Politicians turning a blind eye to people's suffering
Published 07/05/2014 | 02:30
The din created by those who feel they have been short-changed by austerity has become like background noise, we barely hear it. People become desensitised over time, the sting of the lash becomes a little less of a shock, the pain is still there, but you learn to get on with it. Some call it craven, others see it as evidence of stoicism and strength.
However, above the usual din, to which we have become accustomed, a different more urgent cry is now being heard.
Many of those who are now losing their discretionary medical cards cannot even shout out in protest, instead we are hearing the despairing voices of their carers. I heard recently of a postman on the minimum wage whose wife is immobilised and who has to have regular expensive hospital treatment. Too bad, is the state response, the medical card has to go.
And then there was the father of a little girl with spina bifida. The child's medical costs are impossible to predict, but they are certainly considerable. The man has an income of €50,000 a year. Again the statutory reply is, you're over the limit. The sick child is not entitled to a card.
Children with Down syndrome are also not automatically entitled to a card.
We have prioritised the payment of casino capitalists over the needs of sick children and invalids. As Edmund Burke said, for injustice or evil to thrive it is sufficient that good men do nothing. We see fit to hand over tens of billions to those who knew they were rolling the dice with our fates, and yet we make the most vulnerable and least able pick up the tab for this obscenity.
Apparently, the poor foot soldiers of Fine Gael are beginning to hear the anguish of the suffering as they knock on doors and appeal for votes.
Frankfurt's way or Labour's way? That was one of the many distracting delusions of the last election. Sadly it seems there is another way, the Irish political way. This involves turning a blind eye to the difference between right and wrong.
DALKEY, CO DUBLIN
GOD CAN ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS
With regard to the ongoing debate about "God" that is currently evolving in your paper, a writer suggested that man is unique in that he can think rationally. While I understand his contention, it seems somewhat incorrect perhaps.
There is a breed of eagles which eats turtles. How the eagle eats these turtles is fascinating because of the turtle's shell. The eagle cannot open the turtle's shell on the ground. How the eagle has overcome this problem displays what I contend is rational thinking. He/she grabs the turtle and brings it for a spin, and once the eagle has reached a certain height it releases the turtle so that its shell smashes on the ground below – dinner served!
So what makes man unique in the animal kingdom? I contend that what makes humans unique is the fact that we have a concept of time. We have a concept of our role within time as a temporary existence. We are conscious of our death. We mark the place where our loved ones are buried after death.
I contend that in order to conceptualise time we need God. Because once one considers the fact that they are going to disappear from the concept of reality that we observe on this planet, namely life, then we uniquely to all other animals must ask the question, why do we have to die?
The only person/entity that can answer this is God. The proof being that no one has answered the ultimate questions: where did we come from and why are we here?
To put it another way, without a "creator" then our existence is merely that of the most tortured of all animals in that we know we are going to die. Without God then there is no concept of community, no concept of purpose etc.
ATHENRY, CO GALWAY
MAN HAS THE GREATEST GIFTS
Paddy O'Brien (Letters, Irish Independent, April 30) claims God exists in the mind only and that man, arriving billions of years later than other creation, simply lives and dies like all other forms of life. When Christ decided to come on this earth, he came in the form of man.
Man is the only form of life academic minded enough to adapt to science, medicine, technology, philosophy, psychology, invention and all forms of manual and mental skills. I, too, have an interest in Attenborough, Darwin, Hawkins and all the other naturalists, scientists and technologists. But I also study the Bible, the Word of God, that was good enough to convince over a billion Catholics of God's existence.
I also exercise God's greatest gift to man – the power of discernment. If Mr O'Brien practises it, I'm sure it will make him happier and convince him of his superiority over the elephant, the mouse or the spider, despite the fact they may have similar organs, eat, live and die like us.
THURLES, CO TIPPERARY
WATER CHARGES 'BOOMERANG'
When you throw a boomerang you better have some clue as to how you are going to catch it. The water charges debacle is a boomerang capable of hurting the Government.
The latest compromises, which incidentally will still result in an annual minimum bill of €240, demonstrate what happens when you start off with a faulty compass, no matter how many different directions you take you are still unlikely to end up in the right place.
The compromise allows exemptions for children, this is right and proper. However, as any parent will tell you, the days of the empty nest are over. Most households have a number of adults living under the roof as grown-up offspring can no longer afford to move out.
This means that those over 18 are going to be hammered and the already hard-pressed mums and dads are going to be doubly so.
So, well done Eamon and Enda, or should that be Laurel and Hardy? One way or another this is certainly another fine mess.
COUNCILLORS' HARD WORK
Your coverage of councillors' expenses is comprehensive except in one important measurement, and that is the amount of time county and city councillors devote to representing their communities.
Councillors are available to their local communities at all times of the day and week and are ready to respond to issues and concerns raised by individuals and groups. From Malin Head to Mizen Head, and in rural, urban and suburban settings, councillors provide an essential and accessible link between their communities and the local government system.
Later this month the people of Ireland will go to the polls to elect their council representatives for the 24th time since the first elections for democratic county and city councils in 1899.
By all means scrutinise public spending, but such scrutiny needs to be balanced by the less measurable but no less real input of elected members in serving their localities.
DIRECTOR, ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY AND CITY COUNCILS, MAYNOOTH, CO KILDARE
SAME OLD FIANNA FAIL SHAMBLES
Good to know Fianna Fail have not lost the art of shooting themselves in the foot. Three times Micheal asked, three times Mary declined. But will it be Mary or Micheal standing when the smoke clears?