Monday 24 October 2016

The way of life outside of our cities is well worth protecting

Published 10/05/2016 | 02:30

Former Secretary General of the Department of Finance John Moran. Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney
Former Secretary General of the Department of Finance John Moran. Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

I noted the comments of John Moran, the former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, and the thought occurred to me that here is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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In this year, the centenary of the 1916 Rising, what happened to "cherishing all the children of the nation equally"?

I believe Mr Moran grew up on a small farm in Co Limerick, and would have experienced the good quality of life in rural Ireland - the real Ireland.

So I would have expected him to know that quality living is not dependent on what city life has to offer, and indeed that quality living in a city is much more expensive and elusive and difficult to achieve.

Rather than calling for the total urbanisation of Ireland, with a rapid increase in the number of soulless ghettoes, I would submit that the cost to the exchequer of urban lawlessness, crime and anti-social behaviour generally would far outweigh the cost of rural rejuvenation and maintaining rural structures and way of life.

I would argue that a comprehensive economic study, taking into account the greater cost of lawlessness, crime and of maintaining law and order in urban areas, would show Sean Citizen in an urban setting costs more than Sean Citizen in rural Ireland.

Economic studies comparing urban and rural living that I have seen have been very selective and incomplete and weighed favourably on urban living.

I would urge Mr Moran to remember his rural youth, where there were integrated social structures embracing all strata of society and where the camaraderie and sense of belonging compensates totally for any perceived advantages of the cities.

Hopefully, he would then work to maintain the rural way of life.

Leonard Roarty

Manorcunningham, Co Donegal


Slan leat to rural Ireland?

John Moran is quite correct. Ireland can't afford a rural Ireland, unless that is, the rest of Ireland wants to diet, Bord Bia wants nothing to sell and Failte wants to rebrand as Slán.

Colum Joyce

Connemara, Co Galway


Shelve the issue of the Eighth

On Friday, a new Government is formed at last; and by Monday, the pressure on it to repeal the Eight Amendment begins with a reminder of the last government's pledge to form a citizens' assembly to 'face the issue again' (Editorial, May 9).

However, the pledge was made in the context of a government under huge media pressure on the topic, kicking for touch in the lead-up to a general election; and the political landscape has changed dramatically since then.

Now we have a minority government kept in place by a large number of TDs who have no interest in seeing the Eighth removed - TDs who remember that those raising the issue with politicians on the doorsteps during the election campaign were almost exclusively in favour of retaining it.

Somehow, I would not be at all surprised if the new Government, as it ponders the complexity of this new political reality, finds it is the wisest course of action to shelve the idea of facing this issue again in the near future.

And as for any pledge to do so - well, as the last government demonstrated, promises around the issue of abortion are susceptible to being broken.

Revd Patrick G Burke

Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny


Metaphorical meteorology

What is more worrying - that Danny Healy-Rae sees God as some kind of deity controlling the weather, or that others fail to appreciate that God may also be a metaphor for, among other things, the awesome power and force of 'nature'?

Who may be guiltier of interpreting things too literally?

Joseph Mackey

Athlone, Westmeath


Revisionism around 1916

The retaliation inflicted on the French people by the Nazis, because of the activities of the resistance fighters, was brutal and inhumane. It entailed the shooting of civilians who were living in any area where bridges were blown up or communications disrupted.

All the males of Tulle, for instance, between the ages of 16 and 60, were taken prisoner on June 9, 1942. Some 99 of them were hanged and the remainder dispatched to Dachau.

One day later, 640 inhabitants of the village of Oradour-sur-Glane were rounded up. The men were shot and the women and children burnt alive in a church.

If we apply the template of 1916 revisionism to the French resistance, it could be argued that de Gaulle and his cohorts were culpably responsible for all of this. Occupied France could have remained supine, subservient and safe. Then when the Allies had won the war, France would have been liberated.

In 1940, Roosevelt, in cultivating collaborative Pétain rather than the patriotic De Gaulle, had written to him as follows: "I need not again affirm to you that the United States of America seeks no territories and remembers always the historic friendship and mutual aid which we have so greatly given to each other."

This renewed "historic friendship" would have ensured that the usurper de Gaulle be shown up to be a charlatan, a narrow-minded 'mé-féiner'. Then, after a promised probation period, but dependent on the goodwill of the Allies, France would have had her international status fully restored.

However, I doubt if such revisionism, quite similar to that being peddled by the denigrators of the men and women of 1916 in Ireland at present, is mooted in la République française.

Colm Ó Tórna

Address with editor


Best ever sporting headline?

While I enjoyed Damien Carroll's letter to the editor in Saturday's Independent regarding Eric Cantona's display of martial arts at Crystal Palace in 1995, I still believe that Leicester City's Premier League victory trumps everything else to date.

Being a staunch Leeds supporter myself, I also have pleasant memories of the enigmatic Frenchman's contribution to the Pride of Yorkshire's Championship victory over Manchester United in 1992.

Unfortunately for Leeds, and much to Alex Ferguson's delight, he left Elland Road for Old Trafford and proved to be the final piece in the jigsaw as United ended a barren spell of 26 years without a league title in 1993.

However, I was reminded of a very apt headline describing Eric Cantona's infamous kung fu kick at the time: S*** Hits the Fan!

Beat that if you can, Damien Carroll!

Mike Geraghty

Newcastle, Galway

Irish Independent

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