Sunday 23 October 2016

It's not a 'brave new world', this is about basic human decency

Published 11/10/2015 | 02:30

Jan O'Sullivan: Education Minister
Jan O'Sullivan: Education Minister

I'm responding to David Quinn's article on the whole transgender issue (Comment, October 9).

  • Go To

Mr Quinn complained that he didn't understand some of the terms used for gender descriptions.

I didn't understand them either but I looked them up.

Mr Quinn was responding in part to reports that schools are to be asked by Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan to draw up new uniform rules for pupils who identify as transsexual.

I have never met a "trans" person and I probably never will, but I have no problem making an effort to accommodate people who are born different from me.

People are born with peculiar conditions all the time. Being born intersex or transsexual is one of the very rare physical anomalies that people are born with all the time. By the nature of being decent human beings, we make the effort to accommodate people different from ourselves.

With someone that is disabled or injured, you ask, or, more politely, find out, if they need a hand.

If I meet a person and I'm not sure of their gender, I find out what they want to be called - it's called 'being polite'.

I have always tried to respect everybody for who they are, regardless. It is no big deal to introduce gender-neutral terms into our language, it will not cost anyone anything, but it might make life easier for one person in ten thousand.

We as a society spend a fortune on accommodating a relatively small number of disabled people, not because of piety, but because of respect for our fellow man.

I have always thought that we should make an effort to deal with people in a respectful way, even if we initially feel uncomfortable with them.

What makes us human is our ability to show empathy for those that are very different from us.

The only 'agenda' here is showing respect to our fellow man, regardless of their peculiarities.

Tom Cavanagh, Shankill, Dublin 18

Truth about the 'migrant crisis'

John Bellew (Letters, October 9) says that European countries need to do more for the so-called "refugees" pouring into Europe.

The fact is that the people of Europe have been fed a pup in recent months about the migrant problem, with totally mendacious propaganda from politicians, TV news media and the human rights industry.

Even Eurostat, the EU's own statistics agency, admitted that only a fifth of the so-called refugees coming into Europe are even Syrian. The vast majority are from all over Africa and Asia.

Both the Hungarian authorities and German migrant-reception centres also admit that about 70-80pc of the migrants they have processed are single men and overwhelmingly young.

All this reflects the disturbing reality of the wider migrant wave.

Just this week, the charity Human Relief Foundation (HRF) cancelled its aid to the migrants in Calais. After an inspection there, the charity's deputy chief executive Kassim Tokan said he was shocked to see migrants burning unwanted food and clothing and he said that 95-97pc of them are men - despite TV news media constantly showing images of women and children.

This week it was leaked to the German press that the Merkel government lied when it said Germany would take in 800,000 migrants this year. The real figure is twice that, which will become several times further when these young men demand and get family reunification.

Europe needs to wake up and fast before it becomes a dumping ground for the Third World.

Dr Frank Giles, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

TDs just want power at all cost

It's typical of the freeloading nature of some politicians that so many are prepared to chuck the cost of the Banking Inquiry down the drain for the sake of an earlier election campaign.

Brian Ahern, Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Don't subsidise cruel sports

With our country still ravaged by inequality and austerity and so many people homeless or living on the poverty line, I sincerely hope the Government is not intent on offering further support to the 'embattled' greyhound industry via the Budget.

Last year, it was allocated €13.6m of taxpayers' money.

It would make more sense for the Government to divert the funds put aside for the 'doggie men' (as they call themselves) to projects or sectors that I believe clearly deserve our support.

These include the homeless, family carers, domestic abuse services, community renewal schemes or perhaps even to animal-welfare groups.

John Fitzgerald (Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports), Callan, Kilkenny

Which French team will show?

The French are best known for their food, their philosophers and their wine. They are famous for their culture, their fashion, their metric system, their revolution, their resistance and - worryingly for Ireland this coming Sunday - their truly inspirational sporting performances.

Clichés about the French include their contempt for American tourists, their love of four-hour lunches and their belief that any outfit can be improved by the addition of a scarf.

Unfortunately, the French are also famous for their ability to play brilliantly just when they have been written off.

So the clichéd question I have is: which French team will show up this Sunday in Cardiff?

Let's hope that the French believe the newly accepted order in world rugby where Ireland are expected to beat France.

Let's also hope that the French team are in a mood because of tricky backroom politics.

Let's furthermore hope that the French don't fully realise that whoever wins this match is very likely to go on and reach the World Cup final.

In particular, let's hope that the French forget to be French.

It's not too much to ask - is it?

C'est la vie.

David Staunton, Navan, Co Meath

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice