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Nobody listening as families drown in debt

* The real tragedy in Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary' was not the wife's doomed extramarital affairs, but the insurmountable debt she found herself in.

* The real tragedy in Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary' was not the wife's doomed extramarital affairs, but the insurmountable debt she found herself in.

The arch-villain in this story is the devious draper who flattered and cajoled her into acquiring the fashion and style which her husband's meagre salary could not cope with.

This is a common tale in today's Ireland.

During the Celtic Tiger years many working couples were trapped into borrowing vast amounts of money by clever marketing by our national banks; now these couples are left in a state of despair similar to Emma and her husband.

The cuts in basic pay, new levies and various household charges brought in by the Government and the troika to stabilise the Irish economy have resulted in marriage break-ups and suicide caused by anxiety and stress to couples on fairly decent salaries.

This is a fact that is undisputable.

But where is the help for these couples? Who is going to lift their burden? Businesses get "haircuts" on debts, but are there no reliefs for PAYE workers whose tax is deducted at source?

The reader of 'Madame Bovary' is full of compassion for Emma, her husband and their neglected daughter at the end of this unhappy tale.

But one has to ask, where is that compassion for today's couples, who find their relationships struggling under constant arguments over debt?

Where are we as a society if we leave "the middle-income family in mortgage arrears" without support while developers are bailed out and the media, along with politicians, drool over quashed penalty points?

The real tragedy in Irish society today is that no one seems to be listening to the cries from the over-burdened PAYE working couples with children who are not entitled to any state support and have to pay out for everything on a dwindling pay packet.

If we are serious about tackling suicide we must end patronising jargon and deal with this growing crisis.

Cllr Nuala Nolan (Labour)

Galway

ENOUGH ALREADY

* Surely we have had enough of the antics of James Reilly, Phil Hogan et al. Especially Al.

Gerry O'Donnell

Dublin 15

DOCTORS FOR CHOICE

* We believe that fatal foetal abnormalities should be included in the proposed Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Dr Ruth Fletcher, of Keele University, in her submission to the Joint Committee on Health and Children, recommended that the unborn should be defined not to mean those foetuses which have lethal abnormalities and will not have a future independent life.

Every year, women with fatal foetal anomaly pregnancies face inhuman treatment by being forced to make the harrowing journey to the Foetal Medicine Unit in Liverpool, without compassion from the Irish State.

They travel at significant personal, financial and emotional cost, often in isolation, abandoned by the Irish health services. Such women require non-judgmental care in a familiar supportive environment, yet must face the tragic bureaucracy of having to arrange the return of their child's remains to Ireland, if they choose.

The stigma of travelling abroad may be heightened by the current wording of the heads of the bill. This is because such Irish women will receive a medical treatment which is deemed a criminal offence if performed in the Republic of Ireland, with up to 14 years' imprisonment as the sanction.

This month the Irish College of General Practitioners supported a motion at its AGM calling on the Government to include within the proposed legislation the provision that women who are pregnant and have non-viable foetal anomalies have access to the choice of legal abortion in the Republic of Ireland.

We write to request that the Joint Committee on Health and Children invite representatives of Terminations For Medical Reasons to make a presentation to the committee as soon as is possible.

Women should not be forced to travel outside Ireland for a termination. Women's voices and experiences are entirely absent from the current abortion debate. We hope that the joint committee will redress this imbalance as a matter of urgency.

Dr Mary Favier

Dr Mark Murphy

Dr Peadar O'Grady

Doctors for Choice Ireland, Dublin 1

SEANAD IS AN AFFRONT

* It appears to be the same old clique fighting to keep the Seanad. In my opinion the Seanad is a well-paid club which facilitates a narrow group of well-connected people to pursue a cushy existence, while the rest of the world works for a living.

It is an affront to the suffering taxpayers in Ireland.

Harry Mulhern

Millbrook Road, Dublin 13

RUGBY TRIUMPHS

* "Once the soccer and rugby peter out, the thoughts of many of us veer towards the great games of Gaelic football and hurling" (editorial comment, May 27).

Peter out? Is that what happened on Saturday last when packed bars and many GAA clubs from Ballydehob to Ballymena tuned in to witness one of the greatest sporting events of the entire year? Yes, that heartstopping Pro12 final between Ulster and Leinster – by coincidence two of the top teams in the western hemisphere.

More than the year has turned for Irish rugby. It has begun to rival soccer as the most popular game in the country, whereas the triumphalist tone of your editorial bore all the hallmarks of a cry for help.

Niall Ginty

Killester, Dublin 5

SAME OLD POLITICS

* On Monday night Vincent Browne's TV3 programme was dedicated to a discussion on the possibilities for a new political party. However, it was quite obvious that the producer of the programme didn't hold out much hope for the idea because four of the five participants were the usual suspects, so it was very much the same old, same old.

It seemed that the participants felt that the concept of the small party started with the Progressive Democrats, but I can remember Chlann na Poblachta in the 1940s.

Both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have been happy to ride out a period of power with the help of a minnow but are always ready and happy to devour them at the first opportunity.

We can remember Albert Reynolds' hand grenade when, as a minister in a coalition, he described the relationship as "this temporary little arrangement". Same old, same old!

When Enda Kenny walked into his new office two years ago, he removed Dev's portrait and replace it with Mick. So as long as the Civil War lives on, it looks as though it will continue to be either of the big two in a temporary arrangement with some soon-to-be-forgotten third party.

RJ Hanly

Screen, Co Wexford

FINDING SPIRIT OF TRUTH

* If knowledge is power and power corrupts, isn't it about time that the confessors confessed as to exactly what they did with all those admissions of child abuse that they were hearing? And is it also not time that we heard from those who confessed the confessors?

All this would be purely in the spirit of truth and reconciliation, of course, or does that only apply to lesser mortals?

Liam Power

Angel's Court, San Pawl Il-Bahar, Malta

Irish Independent