Letters: It is ironic that Israel’s foreign minister would reprimand Leo Varadkar over Emily Hand comments

Is it not supremely ironic that the Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen should accuse the Taoiseach of “losing his moral compass” simply because he expressed joy and relief that the young Israeli-Irish hostage Emily Hand who was “lost” has now been “found” – given that Israel is in all but name conducting a genocide on the Palestinian people in retaliation for the Hamas attack?

Everyone knows what Leo Varadkar meant by the terms lost and found. He was lauding the fact that the young girl had been released from captivity in Gaza and he has unequivocally condemned the Hamas attack.

If anyone needs a “reality check”, it is Mr Cohen’s government which, day after day, is wiping out a whole people in its efforts to destroy Hamas – an organisation which will never be destroyed by military means since with every bomb and every missile, a new recruit for Hamas signs up.

As one of the released Palestinian women prisoners said, because of the recent onslaughts, even the unborn will join Hamas some day.

It is outrageous that the Irish ambassador to Israel, Sonya McGuinness, should be humiliated by being summoned to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs “for a reprimand” in relation to Mr Varadkar’s choice of words.

I don’t agree with Sinn Féin on many issues, but on this occasion they are right. This is absolute deflection of attention from the brutality of the Gaza bombardments, which have already caused the deaths of over 14,000 Palestinians. Although it may not be a wise move for diplomatic reasons, there is a far stronger argument for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Dana Elrich, given the belligerent, ruthless and heartless government she represents.

We need to ask, who exactly is losing their moral compass, who needs a reality check and who needs to be much more than reprimanded?

Sinéad Boland, Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow

Living with the prospect of never being free has handed Hamas free rein

Dear Israeli Foreign Minister Cohen,

I have met Holocaust survivors in Hungary and elsewhere. ​

Like many, I am wholly aware of how grossly evil, unimaginably cruel and downright unforgivable it was that Jewish mothers, fathers and children were tortured, gassed and massacred in the Holocaust. I know how gentiles have caused unimaginable hurt to ordinary Jewish families in many countries.

You take exception to the word “lost” used by our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in his welcoming of a good result in Emily Hand’s release in the midst of the evil that is the situation in Palestine and Israel.

Emily Hand was “ lost” to her family. May you never have such a loss, whether through violent death, disappearance, kidnapping or illness. It is just as much a “loss” to her family as it would be to yours.

Because I taught a class in Palestine, I became aware that the people there had a life circumscribed by the Israeli-Palestinian stand-off.

The kids I taught there were learning English from me. I, in turn, learned a lot from them.

Two things stood out for me. Firstly, the kids could never leave the West Bank or even have the chance to speak the English I taught them. They exist in one of the most overcrowded areas in the world and have none of the prospects of any free folk.

Secondly, the people have no hope of ever being free and so, I expect, allow Hamas “free rein”, probably by turning a blind eye.

Just imagine if they could believe in an alternative life. A free one where two states lived in peace and, eventually, co-operated. Maybe the killing of Israelis on October 7 would not have happened.

Or do you, Mr Cohen, believe that mothers, fathers and children given a promise of freedom and co-existence, will not act in a way that makes the terrorist irrelevant?

Fergus Jordan, Greystones, Co Wicklow​

We are a country adrift from the moorings of what it once meant to be Irish

There will be several narratives surrounding what happened in Dublin last Thursday night, when for a few hours, anarchy took hold.

Each opinion will have a grain of truth. One thing is certain: something has shifted. This is not a country at peace with itself. This is not just in Dublin. In rural towns and villages up and down the Island, things have turned sour. The drift to discontent has been a long time coming. An angry under class, a struggling, stressed middle class and a young generation who feel their dreams have been stolen by their inability to ever own a home.

The old feel invisible in modern Ireland. Throw in the cost-of-living crisis, the hangover from Covid, as well as all the new arrivals into the country, and you have a dangerous cocktail.

The anchor which the church gave has snapped, and Ireland is like a country adrift from the moorings of what it is meant to be Irish anymore.

Riots are not new to any country but a common thread in all of them is simmering discontent under the surface. No amount of police or army or high-tech equipment is a remedy. They are just dealing with the symptoms not the root causes. The cure is more a job for sociologists than police chiefs or political sound bites.

For instance, why does Ireland have almost the highest cocaine use in the world. What is the void people are trying to fill? Has rampant consumerism led to an empty society where you’re judged by your profession or wealth?

Are we going down the road of other rich countries where the wealthy live in gated communities with private security while the rest make do with inferior health, education and other public services and where housing projects spring up at the edges of our cities for those who can’t afford to buy a home?

Maybe we need a citizen’s assembly on “how to cure the ills of modern Ireland”. I wonder what the signatories to the Irish Proclamation would make of us now.

Joseph Kiely, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Drew Harris is not the first garda commissioner to join from outside the force

I have noticed that everyone in the media is of the opinion that Drew Harris is the first garda commissioner from outside the force in its 100 year history – this is not true.

The first commissioner to have been appointed from within the garda force was Michael J Wymes, who was appointed in 1970.

Prior to this the position was usually held by a retired army officer or an assistant secretary within the Department of Justice, this was more than likely a carry over from the Civil War days.

Kieran O’Regan, Dublin 9

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