Friday 21 October 2016

No room for an emotional vote on same-sex marriage issue

Published 09/05/2015 | 02:30

Do we really want to cook up a new definition for marriage when we’re so uncertain how it will turn out?
Do we really want to cook up a new definition for marriage when we’re so uncertain how it will turn out?

While being an advocate of equality for all citizens of the state - both homosexual and heterosexual - I feel the bullying tactics of the 'Yes' campaign, lead by our political classes and supported by innumerable State bodies, is utterly unfair and disproportionate.

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Those of us who, based on firmly-held beliefs, favour a 'No' vote in the upcoming referendum, are being treated as outdated, immature bigots. Is this the new definition of 21st-century equality?

As a teacher of 33 years' experience whose school was jointly run by a Dáil of elected students and the teaching staff, I was always impressed by the astuteness and perceptiveness of the voting children. They voted on principle and did not need to be directed in their thinking.

I would urge the Irish people to do likewise and vote in accordance with their own conscience, bearing in mind the way they would like to see Irish society develop.

Do you want to continue with the classification of marriage as that between a man and a woman with the child benefiting from both their contributions? Or do you want to reinterpret it with an unproven, untested union, bearing in mind that the last mass political party group-think led to an economic catastrophe. Do remember, this social movement will have even more far-reaching repercussions.

We can recover from money problems sometimes, but the redefining of marriage - which has served us well for thousands of years - and the resultant eroding of the rights of the child to a mother and father, without some absolute proven statistical analysis of the outcome is foolhardy in the extreme.

Vote 'No' until you are absolutely sure and have proven analysis that 'Yes' is the correct action. Don't try to make everyone happy if it isn't the right thing to do. Your children and future generations won't thank you for an emotional vote on May 22.

Antonia Sheridan

Navan, Co Meath


Allergic to Noonan's claims

Finance Minister Michael Noonan claims some on the dole are allergic to work and promises full employment or rather a job for everyone who wants one by 2018. This is not possible, and I will give two examples to illustrate this.

1. National school teaching

Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, the national school teacher training college, has an unbelievable 400 students in each year of the now four-year training programme.

That is, 400 national school teachers are graduating from this college every year. Add to this the output of the other teacher training colleges, as well as the private college, and you will get an output (I don't know the exact number) of thousands of national school teachers every year.

There is no way that Ireland can but employ a small fraction of these. The others, if they want to teach, will have to emigrate.

2. Pharmacy

For many years Ireland had only the one university that produced all the pharmacists that it needed, which resulted in a small under-supply.

Now we have three universities producing pharmacists for the home market and this - together with a large influx of pharmacists from the North and from the depressed economies of southern Europe - means we have a situation where work can be difficult to come by. A locum pharmacist based in Drogheda told me she could not find a single day's locum pharmacy work for the entire month of February.

I could go on. What this country suffers from is from graduate overload. A massive overproduction of university graduates, far in excess of anything the Irish economy can absorb in good times or in bad.

Minister Noonan seems to have a particularly rosy view of the economy, but this does not reflect the situation on the ground.

Desmond Nugent

Ballybane, Co Galway


Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said there are people in our community who are "allergic to work". This raises the very serious matter of people claiming unemployment supports while in contravention of rules that require they must be actively seeking employment.

Mr Noonan has a duty and obligation to report to the Department for Social Protection the names of the people to which he is referring. If he fails, surely the question that most certainly arises - for a number of reasons - is: "Is he a fit person to hold high office in government?"

Jim O'Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo


Labour should heed the people

Minister Alan Kelly clearly needs to remove the beam from his own eye in order that he may see clearly to evaluate the economic policies of others. (Comment, May 7).

I am a carer of an elderly parent and both of us have suffered from a plethora of cuts thanks to Mr Kelly's Coalition government. The telephone allowances were the first to go, followed by a reduction of €300 in the carers' respite grant.

This was followed by property tax and water charges with the prospect of communication taxes and compulsory health insurance to follow, without any consideration of financial ability to meet all these additional expenses. On page four of the same edition an article appeared with the sub-heading 'Wages and welfare to be hit in economic recovery plan' - this despite the fact that people falling into either category have already been pared back to the bone. It is ironic that next to this item there was a picture of our president, himself a former Labour TD, who enjoys a salary and pension very few people in this country could ever aspire to.

Please Mr Kelly, put your own house in order first and restore a viable income to the people you were elected to represent.

Name and address with Editor


Marriage-equality referendum

I am following from the US with interest and some dismay the debate over the forthcoming 'Marriage Equality' referendum in Ireland.

The worst effect I can see is in the education system. Ireland is unique in the Western world in that so many of its elementary and secondary schools are run by the Church or where the Patron is the Bishop. Only 2pc (74) of the 3,200 primary schools in Ireland are not run by Catholic or Protestant Church bodies.

The problem thus is with the curriculum. A changed Constitution would mean a changed curriculum, unless Churches and schools run by them were able to opt out of teaching curricula which would promote and 'celebrate' gay marriage as normal and equal to traditional marriage.

This could end up in the courts, with practising catholic and Christian teachers and boards of management challenging to give a different teaching on sexuality than that which would then be on the statute books.

I do not think the Irish population who seem to be on the side of the 'Yes' campaign realise just how serious the change in the Constitution would be for the children of Ireland in the future.

Dr Cormac O'Duffy

Tennessee, USA

Irish Independent

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