Friday 30 September 2016

Still tormented by banks

Published 27/03/2016 | 02:30

'It is nice to see some acknowledgment in Claire Mc Cormack's article (Sunday Independent, March 20) about ordinary, hard-working people who have lost almost everything' Stock photo: Slava Rutkovski
'It is nice to see some acknowledgment in Claire Mc Cormack's article (Sunday Independent, March 20) about ordinary, hard-working people who have lost almost everything' Stock photo: Slava Rutkovski

Sir - I'm writing on behalf of my husband and all those who have lost property and suffered from the financial crash in Ireland.

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My husband was a hard-working man, a slave to work. He had a breakdown last July during a family holiday in Spain. We have had two houses repossessed over the last few years. My husband had to resign from his business due to pressure and strain, and ended up in St Pat's with a mental breakdown.

It is nice to see some acknowledgment in Claire Mc Cormack's article (Sunday Independent, March 20) about ordinary, hard-working people who have lost almost everything.

Still the banks are so arrogant as ever. Even though we told them we were under savage pressure, they continued to send threatening letters in the post every week.

Even after my husband going to St Pat's, they threaten you with letters for not following their "Code of Conduct". Even though we're still paying our mortgage every month.

My husband came home last weekend for two nights for a funeral.

A 54-year-old Tipperary man, a farmer, committed suicide because he was in trouble. A black ribbon on his door. RIP.

The cost of human life over the bank crisis. May all those tormented souls rest in peace.

(Name supplied and with the Editor)

Pearse just 'an enigma'

Sir - Buried in the bowels of Ruth Dudley Edward's piece 'The mysteries of the strange Pearse family' (Sunday Independent, March 20) is the allegation that our patron saint Padraig Pearse was in fact a paedophile, or perhaps a pederast.

Ms Dudley Edwards claims that recollections from students Pearse taught published recently show he was sexually attracted to his students, and "given to kissing the more good-looking of his pupils on the lips". I find it interesting that if a national hero such as Pearse is implicated in sexual scandal, he is merely waved off as an 'enigma'. Do famous republicans get a pass?

K Nilic, Co Leitrim

Kim, more 'Barbie Doll' than fab

Sir - Whilst I agree completely with Ann-Marie O'Doherty's (Letter Of The Week, Sunday Independent, March 20) sentiments that Kim K's constant posting of near-naked selfies on social media may have a detrimental effect on vulnerable young girls who wish for body "perfection" like Kim's, I must disagree with her last sentence which states: "Save your fabulous bod (and it is pretty fab) for your husband."

Far from thinking that her body is "fab" I think she looks abnormal, doll-like and plastic with exaggerated features much like a Barbie Doll. Certainly not a woman/body for anyone to emulate.

Liz Luke, Dublin 4

Aidan O'Shea's love of sport

Sir - Tommy Conlon's article (Sport, Sunday Independent, March 20) on The Toughest Trade series and in particular his identification of the so-called inadequacies of Aidan O'Shea's physical condition are extremely disrespectful. Tommy seems to take pleasure in pouring scorn over Aidan's 5-10-5 sprint time. The American footballers' athletic ability is drooled over by the Tomster.

Tommy fails to provide balance, failing to factually state the money behind college-level American football teams etc. They have near infinite resources. Does the Mayo County Board have the population base and resources to produce that kind of athlete? No.

O' Shea played in an underage system where depending on the ability of those running that system, he was exposed to different attitudes to physical preparation. Those attitudes have shifted now to more modern processes. O'Shea has got himself, in his twenties I might add, into phenomenal shape for an amateur sportsman. I doubt if Colm O'Rourke would write such drivel.

Then again, he has actually played at the highest level and I don't think Tommy would have a clue about what it actually takes to get into the same parish never mind the same field as the likes of O'Shea or O'Rourke.

Tommy also remarks on O'Shea's socks. Important stuff alright. What a sadly typical article from a journalist who will this summer no doubt extol the virtues of individualism or spontaneity when bemoaning some robotic defensive system employed by a team in the championship.

I'm sure Roberto Wallace is a fine lad. He got paid well for his efforts in professional sport. O'Shea remarks towards the end of the documentary that he plays for the love of his sport, for his club and county.

No amount of money will trump that.

P Doherty, Monaghan

'Incendiary' views about the English

Sir - I have re-read Eilis O'Hanlon's 'First Person' feature (LIFE, Sunday Independent, March 20) a few times now and I am still struggling to find the 'joke'. Am I 'missing a trick', I had to ask myself? A day later and still none the wiser, I have had to face the horrible inevitability that this woman is not joking, there is no 'trick' to speak of, the article is as you find it.

As the daughter of an Irish mother and an English father and the grand-daughter of Irish, English and Polish grandparents, I really enjoy and am fiercely proud of my 'mixed' roots and ancestry. I live in Edinburgh with my Dubliner husband and our two children but I currently find myself holidaying in the beautiful Connemara, which has got me to reading your newspaper.

I can honestly say I am still in shock. Not only does the article come across as hugely stereotypical, but it is written with real anger and a choice of words that I quite frankly find incendiary. "Indigenous oxygen-wasters", "speaking like the serial killer Fred West", "witless accents". I could go on but I would end up quoting the whole article.

I won't lower myself to go back on each sweeping statement you make and draw comparisons between the Irish and English, or between any different nationalities for that matter, but I will say this.

Certain types of people are everywhere. Even in a stunning country that you aren't even proud to call home, Eilis.

So take your head out of your arse and maybe try to find the beauty in things and appreciate the differences that exist between us all. Or I will be filling my ears with cement next time you speak. Or whatever the visual equivalent is to reading your crap.

Anna Stephens, Edinburgh

Accent on size

Sir - It is with great distaste I write regarding Eilis O'Hanlon's piece of journalistic xenophobia, "There's no place like home". (LIFE, Sunday Independent, March 20) I am shocked at the blatant references to people's body size, assumed disability and specific accents.

Have we not moved away from this type of gutter journalism? These attitudes have caused so much hurt and anguish over the years. Batting a culture because of its nuances is cheap and poorly considered.

I ask is she unhappy that her daughter had to go to university in the UK? Is it not a great opportunity that the choice was available? Did Eilis herself not study there also. Whilst also turning on our own country "from the scummiest parts of Dublin to the deadest rural holes". How could someone be so angry and unhappy?

If that theme was carried in the UK media in this our centenary year of 1916, I am sure there would be upset and criticism of such attitudes.

I read down, half-expecting a punchline, as if a joke was being formulated, to justify this dark view of others and their culture.

Maybe all that exposure to the "ubiquitous smell of fried food" has truly left a chip on Eilis's shoulder.

Steve Hayden, Dublin 24

Not funny at all

Sir - Eilis O'Hanlon's opinion piece "There's no place like home" (LIFE, Sunday Independent, March 20) was both offensive and charmless.

A tongue-in-cheek critique of another country's social quirks can, when written well, be funny and insightful. This piece was not and is just plain racist.

Would it have been published if written about any other country?

Conor Dowling, Baldoyle

Salt of the earth

Sir - I returned home to Ireland after spending 35 years in the North of England, where I married and raised a family. The northern English, in particular Yorkshire and Northumbrians, I found to be the salt of the earth and am proud not only to count northerners among my dearest friends, but proud also that my sons were born in Yorkshire.

I read Eilis O'Hanlon's article (LIFE, Sunday Independent, March 20) with mounting horror and disgust. I have never before read such vitriolic, racist diatribe about any country, especially England. Ms O'Hanlon obviously views Irish people , their size, habits and customs through rose-tinted spectacles.

I am appalled that your editorial process is so flawed and lax that an article like this has been published. Shame on you.

I expect nothing less than a public printed apology.

Michael Leahy, Skibbereen, West Cork

Great exception

Sir - As an English woman living in Ireland for the last 35 years, I take great exception to the article written by Eilis O'Hanlon (LIFE, Sunday Independent, March 20)

My family visit me in Ireland on a regular basis, as do many other British families and tourists. I would hate to think that any of then are sitting in an Irish hotel, B&B, restaurant etc, reading such a racist article, in what has always been our regular Sunday newspaper.

We certainly won't be buying your paper in the future!

I would just like to add that my Irish husband and I have been married for 44 very happy years, 35 of those in Ireland, in what I had always considered to be a very welcoming and a non-racist country.

Penny McGowan, Kells, Co Meath

A random stew

Sir - What an extraordinary column by Eilis O'Hanlon ("There's No Place Like Home," (LIFE, Sunday Independent, March 20). And that's not a compliment. I thought at first that the nastiness of her anti-English rant was the preface to some sort of satirical take on the issue, but no, she appeared to be totally serious. Or maybe I'm too stupid to appreciate the nuances.

The English according to Eilis are - I paraphrase - fat, very, very fat, lazy scroungers, red-faced, with awful accents, which often make them sound stupid, and the place smells of fried food. Some of them are so common they use the term tea instead of dinner!

Everyone rightly hates them.

I was born in England, spent many years in Dublin and Kerry and now live in Scotland.

I would be astonished if a reputable newspaper in either England or Scotland published an anti-Irish diatribe that would parallel this article.

By all means criticise the English for their faults.

But O'Hanlon's stew of random observations extrapolated into a national stereotype was simply offensive.

A M Keane, Edinburgh

People in glasshouses

Sir - I was disturbed to read Eilis O'Hanlon's article. It was plain rude. There is an expression, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

Has Ms O'Hanlon never heard the words 'Youse' and 'Howyas' as two examples of peculiar Irish words? Has Ms O'Hanlon never travelled to parts of Ireland where accent and dialect make understanding locals quite difficult?

I am intrigued to note that she appeared happy for her daughter to attend university in England. Let's hope she does not return to Ireland with an accent and words that upsets her mother!

On another matter in your LIFE magazine, the double entendre and innuendo in the Shutterbug section is rather childish.

Hugh Fortune, Gorey, Co Wexford

Sir - As regards Carol Hunt's very good article on Gerry Adams (Sunday Independent, March 20), I agree completely with the opinions she expressed about the Sinn Fein leader.

However, I took exception to the fact that Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty were described as "likeable politicians". Both are senior members of Sinn Fein who back their leader no matter what the situation at every opportunity.

The article stated that Adams, "is deluded enough to think that he has gotten away with protecting rapists and sex abusers". But surely McDonald and Doherty have colluded with Adams in this respect as they have never condemned his actions. According to Ms Hunt, the credibility of McDonald and Doherty is being damaged by Adams. However, by failing to condemn Adams, surely they have lost their credibility at this stage.

Mary O'Sullivan, Bantry, Co Cork

Parallels with Brussels horror

Sir - It is indeed horrific what the residents of Brussels are experiencing at the present time with the bombing at the airport and the metro station by Isil. We in Ireland and England had similar experience when Sinn Fein/IRA was carrying out its bombing campaign for 30 years.

This organisation ceased its bombing and entered a peace process after thousands of people in Dublin and elsewhere carried out marches in protest against terrorism.

What is required now is that all Muslims throughout the world speak out and condemn these atrocities, and if they have information about anyone involved in these terrible acts, that they report them to the police - and try to stop this madness before it is too late.

Noel Peers, Graignamanagh

Not immune to terror attacks

Sir - We in Ireland should not feel that we are immune to terrorist attacks such as the atrocities carried out in Brussels during the week.

Fanatical extremists such as these do not recognise borders within Europe but rather view us all as part of western civilisation - and therefore their enemy.

Don't believe for a minute that our so-called 'neutrality' or absence of an imperialist past offer us immunity. Risk is only reduced by our lack of physical connection to mainland Europe, but that is not a reason for complacency.

Nor should we feel trepidation or succumb to Islamophobia. That is exactly what the terrorists want.

It should be noted that a number of senior Muslim clerics from across the country put pen to paper to emphatically condemn the atrocity in Brussels.

John Bellew, Co Louth

A very closed republic in 1916

Sir - The republic founded following 1916 was a closed society with compulsory conformity imposed by the nationalist elite. The word 'republic' comes from 'res publica' - 'the thing of the people' - ie, an open society.

According to John Locke, the modern father of a republic, a republic exists when men freely agree with other men to join and unite into a community for comfortable, safe and peaceable living. In consenting with others to form a republic, every man puts himself under an obligation to every one of that republic to submit to the determination of the majority. The relationship between citizen and government is a constitution and the rights of the government come from the people in that constitution.

There are many false republics, such as the claim that the Irish Republic was born in 1916. In fact, 1916 was an unelected military junta imposing its will on the Irish people. Then, we were a province of the UK -and we are now a province of the EU.

A republic founded on human rights is "government of the people, for the people by the people".

James Mathers, Limerick

Sunday Independent

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