Monday 24 October 2016

Remembering a man of great decency, class and true integrity

Published 30/08/2016 | 02:30

The late Peter Barry
The late Peter Barry

With the passing of Peter Barry, a wonderful story comes to mind.

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During the 1977 General Election, Peter's government car, with driver, was parked outside the front door of the HiB bar in Cork city. Proprietor Brian O'Donnell invited Peter, myself and other Fine Gael supporters to 'after-hours' drinks. When Peter left at 1am, Brian dashed into the room and announced that we should all leave immediately, since his 'insurance policy' had vacated the building

Others may extol his political successes. I wish to note more personal moments.

When a local Cork character, Andy Gaw, died, Peter went to visit Andy's two sisters. There were many other such personal and private visits made by Peter over the years.

A local, well-known paperboy, Fats Cavendish, when asked which celebrities he had met, the first name he mentioned was Peter Barry.

I had a long association with Cork's oldest bookstore, Liam Russell's. The fondest memory was the visit, each Christmas Eve, by Peter to extend seasonal wishes to Liam. They would stand in the middle of the shop, chatting in Irish for a good half-hour or more, surrounded by the festive bustle and buzz of their fellow citizens. No memory of Peter is complete without mention of his gracious wife, Margaret. Margaret and Peter, proudly, yet humbly, represented Cork to the country and the world with common decency, class, integrity and sincerity.

John Twomey

Washington DC, US

Clinton, our hope for democracy

The under-representation of the majority of the population that are women in the decision-making forums of what are supposed to be representative democracies is one of the major faults of democratic rule worldwide.

Marginalising the talents, perspectives and interests of such an important and vital majority is not in anyone's interest.

It is therefore difficult to understand why Hillary Clinton's attempt to become the first woman to be the most powerful politician in the world is meeting with so much opposition, even from women.

In contrast, the arrogance-will-get-you-everywhere attitude of Donald Trump, her Republican opponent, is receiving widespread publicity and praise by commentators in TV, electronic media and newspapers.

Mrs Clinton is not without fault but she is an experienced and capable politician representing the mainstream, democratic centre which has kept totalitarian extremes at bay since World War Two.

She is also a member of the female majority of the population, which has been politically marginalised for centuries.

If Mrs Clinton, as representing mainstream democracy, and as a member of the majority of the population that are women, does not become the next president of the US, when all she has opposing her is Trump, one should would worry for the future of democracy.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Equality for disabled athletes

We cheer our Rio-bound Irish Paralympic team, those athletes who have had to overcome so many more additional challenges (physical, emotional and possibly financial) than other athletes.

It came to my attention recently, however, that both the male and female winners of the Dublin City Marathon receive €12,000 each.

Obviously, to give either more than the other would be seen as discrimination.

But how can it be explained, therefore, that disabled athletes who win first prize in the same marathons receive just €750?

If this is not saying "You are less than", then I don't know what is.

I hope that this blatant wrong is righted and perhaps more disabled athletes will then be encouraged to take part in sport.

Rose Servitova

Dromkeen, Limerick

Thorny question from Tralee

Did the Tralee Roses have more thorns than usual this year?

John Williams

Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Did women burn their bras only to be told by men that they had to don burkinis?

Eve Parnell

Dublin 8

Humanity and threat from Isil

Harry Charalambou (Letters, August 27) is right to state that this is not the time to ask whether the West was culpable in the emergence of Isil. Our sole aim must be to defeat this outlaw gang and before we defeat it, we must ask ourselves what our world would be like if these gangsters are not beaten.

Are we able to tolerate a future where mass atrocities, public beheadings, burning captives alive, slavery, kidnappings, the enslavement of women, the persecution of ethnic and religious communities are common practices and where humanity's cultural treasures, that have been preserved for thousands of years, are systematically destroyed and fundamental and basic human rights are trampled upon?

King Abdullah II of Jordan was prudent in calling this a third-world war by other means and urged a global collective response with an equal intensity, enthusiasm, energy and vigour.

The main issue lies in the battle to win hearts, souls and minds on the ideological and cultural fronts.

We simply cannot sit idly by while these gangsters continue to pose a major danger to us.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob


Training our future clergy

Your front page headline 'Maynooth trainees to be supervised during meal times' (Irish Independent August 26) was, to say the least, humiliating, if not degrading, to the clerics at the college.

Here are 40 or so young men, who presumably would have undergone the most rigorous vetting, being treated as if they were a pack of irresponsible kindergarteners.

The subheading 'Stricter regime over gay culture' could also imply the Maynooth seminary was becoming a den of homosexual iniquity. Neither remark, no doubt, was intended to have any more veracity than a storm in a teacup but has been whipped into gale-force winds by a virile media bent on toppling the church.

Youth will express itself in every generation, regardless of background or profession, with the normal bit of bull acting that just needs prudent supervision. Naturally, in the current techno-digital environment, be it in Maynooth or Rome, they will explore the internet and social media.

New, more modern and inspirational seminaries in keeping with our expectations of future clergy are required. It is said that "a priest is as good as what his disciples will do when the sermon is over."

James Gleason

Thurles, Co Tipperary

Irish Independent

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