Thursday 29 September 2016

EU must follow its own rights charter in treatment of refugees

Published 09/10/2015 | 02:30

Children sleep on a migrant woman's lap as they wait at the main bus station in Istanbul, Turkey
Children sleep on a migrant woman's lap as they wait at the main bus station in Istanbul, Turkey

While the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have called on European leaders to show "unity" in dealing with the refugee crisis, several EU countries continue to erect razor wire fences along their borders.

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Whether it is through xenophobia or genuine fears, some commentators have cited the 'Dublin Regulation' as a reason for not getting involved in accommodating asylum seekers.

This regulation states that those people seeking asylum must apply for refugee status at their point of entry to the EU; how convenient this is for some EU members.

In effect this means that Italy and Greece are left carrying the can while other states, like Pontius Pilate, have washed their hands of the problem.

What now of the 'Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union' which states that "Conscious of its spiritual and moral heritage, the Union is founded on the indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity."

John Bellew

Dunleer, Co Louth

Living wage hullabaloo

Listening to all of the hullabaloo about a company going to pay their workers a living wage, do I take it that they were on a dying wage before this?

Mick Hannon

Clones, Co Monaghan

Bishops in Ivory Towers

The recent silence from Catholic Church's bishops, once the voice of social justice in Ireland, regarding societal upheavals such as Irish Water, Nama and the housing crisis makes the names of their residences, ie "Bishop's Palace", perhaps more apt now than ever.

Is it too late to suggest a name change, perhaps "Ivory Towers"?

What's more, the Catholic Church, one that claims the heritage and voice of the long- departed Jesus, is at odds with the democratic decision via referendum to allow gay marriage.

Who knows, when it come to the Eucharist, we may get an edict to upgrade unlevened bread to cake.

Dermot Ryan

Athenry, Co Galway

Loyalty to managers in GAA

Regarding Mayo footballers and Galway hurlers, Martin Breheny seems to think less of players when they refuse to pillory, denigrate and specify faults in their management for public consumption.

It's a bizarre opinion to hold. Even for Martin.

Emmett Keane

Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo

Guns: for US adults only

John Flanagan (Letters, Irish Independent, October 6) questions why, on health and safety grounds, the USA bans the sale of Kinder Surprise eggs, which contain small toys, but yet permits the sale of guns.

Well, John, the answer is quite simple. In the United States guns are purchased by adults for adults and not for children.

Peter Dunne

Durrow, Co Laois

Loyalty to church teaching

I'm writing in reference to the criticism by Dr Francis Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, of an African priest, Fr Joseph Okere, working in Longford who was reported to have said that the work of the Devil was to be observed during the Marriage Referendum.

Dr Duffy is criticising Fr Okere for Fr Okere's loyalty to church teaching.

In a document of 2003 entitled 'Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons', Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, said that to vote for same-sex unions is "gravely immoral", and to vote to allow same-sex couples to adopt children is also "gravely immoral".

Both are now legal in Ireland.

Unfortunately, one may expect encroachment on the rights to free speech and religious liberty from those who don't agree with the Catholic Church, and other Christian communities, and indeed believers and non-believers, on these sensitive issues.

But when a bishop of the Catholic Church starts that racket, it is time - in my view - for him to resign.

Séamas de Barra

Rathfarnham Village, Dublin

Leave Dingle alone

They are at it again, trying to change street names this time. Please leave Dingle along,

I would like to remind politicians that the last time they tried to mess with our name - Dingle - a politician who did not back us lost his seat in the election.

Mary Devane Wilson

Dingle, Co Kerry

The real crisis in education

Both your correspondents (Ivan Yates, Irish Independent, October 1, and David Quinn, Irish Independent September 25) totally avoided mentioning the real crisis in our education system. That is that we do not really have one, except in name.

We have a system of brainwashing that obliges students to agree with their teacher, or their teacher's boss, if they want to pass exams and, for instance, enter any sort of mindless Government career.

I well remember when my daughter asked me a question on economics during her homework leading up to her Leaving Cert.

I asked: "Do you want the truth or the answer that will give you the best marks?

She is very intelligent so she took the latter and eventually got high marks in all her exams.

If our students were all taught the truth about money, law, chemicals, politics, water and nutrition, for instance, our country, and particularly our finances and hospitals, would be in much better shape than they are.

At the moment we are philosophically little further than teaching that our sun revolves around the Earth.

Richard Barton

Tinahely, Co Wicklow

Irish Independent

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