Sir - Sinn Fein's approach to Bobby Storey's funeral, which was a show of strength, is an indication of how they intend to deal with the unionist population in the event of a majority in the North voting for a united Ireland.
They will try to intimidate them, it is as simple as that.
They have no strategy for achieving a united Ireland, other than that.
It is a recipe for civil strife on our streets again. Ultimately, it is an indication that the Provos never had a reasonable strategy for achieving a united Ireland in the first place, but were engaged in, in my opinion, attempting to force everybody, including the unionists, the British government, and non-violent nationalists in the SDLP into their solution.
The goal for nationalists in the North has always been to persuade the unionists of the benefits of a united country. That means good relations with unionists.
Sinn Fein has never understood that and seem to believe that, in the end, everybody will just back down and let them have their way. As I suggest, good relations with unionists are the precursor to Irish unity. Sinn Fein's strategy is folly, appealing only to the ignorant. Repartition will be the unwanted child of this degenerative strategy.
Even at this late stage, Sinn Fein can repent of their ways and begin to live in the real world where a solution lies not in the endless deadlock they cause with the DUP, but in accepting that intimidation will never work.
Honeymoon finishes fast for the Taoiseach
Sir - This must be the shortest honeymoon for any Taoiseach in the history of the State.
First there was the widely perceived snub of Mr Martin not appointing any TDs from the west of Ireland to his front bench and then the controversy over his new Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen's drink-driving ban.
Though it could have been far worse - just imagine if Cowen had been given the justice portfolio? Who knows, maybe that would have sparked another general election - all because he never told his boss.
Sixmilebridge, Co Clare
Public disagree with SF diatribes
Sir - Will the media of this country ever learn? Your editorial ("Grim reminder of Sinn Fein realities") was yet another diatribe against Sinn Fein, which has been ongoing in the media since, it seems, time immemorial.
Which begs an obvious question: "Why, despite that vilification, did Sinn Fein get more of the popular vote in the recent election"?
Does it never occur to you (and the media in general) that you are wasting your time demonising Sinn Fein?
The general public obviously think so.
I would contrast your aggressive editorial with that of your columnist, Gene Kerrigan, who, while not giving Sinn Fein a free ride, gave a more balanced and nuanced response to the recent events in Belfast. I point out in particular his parting sentence: "Sinn Fein blew much of its credibility, and the media doesn't look too good when it decides something is wrong only when Sinn Fein does it."
Bantry, Co Cork
Wake-up call must not be forgotten
Sir - What has certainly been proven over the last couple of days is no one political party has the monopoly on intelligence.
We see what happened in Belfast at a funeral for a prince of the Sinn Fein royalty, we see the driving record and travelling etiquette of our new minister for agriculture, we see the accepting without question by our new Tanaiste what the banks told him about rules and regulations on mortgage interest charges.
It is time we got value for money from our politicians.
The wake-up call the parties got in the election has now been forgotten about - because the timescale means another almost five years before accountability can kick in again. Let us hope the Government and the Opposition can now concentrate on the important issues at hand?
Kilcoole, Co Wicklow
Mary Lou should end the posturing
Sir - In her recent article in your paper, Mary Lou McDonald repeatedly used the word ''change''. She is lucky the election took place well before the tasteless ''state-within-a-state'' funeral her party served up in Belfast for the obsequies of Bobby Storey.
Here was a golden opportunity for Sinn Fein and associates to demonstrate that there has been real change in the agenda of the ''republican'' movement. That was a change the people, all the people on the island of Ireland - and abroad - would have heartily welcomed. But sadly the needle is still stuck in the same old groove.
It's quite clear what Ms McDonald has in mind when she speaks of ''change''. Why not have an end of all this triumphalist posturing, for a change?
Injustice of false rape accusations
Sir - In an era of so much ''echo chamber'' journalism it was refreshing to read Larissa Nolan's courageous article headlined "the only thing equal to rape is being wrongly labelled a rapist".
She quite rightly said that we "must dismantle the much touted myth that false allegations are incredibly rare". This myth, as Larissa Nolan has pointed out, "has no solid research to back it up". It is based on spurious agenda-driven pseudo-research.
The attitude of the judiciary appears to be that, while rape is a heinous crime, deserving of a severe prison sentence, a false allegation of rape is a trivial matter akin to stealing a bar of chocolate from a supermarket.
Tallaght, Dublin 24
Go back to basics over school sport
Sir - I wish to congratulate John Greene on his article last Sunday regarding the current state of sport in Ireland and of the past input by our successive governments.
In my opinion, sport has never been given adequate attention by our political parties by amalgamating it with tourism, culture and arts, etc. Sport needs a separate minister who is able to dedicate their full attention to it without having to handle various other portfolios at the same time.
Arts and tourism need their own minister also if they want to succeed following the pandemic.
I wish Catherine Martin well on her appointment and I know she will give 110pc to her various portfolios. I can already see a major boost in female participation in sport by having a female minister.
In her role of sports minister, she will have to return to the basics, firstly by getting our Education Department on board and making it compulsory that every national school has a PE teacher with recognised breaks for physical activity.
Every child must be given the opportunity to be active in some capacity trying out various activities in a fun non-competitive environment. Wouldn't it be great if every child in this country was able to swim before they left national school?
Again, we also need to have full-time PE teachers and recognised physical activity breaks for all our secondary school students. The day of a school giving its full attention to their Gaelic/rugby teams to the detriment of other sports has to be tackled.
Funding should be prioritised to those schools who run their various sporting departments successfully. I know various local sporting bodies are willing to help schools if required. Our country needs to get back to our grassroots if we wish to progress.
Where have the John Treacys, Eamonn Coughlans, Sonia O'Sullivans, Barry McGuigans, Liam Bradys, etc gone? It's going to be a long process, but it can be done if taken seriously.
Tullyherim, Co Monaghan
A day of triumph and inspiration
Sir - Mile buiochas for Dermot Crowe's wonderful interview with Joe Connolly last week. It brought back the emotion and passion of the Galway captain's brilliant speech, as Gaeilge amhain, following his county's victory in the 1980 All-Ireland hurling final, the first for the Tribesmen since 1923.
Anyone fortunate enough to have been in attendance at Pairc an Chrocaigh on that September day will have been uplifted by what is considered as the most inspirational address ever by a winning All-Ireland captain.
His ''A Mhuintir na Gaillimhe'' introduction embraced not alone the people of Galway and its emigrant population in many countries, but their rich history, culture and heritage which was amplified by Joe McDonagh's heartfelt, rousing rendering of The West's Awake.
It was an occasion which will be remembered with fondness and relived by thousands of ''Muintir na Gaillimhe'' and many more besides.
Droichead Nua, Co Kildare
Devolution before revolution
Sir - Your columnist Conor Skehan suggested recently that the solution to better regional prosperity is to transfer as much power as possible as close as possible to the place where the decisions have effect.
This is a strategy recognised all over the world. It is called devolution.
After the recent ministerial appointments, when the west of Ireland got no senior minister to fight its case at the cabinet table, this appears to be one possible solution to Connacht's woes.
This would involve giving powers to politically accountable local bodies to plan, spend and raise taxes in their own areas. They would also be responsible for their actions to central government. After the revolution in political circles in the past few weeks, this is surely food for thought for the people of the west of Ireland? Devolution before revolution perhaps?
When the author Thomas Davis wrote The West's Awake, he included the following lines.
For often in O' Connor's van
To triumph dashed each Connacht clan
And fleet as deer the Normans ran
Through Corrsliabh pass and Ardrahan
And later times saw deeds as brave
And glory guards Clanricard's grave
Sing Oh they died their land to save
At Aughrim's slopes and Shannon's waves.
Perhaps now is the moment when it dawns on the powers- that-be in Ireland's city-centric government that the 1.1 million people west of the Shannon will not stand idly by and see rural Ireland disappear into the mists of time.
Cloonacool, Co Sligo
On a whinge and a prayer
Sir - We are in uncharted waters now. Health workers are fighting a heroic war; frontline workers in shops and bakeries putting their lives at risk to keep the country going.
My husband and I, both in our 60s, are working and every day is filled with anxiety and fear - and we can't even have a pint to calm us down at the end of the day.
Small businesses everywhere are doing extraordinary things to keep their business afloat. Some will never open again, despite life savings going into their venture. There are tragic stories all around. But at least we have one constant, one thing we know will never change - the teachers are still whingeing.
Putting the accent on our reporting
Sir - I wish to express my concern with the lack of use of the Irish fada in the Sunday Independent. As a trainee teacher, I buy your newspaper every week and I use some of its content as an example of journalistic writing within my classroom. Your articles can be successfully used to engage children in reading comprehension.
However, I have been concerned with the absence of any use of the fada in your articles. For a native Irish language speaker, the absence of the fada changes the sound of the word completely.
I hope the fada can become part of your reporting very soon. I would hate for the paper to fail in its obligation to attract Irish speakers to the English language newspaper.
Conchubhar de Faoite,
Kilcavan, Co Laois
We cannot ignore racism around us
Sir - Your article 'Racism comes in many forms, but always hurts' was a very welcome contribution, and I commend the author on sharing his experience of Ireland and the EU.
While it was a relief he has not been subject to overt racism in this country, the covert discrimination he has experienced in Ireland is a cause for shame.
In particular, I was struck by the story of the shop assistant making the writer put his money on the counter, rather than take it from his hand. What a dreadful and hurtful experience.
I find it very troubling that this kind of thing is happening in Ireland. That it is happening to a doctor who has helped to save lives in our country makes it even more appalling - though of course nobody should be subjected to such hurtful behaviour.
I am sure there were people in the queue at the checkout who noticed this behaviour from the assistant but said nothing. The rest of us, who are not subject to racism, cannot stay silent when we witness discrimination.
Mullingar, Co Westmeath
Racism curtails the freedom of us all
Sir - May I just say what a brilliant article on racism that was by the black African hospital doctor. Essential reading.
What is it about the colour of someone's skin that brings out such hate? The pure madness of humanity. This hatred of a person's skin colour must end. I quote Nelson Mandela from his book Long Walk to Freedom: "I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did."
Brian Mc Devitt,
Glenties, Co Donegal
We need to insure against false claims
Sir - Wrongful claims are being made in the courts for compensation for injuries sustained in so-called accidents.
We have become so famous for large payouts that we read that accidents have been staged by some fraudulent claimants.
It seems there is no real immediate financial downside for making such claims. So I wonder if it was obligatory at the start of an action for a substantial deposit to be paid in court - non-refundable if a case is unsuccessful - would a claim be made at all?
In any event, between levies on insurance premiums and fraudulent or frivolous claims in court, the taxpayer is being milked far more in Ireland than elsewhere. If all of the above is within the law, it is not justice and the law should be changed urgently. We badly need to adopt best practice.
Welcome back to changing GAA
Sir -I'm looking forward to the GAA, and in particular the hurling, coming back.
The GAA has been brilliant to local communities nationwide and, for all those people who couldn't get out, we thank you.
It seems a good idea having no bench, with fewer people on the field and the subs at opposite ends behind the goals.
And seeing as the referee can whistle no more, is it now not time to have a siren or klaxon and timer on display so everyone can see and hear - when time is up, time is up!
Parteen, Co Clare
Thanks Jack, for all the memories
Sir - Thanks Jack, for all the unforgettable days and nights - in Stuttgart, New York, Genoa, Dublin and so many other footballing arenas.
Thanks for giving the country a sense of self esteem that none of our public representatives could ever hope to offer.
And thanks for allowing Robert Emmet's epitaph be written as Ireland took its place among the footballing nations of the world.
Now go and give eternity a lash Jack.
Tom Mc Grath
Dunbur Road, Wicklow