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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (03/08/16)

Your letters, your views...

Time to put neutrality in constitution

There is a compelling case for holding a referendum with the aim of incorporating into our Constitution Ireland’s status as a neutral country (Irish Examiner Monday July 25). This has been mooted in the past. Circumstances have, however, changed. In particular, there is an urgency arising from the militarisation of Europe – particularly over the last two years.

Europe is being impelled in the direction of war. This process has been rapid, largely invisible under the radar of the EU’s self-created economic and political travails and with little or no debate in Ireland.

The purported justification for militarisation is the supposed threat which ‘a resurgent Russia’— this is the key phrase inserted in the US and NATO narrative — poses to Europe, and especially Eastern Europe.

This narrative was reinforced at the recent Democratic Convention to select its candidate for the upcoming US Presidential Election. This ‘threat’ is a disingenuous and dangerous fallacy, reinforced by propaganda and serving an agenda wholly at odds with peace in the Europe.

It has been conjured from the intervention of Russia in the Ukraine, and, specifically from the annexation and re-integration of Crimea in to Russia. This intervention was driven in large part as a response to the foolish and provocative decision to encourage Ukraine’s membership of the EU and, by extension, participation in its NATO-led military strategy. It is wholly different in nature to the circumstances under which US-led NATO intervened in Iraq.

The net effect has been a further ratchetting up of military action, and reaction, between NATO and Russia. The recent NATO summit put in place the infrastructure for war. Russia has announced its intention of responding to the deployment by NATO of men, heavy equipment and missile systems, effectively encircling Russia. No country — least of all the US itself — could countenance this emasculation of its security.

The momentum towards military engagement has now gained traction that will be difficult to reverse. The ‘Defence’ Industry — more properly titled ‘The War Industry’ – has the strongest incentives to push for militarisation. The gravity of the situation simply hasn’t sunk into the public mind-set, brought up on watching ‘war’ from the safe distance of TV and video-games. Chomsky has written well of this delusion.

Russia is not the USSR. Its priorities are the rebuilding of its economy and infrastructure, including the modernisation of its defence capability to ensure stability both within its own borders, and globally — particularly in the Middle East. This does not remotely equate to a threat to Europe. In any event, the military capability of the US dwarfs that of Russia, in terms of assets and the number of bases from which to project those assets.

Russia’s defence budget is a fraction of that of the US.

That said, in the volatile political environment of Europe, with newly deployed offensive weapons systems, it would take little to trigger Article 5 of NATO’s newly expanded ‘mutual defence’ clause, leading to war.

In the Cuban missile crisis, it was only the moral force of President Kennedy, in resisting the urging of the military establishment to launch a pre-emptive strike, which prevented a nuclear catastrophe. Today, the Democratic Party are coming from a very different place. The EU and Russia have a shared interest in peace — not war — on the European mainland. The Irish people were deeply opposed to the war on Iraq. In that tradition, there is the strongest case for holding a Referendum. No country can avoid the consequences of war. But Ireland can best advocate for a deceleration of militarisation — and a focus, instead, on opposing ISIS which threatens both Russia and Europe — as a neutral country, confirmed by Referendum

Professor Ray Kinsella

Co. Wicklow

Bankers will be out in 18 months

Three senior bankers were given a couple of years in mountjoy for their part in a €7.2 billion conspiracy to mislead the public about the true financial health of Anglo Irish Bank.

We must consider what these men did and what affect it had on the lives of innocent people from their activities and could have warranted 10 years in prison from this white collar crime. Of course a jail term is not entirely punitive and must allow for the possibility of rehablitation, but it should act as a deterrent to others. They will be out of prison in 18 months. It was the taped telephone conversations during the height of the 2008 crisis, which did not come to light until 2013, that helped to convict them and it brought enormous hardship and distress to many people.

Most of them investors with modest means who could ill afford to lose what money they had while some lost their homes, their marriages, their pensions and in the most extreme cases their lives a they were unable to cope with their losses. Iceland jailed 29 of their rogue bankers and the human cost of the fallout will continue for decades.

Noel Harrington

Co Cork

Sham sentence

The sentences handed down to three ex-Anglo Bankers are an outrage with the “toughest” sentence only extending to 3.5 years. They’ll be out within a year. “Dishonest, Deceitful and Corrupt” was how the judge described their actions and transactions at Anglo Irish Bank. These rogues should have been charged with Treason. They have inflicted wretched hardship on countless people and have literally destroyed people’s lives. The paltry sentences are a source of further shame to our great country and will represent no impediment to the communal white collar crime. A great country indeed!

Killian Brennan

43 Corofin House
Malahide Road
Dublin 17

Banksters paradise

So three fraudulent banksters get a little holiday at taxpayer’s expense. Big deal! How about the auditors who signed off on these crooked figures? They were complicit in this whole financial charade. Let’s have their white collars felt, and brought before the courts, and named, and shamed.

Doing a little bird time in some holiday camp. I have read sympathetic articles about how unfortunate these guys were. Let’s get this straight. They knew exactly what they were doing. They were doing the bidding of their masters higher up the banking pyramid. People lost their life savings, and houses over this contrived scandal.

Those are the people I feel empathy with, not downright liars. However, these are only the fall guys. The real architects are well protected higher up the food chain. Who says...”Crime Doesn’t pay?” Oh yes it does...Big Time!

Anthony Woods

5 Marian Ave
Co Clare

Time for the crime?

Can Ireland now bank on justice for white collar crime?

John Williams

Co Tipperary

Gathering of the O’Keeffe clan

The O’Keeffe Clan Gathering will be held from September 9 to 11, 2016, at Dromtarriffe Hall, Kanturk, Co Cork. Friday 9th will see the event opened by clan chieftain Dan Joe O’Keeffe.

There will be entertainment,,historical exhibitions, genealogical advice, guided bus tours and much more. On Saturday night, there will be a full banquet followed by entertainment by Ceoltoirí Sliabh Luachra, Booking for the banquet is essential, 087-2547498 or 0868248537. More details on www.okeeffeclans.com. Facebook page: O’ Keeffe clan rally 2016.

Patricia O’ Keeffe

PRO Killowen
Co. Cork

Emotive language unnecessary in abortion debate

Regarding Marie Lynch’s letter entitled “Callous attitude to abortion”, August, 1.

Her emotive language does the SPUC movement no service, and highlights the irrationality of its arguments.

(a) Of course sex is a primal need. Of course it “be detached from any emotional connection or any higher the merely physical”. Do a straw poll of men coming out of the pub or a nightclub: few are looking for an emotional connection. And women too; Ms. Lynch; we also have a physical need for sex without any emotional attachment.

(b) No”” child suffers the loss of her/his life”. There is no child.

(c) “Babies end up in buckets” - there is no baby.

(d) “In cases where a woman’s health is in danger, the woman is never denied treatment”. Cases in point, Salvita Halapanaver, Sheila Hodgers; there are other cases which did not make the headlines.

(e)” No-one should have to die for the benefit of other”. No person dies, except, on occasions, the mother because the 8th amendment equates her life with that of a foetus. Abortion is not for the benefit of others. In (d) above, it could have saved a life, the life of a mother. She died because she was denied an abortion when her life was at risk.

(f) “Ireland has a lot to be proud of in its protection of unborn babies and their mothers. Go back to (d) above. How does the state protect mothers in a crisis pregnancy?

Let them have the baby and claim lone parent’s allowance and all is rosy?

How can this woman claim to be a fellow feminist?

Ann Fetton

Co Waterford


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