Time to ask what Enda Kenny has done for you
Brendan Behan used to say of someone that "he was a decent man, he'd take off his boots to kick you".
I would view our Taoiseach in this category of "decent men", granted much of the kicking was of necessity. Ireland was in a very dark place after the Fianna Fáilers turned out the lights.
Europe and Angela handed out the whips. The long-suffering people of Ireland could have been the inspiration for '50 Shades of Grey', such was the dosage of pain inflicted along with "punitive" interest rates since 2011.
Alright, now that we got that out of the way - what has Mr Kenny done for us? A pertinent question as he addresses his ard fheis as the High King of Mayo.
On his watch, several generations of our young have gone away, and are unlikely to be coming back any time soon. We have accepted all kinds of taxes and levies, property, water... the list goes on. On 'Prime Time' Mr Kenny refused to answer Miriam O'Callaghan's question on whether he asked for bank debt reduction from the EU-ECB. He stuttered and spluttered like an iron kettle on a red-hot hob, but failed to give an answer.
On the plus side: What Mr Kenny and his crew did do was renegotiate the unreasonable rates we were cable-tied to by the IMF and managed to borrow money elsewhere.
This was fleet-financial footwork, and both Mr Kenny and Michael Noonan deserve recognition for this.
So Mr Kenny, as your faithful rise to their feet and cheer and applaud, I would say that there has been a lot done - but a lot more to do.
Now, where have I heard that before?
Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin
We got just what we voted for
This Fine Gael/Labour government has lead the most divisive Dáil in the history of the State, ironically during the nation's darkest hours of severe economic austerity. Is that mere coincidence? We have voted in many referenda recently, most of them dividing the people.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has failed to bring citizens together in common cause, but has pandered to the tiny, vocal minorities.
He is pulling citizens apart on different social issues, while leading a Dáil that at many times has been indifferent to the legitimate concerns of large sections of Irish society. This Dáil is ethically insolvent.
For certain, there is no honest leadership present - and there is unlikely to be any time soon. As is said, you get what you vote for. Divisive government and a divided Ireland.
Old Youghal Road, Cork city
A lesson from history
The report of the Dublin protesters being jailed for contempt of court brings to mind the old adage on those who neglect history.
WB Yeats in his 'Memoirs' cites a contemporary of his, the English poet, critic and editor WE Henley (1845-1903).
"It is not that I do not think Ireland fit for self-government, it is as fit as any other country... but we have to think of the empire. Do persuade those young men that this great thing has to go on."
Is it the EU or the ECB that is "this great thing" in the minds of Enda Kenny, Michael Noonan, et al, who give every semblance of bowing and scraping, to "their betters" in Europe, as they sneer at the electorate with their almost daily deceit, since being elected in March 2011?
I wonder, am I the only person observing a replay of the 1973-77 Liam Cosgrave government? A decent man, he was so enamoured by ''the righteousness" of FG versus FF, he was oblivious to the perceptiveness of the electorate.
An eye on Russia
For the second time in the last few weeks Russian bomber aircraft flew through Irish-controlled airspace with their transponders (a device that emits an identifying signal) turned off, leaving them only detectable by radar. Although they didn't enter Irish sovereign airspace, it was both a dangerous and provocative action. Transatlantic air routes over Ireland are some of the busiest in the world. Flying perpendicular to these routes, while remaining undetectable, is reckless at best. To say they were flying at different altitudes to commercial airliners is hardly much of a mitigating factor.
There can be little doubt that Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, feels emboldened by the West's feckless response to the increasing violence in Eastern Ukraine. Perhaps Russia was testing the response times of the UK air force, or perhaps it was simply baring its teeth.
Either way, it asks questions about Ireland's lack of investment in its Air Corps down through the years, and in particular in a sophisticated detection system and appropriate rapid-response aircraft.
Dunleer, Co Louth
A red-letter day
Congratulations to your paper, as I read in yesterday's edition that "We're the no 1 newspaper". As you say, people purchase to read your journalists, and rightly so.
But what about your world-class letter writers? Surely you remember how long your decision to cancel the letters page on Mondays lasted?
Anyway, it's great news. And sure doesn't it make one feel proud to be part of any success story? So, I will be so bold as to take it upon myself to congratulate myself and all my excellent fellow scribes who contribute to your paper on a regular basis.
Glenties, Co Donegal
Faith and belief
Eric Conway (February 20) puts forward the idea - and without providing any rational basis whatsoever for it - that "surely it is much more reasonable to believe in Aquinas's uncaused cause than in the enormous leap of faith required to believe" in atheistic notions such as "spontaneous creation".
He apparently fails to see that the belief in the existence of a God - a God who is assumed to have come into existence uncaused whatsoever by the prior existence of anything at all - itself also requires an equally enormous leap of faith?
Indeed, rather than accuse atheists of taking an enormous leap of faith, it might have been wiser for Mr Conway not to have taken an enormous leap into irrationality.
Rathfarnham, Dublin 16
Action needed on water
With regard to the escalating water charge debate/ debacle in Ireland, I respectfully disagree that free access to unlimited water is anyone's birthright. Even if they live in a rain-soaked climate. Are we God's chosen? What about many African countries, for example. Why not them?
Many of the water systems that keep ecosystems thriving have become stressed and polluted. More than half the world's wetlands have vanished. Climate change is altering patterns of weather and water around the world, causing shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others (which often cause further pollution).
At the current consumption rate, this situation will only get worse. By 2025, two-thirds of the world's population may face water shortages. Just because we get a lot of rain in Ireland doesn't mean we should be free to waste what we are given. That's irresponsible.
The only way to raise awareness and change our wasteful ways is to charge by usage. Like many other countries do. We will all suffer, future generations even more so, if we don't wake up. So long as we think what falls from the sky is ours to waste then the situation will only get worse.
Address with editor