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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (07/06/16)

Your letters, your views.

Tusla are naive about blood ties

Regarding Tusla’s ageist decision to remove a child from his grandparents (Viewpoints, June 2), blood is thicker than water; ignoring that is thick. And as a nation, we were even thicker to invest such sweeping powers in the State, by way of the so-called ‘Children’s Referendum.’

Revd Patrick G Burke

Castlecomer

Co Kilkenny

Health service like in the Third World

Most people seem to agree that HSE services, when accessed, are “excellent”. The problem is accessing them.

A pensioner (with medical card) required an x-ray. The GP applied for x-ray. Two weeks later, a follow-up call to the hospital indicated, due to backlog, that the request had not yet been processed. There was no indication when it would be — the estimate was “several weeks”.

After a call to a private facility, and a letter from the GP, an x-ray was carried out within two hours. This ‘service’ would be considered unacceptable in most of the so called Third World countries where I have lived and worked.

Why do the Irish people accept this?

Michael A. Moriarty

Rochestowen

Cork

Soldier ceremony not in my name

Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan, TD, muddies the waters with his eulogy to the British soldiers who lost their lives in The Rising of 1916, as he seeks to justify his hosting of a bizarre ceremony in their honour. Whether they were or were not born in Ireland, were young or old, rich or poor, intelligent or naive, is neither here nor there.

That a Government minister of this State is happy to host an event, in May of all months, in this year of all years, honouring the British Army, is deeply insulting and offensive to relatives of those who were killed, or executed, at the hands of that discredited army.

This is the army responsible for the massacre of innocent civilians in North King Street, the execution of civilians in Portobello Barracks, the incendiary shelling of the city centre, oblivious to the safety of anybody, and the execution of the 1916 leaders without due process.

Mr Flanagan can, of course, deem this irrelevant in a personal capacity. What is shocking is that, as minister, he considers the ceremony appropriate to his position, despite the sacrifice of those that the British Army, the enemy of Irish freedom, executed in cold blood.

And he does so in our name.

James Connolly Heron

Proinsias O’ Rathaille

1916 Relatives Centenary Initiative

4 Oxford Road

Ranelagh

Dublin 6

Don’t waste money on chronically ill

I do not believe in life at any cost. We should not spend thousands of euros on medication in preserving the life of a chronically ill person. As many social welfare recipients have valuable assets, they should fund their own expensive drugs. I am sure that their wealthier relatives would also be eager to contribute towards the funding of drugs that cost €100k a year or more.

Anyone getting social welfare should not expect the State to spend any more money on them. Some people need to grow up and take responsibility for their own health and lives.

I don’t care if other readers call me harsh, but reducing savaged ambulance services is harsher than the above proposal.

Blind Christian insistence on the preservation of life is noble, until we all have to pay for it!

If life is so precious, why aren’t murderers more harshly punished?

Dr Florence Craven (PhD)

Carton Court

Maynooth

Co. Kildare

Why talk about presidency now?

It seems bizarre that Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar should publicly declare (Irish Examiner, June 1), thirty months before the next presidential election, that President Michael D Higgins would receive ‘broad cross-party support’ were he to seek a second term, citing as supporting evidence that he “is making an excellent President”.

Article 12.4 of the Constitution provides that former or retiring Presidents may become candidates on their own nomination — so, ‘broad cross-party support’ is irrelevant in the case of President Higgins, or in the case of former Presidents McAleese or Robinson. The Minister’s intervention and judgement are neither necessary nor relevant.

But it is noteworthy that the Fine Gael candidate in the 2011 Presidential election received less than 7% of the first-preference votes. Fine Gael’s lacklustre campaign, prior to this year’s general election, resulted in a massive drop of 32% in first-preference votes (257,398 fewer votes), and the formation of the weakest government in the history of the State. Following the rejection by the electorate of the 2013 referendum proposal on the abolition of Seanad Éireann, the Taoiseach has nominated no fewer than six former TDs to the Seanad, all of whom were rejected in the recent general election. This further weakens the moral authority and stature of the Oireachtas; treating the concept of Seanad reform with self-indulgent indifference and the expressed will of the people in the general election with scorn.

Therefore, is the purpose of Minister Varadkar’s proclamation, about the next step in the career of President Higgins, really a signal that Fine Gael will not be in a position to nominate a candidate of sufficient stature and merit to overshadow the standard of excellence that Minsiter Varadkar discerns currently in President Higgins? For a politician who is so protective of voters’ rights to choose, would Minister Varadkar not be concerned that if there were no electoral contest, President Higgins would be denied the expressed consent of the people, and a direct public mandate from them, for a second term? There would be a consequential diminution of Higgins’s prestige and the eminence of the office of President.

Perhaps the weight and gravitas of the Minister’s dialogue with the public, and his political judgement, merely give expression to the age-old proverb about politicians generally — ‘the higher a monkey climbs a tree, the more of its tail you will see’.

Myles Duffy

Glenageary

Co Dublin

My family lived in Birmingham in ’74

I was born and raised in Birmingham, and spent much of my adult life there. My family were very much part of the large Irish community in the city and got on well with our English neighbours. We were living there when the Birmingham pub bombings happened, in 1974, and though relations with our neighbours still remained very good, the after-effects of the atrocity had a devastating effect on the city and on the Irish community who were now viewed by the state as suspect.

The area we lived in, Erdington, had a large Irish population and it was also the area where the ‘Birmingham Six’ were resident. I supported the campaign that led to the release of the ‘Birmingham Six’ in 1991.

Even though it has taken until now, I very much welcome the decision by Coroner Louise Hunt to open the inquest of the deaths of 21 people in the bombings.

However, there are a few points I wish to make.

Why did the West Midland’s police force object to the re-opening of the inquest? Lack of evidence is not a sufficient reason.

Did the police have knowledge that bombs were going to be planted in Birmingham, and did they let them be planted, in order to facilitate the passing of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which was before the Houses of Parliament at this time?

Paddy Hill, of the ‘Birmingham Six’, makes a compelling case that the West Midland police force do not know the meaning of the word ‘truth’. Are the police still denying that they got it so devastatingly wrong, when they framed Hill and the five others sent to prison.

At a more general level, what happened in Birmingham, in 1974, and its appalling consequences, which continue for the families who lost loved-ones in the slaughter, should be a warning to all of us in the dangerous world we live in today.

Kieran McNulty

25 Lios Rua

Cahermoneen

Tralee

Co. Kerry

Trump has no hope of being president

Please permit me to suggest that Donald Trump has about as much of a chance of becoming the next president of the United States as Donald Duck has. It is truly amazing how the entire Western mass media is presenting the election as if Mr Trump has a chance of winning the election in November, 2016.

Vincent J. Lavery

Overseas Chair

Bernie Sanders campaign

Coliemore Road

Dalkey

County Dublin


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