independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Letters: From women's liberation to conservatism...

Suffragete Emmeline Pankhurst: refused to allow herself to be a second class citizen.
Suffragete Emmeline Pankhurst: refused to allow herself to be a second class citizen.

* Regardless of the fact that I am an avid reader of Mary Kenny, I was enraged and extremely disappointed after reading one of her recent articles which was published in your paper. In this article, she condemns modern Irish women and their "inability" to deal with unwanted sexual advances.

Is this the same Mary Kenny who has constantly promoted the rights and views of modern, liberated women throughout the years? Ms Kenny now seems to be sliding towards the clutches of conservatism, where those who believe modern women are weak and feeble dwell.

In this particular article, Ms Kenny states that older generations of Irish women were confident and assertive enough to slap down unwanted advances, unlike modern women, who hide behind the legal system to fight their battles. As a 17-year-old who listens to her elderly relations regularly, I believe Ms Kenny is looking back on these years through rose-tinted glasses.

We are all aware that up until the last few decades, Irish women were branded as second-class citizens. Men ruled firmly with a rod of iron and any woman who challenged this authority was seen as a troublemaker.

Protesting against unwanted gropings by a local man would also lead to a female being dismissed as a troublemaker. As a result, most Irish women simply "put up and shut up". Ms Kenny's example of a suffragette defending herself against the unwanted advances of David Lloyd George in the 1920s was certainly not the norm, much as she would like us to believe otherwise.

Thankfully, in 21st-Century Ireland, women are no longer the mute, passive creatures they once were. They have opinions, voices, rights. One of these rights is the option of bringing sexual harassment cases to court. Why, Ms Kenny, do you have a problem with this, since you have campaigned for women's rights for so long?

Thanks to the Irish legal system, women can now stand up for themselves against brutish and brawny males who won't take no for an answer.

MARGUERITE RYAN

THURLES, CO TIPPERARY

WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN

* When I hear the Taoiseach and ministers saying we have turned a corner or there is evidence of green shoots in the economy, I laugh. How can we have turned a corner or be better off when this year we must pay a full property tax and imminent water charges, not to mention the rising cost of health insurance?

We were fed doses of this double-speak during the so-called Celtic Tiger.

We have less disposable income now than we had three years ago, so how can things be on the upturn?

As the saying goes – fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

FRANK CUMMINS

DUBLIN 22

REHAB'S WAGES OF SPIN

* Rehab chairman Brian Kerr said in your paper: "We are satisfied that this is a competitive and fair remuneration for the person leading the Rehab Group."

Well I say this to Mr Kerr – there is nothing fair or right about this remuneration and it only insults the intelligence of all the decent and generous people of this country. End of story.

BRIAN MCDEVITT

GLENTIES, CO DONEGAL

UKRAINE FACING CIVIL WAR

* Ukraine is rapidly plunging into all-out civil war. The ruthless suppression of protesters is despicable. But as with Syria, Ukraine is being used as a pawn in the power struggle between the West and Russia. And while the West has no interest in stopping the bloodshed in Syria, it cannot allow another Kosovo-style war to unravel on its doorstep with far-reaching economic, human, environmental and social consequences.

The outpouring of millions of Syrian refugees into neighbouring countries has placed natural resources and infrastructure under an intolerable burden.

Spillover from Ukraine could be more disastrous with global powers fighting each other at close range. The global community should not walk away as it did in Syria.

DR MUNJED FARID AL QUTOB

LONDON NW2

LESS WORK IS MORE!

* Finance Minister Michael Noonan expresses the hope that tax cuts will generate additional jobs.

Work is dead. Thanks to modern technology we are free, free to live lives of leisure.

But we cannot let go or escape the ideology that we must "earn our bread by the sweat of our brow".

Rejoice, be glad and generate more employment from less work.

PADRAIC NEARY

TUBBERCURRY, CO SLIGO

ST PAT'S TAKES PRIORITY

* It is amazing that any mention of funding for special needs, medical cards, schools, hospitals, road upgrades or, more recently, funding for the flood damage, is met with immediate resistance from the Government – but the funding for various trips by ministers across the globe for St Patrick's Day festivities, albeit for trade and investment, magically appears without fuss or bother.

It seems there is no limit to the Government spending where our public representatives are concerned. Slainte guys, agus go n-eiri an bothar libh go leir.

CATHERINE DOLAN

TRALEE, CO KERRY

COMPARE LIKE WITH LIKE

l In making the case for same-sex marriage, Gary J Byrne does not compare like with like. In the situation of heterosexuals, the inability to gift life is exceptional; in same-sex unions there can never be the possibility of progeny. That is the salient difference between these totally different unions. In both scenarios when procreation is impossible, other than by choice, there is reason for sadness and personal anguish.

It is in that realm of understanding that the debate should be conducted.

COLM O TORNA

GARRAN GHLEANN SCEICHE, BAILE ATHA CLIATH

BAD LAW IN BELGIUM

* When we look at what has happened in the Belgian parliament, which has seen fit to introduce euthanasia for terminally ill children, we can only appreciate the wisdom of our own Supreme Court in a relevant recent decision.

As legislation adopted in other member states of the European Union can influence legislators in other states, would it not be appropriate for Ireland to protest this Belgian action in the most vigorous manner possible? A state that fails to vindicate the rights of its most vulnerable citizens deserves to be brought before the European Court of Human Rights.

Would our very active Minister for Foreign Affairs turn his eyes to human rights abuses closer to home?

And would Amnesty International Ireland consider supporting him?

BRENDAN KELLEHER

DOUGLAS, CO CORK

DITCH STERLING, SCOTLAND

* I do not understand why Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond wants to retain the pound and monarchy in an independent Scotland.

As a republican Englishman, I admire the way the Republic of Ireland has its own democratically elected head of state and, until it joined the euro, the punt.

Mr Salmond should grasp the opportunity and offer the Scottish people their own currency or join the euro, and an elected president, too.

DOMINIC SHELMERDINE

LONDON W8

Irish Independent

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