The Irish government has expelled four of 30 registered Russian diplomats in Ireland, allegedly for meeting with dissident republican and loyalist paramilitaries to stoke tensions here and in Northern Ireland. In response, Russia has expelled two of our six embassy employees in Moscow – a third of our entire staff, the equivalent of expelling 10 of their diplomats here.
Russia has also attempted to develop its four-hectare Orwell Road site as an intelligence-gathering hub for Western Europe, without doing anything to prevent the activities of Russia-based hackers who planted ransomware software in our systems Insert healthcare, costing us millions and money lives at risk.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine will cost us billions of euros in aid money and refugee housing costs, not to mention the multi-billion dollar Irish planes that Russia has effectively stolen by re-registering them as Russian. Irish lessor Avolon has already lost €173m this year after failing to get back planes leased to Russian airlines.
Now the popular state TV channel Russia-1 has broadcast fake clips of nuclear weapons destroying Ireland in a report by Dmitri Kiselyov, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
What more provocation do we need before we finally sever diplomatic relations with this hated regime and expel the Russian ambassador who is now pretending to speak for the Ukrainians and has encouraged pro-Russian demonstrations here?
Surely it is time to advise all remaining Irish nationals to leave Russia immediately and to close our embassy there completely?
In the meantime we can use their extensive grounds on Orwell Road to house Ukrainian refugees and eventually sell them to fund our relief efforts.
Frank Schnittger, Blessington, Co. Wicklow
Our fine defenses deserve better
TWO former army officers were recently quoted as saying Ireland’s defenses are in worse shape than before the riots.
The Defense Forces are now even less capable of defending the state by land, sea or air as our numbers are hopelessly exhausted. We are too weak, disabled and unprepared. Our troop levels are down 20 percent since 1971, half our ships are dry docked and our barracks are closed. Our aircraft are still propeller-driven and technologically little more advanced than the Spitfires of the 1940s.
We could hardly defend ourselves against a well-organized and fully concentrated swarm of stinging wasps.
That would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. Given what we’ve seen on Russian state television over the past few days, we’re in a bad place in terms of proper state defense.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has called on Russian state television to apologize for airing this clip, but he appears to have fallen on deaf ears. Our national defenses are in dire need of some quick attention.
Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo
It’s time to restore the status of the beautiful game
I WAS just watching a great game between Manchester City and Real Madrid. I really enjoyed it aside from the fake injuries and time wasting tactics.
Unfortunately, this is very common in modern play, but it’s very easy to fix: the game should only be timed while the ball is in play. If a player goes down injured, stop the clock and only start it again when the player recovers or has to leave the field.
According to Fifa rules, the goalkeeper is only allowed to hold the ball for six seconds. Violation of this rule will result in an indirect free kick to the opponent. In all the years I’ve watched football, I’ve never seen a goalkeeper punished for this offence.
I believe the holding time allowed should be increased to 10 seconds and breaking this rule should result in a corner.
To waste time on free kicks and throw-ins (with 10 seconds to complete the move), reverse the decision. A corner is awarded in the event of a goal kick. Reduce game time to two halves of 30 minutes. In the modern game, the ball is only in play for about an hour anyway.
After all, only the team captain can appeal to the referee. Yellow card for harassing the referee. The beautiful game can be even more beautiful.
David Cleere, Gorey, Co. Wexford
How can we negotiate a peace deal with Russia?
Well-meaning people support negotiating a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
In 2002, Russia ignored warnings of a possible Chechen terrorist attack and the subsequent siege of the Beslan school was resolved not through negotiations but through the use of the Russian army, including tanks and flamethrowers. More than 300 Russian citizens died, over 150 of them children.
If this is a sign of the value the Russian state places on its own people, how can anyone expect a reasonable response?
Eugene Tannam, Firhouse, Dublin 2
People are just being punished for being poor
It was one of those weird headlines that you often miss, but the story is common in many countries. Sierra Leone now has a law against loitering, which sounds reasonable at first, but is often used just to move people around. It often affects people in poverty who have no place to stay.
There are about 30,000 laws in America, but how many of them help the poor instead of making their lives worse? There are too many people in poverty or need, despite all the efforts they make in life. Nobody should be punished for being poor.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia
Public hospitals should be under the control of HSE
I HAVE NO intention of meddling in the morass of discussions about foreclosure, land leasing and so on. The matter of national maternity hospitals is very complicated, so let me add a simple comment. In no case should a public hospital be controlled by a private company.
If the huge cost of the new hospital is to be borne primarily by the taxpayer, it should be under the control of the HSE or some other public body. That is the central point here.
Brendan Casserly, Bishopstown, Cork
It’s their future and they should have a say
There are at least three reasons why the voting age should be lowered. They are all related to the fact that short-term political opportunism and populism take precedence over caring for the future of our youth.
The first and most important is the climate: it is a question of survival. But as with peat, water and farming methods, it seems many politicians are trying to outdo each other in the art of doing nothing. The second reason is the lack of restraint or concern about our growing national debt. This is likely to burden future generations with unmanageable debt.
The third reason is the pension time bomb and the deplorable lack of courage shown by our politicians lately in failing to tackle the problem in a rational way.
Younger people might get a little more attention if a larger number of their votes are counted.
Pat O’Mahony, Westport, Co. Mayo
The physical integrity of women is left to men in suits
IF the leaked draft US Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade proves true, a seismic shift in abortion rights and possibly other civil rights in the Western world will have taken hold.
Any student of American political life will know that this has been the goal of former Vice President Mike Pence and the evangelical right from day one. Trump was just a puppet, albeit a fortunate one, able to nominate three Supreme Court justices during his turbulent four years as US President.
First of all, to those women who voted for Trump, you’ve very likely now surrendered your physical integrity and reproductive rights to gray-haired men in suits. Was Hillary Clinton such a bad candidate that you were blind to this predictable outcome?
Tom McElligott, Listowel, Co. Kerry
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/what-more-provocation-do-we-need-before-we-break-off-diplomatic-relations-with-russia-41623670.html What more provocation do we need before breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia?