Tuesday 27 September 2016

Let us not turn the Rising into a holiday glorifying the event

Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30

The shattered remains of the GPO after the Rising. Photo: Getty
The shattered remains of the GPO after the Rising. Photo: Getty

With Easter Week rapidly approaching and the centenary celebrations switching into full gear, I am growing uneasy of those who wish to turn a week of remembrance into a holiday which would glorify the event.

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The goal of the Easter Rising was to kick-start a nationwide revolution that would overthrow British authority in Ireland and create an independent Irish Republic. From this standpoint, the Rising was a total failure and succeeded in nothing except the destruction of large parts of an already impoverished city, caused over 3,000 casualties, most of whom were civilians.

Even the "symbolic victory" of the Rising amounts to nothing more than transforming the Nationalist movement, which up until that point was a largely pacifist and democratic movement, into a violent, militant, and bloody rebellion that would lead to over 6,000 deaths and thousands more wounded over the next six years.

The Rising achieved none of its goals, caused three destructive internal conflicts which mostly involved Irishmen killing other Irishmen, and led to over a century of bitterness and resentment across the island.

War is bloody. War is dirty. Nobody celebrates Iraq or Afghanistan. So why should we celebrate the Easter Rising? Let us remember it of course, but remember it as what it was; a bloody, destructive, horrible war, something which should never be glorified or celebrated, and something we must never allow ourselves to repeat.

Brian Ó Súilleabháin

Bray, Co Wicklow

Luas strikes test our empathy

There was much reportage focusing on the regrettable fact that a Luas strike was set for St Patrick's Day. However, the proposed strikes for Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are particularly ill-judged, as they coincide with the centenary commemorations for the Easter Rising. The parade at the GPO set for Easter Sunday and the wreath-laying at numerous key venues of the Rising set for Easter Monday are, to say the least, significant observances that the public are encouraged to attend.

The Easter Rising commemoration will in part acknowledge one participant, James Connolly, who is revered within the Irish trade union movement, and as such it would have been appropriate for those involved, even from that standpoint, to cancel the proposed action for those dates.

Luas drivers may have a case for a modest pay increase, but empathy for their cause will not be best realised by continued displays of tactless apathy in relation to the public.

John Kennedy

Dublin 14

Mindful of cancer care

I agree wholeheartedly with Dr Paul D'Alton [Irish Independent, March 11] 'We are failing the psychological needs of cancer patients'.

This despite the fact that it has been a long-established finding by the medical profession that the psychological care and treatment of people diagnosed with cancer has been regarded as an integral part of quality cancer care and recovery.

Being able to access professional psychological help while on the cancer journey depends entirely on what part of the country you live in.

We have eight cancer centres in this country, yet only two of these centres have a dedicated service providing psychological support to cancer patients and their families.

A number of cancer charities around the country provide excellent support in this area, but it is not nearly enough, as they are woefully underfunded.

We need a national plan of action to provide psycho-oncology support for all cancer patients, especially those with mental health issues.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

GAA fines misdirected

There I was watching the McGregor-type football fight between Kerry and Donegal and wondering what punishment would be imposed after such a disgraceful carry-on.

Then I heard that each county board was fined €7,500 and I suddenly wondered who would gain from this fine.

Most likely, I thought, the local hospital in Tralee.

No chance of that, so then I prayed that the €15,000 might be handed over to St Vincent De Paul, another very worthy cause. No chance again. So on further checking I was informed that the beneficiary of this fighting match was none other than the GAA itself.

Is it any wonder both teams were not suspended from the competition - as should have happened. Hopefully they will repeat the exercise should they meet again and top up the funds of the association.

Kathy Carey

Rosbrien, Limerick

Work-life balance askew

Rents are higher than ever and one in five of us now works an extra three months a year for free [Irish Independent, March 15].

Is this what a recovery really looks like? We're slowly abolishing the concept of work-life balance and security in favour of an endless, race to pay ever-rising rents and living costs.

What sort of life is that?

To paraphrase Scotsman Jimmy Reid; to measure social progress purely by material advance is not enough. Our aim must be enrichment of the whole quality of life.

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" - Mark 8:36

Dan O' Neill

Ringsend, Dublin 4

Independents interfering

We now have the ridiculous situation where Enda Kenny and Micheál Martin are conducting auction politics with the Independent TDs to secure their support in the vote for Taoiseach. Each one will bring a shopping list of demands and will end up with a bigger share of the national cake when negotiations are completed. Did the majority of the electorate vote for this?

These Independent deputies need to leave their county council mentality at home and realise that they have been elected to our national parliament to deal with very serious national problems.

During the election campaign candidates, when asked about the formation of a government, constantly used the phrase, 'We will listen to the public'.

In my view, the public have told Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to put their historical differences aside and get on with the business of forming a stable government.

I do not believe that any minority government with the support of the aforementioned Independents will last.

Stop pontificating and get on with it.

Seamus Kelly

Lucan,Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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