Trapped by inheritance tax
Sir - Ireland has one of the highest death taxes in the world. Successive governments have reduced the tax-free threshold in respect of a gift inheritance, from a parent to a child from €542,000 in 2009 to €310,000 currently.
Seriously aggravating the situation, the rate of tax payable above the threshold increased by 65pc from 20pc in 2009 to 33pc currently.
Furthermore, if you are thinking of leaving your house to a child, prepare yourself for the draconian risks that must be first satisfied.
Welcome to the inheritance tax trap. Many statements from politicians have been made in recent years - most notably Fine Gael, who in 2016 promised to effectively abolish inheritance tax for the vast majority of families as part of its election bid.
The most definitive promise was perhaps from the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who in 2016 expressed his intention to take middle-class Ireland out of the inheritance tax net, by bringing back the tax-free thresholds to the 2009 levels.
Do you know what? Yes, maybe it will happen in the upcoming Budget.
(PS: Please don't publish my name, as my neighbours may think I'm wealthy!)
Name and address with Editor
Time to put a stop to bus plan madness
Sir - Transport for Ireland and Dublin Bus intend to make changes to suburban bus routes in the capital. It's a terrible plan, and every part of Dublin is affected and will have its own particular complaint.
I will give an example from my own area - but remember, this chaos will be repeated all over the city and throughout the suburbs.
In Dublin 5, Dublin 13 and other neighbouring estates, regular bus services into the city of Dublin will cease. Those services will be replaced with feeder buses which will take people to Malahide Road at Artane.
That will involve a couple of miles with about 10 stops on the way. After that, passengers must get off to seek another city-bound bus to complete their journey.
Dublin 5 and Dublin 13 are about six miles from the city centre. Having changed to another bus on Malahide Road for the remaining four miles, passengers will have to suffer another 25 potential stops on the bus before reaching their destination in the city.
The return journey will be much the same.
These changes to the service will not improve anything, as each of the new regular scheduled services will be hailed at all of the bus stops between Artane and the city centre (and there are many).
Traffic hold-ups not included, this will cause much delay and all traffic will become backed up.
I think Dublin Bus have not counted the stops, as I have.
How is the working population of this city expected to commute daily in those conditions in order to report to the industries and services which enable our society to function?
This is not a progressive action.
Instead it will become a nightmarish daily drudge. I call on Transport Minister Shane Ross to put a stop to Dublin Bus's mad plan.
Ikea! That's code for the dishwasher
Sir - I enjoyed Brendan O'Connor's amusing article in last week's Sunday Independent recalling his recent visit to Ikea.
Some time ago, my children showed me a 'funny' they saw online which read: "Going to Ikea is like going into your child's bedroom. You go in for a look and end up coming out with two cups, three plates, one glass, knives, forks and spoons."
Since seeing this, all I do now is shout up the stairs: "Ikea!" They know I'm asking is there anything upstairs that should be in the dishwasher.
I'm sure other parents will relate to this. To paraphrase the ad, "Ikea creates words for your everyday life".
Willie Cubbins, Glebe Park,
Rathoath, Co Meath
Foot patrols would make us feel safer
Sir - I would like to see this new commissioner break the closed shop which has been in the Garda since it was formed, and set up a dedicated Transport Police Service.
I would also like to see foot patrols in the capital city of the country. Most tourists feel safe when they see police on the ground. I do, when I visit other countries.
John Hannon, Collins Park,
Great to see Gaybo still up for writing
Sir - It's great to see that Gay Byrne is looking so well and is still up for writing a page or two, even though he is going through a tough recovery from cancer. But sure, "tough" is his middle name.
God send he is soon back with The Meaning of Life as there is surely a reason why there are so many crosses. After all, 84 is not old any more. As Hector says, keep her lit Gaybo.
Cootehill, Co Cavan
Is there no normal without alcohol?
Sir - If I was struggling to give up alcohol and possibly being urged to do so by a partner/spouse and if I had an urge to keep on drinking, I would have found a great ally in Ivan Yates's article in the Sunday Independent last Sunday.
Even the headline, 'I became boring without it', would be a godsend to someone looking for an excuse to not stop drinking or to go back on it. Because who wants to be boring?
Ivan describes himself as a "constant" rather than a "heavy" drinker. He described his drinking habits as "amounting to two pints at 6.15pm each day and a bottle of wine with his meal, most evenings".
He is quoted as saying: "I really missed having a social life. I didn't go to matches, I didn't go to race meetings and now I have a normal life again."
So one can't go to matches or race meetings without alcohol? It suggests there is no "normal" life without alcohol.
Boherbue, Mallow, Co Cork
Heartbroken by those balaclavas
Sir - I'm no revolutionary, and I'm certainly not an anarchist. I live with my wife in a small village in rural Ireland. I am a pensioner, a socialist and I am proud to uphold the law of the land.
That's why it broke my heart last week to see private security operatives in balaclavas deployed while members of An Garda Siochana - similarly attired in sinister masks - looked on.
Let me make it clear, I am in no way an advocate of breaking the law in regard to our laws on trespassing - but when I saw this, I was deeply disturbed.
Is this now the norm for our police force?
Michael Burke, Sixmilebridge, Co Clare
Working out the classes of Ireland
Sir - Eilis O'Hanlon's article last week was spot on in saying that class in Ireland is different.
We have three classes here, and they're all related to work.
1) People who don't work;
2) People who work;
3) And people who don't have to work.
Naas, Co Kildare
Put key under mat before you leave
Sir - Am I correct to think that the social contract between the Government and its citizens has to be maintained? I believe that I am.
But behind the political spin regarding the closure of rural post offices lies an attempt to rewrite the terms of the social contract - with the terms in favour of Irish citizens who are city-based, digital natives and regard the Irish countryside as a weekend playground.
A rural post office is more than a commercial space bedecked with An Post livery. It is a community heartbeat.
As they enjoy their twilight years, why should the elderly bow the knee and change the way they engage with public, commercial and social services?
Has it come to pass that your residential location determines your engagement with society?
If that be the case, then would the last person out of the Irish countryside please turn out the light, latch the door and put the key under the mat.
Fews, Co Waterford
This pathetic excuse for a sport
Sir - Each outcry of the hunted Hare/A fibre from the Brain does tear. These words from poet William Blake come to mind when I think about the first fixture of the new coursing season, set for Liscannor, Co Clare, on September 29-30.
Documents just uploaded to the website of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), and that are open to public viewing, reveal that at last year's Liscannor coursing event at least five hares were "hit" by greyhounds.
It is unnatural for a wild hare to be trapped in a coursing enclosure, manhandled by humans, "trained" to run up a field, then used as a live lure for dogs. The politicians who allow this pathetic excuse for a sport to continue should hang their heads in shame.
Callan, Co Kilkenny
Keane's managing by fear has had its day
Sir - The performance of the Irish soccer team is important to many people. The joy during Italia '90 proved this. We were together, the team were together.
The team is an extension of us. It doesn't matter if the players are second or third-generation Irish - they have chosen to play with us. A legend with a Glasgow accent put the ball in the English net, a Cockney with an Italian surname caused havoc to international defences. It doesn't matter.
Which brings us to the issue at hand. Our players should not be subjected to the demented rants of a pseudo-perfectionist with anger management issues.
Roy Keane was a good player. That's all he was, a good player. It is evident from the incidents attributed to him that he lacks the people skills to manage, or be an assistant manager. He has the persona of a hard man that he amplifies at every opportunity. But there is always a harder man. What does a hard man do? Bully? Intimidate?
Soon, John Delaney will realise that Martin O'Neill and Keane hurt seat sales. And John needs seat sales. He will then approach a man manager who can deliver with limited resources - and Mick McCarthy will be restored to his rightful place. We shall have success again. Managing by fear has had its day.
Xavier McCullough, Mount Green, Limerick
Please spare us all the 'character' guff
Sir - We hear so much about how participation in sport helps character development. Yet when a team, or individual, wins as a result of bad decisions made by judges or refs, should those who benefit from incorrect decisions not call it as it is?
Instead, they invariably hide behind the such shibboleths as "we were on the receiving end of bad decisions in the past" or "the rules are not fit for purpose" etc.
With last week's Senior Camogie Final, we have seen the latest example of this. It seems the fair sex are no different to their male counterparts. And please save us from the old "character forming" palaver.
Joseph Mackey, Kilkenny West, Athlone, Co Westmeath
Why Dublin are back in business
Sir - In his article last Sunday, Eamonn Sweeney argued that part of the reasoning behind the GAA decision to pump disproportionate sums into Dublin GAA was a hangover from the ban.
More likely, it was a strategic business development decision. Throw a ball of money at Dublin, who, after 125 years of under-achievement, might finally get their house in order, and it's a full Croke Park house again and good for the business plan.
Dublin have done their stuff. But the monster is out of the cage, with the rest living off scraps, and glory hopes for most disappeared... unlike Bertie.
Creewood, Slane, Co Meath
Being gracious in defeat shows class
Sir - In reply to the letter last week from your Tipperary correspondent, praising Dublin's footballers, how refreshing to read such a positive letter.
For so long all we hear is: "Oh they have huge sponsorship, large back-room staff, all home games played in Croke Park."
Often they forget the long hours they put in training and the work put into under-age level is enormous. The talent is there that no money can buy. We have had our barren years and are now on the crest of a wave.
Agnes Freeman, Gorey, Co Wexford