There is so much trouble in our world at the moment. When we look at the war in Ukraine, its consequences are undoubtedly bleak. The threat from climate change is also ever present.
With winter around the corner, the challenge for some will be to keep the lights on and to heat homes.
Vulnerable people, or those already feeling they are just about coping, may feel completely overwhelmed, especially given the relentless negativity in some quarters.
The pressures of life are being felt by many. I encourage all readers to make contact and make connections with others, whether in person or not, through a cuppa, a chat or, even better, a letter.
Today more than ever, no matter how hard we have to look, there are good news stories in every community very day. I urge the Irish Independent to shine a light on the positive and good in our world and its people to give us all the hope and optimism we need for the future so that we may believe things can and will improve.
As was the case previously with Covid, we will need each other and we really are all in this together.
Stephen O’Hara, Carrowmore, Sligo
Between the death of Queen Elizabeth and the elevation of King Charles III, the UK government is in the middle of a self-made brouhaha with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The very respectful greeting of King Charles by Northern Ireland Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill is a good sign for the future. The time of violence is long past, and people today think more broadly than their forebears.
It is long past time for people in both parts of this island to reach out to each other in a respectful manner. A united country can only be built on trust, respect and forgiveness.
Declan Foley, Melbourne, Australia
Seanán Ó Coistín (Letters, September 16) calls for the removal of the Irish harp from the royal standard.
It seems unlikely that such a change would go down well in certain quarters in the North at a time when, hopefully, cross-community relations are improving.
As for a symbol of Cornwall, what would he suggest? A Cornish pasty? Rick Stein’s chipper? Back to the drawing board on this one, I think.
Paul Griffin, St Helen’s, Merseyside
Tanya Sweeney (Irish Independent, September 15) asks: “When is this disgusting public treatment of Meghan Markle going to end.”
No doubt Meghan received unfair press from the outset, but she hasn’t done herself many favours, has she? You don’t, as she has done, criticise your in-laws in a public forum – with the bonus of earning substantial sums of money in the process – and expect praise in return.
Her track record with her own immediate family speaks volumes, again all aired in a most public way. She strikes me as a very sensitive person. Only recently, singer Mariah Carey called her a diva, but Meghan sought to take offence when no offence was intended.
I believe the British people can judge when someone is playing to the gallery in a self-serving way. I sense we won’t have to wait too long before she resets her sights again on “The Firm”. Watch out, William and Kate, the lady is not for turning.
Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
I wonder if the climate change purveyors of hysteria, anxiety and hyperbole have ever ventured into the deep rural heartlands of Ireland when promulgating their trenchant views and denigrating the farming community as irresponsible climate laggards.
On several recent trips throughout Ireland by car, bicycle and train to Mayo, Dublin, Kerry and Kilkenny and all over Munster, one would be disappointed not to see the vast herds of cows and sheep supposedly causing the world to burn.
Even going through the Golden Vale, the centre of the much-maligned dairy industry, at a time when animals are outside grazing, some sparsely populated green fields can be seen, with most devoid of any belching livestock – in essence, an idyllic picture of rural tranquillity and beauty.
It is difficult to reconcile this reality for all to see with the rhetoric and certainty of those commentators in political, media and academic circles throughout the thriving climate industry.
Of course, one reason is that the average Irish herd has about 80 cattle, with far fewer ranch types than we are led to believe.
The other reason lies in the irrefutable science whereby the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the most authoritative and respected voice on climate matters, indicates that Ireland’s contribution to global warming is a mere 0.11pc of the world total; consequently, that of the farming community is a minuscule 0.035pc.
Furthermore, the accounting system for agricultural methane emissions is deeply flawed, with many experts arguing for a downward review.
Farmers are also discriminated against by the serious consumption/production anomaly whereby Irish agricultural exports are included in their total emissions as well as fuel imports from abroad.
Our impact in global terms can be further seen as a speck on a global map, where Ireland’s land area is just 0.05637pc of the world total.
Climate change is an undeniable fact, and the main culprits are elsewhere and well known. Common sense, therefore, would indicate our focus should be on adaptation against the worst effects of imported climate change coming our way, instead of wasting billions in the unattainable and puerile pursuit of being exemplars and world leaders.
John Leahy, Wilton Road, Cork
The Government says it wants to help reduce the cost of electricity to the consumers of Ireland.
Perhaps it could start by examining the cost of the standing charge, which our state-owned electricity company is charging us.
Last March, the standing charge for electricity was €0.5040 a day. Today, the standing charge is €0.7614 a day – an increase of 51pc in only six months.
Interestingly, the standing charge cost has risen at exactly the same time as the increases in electricity unit cost caused by rising gas prices.
Has the cost of maintaining the network risen at exactly the same rate as gas prices? It is remarkable if it has. Or is it that the electricity company is price-gouging the consumer and using the war in Ukraine as an excuse?
Bearing in mind that Electric Ireland (owned by the citizens of this country) has made record profits, surely the first step for the Government should be to examine – and very quickly – the unusual standing charge increases that are being inflicted on hard-pressed consumers.
It would be better for consumers if the artificially increased cost of the standing charge were brought down so that bills would be lower. That would also reduce the need for a “subsidy”, which is necessary because the standing charge is far too high in the first place. Further, it would reduce the additional administration involved in taking profits from companies then redistributing them to consumers, and would reduce the difficulty of getting the right subsidy to the right people.
It is hard not to suspect that price-gouging of the consumer is going on through the use of the electricity standing charge.
David Doran, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow