Monday 23 April 2018

Insult to associate 'working class' with foul-mouthed protesters

Former tánaiste Joan Burton. Photo: Collins Courts
Former tánaiste Joan Burton. Photo: Collins Courts
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The furore surrounding the Jobstown Six trial has pushed the real issue to the sidelines.

Two women were confronted by an angry mob because of one woman's job and decisions made in that job.

The then tánaiste Joan Burton was subjected to the most foul and coarse language and assaulted with a water balloon. Gardaí "asked" the rabble to stand back, afraid to use their batons.

A simple question to readers: If that was your mother, daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend, and you were in front of that car, in possession of a baton - what would you do?

Put yourself there ...

I am a middle-class woman, in other words, from the group in society who cannot be seen to criticise the 'working class'.

I must not be seen as confrontational, should compromise and show empathy.

Well, unlike Paul Murphy, with his pseudo working-class principles, my father was working class, as was his father.

They had values and principles, and while they railed against the injustice of taxes and annual budgets which gave them very little, it would be unthinkable that they would call any woman a c***, threaten or intimidate her, because they disagreed with her decisions. If they were in the presence of people who behaved as such, they would challenge them and defend the woman, as opposed to mealy mouthed smirking and sneering.

It is an insult to associate working-class people with those at the Jobstown protest. Those present may hide behind such language as "right to protest", but make no mistake, what we saw in Jobstown was a crowd of unprincipled thugs, influenced by louts with political power.

In plain terms, Irish people, both working and middle classes, are intimidated by political correctness, which is the modern equivalent of censorship.

We need to call a spade a spade, open our eyes and speak up.

Fiona Barry

Thurles, Co Tipperary


Cancer cuts news is ill-timed

The latest revelations that thousands of breast cancer survivors who have had radical surgery face added financial hardship, stress and anxiety, following a HSE decision to cut vital supports is deeply distressing (Irish Independent, July 1).

This a scandal of the highest order and penny-pinching in the extreme. It comes in the wake of the decision to limit the supply of vital post-operation body-enhancing products that help to improve a patient's altered physical image and crucial self-esteem.

This simple and low-cost scheme is being targeted and undermines the pledge to support all cancer survivors.

The HSE attempted to justify the policy by stating that the new scheme will give every woman the same service countrywide, and end the problem of some health areas having limited or no supports, regardless of gender.

Dr David Fennelly, an oncologist at St Vincent's Hospital Dublin, said women who are recovering from breast cancer surgery are anxious to get back to a normal life as quickly as possible, and should have instant access to the best supports available.

There is also an ever-increasing awareness that more needs to be done for people who are cancer survivors, in terms of psycho-oncology support, with a much greater geographical spread throughout the country for all those on the cancer journey.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo


Simpler solution to schools issue

It was interesting to read Education Minister Richard Bruton's piece on primary schools admissions (Irish Independent, July 1).

Recently, along with more than 200 others, including the minister, I attended a national forum on the role of religion in primary school admissions.

In the plenary reporting back session from the many groups was the common assertion that many of the problems of school oversubscription arose from the simple fact of multiple applications by a great many parents. While the minister's plan seeks to address the problem of parents holding several offers, it fails to follow the simpler solution of a common centralised admissions clearing house procedure for the Dublin area and its perceived shortage of places.

In my time as principal of two quite different English church schools, I experienced local government-operated systems which respected and successfully co-ordinated admissions for both denominational and secular schools. With such co-ordination, schools were able to operate their distinctive ethos criteria and children were best matched to their preferred choice. Almost always the final deciding objective factor within each criterion was that of distance from home to school. There is no reason why such a system would not work for the greater Dublin area.

The Government seems to want to wash its hands of all administrative responsibilities and instead foist obligations upon underfunded and poorly resourced boards of management. The minister's present (and perhaps unconstitutional) proposal has the potential to alienate parents, overburden managers and undermine any meaningful sense of ethos.

Alan Whelan

Killarney, Co Kerry


Our reasons to toast Canada

The visit of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his family to Ireland is to be warmly welcomed.

This year, Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation which has been designated 'Canada 2017,' by the Canadian Government. I hope our public representatives will honour that event during the visit.

As well as Ireland's many cultural and trading links with Canada, there is also a significant historic political connection. The freedom and political rights enjoyed by Canada under its 'dominion status' provided a model for the signatories of the Anglo-Irish Treaty signed on December 6, 1921. The treaty stated specifically that the new Irish Free State was to have the same status "as the Dominion of Canada".

This Canadian reference in the treaty, as well as the reports of the Imperial Conferences of 1926, 1929 and 1930, in which the representatives of the Irish Free State played an active role - culminating in the Statute of Westminster Act of 1931, may be said to be the real 'stepping stones' to Irish political and economic freedom envisaged by Michael Collins and those who supported the treaty.

The announcement, whether by accident or design, by Taoiseach John A Costello in 1948 of his intention to repeal the External Relations Act of 1936 - effectively declaring an Irish Republic - "in Ottawa of all places", as he is reported to have said himself, is yet another interesting connection between Canada and this Republic, which subsequently came into being on April 18, 1949.

Let us hope that Mr Trudeau and his family enjoy their trip here.

Dan O'Leary

Clonakilty, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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