Tuesday 20 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Politicians seem to have faith in churchgoers as easy targets'

It is not unknown for those manning the church-gate collections to take note of those who contribute, and how much. Stock photo
It is not unknown for those manning the church-gate collections to take note of those who contribute, and how much. Stock photo
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

This time of year, traditionally being the season for the church-gate collections of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, makes me wonder why they don’t do such collections on a Saturday afternoon?

After all, the streets, supermarkets, coffee shops and shopping centres are teeming with potential contributors. Once they have a permit from gardaí, they can collect in any public place they wish. So why do they choose 20-minute ‘windows of opportunity’ at church gates?

Let’s not forget that, according to the audited accounts of the four main political parties, they were in receipt of €15.4m from State funds, ie. your taxes and mine.

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Again, why? Could it be the very real possibility/probability of being challenged and even lambasted by the public about the homelessness crisis, the vulture funds and mortgage arrears crisis, hospital waiting lists, the trolley scandal, the cervical cancer scandal, the amount of taxpayers’ money already squandered on the National Children’s Hospital, the HPV scandal, the closures of Garda stations and post offices in rural Ireland, and the immigration issue? The list is endless. Or could it be they perceive churchgoers as ‘easy targets’, who are unlikely to cause a scene outside their churches as they go to pray, by challenging political parties on the aforementioned hot topics of anger and dissatisfaction in our country? Do they perceive churchgoers as docile, respectful people who will toss a few coins/notes into their buckets, rather than walking by without contributing, which might offend the locals who are collecting?

Do they exploit the fact many feel intimidated or embarrassed into contributing, while others do not want to renege on long-standing family traditions of supporting certain political parties?

It is not unknown for those manning the church-gate collections to take note of those who contribute, and how much. Or are they suffering from selective, collective amnesia where on the one hand they are looking for money from the faithful, and on the other, are forgetting they actively promote a liberal and secular agenda which campaigns, celebrates and legislates on issues that fly in the face of Catholic beliefs and teaching?

So, which is it? The choice is yours.

Sinéad Tracey

Leitrim village, Co Leitrim

 

Unemployment is still a big issue for the many who suffer

ANNE-Marie Walsh is wrong to say that unemployment in this country has “flatlined”; the term “flatlined”, in this context, implies that unemployment is at or close to zero, and that is far from the reality in this country. The “official” figure published by the CSO tells us there are 129,000 people unemployed in this country.

Even if we take this figure at face value (and we shouldn’t), we must remember each of these 129,000 people is a human being without the “normality”, the income and all the other social and economic advantages that come from having a job; that’s a very difficult place to be at any time. We must especially remember the 76,107 human beings who are long-term unemployed and who are, and have been, completely ignored by the Government, the Department of Social Protection and employers for a very long time. There are many highly skilled people among those 76,107 human beings. Why is so much potential being ignored, particularly given the current skills shortage?

Finally, it must be pointed out that the “official” figure for unemployment, issued by the CSO, doesn’t tell the whole story about unemployment in Ireland. There are currently 51,000 people on so-called “activation” schemes in this country. These people do real work but do not “enjoy” any of the normal benefits or advantages that should accrue from working: they are, in reality, still fully unemployed. The true figure for unemployment in this country, therefore, doesn’t show a “flatline” at all; it shows 180,000 human beings who are without the “normality”, the income and all the other social and economic advantages that come from having a job.

Tim Buckley

White Street, Cork City

 

One year on, repealing the Eighth has proved a triumph

IT IS almost a year to the day of the referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment. This was of huge significance – the State no longer has control of women’s reproductive and health decisions. What has happened since? Abortion provision is steadily increasing and is GP-led. Women can access abortion services within the State, preventing untold stress, misery and expense. Fewer abortions than originally estimated have been sought. A small group occasionally harasses doctors and patients, and legislation will soon deal with that.

Many people, mobilised into campaigning for the first time, are now standing for local elections around the country.

Thank you, Ireland. The tide has turned, and it is not turning back.

Dr Chryssa Dislis

York Terrace, Cork

Irish Independent

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