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Letters: Somalia in crisis

Mark Bowden, the UN's senior humanitarian official for Somalia, has said that aid is reaching only 20pc of the 2.6 million people who need it. In other words, 80pc of famine-stricken Somalis are still not receiving food and medical aid. The vast majority of these people are located in southern Somalia.

At the moment, warring factions and insurgents are dictating the fate of the people of southern Somalia. It is they who are being allowed to decide who can enter or leave the region.

Surely, in 2011, the international community is capable of delivering what is required to a starving population -- wherever in the world it is located and regardless of local militias.

Provided there is sufficient will.

According to USAID, more than 29,000 children under the age of five have already died in southern Somalia, and the organisation's administrator, Raj Shah, has warned that hundreds of thousands of Somali children could die from the famine.

Given these figures, and the lack of any coherent strategy for getting aid to the people of southern Somalia, one must question whether the international community is sufficiently motivated to help this particular starving population.

John O'Shea GOAL

Looting revolt

No doubt the liberal chattering classes will trip over themselves to blame poverty for the recent outbreak of looting and pillaging in London.

However, noting that some of the mob's main targets have been the purveyors of mass-market footwear, hamburgers and doughnuts, one can only blame a poverty of imagination and unquestioning acceptance of an aspirational lifestyle largely promoted by advertising.

Real revolutionaries would have headed straight for the banks and in so doing might well have found support from a surprising proportion of the British public.


Don't rubbish livia

The recent death of artist Eamonn O'Doherty reminded me of controversies surrounding his (in)famous sculpture, the Anna Livia fountain.

Although it did not cost the public purse a cent, paid for by the Smurfit Corporation, it was never popular with the critics but popular with Dubliners as a place to have lunch.

It is now is on display at the Croppy Acre opposite Heuston Station, minus its flowing water and, therefore, not a fountain and not conceptually representing the flow of the River Liffey, which was the initial idea.

It was removed from O'Connell Street by Dublin City Council because it didn't fit in with their plans for 'regeneration'. The real reason was that many of the lunchtime diners and night-time revellers used the 'Floozie in the Jacuzzi', as a dump. It became choked with wrappers and filth.

In any other developed country, litter wardens or police would fine and prosecute offenders. Can you imagine the fountains of Rome being dismantled? Or Romans chucking waste into them?

Litter is a huge problem in Ireland and is not tackled by authorities. Litter louts are an untapped source of employment for wardens, and a source of income in fines for cash-strapped councils.

The removal of Anna Livia was yet again an Irish solution to an Irish problem that hasn't gone away.

P MacCormaic Kilbarrack

Football shame

I would just like to register my absolute disgust at the disrespect shown by sections of Shamrock Rovers FC support during the minute's silence at a recent match in Dalymount Park.

As an avid football fan, I have attended games the world over and never seen such abhorrent behaviour during a minute's reflection for the deceased. Shamrock Rovers FC brought shame not only on the league, but on the city of Dublin and the sport of football in this country.