EDITOR –Your editorial rightly addressed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan but does the narrative of its threat of becoming a base for world terrorism the greatest concern?
Is the Taliban or a shadowy ‘ISIS-K’ the major threat or is not Afghanistan’s potential to ramp up its already massive source of dangerous drugs not a greater danger to citizens of the world?
The freezing of some $9bn Afghan Central Bank and Foreign Reserves held in the US, the ending of access to World Bank and IMF funding and the withdrawal of much aid funding all may contribute to justification by the Taliban to turn to opium drug derivatives as their income source.
The US Trump deal with the Taliban which set the withdrawal did not involve its allies and remains a US state secret.
Clearly the US did not work out the ramifications of the sudden withdrawal, but have they any expectation that withholding aid and assets from the Taliban will do anything other than generate a flood of drugs into the world market?
Is their need to promote and prioritise fear of terrorism driven more by the needs of an arms industry threatened by withdrawal from regime-change wars than by the more likely threats of a flood of opioids to the market?
Reminder that rights can be unpicked
EDITOR – Texas is seeing the most extreme abortion laws in the US come into law. This shocking disregard for human rights and access to healthcare is putting women’s lives at risk. Not in an abstract way but in real and significant way, right now.
However, what is also worrying is the way in which these new laws give power to individuals to sue abortion providers. This imbalance of power is damaging to the very fabric of humanity allowing for extremists to remove access to safe healthcare.
The world is watching as reproductive rights are being significantly reduced in Texas. While in Ireland, we have begun taking steps in the right direction – repealing the 8th Amendment provided improved access to abortion services, but what is happening in Texas highlights how tenuous these steps can be.
Steps in the right direction can be unpicked and unwound with a campaign of fear, hate and discrimination.
Texas is a stark reminder that reproductive choices are always the first target for those who refuse to accept bodily autonomy.
Without robust protections and comprehensive supports for people seeking abortions, then what has been achieved here in Ireland still remains a soft target.
It also shows the importance of the promises that were made to bolster these rights – such as exclusion zones. We need to ensure the inroads we have made are protected and that we stand up against what is happening elsewhere in the world. Next weekend I will be standing outside the Dáil at 2pm along with other pro-choice supporters.
Patients have lost great allies
EDITOR – We are shocked, but not surprised, at the resignation of key Slainte care personnel, Prof Tom Keane, chairperson of the Slainte Care Implementation Advisory Council and Slainte Care executive director Laura Magahy.
Slainte Care has been ‘the hope’ for a more equitable healthcare system for Irish patients, one that is built on equity, safety, accountability and governed by a bipartisan /all party-political process. Until evidence is established to prove otherwise, these developments declare a failure, to date, of a much-heralded cross party-political healthcare reform programme.
Present and future patients need a full explanation from government and other State agencies so that ‘urgent’ lessons can be learnt from these disturbing developments.
Irish patients have lost great allies.
Chair, Irish Patients Association,
Killiney, Co Dublin.
What is really ‘barbaric’?
EDITOR – I doubt that all those who voted Repeal in Ireland would agree with your recent letter writer Doris Murphy of Rebels for Choice that the restriction in Texas of the abortion law to the point when the unborn shows audible signs of humanity is ‘barbaric’.
Many voted to give women a choice, unrestricted by the Constitution.
But what choice is there for them when the Irish State’s ‘care’ for pregnant women in crisis, and their unborn, is just abortion?
Is this not ‘barbaric’ for both the women and also for their unborn?
Dalkey, Co Dublin.