Welcome to Ireland - The land of a thousand cruelties

A new Dogs Trust campaign is highlighting the plight of mums living in poor conditions on puppy farms, like this rescued springer spaniel. Photo: ©Fran Veale

Letters to the Editor

The seizure of almost 100 puppies in the UK that had been illegally shipped from Ireland again focuses attention on the sickening trade in 'designer dogs'.

Not that it surprises me in the least that Ireland has earned the reputation among animal welfare groups of being the puppy farming capital of Europe.

We have a serious credibility problem as a nation when it comes to humane treatment of animals.

Yes, we have an animal welfare act, but a badly drafted one that has proved inadequate in tackling a whole range of issues: puppy farming thrives, availing of gaping loopholes in the act; feral cats have virtually no legal protection; badgers are snared and killed openly despite their "protected" status; and the legislation specifically exempts hare coursing from prohibition.

Instead of protecting hares - gentle, inoffensive creatures - from a practice banned in many jurisdictions, it protects the "sporting interests" of coursing clubs.

Whether it's subjecting innocent puppies to the misery of vile breeding establishments or having hares mauled, terrorised and tossed about like broken toys, we seem to excel at turning sentient beings into tortured, traumatised or dead ones in the name of fun and greed.

It's a wonder we don't have a special government department or semi-state agency selling our contempt for animal welfare as a tourist attraction.

The slogan could be: Welcome to Ireland - The land of a thousand cruelties.

John Fitzgerald

Callan, Co Kilkenny

Different rule for Bernie

When Bernie Sanders described an open-border migration policy as a right-wing proposal to drive down wages and undermine the nation state, he was applauded for defending the working class.

Why then are Nigel Farage and Donald Trump anathematised as right-wing ideologues for making the same point?

Dr John Doherty

Vienna, Austria

Priests overworked and jaded

Priests are overworked and under-appreciated. At this year's annual conference for Catholic priests, Fr Brendan Hoban reported pressure by bishops, expressed a deep unhappiness in his job and that morale among priests was at an all-time low.

With so many baptisms, confirmations, penance distributions, anointings of the sick, ordinations, matrimony ceremonies and constant preparing and eating of the entire holy body and precious blood of Jesus Christ - Fr Hoban seems simply jaded.

Even if he is sending his CV out to other recruitment agencies, he doesn't have a statutory entitlement to either a written or an oral reference from his current or previous employer as his employer is - and always has been - God (who cannot be contacted).

But it seems that Fr Hoban needs a new job and having sold the promise of eternal life for over 30 years, his skill sets may be in sales?

Going forward he may form a private limited partnership, that engages in speculation using credit or borrowed capital.

But for now, he could do children's parties in his own clown suit? All I am saying, is give priests a chance.

David O'Reilly


Dublin no different to most cities

Comment writers are there to stimulate thoughts and opinions, but Ita O'Kelly (Irish Independent, November 17) really ought to offer a little more.

She is apparently satisfied to regale what is wrong with Dublin having five million tourists a year (myself being one) but offers no suggestion as to how it should become "more than a mere tourist attraction".

She appears to resent the increasing number of people wanting to find out more at first-hand about "her city". Should we take from this that she doesn't visit places on anything other than business?

From my visits to The Bakehouse, Kehoe's and The Guinness Storehouse, I don't recognise some of the picture of the city which she paints. I wonder if those establishments share her view that "enough is enough".

Yes, there are several beggars, rough sleepers, tat shops and late-night ice cream parlours; in that respect, unfortunately, Dublin is no different to many a city across the globe.

There is room for a city and its residents to flourish alongside tourism and the reality is many must find that room in order to remain attractive and buoyant.

Nigel Chapman

Spalding, England

Give the gift of kindness

Christmas is coming and the pressure is on, with many families finding it increasingly difficult to meet the demands of children who have high expectations but unfortunately seem to believe that Christmas is more about receiving than giving.

In this consumer-driven society it would appear the spirit of Christmas is slowly but surely being eroded. Lead by example is always the best policy but unfortunately when Santa arrives he gives much, but receives little in return, except of course his mince pie and carrot, which in the overall scale of things is a little unbalanced and sends out the wrong message.

This Christmas, the new message for all young children should be that as the population of the world is getting so much bigger, Santa needs help and has asked that all children should leave out one of their old toys, not a broken one but one that can be used, so Santa can pass it on to some other child who has little.

Charity shops are always grateful.

Most children understand the concept but a little pain parting with a toy is allowed, as the message learned is a powerful one and insures you instil in your child the most precious Christmas gift of all, empathy and kindness.

Eugene McGuinness

Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny

A long way to go for leaders

It is true that European countries are split along the lines of those who have been in power for too long and wide swathes of the citizenry who have had enough after decades of economic stagnation, hollow promises, foreign misadventure, social decay, gender disparity and health inequality.

European elites are emulating Marie Antoinette who is infamous for delivering her infuriating words 'Let them eat cake' upon learning that her French peasants had no bread to eat.

Western leaders in general have a mountain to climb before they could deliver on their promises to create fairer societies.

Discontent is growing at their increasingly autocratic rules and sense of detachment from people's aspirations.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London, England