Wednesday 28 September 2016

Letters: Families on breadline are pawns paying for errors of others

Published 14/05/2014 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has a lot more today
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has a lot more today

It's not too often that I'll be stuck for words, but this is exactly what happened to me a few days ago while out delivering mail of a political nature.

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A similar incident happened to me in 2011 during the presidential election when I knocked on a door and after assuming there was nobody at home, I was about to turn to walk away when the door opened and a woman with tearful eyes greeted me.

On asking her 'was there something wrong? she did not reply but thrust her hand with a piece of paper in it towards me. On reading it, I felt utterly helpless, as it was a letter from the bank threatening repossession of her home.

After getting over the initial shock, I set things in motion with a few phone calls to get her some help. Now, in 2014, and the same scenario greets me at a doorstep, as a woman opens up to me and invites me – a complete stranger – into her kitchen.

The family are at their wits' end in fear of the postman delivering a similar letter warning of bank repossession.

I have to say that it upset me much more than I can put into words, as I lay awake thinking what could I do to help?

I would challenge any pro-austerity politician to knock on their door and explain to them why they think it is right that they are being made pay for the reckless mistakes of others?

All in a vain, shameless attempt to pay Europe's super-wealthy elite who gambled on our insane, runaway Fianna Fail-led economy.

The banking guarantee saw to it that those wealthy gamblers were never going to lose out, because the likes of this family I'm referring to – along with every other breadline family in the country – are the pawns who are going to spend the rest of their lives paying the price.

We are being continuously drip-fed filtered leaks and promises that we have turned a corner and things are now on the way up.

Here in Donegal things are certainly on the way up and have been for a long time – if you're talking about unemployment and emigration.


Gort an Choirce, Dun na nGall



Instead of having an election to see which politicians we send to Europe, why don't we have a referendum as to whether we want to be a part of the EU in the first place.

Maastricht was the last fair treaty of consequence, and there are at least two generations of Irish citizens that haven't had a say on whether they want to be part of a united Europe. I suspect also those that voted in favour of Maastricht never envisaged quite how much sovereignty we would eventually cede.

Since 1992, the Irish people have been asked to vote on Nice and Lisbon – twice on each treaty. It appears, however, that rejecting those treaties was never actually going to be an option available to us. We have also had the fiscal treaty, which was presented as part of the solution to the financial crisis.

With the UK about to give its citizens a genuine say as to whether or not they want to be part of the EU, would it not be appropriate for Ireland to do the same thing?

As things stand, we have an increasing level of governance coming from EU institutions and while most of our political class are ideologically attached to the idea of the EU, the Irish people haven't had a genuine voice in decades (at least not one that was accepted). That is the very antithesis of democracy.

The time has come for the Irish people to give a democratic renewal to the EU, or for the EU to accept that we no longer want to be part of the European project.


Crumlin, Dublin 12



I wish to protest at the programmes being foisted on viewers in the name of comedy. I refer to 'The Republic of Telly' and 'The Centre', respectively.

These programmes are rude, crude and devoid of any content remotely resembling comedy.

It is ironic that they are being foisted on viewers by a station where once one could see or listen to the peerless Maureen Potter, the talented Brendan Grace and last, but not least, that doyen of comedy Brendan O'Carroll, whose creation 'Mrs Brown' has become one of the great comedy hits of this decade, not only in Ireland but worldwide.

As an OAP I do not have to pay a licence fee but in the name of justice for the viewer being done – and being seen to be done – I will cheerfully dust off my Zimmer frame and join the protest.


Rathfarnham, Dublin 14



In response to Rob Saidlier's letter ('But indeed where is God') I would certainly reiterate that the atheistic answer in the search for the ultimate meaning of life on Earth is the blindest of blind perceptions.

It is the wrong answer to that pivotal question posed by every human being.

The belief that we all have a creator – whether we call him 'God, Truth, Allah or Sat-Chin-Ananda' – has been embraced by and proved inspirational in the histories of peoples throughout the ages.

It has guided and maintained European civilisation up to about 200 years ago.

Rob mentions the "thousands of children who die in the world every day" as an indication that a merciful God does not exist.

Believers know that, after death, they and all others who are totally deprived do in fact attain perfect happiness in paradise.

Atheism can only offer condolence, heartfelt no doubt, to their loved ones. But it fails them completely in proffering some sort of existential nothing-but-ness as having been their unfortunate lot in life.

It also affronts our deepest and sacredly held beliefs in the existence of love, of justice and of egalitarianism as entitlements of human kind.

Simone Weil – 'saint of those on the outside' and formerly a Cartesian type agnostic – came to the realisation that a reality exists outside time and space and that "corresponding to this reality, at the centre of the human heart, is the longing for an absolute good, a longing which is always there and is never appeased by any object of this world".

His visits to Auschwitz caused Rob to wonder "Where was God?" His existence was certainly witnessed to by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Edith Stein during their incarcerations and in their deaths in Flossenburg and Auschwitz concentration camps respectively. Many other believers survived and also came to forgive their tormentors.

The potential to gain paradise is open to each human being in any situation. Albert Camus' remark, 'I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't and to die to find out that there is', is highly perceptive.

However, Christ, in certainly transforming the prevailing acceptance of cruelties as well as challenging the elitism of his own people, taught that it is in loving and in accepting obligation to one another that civilised life can be made realisable.


Baile Atha Cliath 5



Ian O'Doherty asks why, with the best fishing grounds in Europe, did the Irish people of the 1800s not eat fish instead of potatoes? The problem being that the local landlord had to be paid first before anybody could launch from the shore. Denied on land and sea.


Miltown Malbay, Co Clare

Irish Independent

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