Letters: Reality is in rag order
Madam – As another 'rag week' comes to an end, or glorified drinking fest would be more appropriate, we hear about the money raised for different charities.
All well and good, but the reality is that the lives of ordinary decent residents are held to ransom during this drunken orgy, where house parties, damage to properties, urinating on the streets, overturning bins, vomiting where the mood takes, unacceptable levels of noise late evening and early morning, are all the norm.
It would appear that residents living in this region are only second-class citizens with no rights. The promotion and low-cost sale of alcohol during rag week by off-licences and other retail outlets that dropped leaflets into properties near UCC only exacerbates an already unacceptable situation.
There is a need for more robust policing as well as landlords taking responsibility for the behaviour of students in their properties, and UCC must also shoulder responsibility for the large number of students who misbehave in residential areas – and adequately deal with them.
Sinead's distorted tirade
Madam – Re: Sinead O'Connor's article, 'We need to rescue God from religion' (Sunday Independent, February 23, 2014) – to give a platform to this lady is incomprehensible. Personal views are one thing but distorted ones are another.
After all, this is the same lady who was made a priest by someone who is being investigated for marrying a 15-year-old and 14-year-old.
Let's get real.
The Sunday Independent is taking a cheap shot at religious and the Catholic Church in general by allowing this tirade by an individual who on past evidence really doesn't know where she stands on anything other than a negative attitude to everything positive.
When she talks of "church", is it the Catholic Church, or the Church of Ireland, maybe Presbyterian or Methodist?
This is not explained in her article.
Just who is she attempting to align herself to? She is walking on sand and has been doing so for years.
Carrigaline, Co Cork
MERCY ORDER'S CONTRIBUTIONS
Madam – In last Sunday's edition an article under the headline 'Church still evades moral accountability' stated that our congregation had "flatly refused" to make an additional contribution towards the costs incurred by the State in its responses to abuse in industrial schools.
On the contrary, our congregation committed to making an additional contribution which in December 2009 was valued at €117,506,800 composed as follows: to Cara Nua, the independent trust for former residents: the sum of €20,000,000 cash plus properties then worth €11,590,000; to the State: properties then worth €80,856,800; and to the voluntary sector: properties then worth €15,060,000.
This contribution of €117,506,800 was in addition to the sum of €33,091,114 which had already been contributed and the ongoing commitment of the congregation in contributing to the funding of Towards Healing.
Sr Margaret Casey,
Congregation Leader, Sisters of Mercy
Views on North are 'blinkered'
Madam – The article by Ruth Dudley Edwards (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014) was typical of many she has written over the years. In her view of the world the conflict in the North was all the fault of republicans. And the legacy of that conflict is ours also.
She claims concern for the health of the citizens of west Belfast and of the levels of poverty and suicide they experience, and maybe she is concerned for them, but I see no similar concern for the people of Foyle which has higher levels of claimants on welfare, suffers from significant poor health outcomes and has higher levels of suicide than west Belfast. But then Foyle has been represented by the SDLP for longer than Sinn Fein has held the west Belfast constituency and she likes the SDLP.
Ms Edwards also ignores the reality of suicide as an issue for citizens across this island. Last September the annual report of the National Office for Suicide Prevention concluded that 495 people took their own lives in this State in 2010. Eighty per cent of these were men. A second report from the Suicide Support and Information System (SSIS) carried out over four years in Cork, found more than 40 per cent of victims had worked in the construction industry, and 13 per cent in agriculture.
Men accounted for 80 per cent of deaths – and factors pointed to were unemployment (39.3 per cent), drug abuse (29.4 per cent) and a history of self-harm (31.3 per cent).
There was no conflict in this State to account for the high level of suicide or the numbers of men taking their lives.
Perhaps if Ms Edwards took the time to look at the history of deprivation and ill-health in the North she might discover the very real connection that exists between the legacy of structured political and religious discrimination experienced by the nationalist community under decades of first unionist and then British rule. That's where the real problem lies and that is one more reason why we need to end the link with Britain and build a new Ireland that can realistically and effectively tackle these issues.
Gerry Adams TD,
Leinster House, Dublin
FROM RUSSIA... WITH HATE
Madam – In the Business section of the Sunday Independent (February 23, 2014), Conor Lenihan in the article, 'We need to talk about Russia', maintains we can learn lessons from Russia. "He says that Russia is now experiencing tensions between traditionalists and modernisers over social issues – such as gay rights – which mirror what happened in Ireland in the Eighties over issues like abortion and divorce."
Anyone who saw the recent Dispatches programme on Channel 4, Hunted, which detailed Russia as a country which exhibits disturbing violence against its openly gay community would find it difficult to stomach such a comparison. The programme showed young gay men being baited and lured into being beaten up and humiliated simply for being gay. An interview was carried out with one young man who had lost the sight in one eye during one of these beatings.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland in 1993, but even before that, Irish people never stooped as low as carrying out similar gruesome acts as depicted in that programme against its fellow citizens on a regular basis.
I suggest that Russia can learn a lot from us regarding respect for its fellow citizens and we needn't look for inspiration to oligarchs. We all know what the greed and selfishness of a minority in this country resulted in.
NOISE DROWNS OUT 'SIVE' DIALOGUE
Madam – Reading Emer O'Kelly's review of Sive at the Abbey, I wondered if I had seen the same production. I was very disappointed with the interpretation.
I found the shouting so loud that the often incisive and perceptive dialogue was lost.
Sive was believable, Mena, the wicked aunt, did show her humanity – but everyone else seemed determined to make the most noise.
But, the most unrealistic performance came from Sean Dota, an aged bachelor farmer, who looked more like a retired civil servant, or a remnant of Celtic Tiger Ireland.
I've seen far better amateur productions.
Kilmallock, Co Limerick
SOMETHING ROTTEN IN STATE OF IRELAND
Madam – So Colm McCarthy thinks the Irish people are over-reacting by believing that corruption is widespread in Ireland. He is using a very narrow definition of corruption. The dictionary says that corruption is "dishonest exploitation of power for personal gain".
I would ask if a person holds a job in the public sector and does not do their job properly is that not corruption? A whole list of people had jobs paid for out of the public purse with responsibility to the taxpayers. Instead their loyalties lay with the politicians who gifted them their jobs. Is this not corruption?
Public cynicism about the way the country is being run is justified because bad decisions are being taken. There are no votes in doing the right thing. That is certainly morally corrupt.
Thurles, Co Tipperary
HORAN'S BOND MISSION 'A FARCE'
Niamh Horan's article on doorstepping Timothy Dalton (Sunday Independent, February 23, 2014). I found the premise of the article — tenuously linking Dalton to the GSOC offices via a role he played in the late Eighties — to be a farcical justification for bothering a private citizen to get herself a few lines of print. I suggest she finds better uses of her time.
PATHOLOGIST OFFICE LACKS FUNDING
Madam – I would like to comment on the item, 'Expert staff shortage puts pathologist's office under pressure' (Sunday Independent, February 23, 2014). This office is not fit for purpose. Successive governments have ignored the many pleas over the years to bring this office up to acceptable standards in the area of forensic medicine and suspicious death investigation.
The review of the coroners' service in Ireland in 1999, included a submission from Dr John Harbison outlining the lack of mortuary and X-ray facilities needed to carry out a forensic autopsy. In 1997, Dr Harbison appealed for funding to address this very issue.
A defendant is entitled to a complete forensic autopsy report to assist him or her in their defence against a charge of murder. It appears, that even defence teams are not interested in seeking out evidence that can be of benefit to clients.
This begs the question: why was the bog body Clonycavan man, exhibited in the National Museum, afforded a gold-standard forensic autopsy? This was remarkable, as the information was never going to be served in a book of evidence.
Kieran Doyle, Cork
FIANNA FAIL CHIEF IS NO COSGRAVE
Madam – I was rather amused to read in the Sunday Independent (February 23, 2014) Eoghan Harris (Labour looked after Shatter, and their pensions) comparing Micheal Martin going to the Taoiseach with a garda dossier as akin to Liam Cosgrave in 1970 on the importation of arms.
To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, Martin is no Cosgrave. In fact Martin admired Haughey of 1970 fame, a man who subverted the State as Mr Harris alluded to when Haughey passed away in 2006.
DAIL COMEDY JUST A DISTRACTION
Madam – Sometimes the uproar in the Dail is amusing. Who'd want to be a Ceann Comhairle? His hands, in the air, lips moving, couldn't be heard as all are shouting at same time. It is comedy.
Or is it a ploy to distract from issues like the disappearance of billions of euro, of accountability and of decency and common sense. We sure live in a crazy world amid unrest, injustice, waste. This sad old earth is in need of some mirth. And the Dail can supply that.
Your columnist is out of her depth
Your columnist is out of her depth Madam – I was surprised at your alarmist and unfounded piece by Fiona O'Connell on water fluoridation ('Argument for fluoridation doesn't hold water', Sunday Independent, February 23, 2014). It is hard to know where to begin in criticising the serious flaws in this piece.
Hydrofluorosilicic acid is not banned by the EU. In fact the European Parliament has declared that there are no legal concerns with water fluoridation as long as the limit of 1.5ppm is maintained – a position that's far from a ban. Most of the other comments in the article on the chemical nature and origins of fluoride for water fluoridation have a similar relation to the truth.
The linking of a shopping list of complaints to water fluoridation is scaremongering at its worst and wholly unworthy of your paper. There is no evidence for any of the claims made, and to print an article that doesn't make it clear that this is merely an opinion is appalling. No mention is made of the fact that the USA provides fluoridated water to roughly 70 per cent of its population. This is not a uniquely Irish phenomenon – and neither, sadly, are the opponents the issue attracts.
Newspapers that touch on science should at least be reviewed by someone with the relevant expertise, so as to avoid undermining one of the few successful public health initiatives in Ireland.
Cllr Padraig McLoughlin,
Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
FLUORIDE CLAIMS ARE NOT CORRECT
Madam – It is with shock and dismay that your paper has given publicity to the campaign against fluoride (Sunday Independent, February 23, 2014).
Has Ms O'Connell researched all the scientific claims? It is widely known within the international scientific community that fluoride, at correct levels, is not harmful.
In Ireland the levels in our water are safe, and indeed are below the EU recommendations. Fluoride in water is not banned by the EU. The EU allows each individual country to decide if they administer it, and how. Parts of the UK are fluoridated. Germany fluoridates through salt. The USA and Australia also fluoridate their water.
In this country depression and other mental health issues are a real problem. The rise is due to many factors including alcohol, drugs, obesity and stress. Some forms of depression are genetic and hereditary. To claim fluoride is the reason is very dangerous.
I'm sure Ms O'Connell meant well, but I hope that any further reporting in your paper on this issue will be well researched, as opposed to opinion.
Clonmel, Co Tipperary
HEALTH OF IRISH PEOPLE IS AT STAKE
Madam – Irish Water has an urgent obligation to immediately take on board the issue of fluoride. The health of the men, women and children of Ireland is at stake. Other countries were quick to recognise the risk and take the appropriate action. Columnist Fiona O'Connell wrote a timely and very informative article on the subject last week (Sunday Independent, February 23, 2014).
Our Department of the Environment developed a National Drinking Water Monitoring Programme in 2004 to ensure our testing regimes and standards were in line with European drinking water standards. Isn't it strange, then, despite 98 per cent of Europe rejecting water fluoridation, that Ireland and Singapore remain the only nations with mandatory fluoridation policies?
Our Environment Department and Irish Water must take the problem in hand before any charges are made.
Thurles, Co Tipperary
KEEP ISSUE OF WATER CURRENT
Madam – Thank you for finally covering the water fluoridation problem in Ireland. Please continue to keep this argument current, especially if they are to charge us for this water.
Rush, Co Dublin