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Cyclists want the benefits but motorists pay the price
As a motorist I endured constant tailbacks last year on the Blackrock bypass in South County Dublin while the County Council spent millions of taxpayers’ money on reconfiguring the road to provide dedicated lanes for cyclists.
Only last Sunday afternoon I found myself stuck in traffic congestion on the coast road en route to Howth while the City Council construct a continuous cycle path around Dublin Bay, I was somewhat surprised to read that cyclists protested outside the Department of Transport on Monday evening to complain of lack of Governmental funding for cyclists!
While I don’t want to diminish the importance of road safety and the health benefits of cycling I have to remind cyclists that it is motorists who bear the brunt of taxation in this area and effectively underwrite the bill to provide these facilities for cyclists. It is motorists who get hit for road tax, fuel tax, and exorbitant insurance costs. Cyclists pay none of these.
There’s never a shred of gratefulness from cyclists for this largesse either. With a huge chip permanently fixed to their shoulders cyclists are more than happy to hurl abuse at those who subsidise them should they perceive even a hint of inconsideration on the roads we are all being constantly urged to “share”.
In recent years cycle lanes have been provided on a level previously unheard of yet, in may cases cyclists, inexplicably, refuse to use them. Pedestrians, many elderly, need to be constantly mindful that part of the footpath may be designated for bicycles or some speeding cyclist entering their personal space may quickly remind them of this.
It seems to me that a great many cyclists in Ireland want all the advantages with few responsibilities and need to bear in mind that getting from A to B isn’t a personal, one way street!
We no longer live in a democracy
if the two major political parties had ‘think-ins’ every week from now until the turn of the next millennium they would not be able put right the ills inflicted, by them, upon this nation and the people.
The continuance of a political party system of managing the country as demonstrated by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and, in recent times Labour, for the last 30 years guarantees a adversarial, power-hungry, self-serving, incompetent, deceitful, corrupt and inward-looking form of ‘nation management’ into the future.
The total amount of revenue denied the public purse over this period through mismanagement, incompetence, pocket-lining, cronyism, jobs for the boys, quangos, out-of-all proportioned pensions, salaries, golden handshakes and greed together with the, unconstitutional, giving away of vital public natural resources to private business, would leave you standing open-mouthed in disbelief.
Observing ‘politics’ over the years you would have to conclude that we are not living in a democracy and that our hard-fought-for Constitution is being treated with disdain.
With a generous-hearted and entrepreneurially-minded people together with a nation rich in human and natural resources and with vast territorial waters together with a bountiful landmass this island nation, given a decent, non-political, democratically-elected management structure, with each representative publicly sworn in solely to serve the common good, would be thriving, fair to all, and would release us from the debtors prison into which we have been forced.
Bold, brave, innovative restructuring of the way the country is managed is needed if Ireland is to regain real independence and provide a truly democratic and healthy nation for all her citizens into the Third Millennium.
Less posing, more action, ministers
If all the various Ministers of Increasing Illness of the last decades would spend less time posing for cameras and more on trying to improve people’s health, we could reduce the need for hospital trollies.
But perhaps, as detailed in the recently published US book “Confessions of Congressman X”, it is far more important to spend your time on seeming competent and getting re-elected than to actually achieve anything for the people who pay their salaries.
Animal abuse a serious, moral issue
Animal abuse is a serious social and moral issue. Every day brings reports of animal abuse the length and breadth of this country. Despite the heroic prevention efforts of animal welfare groups and the gardaí, animal abuse is increasing in its scale and viciousness. What is the cause of this desire to inflict pain and suffering on animals.
Is there a mutation in a person’s DNA that creates a proclivity for being involved in situations that involve inflicting pain on non-human animal?
Are these situations the testing ground for moving onto a human victim?
A huge volume of research exists which shows a strong correlation between substantial animal abuse in childhood and later personal violence to humans.
This research should alert parents, social leaders, and the legal system to the importance of animal cruelty as a potential indicator of disturbed family relationships and future aggressive behaviour towards humans.
Respect for animals is respect for human beings. Hurting animals hurts human beings. As a society, we must accept that those who are cruel to animals are only a step away from being cruel to humans.
That animal abuse is an attack on the standards of respect for life, compassion and assistance to those sharing our planet space.
In Ireland a two-tier animal cruelty system operates. The first tier allows the legal abuse of wild animals through fieldsports, a sobriquet that covers some of the most vicious attacks on animals that would even make the Marquis de Sade blanch.
The second tier prohibits cruelty and promotes obligations towards domestic animals and farm animals.
So within the remit of the law the life of a fox is deemed worthless while the life of a dog enjoys full legislative protection. Even though both animal feel the same pain when they are attacked.
To describe a thumbnail situation, throwing a fox to a pack of hounds is legal while throwing a dog to a pack of hounds is illegal. The outcome is the same but the legal implications are so different.
I really don’t think Ireland is at the table when it comes to its treatment of animals.
It might take a generation to recognise that the non-human members of our society have the right to live their lives without interference for humans and that those rights must be accepted, protected and defended.
Only then can Ireland claim to have in place the environment and the legislative infrastructure to deal with the odious presence of animal abuse.
Sure way to bring country to its knees
I was watching the Ryder Cup over the weekend. There was a lot of “that’s grand, I know you’ll put that shot, so relax I give it to you”.
Usually called a Gimme.
Is it me or is every trade union in the country rolling up to the Government at the moment and asking for a Gimme? This is one sure way of bringing this country to its knees.
Our money famine has lasted too long
In the last 10 years, millions upon millions of euro have been taken from this country and invested in banks, property and business in virtually every country in the world.
We need to bring this money back to Ireland. We need to get this money back to kick start our slumbering economy.
An injection of these millions of euro of money will immediately get jobs going in construction and other areas of our economy. We badly need an injection of money.
Europe preaches austerity, they will not help us. We must help ourselves. Let us act, a tax amnesty for five years would get millions back into this country. Ireland’s money famine has gone on too long. I appeal to politicians to grasp the nettle and get this money back home.
I ask the Minister for Finance to grant a tax amnesty in the budget to bring home the money. Also, I ask him to give tax encouragements to our emigrants to come home with new skills and experience.
Ar agaid leis an abair.
Brendan P Donoghue
Atrocities of war
We must condemn the ferocious bombing of Aleppo which is a war atrocity. The photos of a Syrian man holding the body of his nephew are heartbreaking.We must condemn the indiscriminate air strikes by Russian and Syrian bombers on the eastern districts of Aleppo where 250,000 civilians live. In the name of humanity it must be stopped.
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