The news that from today the Republic of Ireland is to introduce free GP visits for children aged under age 6 came as a real surprise to me.
Having checked it out, it seems that everyone in Ireland has to pay to visit their GP, including children and pensioners. In addition, people in Ireland have to pay to go to A&E, pay to stay overnight in hospital and pay for prescriptions.
It wasn’t so long ago that the SNP told us they wanted to copy the Irish economic Celtic Tiger system – that Scotland would become the Celtic Lion.
I hope this never happens, as the Irish model of cutting airport passenger duty and corporation taxes means charges for using the NHS that we take for granted in the UK.
Michelle Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh
Named Person Scheme denies parental rights
When the sinister Named Person legislation comes into force in the autumn, parental rights to raise their children as they see fit in any area of life, religion included, will end.
The Named Person Scheme dictates that a Scottish Government state official, not the parent, will be the first point of contact for every child pre-birth to 18 years when there is an issue or problem, perceived or real.
Yet, this sea-change in the relationship between child, parent and the state has received almost no publicity, as a result of which many parents know nothing about it. Government mission accomplished.
The doctrinaire members of the Secular Society are unlikely to seek an end to the NP scheme, but parents who wish to protect their children from being raised by strangers should sign the NO2NP petition, available online.
Patricia McKeever, Editor, Catholic Truth, Sandyford Place, Glasgow
Sponsorship would help refugee problem
A YouGov survey found that nearly half of Britons do not believe that refugees should be welcomed into the UK.
Peter Sutherland, a senior UN official, stated that the UK was not welcoming its fair share of people fleeing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East.
All those who would welcome refugees, starting with Mr Sutherland, should sponsor a refugee family who would come and live with the sponsor or in housing paid for by the sponsor.
The sponsor would also be responsible for all the refugee family costs of food, clothing, education, health and transport with zero contribution from the state for child allowance or welfare benefits.
This would silence all the pro-immigration and refugee lobbyists.
Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow
Nicola should stick to her Scottish brief
Undaunted by the fact that she largely supports not only the stance of the UK government but also Labour and Lib/Dems over forthcoming EU negotiations, Nicola Sturgeon is eager to exploit this important issue for her own characteristically divisive means.
The agenda behind her rhetoric at the recent British-Irish summit demanding a more direct role for the Holyrood government is clear.
Despite Downing Street insistence that it will work with and listen to devolved governments, Ms Sturgeon, once her ‘direct input’ is declined, will enthusiastically play one of her favourite cards, that of the oppressed victim.
Foreign affairs are not a devolved power and nor will they be once the Scotland Bill becomes law. It is for the UK government to renegotiate the UK’s membership of the EU and then present its case to all of us.
Scottish MPs should speak on behalf of their constituents in Westminster on EU matters, not the head of a parliament with no jurisdiction in this matter. Rather than interfere in issues beyond her remit, Scottish voters would be better served by Ms Sturgeon focusing on the pressing domestic problems facing the NHS and education in Scotland - both areas for which she is entirely responsible.
Martin Redfern, Royal Circus, Edinburgh
Making the best of public life in Granton
employment paying a decent living wage is a must for the majority of people. But this does not mean that work is all that matters. Interests, activities, leisure time and facilities add quality to life.
A local organisation, Granton Improvement Society, is engaged in adding to that quality of life in proposing a three-part scheme to reclaim unused land in the waterfront area of north Edinburgh, held by the City of Edinburgh.
Part 1. To create a garden festival in and around the historic walled garden in the heart of north Edinburgh for the citizens of Edinburgh and visitors.
Part 2. To create an area facing the sea to further people’s interest in painting, arts and crafts in general. A suitable working and storage complex will be erected.
Part 3. A complex of a swimming pool, changing rooms and cafe with easy access to the beach.
Granton Improvement Society will seek funding from the Lottery Fund to realise this important project of regenerating derelict land into a valuable community-owned asset in north Edinburgh.
Help by joining the society. Membership forms and further detailed information may be had from the Granton Improvement Society secretary. Email: info@granton improvement society.org. Or visit https://grantonimprovementsociety.wordpress.org
Tony Delahoy, Silverknowes Gardens, Edinburgh