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Scarring debate is already unbearable

• I remember as a child running out of the room once my parents started to fight. It was the shrillness of the tone, the incoherent anger; you never knew where it could end.

That is the din in which the abortion debate is being conducted, compassionless and blind.

At the centre should be the traumatised mother and the unborn child. But there is room for neither in the unreasoned sound and fury that prevails.

For many years now, women have gone overseas for abortions. The State seemed happy, or at best indifferent, with the status quo, even though the Supreme Court was not.

I am neither pro nor anti; I judge not, lest I be judged.

I will go with the democratic will of the people. But I could never fault a young girl who has no guidance and no support from making her decision.

On the other hand, I know three girls who had abortions and whose lives were altered permanently by their choice.

There are no easy solutions; just because one shouts louder than someone else does not mean you have moral force behind your voice.

I would like to see improved sex education, and I would like to have some debate on how the father of the child could be compelled to support the girl whom he has impregnated.

There is a dual responsibility and the woman should not be left on her own to deal with the consequences. Has the State not a role to play here?

The decibel level in this scarring debate is already unbearable, and we have once more produced an abundance of heat and no light.

Name and address with editor

Action on abortion

• Ireland's struggle with the issue of abortion confronts us with the ambiguity of the relationship between church and State in a predominantly Catholic country. The Government has to appear to be framing legislation independently of the church's demands, yet it cannot ignore the teachings of the church – not because these teachings come from the church but because they may embody the views of the majority of the people.

A representative democracy, however, is built on the people's trust in the elected government's capacity to make the right judgments. To engage in constant referendums on all major elements of legislation weakens government and militates against the decisiveness and clarity that one expects from our elected representatives.

It is conceivable that government legislation may not be in perfect accord with the teachings of the church. If this were an excluded possibility, we would be back to the days of the many ill-judged incursions into politics by the late Archbishop John Charles McQuaid.

The ultimate political judgment must rest with our elected representatives. They seem to be loitering with intent to legislate. They have succumbed to the philosophy, 'Don't just do something, sit there'.

Philip O'Neill

Edith Road, Oxford

Boucher's thousands

• With all the talk about Richie Boucher's thousands, would it not be easier to refer to them as Richie's Mint?

Maurice Gavin

Tramore, Co Waterford

One law for the rich

• Let's recap here briefly so I am certain I am not hallucinating. The banks and building industry went belly up in 2007/08, right? The Government bailed them out . . . essentially without viewing the books. We, the public, were the ultimate guarantors of this Faustian pact.

The quid pro quo, then, should have been that the mortgage costs of over-valued houses should have been readjusted so as those undertaking the new austerity burden, or who have now lost their jobs, could be compensated – something altruistic along the lines of "we are all in this together".

Instead, we see that the banks, though bust, are tethered to the taxpayer, but the Government had no opinion on the gross salary of their senior executive. Interestingly, they do on the fraught frontline staff who are on the receiving end of an angered public; the Government wants them to have wages reduced by 10pc. One law for the rich; one law for the non-rich.

Researching my old village the other day, I came across a nugget. In the spring of 1883, over 3,500 people sailed from Blacksod Bay to Boston. They were classified as "congested" and could not pay the rent due for their meagre stripes of land. The then government had set up the Arrears Act of 1882.

Essentially, this boiled down to a mass removal of the people who were in "arrears". Back then and as history unfolded, we blamed the British for the unholy mess of "arrears". Who do we blame today? Germany or the EU, or has our own Government any input to this impending catastrophe inside the next few months?

Can we expect ships anchored in our bays to carry our people away from their debt to be resettled in a new land? If only it were that simple.

John Cuffe

Dunboyne, Meath

Workers losing out

• While watching the spate of Irish reality TV programmes, 'John Lonergan's Circus' and 'The Estate', it has come to my sad attention that there may exist a whole new generation of "career unemployed" in emergence.

Coming from a strong work ethic and having been financially independent since 17, hearing comments like "can't wait till 18 and draw the labour" and "paid to stay in bed" are very disheartening for Ireland's working population. We, the very folk who enable people to be paid to stay in bed, have become a laughing stock.

There is a growing perception in this country that a person can decide to be state dependent and exist with almost the same weekly cash-flow as a person who has never asked the State for anything.

I would ask you, the working people, to calculate the sum of the items you are forced to pay for now, versus if you had decided never to work. Include accommodation, taxes and levies, household charge, health and doctors, waste and water. Now subtract this from your income. The results I found were shocking.

My blame lies with the system that has created this monster and the reality that if you're not bothered working, you pay for nothing, and if you try to better yourself and be independent, you pay for everything.

B Cahill

Listowel, Co Kerry

Proud as punch

• I am surprised that Laura Butler saw "despair" for those in red at the Heineken Cup semi-final (Irish Independent, April 29).

Yes, I am a Munster supporter and proud of it, but their brave performance in defeat was magnificent; the courage and determination unconnected to their pay packets or anything else except loyalty to their team and pride in the red jersey.

These people put their hearts and every sinew of their bodies on the line over and over again. They might have lacked the skills to seal the victory but absolute self-belief and dogged determination took them to within a hair's breath of a seemingly impossible victory.

And how could anyone be unmoved by the players' evident heartbreak at the end, the tears of Zebo, Coughlan and O'Gara, the embrace of the latter with O'Connell, the gracious meeting of the fans – and that is far from the end of the list.

Yes, it a disappointing day, but one of which all Ireland, not just Munster, can be proud.

Ann Talbot

Coole, Ballacolla, Co Laois

Irish Independent