Sir, – President Michael D Higgins made a number of comments in an Italian publication (“Austerity ‘must not’ return, Higgins tells communist paper”, News, May 22nd).

The one that caught my eye was his “huge disappointment for him to see discrimination on the basis of age in the responses to the corona crises by so many countries”. He has given support to the many people over 70 who feel patronised, deeply insulted and discriminated against by the use of the term “cocooner” to describe them. Maybe this term was used in good faith to soften the discrimination. Why his comments should have raised “the eyebrows of senior officials and ministers” is odd because our President is deeply involved in world affairs and has his finger on the pulse of Irish life. He gives inspiration and encouragement to people of all ages, particularly to older people by his example.

Long may he continue to do so, because we all need reassurance at this challenging time. – Yours, etc,


Director of Services,

Alice Leahy Trust,

Dublin 8.