Friday 21 October 2016

True heroes of our time are those helping migrants

Published 01/08/2015 | 02:30

Crew members from the Irish Navy vessel LE Eithne rescue migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean
Crew members from the Irish Navy vessel LE Eithne rescue migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean

Ireland has so far agreed to resettle 600 migrants in the next two years. This is in sheer contrast to the 130,000 being resettled by Germany. We can, of course, use the economic crisis excuse, but I feel this is unacceptable. Many of the migrants fleeing persecution and war in their home countries had jobs and a good education; it is these people who wish to contribute and be full participants of our society. The recent situation unfolding in Calais clearly should send alarm bells to the Irish Government that our collective response as a country fails remarkably.

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Less than 70 years ago, a brave man named Nicholas Winton helped to rescue 669 children on the eve of World War II from religious persecution. When world leaders and the powerful turned their backs, it was this man's extraordinary actions that gave those innocent people hope during a dark time.

While we hear constantly of the measures (including water cannon, batons and pepper spray) of keeping the migrants from seeking safety and of the alleged crimes being committed in an attempt, perhaps, to criminalise the entire migrant community, we should be spending more time crediting and supporting those people who are trying to help, feed and care for the migrants and refugees. These people are the true heroes of our time.

In years to come, hopefully we will not regret our lack of action and compassion towards these innocent people. When history repeats itself and we all act as if we are ignorant of it, our silence makes us complicit. Let's hope better sense prevails.

Fergal Kilkenny

Dundalk, Co Louth


Are migrants not refugees?

People on the Syrian border are described as "refugees". Why use the clinical word "migrant" when describing those at the Channel Tunnel? These people are clearly refugees fleeing war and poverty, whether trying to board a truck or not. Indeed, many so-called "migrants" were formerly described as "refugees".

The population movement across the Maghreb is an emergency, which did not exist 15 years ago. I ­wonder what happened in the ­meantime?

Des Buckley

Doughiska Road, Galway


Varadkar must give answers

I had a pancreas and kidney transplant in 2003 after 25 years with diabetes and three years on dialysis.

I note with interest that the Health Minister intends meeting with the hospital teams and Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI). Why not the stakeholders?

I list some of the questions Leo Varadkar should get answers to, if we are excluded, when discussing the chaotic mess that we are left in.

Mr Varadkar said patients would be assessed for the list by July 24 - what were the results? Was anyone added to the list? He also committed to pancreas transplants in St Vincent's in September. What is the real date, not the "go live" date?

How many applicants has there been for the pancreas transplant surgeons post? When are these interviews commencing? Why was former director of the National Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Programme David Hickey's offer to train replacements turned down? And finally, does he think it's appropriate that pancreas patients are being sent to kidney nephrologists?

And why are those patients urgently needing transplants not being sent abroad under the Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS)?

Brian Brady

Brighton Ave, Dublin 18


Back to square one on water

Embarrassing though it may be for Finance Minister Michael Noonan and the Government with a Budget and a general election on the horizon, it was a timely 'boot' Eurostat landed on the financial fiasco that is Irish Water.

No company could be successful by putting the cart before the horse, and the conjurers of the original plan need to get back to the drawing board. To charge money on a national basis, from the outset, on a product for human consumption that cannot be guaranteed in purity or quality for at least another five or six years - when, hopefully, a workable infrastructure will be in place - is unrealistic; if not criminal.

Initially, all old pipe and faulty mains must be replaced. Reservoir linkage, processing, purifying plants and meters need to be installed with all tested and guaranteed to supply a healthy quality product. Meters are essential for checking conservation and detecting leaks at source, regardless as to whether they could be used later for pricing.

It is only at this stage, method of distribution and water on the balance sheets should even be discussed. Since good water is essential to the survival of all live organisms, including man, I believe, it should be protected in the Irish Constitution as a government responsibility with no direct charge inflicted on consumers.

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary


Gems of insight and Harney

"And so the Banking Inquiry continues to fumble around in the dark hoping to get some illumination on why exactly the country was brought to its knees as a result of the crash." Your Editorial (Irish Independent, July 30) sketches a cool, 'tongue-in-cheek' take on the latest Banking Inquiry instalment - that relentless tragi-comedy in endless monologues, dialogues and diatribal acts, which has truly grasped the nation by the 'curt-and-surelies'. The level of enlightenment on offer has been gast-flabbering... not !

"Displaying a hitherto hidden mastery of understatement, Ms Harney revealed that the government should have asked harder questions and dug deeper."

Wow - quelle joyau de l'illumination... Are we paying enough for such gems of insight? Harney-gold standard isn't available every day of the week. Let's hope that Mary Harney and the whole cabal appearing are on generous expenses, at least. Such expertise surely deserves just and rich reward.

Defiance, diffusion, denial and discombobulation are the primary poles of the thespianic traits on offer, in this Dáil Theatre of Dusty Dreams and Musty Memories.

Mary Harney, who by any reasonable assessment was the consummate pro-active/hyperactive neoliberalist of her erstwhile generation of political players, was apparently (nay, shockingly) unaware of the exponential availability of cheap credit abounding. So she expounds on the stage of 'accountability'.

Was she in quarantine, solitary confinement or asleep at the time, perhaps?

Ah well, it's back to the hammock and the hum-drum of pension-pot stirring. Some have it tough, in fairness. Fairness? What's that?

Jim Cosgrove

Chapel Street, Lismore, Co Waterford

Irish Independent

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