Terrorising the hares
Published 11/09/2016 | 02:30
Sir - Pope Francis, during the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation, called for environmental destruction to be classified as a sin.
Without getting into any complex theological arguments about the nature of sin or papal infallibility, I do believe he has a point. And given his admiration for the life of St Francis of Assisi, I'd like to think he'd agree with me when I use the word sin to describe the action of 114 TDs last June in voting to allow live hare coursing in Ireland.
By doing so, they said yes to hares being snatched from the Irish countryside to be used as bait for pairs of hyped-up greyhounds that strike, maul, and toss them about at so-called sporting venues.
To my mind, that is ecological and environmental terrorism.
Even hares that escape physically unhurt can die afterwards of stress-related ailments brought on by the contrived chase and the weeks of unnatural captivity preceding it.
If it's not sinful to subject a gentle creature like the hare to a practice where it has to twist and turn and dodge to avoid injury or death, and all for human amusement, then it ought to be… as should the political cowardice that enables hare coursing to survive in Ireland this far into the 21st Century.
Co Kilkenny Co. Kilkenny
The inspirational Tom Kettle
Sir - When the people of Ireland really learn about Tom Kettle, they will come to love him and be inspired by him as I, an English blow-in, have been for many years.
Lacking any sense of right and wrong
Sir - Travelling on a busy train from Belfast on Tuesday last, I observed a group of six young American women taking over three or four seated areas. They paired off in twos and then positioned themselves with their backs to the passenger aisle, thus preventing access by other passengers. This situation persisted unchecked the whole journey from Belfast to Dublin.
Obviously, they came with a mentality which excluded any sense of social correctness or of right and wrong - but also with an arrogance born of a life of social advantages. I am only sorry that we Irish did not take the opportunity to point this out to them.
Stop turning shops into nightclubs
Sir - Recently, a friend in the UK told me an organisation there called Pipe is campaigning against ear-splitting music in supermarkets. Not long ago in the area where I live, there were about five family-run groceries where one could engage in quiet conversation with the proprietors and other customers. Alas, those shops no longer exist and have been replaced by supermarkets all playing 'music', whether their customers want it or not.
One supermarket is top of my list in that regard, playing pop music at a very high volume like one experiences at international airports. The shelves are so tightly packed that when trying to extract an item, it's difficult without bringing them all down.
I mentioned to a lady recently that I felt like James Bond trying to defuse a bomb before the next blast of sound distracted me from that difficult task. She nodded in agreement, as conversation was difficult.
Teachers are being so irresponsible
Sir - Now that we are into September, I'm sure the parents got a certain amount of satisfaction, knowing that their loved ones were back in school under the care of the schoolteachers.
But then, the teachers, refreshed from their three months of freedom, are already up to their, by now, familiar antics, threatening the harassed parents with disruption in the classrooms unless their outlandish demands are met.
Do they feel they have any sense of duty or responsibility to either parents or pupils? In what other walk of life do apprentices get full pay?
On top of that then, we have our bus drivers also causing worry and havoc among frustrated parents, many of whom have to work hard to make ends meet.
These matters should be tackled by our Government, but does it have the will or the confidence to make its presence felt even now?
But I suppose when they see the way things are being run, in general, they also wonder why should they care?
John N Barry
Standing up for abused women
Sir - When I read the 'Women's Impact' report 2015 on June 16, I thought it would cause a countrywide debate. Sadly, it went the opposite way - dead silence. I call for an immediate debate on this important problem. According to this report, there were 20,000 abuse cases reported last year. Women told how they were kept prisoner in their homes, cut with knives, spat on, stabbed and held down with household items. Pregnant women were also abused.
I contacted the women's groups and asked them to get together so they would have more strength.
We thought free education would return us to be an island of saints and scholars. Sadly, it has gone the opposite way.
I call on all decent people to stop this harrowing situation and remember those who died and gave us independence to become a responsible nation.
Finally falling out of love with the EU
Sir - What about asking the people of Ireland if they agree with the European Union in regard to our tax laws?
England has said No to the law of Europe. I wonder would Irish people say Yes or No if they were given a chance.
The loneliness of old age with no car
Sir - I hear so much on how old people are treated by family and neighbours. Well let me tell you that I am 91 years of age. I have seven children, all married and grown up. I live alone, but not one of them even rings me or calls to see me.
I bum a lift from cars to town and back, having to wait on the roadside for 30 minutes to one hour every day. How nice it would be if I had my car, but no, the Gardai say I must not drive. The one thing I need, my car, my saviour, but Gardai say: "Don't drive, you might hurt yourself."
That is what I have to say.
If there is a will, there's a way.
Name and address with Editor
Elderly are a credit to our nation
Sir - I wish to congratulate Mr Murt Hunt, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo on his prize letter, "One hundred years of stories" (Sunday Independent, September 4).
The wonderful film, already shown in the UK, US and Canada, Older Than Ireland, has created great debate with all and sundry. So many viewers missed the RTE 1 showing on August 31. Possibly there will be a repeat of same at a much earlier time slot, as many of our senior citizens like to snuggle up early.
I compliment each of the 30 participants and their living, caring, devoted families. Their wonderful positivity, stamina, faith and humour, laced with simplicity, all add to their longevity.
Wisdom, hard work and being highly self-sufficient in that era gave them no time for TV. After the daily Rosary, the rambling houses, card games, ghost stories, song and maybe a half-set (dance), the old reliable flash-lamp guided them home safely.
'Soaps', in their era, were used in bathtubs. 'Apple' was a Beauty of Bath robbed from the neighbour's orchard. 'Pin' was to replace a lost button or hanging hemline. 'Web' was the intricate pattern of a spider in sunlight.
The dictionary has taken on a whole new language in recent years, for young and not-so-young alike.
I am enthralled and in awe daily, listening and learning from my dear mum, Margaret, older relatives and friends in their autumn years.
Definitely Mrs Bessie Nolan, from Drimnagh, Dublin, is a true inspiration to us ladies at 104 years young. She is an overnight television 'star' and can show us lassies how to crack the infamous glass ceiling.
I finally say to our senior citizens, enjoy the well-earned retirement, with the well-deserved Christmas bonus from the Government, recliner armchairs, woolly socks, a hot toddy over the festive season.
I am so proud of you. Well done and 'Happy Days' to all.
Uninsured drivers must be removed
Sir - Several newspapers have reported that the cost of insurance is 'skyrocketing' because of uninsured drivers.
I drove all over the United Kingdom and if you have no car insurance, the vehicle will be taken off you on the side of the road by police.
Come on - the police car computer should be able to detect if a car is not insured! Is it a third world system we have in this country?
Victoria Cross hero recalled
Sir - Recently returning from holiday to my wife Mary's former home in Drumree, Co Meath, I was delighted to read the article by Jerome Reilly (Sunday Independent, August 21) on the Gaulstown, Coole, Co Westmeath World War I hero Lieutenant Maurice Dease who had the very great distinction of being the first ever recipient of the Victoria Cross award.
Maurice was known as 'The Aviary Boy' and also nicknamed 'Peckham Dease' because of his great interest in birds. He died aged 25 on August 23, 1914, near Mons, France.
I thought it might interest your readers to further know that at that time Maurice's family lived in Culmullen, Drumree, Co Meath, and that there is a memorial plaque erected in his honour in St Martin's RC Church in Culmullen.
Also, apparently, my wife's uncle James Smith, being the Drumree telegraph messenger at the time, had the unpleasant task of delivering the very sad news of Maurice Dease's death to his family in Culmullen.
Later, he himself became a private in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and was killed on his first day of voluntary action in France, aged 20, on October 5, 1917.
Talkers but not listeners
Sir - Twice in the past two weeks on RTE Radio 1, I have, along with other listeners to our national radio service, witnessed two of our best-known presenters being bullied on air by so-called pro-life people.
Ray D'Arcy got a very severe going over from Senator Ronan Mullen who succeeded in preventing the programme presenter from saying a word.
He actually silenced Ray by constantly reminding the Kildare man that he (Ronan) pays his salary.
Then on Joe Duffy we had to endure another "talker but not a listener" when another member of the pro-life family hijacked about 34 minutes of the Joe Duffy Liveline programme.
This individual, from some organisation called The Women's Centre, talked nonstop without taking a breath and completely obliterated Joe.
These two people have done more for the pro-choice lobby than anyone from their own cohort.
Pat Burke Walsh
Incomprehensible tragedy in Cavan
Sir - The unspeakable, incomprehensible, unimaginable, tragedy - the murder of three beautiful children, a mother/wife and the suicide of the father/husband - has left the nation reeling. We are in shock, disbelief, feeling stunned grief and sadness.
It all seems so pointless. So senseless, so inhuman and tragic beyond all imagination.
When someone ends their own life we are so sad for them and their family.
And we keep thinking why, if only...
But for someone to senselessly take the life of another, an innocent, who wants to get on with their life, and a child or children, is too shocking for words. It's beyond belief. Beyond imagination.
The bereaved families, the family of Clodagh Coll Hawe, and the family of Alan Hawe, have displayed true humanity and heroic dignity in coming together to support each other in their unimaginable grief.
And having a shared funeral Mass and burial for the five of them showed great moral strength and the best of humanity.
How anyone could kill another human being is beyond understanding.
How any husband or wife, could murder their partner is incomprehensible.
How a father or mother could murder their child is mind-blowing.
We don't know why Alan Hawe could murder his wife Clodagh and his three beautiful children, Liam, Niall and Ryan. And we probably will never know. We may never know what took over his mind.
But I think demonising him is counter-productive.
It solves nothing. It explains nothing. It does not and will not help.
I don't think he was evil.
I can't get my head around it. But something may have taken over his mind.
And to hopefully prevent such an awful tragedy taking place ever again, I think the relevant organisations need to try and fathom what went so horrendously wrong.
It needs to be carefully, thoroughly, coolly investigated with open minds and eyes.
God rest all their souls.
Everyone - colleagues, neighbours, associates and friends - said that he was always there for everyone. That he was the one everyone turned to when they needed support and help.
But was anyone there for him? Was there anyone he could turn to for understanding support, or help?
Was there anyone in his corner? Did he feel overwhelmed by the expectations and too many demands made on him?
Was he concerned about letting people down?
Was he unable to say no to requests for help?
Did he feel pressurised, taken for granted and not valued?
Even strong, seemingly independent and dependable people need a listening ear, a friendly shoulder, a helping hand.
This awful tragedy needs to be a wake-up call to the necessity of support for all.
And I think that all the mechanical devices, mobile phones, internet, Facebook, Twitter and everything going viral have destroyed confidentiality, human empathy, the listening ear, the friendly shoulder, the trust, the little but important things, that make us human.
My deep, deep, sympathy, to the Hawe and Coll families.
In their awful pain, loss, grief distress, they have shown the best of humanity, both families showing no animosity, but a shared understanding and forgiveness.
And what a loss it is.
May God and his blessed Mother be with them in their terrible grief.
Is there a reason for everything?
Sir - None but God knows what happened to that nice family - the Hawes.
He called them, as he will all of us. The sympathy and prayers of everyone are with the grieving relatives who must carry such a terrible cross.
They say there is a reason for everything which happens and it will be explained one day.