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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (01/02/17)

Your letters, your views...

UK Tory policies are crippling the disabled

On January 30, An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny met Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK. Such a meeting would seem politically necessary in the light of Brexit — a diplomatic economic trade discussion.

However we representing disabled people are not delighted to welcome Mrs May in the light of the UN declaring that the UK’s austerity policies amount to ‘systemic violations’ of the rights of disabled people in 2016.

The highly critical Human Rights Violations report (November 7, 2016) published in Geneva said the right of disabled people to live independently, to work, and achieve an adequate standard of living had been negatively affected by austerity measures, In scathing terms it castigated the stringent welfare reforms that had so drastically affected ill and disabled people that led to suicide and death after benefits were removed after such people were found ‘fit for work’.

Figures show nearly 90 people a month are dying in the UK after being declared ‘fit for work’. Suicide is a common outcome after benefits are removed, as people are declared ‘fit for work’.

One person was deemed ‘fit for work’ during a work capability assessment, despite having a deteriorating chronic illness, then lost both incapacity benefit and disability living allowance. When his support worker appeared at the appeal tribunal she had to report her client could not be there because he was dead.

In another case (we need to know the real-life human tragedies), a man who had severe mental health problems committed suicide after the test gave him zero points and found him fit to work. He had appealed against the decision, and won at tribunal. But shortly after that decision, he was called in for another assessment, and for a second time scored zero points and was told he did not qualify for benefits. He began appealing against the decision again, but a few days before another tribunal date was set, he hanged himself.

This is the reality of Tory policies that target poor, sick, disabled people. Scapegoating them as ‘draining the coffers’ of state.

The UN Convention on Rights of people with Disabilities (UNCRPD) upheld UK disabled peoples’ rights, and judged their rights had been ‘systemically violated’.

I suppose it makes sense that an Irish government that has not, in 10 years, ratified the UNCRPD invites a head of state that ‘systemically violates’ the human rights of disabled people to Ireland with no qualms at all.

After all, are sick and disabled peoples’ lives worth anything in the global market place? There are more serious concerns to tackle.

Margaret Kennedy

Disability Rights Campaigner
Co Wicklow

Exit strategy

Britian has Brexit.

If Ireland decides to leave the European Union, may I suggest, “I-OUT.”

Kevin Devitte

County Mayo

We need facility for US pre-clearance

When she made her impromptu and extemporaneous soundbites to the media about removing US Customs and Immigration officials from Irish airports, Minister Katherine Zappone nonchalantly intruded into an area of the utmost significance to the national interest, without any evidence of collective Cabinet responsibility, consultation or Cabinet support; with apparent indifference to the authority of the Taoiseach and complete disregard for the mandate and responsibility of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The US authorities have located a total of 15 air customs and immigration pre-clearance facilities in only six foreign countries. Ireland is the only member state of the European Union to accommodate such a facility.

Of the total of 15 sites, eight are located in Canada and two in Ireland, at Dublin and Shannon Airports. US Customs and Border Authority concluded an agreement last November to open a third European pre-clearance facility at Stockholm Airport.

According to Dublin Airport Authority, transatlantic traffic in 2016 was the fastest-growing segment of the market last year as a record 2.9m passengers travelled between Dublin and North America, a 16% increase on the previous year. A study undertaken in 2014 indicates that Dublin Airport supported or facilitated 97,400 jobs and contributes €6.9 billion to GDP. The case for significant economic benefit to Ireland is clearly obvious, as is the convenience for US bound airline passengers being able to promptly exit a US airport, or make an internal connection with minimum fuss are also patently obvious.

A minority Government that fails to demonstrate the cohesion of collective Cabinet responsibility, effective leadership, mature and rational judgement and poor discipline is a massive liability that is unworthy of public or political support.

The character and volatility of decision-making by the new US administration may elevate a sense of uncertainty and dispute. Is it the judgement of Minister Zappone that she would prefer the United States air pre-clearance facilities to be relocated from our jurisdiction to, say, Belfast, Glasgow or London, while the Irish public who travel directly by air to the United States are faced with unconscionable delays at immigration in US airports in this era of ‘extreme vetting’?

Myles Duffy

Co Dublin

Rhetoric of hate on rise in western world

We are in a time of growing fascism, islamophobia, hate speech and anti-refugee rhetoric across the western world.

In school in the 1970s, I thought that Hitler was a “once-off”, it could never happen again and I wondered why the previous generation didn’t stop it. Do we want future Irish generations of children sitting in classrooms learning about the Trump “once off” and wondering why we sat back and did nothing?

Generations of Irish have experienced anti-Irish racism. “No Blacks — No Irish — No Dogs” signs displayed in the windows of rented accommodation were common in the UK during the 1960s and ’70s until the Race Relations Act 1965 made this kind of discrimination illegal.

Let’s rise above this ugly primitive tribalism; and “out ourselves” to reject racism and discrimination. There’s room in the world for everyone.

Van Geraghty


Trump’s phobias — a billionaire thing?

One wonders how many more phobias President Trump suffers from, apart from bathophobia, germophobia and xenophobia.

And we thought that Howard Hughes had problems . . . is it a billionaire thing?

Liam Power

Co Mayo

Trump is only tackling terrorists

I write with regard to the travel ban that President Trump has imposed on some Muslim majority nations and the increased vetting of citizens coming from those states.

I support President Trump 100% in his efforts to safeguard America from terrorism and I take issue with the liberal left wing media who are overly critical of the move.

People have very short memories or chose to ignore the reality: Who attacked the twin towers? Who bombed London? Who bombed Madrid? Who bombed Bali? Who attacked the Bataclan in Paris and the Charlie Hebdo offices? Who rammed a truck into people on the seafront in Nice last year? Who rammed a truck into the Christmas market in Germany last year? Islamic terrorists were responsible for all of these atrocities.

President Trump is right to want to increase vetting of those coming to America whether they be refugees or travellers.

President Trump isn’t intending to put anyone into concentration camps and arbitrarily kill them; that suggestion of Nazism is abhorrent. Angela Merkel’s decision to open the borders to all the refugees fleeing the middle east was a bad mistake.

It will have consequences and repercussions for years, it has already fermented unrest among Hungarians, Germans and French who see a never ending horde of refugees wanting shelter putting a huge strain on medical, housing and infrastructure, not to mention the establishment of huge ghettos in historic European capitals.

I think it is laughable that people want the Taoiseach to show his disapproval by not going to the White House and giving the bowl of shamrock to President Trump.

That would really make so much difference, do people honestly think President Trump is going to be bothered by not getting a rotting bowl of weed that is instantly thrown out afterwards?

The reason that the liberal media both in the US and here dislike Mr Trump is because he’s not falling over himself trying to appease the minority lobby groups that had so much influence and access to Obama, he won beause he appealed to the ordinary people who were being ignored.

I think it’s great that Mr Trump has voiced his support for the police.

Why isn’t there the same uproar about the 16 nations that have imposed a travel ban on Israelis, including Kuwait, Iran, and Bangladesh.

In my opinion there should be strict medical checks and criminal records checks on any migrant wanting to enter Ireland and the EU.

I also condemn any violence and racism towards Muslims

Brian Donovan

Cork City


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