Thursday 27 October 2016

Facebook founder’s generous initiative offers hope to us all

Published 08/12/2015 | 02:30

Proud father Mark Zuckerberg
Proud father Mark Zuckerberg

Abortion is currently a contentious issue here. People are killing one and other everywhere in civil wars and cold ones. World leaders have congregated in Paris for discussions on saving the planet. A sparkle of positivity would surely help.

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A true-to-life and most inspiring illustrated news item (Irish Independent, December 1) gave readers just that: it showed a picture of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan gazing at their new baby daughter, named Max. 

The young pair’s obvious joy and gratitude for their ‘little gift’ was all the more noteworthy when you consider that they are possibly among the richest self-made young married couples in the world.

Spontaneously, after the birth, they announced that they are giving away 99pc of their $45bn fortune to good causes. 

In an open letter to Max on the social network he invented, Mr Zuckerberg (31) said: “Your mother and I don’t yet have the words to describe the hope you gave us for the future. We are committed to doing our small part to help create this world for you and all children.  We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can’t wait to see what you bring to this world”.

Not long ago, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda made a similar gesture when they set up a foundation with their wealth to help humanity worldwide.

Not forgetting, of course, our own philanthropists – the late Tony Ryan, Tony O’Reilly, JP McManus and others who contributed so generously towards education, culture, medicine and sports here in Ireland. It’s really a wonderful world, after all.

James Gleeson,

Thurles, Co Tipperary.


Show pro-life side respect

Columnists such as David Quinn can hold fast to their pro-life views and religious beliefs, while listening respectfully to other points of view and trying to engage opponents in meaningful dialogue. Such openness and respect is strangely absent, however, from the other side of the abortion debate.

Colette Browne (Irish Independent, December 1) calls people cowards and bible-thumpers, for daring to support constitutional protection for unborn children.

Ivan Yates (Irish Independent, December 3) complains of “unpleasant divisiveness” in the 1983 abortion campaign, in an article that itself reeks of unpleasant divisiveness – with adjectives like “pathetic” and references to “pro-life/SPUC propaganda”, “public opinion of 30 years ago” and “furtively send[ing] women abroad, abandoning their pain.”

Would it be too much to ask these columnists to desist from their petty insults, and to devote some of the resultant extra column space to discussion of the babies whose lives are at stake if the Eighth Amendment is repealed?

Jim Stack

Lismore, Co Waterford


Making a choice on abortion

One of the arguments for providing abortion services in this country is that, while the choice of abortion is not for everyone, it should be left to the individual. However, this is not how democratic society works. In civilised countries we make rules and laws to frame society. Yes, there are many countries that have chosen to make abortion legal, and we just have to look at them closely to see the effect that this has had. However, when other countries such as Britain, our closest neighbour, or the US are referred to, we are told that Ireland is different.

Why do we think that in Ireland we can do things differently, that we can succeed where others have failed? Looking at the past, the fight for the right to travel and to information now seems irrelevant and ridiculous. However, these were key steps on the journey to full abortion access.

The next step on this journey is abortion in limited circumstances. These are more critical steps to the final and inevitable result, full abortion on demand. There will always be hard cases, and these should be treated with compassion for mother and unborn.

However, we have to decide what it is that we want as a society, abortion for all, or a society that says the unborn should be protected. Because one thing is guaranteed – there is in reality no such thing as a little abortion.

Sile Quinlan

Glencar, Co Sligo


Tiger gangs are actually rats

The so-called tiger gang who wanted to net €20m from their heist in Dublin Airport were left flattened, with only €225,000 in their pockets. Still, it’s a lot of money for thugs.

Why even use the name ‘tiger gang’ in the media – this just boosts their egos, when ‘thugs’, or just plain ‘robbers’ would be more appropriate.

To terrorise a women and her adult child with a gun leaves me speechless at these obvious cowards. A better name for them would be the ‘rat gang’, as they are nothing more than vermin. Apologies to rats.

Terry Healy

Kill, Co Kildare


Sports deals sideline RTÉ

The decision by eir to buy Setanta is yet another game-changer for broadcasting.

One wonders where lies RTÉ with so much activity. The national broadcaster recently lost out on showing the Rugby World Cup, thus handing a golden opportunity to TV3, which it duly seized.

Discovery Eurosport has also snapped up the rights to the Olympics 2018-2022. This could mean that the Brazil games could be the last we will be able to watch for some time on RTÉ.

The Olympics deal was said to have been worth around €1.2bn, so there is obviously a lot to play for. It seems somehow incongrous that so much money should be generated by amateur games. Of course, the value comes from the viewers and the advertising revenues that follow the ratings.

Is RTÉ in danger of being sidelined given these recent developments?

Paying for a TV licence and then having to shell out to watch big international events is a bit rich.

If TV3 was able to find the funds to buy the Rugby World Cup, why was our national broadcaster unable to dig a bit deeper into its pockets? This is particularly striking when you take into account the advantage RTÉ’s has in terms of its licence revenues.

In a multi-channel context, and with the ever-advancing development of online content, one wonders what the future holds for terrestrial broadcasters – and whether it is fair to keep demanding a licence fee when the menu of key content is shrinking at such a pace.

CC O’Brien

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