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Taking steps to tackle tax joggers

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It is not fair that joggers
and runners should be
able to run on our city
streets free of charge

It is not fair that joggers and runners should be able to run on our city streets free of charge

It is not fair that joggers and runners should be able to run on our city streets free of charge

•I'm referring to all those people who every day walk, jog, or run, either on our streets or in our public parks. And to those who every day use the paths and other walkways up and down the country to their hearts content. All do so without any fear of ever having to pay any charge whatsoever.



Just what kind of country are we living in that this sort of wanton widespread -- and let's face it, freebie -- activity is still tolerated?

It still astounds me that all those responsible for this ever increasing use and abuse of our public surfaces continue to be able to do so without any fear of being made to pay accordingly a suitable charge and/or tax.

Now, contrast that with motorists and motor bikers who, in order to enjoy the privilege of using our wonderfully potholed, rickety, patchy, bumpy, rollercoaster ramped surfaces -- some ramps so high you almost need a parachute to ensure a safe landing -- not only must pay for a driving licence, but also have to pay an increasingly hefty annual road tax.

So, is there any earthly reason why walkers, joggers and runners should likewise not have to pay similar charges for the pleasure of being able to use our country's street pavements, parks and paths, also immaculately covered with surfaces that are cracked and uneven?

Moreover, many pavements also feature the added attraction of ancient, broken, glued-together manhole covers; and if you do fall into one you stand a fair chance of entering a portal that ends up in Manhattan in the head of the movie actor John Malkovich.

Surely a fair charge for this is quite reasonable.

Then there is the further joy of being able to step on to and into the delightfully displayed street art amalgamations of dog mess and chewing gum.

Really, why shouldn't walkers, joggers and runners have to pay for the opportunity and obvious pleasure it must give them to be able to take essential fragments of these street art works home with them, attached of course to the soles of their shoes and trainers?

In contrast, I challenge anyone to name me even one modern art gallery that has ever staged an exhibition that not only didn't charge you a whopping entrance fee, but that also ever allowed you to take home with you any constituent elements of the works on display.

I can't for one moment imagine, for example, that Picasso would have been overjoyed with the prospect that after a day's display of his 4 x 8 metres mural-size Guernica there might be nothing left on the canvas, meaning that he would have to start all over again. Can you?

The way I see it is: people who use gyms, fitness, aerobic and various weight-losing exercise clubs are obliged to pay a substantial charge in order to keep fit and healthy. Yet those who walk, jog and run daily on our streets and various walkways for the exact same purposes expect to do so free of charge.

It's simply beyond me why members of the two most unusual species God ever placed on this earth, namely "joggers" and "runners", should expect the rest of us to automatically make way for them whenever they have an urge to run into us in the street or in the park.

So, all of the above leads me to conclude that surely it's now high time for the rest of us to "take back our streets", by making all walkers, joggers and runners pay their fair share, in terms of necessitating them to have a licence for the activity they wish to engage in, as well as paying for an annual public surface user tax?

Let's get real here and end this madness once and for all.

Ivor Shorts

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

End game

•It is my considered opinion, for what it is worth, that the only address Enda Kenny should make to the nation is his resignation address, with immediate effect.

As was said many years ago to another bunch of incompetent parliamentary poltroons: "Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go! You are no Parliament" -- and take those ministers with you, whose only parliamentary act since being elected in February was a middle-of-the-night one to allow messenger boys and proxy pot-hole fillers vehicular access to Dublin city bus lanes, in order to give them a few minutes more in Leinster House, to do God only knows what.

But whatever Enda and Co are doing it has neither common sense, nous nor the concerns of the people of Ireland at its heart; rather, it has plenty to do with pacifying the LOSING GAMBLERS of Germany and France. Stockmarket investor is just a fancy name for a gambler.

Councillors, TDs, senators and public servants are so inept and wrapped up in their own egos. Not alone do they not realise the peril Ireland is in, but far, far, worse they portray to the world at large that Ireland is run by a bunch of eejits whose sole fiscal concern appears to be propping up their pensions!

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Little emperor

•Nicolas Sarkozy is now advocating a massive centralisation of power to the EU elite and war with Syria.

When he visited Ireland after the Irish people voted 'No' to the Lisbon treaty, PANA accused him of seeking to behave like Napoleon. It seems we were correct.

Roger Cole

Peace & Neutrality Alliance (PANA)

A man's world

•As time goes on, I have to challenge the belief that Irish women of the '50s were the sole childminders. When I was a child, my father, like many other fathers, regularly cared for large numbers of children. They did this when their wives wanted to go to town or needed to go to hospital. This was done without the grumbling so often heard from modern fathers. My dad was able to cook good dinners without resorting to packets and cans.

Many of the mothers I know are now more curtailed by three children than my mother was by six. They are only able to work because they are the ones who pay for creches. These women make life easy for their men, who now don't want to see their children or financially support their wives. If half of a working mother's salary is paid to a crèche, there is no reward for assuming the double burden of work and household duties.

A man's life changes very little because of the birth of a child, so he does not have to face a second job on return from work. This will continue while women oblige the male status quo in return for very little.

Florence Craven,

Maynooth, Co Kildare

Suicidal despair

•As somebody who has suffered from depression for some time, I was very interested to read Kevin Myers's opinion piece in yesterday's Irish Independent. I was immediately overcome with anger at the idea that somebody could lambaste a suicide victim for not thinking of his family before taking his own life. This is exactly the point -- when suffering suicidal thoughts you don't think of anything except escaping from the absolute despair that has taken over your existence.

In fairness to Mr Myers, he did (to a certain extent) admit this when he said later in the piece that one is, of course, "of unsound mind" when suicide takes place. Even if the term "unsound" has a slightly negative connotation, it does convey the fact that one is not in a normal state of mind.

However, what I really want to highlight about the piece is that it doesn't take into consideration that most vulnerable of groups -- young males.

Mr Myers states that, as a replacement to the taboo surrounding suicide which once served as a deterrent, we must promote "manliness" and "duty" as ultimate values that might discourage suicide. But what about young men, statistically the most frequent victims, who generally do not have children toward whom they might feel a responsibility? Young men who have left home for the first time, who may have had to emigrate, who are literally or figuratively speaking alone, often valueless, and without anything to tie them to the world?

If Mr Myers is branding this group of young men weak and unmanly for resorting to suicide, he has clearly never experienced what can go through the mind of a depression sufferer. He may be trying to help by seeking to create a new taboo that could help to prevent suicide, but more communication and compassion rather than resorting to an archaic "strong, silent male" societal mentality are what is needed.

Domhnall O'Sullivan

Arklow, Co Wicklow

Hero of Artane

•I was delighted to see the Irish Independent of November 26 paying tribute to my good friend and former mentor, the late Joe Lynch. My delight, however, was shortlived as I read further into this article. The tone and structure were unbalanced, particularly in its dealing with the former Artane Industrial School.

While I appreciate that any true biography of Mr Lynch, in particular his childhood years, would not be entirely complete without some mention of this institution, I believe that your article was unnecessarily weighted toward the most negative aspects of the school.

As one who was tutored in music and leadership in Artane by Joe Lynch, I never once heard him make any negative comment about his time as a pupil of the Artane Industrial School. I always knew Joe Lynch to be most appreciative of his education by the Irish Christian Brothers and recall his many acknowledgments of their immense contribution to his own life through his involvement over 55 years with the band.

The band was the jewel in the crown of Joe Lynch's education and training. He gave his life, energy and deep commitment to Artane and returned in abundance to the Artane Boys Band and to his beloved Senior Band, what he himself had freely received.

The negativity displayed in your article had no place in the decent and generous heart of Joe Lynch.

Niall Phelan

Donnycarney, Dublin 9

Dail bar blues

•Upon viewing a recent receipt from the Dail bar that was posted online, I was alarmed by the itemised pricing on it. Two items were purchased; one was labelled "choc bars" at €1.05; the other was a Lucozade at €1.20. The "choc bars", I can only assume is singular as €1.05 sounds a fair mark-up for a pub snack.

The Lucozade price perplexed me -- anyone who has frequented our capital's watering holes could probably tell you that no fizzy drink, let alone an energy drink, is that cheap. Even less reputable establishments charge around €3.

If our TDs are paying €1.80 less than the average citizen for a basic product, one can only surmise that the shortfall is being subsidised by . . . you know who.

Name and address with Editor



Irish Independent