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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (11/07/16)

Your letters, your views...

We should look at an Atlantic pact

Regarding your recent Irish Examiner columns ‘Britain votes to quit the EU - Crisis means new poll may be advisable’, and your editorial ‘Democracy demands a second vote - By their friends shall ye know them’:

Are the people of the United Kingdom to be strong-armed and scare-mongered into a re-run of the referendum as the people of this country were on the Lisbon Treaty? How about a re-run of our general election?

A people’s referendum is the very essence of democracy. The result is sacrosanct.

If the greed and madness of modern capitalism and the casino-like financial instruments used by the markets are allowed to proceed without reform the European project, already faltering, will implode. Europe-wide unrest will surely follow. The signs are already there.

If Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan are to chart the way forward on behalf of Ireland then we will have like-minded representatives who are cut from the same cloth as Merkel, Lagarde, Schaüble, Trichet and Juncker dealing on our behalf.

Just think of the forces lined up against the leave campaign: The president of the US, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the investment banks, the high street banks, the big conglomerates, the axis countries at the heart of Europe, Germany, France, the Netherlands who protected their own financial interests during and after the bust, making Ireland the scapegoat and who now have many countries in the EU, including Ireland, in a fist-like grip through both EU laws and debt. Have we not learned anything?

Long after the markets have stopped behaving like a box of birds, history will show that the more mature and wise citizens of the United Kingdom have made the right decision. The important lesson for those of the younger generation who now feel let down by the Brexit result should be that to think, then get out and vote, one way or the other, is the only way to effect change.

Perhaps the idea of a ‘Atlantic Alliance’ between Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Scandinavian countries in a more basic free trade zone leaving the sovereignty and independence of those countries intact and providing a stronger counterbalance in dealing with the EU might be a way forward. Our representatives might be better off exploring that possibility with our nearest neighbours.

Joe Brennan
Ballinspittle,
Co Cork
 

I applaud three TDs act of defiance

With so much talk and intense media analysis about cabinet members being granted a free vote on Mick Wallace TD’s private members bill, I would remind readers that Deputies Haligan, Ross, and McGrath have already voted against the Government in support of the recent bill proposing a ban on hare coursing.

I applaud that act of defiance by the three TDs. The draconian whip system was exposed as the blunt political anachronism it is when 114 TDs voted against Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan’s attempt to protect the gentle Irish hare from a vile form of animal cruelty.

Many of those who voted down the proposal had in the past expressed their abhorrence of hare coursing... yet they trooped (some with heads bowed) through the lobbies to effectively endorse a practice that gives sport a bad name and impairs our image as a nation.

Among those on the “níl” side were four party leaders who are anti hare coursing. What a flagrant distortion of the democratic process. Without the whips I believe the Bill would have passed, representing another stepping stone along the road to a just and more humane society.

John Fitzgerald
Lower Coyne St
Callan
Co Kilkenny
 

Trials show saturated fat is not harmful

Yet again the Harvard School of Epidemiology does its data slicing on observational studies to achieve a condemnation of saturated fats (lumping them in with trans fats). Observational studies with small effects have to be confirmed by a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to rule out the very complex factor of confounding.

If for example people who eat more saturated fat also smoke more, are heavier and exercise very little, these will skew the results. Not only that, but people who do as they are told tend to be more careful in all sorts of ways and do better. To date there have been five Randomised Controlled Trials which do not support this nonsense.

One good RCT is worth more than all such observational studies, approximately 15% of which turn out to be true.

The biggest study carried out for several years, the Women’s Health Initiative trial, published in 2006, had something like 80,000 women in it and cost $700,000,000. It was designed to show that eating less fat, less saturated fat, more wholegrains and more seed oils etc was beneficial as regards heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer. It totally failed in all respects. The reason is simple. Saturated fat is not harmful. Four subsequent trials showed the same.

The Irish Examiner needs someone with a considerable amount of knowledge to filter this irresponsible nonsense.

As regards polyunsaturated fatty acids (vegetable oils), two large RCTs showed that they increased cancers and death rates. This information was suppressed until dedicated researchers got stuck in to unearth this fact.

There are two main kinds of polyunsaturates. Omega-6 which you get from seeds etc and Omega-3 from fish, seafood and some plant foods. The balance of these is critical to health. The diet recommended by the HSE website is far too high in omega-6. No-one should consume vegetable oils other than olive oil and maybe rapeseed oil.

Why do Harvard persist in this nonsense? It gets them publications. Doing a RCT is very expensive. It’s totally irresponsible of them to pretend that there is any real science to what they say. All you can say from an association study is that there’s a possible question to be answered, and that is only if there is a two-fold, at least, difference between groups. If the question has been answered five times in proper RCTs, then their behaviour is, in the opinion of most proper scientists, unconscionable in persisting with this rubbish.

Dr Garry Lee
23 Merlyn Lawn
Bishopstown
Cork
 

Corbyn was right about Blair

Jeremy Corbyn was right. Tony Blair was catastrophically wrong.

Brendan O’Brien
33 Arundel Gardens
London
N21 3AG
 

Patch and company deserve an apology

Tony Blair apologised for the Famine and David Cameron for Bloody Sunday. How long do we have to wait for a similar retrospective apology for the First World War?

In the reported commemorations to-date, all official representatives seem to be sidestepping the most glaring truth of all: That no event since the dawn of history was more violent or more barbaric; no ‘civilisation’, anywhere, had delved to such a depth of disrespect for human life, of diabolic bloodlust; that this descent into hell was actively and consciously promoted by the entire establishment of the time, military, political and religious – in all of the contending empires.

We know that in one day alone, July 1, 1916, the French and German empires offered up 50,000 and 55,000 young casualties respectively, and the British empire a whopping 60,000 young men and boys. (It is estimated that there were 250,000 child-soldiers in the latter army, the youngest of whom has been identified, by the BBC, as Sidney Lewis — aged 12 when he was thrown into the Somme).

Harry Patch, the last surviving soldier of this pointless, counterproductive catastrophe, described it simply as “legalised mass murder”.

For him, talk of “bravery” and “sacrifice” in this context is a lie, because it is irrelevant. It is, arguably, conspiring in the greatest abuse of young men and boys ever perpetrated. It is killing them all over again.

Henceforth, may the ghosts of brave Harry Patch, and the approximately 15m dead he believed he represented, haunt all commemorations that do not include an apology and an act of fulsome contrition, for the mass murder facilitated by civil society, 100 years ago.

Billy Fitzpatrick
31 Ashfield Park
Terenure
Dublin 6W
 

Commonsense makes more cents

The Government has announced the appointment of an “expert” Water Commissioner.

We already have in place “experts” to:

  • 1. Advise government ministers:
  • 2. Control banks.
  • 3. Supervise the construction industry.

Considering the performance of all those so-called experts until now perhaps this country needs to replace “experts” with people of “common-sense”.

I would suggest those people be selected from groups who have managed “family homes” and perhaps “raised” children.

In my opinion this would result in far better management of the country and its resources.

Michael A Moriarty
Rochestown
Cork


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