I’M pleased that Neil Mackay ("A park brings joy. How dare they let greed destroy it?", The Herald, August 17) loves Rouken Glen Park in East Renfrewshire so much. He’s not alone. It’s a much-admired part of our community which we are hugely proud of and which our parks team work hard to keep in top condition.

Rouken Glen’s status as one of the best parks in the country was recognised just last month when it was awarded an International Green Flag Award by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the 13th year in a row it had received such an accolade.

A small area of the park, around 14% of the 143 acres there to enjoy, is used for events and tens of thousands of local residents have enjoyed these in recent years.

There have been two large events in the park this summer - one back in June and last weekend’s food festival, which Mr Mackay has rather unfairly had a go at, and a lot of work goes into the planning of these. An important condition of them going ahead is that we insist on the organisers lodging a financial bond with us which is used - if required - to restore the park to its pre-event condition. As a result of heavy rain during the food festival, we will use that bond to pay for repairs and I am pleased to say that plans have already been drawn up to carry out this work.

Such popular events are mostly attended by local residents to whom we are keen to offer cultural and leisure attractions. The fees we receive from the organisers do also help support council services - including the upkeep of our parks.

Due to the perilous financial state that councils across Scotland find themselves in as a result of years of chronic underfunding, we have had to innovate and find alternative sources of income. Perhaps Mr Mackay would care to report and comment on this important issue rather than taking a cheap shot at very popular events.

Councillor Owen O’Donnell, Leader of East Renfrewshire Council, Giffnock.

Get angry about our councils

IS there ever going to be a day when the closed community halls will reopen, public parks will be returned to former glory, public libraries will be restocked, local theatre/music groups will be re-formed? Not even the most optimistic believes that there will be any unwinding of the cuts, any time soon. It’s depressing to accept but surely what’s gone is gone?

There has been a lot of focus on Glasgow in recent weeks but the picture across the country is pretty similar. What’s the vision for local government? I am old enough to remember the Labour Party’s manifesto commitment to undo the Tory local government re-organisation of the mid-1990s when the old counties were divided between the affluent areas and the others. I am also old enough to remember repeated SNP promises to overhaul local government financing. No talk about either option lately or indeed any proposals at all.

Local government finance is now a Punch and Judy show of finger-pointing about budget cuts when all sides know they would face the same decisions were they in control, whatever the colour of the council is. Public participation in the council budget process is akin to participating in the Hunger Games where any number of deserving projects are pitted against each other.

Cultural services, library services, the management of public spaces are bearing the brunt, regarded as "nice to have" rather than essential. Complaints and protests are batted back with metaphorical shrugs of the shoulders. In my council area more cuts are forecast. Looking around I wonder where the next cuts are going to land, where our sense of legacy is and when our sense of outrage is going to be stirred.

Florence Boyle, Old Kilpatrick.

Read more: Politicians bleat about environment yet can't save our green spaces

Bring back dog licences

RECENT press reports show that attacks by dogs on people and farm livestock are rapidly increasing.

The horrific injuries and trauma caused by dogs are life-changing. Statistics reveal that there were more than 22,000 injuries caused by dogs in 2022 and more than 8,000 had to be treated by the NHS. Over 15,000 sheep are killed every year by dogs.

Dog licences must be reintroduced at £300 for each dog. If owners can afford to buy a dog or dogs, feed them, insure them and pay vets bills then they can afford to pay for a £300 licence. The owners should prove they are a suitable person to own, train and most of all, control a dog.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Reaping the consequences

SO criminal activity and social disturbances increased on the Isle of Bute as a consequence of withdrawal of night-time police presence ("Crime soared on Bute while police officers halted night patrols on isle", The Herald, August 18). Now that really is a surprise.

Douglas Sooman, Milngavie.

So who's our greatest talent?

I WAS surprised to read that Brian Beacom considers Billy Connolly to be the "greatest Scottish talent of all time" ("Why Parkinson was supreme as king of the chat shows", The Herald, August 18). That is no mean accolade. Such a contention appeared as a strapline on your front page, but is clearly open to question.

The word "comic" in front of "talent" is at least capable of being advanced as an argument. Billy Connolly's career as a comedian is, of course, an outstanding one. However, given a voting opportunity, there would be many other nominations for the title of "greatest Scottish talent of all time" from fields such as literature, history, medicine, philosophy and invention. Perhaps you should consider the conduct of such a poll.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

Parkinson the chemistry master

A PARTICULAR genius of Parkinson was inviting two or more totally disparate guests whom one would never normally think had anything in common, such as Sir David Attenborough and Billy Connolly back in 1998 when Sir David explained in detail the devious egg-laying practice of a particular bird, designed to confuse her mate, to which Connolly then responded to great hilarity that it reminded him of his own family.

The brilliant combination of two masters at the top of their trades continued in similar vein through the whole programme.

John Birkett, St Andrews.