Thursday 27 October 2016

Letters: Easter is a time to reflect on our hopes, dreams and failings

Published 06/04/2015 | 02:30

Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: Matt Crossick/PA
Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: Matt Crossick/PA

The concept of celebrity tends to subvert our basic sense of proportion. Unwittingly, we assign almost godlike stature to those who acquire celebrity status. In so doing, we demean ourselves and distort the notion of what is really worthwhile achieving in life, giving our young people false hopes and dreams, distracting them from what counts for most in a human life, namely to love and be loved.

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I accept that we all need to be a somebody in life. The desire to be a cause, to have an impact on the world is at the heart of all our endeavours. In the case of Jeremy Clarkson, however, the need for applause, recognition and celebrity became the over-riding, driving force of his work. Being outrageous amplified his notoriety.

The music world is the most effective breeding ground for celebrity and shattered dreams. A tiny proportion that sets out on the path to fame, fortune and notoriety soon find themselves in a world where a few moguls exercise their power to adopt them or ditch them at will.

They become a commodity that can be bought or sold with the same sensitivity we exercise in the cattle market.

I have just been to an outstanding performance of Arthur Miller's heart-rending play, 'Death of a Salesman', where the American Dream, the idea that the future is in our own hands, is eviscerated in the reality of the life of one man who believed the dream and ended in the nightmare of a dwindling capacity to deal with the reality of retirement; decades of graft ended in penury; ceasing to be productive, he ceases to be human. It has been said that it is not what you are that counts but what people think you are. However, there is often a tension between what people think you are and what you see in yourself. A sense of self -worth can only come from the approval of those you value.

Easter reminds me of the persistence of hope - the hope that we can rise above our deepest troughs of despair but only with the support of those who love us.

Philip O'Neill, Oxford, OX1 4QB


Behaviour of our banks

When Finance Minister Michael Noonan stood up in the Dáil on March 31st, 2011, to announce the injection of a further €24bn of taxpayers' money into the Irish banks, he included the following statement in his speech: "The end result will be that banks that have received taxpayer support will be far more accountable to government and parliament for their performance in responding to the needs of the economy."

These strong words are completely at odds with the performance of both Mr Noonan and the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in controlling the behaviour of the bailed-out banks since then. Arguing that the State cannot interfere with the running of the banks sounds pathetic, when both the bank guarantee and the provision of €64bn of taxpayer funding were nothing short of the State interfering in the running of the banks.

Mr Noonan and Mr Kenny can indeed order the banks to cut their variable mortgage interest rates but it suits them to have the banks appear profitable regardless of the damage being done to society. The banks had no problem with State interference when it came to socialising their losses. Maybe now it is time they were ordered to start socialising their profits by reducing the interest they charge on their variable rate mortgages.

Henry Gayno, Spa, Tralee, Co Kerry


Praise for Indo's Charlie Weston

If we had a Pulitzer Prize for journalism in Ireland, I would nominate your writer, Charlie Weston. His dogged campaign to highlight the Government and Central Bank's inability to prevent penal payments being imposed on variable rate mortgage holders represents crusading journalism of the highest quality.

David Barnwell, Dublin 9


Good Friday ban brings peace

I couldn't agree more with the sentiments expressed by Maurice Fitzgerald (Letters, April 4, 2015) concerning the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. But I hasten to add that many folks like me who live in close proximity to the main street of their village are only too delighted that public houses are closed on Good Friday.

How desperate are people for a drink? Surely their lives aren't that empty or sad that they have to sit in a boozer morning, noon and night. Another thing which bugs the hell out of me when I walk through the village going about my business is looking at the amount of people smoking outside the front door of pubs, often spitting or flicking their cigarette butts on the ground. It's disgusting.

It was delightful to walk down the main street this weekend and have complete silence and calmness, no music, no roaring and bawling, and little or no litter. Easter is a precious time for some of us and the only thing I want to hear on Good Friday is the bell chiming on the hour, every hour, from the clock tower of my local Protestant Church.

Barry Mahady, name and address with editor


Benefits of same-sex marriage

Despite Kate Bopp's honeyed words about the young gay couple she saw (Letters, April 4, 2014) she still seems to feel that they deserve to spend the rest of their lives in a legally subordinate position. The State allows many privileges to married couples, even to those who have no children and have no plans to have any. Marriage is, after all, not just about procreation. It's about loving and being there for each other and it's in the interests of the State to support such endeavours.

The gender of the couple doesn't affect this. There is no reason why a same-gender couple shouldn't receive the same supports and recognition from the State as a heterosexual couple. Their love for each other is the same, their desire to care for each other is the same and it's entirely to the benefit of the State that they be accorded full equality before the law

Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh, address with editor


Massacre in Kenya

I send an Easter message of love and peace to all my friends, but particularly my Irish friends for whom Easter has a political as well as a religious significance.

In a world where Christians are killed in 2015 on Holy Thursday in a university in Kenya, merely for being Christian, we must believe that the Christian message of Easter continues to have a special relevance.

I express the hope, in particular, that Easter 2016 will be a true source of reconciliation in Ireland for us all. But we must redouble our efforts in order to achieve it.

Dr Gerald Morgan, Trinity College Dublin


The real cost of junk mail

Jim Kinsella defends junk mail and says if you do not want it, put in the recycle bin. And who pays for this? This create the ludicrous situation of paying to get rid of something you do not want. Is it still the first of April?

John Williams, Clonmel, Tipperary

Irish Independent

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