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UK is sneezing - so Ireland would be wise to keep its distance


‘Political zombie’: Theresa May. Photo: REUTERS

‘Political zombie’: Theresa May. Photo: REUTERS

‘Political zombie’: Theresa May. Photo: REUTERS

Some commentators believe that Theresa May's humiliating kick in the tail in last week's UK election will mean a soft Brexit, which would be better for Ireland.

The more deluded even believe the UK might reverse Brexit and stay in the EU. This is more of the same wishful thinking by the same media and political elites who have so far predicted everything wrong and still can't or won't understand the changing circumstances.

After being given a strong majority, democratic mandate, and a self-destructive Labour as opposition, Mrs May has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with no majority or mandate, and managed to make Jeremy Corbyn look a sane and competent leader.

She is now a political zombie, and whereas last year Labour was torn by factions, fighting and leadership heaves, now it is the Conservatives' turn. This at a time when the UK needs a stable and confident government.

No one volunteers to be humiliated, but for the UK to agree to a soft Brexit and the free movement of people would be a humiliation, never mind the bigger humiliation of reversing Brexit. Why would euro-sceptic Conservatives agree to do this to themselves? But none of that matters because no matter the outcome the reputational damage has been done and the UK is no longer seen as a friendly reliable partner and ally by anyone in Europe. No matter the outcome, nearly half the UK population will be angry at whatever Brexit arrangement is agreed as either being too hard or not hard enough.

As the old saying goes, "when Britain sneezes, Ireland gets a cold". The UK is coughing and spluttering and Ireland needs to keep its distance so we don't catch whatever infection Britain has.

Jason Fitzharris

Swords, Co Dublin


The evil abuse of our elderly

Some 8,000 cases of elderly abuse were reported to the Health Service Executive last year. It is the first time records have been compiled.

In the elderly, psychological abuse was the most prevalent. What sort of abuse is that? Well money is the root of all evil. So demanding money off elderly parents, and threatening not to help them through the day, with difficult tasks like toiletry needs, would be one. Bullying, in the form of saying hurtful comments, would be another.

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Who does this sort of thing to elderly people?

Anthony Woods

Ennis, Co Clare


Form temporary, class permanent

On Sunday, Rafa Nadal became the first man to win a grand slam tennis tournament 10 times! I believe that this record will never be broken.

In the days of the challenge round, William Renshaw accumulated seven Wimbledon titles in the 19th century. Pete Sampras and Roger Federer have equalled this feat but winning 10 French Open titles in 13 attempts is truly incredible. Nadal has a 79-2 record at Roland Garros, winning at his first attempt in 2005 before losing to Robin Soderling in 2009, Novak Djokovic in 2015 and then injury forced his withdrawal in 2016 after two rounds.

What impresses me most about Nadal is that despite so many injury setbacks and crises of confidence, he has always returned to the summit. He and Federer transcend the sport of tennis and are two of the greatest sportsmen of all-time.

With Federer's victory in Australia at 35 and Nadal's triumph in Paris at 31 they prove that age is no barrier to excellence and dedication. Which reminds me of the saying, "form is temporary…class is permanent."

Vamos amigos.

Mike Geraghty

Newcastle, Co Galway


Digital cars are a 'win-win'

"One thing I know about radar, it doesn't drive drunk, it doesn't drive distracted," Washington state governor Jay Inslee said according to 'The Seattle Times'.

"We humans are really good at a lot of things, driving cars isn't necessarily one of them compared to the automated processes that are digital and foolproof. I just have huge confidence in the safety aspects of this."

He went on to say that human error is responsible for 94pc of all car accidents and that the new technology should drastically reduce fatalities, minor injuries and costly vehicle damage.

A direct follow-on should be dramatic reduction of predatory insurance premiums as payouts become far less frequent and for greatly reduced amounts.

Safety alone should push the replacement of present vehicles by computer-controlled ones to the top of the road safety priority list.

Furthermore, courts should become less clogged with accident litigation; free to deal with crime and other litigation in far shorter time.

Hospital accident and emergency should also show significant reduction in the tie-up of staff allowing them to process patients off trolleys much quicker. A similar significant reduction should apply to ambulance, Garda and fire service call-outs.

All in all a "win-win" situation with vast improvement all around -except perhaps for those who benefit from automobile accidents; insurance companies and brokers together with legal practitioners, some of whom have turned accidents into a very lucrative business. They, like many other businesses, professions and jobs, are going to have to quickly adapt to being made redundant by technology.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry, Co Sligo


Two sides to every opinion

It's ironic that probably the most loyal group of people in the UK should be so vilified and denigrated for the anti-abortion and anti-LGBT rights policies of the DUP.

Are those persons not entitled to express their opinions in a democratic way, or is that the sole right of those who oppose such opinions?

William Shortland

Blessington, Co Wicklow


Sinn Féin needs a rethink

The precarious position of the Conservative government's dependence on the DUP for survival is worrying. It is conceivable that the peace process could be in jeopardy if the DUP makes the watering down of the Good Friday Agreement a condition for its support.

At this crucial time it is imperative for Sinn Féin to take up its places in Westminster and give support to Labour where and if needed. It should be prepared to rethink and compromise its ideological stance on abstention for the greater good of the country and peace generally. Surely Sinn Féin's active presence in London would be a source of greater influence in all kinds of ways rather than being on the periphery. Critical times require bold and imaginative responses and it is to be hoped it will rethink its position on this matter.

Gerry P Strong

Shrewsbury, UK

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