Please support drink-driving laws and make our roads safer
This week, the Oireachtas Transport Committee resumes its scrutiny of the Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty - Drink-Driving) Bill 2017. The bill does not change current alcohol limits. What is being changed is the penalty for drivers convicted of drink driving with a blood/alcohol concentration of 51mg to 80mg.
The bill has met strong opposition from certain vested interests - especially from the vintners, who have a history of opposing reforms to drink driving for decades.
Fortunately, the publicans of Ireland do not determine the laws of Ireland. That responsibility rests with our political parties.
On behalf of the victims of road collisions, we in the Parc road safety group appeal to politicians to support this bill for three reasons.
It will send a strong warning to those tempted to drink and drive; it will make our roads safer for everyone, rural and urban; and, most importantly, it will save lives and prevent catastrophic injuries.
Over the years, our Parc (Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care) group has met politicians of all parties and none. We believe the politicians of Ireland, whatever their ideological views, genuinely seek to act in the interests of all the people and not of vested interests. Polls have shown that over 90pc of the Irish people want this law.
Please take this opportunity to support a safer rural Ireland, to deter drink-driving and to save lives.
Inishowen, Co Donegal
Snapshot of post-Catholic Ireland
Last week's census findings tells us of 'an older population, fewer religious people, and more divorcees' as well as nearly half a million having no religion.
In tandem, from Monday to Saturday of the same week, the Irish Independent reported the following: doubts concerning An Garda Síochána breath tests being inflated "four-fold"; charities to be forced to "disclose the amount paid in salaries and expenses"; a park being dug up in "search for body of a brutal rapist"; an alleged threat to "slit a woman's throat" by a developer; a man accused of "abusing his fiancée's three young daughters"; a man stabbed to death by "the blade of a garden shears"; a burglar who "taunted and tortured" an 89-year-old woman; the sex enslavement of a disabled woman in Armagh by a depraved couple; incidents of 'revenge porn' involving explicit photos and videos online; a killer driver jailed; "dark questions" unanswerable in the Fennelly Commission's investigation of certain controversies involving An Garda Síochána; a bid by an Irish skipper to smuggle cocaine into the UK; a great grandmother shot on her doorstep; the "age of innocence" being destroyed; a "significant number of teens" attempting suicide; a priest attacked by a number of men; museum staff to be vetted because of "controversies involving alleged bullying and sexual harassment".
Surely we have here a salient snapshot of life in what is being termed progressive post-Catholic Ireland.
Colm Ó Tórna
Baile Átha Cliath 5
Beware Bashar Assad
Kev O Faolain (Irish Independent, Letters, April 12) trumpets the fact that 80pc of Syrians voted for Bashar Assad in 2014. If I lived in Syria I'd vote for him too, lest the secret police got their hands on me.
Clonsilla, Dublin 15
Defending republican graves
There appears to be an acceptance that the perpetrators of the attack on the Necrology Wall in Glasnevin Cemetery marking the centenary of the 1916 Rising were republicans ('Callous vandals attack 1916 memorial wall', Irish Independent, April 10). This is an arrogant assumption. If recent past history of grave desecrations are an indicator of the present, then this is not the case.
In March 2013, graves and headstones in St Finbarr's Cemetery in Cork were vandalised and graffiti daubed on some headstones. The graves, all of which were of republicans, included those of the lord mayors of Cork - Tomás MacCurtain who was murdered in 1920, Terence McSwiney who died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison in 1920, and General Tom Barry. The fact these attacks were just two days prior to commemorations marking the 97th anniversary of the Easter Rising added a sinister element to this desecration.
Whereas I support the political ecumenism generated following the Good Friday Agreement, the erection of the Necrology Wall - which will commemorate those who died lighting the flame of Irish freedom in 1916 alongside those who fought to extinguish it - is to defile the memory of our founding fathers. It appears the legacy of our colonial experience has left us with a warped sense of nationhood.
Templeogue, Dublin 6W
Fianna Fáil and water U-turn
I realise we've had a few sunny days, but it's very early for flip-flops.
Stamping out service
The price of a stamp has increased, yet the service we get does not change. When an elderly lady wants to send a parcel to relatives abroad, sneaky An Post weight settings mean an extra ounce means the parcel will cost more. After queuing for a counter, the customer is told they have to hire a courier if they want to post liquids. The cost of a TV licence is disproportionate to what we get in return.
The cost of An Post 'services' and our growing population should surely mean keeping the post offices open instead of closing them.
CEOs like An Post's David McRedmond are not doing their job properly if they have to reduce, instead of expand, a service.
Maynooth, Co Kildare
Logic trumps faith
Your correspondent Eric Conway provided us with much amusement (Irish Independent, Letters, April 10). He feels the growth of those identifying as 'atheist' defies logic. The humour lies in his not seeing how inappropriate it is for him to make use of the term 'logic' in this instance!
All thinking people realise atheism is on the increase because, as homo sapiens gradually evolve and develop more powerful reasoning, we come to depend more on that very thing, 'logic', when it comes to our deciding what it is possible to believe in.
Mr Conway cannot use logic to underpin any of his beliefs. He must resort to 'faith'. It is this that allows him to believe a girl who has not had sexual intercourse can produce a child. It is this same faith that allows him to believe in one, that is, three, god(s).
It is this same faith that allows him to believe a non-existent, immaterial 'spirit' may live forever.
Santry, Dublin 9