TD Catherine Murphy has restored credibility to politics
The assertion by Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin that ministers, TDs and senators are entitled to pay hikes along with public sector workers is astonishing (Irish Independent, April 27).
This year, our budget deficit is estimated to come in around 2.7pc of GDP - that means we spend approximately €5bn more than we collect in taxes.
This means that any pay increases would have to be met with increased borrowings, therefore adding to our national debt - or perhaps Mr Howlin envisages a scenario where private sector workers pay more taxes to offset pay rises for elected representatives and public sector workers?
Until a day comes when we can balance our books, pay rises should not be spoken of. It makes me despair to see rational thought fade away at the first sign of an upsurge in the economy.
Dunleer, Co Louth
Privilege of equal rights
I feel very privileged that for my 40th birthday, I will receive the gift of voting for equal rights in Ireland. It's not every day that we get the chance to be part of a civil rights movement. So why do I feel so passionate about voting 'Yes' in the upcoming referendum?
Is it because I have two gay siblings and I want them to enjoy the same civil rights that I do?
Is it because my husband is brown-skinned and, had a civil rights movement not allowed "persons of colour" to marry white people, my marriage and my children would not exist?
Is it because had a civil rights movement not allowed persons of different religions to get married, my marriage and my children would not exist?
Is it because had my in-laws not been liberal enough to allow their son to enter into a "love marriage" as opposed to an arranged marriage, my marriage and my children would not exist?
Thanks to the courageous people who lobbied for these rights for generations, I have a lovely, happy family.
Do I feel that my marriage or my family will be jeopardised in any way by my siblings and my counterparts enjoying the same civil rights I do? Absolutely not!
Is my delight at being part of this civil rights movement solely based on the selfish reasons above?
I don't believe it is. I think it goes deeper than that. I may not be Rosa Parks but I will have the ability to remove an inequality. I will have the chance to vote for something that is fundamentally right, to say "I am not more equal than you, I don't deserve more civil rights than you".
In a country that has fought so long and hard for the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to plan our families and the right to peace, we must grab this opportunity with both hands and say to all our citizens: "we are all equally equal, even the 10pc who are currently marginalised".
Sarah Nic Lochlainn
Ardee, Co Louth
A closer look at marriage
A closer look at the word marriage finds that it is derived from the Latin "matrimonium", combining the concepts of "mother" and the state thereof, ie "motherhood", which logically implies fatherhood and children. If that is what marriage is about, can a same-sex couple, mindful of where their own very being came from - a mother and a father - ask without presumption for marriage to be accorded to them?
They cannot in their situation give what their respective father and mother gave to them, ie a father and a mother. Is it not impertinent to claim a status, the conditions for the possibility of which one cannot meet?
If the call to acknowledge and respect the very obvious qualifications for marriage will not be heard, have we not reached a stage where debate is no longer possible? Are we not in a situation where the will to dominate prevails? The rationally clear conditions for marriage, the order of nature, rights of conscience and the perennial wisdoms of religious insight and belief can all be trampled down on foot of a will to power that turns reality on its head.
The drive for same-sex marriage in our country - in the aftermath of rights and privileges being accorded to gay couples under the Civil Partnership, etc. Act 2010 - has certainly not come from the mass of the people. Notwithstanding, we have a situation where the Government and most TDs support the drive, seemingly unaware that they are undermining that which they are sworn to protect, that is marriage, on which the family is founded.
That same Government, which has been entrusted with maintaining the common good and health of society, is satisfied to accommodate (admirable as that might be) trends in family forms of a lesser provenance.
At the same time, it neglects the pursuit of policies that might strengthen the basic unit of society, ie the family in its natural form and full potential.
J O Donoghue
Woodlawn, Killarney, Co Kerry
Independent TD Catherine Murphy is a credit to Irish politics, better than a dozen Government ministers or TDs any day. Her dogged persistence in pursuing FOI requests has focused political attention on the controversial sale of Siteserv and prompted an informative Dáil debate about the whole disturbing, labyrinthine process.
If we had a truly "open and transparent" government, which is what Fine Gael promised before the last election, there would no need for Ms Murphy to pursue the issue and drag information to the surface via a painstaking FOI quest for the truth.
The IBRC was supposed to be getting the best possible deal for the taxpayer in its dealings, and its handling of all issues relevant to its function and raison d'être should concern us, especially given the economic havoc wrought by banks and their enduring impact on all our lives.
Ms Murphy has restored some credibility to the battered reputation of our political process.
Callan, Co Kilkenny
A lesson from Gallipoli
There has been some comment about inviting the British Royals to the forthcoming 1916 commemorations in Ireland, with mixed views being expressed.
If our commitment to the peace and reconciliation we have arrived at is as heartfelt as we like to suggest, surely the bold example of inclusiveness by the Turks recently highlighted at the Gallipoli celebrations is one we could and should be following? Especially that lovely sentiment on the Anzac memorial: "You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well." (Memorial at Anzac Cove by Ataturk).
Mallow, Co Cork