 'Romanists', the Pope, Sinn Fein and the Nationalists. Dr No was replaced by Mr Nice. Those who said that the last time Paisley said "yes" was when he married his wife were confounded and dumbfounded. As I recall, the Rev Ian made such a good impression that night that Rhonda, his daughter, presented the 'Late Late Show' some time afterwards.

The big question, of course, is why he changed his long-ingrained policy of no truck whatsoever with the IRA and Sinn Fein to form a power-sharing government with them.

It was as if he had suddenly stopped reading the Old Testament and started reading the New Testament.

It will take a better and more-informed writer than has appeared so far to satisfactorily explain the life of Ian Paisley.

One thing is certain - love him or hate him he'll be missed.

There is nobody around with his peculiar mixture of religion, politics, bile, hatred, humour, sarcasm and just downright hyperbolic demagoguery.

The verdict of history on Paisley will be interesting.

Liam Cooke, Coolock, Dublin 17

Commemorating Home Rule

I have decided to throw my pen behind the calls for Home Rule and John Redmond to be gloriously commemorated, but feel it should not be celebrated as a stand-alone event.

What I propose is that we have a 'Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda Day'.

While I am sure the hardline republicans will be somewhat distressed to see the Home Rule Act receiving support, I suggest to appease any derision from this quarter by proposing we include 'Nice 1' and 'Lisbon 1' in any national day of commemoration.

Nice 1 could be the 'we could have held onto our right to determine our own future' argument commemorated.

Lisbon 1 could be a celebration for all those who argue that austerity and the banking collapse would never have happened had it been passed in our own parliament ?

I would also like to propose a date for the celebration of such a day - let's say, April 2 - just to keep all those who are staunch supporters of Nice 2 and Lisbon 2 happy. And who knows we might get Brian Cowen out of political retirement and away from his day job to officially cut a ribbon, or plant a tree.

Dermot Ryan, Athenry, Co Galway

Cost of providing for asylum

There can hardly be better proof of the correlation between the political 'silly season' and the fine weather than the current controversy about direct provision for asylum seekers.

Much has been made of the fact that some people and their Irish-born families have been in the system for up to a decade.

Apart from the trademark state inefficiency, they are there because they have chosen not to accept the answers given to their asylum application and appeal, which were negative.

These processes are now dealt with in 12 and 18 weeks respectively, according to the 2013 ORAC/RAP reports. They are instead pursuing an eight-stage process at tax-payers' expense, which has resulted in more than 849 appeals being listed at the High Court on June 14 and many more at Supreme Court level. The total cost of this asylum industry in the last five years is €1.27bn, according to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Ted Neville, Douglas, Co Cork

Vote for FG? Not anymore

Much as I admire Enda Kenny and his government for the difficult decisions and work they have done in turning our country's finances around, I cannot, in all honesty, vote for any Fine Gael candidate in any future election.

The reason for this are the continuing pronouncements from John Bruton on any matter pertaining to the Irish nation!

K Nolan, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

Bridging the Scottish divide

I think it is time we built a bridge from Ireland to Scotland as our next big civil engineering project. That would be from the nearest point, of course, from south west Scotland to Northern Ireland. We can do this together now we are staying as one country.

We could use a fixed link to revive the economy of both of these islands. The Chinese have built bridges over 26 miles long. Th e distance between south west Scotland and Northern Ireland is a mere 16 miles.

How many jobs would we create? We are greater together than apart. Now the sterling zone is staying as it is, perhaps we should rejoin sterling and take part in the type of negotiations we nearly had to have with Scotland?

Nigel F Boddy, Darlington, England

Spread knowledge, not illness

We should be grateful for the generosity of the US for sending 3,000 troops to combat Ebola.

This is a war worth fighting. The current outbreak is the deadliest, the most complex and most severe since the virus was initially discovered four decades ago. The speed of infection and the number of fatalities outpace the capacity of authorities to contain the virus.

People are highly vulnerable to diseases and infections which science is supposed to solve.

This is due to weak health systems and the failure to base policies on existing knowledge. And since the transmission chain of infection is from wildlife to livestock to humans, and it occurs from the consumption of bushmeat and burial practices, knowledge becomes an effectual tool to curb the spread of this virus, especially in under-resourced countries. Knowledge leads to the improvement of health as it becomes assimilated into the daily lives of people.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob, London, England

Irish Independent