Sunday 25 September 2016

Letters: Voice of religious should be listened to in economic debate

Letters to the editor

Published 08/07/2014 | 02:30

Mr Justice Barry White
Mr Justice Barry White

What is significantly absent in recent debates about the measures required to get the country back on its feet is the voice of the churches, having silenced themselves through fear of being accused of unwarranted interference in politics.

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The relationship between church, particularly the Catholic Church, and state has never really recovered from the infamous involvement in the ill-fated Mother and Child Scheme, opposition to it arising from a neurotic fear of socialism. Since then, any hint of involvement by the churches in informing government policy is aggressively cut off at source.

The notion that church and state could ever be separable is absurd. It rests on the assumption that there are two domains, the sacred and the profane.

There is but one, the domain of the human search for a way of life that works to the advantage of all. The institutional church has been its own worst enemy in failing to project a real concern for people in their worldly circumstances – an issue close to the heart of Pope Francis. It is as if the life of the golf clubhouse was more important than the game.

Irish people, be they secularists, humanists or atheists, to varying degrees believe in the basic tenets of Christianity. By this I mean that they seek to live in accordance with the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount.

The fact that the current programme for the recovery of the economy hits the poor hardest of all, amid the continuing shameless self-administering of exorbitant and unearned salaries, pensions and severance awards by members of government, raises key questions of justice that are central to Christian and secularist thinking.

Questions of justice should be at the heart of the ministrations of church and state. Differences between churches are irrelevant in the context of current human needs but differences in how seriously we take the plight of the poor are radically significant.



JobBridge is really working

In light of the recently publicised JobBridge scheme of a 30-hour week picking potatoes for €238, it should be pointed out that the frequent attacks on JobBridge represent nothing more than unfair, political point-scoring that often backfires.

Look at what the initiative actually entails. An unemployed person, whose official title is job seeker, is given reasonably paid, non-exploitative work that, in 60pc-plus cases, leads to follow-up permanent employment. Even if it doesn't lead to permanent employment, the individual can put on their CV that they were willing to work.

All these things add up to a solid government initiative that is shrinking the dole queues, and in the right way, at minimal cost, and without the burden of extra taxes on the wider population.

We can take heart in the fact that high-profile people who blindly denied those realities, and based their entire platform on that denial, failed at the last elections – both local and European.

I'm sure, though, that in such people's current unemployment, JobBridge could turn up an internship they'd enjoy, if only they'd swallow their pride.



Leo loses his roar in office

Speak up, Leo.

In recent weeks, Jimmy Deenihan, Phil Hogan and Pat Rabbitte have appointed several government cronies to state boards. These appointments have been defended by Enda Kenny, who said they brought a "wealth of experience", and by Richard Bruton.

One person that has been quiet on the subject is Leo Varadkar. Perhaps this is because in early 2011, with Fine Gael in opposition, Mr Varadkar lambasted the Fianna Fail/Green government for doing exactly what his own colleagues are engaging in.

On his website, regarding appointments to state boards, Mr Varadkar stated that "these and other positions are hugely important positions which should be subjected to considerable public scrutiny. Unfortunately, based on past experience, outgoing government ministers will use their remaining time in office to pack these State bodies with political appointees."

This is just another blatant example of the hypocrisy that has been the hallmark of this Government.

Both parties made numerous promises prior to the election, particularly with regard to ethics and the manner in which they would go about their politics. Since they have taken power, however, this Government has proved itself to be one of the most devious, cynical and untrustworthy in the history of the State, arrogantly standing over an extensive list of broken promises.



Residents should strike a deal

I remember some years back when Bertie almost got his way regarding building the 'Bertie Bowl' – I just thought how lucky we were that he didn't get his way in the end.

We have something so unique in this wonderful city of ours – two fantastic stadiums located bang in the centre of the city.

How brilliant is that? It means that visitors can walk from their hotels to the event, be it sport or music. They can also arrange to meet friends easily before or after the event for drinks or food – it just works so well and creates business for numerous people.

The residents of Croke Park were right to object to five concerts in a row, it's just too much. I know because I live close to Lansdowne Road.

I accept the consequences of living close to a stadium, but to be hemmed in for five nights in a row is not on.

What was even more right was that they were heard, which makes it great to know that people power still works. I hope that this a lesson for the two organisations.

But when you look at the economics of it all, it would be suicide for tourism in Ireland if the fourth and fifth concerts were not to go ahead at this stage – it just makes sense for the residents to allow them to go ahead, especially at this late stage.



The times they are a changin'

Tom Farrell's daughter told his granddaughters to "go and play with your tablets" (Letters, July 7).

Yes, Tom, they are mini-computing devices. God be with the days when you were told "go outside and play" cowboys and Indians or whatever. No imagination needed nowadays. Technology takes over.

Progress? Not so sure.



Enda needs to sort out this mess

Dear Enda, there are times when you remind me in looks of the late JFK. So with that in mind I have this to say:

Garth Brooks is from the USA supposedly coming here to sing for a few days

Young and old fans all over the world look on in disbelief

Those that have paid their hard earned cash and so far what have they got?

You said, he said, she said, we said – and we still have not solved the problem

You know Enda, if it were JFK he'd find a way

Be the man and get it done you'll be a hero to everyone.


Irish Independent

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