I WAS heartened that soldiers A and C have been acquitted of murder over the 1972 death of Joe McCann of the Official IRA ("Two former paratroopers acquitted over death of Official IRA leader", The Herald, May 5).

It was entirely unjust to continue to pursue any of our soldiers over deaths during the Troubles after the Blair Government had given "letters of comfort" (an effective amnesty) to 156 terrorist suspects under the Good Friday Agreement.

According to Drew Harris, who was then with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and is now the Commissioner of the Garda, 100 of the recipients of the "letters of comfort" were suspects in more than 300 murders.

Northern Ireland is not the only conflict where our service personnel have faced terrorist opponents hiding amongst the civilian population, and then had the British Government turn on them. After the Iraq war they had to contend with repeated investigations and frequently bogus evidence.

Our soldiers risk their lives, limbs and even sanity in asymmetric conflicts on our behalf. It is only right that afterwards we should watch their backs. If we don’t, who will volunteer to guard us while we sleep?

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.


RENEWABLEUK is shouting from the rooftops about wind power setting a record on Monday with an output at one point of 17.6GW (gigawatts) (“New record set for wind power on bank holiday”, The Herald, 5 May). But what it is ignoring is that for the whole of the three days prior to this, the output of metered wind farms flatlined below 2GW. These wind farms have a total theoretical rating of 19.5GW.

In a 100 per cent renewables scenario we would have absolutely had rolling blackouts for these three days.

Geoff Moore, Alness.

* IT'S interesting that the French Minister of the Sea, currently having an argument post-Brexit with Jersey in respect of the limits pertaining to their fishing access around the island, has played an opening gambit of warning that the French could switch off the undersea power supplies they are contracted to supply until 2027. They have recently been supplying greater than 90 per cent of Jersey's power needs.

Let us recall that the UK has interlinks from France capable of 3000MW and we are today importing 2000MW, approximately equivalent to the maximum output of four of the UK's nuclear reactors. And that these reactors are owned by the French. And that the UK remains in considerable dispute with the number of French vessels to be permitted to continue fishing UK waters.

What a Trojan horse our myopic politicians have created through their idiotic energy policies of high dependency on others.

Bless them.

DB Watson, Cumbernauld.


IT would appear that some contributors to the Letters Pages think that we in Scotland live in a land of milk and honey. Perhaps they haven’t noticed yet the decision by Scotland’s largest city to close many public amenities including libraries, community centres, sports halls and golf courses.

This is the last thing that should be happening, as it has been well documented that there will be many of our citizens suffering mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. These closures will disproportionately affect the people who need them most. We should be securing these essential facilities, not shutting them down, otherwise people will be cast adrift.

Let's forget about the pre-election freebies, and concentrate on the fundamentals. An ongoing major issue in many areas of Glasgow is the amount of fly tipping and litter and rubbish that just lies where it is dumped (this problem pre-dates the pandemic). It is turning some areas into no more than rubbish tips. This will have a demoralising effect on people’s mental wellbeing. It must be tackled before it develops into a public health issue.

Contrast this with the world coming to Glasgow in November (Covid permitting) to help save the planet. Vital as it is, no expense will be spared. It is, though, an ideal opportunity for Glasgow to lead by example and clean up our own backyard first.

It is the very least our great city deserves.

Stuart Jackson, Glasgow.


I'M so glad Eleanor Murray (Letters, May 4) responded to Joanna Blythman's rant against vegans and vegetarians (“Beware: the vegan elite are stepping up the War on Meat”, The Herald, May 1). Ms Blythman has done the same in a few of her recent columns.

I have been reading Ms Blythman's books for more than 25 years, and she has blown the whistle on all aspects of the food industry, which is doing its best to poison us all, in conjunction with supermarkets.

But I have been very disappointed in the content of her recent articles criticising vegetarianism and veganism. I have been vegetarian for 25 years, for health and ethical reasons. I don't understand how Ms Blythman can ignore the fact that industrial farming, where hundreds of thousands of animals are kept in vast buildings, with only 15 inches of personal space, is spreading viruses.

I think farming plays a great part in our food industry, but only if animals are raised in fields, with a normal diet, instead of being turned into cannibals fed animal protein. That's what led to BSE, remember that anybody? It is still killing people.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.

* I NOTE Joanna Blythman’s tirade against veganism and reducing meat consumption. This article is both inaccurate and frankly irresponsible given the current (warming) climate.

Ms Blythman objects strongly to any measures to reduce meat consumption despite the fact that animal agriculture accounts for 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. She claims that such initiatives as meat-free Monday are "the thin end of the wedge" and claims any suggestion that red meat is bad for health and the environment are "fallacious". However, a report published by Oxford University ("Grazed and confused? Ruminating on cattle, grazing systems, methane, nitrous oxide, the soil carbon sequestration question – and what it all means for greenhouse gas emissions") suggests that grazing livestock emit more greenhouse gases than the soil can potentially sequester. Taken along with the vast body of evidence linking red meat consumption to ischaemic heart disease and bowel cancer, one might suggest that the only fallacious beliefs are Ms Blythman’s.

Furthermore, discouraging modest reductions in meat consumption seems not only "churlish" but completely misguided.

Fiona Craig, Doune.


GORDON Doughty (Letters, May 5) refers to not getting a card with details of the vaccine as being Scotland-wide, but I think it is more dependent on which health board area you live in. My husband and I both received a card with the details of dates and which vaccine was used. I wonder if it is also health board-dependent in England and Wales?

Marjory Miller, Conon Bridge.

* I HAVE become used to wearing a face mask on entering a restaurant or café (on the rare occasions when one can find such premises open). What I find difficult to understand is the need to wear one when crossing the floor in a small café from the table to (for example) the toilet or even the exit. I suppose I’ll just put it down to “hard of thinking” by the management.

Barry Lees, Greenock.


IT was interesting, and not a little disturbing, to read that Edwin Poots, a possible First Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly, adheres to the "young Earth" creationist view of the age of our home planet and puts it at around 6,000 years ("The danger of Northern Ireland comparisons", The Herald, May 3). He doesn't seem quite as prescriptive as fellow Northern Irishman Bishop Ussher, who in 1650 narrowed it down to October 23, 4004 BC (give or take a day or so – no need to be too picky) or as generous in his margins as yet another from that territory, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), who gradually moved up from about 20 million to 400 million years.

At least Kelvin always asserted that, at one end of the scale, the Earth was not of infinite age and that, at the other, the age was calculable from physical principles: his miscalculation was attributable to lack of information rather than misplaced belief. One wonders if the school pupils of Northern Ireland will be protected from having his beliefs thrust upon them by way of creationism should Mr Poots gain power.

Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh.