In a recent visit to a section of a famous ancient Ethiopian monastery where “men only” are allowed, high ranking female officials who were travelling with the Taoiseach had to remain outside the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion monastery.

When questioned, a spokesman for the Taoiseach said: “It is appropriate to respect the rules and customs of different cultures and religions, especially when you are in their countries, holy places or homes.”

Yet, the Irish culture, under the very same Taoiseach, is being systematically dismantled stone by stone under the guise of “progress” and political correctness. We don’t want to “offend” people of other cultures who are living here. In my experience, most people of other cultures living in Ireland actually embrace the Irish culture. For example, I have been wished a “happy Christmas” by Muslims living here, not “happy holidays”.

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This culture destruction is being perpetuated by Irish liberals, who find in Leo Varadkar and other government ministers willing accomplices, who then use it as an excuse to promote their own selfish agendas in order to gain extra votes. It has nothing to do with “offending” people of other cultures. The hypocrisy of Varadkar is beyond comprehension.

Martin Heneghan

Fairview, Dublin 3

Deadlock at Stormont is an injustice to the people

The lack of will exemplified by both political parties in Stormont to bring about a return of devolved government is an injustice to the young people of Northern Ireland.

Last week marked the two-year anniversary since the collapse of power-sharing in Belfast.

Since January 2017, both political parties have engaged in petty squabbles, partnered with a lack of realisation of the issues facing the citizens of Northern Ireland. Not since the declaration of World War II has Britain faced a challenge which poses a such a profound threat to both the integrity of constitution and its relationship with allies around the world.

While the unbreakable impasse continues in Stormont, the citizens of Northern Ireland are left in limbo, considering that come March 29, how will Britain’s exit from the European Union affect their ability to travel and study within the European Union and indeed what will the future relationship with the Republic of Ireland look like?

Those unwilling to break the deadlock at Stormont are doing a disservice to those who elected them. Furthermore, those who are exploiting this deadlock for political means are not fit to hold elected office.

I would like to echo the words of An Tánaiste Simon Coveney. In a speech at Queen’s University last week, he implored both parties to come together at this tentative time for Northern Ireland. One must think to the courageous decisions made by the guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement just over 20 years ago. They proved that politics is well and truly the art of compromise.

Jude Perry

Belfast

Protests add to heartache for miscarriage patients

Approximately one in four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage or stillbirth. This is always an upsetting experience. Imagine how much worse it would be to be confronted with a picket line of signs saying “let her be born”, just after you have been informed that your baby will not, in fact, be born living.

Marianne McDonald

Grange, Co Cork

Dublin anthems belong at Croker, not the RDS

I applaud the achievements of all our Irish rugby teams but, as a visceral Dublin GAA supporter, it makes my blood boil when I hear ‘Cockles And Mussels’ and ‘Come on Ye Boys in Blue’ belted out in the Aviva or the RDS.

These anthems belong on Hill 16 and anything else is appalling, blatant, inverse cultural misappropriation. Please stop.

Tom Farrell

Swords, Co Dublin

Harris was right not to delay abortion roll-out

Some doctors have criticised Health Minister Simon Harris for the piecemeal roll-out of abortion services, with several saying he should have waited a few months until the system was ready to launch in one fell swoop.

However, Mr Harris, from his engagement with the campaign to Repeal the Eighth, knew that we could not wait, that every day the introduction of service was delayed, more Irish women would have to make that long, difficult journey to England for terminations.

Already, the number of GPs providing abortion services in Ireland has risen from 165 at the start of the year to nearly 250, and all 19 of our maternity hospitals provide some degree of service, and these numbers are set to rise throughout the year as training and infrastructure is extended. Well done, minister. This is what we voted for.

Laurie Myers

Tower Street, Cork

Library rule could teach politicians something

Two-hundred-and-thirty-six years ago, James Madison, who went on to become US president, proposed the Congressional Library.

One section of the executive order for the library read: “It is no longer permissible for politicians to know absolutely nothing. Every member of the House and Senate is now required to read at least one book so he knows something, anything.”

Mattie Lennon

Blessington, Co Wicklow

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