Friday 21 October 2016

Almost a century on, State has not lived up to 1916 leaders’ vision

Published 04/04/2015 | 02:30

Tanaiste Joan Burton and Taoiseach Enda Kenny launch the long-awaited commemorations for the centenary of the Rising at Collins Barracks in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA Wire)
Tanaiste Joan Burton and Taoiseach Enda Kenny launch the long-awaited commemorations for the centenary of the Rising at Collins Barracks in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA Wire)

I struggle when I endeavour to write a letter regarding the Easter Rising of 1916 because I am invariably overawed when I consider the profound sacrifice made by those visionaries, who so willingly offered up their lives for Irish freedom.

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In the example of Christ at Easter time, the signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic allowed themselves to become the sacrificial lambs so that their nation would finally wake up to the need to free themselves (once and for all) from the bondage that they had become used to and taught to accept as a colonised people.

 I am overwhelmed when I reflect on the fact that not one of the executed leaders of the Easter Rising begged for mercy or clemency from the British government for themselves when it was decided that the Irish leaders should be summarily executed without the benefit of a trial by jury of their peers.

 I worry, then, that independent Ireland has yet to fulfil our nation’s first leaders’ hopes and dreams for it. It is to be hoped that in the coming year leading to the centenary of the Easter Rising we will rediscover the spirit which our founding fathers envisioned for the Irish nation.

John B Reid  ‘Crannmór’,

Knapton Road,

Monkstown, Co Dublin


Principles of the Proclamation

Before Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his Government set about their intention to draft a new Proclamation as part of the 2016 centenary commemorations, perhaps they might first implement the noble principles of the old one.

 The “august destiny” of the Proclamation of 1916, despite conferring on Irishmen and Irishwomen the ownership of Ireland, the unfettered control of Irish destinies and the cherishing of all the children of the nation equally, has been sullied and demeaned.

Ninety nine years after Padraig Pearse’s Proclamation, women have to depend on gender quotas for parity of esteem and equality.

Our children are still not cherished equally either. It appears that we as a nation continue to be so racked by self doubt and self-loathing that we feel obligated to seek the approval of others for everything we do.

Tom Cooper

Templeogue, Dublin


Don’t redefine marriage

 As I travelled home to Galway from Dublin recently and my bus stopped to allow a passenger to disembark, I noticed a young man (a boy really, maybe 16 or so) waiting at the stop.

As the bus pulled in he looked up, a look of anticipation on his young face. When the passenger, another young guy, got off the bus, his face lit up, they embraced and kissed briefly. It was a really sweet moment of genuine affection. My heart skipped a beat for them.

 I remember thinking that as a mum, all you want for your kids is that when they find romance please let it be caring and wholesome, like those two young people.

But I didn’t think “let’s alter a historically and universally proven, child-centered social institution, let’s bring in a raft of new legislation, let’s adjust social policy and circumnavigate biology and the natural order so that these boys and others like them can conform to some utopian notion of family.”

 It is neither necessary nor prudent to interfere with family and marriage in order to afford dignity to those who are attracted to the same sex.

Those who insist that laws should be bound by emotion and romantic encounters are conflating the randomness of human interaction with structure within society and its impact as a social good. 

People who conduct themselves in a respectful, dignified manner inherently have dignity. Those boys have dignity. Others have dignity too.

To ignore the overall good of marriage and family and attempt to equate relationships that will never produce offspring with those that do, is to ignore a fundamental element of natural justice.

It is vain folly to do this in some mistaken presumption of a progressive and evolving culture.

To recognise and acknowledge the difference between human relationships is dignified. There is no dignity in the placing of a constitutional seal on the removal of preference for a mother and father for some children. Yet this is what redefinition of marriage would do.

Kate Bopp Abbey

Co Galway


Abolish Irish Water

The letters you’ve published recently detailing your readers’ concerns about the coming water charges show two different views: those who are utterly opposed to paying anything at all and the far smaller number of those willing to pay a reasonable amount for their supply of water.

There is, I suggest, a third viewpoint which so far hasn’t found adequate expression. Belonging to this category are those who would pay for their use of water and who believe that the profligate use of water should be curtailed, but who – for various reasons – will not pay for the upkeep of Uisce Éireann.

In setting up Uisce Éireann, the Government created a monster. In an ill-thought out strategy to ensure an adequate supply of water for the Dublin region, in one fell swoop the powers of the local authorities over water supplies were abolished and concentrated in the grip of a national monopoly.

Hardly had this body been set up than enormous sums of money were expended on remunerating expensive and needless consultants.

Payments of bonuses for an already overpaid and overstaffed administration were agreed, and plans are in place for massive borrowing to finance further excesses.

As a first step towards allaying the well-founded unease of the public, Uisce Éireann should be abolished – not modified in any way but abolished in its entirety,  before it can do any further and irreparable damage to the State.

 Then the power to supply water should be returned to local bodies. A modest household charge should be imposed for a reasonable amount of water and any wasteful use above that amount should be charged for in addition.

Niall Ó Murchadha

An Spidéál, Co Galway


Keep Good Friday a dry day

The call to sell alcohol on Good Friday beats all when it comes to booze and the Irish.

Any day the pubs are closed seems to cause so many people to come out in a rash.

Good Friday and Christmas Day should stay as reminders of this nation’s curse, which has caused so many people to ruin their lives.

Almost forgotten in the background of our drinking culture, are the pioneer badges that some people wore against something that was deemed to be insidious in people’s lives.

You may see a rare few people still wear them, but it would be as rare as a cosmic eclipse.

One or two schools still try to educate their children about the pledge not to drink, which is commendable, but they are very rare indeed. 

For many, the pub is a home away from home to drink and forget about everything else. It has also become noticeable that sport now has a direct association with alcohol.

Many pubs have events sponsored by drinks companies, when key games are televised.

Many young people are spending much of their time on a bar stool while they nurse their pints, unaware of the potential harm they are doing to themselves.

Many, of course, will end up in rehabilitation centres fighting for their lives and living one day at a time, while they continually fight their craving. There is no sign of education doing anything for them, as they swim in alcohol from one end of the week to another.

Many alcoholics are so far advanced that they cannot be saved and will end up dead or badly damaged from the detrimental effects of alcohol. Sunday has become a Mecca for the our pub-goers which incorporates children of all ages, who watch their parents put away large quantities of alcohol and then drive home with themselves and their kids at risk.

They are so cut the next day that work is almost impossible for them, as they try in vain to get over a massive and blinding hangover.

Those who use the phrase “the drunken Irish” are spot on.

Good Friday should be part of the fight against this country’s insidious alcohol culture and it should stay a ‘no-alcohol-day’ in spite of the calls from a foolish public and special interests in the alcohol industry.

Maurice Fitzgerald

Ringaskiddy, Co Cork

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