Pope deserves warm welcome from us all
Sir - I disagree with Gordon Cunningham's scathing attack on the Pope's upcoming visit. (Letters, Sunday Independent, July 8). It's not often the Pope makes a trip to Ireland, so I think we...
Sir - I disagree with Gordon Cunningham's scathing attack on the Pope's upcoming visit. (Letters, Sunday Independent, July 8). It's not often the Pope makes a trip to Ireland, so I think we...
Sir - It's a no-brainer to treat staff well. It makes economic sense! I presume Ryanair has made the calculations of the projected loss if the strike goes ahead on Thursday. It's not only the cost of rearranging people's flights - possibly €2m plus - but then on top of that the reluctance of all those...
Sir - Declan Lynch is correct. (Sunday Independent, June 24). The English football team's adventures in Russia tell us a lot about Brexit. Indeed, the wonderfully entertaining World Cup jamboree unwittingly reveals lots about that thorny subject - just not what he thinks it does.
Sir - Following Alan O'Keeffe's article (Sunday Independent, June 17) and the recently published report by Dr Keith Swanick on loneliness in Ireland, I would like to tell you of a free service available to all older people that aims to lessen loneliness.
Sir - Eoghan Harris and others have questioned the advisability of the Leo Varadkar visit to the Orange Order and the Feile in west Belfast (Sunday Independent, June 10). While these issues are,...
Sir - Reading Gay Byrne's comments re 'news' being pronounced as 'nooze', etc, was a reminder that Gay was always an advocate of 'talking proper'.
Sir - With the inspirational and life-enhancing Darkness Into Light walk coming up, I think about suicide... about how it kills good people, kills hope, creates grief beyond words for those left behind.
Sir - I would like to comment on Philip Ryan's article (Sunday Independent, April 15) about Minister Katherine Zappone's introduction of 'baby boxes' to all parents of newborn babies in our maternity hospitals.
Sir - Restrictions to abortion do not reduce the rate of abortions. In other words, the Eighth Amendment has not saved any lives. The recent 'Abortion Worldwide 2017' study shows that abortion occurs as frequently in the two most restrictive regimes as the two least restrictive regimes.
Sir - Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame has made the ultimate sacrifice representing the uniform which he wore with pride. In saving a life [in last month's jihadist attack in France] by forfeiting his own, he has saved many others by showing the whole world how to behave in the face of terror.
Sir - Brendan O'Connor hit the nail on the head in his article "Listen to these 7,000 kids now, not when it's too late" (Sunday Independent, February 18).
Sir - As an opponent of Sinn Fein/IRA for the past 50 years, I cannot praise the Sunday Independent and its excellent journalists highly enough, in particular Willie Kealy and Brendan O'Connor, for their...
Sir - That's it! I've had enough of the tweets and spin from the members of the robin fan club. I could just about keep my beak shut after reading Joe Kennedy's 'Fearless robin a caring bird of courage' (Country Matters, Sunday Independent, January 21) but when Damien Boyd's 'Tales of...
Sir - This year has the potential to be an important year for Irish Catholics. The scheduled visit of Pope Francis provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on our roles within the Church, and indeed the position of the Church itself within Irish society.
Sir - Lovely to read the heart-warming tales of the mighty robin, our ubiquitous red-breasted garden bird, with a deserved reputation for calm and charming curiosity (Country Matters, Sunday Independent, January 21). This wonderful little fellow, a close cousin of the blackbird, gets...
Sir - I want to respond to Philip Ryan's article on government spending on housing supplements (Sunday Independent, June 3).
Sir - The chronic need for the provision of public toilets in Dublin is an appalling indictment of past and present city councillors who like to project Dublin as a modern European capital city.
Sir - I always detested the word retirement and have given it a wide, wide berth - way off over the dim horizon…
Sir - May I join your excellent columnist, Dr Ciara Kelly (Living, Sunday Independent, May 13), in giving some advice to the many parents of children who will be sitting their Leaving Cert in the next week or so? I am well into my 60s and I still have nightmares about sitting mine.
Sir - It was 2013. I was sitting watching my one-year-old son playing, while I was having a miscarriage. This was day three. It was an early one, nothing very dramatic. I went to work the next day and the Early Pregnancy Unit the day after to check it was all gone, and that was it. It was a period with a few clots and a flush of the toilet. No funeral, no burial, I could've dreamt it. It was a sad experience, but manageable.
Sir - I agree wholeheartedly with the majority of Eilis O'Hanlon's sentiments on the privilege of private schools and their questionable receipt of government money for such luxuries as the resurfacing of all-weather hockey pitches (Sunday Independent, March 25).
Sir - Pubs will open again on Good Friday after a 90-year-old ban on the sale of alcohol on that day was lifted. Removal of the ban was inevitable in an increasingly secular Ireland where Good Friday is a normal working day and where religious practice is now based on conviction rather than obligation.
Sir - Cattle farmers have crisis pregnancies in their herds from time to time. If they decide that they do not want the pregnancy to continue, they call the vet. The vet might administer a drug such as Estrumate to abort the pregnancy.
Sir - I agree with Mary McAleese: it's high time that the walls of misogyny in the Catholic Church came tumbling down.
Sir - I wish to highly compliment and congratulate Met Eireann personnel, the National Emergency Co-ordination Committee, all our emergency services and media outlets for their excellent work, judgment and professionalism over the past few days in bringing us all the advice and details relating to the very serious snow storm.
So the Good Friday alcohol ban is to be lifted. Cue great jubilation and party planning nationwide. For 91 years we have suffered and suffered greatly.
I would like to reply to Dan O'Brien regarding his article about the present economic situation in which he said there is no evidence that technology eliminates jobs ('Ignore the doomsayers - there is little evidence of robots taking over our jobs', Irish Independent, January 18).
Sir - Dealing with gender inequality Eilis O'Hanlon (Sunday Independent, January 14) declared that "government should focus on real-life problems faced by real women".
In the past few weeks, there have been different directives by bishops in Ireland in relation to the issue of some parishioners shaking hands as a 'sign of peace' at Mass during the serious outbreak of influenza.
Sir - I thoroughly enjoyed Eoghan Harris's tribute to the late Donal Barrington (Sunday Independent, January 7). Mr Harris gives a riveting account of one particular aspect of Mr Barrington's career, namely the visionary role he played in highlighting the awfulness of the "ill-conceived and ill-considered" boycott of the tiny Protestant community in Fethard-on-Sea in 1957.
As I lie here in bed in Letterkenny General Hospital reading the Irish Independent, it sickens me to the core when I look at the photograph of Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head.
The comments about US President Donald Trump's health, both physical and mental, are concerning. A lot of print space has been devoted to it and the possible ramifications, but little to the level of other reporting.
In a recent blog posted on the Cork University Hospital (CUH) website, the CEO, Tony McNamara, suggests the INMO's figures of patients on trolleys are misleading and calls for a more "honest debate" on the issue. Mr McNamara says: "Many patients are appropriately on trolleys in assessment units in our hospitals awaiting a decision as to whether they need to be admitted or not."
It was a busy morning, about 8.30am, when an elderly man in his 80s arrived at the hospital to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9am.
Sir - Some of Colm McCarthy's statements (Sunday Independent, December 31) in relation to Brexit and the EU are open to challenge.
The definitive narrative in the Abrahamic faith traditions centres around the notion of salvation. The Christian and Jewish traditions, in particular, place great emphasis on the idea that salvation will emerge from the least likely quarters.
We have been informed that Children's Minister Katherine Zappone is in favour of introducing a course which includes sexual consent classes aimed at 16-year-olds in secondary schools (Irish Independent, December 30). Of course, it is inconceivable that the course would not lay heavy emphasis on the fact that the age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17 years.
Sir - Brendan O'Connor (Sunday Independent, December 24) does the State and its citizens a truly worthy service by illuminating the authentic enduring Christian magic and emotional nuances of Christmas, as it was and how it should/could still be. Highlighting, with a compelling personal candour, his raft of seminal pre-Christmas experiences at various concerts and church services (including the stunning inspiration of a funeral with its powerful community essence and generosity of spirit abounding).
Fr Tony Flannery (Irish Independent, December 23) is correct when he says of the Christmas story: "It is a beautiful story, but it is a mythical account of the birth of Jesus, not a historical one" and "for too long [the Church] presented the Christmas story as historical reality".
Sir - It is with a genuine lump in my throat and a tear in my eye that I think of all the children who will not have a home for Christmas.
The art of letter writing is apparently a dying one, although it should be one that is encouraged, especially in this era of fake news and opinion sent out by some tweeting twits and the (un)social media that so wastefully occupies the time of our youth, and too many other citizens.
Sir - Jody Corcoran states (Sunday Independent, December 10) that: "Ireland was used by the European Union, though, to flush out the UK position somewhat, which has been exposed to be as threadbare as most experts have always felt it to be."
It was refreshing to read Ray Kinsella on why Ireland should play no part in an EU army (Irish Independent, December 15).
What does Christmas mean in Ireland today? It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people in an increasingly multicultural and less Godly society.
Sir - In Eilis O'Hanlon's good and well-balanced article (Sunday Independent, December 3) regarding the findings of Mr Justice Charleton's interim report relating to Garda Keith Harrison, she rightly points out that Mr Justice Charleton dismissed all the allegations, concluding that: "All of the allegations of Garda Keith Harrison and Marisa Simms examined by the tribunal are entirely without any validity."
After the recent turmoil within the Brexit process, it is appropriate that we be reminded of the milestones and highlights which took us to where we are today, and that we also take a look at possible future scenarios.
I view with reservation the call from a number of charities to consider donating some, if not all, of the water charges refund money to a worthy cause.
Sir — As an avid reader, I thoroughly enjoyed Tom McCaughren’s beautiful article about books (Sunday Independent, November 26). I appreciate that social media is now all pervasive, but it’s hard to beat the satisfaction of reading a captivating book. Between the covers of a book, readers of all ages are exposed to adventure, excitement, anticipation, knowledge and information. Regular reading stirs the imagination, arouses curiosity and inspires creativity. With a book in your hand you’re in good company.
It would appear that the only thing Irish politicians are good at is fighting elections - it's after they have been elected that they fail miserably.
Sir - Brendan O'Connor's article (Sunday Independent, November 17) has scored a goal, or should I say, a try, in this post-soccer era, by reminding those of us who read the Sunday Independent, but not that 'rag of rags' the UK edition of The Sun, that it had the effrontery to call our Taoiseach, a 'Brexit Buffoon' who should 'shut his gob on Brexit and grow up'.
The vote for Brexit by the UK electorate is turning out to be a very significant historical occurrence in UK, European and especially Irish terms.
The understandable disappointment of failing to win the right to host RWC 2023 runs the risk of overlooking a very important fact.
Sir - I felt for the Irish players who woke up last Wednesday morning after such a comprehensive defeat.
The recent criticism of the Irish team management of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane, and the tactics employed in the recent away World Cup play off in Copenhagen against Denmark, was way over the top. These two passionate football men learned their trade under those wonderful coaches, the late Brian Clough, at Nottingham Forest, and later with the great Alex Ferguson, at Manchester United, over many years.
Sir — There are sports where Ireland can compete at the highest level. I’m thinking about boxing, golf, rugby union, athletics, equestrian sports and maybe cycling, plus a few more. However, I believe that horse racing is where we not only compete at the highest level, but excel and lead the field, if you’ll pardon the pun.
I seem to recall Leo Varadkar mentioning he was an admirer of people who "get up early" and go to work. Well, I wonder if he is aware that there are about 150,000 of those workers who are quickly losing any admiration they may have had for him and his Transport Minister, Shane Ross.
I can hear grown men howling - "Get your hands off my Thomas!"
Sir - Brendan O'Connor complains about marketing experts having too much influence over our Government (The country is being run by "experts" full of guff, Sunday Independent, October 29). This is no doubt the case, but it is hardly a new problem.
The Taoiseach promised a break for the working classes, who pay for everything, including welfare for the unemployed, etc.
Any day now Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker will want a suitable Requiem to bury Brexit. If they choose to do it with some ceremony, they could do worse than 'channel' the spirit of Frank Sinatra. In 1973 (the year the UK joined the EEC) the old crooner topped the charts with 'Send in the Clowns'. The theme of the ballad was a very painful and costly divorce between two old lovers.
Sir - Leo Varadkar said "it will take a long time for the public to regain trust in the banks" because of the tracker mortgage scandal. What trust?
Much of the criticism of the tracker mortgage scandal is hypocritical and ignores the fact that the questionable and damaging decisions are much wider in their consequences than that particular issue.
Tom Humphries deserves equal and fair treatment from the judicial system. This has not happened. The very things that mitigated him getting a soft sentence, ie. being a pillar of society, his penmanship, his job, his status, all of those should have been factors that saw a stiffer sentence imposed.
Dr Peter Boylan's contribution to the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment appears to have been one of the more aggressive and arrogant versions of the recent 'Trust me, I'm a doctor' efforts.
There has been a lot of talk recently about "the homeless" or "the rough sleepers", and at first I thought this was good sign. We are becoming more aware, I thought. But using labels and numbers and statistics over and over again has done nothing but normalise the situation.
"It blowed away, it blowed away; All the crops that I've planted blowed away; You can't grow any grain if you ain't got any rain; All except the mortgage blowed away." Pete Seeger wrote the above, Bruce Springsteen gave it meaning. He called it 'My Oklahoma Home'.
Michael Kelly's article on the state of the Catholic Church in Ireland (Irish Independent, October 13), arising from Paul Melia's analysis of the Census 2016, is concise and, in some respects, hits the nail on the head. However, as its approach is basically secular, it doesn't get to the kernel of the matter, especially regarding the Catholic Church.
TD Clare Daly stated a simple and undeniable fact when she said: "No one of a present reproductive age has had a chance to vote on this matter."
As I walk around my home town my gaze falls upon the many empty and derelict buildings which line our Main Street; to which I am both horrified and angry. Those idle buildings once laid foundation to a buzzing and enterprising town.
The 'bonkers' situation in which women lose out on their pensions because they stayed at home rearing their families is down to "downright misogyny of the State", according to Ann Cahill in her contribution to the Budget debate (Irish Independent, October 12).
Our former Taoiseach John Bruton appears to see himself as the Irish version of Tony Blair, telling everyone in Britain they "must" stay inside the EU, regardless of the democratic vote which told John and Tony that Britain is leaving.
The American penchant for the possession and use of guns is underpinned by the so-called 'right' to bear arms. This 'right' is given a quasi-religious ring to it in the suggestion that it is enshrined in the American constitution. More bizarrely, it is sometimes referred to as 'a God-given right'.
While discussing the Las Vegas mass murders with a friend during the week, I stated that it was beyond belief that Stephen Paddock was able to stockpile so many weapons without needing a gun licence in the state of Nevada.
Sir - Returning from a mission overseas, I heard of the tragic death of a child. One of the youngest of a large family. The father of this child had also died tragically while on overseas duty with United Nations the previous year. He died on Christmas Eve.
One Sunday in August 1969, when tensions were rising in Northern Ireland, British PM Harold Wilson "imagined" he had the immediate answer to end British involvement there.
Yesterday's independence vote in Catalonia resulted in over 700 people being injured due to the Spanish government's heavy-handed prevention of voting stations being used by the Catalan public.
Sir - As someone who was involved in Gaelic football most of my life, I completely disagree with Alan Brogan's article (Sport, Sunday Independent, September 24) which condoned the behaviour of the Dublin players in the last minutes of their All-Ireland final against Mayo.
Donald Trump has plans to reduce the tax rates of US corporations and wealthy individuals.
For many Irish people and for the wider Irish diaspora, the All-Ireland finals, hurling or football, will be the highlight of their sporting year - filled with excitement, expectation and anticipation. Being a hurling fan, the missing of a final, in Croke Park or on the TV, would leave a void in my life.
Sir - Congratulations on publishing your front cover story and full-length feature (Sunday Independent, September 17) on extra charges levied by many nursing homes on ''Fair Deal'' (FD) residents.
I must respond to your columnist Ian O'Doherty's absurd claim that Amnesty International has somehow been quiet about the serious human rights abuses taking place in Myanmar.
It is hard to let go of the Hook fiasco. The subject matter is as meaty as an Easter feast. My head is swirling with conflicting opinions and I am anxious to sort this miasma to the satisfaction of my moral sensibilities.
If an airline escapes having to pay compensation provided it gives passengers two weeks' notice of cancellation, this is clearly unsatisfactory from a number of points of view:
There is a sign at a swimming cove in Tramore that says "Men Only". This sign comes with an apology underneath that it does not intend to cause offence, only remind us of a time, long since gone by. Both the locals and visitors are not upset by this signage and are somewhat amused by its outdated message.
Sir - I read that ex-Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan is to receive a €300,000 lump sum and then €90,000 a year for the rest of her life as a pension.
I was driving out of Dublin on Saturday evening around 8pm on the M7 at 120kph, and suddenly I had to drop anchor and hope to God the car would stop in time.
A policeman's lot is not a happy one, went a line in a famed Gilbert and Sullivan opera. A catchy tune and a sentiment shared by many.
Sir - It was with surprise, and pleasure, to see Ruth Dudley Edwards begin her column (Sunday Independent, September 3) by reprinting some lines of my 1991 poem, The Dull Familiar Drumming.
Kim Bielenberg ('Embracing our own horrible history with pillars of the past', Irish Independent, August 29) is not the first to question memorials to the 'Iron Duke' of Wellington, principally because of disobliging remarks he made about this nation, as he did about a lot of other people, including his wife and his soldiers.
Sir - Over the past few weeks there have been a number of programmes on TV coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.
I am surprised by the criticism towards national identity cards that was shown throughout your paper (Irish Independent, August 30), with the issue not helped with error given as fact.
It's time that the ridiculous, if not also patronising and ignorant, response of Regina Doherty was thrown back in her face and a literate answer be demanded of her; if she is not capable of this, she should resign to spend more time with her dictionary.
Recently I tweeted: "Does anything work in Ireland?" I cited banking, building, political and police scandals. I didn't count the HSE, hospitals, and housing. I was shocked by the reaction and the addition of other national malfunctions.
Seated in Dublin Airport, I reflect upon the past eight days spent in Ireland.
Sir - Teenagers keep their distance in the cautious new world of dating and sex, writes Niamh Horan (Sunday Independent, August 20).
I was pleased to read Dan O'Brien's debunking of your regular contributor Padraig Neary's theory of finite economic growth (Irish Independent, August 24). Mr Neary has submitted well written letters on the theme of peak demand, suggesting growth opportunities will taper off in future.
As we know the Assembly was disestablished in the North by the withdrawal of Sinn Féin. This situation was engineered by the DUP by the refusal of its leader to stand down during the investigation of the cash-for-ash controversy and the unwillingness of the DUP to legislate a very inexpensive Irish language bill, both of which left Sinn Féin no option but to resign to protect its credibility with the electorate.
Would some kind soul try to answer the conundrum of the Border issue in the minds of the politicians of Ireland, the UK and the EU?
The cancellation of our medical cards has made it clear to my wife and I that the onset of major illness, necessitating hospitalisation or expensive medication to be paid for in full, would unquestionably be beyond our means.
Sir - Back in the 1990s, I remember seeing the Stars and Bars flying in batches from the Blackrock End of Pairc Ui Chaoimh to Hill 16 in Croke Park. No one uttered their disgust. Throughout the 2000s the flags were still seen, along with many others such as Che Guevara, the Rising Sun Flag of Japan and the Stars and Stripes. Only in the past few years, and in the age of social media, are people offended by flags flown on match days by fans from the rebel county.
On Saturday evening, I was privileged to be in St Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny, as Eva Hoffman - philosopher, scholar, novelist and the Polish-born daughter of Holocaust survivors - addressed an enthralled audience headed by President Michael D Higgins in the annual Hubert Butler Memorial Lecture.
I am disappointed that there has been such a huge backlash against the proposed capital gains tax (CGT) on the family home. The individual person should not expect to reap the financial reward (in its entirety) due to local infrastructure/population improvements in their local area often funded/supported by the State.
Sir - I guess Bruce Arnold (Sunday Independent, August 6) has a point regarding the amount of talk which dominates the RTE radio schedule, but he forgets that the current culture and celebrity fixation ensures that such a formula seems to work as regards maintaining a mass audience. The downturn in advertising is a difficulty that all traditional media are experiencing and would not improve even if a less personality and talk-dominated schedule ensued.
Reading your piece regarding the health effects of the downturn (Irish Independent, August 9), it comes as no surprise to me that rates of stroke and heart attack increased dramatically after the financial crash.
The threats being issued by the leaders of US and North Korean governments indicate that the risk of nuclear war is now possibly greater that during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
I read the article on taxing the family home by 33pc when you die or downsize (Irish Independent, August 3), and it came as no surprise. The tax system in Ireland is incredibly greedy, and it is being driven by faceless civil servants who appear to have no idea of what life is like in the normal world. Just who are these people?
Sir - With no possibility of Sinn Fein moving from its policy of abstention, is it not time for it to consider vacating its seven seats at Westminster, allowing for seven by-elections in Northern Ireland?
May I, through the medium of your widely read newspaper, congratulate RTÉ on their re-run on Wednesday night of the film 'Veronica Guerin' and, more importantly, on the follow-up programme 'Veronica Guerin - a Legacy'.
With the recent announcements of the reduction and withdrawal of services by the banking sector in the regions, the decline of rural Ireland continues unabated.
I am writing in relation to the recent controversy regarding journalist Kevin Myers. Much ink has been spilled on the topic and I am simply adding to the copious amounts already written.
It is exhausting to have to read through David Quinn's article defending the indefensible.
It is amusing to read of the public anger and bile arising from the conferring of an honorary degree on former Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Irrespective of his role in the faux Celtic Tiger, it has been a tradition of the NUI to confer this honorary degree on past Taoisigh. Enda Kenny is next in line, having accepted the offer.
The Taoiseach's comments on Friday that it was not his Government's job to find a solution to a hard border presumably indicate his Government's frustration with the UK's approach to Brexit negotiations. However, he is wrong.
Sir - I read the article about Dr Randles and the letters in reply (Sunday Independent, July 16 and 23).
In his outrage at Louis Shawcross pointing out the West has been guilty of self-interest in its political machinations over the last, at least, 60 years or so, Grzegorz Kolodziej (Irish Independent, July 27) falls into the trap of one-sided argument.