Monday 24 October 2016

Letters: Most of us believe that foreign aid is a good thing

Published 02/05/2015 | 00:00

Buddhist monks salvage a statue of a Buddhist deity from a monastery around the famous Swayambhunath stupa after it was damaged by Saturday's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Buddhist monks salvage a statue of a Buddhist deity from a monastery around the famous Swayambhunath stupa after it was damaged by Saturday's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I very much welcome Eamon Delaney's argument that Ireland should give more much-needed aid to Nepal, but I regret that he does so on the basis of a misunderstanding of what development aid is for and what Irish people think about it ('Let's give more to Nepal, not to corrupt African regimes', Irish Independent, April 29).

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Mr Delaney ignores the fact that the overwhelming majority of people in this country believe international solidarity and development cooperation are a good thing. We know this from opinion polls, but more importantly, we know this by the consistently high levels of financial support people give to Ireland's development NGOs.

He also seems unaware that the aid budget has been cut by successive governments, so that the amounts he quotes in his article are factually incorrect. And, finally, he also misrepresents the position of the Oireachtas Committee on Public Accounts which did indeed ask some "hard questions" of overseas aid but ended up concluding that the standards being applied to Ireland's overseas aid programme are higher than those being applied to government and charity work in Ireland.

We welcome Mr Delaney's call for more public debate on Ireland's aid programme. But we all have a duty to ensure that any such debate takes place on the basis of facts, not myths.

Sharan Kelly, chairperson of Dóchas, the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations, and chief executive, Tearfund Ireland


Love and the law

Undoubtedly, we could do with a lot more love in our society. But, parents love their children, and vice versa. Those children love their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and vice versa. Men love their wives, fiancées and girlfriends, and vice versa. I'm not sure about pets, but people of all ages do love them. Indeed, too many of our youngsters love their sweets and fizzy drinks, and too many at all ages love their high-calorie foods, though not vice versa. Philatelists love their stamps.

Your 'Name and address with Editor' correspondent (Irish Independent, April 30) says that in the referendum, people "are being asked to define love. What kind of love do I mean? A love that is blind". Your own headline hints at something similar. That is all a bit mushy for something as serious as our Constitution. Yet, although all of the parties pushing 'Yes' are majoring on "love", the leaflet I received today from the Referendum Commission does not mention the word, and neither is it proposed to add it to the Constitution.

Love may indeed be blind, but let us not be insulted by being asked to vote on it without being given a chance to know a bit more about it. That is an insult to our Constitution.

Frank Farrell, Stillorgan, Co Dublin


More to marriage than children

I am writing in response to the letter from Kate Bopp (Irish Independent, April 30). Her letter claims that "a married man and man or a married woman and woman" will be considered a family under the Constitution, whether they have children or not.

But she failed to mention that our Constitution considers a married man and woman a family, ie a married opposite-sex couple are a family before they have any kids.

I also find it incredulous that Ms Bopp is now fighting to get unmarried and lone parents the right to be classed as a family. Again she omits a crucial difference between unmarried parents and same-sex parents. Unmarried opposite-sex parents have the choice to marry if they so wish. A choice withheld from same-sex parents.

Keith Tobin, Douglas, Cork


Education is a weapon

John Walshe (Irish Independent, April 29) hit the nail on the head when he alluded to the rivalries between universities to attain better rankings in our competitive economies. Globalisation has transformed our world into a small global village. It has reshaped the terrain of educational mindset in unprecedented ways, as innovation has become a key to the translation of knowledge into new products and services.

And as our world is passing through tumultuous times, knowledge is becoming more and more indispensable for intergenerational dialogue, religious understanding, social cohesion, tolerance and the promotion of human rights for the vulnerable, impoverished and the disenfranchised across the world. As the late Nelson Mandela eloquently put it, education remains the most powerful weapon with which you can use to change the world.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob, London, UK


CA rural farm kitchen

I am studying for an MA in Design History at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. For my thesis, I am carrying out research on the rural farm kitchen from c.1940 to 1970 and the important role which the Irish Countrywomen's Association played in influencing its design and layout.

I am particularly interested in the ICA model farm kitchen, designed in 1956 by architect Eleanor Butler (1914-1997), who was home-planning adviser and housing consultant to the Irish Countrywomen's Association at that time.

I would love to hear from anyone who might have any documentation, imagery or ephemera from this period in the history of the ICA that they would be kind enough to let me see, and particularly anyone who recalls the model kitchen or Eleanor Butler's work with the ICA, or has any material relating to it.

Please get in touch at

Bernadette O'Neill, Rathgar, Dublin 6


Press Council's best wishes

I would like to convey my best wishes to Michael Denieffe on his recent retirement from the position of Managing Editor at Independent News & Media (INM). Michael was appointed as a member of the Press Council in its initial phase on its establishment in 2007. Throughout his period as a member of the Council, its membership generally benefited from his wisdom, professionalism and fair-mindedness in the crucial early days of its existence.

As Managing Editor at INM thereafter, he continued to play an equally important role in journalism in Ireland.

I know I speak for the present Press Ombudsman, Peter Feeney; his predecessor, John Horgan; and the staff of the Office of the Press Ombudsman and the Council in wishing him a long and fruitful retirement after such a significant career in his chosen profession.

Dáithi O'Ceallaigh, chairman, Press Council of Ireland


The Beatles at the Adelphi

On November 7, 1963, The Beatles arrived in Dublin to play two gigs at the Adelphi cinema.

The Irish Independent would like to hear from anyone who attended the concerts or has any stories or pictures regarding the event. If you would like to get in touch, email or write to Yvonne Hogan, Irish Independent, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1.

Irish Independent

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