It is with great sadness that we once again learn of the cancellation of vital cancer operations "in significant numbers'' due to overcrowding, and a lack of an adequate number of beds and doctors in our hospitals (Irish Independent, March 20).
Dr Tom Ryan, president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) and an anaesthetist in St James's Hospital in Dublin, said the situation is urgent, and sent a stark warning to the Health Minister, Simon Harris, of the consequences of not carrying out the essential surgery, and immediate and on-going cancer patient care.
There are 400 full-time hospital consultant positions vacant, and this issue can only be solved by offering improved pay and conditions, Dr Ryan added.
He also went on to say the current practice of healthcare "rationing'' is the root cause of the trolley crisis and the ever-growing waiting lists.
Unfortunately, if the current situation is allowed to continue to develop, we can expect some fatalities from the long delays in treating cancer patients in need of urgent attention.
The recent advertisement campaign by the Irish Cancer Society to "get cancer before it gets us" seems, so far, to have fallen on deaf ears among the decision-makers and the powers that be at the highest level in one of the richest countries in the world.
Cloonacool, Co Sligo
Coveney policy like one of Bertie's
Hot on the heels of calling for more income tax cuts and breaks, Local Government Minister Simon Coveney is now planning to oversee local rates "slashed" (Irish Independent, March 20).
Would Mr Coveney tell us how he intends to deal with the scandalous homeless problem, not to mention the healthcare shambles and poverty levels, with an ever-decreasing revenue take? Have we learned nothing from the Bertie years?
Rathedmond, Co Sligo
Mr Trump, make us the 51st state
Having joined the EU and been subjected to paying exorbitant amounts of taxpayers' money each day to belong to this manipulative setup, Ireland has thrown away the sovereignty her forefathers struggled and died for.
If we have to be run by foreign forces, it would be much better for us to cut our ever-increasing losses resulting from being part of the EU and plead with Donald Trump (now that he has stated that Enda Kenny is his friend) to take on Ireland as the 51st state of the United States of America, a great country that was largely built by the Irish.
Like Alaska and Hawaii, we would be separated from the mainland but at least we would be run by people significantly more compatible with us in every way than other member countries of the EU.
My suggestion would also bring about many other benefits, for example it would solve the problem around Mr Kenny's leadership, as a replacement would no longer be needed and Mr Kenny would enjoy the distinction of being Ireland's last Taoiseach, while the hospital trolley crisis would be settled once and for all.
Drogheda, Co Louth
We must recommit to our values
Around our troubled world Mother's Day can mark the courage, self-sacrifice and altruism of women especially now that several places are increasingly becoming a breeding ground for extremism, terrorism, death, desolation and ethnic and sectarian conflicts.
In the midst of the rubble, life has become synonymous with misery. Women bear extra burdens of raising generations. They bear extra emotional and financial burdens of daily lives besieged by incarceration and poverty. They fall prey to poverty, communicable and non-communicable diseases, exploitation with severe social, cultural and economic challenges.
It is imperative upon the global community to reduce the vulnerability of the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised such as women and children, and enhance their resilience to withstand man-made and natural humanitarian disasters and global shocks; to mitigate the social factors that contribute to life-threatening diseases; to help them cope with their overwhelming feelings and emotions and sometimes coping with unanticipated situations.
In a nutshell, let us renew our unflinching commitment to democracy, free speech, the rule of law, gender equity, human rights, citizenship, cultural diversity, innovation, eco-friendly culture, creativity and social justice; the pillars of good governance and a civilised society.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
Enda, that's another fine mess
It's said that Enda Kenny wanted so much to be like the late JFK that he memorised some of his speeches. Unfortunately, Mr Kenny's own speeches as Taoiseach leave a lot to be desired.
There was the Madrid 2015 speech to the European People's Party, where Mr Kenny spoke about soldiers on guard outside our ATMs and banks, followed by the "man with the two pints", followed by the worker writing to thank him for the extra cash in his wages.
Wherever Mr Kenny has made speeches abroad he has been clapped, sometimes on the back. With Angela Merkel, he gets a clap on the back of the head - that's all this great wordsmith gets for his efforts.
His last speech - during his visit to Washington for St Patrick's Day - was meant to ease the predicament of the illegal Irish workers in America. Sadly, it appears Mr Kenny's words had the reverse effect - he was told in reply by the powers that be that it is the intention of Donald Trump to entice all American corporations based here in Ireland to return to their own country, which could mean the loss of thousands of Irish jobs.
As Oliver Hardy repeatedly said: "Another fine mess." Don't give up on the speeches Mr Kenny, you'll soon have us back to ponies and traps.
Magdalene laundry a lesson
The State should intervene as a matter of urgency to acquire the last remaining Magdalene laundry in the State, the one at Donnybrook, Dublin. This is largely intact, with much of the paraphernalia of the building still, chillingly, on display.
Whether it serves as a museum or as a memorial to past wrongs, I believe the State should preserve this last poignant and powerful link with the hidden Ireland of the not-too-distant past, especially given the State was so shamefully implicated in the horrors of Magdalene laundries and other abusive institutions.
The preserved laundry could then be visited by present and future generations of Irish people, so that we never forget what was done to those innocent women, and to the thousands of boys and girls who suffered behind the high walls of industrial schools.
Callan, Co Kilkenny