Safety on roads
Sir - Your report (April 29) that eight of 10 cyclists killed on Irish roads involve heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) is a harrowing statistic. Equally alarming is the fact that many pedestrians are being killed as a result of visibility problems, because vehicles are so big and are not adequately equipped with mirrors.
It was a number of pedestrian deaths in the towns of my North and West constituency which, almost two years ago, led me to propose an amendment to a Road Safety Report in the European Parliament that would ensure the compulsory retro-fitting of blind spot mirrors on HGVs to ensure all-round vision for drivers.
Next week in the European Parliament we will vote for this new legislation, which I am confident will be approved by the Council of Ministers and transposed into Irish law.
It is heartening to me as an independent politician to have been able to use the mechanism of the European Parliament to secure a measure which will save many lives in Ireland and throughout in the EU future.
Marian Harkin MEP,
Emmet Place, Sligo
Willie's tricks Sir - The opening paragraph of Willie O'Dea's 'piece' last Sunday (April 29) stating that, "It is hard to know which is the more repugnant: Fine Gael's capacity for dirty tricks or its sanctimonious holier-than-thou posturing while indulging in them," is hilarious, coming from a FF minister.
Should Willie have the time to visit the Patent Office he will probably find that Fianna Fail has registered the 'Dirty Tricks' patent as its own for this country, as far back as De Valera's incumbency as his party's leader. Talk about the kettle calling the pot black. The only reason that the Mafia never came to this country was because Fianna Fail beat them to it!
Gerald P Murphy,
Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Different world Sir - I am beginning to wonder if the Sunday Indo is living in a different world from the rest of us.
This week's edition contained an article by Barry Egan regarding the lead singer of the Cranberries assuring us that she was determined to give her children a normal life. Then she recounts the tale of how her daughter got toothache and they had to get Yasmin Le Bon to arrange a dentist in London to treat her. Happens all the time in my house too. The number of times I've had to ring Simon to get stuff sorted - my dears, you wouldn't believe!
Then of course there is the ongoing saga of Shane and Victoria's wedding, which seems to be a weekly feature. Is anyone interested? I know Victoria is away with the fairies, or angels or whatever, but spare us any more of this twaddle.
Last but by no means least there is Eoghan Harris, who seems to have turned his column into a paean of self-righteous congratulation and confirmation of the correctness of every political opinion he has ever uttered. Coupled with this is his paranoia about RTE, which seems to indicate that a one-million-plus readership is a very small platform for his views. He has, however, remained curiously silent about the Iraq crisis, which is still going on (12 British soldiers killed this month alone). No doubt the coming election will allow him to bury the bad news still further and concentrate on the great moral question of our age - stamp duty.
I love to get the Indo, as the coverage of Irish issues in the UK media is non-existent. Gene Kerrigan and the sports coverage are great, but please pull back on the showbiz trivia. Tim McSweeney,
Robin Hood Street,
Drugs do work Sir - I refer to your article 'The drugs don't work, warn top psychiatrists' (April 29). This article had a number of inaccuracies, and displayed a very one-sided view. In relation to clozaril it stated that it "can produce a litany of life-threatening reactions", and that it is "a very dangerous drug". Clozaril has actually been proven to reduce mortality. A number of studies have proven this, including one involving over 12,000 people performed by Munro et al. The main mechanism by which it substantially reduces mortality is reduction of suicide rates. The risk of serious adverse events is extremely low with clozapine, much lower than the risk of suicide.
Many patients who are admitted to psychiatric hospitals do so after they have stopped their medication without adequate supervision. Also, in my experience, there have been numerous cases where patients' medications have been irresponsibly stopped by practitioners with anti-medication views, leading to serious, life-threatening relapse in their mental illness.
The article also referred to doctors being influenced by the pharmaceutical companies, and of financial aid being given to psychiatric doctors by these companies to aid research. Any research funded by a pharmaceutical company is immediately discredited, and should be interpreted with great caution. Also, most psychiatrists I know actively avoid influence by pharmaceutical companies. Independent, evidence-based research is what most psychiatrists base their decisions on today.
Dr John Lyne,
Ringsend, Dublin 4