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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (16/07/16)

Your letters, your views...

Doctors must honour the essentials of Hippocrates

It would seem that Hippocrates of Cos holds little foreboding store for self-proclaimed ‘Doctors-for-Choice’ O’Grady, Ferriter and Murray (Letters, July 8).

The ethical oath to which all doctors everywhere are supposed to subscribe, proffers it’s pre-eminent tenet as: ‘Do No Harm’.

Hard to square that very clear, concise and over-arching medical motto with the so-called ‘Doctors- for-Choice’ stance on developing babies in the womb. Perhaps they presume only partial allegiance to the dicta of Hippocrates — an á-la-carte version. One might be considered somewhat trite in suggesting that these medical operatives ascribe more to the guiding teachings of ‘Hypocrites’, that dark alternative neo-liberal opportunist. Theirs is an incredible stance to fully fathom coming from healthcare professionals.

Their headline mantra that “Treatment for women should be on their own terms” offers sparse sanctuary for the developing child. The option to engage in the practice of personalised ‘eugenics’, surely betrays any and all semblance of human rights for the vulnerable baby, however compromised in health.

One has to wonder if, within their own serried ranks, there lingers something of an unprocessed personal guilt around this issue. Thus, by rashly suggesting that women should have have free choice to terminate life, these medics may feel somewhat vindicated to live at ease with themselves. Of course they contrive to camouflage their perspectives in lingual labyrinths and terminology references, as if to exonerate their position, and muddy the quintessence of what they propose.

We all know three things for sure:

1. Doctors can regularly get both the diagnoses & the prognoses wrong.

2. The emotional processing of affording one’s child it’s full term, however challenged is vital to all concerned.

3. All developing babies, however compromised, have a basic human right to live — bar none.

It behoves messrs O’Grady, Ferriter and Murray to reflect back to their own ethical professional basics and aspire to honour the deep essentials of Hippocrates: his oath, his ethics and his moral humanity.

Jim Cosgrove

Chapel Street

Lismore

Co Waterford

Kenny should decide his time to leave

I am not a fan of Enda Kenny or Fine Gael as I believe they favour power over principle especially on social issues.

However, I believe Mr Kenny should determine when to hand over the leadership rather than be rushed into same by unfaithful members of the party. Let’s not forget that it is the silly season where our bored media have nothing else to write about outside of the 8th Amendment of course.

Maybe newspapers should cease publication for the summer months and spare us such idle gossip and speculation.

What a sad pathetic nation we have allowed ourselves to become?

John Burke

Mount Prospect Avenue

Clontarf

Dublin 3

Traffic chaos needs hospital rethink

My daughter has a complex life- limiting medical condition, and attends Temple St Children’s Hospital. On Saturday, she became very ill and we needed an ambulance. We live fairly close to the city and as it was a Saturday afternoon, I thought we wouldn’t have a problem. We got to Heuston station quick enough but then traffic was bumper to bumper, at some parts cars were blocking bus lane so we couldn’t get through. This continued for the rest of the journey. At one point, the driver was shouting out the window to get cars onto the footpath. I couldn’t believe the mayhem they had to get through in order to get my very sick child to hospital. We frequent Temple St a lot and are used to the extremely congested traffic but I never thought we would have these issues in an emergency. The decision to build the new children’s hospital at St James’s means that’s what happened to my little girl on Saturday will continue to happen.

Connolly is a much more accessible location for people travelling from all over the country. They have access via motorway M50. Also in an emergency the hard shoulder can be used to bypass heavy traffic. Helicopter access is better in Connolly too, there are more issues and restrictions getting to James’s.

Our government has the chance to rectify this horrendous decision but no one seems to be listening.

Samantha Hogan-Villena

Palmerstown

Dublin 20

Ministers need to act with responsibility

In recent weeks, there has been much comment on the collective responsibility of cabinet ministers. I recall at least two instances in recent history that featured this principle.

In the summer of 1974, on a free vote, Liam Cosgrave unexpectedly crossed the floor of the Dáil to vote against his own Government on the matter of contraception.

In November 1994, Dick Spring and his Labour ministers withdrew from Government when they could not support Albert Reynolds’ nominee for president of the High Court.

Article 28 of the Constitution of Ireland states quite clearly that “the Government shall meet and act as a collective authority”. Which part of that law do some of our present cabinet ministers not understand?

Political or legal obfuscation are not appropriate answers. Independent politicians would do well not to paint themselves into impossible corners. They seem to be making it up as they go along. Are they in contempt of the Constitution?

Those who hold (onto) power should remember the old saying. “When you join the army, you wear the boots.” Maybe it’s only another “temporary little arrangement”.

Michael Mernagh

Raheens

Carrigaline

Co Cork

Pedestrians at risk from cycling ruling

Last week in the Dublin District Court, Judge Michael Walsh quite correctly reprimanded a senior company director for ‘a completely disproportionate’ reaction when he was confronted by a cyclist cycling on a footpath.

It is instructive, however, that the judge did not take any action against the cyclist who, in the first instance, clearly broke the law as he was cycling on a footpath.

The law itself is couldn’t be clearer as the Rules of the Road issued by the Road Safety Authority state on page 190, ‘Don’t ever cycle on a footpath’, with the emphasis on Don’t ever! Also the Road Traffic Act 1961 clearly states that footpaths are provided for the use of pedestrians only. The RSA website states unambiguously under Cycling Safety, ‘Don’t cycle on footpaths’.

During the case, however, the judge made light of the problem when saying he accepted cycling on footpaths can be annoying but then made a further remarkable statement “we live in a congested city and sometimes needs must”.

In other words, in a congested area it is quite legitimate, according to the judge, for cyclists to use footpaths.

In accordance with the law as stated above, the defence solicitor quite correctly told the judge that the cyclist should not have been on the footpath. However, Judge Walsh appeared to dismiss this fact and made another remarkable statement which appeared to condone cycling on footpaths, as in his opinion, “It was not more than a very temporary minor nuisance, we have it on every street of the city’. To paraphrase the judge, as the offence is only a minor nuisance and is widespread, it is somehow acceptable, despite being totally against the law of the land!

Certainly, not many of the thousands of unfortunate pedestrians, who daily are being and have been intimidated and injured by a countrywide epidemic of cyclists flouting the law, will agree with Judge Walsh’s interpretation on this occasion. The same ambivalence has been displayed by the previous Transport Minister Donohue who stated in an email to his colleague Jerry Buttimer TD, on the July 25, 2015, following the introduction of the FNCs for cyclists ‘That cycling on footpaths is appropriate and necessary when there is perceived danger on the roads’. Having thus given carte blanche to cyclists to break the law, simultaneously he attempted to have us believe, in several communications, that cycling on footpaths is illegal. To make matters worse, the RSA, despite being guardians of the Rules of the Road, are equally ambivalent and through ample correspondence with the CEO, simply parrot the minister’s confused statements.

From the vulnerable pedestrian’s viewpoint, particularly the elderly, the combined official confusion and ambivalence continues to make walking in urban areas a hazardous and dangerous drudge and represents a classic example of an Irish solution to an Irish problem: enact the law and then forget about it.

John Leahy

Wilton Road

Cork

We need Irish version of Chilcot

During the month of June, while Nato exercises were taking place in Poland, I photographed a large number of US military aircraft at Shannon airport, including mid-air refuelling aircraft, whose only purpose is to refuel other military aircraft in mid-air. On July 12, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan TD gave a written reply to Clare Daly TD, who had asked the Minister “to ascertain from the United States Government if any of the US military aircraft that transited through Shannon Airport during the month of June 2016, were involved in any capacity, in supporting military exercises in Poland or elsewhere.” Minister Flanagan replied as follows: “The US Embassy has reconfirmed details which it had provided previously in relation to the aircraft that transited through Shannon Airport last month. The Embassy has reconfirmed that the aircraft were unarmed, carried no arms, ammunition or explosives and did not engage in intelligence gathering. The Embassy further reconfirmed that the aircraft were not part of a military operation or exercise. Permission for landings by these aircraft was granted subject to these conditions.”

The information contained in this reply is incredible and unacceptable. There is no other possible explanation for the presence of such a large number of US military aircraft during the month of June, except that they were involved in military operations or military exercises. The Chilcot report in the UK demonstrates that diplomatic and government assurances cannot be relied on when matters of war and peace, life and death are concerned. It is now time that we had the equivalent of a Chilcot enquiry into Irish Government complicity in the US-led wars in the Middle East.

Edward Horgan

Newtown, Castletroy

Limerick

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