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Unionists need to condemn their hateful Twelfth cohort

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A young man carries a Northern Ireland flag in silhouette past the burning Craigyhill loyalist bonfire in Larne, Co Antrim, on the "Eleventh night" to usher in the Twelfth commemorations. Photo: Liam McBurneyPA Wire

A young man carries a Northern Ireland flag in silhouette past the burning Craigyhill loyalist bonfire in Larne, Co Antrim, on the "Eleventh night" to usher in the Twelfth commemorations. Photo: Liam McBurneyPA Wire

A young man carries a Northern Ireland flag in silhouette past the burning Craigyhill loyalist bonfire in Larne, Co Antrim, on the "Eleventh night" to usher in the Twelfth commemorations. Photo: Liam McBurneyPA Wire

The burning of an effigy of Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, a tricolour and a Palestinian flag, as well as election posters of nationalist and Alliance politicians, must be condemned and deplored by everyone, even those in the unionist community.

It shows there is a cohort within the unionist community who have no understanding of culture or how to celebrate it. They have demeaned and undermined their own culture and replaced it with the caustic culture of hate.

Their proclamations during the Twelfth celebrations about “Taigs” and “F*** the Pope” show a community unable or unwilling to move forward from its siege mentality to where social and political norms in mainstream society are and should be embraced.

This is not helped by those in the political arena who fail or refuse to engage in an executive meant to ensure stability and growth in Northern Ireland.

If this is a celebration of victory over a Catholic English monarch on Irish soil, what has the burning of effigies, flags and posters to do with a disagreement between two monarchs not of Irish descent hundreds of years ago?

Is this the type of all-Ireland we want – where two sections of society either eulogise terrorists or burn effigies to prove their cultures?

Christy Galligan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Extra spending on defence will help, but more is needed

The Government’s recent announcement of increased defence spending to LOA2 (Level of Ambition 2) by 2028 – as recommended by the Commission on the Defence Forces – is to be welcomed, but it is not ambitious enough.

Consider, for example, our airspace. Currently, we can’t detect any aircraft in that has had its transponders switched off because we don’t have primary radar.

LOA2 would provide primary radar, but even if we detected such an aircraft, we can only ask the pilot politely to leave because we don’t have any fighter jets to force them.

The commission did recommend fighter jets in LOA3, but even if we decided today to acquire some, it takes years to go through the procurement process and then there’s the wait for delivery.

On top of this we must add the years it takes to train enough pilots, ground crew and maintenance personnel to operate fighters. Therefore, the Government needs to commit now to meeting LOA3 in the 2030s so that we can defend our airspace.

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To those Irish people who are uncomfortable with paying for fighter jets and providing for the adequate defence of our national territory, consider the hypocrisy of claiming to be neutral and yet sub-contracting the defence of our airspace to the Royal Air Force.

Jason Fitzharris, Swords, Co Dublin

Spanish hospital plan wipes out vow for a one-tier system

Surely your report (‘Hospital opens in Spain to treat Irish patients on long public waiting lists’, Irish Independent, July 14) finally scuppers the idea that the Government was serious when it promised to deliver a one-tier healthcare system here.

This decision, which will pour Irish taxpayers’ money into building the healthcare infrastructure in Spain – rather than here – is evidence the Government will do anything to protect the failed two-tier system. As in housing, the interests of the few are protected at any cost.

Jim O’Sullivan, Rathedmond, Co Sligo

Number-crunching on €200 bill credit isn’t that taxing

People who complain about not receiving €200 credit on their electricity bill obviously weren’t very good at maths at school.

Because of the reduction in VAT, people are receiving only €192.08 in credit. However, in the older system with the higher VAT rate, they would have received €200 credit.

The end result to the consumer is the same.

If I am selling something for €250 and I give you €100 off, you pay €150. However, if I sell you the same item for €200 and I give you €50 off, you pay €150. Have you a right to complain in the second scenario that you only received €50 off when the cost to you is the same as in the first scenario? I think not.

Tommy Roddy, Ballybane, Co Galway

If Penny magics up protocol solution, we’ll be spellbound

Given her former occupation as a magician’s assistant, maybe Penny Mordaunt, if she becomes prime minister, can pull a Northern Ireland Protocol rabbit out of the hat.

Chris Fitzpatrick, Dublin 6


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