The boys in green proved the pub pundits wrong
The man in the pub looked into his glass. The pronouncement that followed showed foreboding and disdain in equal measure.
The Irish soccer team that would that evening oppose the might of the world football champions on Germany's home turf would be duly humiliated. "Lambs to the slaughter" and "couldn't kick snow off a rope" were some of the more printable phrases that tripped off his tongue.
John O'Shea's glorious equaliser in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, was something of a setback to his prophecy. The pundit is slowly recovering from this reversal and is now focusing on Ireland's next competitive fixture - Scotland in Glasgow.
Here, Ireland will be truly exposed at the back and will lack penetration up front.
I know this to be true because the man in the pub told me.
His glass remains half empty.
Come on Ireland!
Longwood, Co Meath
Bonus plan doesn't hold water
"Slobbering in the water" best describes the debacle that is Irish Water. Even more so, when one considers it cost €180m - most of the spend going to outside consultants - to launch the company.
The obvious first step would be to ensure that the national pipe network was replaced to the point where all water passed from the supply source in an enclosed system is free of all forms of contamination.
Then, similar to the National Electrical Grid and supply sources, private metered connections could be made to every house in the State, guaranteeing a quality product to all. The quality standard is even more serious in the case of water because it is a consumable product on which the health of the nation depends. Only at this point should it be legally possible to price and market the product to the public.
Is this the procedure with Irish Water? Unfortunately, no. Problems with contaminated water having to be boiled for safety and countless undetected underground leaks causing huge losses of water are countrywide. Tens of thousands of water meters are still in the process of being installed.
In these circumstances, isn't it scandalous to waste time discussing bonuses for its 500 highly paid staff when delivering on water is its prime objective? Senior management are to be paid €9,000 in top-ups, while the harder workers down the line are offered considerably less to meet the same targets.
Irish Water is a semi-state company still in its infancy. Is it right or honest that bonuses should be demanded or paid at this critical stage - wouldn't it be reasonable to expect all personnel first to prove they are, at least, capable of their tasks?
Thurles, Co Tipperary
Power lines - go underground
If there is any question about whether the power lines should go over or underground then ask any of the people who have been left without power in recent weeks - in one case for 18 hours.
Most of the power outages were caused by fallen lines.
Gorey, Co Wexford
Don't envy Iceland
Writing from London, Desmond FitzGerald accuses those of us who live in Ireland, and put up with the consequences of the economic calamity that hit this country, of indulging in "myths" and not knowing what we are talking about (Letters, Irish Independent, October 18).
In his letter he says that Ireland "became bankrupt because of deliberate choices made by the ECB".
He ignores the fact that before the ECB made those "deliberate choices" Ireland's problems were created by the equally deliberate decisions of a small number of its own most powerful citizens during the boom. In highlighting the "difference" between "sovereign debt" and "private banking debt" he ignores the fact that it was all Irish debt and was, therefore, our responsibility.
When he cites Iceland, he ignores the fact that Iceland had no option but to default, since, according to the experts, its banking debt was six times its GDP and it did not have the backing of the EU and the ECB. He also ignores the fact that, again according to the experts, it devalued its currency by half - which made Icelanders much poorer - its capital controls pushed away investment and its mass mortgage write-offs ensured that savers lost their money.
Sutton, Dublin 13
Irish Water: the solution
I think I have it solved - the whole Irish Water thing!
Rather than extending the time that people can avoid an extra charge that some might say makes a mockery of equality, why doesn't Irish Water allow those who won't or can't pay/register/apply (who, don't forget, are citizens who previously owned this precious resource) to do community service, like the bankers who were found guilty after an extremely expensive legal case?
Maybe watering the flowers in Stephen's Green or giving water to the animals in Dublin Zoo , or even pulling pints in the Dail bar - where it was reported some politicians found it quite difficult to settle their bills - could be forced as penalties upon the thousands who marched against water charges?
Perhaps those on this community service could check reservoirs as an early warning system for hosepipe bans in case we get an unusually dry and sunny summer. We might - oh, sorry I used "we" there, I thought I was in a democracy for a second.
Athenry, Co Galway
Moral vacuum on rising rents
News of the increase in house prices (Irish Independent, October 20) will be cold comfort to the rising number of working people falling into homelessness due to unaffordable rents in Dublin. The Government and the media appear to be united in refusing to entertain a discussion of rent controls - perhaps many of them are landlords?
In the moral vacuum of our neoliberal, free market economy, more and more people are inevitably becoming consigned to what critic Henry Giroux calls "zones of abandonment and social death, where they become unknowables, with no human rights and no one accountable for their condition".
The logic of a profit-driven system dictates that the cost of socio-economic protections is unjustifiable, but it also means that we have failed in our collective civic responsibility to our fellow citizens.
Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Taxing the web
I laughed out loud at your article headlined 'Hungary plans tax on internet use' (Irish Independent, October 22).
I've never Googled as much in my life as I have with the search term "water charges".
If Enda Inc were to introduce the web tax, I may as well move to Budapest and be done with it all!
Drogheda, Co Louth
Sex is God's creation
It is the job of the Catholic Church's government to discern, here and now, what Christ is saying to humanity - and, most importantly, what He is not saying.
Since the day of his election, Pope Francis has been trying to get this across to us all, especially to the recent synod.
For example, traditional church teaching on sex is still tainted by the negativity of St Augustine, because of his own formal life-style. Sex is a positive entity, the mainspring of God's ongoing creation. Sex is good, precious and beautiful. The church must rescue sex from the filth of this age, not frown on it as part of the problem.
Why are women still excluded from having any real say or meaningful role in church governance? Why does the church still impose compulsory celibacy on all clergy? Does the Vatican know, or care, what ordinary lay people think on these and similar subjects?
Address with Editor