One of the defining features of any country is its accent and language.
Everywhere you travel now in Ireland you hear words imported from America, like "kids" "movies" and "guys", and banalities like "cool" and "no hassle".
The accent, particularly in urban areas, is Mid Atlantic - and this has reached epidemic proportions in the broadcasting and media world.
This crass substitution of what made us unique with plastic imports stems from inferiority.
The people who put Ireland on the map, such as WB Yeats,and John McCormack, never tried to distort their accent; indeed, their dialect enhanced their talent.
The schools have a huge responsibility in instilling in their students a pride in their accent, as well as diverting children from the banalities of Hollywood jargon.
Trying to recapture what's lost is not easy, especially with the tide of American culture which has hit our shores since the arrival of TV. But we shouldn't throw the towel in.
Recently in a Dublin supermarket café, I heard one young mother say to another: "After taking the kids to the movie, the guys chilled out on the patio and the mums had some me time." This was spoken with an fake accent similar to those on TV.
It blended in very well with the plastic table, chairs and cutlery.
Nobody wants to return to the depiction of Ireland in the film 'The Quiet Man' but neither do we want a caricature of the modern American West Coast.
Donegal town, Co Donegal
The sudden closing of Clerys has shocked many people, especially older customers, who loved nothing more than to browse around or have a coffee in this lovely, iconic department store.
I left Dublin in 1972, and to me Clerys was so much a part of Dublin city, as the song says, "in the rare auld times".
But the real tragedy here is the 400 plus people left jobless.
I have experienced redundancy three times in my life, and the effect each time was soul destroying, mainly because you have absolutely no control over events.
So my prayers are for them, and for them alone - the customers will survive.
Brian Mc Devitt
Glenties, Co Donegal
"O'Connells of Clery Street": this was the address on a letter received by the famous department store from the US in the 1940s!
Rathfarnham, Dublin 16
Brace yourself for a barrage of 'good news' over the next six to nine months or so, courtesy of the Coalition government as it, against the advice of the Fiscal Advisory Council among others, prepares to secure the outcome of the next general election.
You will hear, for instance, that the unemployment level is now magically in single figures and decreasing.
What you will not hear is that the 'real' unemployment figure is in excess of 20pc, if the 250,000 young and not so young who were forced to emigrate are taken into account.
This awkward and alarming statistic is equivalent almost to the entire population of Cork city. The media in general has been particularly silent on this matter, often willing to report the official line verbatim.
The permanent loss of many of this young, vibrant cohort of our citizens mirrors, in many ways, the tragedy of the Great Famine era, from which Ireland never fully recovered, economically or socially.
The other conveniently hidden statistic relates to the much-vaunted new job figures. We are not told how many of these jobs are, because of our skewed and inadequate education system, filled of necessity by non-nationals, and how much money is repatriated out of the Irish economy on an annual basis as a result.
We should all be aware that instead of relieving many of the consequences of its disastrous and polarising austerity policies, the Coalition is, like all its predecessors, now preparing to spend over €1bn of borrowed money, paid for by us, to buy our votes in an attempt to convince us that it should remain in power at all costs.
When will the Government, or, more importantly, we ever learn?
Wilton Road, Cork
I have noticed recently calls for cyclists to be made to have insurance, just like motorists, and also for them to get penalty points for careless or dangerous cycling.
This is long overdue but I believe it's not enough. There needs to be a licensing system and a test before cyclists are allowed on the public road. The day when you could give a kid a bike and turn them loose is long gone. The roads are too busy and dangerous today. Children and adults need training in safety and consideration for other road users.
I've seen some horrendously dangerous behaviour by cyclists lately.
Cyclists have as much right to the road as anyone - but with all rights come responsibilities.
Skehard Road, Cork
Religious education should become mandatory, especially now when the entire world is passing through tumultuous times.
The barbaric persecution endured by religious and ethnic minorities across the globe, demands an immediate implementation of the inestimable values which religions espouse.
Religions recognise cultural, ethnic, racial and religious diversity and individual freedom. They nurture social, spiritual, emotional and intellectual dignity and well-being of communities and individuals as a whole.
Religions have coexisted peaceably for centuries. Regrettably, religions are being deliberately abused by irreligious lunatics for reasons related to greed and the pursuit of power and political and cultural hegemony.
It is time to rediscover the true meaning of religions, and unite to reclaim our faiths from distortion.
Only then can we combat the racism, discrimination, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia so well entrenched in our midst.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London, NW2, UK