Shocking cruelty to cattle
Sir - Recent reports have revealed the most horrendous cruelty to cattle exported live.
These poor animals are being subjected to a pitiless journey covered in their own excrement, brutally beaten and savagely killed - and it's all about making money. I am shocked and upset beyond words after discovering this information.
Where are the protections and the standards of care? Is there no oversight of abuses such as these?
The New Zealand and Australian governments have banned exports of live animals to countries where these inhumane practices persist.
We are all mortal creatures, but we as humans with domain over all, should remember our responsibilities.
Henry (Harry) Mulhern,
Doing justice to his credibility?
Sir - Alan Shatter, the former minister, really castigates Taoiseach Kenny (Sunday Independent, April 16). Is this the same Mr Shatter who, on the day he resigned, said Enda was a most remarkable Taoiseach? How times have changed.
I think Mr Shatter was a good minister, he took on vested interests in the judiciary and legal world, and was an exceptionally hard-working public representative who attempted to reform the judiciary and legal system here.
He took a lot of abuse in the media - one prominent columnist described him as a boot boy. But this was nothing compared to how he was treated on social media. His religion was called into question many times.
He also placed great confidence in what gardai told him and in that regard he might have been a little more questioning, as subsequent events have proven. However, he seemed to be constantly in the news in a negative way and, politics being politics, no party can afford that on a weekly basis. This did not endear him to a Taoiseach, who can hire and fire without giving a reason.
The reason he finally resigned from office was on the basis of the Guerin report, which the courts have since found was unfair to him.
Mr Shatter has the right to feel aggrieved over this, but no deputy has the right to ministerial office - many never see it at all, however qualified.
But attacking the Taoiseach at this juncture and in such a venomous way does not do justice to Mr Shatter's own credibility and legacy. Being able is one thing, but making so many enemies and attracting negative publicity almost on a daily basis hardly makes a good politician who has to govern by the consent and goodwill of voters.
Brendan Cafferty, Ballina, Co Mayo
Collective amnesia on part of all parties
Sir - Eoghan Harris (Sunday Independent, March 23) stated "every columnist needs a good critic". Likewise every political party, especially one as notorious as Sinn Fein, needs its critics. That is why people like Harris are providing an invaluable public service in highlighting the murky world of deeds carried out in the past by the IRA, many of whose former members are current Sinn Fein politicians.
The Good Friday Agreement was only achieved with a collective amnesia on the part of all parties involved. While this was far from ideal, it was the only way a tentative agreement could have been reached. This does not mean we should forget the atrocities carried out by paramilitary organisations in the past or that we should elevate some of their former members almost to sainthood. This is especially true of Sinn Fein, a party rightly described by Harris as being "devoid of remorse".
In the article, Harris also referred to The Late Late Show interview with Colm Meaney, who plays Martin McGuinness in the film The Journey, which is due for release next month.
Director of the film Nick Hamm called it as an "entertaining, feel-good movie about peace". Meaney supported McGuinness's candidacy for President of Ireland and referred to him as "an extraordinary statesman, a real statesman".
I don't expect much importance to be given to McGuinness's dark past in the movie. Do its makers expect people to attend and lap it up, saying what a wonderful man Martin McGuinness was? People have a chance to express their feelings on the "canonisation" of McGuinness in this particular movie by boycotting it. I know what I'll be doing.
Headstone insult to real Irish Army
Sir - I find it insulting to the legitimate Irish Army to have Martin McGuinness named as Oglach on his headstone. Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams should be questioned relentlessly in our Dail and by RTE, which is always eager to have a Sinn Fein representative rolled out.
Where are the interviews on this? Thanks to Joe Duffy for airing this, but where were Adams and co? I suppose the inscription will stay and cause upset to serving officers.
Sinn Fein/IRA seem to have a mafia approach to law and order. They get away with it because they can. Why are people so silent, or it just that Sinn Fein/IRA mafia are untouchables?
Conspiracy theory and Assad attack
Sir - Antoinn MacReamoinn (Letters, Sunday Independent, April 16) is just the latest conspiracy theorist to bother the letters pages of newspapers since President Assad's latest atrocity.
Like all his fellow travellers, he doesn't enlighten us as to whom he believes was "really" responsible, but I'm sure he believes it was either the CIA, Mossad or possibly the Illuminati, or some combination of all three. Just like 9/11.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, The Guardian's (no friend of President Trump or America) Kareem Shaheen visited Khan Sheikhun shortly after the attack occurred. He, like other independent parties, confirmed that the evidence supported that the attack was the result of a government air strike.
He, and others, likewise rubbished the puerile Russian fairy tale that the sarin gas release resulted from an air strike on a rebel chemical plant.
MacReamoinn asserts that Assad had no reason to carry out the attack because he is winning the war. But the attack is entirely consistent with Assad's murderous contempt for his fellow countrymen and disregard for world opinion, aided and abetted by Putin's vanity and expansionism. He does it because he can and because he was encouraged to believe he was immune from retribution under the weak foreign policy approach of Barack Obama.
He no doubt felt assured that Donald Trump would be no different. He was wrong.
Castletroy, Co Limerick
Continued failings on water charges
Sir - The water charges agreement which is currently being sold as "sensible" by some politicians is anything but. Colm McCarthy (Sunday Independent, April 9/16) succinctly summed up the history of this issue.
The Fianna Fail/Green administration originally proposed a scheme involving meters and an annual charge.
The Fine Gael/Labour government halved the charge and paid an annual conservation grant of 100 euro.
The new agreement has got rid of all that and the water/sewage system is now to be financed from general taxation as it was since independence, during all of which time nearly 50pc of water was lost from leaking pipes. Leaving the water/sewage system to be funded by general taxation is, therefore, hardly sensible.
The government introduced water charges in the first place in the 2009 Budget as a result of the financial collapse. These were subsequently agreed with the troika.
Their discontinuance is seen as going back to the failed funding policy that was in place since independence. This is being sold as a victory by those who are congratulating themselves for being able to shout the loudest on the issue.
The people of this country experienced severe austerity as a result of a spectacular collapse and bailout in 2009-2010. That was due to failings at the highest levels in our governmental, financial and media institutions in the pre-2009 period. Any objections to what was happening then was shouted down.
Defending the current agreement on water charges and presenting it as "sensible" is just a continuation of those failings.
Sutton, Dublin 13
Better uses for wasted resources
Sir - Further to Brendan O'Connor's article (Soapbox, Sunday Independent, April 9) he made some valid points regarding resources available to the disabled and those poor unfortunates waiting for treatment in public hospitals.
Perhaps the €500m-plus used to install water meters could have been put to better use. We can only imagine the benefits and treatment our less well-off citizens could have gained from that sort of finance.
We are now told by those who know that water meters are essential to detect leaks at people's homes. For more than 100 years residents on mains water knew if their downstairs cold water pressure was low they had a problem with the supply.
They got in touch with the waterworks department. The leak, or whatever the problem, was sorted without the help of meters. How many homeless people could have been housed with €500m, or how many people could have been removed from hospital waiting lists? The mind boggles.
Keeping people safe on rural roads
Sir - In Campbell Spray's article (Motoring, Sunday Independent, April 16) on high-vis jackets for pedestrians, he made a comment about rural pubs handing them out.
Well, I'm involved with Munterconnaught Community Alert group down here in Virginia, Co Cavan, and for the last year we have been supplying high-vis jackets to our local rural pub The Ramor Inn to hand out to anyone who is walking home after a few drinks. The customers return them on their next visit.
All pedestrians walking on rural roads should have to wear them day and night because the further away you can be seen by a motorist, the more time they have to avoid you. It's a win-win.
Going to the pub on Good Friday is a sin
Sir - The Government has told us that pubs will be allowed to open on Good Friday 2018, the first time since 1927.
Sadly our leaders did not consult us on this matter by way of referendum, which makes me wonder why the politicians gave into the publicans' lobby at Dail Eireann.
Then again we must not forget that many TDs are owners of pubs. Could it be that, as the Church is on its knees because of recent sex scandals, some people are taking advantage of the situation to put the boot in on all things religious and take all the things apart bit by bit till everything to do with God will disappear and Irish society becomes totally atheist?
Before the drink ban is done away with on Good Friday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny should have taken this matter to the people by way of a referendum and let us voters decide.
If you go to most Islamic countries or to the southern states of America, there are no pubs and we in Ireland close the bars only twice a year - Christmas Day and Good Friday - and some are not happy with that. Shame on them!
Anyone who opens their pub in Ireland on Good Friday or who goes into them is dishonouring the Lord, who died for them on the cross on Good Friday, and is not fit to say they are Christians and should not be allowed to receive communion. They should even be excommunicated from the Church for acting like pagans and unbelievers on one of the holiest of days in the Church calendar.
I suppose that Christmas Day is next on the hit list?
Little to cheer us in this sordid tale
Sir - The Inconvenient by Joseph O'Connor (Poem, Sunday Independent, April 16) - who was she, what was her crime? And then at the end of the first verse, the Church comes into the sordid tale.
This sort of writing does nothing to cheer anyone. And where is all the change with the shedding of religion taking us?
It certainly doesn't seem to be a happy place.
Pilate-like washing of State's hands
Sir - Every now and then Church-bashing raises its head, this time it's to do with the new maternity hospital. I have no brief for or against the Church, nor for that matter the State. I believe both to be guilty of sins of the past and the present.
We have all read and heard of the wrongs done to unfortunates who were under the care of Church-run institutions. If we are honest with ourselves, we must ask: "Who put them there? Whose job was it to look after them in the first place?"
The State, since its inception, drop-kicked those it was legally entitled to look after properly. Instead it did a Pontius Pilate job and cast them to the various religious institutions and, from there, abandoned them. How sickening it is to hear present day so-called leaders of our country stand up to give sincere speeches about wrongs done to those that happened on their watch.
Clonsilla, Dublin 15
Protecting the good of the game
Sir - I write to you regarding the targeting of Diarmuid Connolly and his like in GAA matches. I attended the recent league final Kerry vs Dublin with my grandson. While pointing out the good things about the game, I used Connolly as an example.
Being one of the most talented GAA players in Ireland, he was doing an excellent job of this until the inevitable happened. After taking one too many illegal hits, he did what Diarmuid does - he hit back and was black-carded. My grandson asked why Connolly was going off. I replied he was going off for fighting back.
Please, match officials, protect the great footballers of all counties because they are why we love this game
Ratoath, Co Meath