Tuesday 25 October 2016

Equality and fairness should come before religious beliefs

Published 20/04/2015 | 02:30

Former President Dr. Mary McAleese
Former President Dr. Mary McAleese

I refer to the letter from Richard Greene, Chairman of Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage (Irish Independent, Letters, April 17, 2015).

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He should be aware that all members of the Church of Ireland consider themselves to be catholic, albeit with a small 'c' and that the fundamental values of the Anglican church are broadly similar to Roman Catholic teaching. Mary McAleese took a brave and necessary step when she received communion in St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral. He says that the Church of Ireland does not believe in the Real Presence at Communion.

I have always understood that it was optional, i.e. you can choose to believe or not to believe and still be a communicant.

It is never wrong for any Christian to remember the Passion and death of Christ, that to me are the fundamental basics of all Christian denominations.

If you are in God's house and his representative invites you to partake in the celebration then it would be unseemly to refuse if you profess to be a Christian. Ms McAleese was attempting to represent all the people of Ireland that day as president and without doubt she did the right thing.

As for the reference to automatic excommunication for failure to accept authentic Church teaching, I would comment that perhaps the majority of practising Roman Catholics might fall into that category.

To completely and at all times fulfil the dogma of most religions is next to impossible if an individual or family is to survive in the modern world. Mr Greene's letter does nothing to make this State a better place for all our people. If this country is to fulfil its promise of 1916, its laws and institutions must be able to embrace diversity and treat all its individuals, families and children equally.

Personal religious views do have a place in shaping the law, but not at the expense of equality and fairness in our State institutions.

Promoting equality and fairness is never, ever 'gravely immoral', at least, not in my Christian world.

John Farrell

Ballymacormack, Co Longford

Nothing 'outrageous' about ECB

Ajai Chopra complaining about the ECB being "outrageous", as quoted by Colm Kelpie in your front page article of April 18, is a bit over the top.

This country was bankrupted by the decisions of a small number of its most powerful citizens during the boom. The ECB had to lend billions at very low interest rates to bail out this country as a result. Most countries in the eurozone were not bankrupted by their most powerful citizens and did not have to be bailed out. No matter what Chopra says, we should not be blaming those who came to our rescue when we were in self-inflicted trouble.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Supreme Court ruling welcome

In her report on the Supreme Court's ruling on the exclusionary rule, (Irish Independent, April 16) Dearbhail McDonald tells how two of the judges - Mr Justice John Murray and Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman - became somewhat upset at the court majority ruling.

In this welcome reversal of the Kenny 1990 judgment, criminals can no longer walk free due to a technicality, like a wrong house number on a warrant or other such non-intentional matter.

Gardaí often have to operate in difficult circumstances when speed is of the essence and they have just weeks to prepare and tomes of legal precedent to pore over.

In the meantime, I hope the dissenting judges get over it.

Brendan Cafferty

Ballina, Co Mayo

Marriage vote a positive step

In light of claims of a declining interest in marriage, isn't it fantastic that a section of society is now clamouring to join this institution?

This is a desire to affirm and strengthen loving relationships in front of family and friends; possibly redefining but surely enriching the institution?

This positive change cannot be taken for granted.

If the referendum fails it will be due to the complacency of 'Yes' voters, and not the growing negativity of the 'No' side.

Stephen Mulhall

Dublin 8

Burden on grandparents

It should come as no surprise to anyone that childminding grandparents are depressed; I see it every day - tired, fraught elderly people who should be enjoying their retirement.

I know some grandparents are younger than others, but they have done their child-rearing and shouldn't be burdened.

It seems that it's the Government's fault for not providing affordable childcare facilities.

But why is everyone afraid to ask the real question: why do people keep having children that they cannot afford?

Name and address with editor

Funds for local charities

I agree with Desmond Fitzgerald (Irish Independent, letters, April 15) that if the Government does have more money to spend as a result of an upturn in the economy after years of austerity, that it should consider increasing the grants supporting the many small charities and local organisations that have suffered from lack of resources during the recession.

These small local charities do trojan work on reduced funding to help the most vulnerable in our society. And they depend, in the main, on the generosity of the cash-strapped public to carry on and extend their much needed services.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

EU response to migrant crisis

The EU urgently needs to take action to prevent more deaths occurring among migrants trying to reach Europe. The EU's Operation Triton was established to patrol the Italian coast but it urgently needs to be expanded, with the UN Human Rights Commission urging a more robust search-and-rescue operation. Italy deserves credit for its work in rescuing migrants but further action is necessary to save lives.

Clearly, the EU must review its migration policy to allow refugees a safe and legal alternative to making the hazardous crossing.

However, Operation Triton is pointless without addressing the root causes of the migration crisis.

The EU could take inspiration from the US: earlier this month, US President Barack Obama reiterated his goal of spending $1bn on tackling the causes of migration in central America, with 80pc of this geared towards developing civil society and economic development.

Such a system could be emulated by the EU, encouraging further growth and security in the Middle East and North Africa to ensure people are not forced to flee their homes.

Niall McNelis

Knocknacarra, Galway

Irish Independent

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