Saturday 22 October 2016

Treatment of Greece shows we've learned nothing from past

Published 02/07/2015 | 02:30

A banner flies from a balcony of the Finance Ministry in Athens, Greece
A banner flies from a balcony of the Finance Ministry in Athens, Greece

How quickly the lessons of history are discarded. The European powers have forgotten how in 1919 in the wake of World War I, Germany was humiliated and beggared by the crippling terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

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The conditions of this treaty resulted in hardship, loss of sovereignty and social cohesion within Germany, sowing the seeds for the rise of the Nazi party.

In the aftermath of World War II, the lessons had been learned, but at the cost of 65 million lives, and the subsequent Marshall plan was very favourable towards the German nation, with direct aid and debt forgiveness designed to reconstitute the country's economy. A similar benign policy could have been offered to Greece by parking chunks of their ludicrous debt, with future repayments based on a percentage of Greek export profits, generated as the economy recovered. Instead the right-wing European institutions and political elite seem to want to hasten the utter destruction of the Greek nation, which in time they may come to regret. Europe needs a strong healthy Greece. It is a strategically important nation, acting as a bulwark between Europe and the encroaching borders of the 'caliphate' which Islamic State fanatics are bent on expanding, not to mention the growing risk of pushing Greece into the arms of bellicose Russia.

Bernard Guinan

Claremorris, Co Mayo


No end to Kenny's cowardice

It was galling to hear Taoiseach Enda Kenny being compliantly negative recently because Greece has the cheek to call a democratic referendum on whether the cruel conditions being forced on the entire population of that great country by the powerful troika - none of whom have been elected by anyone in the EU - will be accepted.

Mr Kenny and his cronies are desperate to avoid the shame of not having had the courage of the Greek government in the face of the same parasites who bled dry of our wealth and health, condemning us to a fate from which Ireland will never recover. Despite the upbeat lies of "wonderful economic recovery", the people of Ireland are poorer now than in 2008, since the stripping away of income, wages, pensions, social welfare and services by the new regimen of constant austerity.

Is there no end to the cowardice of this Government, who now will tell us we have no other means of voting about anything to do with questioning the EU dictatorship, ever again. Remember when we were in double-referendum territory until we got it "right"? Greece will never stand for anything so unjust.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork


Infant mental health is crucial

The strong emphasis placed on infant mental health by Dr Paul D'Alton (June 26) was a very welcome step for those working in the area, given how significant this period (zero to three years) is "in laying the psychological foundation for later life". I sincerely hope that where the Government may have missed out in their recent "Connecting for Life" Suicide Prevention Strategy, that they do not neglect the importance of infant and perinatal mental health in their upcoming National Maternity Strategy. Perinatal mental health refers to the emotional, psychological and social aspects of health during the time from preconception up until two years post-birth.

This period is the highest risk time for women to develop mental health problems, as it is a time of very significant physical and psychological change as they adapt to the responsibilities of parenthood. A recent Irish study found that 9.8pc of their sample met the criteria for postnatal depression 12 weeks post partum. Perinatal and infant mental health are inextricably related, in that the quality of a woman's health and wellbeing may directly impact the infant's health as well as the health of the entire family.

Maternal mental illness can directly affect a mother's ability to attune to and respond to her baby's needs, which can lead to an "insecure attachment" being formed where there is little predictability of care. This places the infant at risk developmentally, as the early months are the precise time during which their brain development is at its peak.

This is also the time when the infant develops firm templates for all future relationships, ie. they learn to love through their first human partners, their parents. The impacts of stress on the foetus and lack of quality interaction post-birth can increase the risk of cognitive delay and emotional difficulties in children, and lead to mental health issues as the child matures.

Prioritising infant and perinatal mental health is absolutely crucial for the wellbeing of future generations and must be prioritised in the National Maternity Strategy.

Dr Malie Coyne



How to reduce terrorism

Now that we've had a few days to reflect on the horrible events in Tunisia, it's essential that we look at this in a wider perspective. After all, this attack didn't come out of nowhere. Isil are mostly from that destroyed nation called Iraq. In 2003, on the eve of the war-crime that was the illegal invasion of Iraq, the British government were warned by our own security services that any such military venture would increase the threat to us, the population of this country, of future terror attacks.

It is also very interesting to see how differently the media have covered this recent mass shooting by a lone gunman in Tunisia, compared with the other recent mass shooting by a lone gunman in the US church. One was a terror attack, and yet somehow the other one wasn't. What governments need to learn is, as Noam Chomsky would say: "If we want to reduce terrorism in the world, then we should stop participating in it."

C Crilly

South London


Three pillars against libel

Re: 'It is time to review our laws on libel' (editorial, June 30). No newspaper should be held for libel if the following three pillars have been observed in its publication.

1. Reasonable amount of research has been completed so that a reasonable person would conclude that its finding was correct. Usually three reliable sources. 2. No major argument present to suggest that finding was not correct. 3. At the time of publication, all available evidence supports printed statement.

It is essential that juries in libel cases are explained the difference between "statements of opinion" and "statements of alleged fact".

Vincent J Lavery

Irish Free Speech Movement,

Dalkey, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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