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Stagecoach politics of old America need to be replaced

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Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, speaking at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, speaking at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, speaking at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

The political and judicial systems in the US were agreed almost 250 years ago, and to this day some of the archaic words and phrases are still in everyday use, particularly in Washington, DC.

The whole regime was designed for its time, but this is 2022, and modern communications systems have outstripped the stagecoach and Pony Express.

Almost every aspect of the American democratic method is in dire need of upgrading, not least its system of lobbying lawmakers, which is now done on an industrial scale, leaving it wide open to exploitation. Just look at the gun lobbying/National Rifle Association (NRA) and umpteen shootings.

Unfortunately, the fact is that the power of the mighty dollar far outstrips the needs of the common good.

David Ryan, Co Meath

No, EU didn’t make Ireland wealthy, Taoiseach – we did

Speaking in Davos, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has once again reiterated the great fable that Ireland became rich in the European Union. Although the EU would be delighted to hear him say so, this is not the true picture at all.

The European Economic Community (EEC) was of enormous assistance to Ireland as it struggled to emerge from a poverty-stricken and segmented agricultural base to a more sophisticated platform of manufacturing and technological development.

While this economic transformation was taking place, the EEC merged into the EU, but this required two referendums, twice, to cajole the Irish into agreeing.

Most of the independence liberties that had been fought for through the ages were handed over to bureaucrats in Brussels without really getting anything worthwhile in return.

With regards to becoming a “rich” economy, Ireland had two enormously inherent advantages in achieving this miracle. Young Irish people proved inordinately capable of adapting to emerging technologies, while a very favourable tax regime – put in place by taoiseach Charles Haughey – was an enormous financial lure toward high-tech companies locating in Ireland.

These tech companies provided very substantial direct and even more indirect employment. They made enormous profits through Ireland, but contributed very substantially to the Irish Exchequer in exchange for a low corporation tax.

So it is a myth to say the EU made Ireland wealthy. This was delivered thanks to Irish ability and low taxes.

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Indeed, the EU began to take increasing portions of our wealth through Ireland becoming a net contributor to the EU in 2013.

It is almost certain to become a much greater contributor as the EU legislates to dismantle most of the special tax relationships the country was at liberty to make with incoming investors.

Padraic Neary, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo

The least our Leaving Cert students deserve is clarity

Katherine Donnelly’s headline reads: ‘Leaving Cert results date may not be fixed until exams have started’ (Irish Independent, May 26).

Of equal concern to parents is the fact that Education Minister Norma Foley has delayed providing any details of ameliorating arrangements for Leaving Cert 2023.

This cohort of our young people have never sat a state examination, as there has been no written Junior Cert since 2019.

They have suffered extensive disruption to their courses arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, including very serious levels of teacher absenteeism.

Parents have been writing to the Department of Education and their TDs, asking for an early announcement so as to be able to reassure their anxious children.

They deserve an immediate assurance that they will not be further disadvantaged when compared with their immediate predecessors.

Why should the well-being of these young people have to suffer with further delays in simple decision-making?

Our children are already concerned that universities are advocating for an earlier 2023 Leaving Cert.

Alan Whelan, vice-president, Catholic Secondary Schools Parents Association, Killarney, Co Kerry

By George, those passport photo steps are demanding

With passports very much back in the news, I am reminded of a blip I experienced when renewing mine.

The photo I supplied mistakenly was of George Clooney.

Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont, Dublin 9


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