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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (15/09/16)

Your letters, your views..

Medical errors are not about costs, but lives

I read, with sadness, the reports of an increase in the amounts being paid out by the State Claims Agency (SCA), in respect of medical negligence claims. I note, with alarm and concern, the absence of any reference to, firstly, the human consequences of these medical errors. The people who have had their lives devastated should be recognised.

Secondly, there seems to be little emphasis on how the medical errors can be reduced. There is frequently talk about the medical profession being under pressure as a result of “chronic under investment” and a staffing “in crisis”. It would be foolish to assume that the consequences of the under-investment are merely ‘pressures’. People’s lives are being destroyed.

As a medical-negligence lawyer, I also take issue with Mr Ciaran Breen, director of the SCA, when he says that there is no ‘defend and deny’ policy. With regret, I have found the contrary in daily practice, acting on behalf of patients who have been injured in our hospitals.

Karen Kearney

Partner Cantillon Solicitors
38 / 39 South Mall
Cork

Revenue hypocrisy is core of issue

I just love your report with the headline that firms ‘have avoided €130bn taxes’ in past decade (Irish Examiner, September 8). The Revenue claims that, due to “taxation confidentiality, Revenue is precluded from commenting on individual tax cases”, yet they were in a rush to say that Apple had paid all taxes due in Ireland. Proof, if proof was needed, that something is, indeed, rotten in the State of Ireland, methinks.

Stephen O’Callaghan

Rathmacullig
Ballygarvan
Co. Cork

People homeless as we refuse €13bn

It perturbs me to hear the party leaders of the ‘right’, Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) and Michael Martin (Fianna Fail), plus the remnants of the Labour party, adopting an astonishingly contemptuous attitude to the unexpected windfall from Brussels, which awarded the Irish state a tax dividend of €13bin via the Apple judgment.

We may only receive a portion of the figure, but something is far better than nothing. Why the sudden, confrontational, self-righteous attitude now?

Where were these knights in shining armour, when they were badly needed?

They were cowering in their leather seats, and sweating in their tailor-fitted suits, like the cowards they were, for allowing bond-holders to turn us into paupers.

It’s all ‘cute hoor’ politics. Accept the money and accommodate multi-national tax-avoidance practices. Refuse the money and all they’re doing is wasting further millions, in lining the pockets of international lawyers with astronomical fees.

But Enda and Michael won’t have to stump up a cent. It’s the ordinary taxpayer, and small, struggling businesses, which, as usual, will foot the bill.

Meanwhile, the schools, the homeless, and the jobless will go lacking.

James Woods

Gort an Choirce
Dun na nGall

Navy exploited for political reasons

Apparently, Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr Paul Kehoe, TD, has now opted for Rosslare, in his own constituency, to hold a medal ceremony for naval personnel who served in the Mediterranaen rescuing migrants.

Apparently, there are to be parades on ships that are twinned with cities around Ireland, ostensibly to promote the Naval Service.

This is a cynical political exercise, undignified and dishonourable.

The Irish Naval Service has always been promoted by the courageous actions of its serving personnel, who risk their lives, and not by self-serving politicians using the Navy to promote their own election prospects.

There can be only one first medal parade, and in this, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Naval Service, on September 1, 1946, it should take place on the Naval Base in Haulbowline, Cobh, County Cork.

Instead, the minister seems to be promoting himself, in his own backyard, in Wexford, and promoting his government colleagues, on the backs of the efforts of very brave sailors, and that is shameful.

Paul Kehoe gets what he wants and naval personnel, and their families, have to take what he gives? Disgraceful. Families should boycott these events in protest.

Peter Mulvany

Chairperson Irish Seamen’s Relatives Association (1939-46)
Conquer Hill Road
Clontarf
Dublin 3

€13bn for a song and we reject it

As old blue eyes, Frank Sinatra, might have sung: ‘Who Wants To Be A Billionaire?’

Imagine this: I am walking down the street, and am approached by a tax official, who informs me that he owes me €10bn in back tax. I, being the honest, and honourable person that I am, say. “No thanks! You keep it. I don’t want it. Thank you!”

He keeps insisting that, by law, he owes me this money, and he tries to stuff a cheque into my pocket.

I take it out of my pocket and tear it up! “No! Go away, or I will call the police.”

Most certainly, I would be a candidate for the funny farm.

Or, maybe I have just walked into The Twilight Zone?

Anthony Woods

Marian Avenue
Ennis
Co. Clare

Flanagan part of the establishment

Reading Luke Ming Flanagan, MEP, complaining about the bank debt, and essentially advocating that someone else should pay for ours, is ironic [Irish Examiner, Letters, September 8].

The cause of this bank debt, and of all the financial problems that the people of this country have to endure, is the decisions that a small number of this country’s most powerful citizens made during the decade or so boom pre-2008.

These decisions not alone bankrupted the banks, but bankrupted the country.

A majority of politicians, most of Irish academia, and much of the Irish media, supported, or at least failed to challenge, those decisions. Trade union leaders were also around the tables when some of these decisions were made.

Meanwhile, most of our fellow members of the eurozone, who operated under the same rules and the same currency, managed without bankrupting either their banks or their countries.

Reading and listening to a powerful MEP decrying the consequences of the actions of the powerful in Ireland during the boom, and blaming everyone else and advocating that the rest of Europe should pay for it, is a sight to behold.

A. Leavy

Shielmartin Drive
Sutton
Dublin 13

Future is contract work and renting

As we move into the end of this decade, we will see more and more companies employing people on a contract basis.

Of course, we understand that the days of a job for life are over, but some of the conditions of contract staff need more official state monitoring.

The unions are aware of zero-hour contracts, for instance, but more scrutiny is required.

How long will it be before the majority of our children are only employed on a low-paid contract basis and their only option is to rent a home for the rest of the lives?

Damien Carroll

Kingswood
Dublin 24

No justice for Protestants

The St Patrick’s Mother & Baby Home, on Navan Road, in Dublin, was put onto the Redress Board, after five years of the board saying that it did not come under its remit.

The then minister of education moved the goal posts to suit the 18 Holy Orders. But it helped if it was a Catholic home.

There was nothing that was not known about the Catholic St Patrick’s home, and I have the FOI documents (I got them in 2012) as to how the new homes went onto the redress remit in 2004/5. But it didn’t matter whether I had the correct FOI documents or not, as it was all down to the deal in 2002, done with the then minister and the 18 Holy Orders!

I have the FOI documents from 2009 and the Redress Board was unable to make the case without moving the goalposts to suit them, and again in 2015.

The Irish government put the St Patrick’s mother-and-baby home onto the new inquiry list again and this was debated in the Dail on July 27, 2016. But the Bethany Home had never got onto any redress board or inquiry. That is the case if you are from a Protestant background, and Protestants are 5% of the population. Sad to say, that’s the way it works in Ireland in 2016.

Derek Linster

Southey Road
Rugby
Warwickshire
England


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