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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (24/9/16)

Your letters, your views...

Transport crisis escalating out of Ross’s control

Instead of stating his case in the media, Transport Minister Shane Ross should have called all sides in. The unions are upping the ante and the prospect of an all-out transport strike is real.

Mr Ross is also being naive: Fine Gael are hanging him out to dry.

He will get the blame and not Fine Gael.

Privatisation is the agenda and whilst the workers have the support of the public now, how long will this last, as we head into winter and inclement weather? The workers deserve a pay increase, but they also need to be careful to stay in control of their own negotiations and not let the well-heeled union bosses use them as a means to further their own agenda.

It is also remarkable that the Labour Court has not compelled both sides to attend talks under its auspices, in accordance with the Industrial Relations Acts, as this dispute and its resolution is clearly in the national interest!

There’s something not quite right here!

Killian Brennan

Corofin House

Clare Village

Malahide Road

Dublin 17

Why would anyone be a garda now?

Why would anyone want to be a garda? There is no death penalty for the murder of one (which should be in force for any murder), and guards are unarmed and badly paid.

To add insult to the injury of garda families, government is very slow in using its extradition treaties with the US.

Proper crime-prevention and punishment are worth more than bravery medals.

Florence Craven,

Carton Court,


Co. Kildare

Fluoride toxicity a threat to farming

As the Irish farming community gathers this week at Europe’s largest outdoor exhibition and agricultural trade show, in Screggan, Co Offaly, few of them are aware that the basis of their futures, and of the nation’s food security, is threatened by fluoride pollution from phosphate fertilisers.

A recent article in Environmental Earth Sciences [January, 2016] warned that current agricultural practices, which rely extensively on the use of phosphate fertiliser to maintain productivity, have resulted in alarming increases in soil fluoride levels in soils.

In recent decades, average fluoride concentrations in surface soils have doubled in New Zealand farms, due to phosphate fertiliser inputs. Thresholds protective against chronic fluoride poisoning in grazing animals are being substantively passed, such that land may be rendered unsuitable for pastoral production in the mid-term future.

However, the implications are not just confined to grazing animals, but have wider ecological implications, particularly for pollinating insects, like bees, which are highly sensitive to fluoride toxicity. Moreover, as soil fluoride levels increase, the natural fertility of soils declines, as fluoride is toxic to soil microorganisms (Roa et al 1978; Tscherko et al 1997; Patti et al 1998; Mondal et al 2015).

The findings of this latest study, as well as of previous studies which found similar trends [Cronin et al 2000, New Zealand, Journal of Agricultural Recourses; Loganathan et al 2008, Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology], raise serious concerns about the sustainability of current agricultural practices, particularly in Ireland, where the model relies entensively on fertilisers to maintain productivity for grazing animals.

Based on current evidence, the continued application of phosphate fertilisers to agricultural lands has the potential to not only destabilise agriculture production in Ireland, but to render agricultural soils unfit for purpose for future generations of Irish farmers. Farmers, farm bodies, and government agencies like Teagasc need to urgently consider the findings of this latest research and begin monitoring soil fluoride levels to prevent further land-degradation, and to protect livestock health and wildlife.

Declan Waugh

Environmental Scientist


Co. Cork.

Show me the money: no bank has reserves to cover deposits

When banks make profit using my money and your money, they don’t reward us. But, when they fail, you and I rescue them, via government. Can we conceptualise a better and fairer system to replace this inequitable and unfair one? Of course, the private banks create interest-bearing debt, or ‘digital money’, out of nothing.

The national governments allow this to happen through the fractional reserve system that permits the private banks to make loans in the order of nine or 10 times the amount of deposits the bank must hold in reserve. That money is just figures on a computer screen.

It is money that does not, has not, nor ever will exist. The private banks are allowed to do this by creating a loan through a few computer key strokes. Money that we spend our lives repaying. You, Sir, have been mugged by financial terrorists. If a run occurs on any private bank, it is inevitably forced to close its doors, because no private bank ever carries enough ‘hard currency’ to cover the amount of deposits it has on its books. It’s all a spoof, because it is just monopoly money. Only you don’t have a get-out-of-jail card. They do! It’s called you!

Anthony Woods,

Marian Ave,


Co, Clare.

Bethany Home survivors ignored by the State

Why has the Irish State refused to acknowledge the Protestant Bethany Home Survivors after 17 long years of campaigning? And why are we not part of the agenda of President Michael D Higgins? And why are the last handful of survivors only a name to the archbishop of the Church of Ireland and to all the other Protestant Church leaders? Could it be that because one half of us are Catholic and the other half are Church of Ireland?

Is that the reason why the so-called leaders of the Irish State and Protestant Church have abandoned the final few survivors? But are we not people, too?

Are we not members of their flocks and their electorate? Or are they still turning the proverbial ‘blind eye’ and ‘deaf ear’ to us, in the twilight of our lives, in the hope that we will die-off and join our 227 fallen brothers and sisters in Mount Jerome cemetery?

In a difficult situation, genuine Christians often ask themselves ‘what would Jesus do?’ as a way of seeking guidance. Would Jesus ignore the last survivors of the notorious Bethany Home? I will not answer that question, but leave it to the consciences of those who ignore us and who follow their policy of ‘deny till they die’.

Derek Leinster

Founder of the Bethany Home Survivors ‘98 group



Israel dividers like Belfast ‘peace walls’

Dr Edward Horgan writes (Irish Examiner, Letters, September 22) that on a recent visit to the West Bank he was ‘shocked’ to see the “infamous wall, 20ft high in many places” that separates Israeli citizens from areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

When I was on holiday this year in Israel, I travelled from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea. I saw that most of the ‘infamous wall’ along the route through the West Bank is in fact a wire fence.

The Israelis have even left some gaps in this fence to help Palestinian farmers. The few concrete walls I saw were similar to the ‘peace walls’ in Belfast and serve the same purpose — to prevent civilians from being fired at from neighbouring areas.

Strangely, I never hear Dr Horgan and his NGO allies demanding that Belfast’s peace walls be removed. Yours etc,

Karl Martin


Dublin 13

Six Day War spawned Palestinian cause

Why do people like Dr Edward Horgan (Irish Examiner, Letters, September 22) feel the need to label communities living on disputed land in Palestine as Jewish settlements? What difference does it make that they are Jewish? Is it precisely because they are Jewish that Palestinians would prefer to see land go to waste, thereby exposing the myth that Palestinians want to live in peace with other non-Muslim communities. A point further evidenced by the requirement set by the Palestinians that in any final agreement with Israel no Jews will live in Palestine. Secondly, Dr Horgan makes an incorrect statement about Palestinian lands up to 1967. He means, of course, the Six-Day War. It was supposed to wipe out Israel, but, to the shock of the Arab world, Israel won. Before 1967, there were no Palestinian lands anywhere and Dr Horgan will know this. The land that was set aside for the creation of a Palestinian state by the UN was annexed, not occupied, by Egypt and Jordan up to 1967. The notion that there was any form of Palestinian administration in Gaza or the West Bank, and that it was removed by Israel, is an utter falsehood. If there had been no Six Day War, Gaza and The West Bank would, to this day, still be part of Egypt and Jordan, respectively. There would be no Palestinian cause, either. There was no such cause anywhere before 1967. The fantasy of a Palestinian homeland was dreamt up after 1967, as international aid to underdeveloped parts of the world increased and certain Palestinians saw a means to steal from their own people to enrich themselves, which they continue to do to this day. It was only when Israel became involved, after 1967, as a result of successfully defending herself against an attack by Arab countries, that the ‘movement’ began in earnest. The truth that dare not speak its name is that the movement, at heart, is motivated by a certain type of person who displays a bizarre hatred of Jewish people, not just the religion and ethos, but the people themselves. Why else does every suggestion for a settlement not involve Jewish people being allowed to live in any proposed Palestinian state?

Desmond Fitzgerald

Canary Wharf



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