Let's not pretend modern Ireland lives up to ideals of 1916
Published 01/04/2016 | 02:30
They didn't fight for freedom. They fought for a certain type of freedom. They died for an ideology and a vision of a sovereign state that has never even threatened to be implemented by those who benefitted from the freedom and the power to do so that came about because of the sacrifice made in 1916. Compare the ideology of the Proclamation with Ireland's policies and with successive governments' ideologies and even with Ireland today. You can clearly see there is no correlation between the two.
And that's life. People benefit all the time from the sacrifice of others who have gone before them. We can't expect those who follow in the footsteps to have the same principles and romantic idealism of their predecessors. It would be fantastic if it was the case, but it's not.
And so since it's not, all I ask is that they don't go out there and pretend to have some sort of affiliation with them. Don't insult their memory and sacrifice by having as guests of honour the implementers of a system of governance that is horribly unfair and contrary to what was intended by those who fought for "religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and resolved to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation, and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally and oblivious of differences."
It's just very hypocritical. I mean, it's not Stalin eulogising at Gandhi's funeral - but it's somewhere on the spectrum.
Address with editor
Seize the day for a better future
What an Easter weekend - with historic, cultural and religious ceremonies highlighting our national values. The planning, organisation and execution of the ceremonies and parades was such that the total effect was greater than the sum of its parts.
This included the amazing overnight transformation of O'Connell Street in Dublin. While we were celebrating the leaders and participants of the Easter Rebellion in 1916, those of us on the streets of Dublin on Sunday and Monday were also celebrating the Ireland of 2016. There is a short window of opportunity for our newly elected representatives to buy into this mood. The people have overwhelmingly voted for 'pro' and not for 'anti' politicians. If Fianna Fáil is afraid of what Sinn Féin might achieve in opposition, then let them participate in government in such a positive way that the negative Sinn Féin policies and those of the self-serving 'anti' group will be irrelevant come the next election. Draw on the creative, organisational and other skills Ireland has in abundance and solve the problems of homelessness, health and other difficulties, which are dividing communities and alienating our young. The 1916 generation did it for us, let us do it, not just for the 2016 generation, but for the 2116 generation.
Cedarwood Road, Dublin 11
Hard sums of the housing crisis
The maths are quite simple. Some 25 years ago, my wife and I bought our house, a modest four-bed semi on the northside of Dublin. I was earning £12k (€15k) at the time and my wife was earning £10k (€12.5k). Our house was valued at £51k (approximately €63.7k). So 2.5 times our combined salary plus our deposit easily put us in range for mortgage acceptance.
Fast forward to today's young couple looking to buy a home. He's on €30k and she's on €25k. That's €55k. My home is now worth around €300k. So, in order to attempt to purchase this house at current lending rules, this couple will need €60k just for a deposit. This is more than both their gross salaries put together. The bottom line here is stark. Wages are not the problem - house prices have gone off the scale. Wages have in real terms doubled in this period. However, house prices have increased five-fold. We can blame greedy builders all we want, but show me a householder willing to sell their home for €128k when the market value is €300k. We're all in this together, folks.
Ayrfield Drive, Dublin 13
Help save the Irish language
Bórd Gáis is now Gas Networks Ireland. Córas Iompar Éireann is Irish Rail. ESB/BSL is now Electric Ireland... Do you see a pattern here? A century after the 1916 Rising, the erosion of our language continues to be sanctioned at the top level.
Galway City Council is to be congratulated for attempting to create a bilingual city by its official designation. Our Government needs to cop on and stop with the lip service. Make real, ambitious plans that will be felt in society. Help us to take our language back. Tír gan teanga = Tír gan anam.
Eyre Square, Galway
Sinn Féin is shirking its duty
Well done to Fionnán Sheahan for his excellent article (Irish Independent March 29, 2016). I would like to draw attention to the "lilies and daffodils" debate (in which some Sinn Fein politicians have complained about the use of daffodils instead of lilies in 1916 commemorations). This is typical of Sinn Féin - it will do and say anything to draw attention to its party. How about stepping up to the plate and making some effort to establish a government?
Some years ago (Irish Independent May 14, 2012), Sam Smyth wrote about the hypocrisy of Sinn Féin on both sides of the border regarding education, household charges, water charges, welfare cuts and home repossessions. It would be worthwhile to reprint Sam's article. He states: "Sinn Féin has avoided the responsibilities of economic ministries in the Northern Ireland Executive, opting instead for less controversial departments." This is what they are doing in the South, avoiding responsibility at all costs lest they be held to account.
There is a 'cultish' mentality emanating from Sinn Féin. As far as I'm concerned, Sinn Féin should have had no part in the 1916 commemorations. I had more right to attend than many of that party. My grandfather was shot dead on April 28, 1916, by a sniper, leaving his wife with seven children. My father died in 1938, leaving my mother with four children under the age of five. My grandfather worked hard, as did my father, and we learnt a 'work ethic' from my mother. We did not go around beating and killing people like Sinn Féin's military wing, and we had more to be concerned about than lilies and daffodils.
So it's time Sinn Féin got up of their comfortable TD seats and started to work for the country, as I and other decent people are paying them to do.
Lucan, Co Dublin