Wednesday 26 October 2016

Our Naval Service, past and present, does this country proud

Published 15/08/2015 | 02:30

A migrant is helped after being rescued by the LE Niamh
A migrant is helped after being rescued by the LE Niamh

The humanity shown by the Naval Service of our Defence Forces - whose courageous acts of bravery on the high seas in such difficult circumstances bring great credit to our country - will no doubt be officially recognised by the Government in due course.

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However, may I also remind your readers of a different time when the men of the flower-class corvettes showed that same bravery and courage, only their efforts seem to have been forgotten.

Following the fire on board LE Cliona in May 1962, the actions of Able Stoker William Mynes and Lt Pat O'Mahony (O'Mathuna) should have merited recognition in the years thereafter. Taking into account all the circumstances, it is an inexplicable omission by those entrusted with the command and political responsibility for the Irish Naval Service in the 1960s that this did not happen.

The newspaper reports of the incident were effectively witness statements and it beggars belief that no action was taken at the time by Government to recognise the heroic efforts of these two men, who, supported by the crew of LÉ Cliona, saved lives that day.

Perhaps the Government of 2015 might exercise its discretion and reconsider this debt of honour owed and recognise former Irish naval personnel for their bravery, commitment and meritorious service.

Peter Mulvany


Irish Seamen's Relatives Association (1939-46)

A very Irish transport solution

Spare a thought for the poor pedestrian, following the Transport Minister's recent volte face to allow cyclists to use footpaths in certain but undefined conditions.

In a recent reply to Jerry Buttimer TD, the minister, Paschal Donohoe, stated that he was of the opinion that "there are times when it is either necessary or appropriate for a cyclist to use a footpath; one example could be where there are safety reasons for not using the road".

In further replies, the minister and his officials have issued contradictory statements that cycling on footpaths is an offence under road-traffic legislation and that on summary conviction an offender is liable to a fine of up to €1,000 for a first offence and may face imprisonment for further offences.

The minister has caused confusion where before there was clarity. The time-honoured rules of the road issued by the Road Safety Authority state unambiguously on page 195: "Never cycle on a footpath" and on page 5: "Don't cycle on a footpath". The Road Traffic Act 1993 states: "Footpaths are for pedestrians only."

Will these now change?

The confusion now gives carte blanche to all cyclists to use the footpath with impunity, claiming safety grounds, perceived or otherwise.

The minister should revise his decision as he and his advisers have foolishly attempted to solve a problem for cyclists by creating a bigger problem for vulnerable pedestrians, thus exposing them to even greater danger. A classic Irish solution to an Irish problem

John Leahy

Wilton Road, Cork

Nursing homes do great work

With regard to your columnist Joe Barry's article in the Irish Independent Farming supplement on August 11, 'Cruising the high seas is a viable alternative to the nursing home', it was with great disappointment that I read some of his ill-informed and inaccurate comments and insinuations concerning nursing home care.

While the piece may have been intended as tongue-in-cheek (he himself talked about the 'daft stories' of the slow August weeks) the comparison he made between nursing homes and prisons and his suggestions regarding the cost of nursing home care - as well as the care provided by the caring and committed staff that work in nursing homes - were inaccurate and disingenuous.

A major contributor to the current chronic and ongoing crisis in our acute hospitals is the number of beds occupied by patients who have completed their acute care but have not been discharged.

Community-based care provides a more appropriate and affordable alternative for individuals whose specialist-care needs would otherwise have to be met in an acute hospital setting.

Significantly, the costs of providing this care in an acute hospital are a multiple of between five and eight times that of the more appropriate care in the community.

Nursing homes are, in fact, positive environments where residents enjoy excellent person-centred care. Within these 'homes from home', there is great friendship, camaraderie, devotion, activity and humour. The dedicated staff in nursing homes excel in care delivery and enhance the lives of people entrusted in their care.

I would encourage Mr Barry to visit one of our member nursing homes to see at first-hand the real life experiences of residents.

Tadhg Daly

Nursing Homes Ireland

Oak Road, Dublin 12

Democracy means free choice

It is a long-standing joke that democracy in Ireland consists of voting repeatedly until you 'get it right' or deliver the results that our so-called leaders demand.

However, it's all but unbelievable that a member of no less an august body than the Law Library should suggest in all apparent seriousness forcing us to vote for women.

May I remind Mr MacCarthaigh (Letters, August 8) that being forced to vote for anyone or anything is the very antithesis of what is known as democracy.

He also flies in the face of common sense, as one ought to vote for the candidate best able to do the job - on meritocracy and not on tokenism.

I would suggest instead that parties put forward more suitable female candidates if they wish and let the public decide for themselves.

Nick Folley

Carrigaline, Co Cork

Blair has no moral authority

I say this to Tony Blair. You told us that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that he was going to use them against the West and that the only way Britain could stop him was by going to war.

None of those things were true. As far as I am aware, you have never admitted that.

Jeremy Corbyn fought to stop you taking Britain to war. You do not have the credibility or the moral authority to sit in judgment on him.

Brendan O'Brien

Winchmore Hill, London

Irish Independent

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