Stair lift

20 July 2013 Stair lift

I go all the way around the park round the park listening to the Navy Lark nice to hear Pertwee again. Its the one where Troutbridge has been automated. Leslie manages to damage the new computer and all is well aa everyone retains their jobs. Priceless
Warmer today let stair life man in to fix the seat on Joan’s stair lift, my cold is getting worse and my leg.
We watch Are you being served not bad
Scrabble today Mary win’s but gets under 400 perhaps I will get my revenge tomorrow?

Of the world’s estimated 70 such “micronations”, Australia is home to almost half — among them the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands (founded off the coast of Queensland in 2004 and ruled by “Emperor Dale I”) and the Empire of Atlantium, established in 1981 by three teenagers and now based in a suburban Sydney flat. Of these 70, it is thought that the first to be declared was the Principality of Hutt River — a 30-square-mile area 370 miles north of Perth in Western Australia.
Shirley Joy Butler, who would become its first princess consort, was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, on July 19 1928 and grew up in a suburb of Perth. In April 1947, aged 19, she married Len Casley, a diminutive shipping agent who had seen active service in Borneo with the RAAF and allegedly worked as a physicist for Nasa during the 1950s. He is said to have been brought up on a railway siding on the Nullarbor Plain and to have left school at 14.
In the first 11 years of their marriage, Len and Shirley had four sons and three daughters , and in the late Sixties Len Casley bought the property that would become Hutt River. He and his older sons set about clearing 5,600 hectares and produced 14,700 bushels of wheat — only to discover that, under the then prevailing quota restrictions, the West Australian Wheat Board would pay him for only 10 per cent of it. There was no right of appeal, and no compensation offered.
Casley petitioned the state governor, Sir Douglas Kendrew, who refused to intervene. The aggrieved farmer decided on unilateral action, and on April 21 1970 he declared independence from the Australian nation. Having studied the Treason Act of 1495, he had concluded that it was illegal to hinder a de facto prince; he had therefore declared himself Prince of what he called “Hutt River Province” (after the river that ran through his property). The principality has never been recognised in Australia or anywhere else.
Casley’s realm is, he states proudly, “58 times the size of Monaco”, but the two principalities have nothing in common. A dirt track leads to Hutt River’s capital, Nain, which has a chapel, post office and “Government House” — all one-room buildings — and a population (last year) of three: the Prince and Princess, and their son Wayne.
For the first few years, Shirley lived in Perth while her two youngest children completed their schooling. Meanwhile, sparring with the authorities continued. In 1976 the Australian postal service refused to handle Hutt River’s mail, which was redirected via Canada. The following year, Prince Leonard declared war on Australia after receiving repeated tax demands (he declared an end to hostilities within days).
The mail service was later resumed, and the tax demands ceased. Today the 20-odd residents of Hutt River are classed as non-residents of Australia by the Australian Taxation Office, which at the same time resists any attempt to turn Hutt River into a base for tax evasion or avoidance schemes. The province levies its own income tax of 0.5 per cent .
While Casley styled himself “HRH Prince Leonard I of Hutt”, his wife — who claimed descent from the Earls of Ormond — became “HRH Princess Shirley of Hutt”. Len Casley also created her “Dame of the Rose of Sharon”, “ Patron and Chair of the Red Cross of Hutt” and “Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Hutt River Legion”.
Their sons, too, were ennobled: their eldest, Ian (who also serves as Prime Minister), as Crown Prince; Wayne as Duke of Nain; Richard as Duke of Carmel; and Graeme as Duke of Gilboa. Meanwhile, their three daughters (Kay, Diane and Sherryl) were created duchesses.
As well as exporting wheat and wild flowers, Hutt River has become a tourist attraction, receiving around 40,000 visitors a year, most of them young backpackers. While Len was the showman, the more retiring Shirley ran the souvenir shop and served visitors with tea and wheat cakes made from their own crop. Shirley accompanied her husband to South Australia and Queensland on “state visits” during which their car would fly the Hutt River ensign.
The couple issued their own stamps, banknotes, coins, passports and visas, and at one stage nursed ambitious plans to build a new city at Hutt River — “with freedom as its motto and watchword” — but nothing came of it.
In April 2007, when they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary, the couple received a congratulatory message from the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce — although it was addressed to “Mr and Mrs Casley”.
After Shirley’s death, Prince Leonard — who survives her with their seven children — ordered a 12-day period of mourning. Camping and overnight visits were banned until further notice.
Shirley Casley (“Princess Shirley of Hutt”), born July 19 1928, died July 7 2013


Like Hazel Anderson (Letters, 13 July), I read with amusement that, 42 years after the film was made, someone has complained to the British Board of Film Classification about The Railway Children, on the grounds that it might encourage children to play on the tracks. In my opinion, a far more serious blunder occurs in the scene in which Perks opens the crossing gates to let a train through, and it is hauled by a class N2 locomotive, a type first built in the 1920s, 15 years after 1905, when the film is set. Scandalous.
James Erber
• I see that Richard Bean is the writer both “of” and “behind” the successful play One Man Two Guv’nors (After drama of Leveson, it’s hacking – the satire, 19 July). Evidently I was mistaken in believing it to be by Carlo Goldoni. Now I shall go back to rereading Andrew Davies’s Pride and Prejudice.
W Stephen Gilbert
Corsham, Wiltshire
• It’s nice to see the picture of Kenneth Clarke striding forth to promote British business (Polished up: Clarke opens business centre in Warsaw, 18 July) but I’m not sure how his credibility is enhanced by a Mini, even one made-over in union jack livery. The car’s numberplate clearly reveals its provenance: “Bavaria Motors”.
Simon Speck
• And continuing with Kay Veitch’s letter (17 July) regarding Mr Gove and his plans, the next lines in the Scottish play are: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Angus MacIntosh
Burley-in-Wharfedale, West Yorkshire
• The last Labour government deserves congratulations for the fall in crime (Report, 19 July). Criminality is as much nurtured as natural, and it’s likely we are reaping rewards from the Labour-led reduction in child poverty and improvements in schools. Such lag means we are some years away from being able to judge the coalition’s success at reducing crime.
Adrian Bradbury
• A scale of 10 can be divided by anything (Letters, 19 July). That’s the beauty of the decimal point.
Jonathan Yarwood
Kidderminster, Worcestershire

I write to ensure absolute clarity following your article published in Thursday’s Guardian (Met chief ‘failed to tell’ Lawrence about spying, 18 July). During the meeting with Doreen and Stuart Lawrence, on 28 June, the Metropolitan police commissioner did update the Lawrences with what information he was able to give at that time. This was then put into writing on 8 July, in a letter that stated: “There are records that indicate undercover officers were deployed into supporters and campaigns surrounding the murder of Stephen Lawrence.”
This position reflects absolutely the evidence given by Chief Constable Creedon to the home affairs select committee on 16 July and you may wish to review this so there is no doubt about what he said.
The commissioner has stated he understands the family’s desire for answers and is committed to providing them as soon as he possibly can.
Your article gives the very misleading impression that the MPs and the commissioner had “failed to tell” the Lawrence family information that has in fact been passed on. While there may be a subtle difference, it is a very important point. As has been made very clear, the documents relate to deployments of undercover officers into supporters and campaigns surrounding the murder of Stephen Lawrence, not the attempt to smear a grieving family, although, as Mr Creedon, the commissioner and the home secretary have been very clear about, these matters need to be, and are, being fully and properly investigated so to ascertain the absolute truth.
Craig Mackey
Deputy commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service

My experience stands in stark contrast to that of Jenni Russell (Look beyond the politics – healthcare really is in crisis, 18 July). Three years ago I was extremely ill and admitted to the Freeman hospital in Newcastle. I had to wait a couple of hours on the renal ward while the isolation ward just recently vacated was prepared for me. That same day I had a kidney biopsy. The following day I was given the diagnosis (myeloma and progressive renal failure) and treatment for both started the following day. The speed of the hospital’s response to my condition left me breathless. I was facing chemotherapy and possibly dialysis.
In the following days I was visited by a pharmacist, a dietician, phlebotomists, two consultant nephrologists, two consultant haematologists and their respective teams. At one point I felt like Fletch in Porridge – I couldn’t get a minute’s peace to read my book! Then a bone biopsy, x-ray of my skeleton… In a matter of weeks, due the efforts of the renal team, the threat of dialysis retreated and I was well enough to be discharged.
I was treated with respect and concern by the consultants. The nursing staff and junior doctors were caring and sympathetic. Meals cooked on the premises were ordered by patients from menus with certain items highlighted as not available to patients with kidney problems. Now there’s a simple effective system. I can offer similar reports from friends in Teesside. But good hospitals don’t hit the headlines. Instead of concentrating on poor performance in areas of the NHS, might it not be useful to make a study of hospitals such as the Freeman? Ask why they perform so well and use them as a national model for the NHS.
Mary Moore
Newcastle upon Tyne
• Regarding Jenni Russell’s description of lack of care in a hospital, and details of the failings of the hospitals put on special measures (Report, 17 July), I wonder whether the problems are partially due to staff cuts necessary for trusts to meet the huge costs of private finance initiative schemes; and to damaged morale, due to uncertainty about the future, caused by endless reorganisations now known to be preparation for adoption of the US system of healthcare (Colin Leys and Stewart Player, The Plot Against the NHS).
For the past year, I have been treated at Barts and the Homerton hospital in London for cancer, with surgery followed by chemotherapy and biological therapy. From the time of my consultation and referral by my GP, I have received swift, effective care, given sensitively. At the same time, I could not be unaware of the enormous pressure of work that the staff faced. I know of many people who have received equally good care in different hospitals. Bad practice needs eliminating but there is a vast amount of excellent practice, often involving staff in outstanding effort. We need to recognise this and fight for the continued existence of the NHS.
Helen Matcham
• Last Saturday night I attended the NHS drop-in Clinic in Sheffield and a few days later visited my GP’s surgery. On both occasions I was treated quickly and efficiently by staff who were very pleasant and caring. Please, would anyone else who has received good care via the NHS start advertising the fact. We must counter the overwhelmingly negative coalition propaganda.
Elaine Stringer
• Having been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, I took my painful and swollen leg to the walk-in clinic of my local practice, having first received an email from my GP: “We are always concerned if a calf suddenly becomes swollen, as this could indicate thrombosis.” Our stand-in doctor examined my leg, and said to wait five minutes. A few minutes later she said: “You have an appointment at Kings College Hospital in half an hour.” We left our car there and reception ordered us a taxi. On arrival, the haematologist recommended a scan of my leg, which happened after waiting our turn upstairs. Two hours later we walked out of the hospital, elated that my swollen leg did not harbour any blood-clots. Just one morning’s example of seamless, professional care by an NHS team, which thrilled all those there to watch it.
Gill Newson

On the contrary (42% of UK population unaware of carbon capture and storage – poll, 16 July), it’s encouraging that nearly half of us appreciate how vital CCS is as a tool for tackling climate change. We’re going to need all forms of energy, including low-carbon options, to meet rising demand. However, CCS is the only technology available to prevent CO2 from industry and power generation entering the atmosphere. All elements of CCS, including the capture, transportation and storage of CO2, have been used in the energy industry for decades. We now need to show it can work on a large scale. This will help bring down the cost of the technology and ensure it is commercially available in time to make a material difference to tackling climate change. Shell is committed to demonstrating CCS and we think the UK has a unique opportunity at SSE’s Peterhead gas-fired power station, where we are leading the development of a proposed CCS project.
Ed Daniels
Chairman, Shell UK

Your letter (15 July) is a sad reminder to how the public trust in the police, justice system and government has dwindled to an extent where only a few expect justice to be done for David Kelly. Lord Hutton who investigated Dr Kelly’s death had neither coronial experience nor medical qualification and had no legal power to rule on the cause of death; only a coroner or jury, if one sits, has that power. No coroner has ever ruled on the cause of death, no final death certificate has ever been registered and the inquest was not formally closed as required by law.
Hutton’s proceedings applied no standard of proof. The standard of proof required in English law for a coroner to pass a suicide verdict is the same for a judge who finds a murderer guilty: beyond reasonable doubt. No cross-examination of the pathologist occurred, no second opinion from another pathologist was sought and no evidence was taken under oath. A suicide verdict not only has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but also the intent to commit suicide has to be proved. The deciding factor that brought the pathologist to the conclusion that Dr Kelly intended to take his own life was that he had deliberately removed his glasses and wristwatch. However, the pathologist failed to explain how the evidence pointed at Kelly removing the glasses and wristwatch and not a third party.
The search party that discovered Dr Kelly’s body found it sat/slumped against a tree. The first police officer on the scene also confirmed this position of the body in a 2010 newspaper interview, but he told the Hutton inquiry it was flat on its back. There remains a lack of clarity about who the first police officer attended the scene with, how long he remained at the scene and what happened in the two hours after the ambulance crew departed. In that time, eyewitness evidence suggests the scene was rearranged.
There remains much public concern over the death of Dr David Kelly, but far greater concern over the state of the British justice system.
Peter Beswick
Romsey, Hampshire
• Your report on the anniversary of the death of David Kelly (16 July) omitted to mention that the ex-UN inspector believed that Iraq did have WMD and that he supported the 2003 invasion as the only way of stopping Saddam’s WMD programme. Both these points are clear from the evidence provided by Mr Kelly’s family to the Hutton inquiry. That the Guardian omits these salient facts while giving space to various conspiracy theories shows disrespect to its readers and to Mr Kelly’s family.
Calum MacDonald


Based on the recently published government findings that half of the children who gain a “good mark” in the English and mathematics tests at 11 do not “gain decent GCSE grades”, a punitive ranking system of future primary pupils is to be introduced.
Would it not have been more sensible if those advising the government on these matters had suggested an investigation into the means and practices by which those 11-year-old pupils had garnered the “good mark”?
Data collected by my research team from Manchester University  (paid for and ignored by the Department for Education!) from the mid-1990s until  2008 evidenced that test preparation was excessive  and teaching in those tested subjects was concentrating solely on tested items to the detriment of the depth of teaching and consequently learning.
In short, a misrepresentative profile of primary “success” to meet government targets was being painted with the inevitable “falling away” during secondary education.
If the government, in response to the messages from the 10-year data survey, had introduced either light-touch sampling or, even better, a rigorous continuous-assessment programme across the majority (rather than a core minority) of subjects, this debate would be in more positive mode by now. 
Professor Bill Boyle, Chair of Educational Assessment, University of Manchester
Where crime and celebrity meet
The Rolling Stone cover of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a spot-on piece of cultural analysis (report, 17 July). Those calling for a boycott of the magazine are exactly those who have been treating people like the Boston bomber as celebrities for years – drooling over the blow-by-blow coverage of their trials on television and the breathless analysis of every minute facet of their lives. If they don’t like criminals being treated as celebrities, then they should start treating them as criminals instead. Kudos to Rolling Stone.
Paul Harper, London E15
The Naughtie questions
You report that James Naughtie is to leave the Today programme on Radio 4 temporarily to take a central role in the BBC’s coverage of next year’s referendum on Scottish independence. So James Naughtie, like myself an enthusiastic University of Aberdeen graduate, also like myself and all other England-resident expat Scots, will not have a vote, although we are almost certain to have a strong opinion.
J Russell, Fleet, Hampshire
Your tongue-in-cheek exhortation to Mishal Husain to “Try to keep it short, Ms Husain” (16 July) was one way of asking how on earth the profusely informed Jim Naughtie has lasted so long as an interviewer on a key R4 programme. I’m just looking forward to hearing her put the questions – and then letting the interviewee answer them.
Bob Knowles, London SW15
Hemery hurdled
You rightly mark the great David Hemery, first president of UK Athletics, entering his 70th year (Birthdays, 18 July), which is an alarming thought for his near contemporaries, but you are quite wrong to call him an Olympic sprinter. He won the 400m hurdles final in Mexico City in 1968 gloriously stylishly, by the biggest margin for decades, in a new world record. Very fast, wonderful hurdling, but not sprinting!
Roderick Cooper, Robertsbridge, East Sussex
Cigarette sorrow
The Government’s decision not to legislate for plain packaging of cigarettes must come as a severe disappointment to those who like to work things out on the back of a fag packet.
John Boaler, Calne, Wiltshire
The £12bn arms trade shames  our nation
Britain’s £12bn arms sales to tyrants is scandalous (report, 18 July), and unfortunately more of the same is to be expected at the massive arms fair in London 8-13 September.
Next year is the centenary of the start of the First World War. Already special commemorative events are being planned. But are we then going to carry on as usual for another 100 years? Will we continue to flood the world with weapons, causing enormous suffering to millions, or can Mr Cameron and the ministers who advise him be persuaded to cease this frantic militarism? Wouldn’t this be a fitting way to honour  the sacrifices made in the  Great War?
I believe there is a shortage of engineers. Anyone who lost their job in this deadly business would have the opportunity to do more positive work elsewhere. Many alternative-energy jobs require similar skills, for example. In addition, the Government would save several hundred million pounds per year, which it currently spends on subsidising the arms trade – using taxpayers’ money.   
Sheila Muirhead, Macclesfield, Cheshire
The delights of continental coffee
My wife and I have just returned from a motoring holiday in Italy and Austria. We did not see a single Starbucks, Costa Coffee or shop of any other coffee chain we recognised. It is hardly surprising. Ordinary Europeans know how to make far better coffee without all the fuss. In restaurants, B&B hotels and “mum & dad” cafés we had some lovely coffee. We never paid more than €2.50 a cup (about £2.14).
In Austria one relatively modest hotel simply put a large pot on every table as part of the all-inclusive breakfast. In one Italian motorway services good coffee cost the princely sum of one euro! If you wanted Americano they gave you an espresso with a jug of hot water for you to dilute to taste. If you wanted milk (unusual for Italians) they did not throw you a sachet, or point to the condiments counter; they politely put some in a little jug, put it on a saucer and handed it to you, most often with a smile.
Even when the coffee came out of one of their machines it tasted nice. And the equipment looked from the outside less sophisticated than some of the behemoths that the coffee chains have installed over here, which deliver foul-tasting and overpriced brown liquid by the near-pint mug.
Why are the British such ignoramuses about coffee? Perhaps the clue is in the size of the cup. Could it be that the British are looking for a substitute for beer? 
Chris Sexton, Crowthorne, Berkshire
A population Ponzi scheme
The Office of Budget Responsibility’s report saying that Britain needs to have a sustained immigration rate of 150,000 a year is effectively a call for us to run the country as a giant Ponzi scheme (report, 18 July).
Its argument is that immigrants tend to be of working age and therefore contribute more in taxes. But they grow old, retire and dev-elop illnesses. By the OBR’s logic, ever increasing immigration will be necessary, year on year, to support this additional population of pensioners, and so on ad infinitum.
Just as in a Ponzi or pyramid-selling scheme, such attempts to rob the future to pay for the present quickly break down from their sheer unsustainability – and the longer it takes, the worse the resulting collapse.
It is difficult to imagine a proposal less compatible with the words “budget responsibility”. How much more logical it would be to find work for the large pool of unemployed, of all ages, we already have. 
Chris Padley, Lincoln
What are TV  critics made of?
What is it about TV critics? I believe that the job they do dulls their sensitivity. Grace Dent (13 July) describes Luther as “glorious, horrific stuff”. She denigrates the lovely gentle Flog It people, and “silly, vulnerable women who are foolish enough to live alone”. All, no doubt, tongue in cheek. But the bulk of her piece leads me to think that the sheer blackness of the subject matter being dealt with in Luther was quite OK for her.
Television rightly covers all things, but we have more than enough horror, and precious little gentleness being portrayed on our screens. I think Grace Dent needs to take a step back.
Marilyn Sweet, Cricklade, Wiltshire
The qualities  of a hero
David Walden writes admirably (Letters, 18 July) about the overuse of “hero” status. Being an exceptionally unfortunate victim of a terrible crime does not automatically make someone a hero. I was however touched by Mr Rigby’s son’s shirt in recent press photographs. If I am a hero to nobody but my own son, then that will do for me.
Malcolm Reilly


Even though testing, licensing, insurance and registration is expensive, it is effective and cheaper than the current costs of deaths and injuries
Sir, I write as an experienced cyclist, motorcyclist and car driver, and from 14 years’ experience as a collision investigator in the Metropolitan Police.
It is right that steps should be taken to make urban cycling safer (“Pledge to improve roads for cyclists”, July 17), to encourage cycling as a commuting tool as well as to reduce the carbon footprint. Much has already been done by the Mayor of London and TfL to address this issue, but casualty figures among the two most vulnerable road user groups (cyclists and pedestrians) continue to be resistant to reduction efforts precisely because they are the least regulated and controlled.
Cyclists in particular should be encouraged to take greater responsibility for, and awareness of, their personal safety. You only have to sit at red traffic lights in rush hour to watch a reckless minority hurling themselves without thought into the path of oncoming vehicles, occasionally with disastrous consequences.
The Government sees testing, licensing, insurance and registration as cumbersome and expensive, but it is effective with other groups and it would be a far cheaper alternative to the current carnage, in terms of bereavement, insurance and healthcare costs.
It would reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured, and reduce the fear that many have of cycling, thus increasing usage.
Most of this is not rocket science. People sometimes need protection from themselves, and until this issue is addressed effectively cyclists will continue to die unnecessarily.
Alan Adams
Traffic Sergeant, Metropolitan Police (ret’d)
Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey
Sir, I have recently completed a 4,300-mile cycle ride across the US and in the UK with a dozen colleagues studying cycling infrastructure. We found American truckers and car drivers to be far more considerate than British.
While major improvements are urgently needed to bike lanes and and junctions in this country, we must also address the culture of the relationship between road users. Motorists and cyclists must show greater consideration for each other.
In the US 21 states have passed a 3ft rule that makes it illegal to overtake a cyclist too closely. In Pennsylvania the rule is 4ft. A one-metre rule in England and Wales would immediately improve the safety of riders.
Peter Murray
Chairman, New London Architecture
Sir, While driving I recently encountered a lady on her bicycle with two filled shopping bags dangling from the handlebars. Only one hand was steering, the other was texting on her mobile phone at which she was looking intently. I gave her a very wide berth on the roundabout.
Sue Handscomb
Sir, You report on government proposals to “cycle-proof” Britain’s road network. This is indeed good news, as anything to keep cyclists off pavements is to be encouraged.
Anthony Knifton
Formby, Merseyside
Sir, As a French resident and frequent walker, I can vouch for the French car driver’s consideration for the cyclist. Would that they give the same respect to walkers. A one-metre rule for cyclists — and a close shave for those on two feet.
Nicholas Norwell
Eymet, France

There are indications of early Christianity in Britain earlier than have previously been noted, and several readers have more detailed accounts
Sir, Further to Elizabeth Lockwood’s letter (“Past Piety”, July 16), Martial celebrates the wedding of Aulus Pudens (a centurion from Umbria, not a senator) and Claudia Peregrina (Claudia the foreigner). Pudens was clearly a friend of Martial, and features in several poems — one accuses him of a penchant for young male slaves. Claudia may be the Claudia Rufina referred to as a Briton in another poem, and may, if she is the Claudia in yet another poem, have been very tall.
Paul’s second letter to Timothy refers to Pudens, Linus and Claudia. It is assumed to date from the 60s AD whereas Martial was writing almost 30 years later. This implies a very long engagement.
An inscription was discovered in Chichester (not Colchester) in 1723. This (the dedication of a pagan temple to Minerva, which scarcely suggests a Christian connection) links the British king Cogidubnus (not Caractacus) with someone whose name has been restored as Pudens. There is no mention of a Claudia.
R. B. Morse
Usk, Monmouthshire
Sir, Elizabeth Lockwood refers to the origin of a legend still repeated in this part of the Vale of Glamorgan. Apparently Caractacus spent seven years in Rome, then returned to Wales, where he built a castle in St Donats. His daughter, Claudia, opened a school in Llanilltud Fawr, on the site of a later school established in about AD 500 by St Illtud, “the most learned of all the Britons”.
The Guinness Book of Records lists this as the oldest centre of learning in Britain. This was also an important Celtic monastery, sending priests into England, Ireland and Brittany. If you seek the origins of Christianity in Britain (not England), look west.
Vivian Kelly
Llanilltud Fawr/Llantwit Major
Sir, There are further indications of early Christianity in Britain beyond those mentioned by Thomas Dickson (letter, July 10) and Elizabeth Lockwood. The archaeologist Flinders Petrie, in a 1917 paper, noted references in the corpus of Welsh triads to the father of captured Caradog (Caractacus), named Bran: “From triads 18 and 35, Bran was seven years a hostage in Rome for his son Caradog” — implying that Caradog was sent back to rule in Britain. The seven years, therefore, would be from AD 51 to 58. From Rome he “brought the faith of Christ to the Cambrians”.
By this account, then, Bran is the grandfather of the British Princess Claudia and he was held hostage with her in Rome. Perhaps it might explain how the Roman author Tertullian (c 160-225) can say, “The Britons in parts inaccessible to the Romans, Christ has truly subdued.”
Cameron Rose

There is much merit in putting one’s hand up and admitting a mistake, whether this is in the game of cricket or during a church choir rehearsal
Sir, A batsman who, like Adam Gilchrist, acquires a reputation for walking when he knows he is out (letters, July 17 & 18), is much more likely to be believed, by umpires and opponents alike, when he does stand his ground.
Lindsay G. H. Hall
Theale, Berks
Sir, Technology seems to be taking over our sporting heritage. In cricket the rule: “when in doubt, not out” is being overridden by the slow creep of technology which is undermining the great spirit of sportsmanship which has done us proud for centuries.
Lindsay Stemp
Sir, Matthew Syed (July 17) is correct. The first Psalm may well begin “Blessed is the man who does not walk”, but cricket is an infinitely better and more enjoyable game when people do walk. The problem is getting everyone to do it.
The Rev Canon Andrew Wingfield Digby
Sir, Acknowledging one’s mistakes by raising a hand in rehearsals is an important part of the English church music system, said to be the idea of Sir Walford Davies, Master of the King’s Musick (1934-41). If cathedral choristers of mine do so inadvertently during a service, I advise them to turn it into a head scratch. It has happened.
Barry Ferguson
Shaftesbury, Dorset

This reader has catalogued numerous sightings and activities of purple emperors this year, including another sighting of the rarer var. lugenda
Sir, Last year, as a result of bad weather, numbers were down, and the female purple emperors laid few eggs; a poor season was inevitably expected to follow. The hard winter came to their rescue; hibernating caterpillars were unwilling to move too soon — thus keeping to their secluded camouflaged positions as long as possible. Tits, dangerous predators, were somewhat down in numbers. The survival rate, counted meticulously by Matthew Oates of the National Trust in Savernake Forest, was 80 per cent, about three times that of most years. The spring caterpillars developed well, if somewhat behind schedule.
Once again the purple emperor delighted us, flying in huge numbers in the Forestry Commission woods on the edge of Rockingham Forest, Northants.
This week, during a five-hour walk covering about 10km of forest tracks, I counted an amazing 101 emperors (a few duplicates possibly). Most were feeding on the ground, some cleaning their tongues (necessary after a diet of dung, dust and sucking salts from stones) on the leaves of low trees and shrubs, some in their normal position high up in the lofty oaks.
A lack of aphids producing honey dew on the oak and ash, and a general lack of moisture reminiscent of 1976, may have accounted for unusually high numbers being so visible either on the ground or on low vegetation. A desperate search for any liquid refreshment was taking place.
The following day there was similar proliferation. Emperors were easily seen in parts of the wood which have often appeared almost uninhabited by them. For once they outnumbered the waiting cameras.
The big question for the watching entomologists was would there be an appearance of var. lugenda, the purple emperor almost lacking white colouring on its forewings. Last year I photographed this rarity. This year at least two were seen.
This is, at least, the fourth year that this variety has been seen in these woods. The regular recurrence in the same part of the wood is leading some to conclude that there is probably a recessive gene. Others think extreme temperatures at the pupation stage may account for this intriguing phenomenon.
“Vive l’empereur”, as one Victorian butterfly collector somewhat incongruously toasted the deceased butterflies he had netted. Now there are no collectors, only keen conservationists gathering more and more information to help encourage this most splendid British butterfly to increase its presence in our oak woodland.
Prebendary John Woolmer Cropston, Leics

It used to be common for the labouring woman and her friends to partake of alcohol during the birth, and for some weeks afterwards as well
Sir, There is nothing new about “sip and see” (July 16). Tudor parents were expected to provide hospitality for a month after their child was born. Caudle, an egg-based alcoholic drink, was part of the ritual, consumed by the labouring woman and her God-sibs (gossips) — the friends and neighbours who attended her.
After the birth the gossiping and caudle-consumption continued, men now being welcomed. Christening or baptism took place within a week of the birth, also celebrated by feasting; there might be more celebrations for a woman’s “upsitting” after two or three weeks, and for her “churching” after a month. Men complained about the cost.
Nicky Wesson


SIR – Sir Howard Davies, the chairman of the Airports Commission, will ultimately have to choose between expanding Heathrow Airport or creating a new hub airport to the east of London.
Britain is a trading nation and requires a globally competitive hub airport. Heathrow cannot be that airport. An expanded Heathrow would have horrendous implications for noise and air quality. We must stop trying to fit a quart into a pint pot and look east.
On Monday, the Mayor of London and Transport for London laid out three options for building a new, four-runway, hub airport.
There are advantages to each of the three schemes but, whether the Davies Commission chooses an expanded Stansted, an airport on the Isle of Grain or an island airport in the Thames Estuary, those who oppose Heathrow expansion should unite in favour of a viable alternative. Otherwise they are playing into Heathrow’s hands.
Richard Tracey
Transport Spokesman for the Greater London Authority
London SE1
SIR – London (and the country) needs more flight capacity. Constructing a new airport will take many years, as this country panders to inquiry after inquiry.
Suggestions that require the wholesale displacement of all the services and airport-associated businesses from west London will never happen – it would need a very strong political hand, and no one is willing to take the decision.
Heathrow should be expanded as quickly as possible, not with one but with two further runways. Those affected should be compensated handsomely.
Peter Savory
Rye, East Sussex

SIR – We are told that experts are to be sent in to 11 failing hospitals to sort things out (report, July 17). It therefore seems reasonable to ask who these experts are and what exactly is their expertise.
I doubt very much that the Care Quality Commission, with its dismal record, will be able to provide this.
I would also like to know how much they will be paid (by the day no doubt), and who will pay them – because I doubt the hospitals themselves will be able to afford it.
Since it is usually accountants who are sent in under such circumstances, some firms will profit hugely from all this.
Dr Tom Goodfellow
Rugby, Warwickshire
Related Articles
Horrendous noise from an expanded Heathrow
19 Jul 2013
Gove’s sex ed plans ‘risk child safety’
19 Jul 2013
SIR – When I qualified as a doctor, those that ran the NHS were called administrators. Some years later they changed their name to managers. Now they’re called executives. How long before they all promote themselves to Vice-President (Sales)?
Perhaps this has something to do with the present state of our hospitals.
Richard Bickerton FRCS
SIR – One of my local hospitals, the Whittington, spent £27 million on agency staff in the year ending 2013.
Why has it not been put into special measures?
Ralph Eschwege
London N2
SIR – The majority of the NHS Trust managers or CEOs mentioned in the Keogh report have been in office for less than four years. Only one is still in office after seven years.
Are there any formal qualifications for these positions? If not, what makes them eligible for the job?
Are they subject to any form of personal inspection or monitoring, as are the medical profession and the profession that I followed, pharmacy?
M J Shucksmith
Fordingbridge, Hampshire
SIR – I was the chief executive of a large company and I made a few bad decisions. I was fired and rightly so (I learnt from that), and with no pay-off.
What of the chief executives of failing hospitals?
Harry Fox
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
SIR – In light of the Francis report on the deaths at Mid Staffordshire and Sir Brian Keogh’s damning report on the 14 worst-performing NHS trusts, celebration of the NHS in the opening ceremony of last year’s London Olympics seems to have been grossly inappropriate.
A two-minute silence in memory of the victims would have been more fitting.
Mark Lawrence
London N3
Runaway borrowing
SIR – The Coalition Government’s £500-a-week cap on benefits, which equates to a gross income of £35,000 a year, typifies the madness that welfare spending has reached.
That a family could choose not to work and still “earn” in excess of the average salary, for doing nothing, shows how far from the original concept of providing a safety net the welfare state has come. As a consequence, Government spending is out of control and “austerity” has not made even a tiny dent in the level of borrowing.
That borrowing now stands at £120 billion per year, which is the equivalent of funding the entire 14 years of the Apollo moon landing programme every year. No government of any party in recent years has dared to make the scale of cuts necessary to address the soaring national debt for fear of making themselves unelectable. So they have buried their collective heads in the sand and hoped that the economy would grow its way out of trouble.
As a result, if government borrowing and unfunded debt, including private finance initiatives and public-sector pension liabilities, are added to private household debt, Britain’s total debt mountain is now approaching 900 per cent of GDP. This is only slightly short of the indebtedness of Germany under the Weimar Republic after the First World War, when the economy collapsed and hyper-inflation destroyed individual wealth.
Unless a government is prepared to make the real cuts required to tackle this runaway borrowing, the British economy is doomed to collapse.
Phil Mobbs
West Hanney, Oxfordshire
Good neighbours
SIR – The suggestion by the health minister, Norman Lamb, that Neighbourhood Watches take on care of the elderly (report, July 15) opens the door to the risk of abuse.
Members of my church who visit elderly or infirm people, either in care homes or their own homes, are checked through the Criminal Records Bureau. So are those who take Holy Communion to the housebound, care homes and hospitals. Our church both handles and pays for this. How does Mr Lamb intend these things to be managed?
Ann Lardeur
Chaldon, Surrey
Tardy seahorses
SIR – I must take issue with the suggestion in Louise Gray’s report (“UK seahorses in danger of being wiped out”, July 17) that the anchoring of pleasure boats in Studland Bay is affecting the seahorse population there by “fragmenting” their eelgrass-bed habitat.
Boats have little effect on the health of the eelgrass beds. Boat owners have been anchoring in Studland Bay for over 100 years, and summer colonies of seahorses have been noted there throughout that time. The seahorses are late arriving this year due to the cold winter. Some have just arrived in Studland.
Boat owners are very aware of the marine environment. If there was genuine evidence that our presence was causing problems in the bay, we would be among the first to take steps to protect it.
Nicholas Warner
Studland, Dorset
Great British summer
SIR – Heard in my local supermarket yesterday: “I’ll do that when the weather gets back to normal.”

Chris Cole
Maesbrook, Shropshire
Naming of parts
SIR – The Government is to be commended (“For primary schools, knowledge is power”, leading article, July 17) for deciding that the science curriculum should teach children about puberty in primary school, but its plans also need to ensure that children are protected from the risk of abuse.
At present, teachers have the freedom to teach age-appropriate material to primary school pupils, which includes how reproduction occurs and the correct names for genitalia.
Under proposals out for consultation, the Government wants to allow teachers to talk more explicitly about puberty, but is unhelpfully restricting the information that teachers can provide about reproduction and body parts.
Under the proposals, pupils should not be expected to understand “how reproduction occurs”.
Perhaps most worryingly, the proposals undermine teaching children the correct names for genitalia. This will perpetuate shame, and brings the risk of children not having the language to understand their bodies or to recognise and report sexual abuse.
Children have a right to learn about human reproduction without feeling such subjects are taboo. Parents consistently say that they want to work in partnership with schools to support this learning, rather than let misinformation come via easily accessed explicit sexual images on the internet.
It is time to put politics aside. We urge the Government to make it clear that primary schools should teach the correct names for genitalia and safeguard children by unambiguously including the essentials of sex education in the science curriculum.
Jane Lees
Chairman, Sex Education Forum
Hilary Eldridge
Chief Executive, Lucy Faithfull Foundation
Reg Bailey
Chief Executive, Mothers’ Union
Professor John Ashton
President, UK Faculty of Public Health
Dr Peter Carter
Chief Executive, Royal College of Nursing
Thankless rendezvous
SIR – I don’t know if it is peculiar to Canterbury, but instead of being thanked (report, July 17), I am often being told that I will be seen later by people I neither know nor am likely to see again.
“See you later” is of course abbreviated to Laters by the younger generation.
Patrick Williams
The man who invented the mouse, again
SIR – Doug Englebart (Obituaries, July 5) is credited with inventing the computer mouse, demonstrating it in 1968 and patenting it in 1970. But the digital tracker ball, which is the same thing used the other way up, had already been invented at least twice.
The original inventors (1952) appear to have been Canadian. With others in the Marconi company, I “invented” it again in 1958, to move markers and labels on radar displays.
The truth is, I think, that many things are invented more than once.
Arthur Young
Maldon, Essex
SIR – The basis of the mouse is the phonic wheel invented by L R Wilberforce in 1894.
This was used by the Royal Air Force in the wartime H2S radar system first used by bomber aircraft in 1943.
John Marshall
Horsington, Lincolnshire

Irish Times:
Sir, – The Government’s proposal to abolish the Seanad seems a populist move with few logical arguments – unclear consequential financial gain, spurious claims of not serving a useful purpose and comparison with some other unicameral countries whose local, regional and national political systems differ greatly from ours. Furthermore, the Government appears quite unwilling to countenance the alternative of any reform of the Seanad and, most curiously, has not even included the Seanad for consideration in its comprehensive constitutional review. Why?
Previous attempts to reform the Seanad, although accepted by the Seanad itself, have been voted down by the Dáil. So much for the claim of 75 years of the Seanad’s unwillingness to reform! The Dáil is to blame, not the Seanad.
It suffices for some to check the lists of countries with one chamber, as the models of Denmark and Sweden are trotted out by the abolitionists. There are many, but a wider range of countries could be cited such as Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, China, Georgia, Israel, Ivory Coast, North Korea, Nicaragua, Somalia, etc.
Money saved as a result of Seanad abolition will more than likely be absorbed by redistribution of most costs into additional Dáil committees and associated resulting expenditure.
If the Seanad is to be abolished, this should be part of a clear, concrete constitutional reform package and not the vague promises or references to subsequent reform measures. We are still awaiting more than the cosmetic measures that have so far come into existence in the operation of our national and local government.
Whilst much criticism is being levelled at the recent rowdy behaviour of Seanad members and the quality of debates in the Seanad, there is far more to be said of the dreadful quality of speeches and debating in the Dáil, with the constant heckling and tomfoolery, the never-ending shouting-down and point-scoring and the lack of meaningful discussion. How are we expected to take the Dáil seriously when its members are seen to behave in this way? – Yours, etc,
Sunday’s Well Road,
Sir, – It is amazing how the threat of extinction has awoken the (toothless) beast that is the Seanad. But despite all the thrashing about, this institution now appears destined to go the way of all the dinosaurs that failed to evolve. I wonder if we should donate the fossil to the natural history museum next door. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – Fianna Fáil has accused the Government of endangering Irish neutrality by raising questions about the triple-lock procedure in the Green Paper on defence (“Fianna Fáil accuses Shatter of ‘picking open’ triple lock”, Home News, July 16th).
The triple-lock procedure gives any one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, which invariably vote in their own national interest, a veto on when or where we deploy our troops on international missions. As is pointed out in the Green Paper, our traditional policy of military neutrality was formed in an era when the risk of inter-state conflict was the key issue of national security for most nations. The international defence and security environment has changed considerably and many of the threats that now arise do not fall into this traditional category of military neutrality.
The Green Paper simply poses the question as to whether the advantages to the State in retaining the triple lock, in particular in ensuring the international legitimacy of peacekeeping missions, outweigh any possible disadvantages?
It is probable that the existence of the UN element of the triple lock has inhibited a fuller participation by Ireland in international security arrangements.
It would seem to me that we could rely on the discretion of the Irish government and parliament to judge the appropriateness of participation in international military operations and that giving the ultimate power of sanction to flawed UN decision-making structures is unnecessary and is the antithesis of an independent foreign policy.
It is unfortunate that Fianna Fáil should continue to worship the sacred cow of an outdated concept of “neutrality” and rule out any possibility of its redefinition or abandonment in the light of a hugely changed and volatile international security environment. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – I welcome and concur with the comments of my colleague Dr Brendan Kelly (“Psychiatry cannot provide neat solutions on suicide”, Opinion & Analysis, July 17th).
He is absolutely correct in pointing out that psychiatrists cannot predict suicide. He rightly points to the poor record of psychiatrists when placed in a position of dealing with society’s problems. He is correct also in saying that studies have not been carried out to show whether abortion has any effect on pregnant women who are suicidal.
He goes on to say that this question could only be definitively answered by a large randomised study in which suicidal women requesting an abortion were randomly allocated to having an abortion and compared to those not having one.
As he points out this would be grossly unethical, as well as impracticable.
Most of the major discoveries of the harm done to our health by social and environmental factors have not been arrived at using this experimental method due to these difficulties. For example, the finding by Richard Doll that smoking caused lung cancer was not established using this method but by following and examining, over time, the health of cohorts who smoked. These observational methods are well established in medical research and are ethical and achievable. So it is possible to answer questions about the role of abortion in reducing suicidal behaviour using observational studies of different types, although this would take longer than the experimental method described by Dr Kelly.
Regrettably the Government has proceeded to enact abortion legislation as though there was evidence that abortion helps suicidal pregnant women. Psychiatrists are being asked to gatekeep this in the absence of any evidence to support it. The Government clearly believes that, just as we willingly oversaw the incarceration of those whom society regarded as social misfits in the past, we will now provide a “neat solution” to another complex social problem as mentioned by Dr Kelly. Time will be our judge. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Further to Gerry Moriarty’s article (Weekend, July 13th) and Éilis Ní Anluain-Quill’s letter regarding Catholic unionists and nationalist Protestants (July 18th), I wondered as a member of the Church of Ireland where might my loyalties lie. I, for one, am a Catholic (Reformed not Roman), but I am not a unionist as I live in the Republic of Ireland. I am also a Protestant and a nationalist, being proud of the place this nation used to have among these islands and hoping for a closer north-south and east-west re-union. So, nationalist Protestants do exist. Oh wait, I’ve just realised, I’m actually a Reformed Catholic Protestant re-unionist! – Yours, etc,
Mill Road,
Sir, – There have always been Catholics in Northern Ireland who support the union with Britain. However, as was evidenced during the recent violent loyalist protests, which included attacks on Catholic churches and the placing of a statue of Our Lady on a July 12th bonfire, there are unionists that don’t want them. – Yours,etc,
Delaford Lawn,
Dublin 16.
Sir, – The notion of Catholic unionists and Protestant nationalists is indeed a worthy issue for analysis. So too is the proposition that we, in this Republic of Ireland, should acknowledge the integrity and legitimacy of our “26 county” State. Quite simply, I am browned off at the notion that this State is somehow incomplete or lacks sufficient statehood. If, some day, others on this island, by majority vote, wish to join us, I would be among the first to welcome that. In the meantime, the Republic of Ireland has my loyalty. – Yours, etc,

Sir, – I refer to Rosita Boland’s colourful and interesting feature concerning the pattern of Kilmakilloge, Co Kerry (“Repeating pattern: A tradition carved in stone”, Summer Living, July 18th) .
On the somewhat vexed question of the identity of the local patron saint, I have to state, even at the risk of offending local piety, that the patron is highly unlikely to be St Kilian of Würzburg. Of the latter’s historicity and Irish origins there is no doubt, but his particular Irish roots (Rathmullen, Co Cavan) are shadowy in the extreme.
The most likely candidate for the claim to be patron of Kilmakilloge is the west Kerry saint Mocheallóg Mac Uíbhleáin, after whom the island of Inishvickillane (now more closely associated with the late Charles J Haughey) is thought to be named.
It has been suggested that he is a pre-Patrician saint, which, if true, would make Kilmakilloge one of the earliest Christian sites in Ireland.
But all this is mere academic speculation. Much more important is the fact that the pattern continues to flourish, both at the site of the original hermitage and holy lake, and also within the hospitable precincts of Helen’s Bar! Is not life all about participation and continuity?
Whoever the patron saint, long may the pattern of Kilmakilloge endure. – Yours, etc,
Sat, Jul 20, 2013, 01:07
First published: Sat, Jul 20, 2013, 01:07

Sir, – Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte’s plans for a “universal broadcasting levy” seem unjust and logically confused (Business, July 17th). Once divorced from actual TV consumption, the “levy” ceases to be a user charge and becomes in effect a tax. But it is the most unjust kind of tax imaginable, as it is both unavoidable and imposed regardless of ability to pay. The Canadian model offers a better solution – public service broadcasting there is partially funded by the central government with funds raised predominantly through progressive taxation. To insulate Irish programme-makers from political pressure, these funds could be allocated multi-annually and legally ring-fenced. Such a system might also spark a healthy debate on whether RTÉ should hold a virtual monopoly on public programme subsidies, and on whether what qualifies as a “public good” should include property shows, slimming contests and Ryan Tubridy. – Yours, etc,

Irish Independent:
* So our Holy Sisters will not contribute to the Magdalene Compensation Fund and apparently our Government or others cannot compel them to do so. Surprise, surprise – did any of us truly believe that they would? Once there was a get-out clause it was a sure bet that they would avail of it, and avail of it they did.
Also in this section
Troika will get pound of flesh in final Budget
Seanad still has a lot to offer our democracy
Give multi-millionaire tax exiles a break
Are we surprised? If so, bigger the fools we are.
No compensation of any kind will right the wrong that was done in those laundries. The woman and children that were abused in every such way will carry that wrong to their graves. Where do moral obligations come into play here?
To The Sisters of Charity/ The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity – show us that you are indeed charitable as your name infers and pay up.
To The Sisters of Mercy – be merciful and do your bit in providing a little comfort to these unfortunate women whose childhood you stole.
To The Good Shepherd Sisters – gather your flock and guide them in the right direction as any good shepherd would do. Sheep can even be taught the right way from the wrong way.
Don’t let these victims of your cruel/barbaric treatment suffer yet another blow because of your refusal to contribute to the compensation fund for Magdalene Laundries victims.
Phyl Mhic Oscair
Baile Atha Cliath, 4
* It appears Justice Minister Alan Shatter cannot force the four religious orders involved in running the Magdalene Laundries to give any funding towards the redress scheme for the victims.
Why should he? These religious orders – ironically named The Good Shepherd Sisters, The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, The Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity – should be more than happy to pay compensation to the victims, for any and all abuse suffered, of their own volition. Otherwise, they look like callous, unfeeling monsters.
Oh, wait.
Gary J Byrne
IFSC, Dublin 1
* I refer to the recent debacle in which Senator Jim Walsh embroiled himself on July 16 during a seanad discussion of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
I, for one, am utterly perturbed by the tactless nature of Mr Walsh’s blatant disregard for those affected by abortion through no fault of their own.
His approach was nothing short of a well-campaigned scaremongering tactic with no regard for the women or men affected by this procedure.
Mr Walsh is quoted as saying that he opposed the bill as it “disempowers women”.
Allow me to rewind back to 2009 where the same senator claimed that women working outside of the home were a major cause of depression in young people.
After a highly inappropriate graphic description of an abortion, Mr Walsh ended his speech with a poem about a baby crying on its way to an incinerator.
He illustrated what can only be described as draconian politics at its best.
Empowering women? I think not.
Melanie Jean Cleary
New Ross, Co Wexford
* I was looking for some clarity on the area of how much a banking institution can charge a person paying a mortgage. Circumstances change from time to time for better or worse.
I bought my house in 2007 for €342,000. It’s now worth €140,000. In the last two-and-a-half years my mortgage has risen from 56pc of my net income to 81pc.
This has been due to the USC, pension-related deductions and consecutive rises in the mortgage interest rate to date. I have lost the guts of €600 per month due to these pay cuts and mortgage increases.
Surely a banking institution cannot simply keep increasing a mortgage interest rate to the point where previously a fully paid mortgage becomes unsustainable.
I am confident if I was to walk into any financial institution today and present them with a request for a mortgage that would be 81pc of my net income, I’d be politely shown the door.
But it’s okay to keep charging that amount from me at the moment until I’m run into the ground.
Name and address with editor
* Killian Brennan has joined a multitude of influential commentators in media and academia on the anti-austerity bandwagon which keeps repeating the mantra that ‘austerity is not working’ (Letters, July 18).
The reason for austerity now is being ignored. The fact is the Government is spending a billion a month more on providing public services than it is taking in through the taxation system.
Continuing with that policy will definitely not work.
A Leavy
Sutton, Dublin 13
* In the UK and Wales, clamping on private land by private parking operators has been banned since October 2012. It is time to outlaw this practice here in Ireland.
The Government announced last year that it was to bring in laws to regulate the private car-parking operators but it has somehow been put on the back-burner.
There is no legislation governing this industry in Ireland and the legal status of the industry is unclear.
While it is important to remove cars parked in areas where they are causing a danger to motorists and pedestrians, it is questionable if it is legal to clamp cars in private parking areas.
How can it be possible for a company to take possession of your property and then force you to pay a fine for its return without a court order or a right to appeal the fine without first having to pay up? This is extortion!
The Irish Constitution gives the citizen an inalienable right to private property and the right to earn a livelihood.
Gardai need a court order to enter your house to remove your property, even if they suspect it has been the result of ill-gotten gains. The petty criminal is treated with more justice than the person who is parked minutes over the time in a private car parking area.
Often private clamping companies will charge exorbitant and disproportional fees to unclamp cars.
Where is the legislation to protect the Irish citizen against this extortion which was promised and why are we allowing this legal ambiguity to continue to exist?
Cllr Nuala Nolan
Galway City Council


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