Friday 24 January 2020

Letters: Israel isn't being singled out for unfair criticism

A Palestinian man sits outside his destroyed house in Gaza City
A Palestinian man sits outside his destroyed house in Gaza City

DR Derek O'Flynn has one thing right: there are plenty of conflicts involving the deaths of Muslim (and Christian, and Hindu, and Jewish and...) civilians, some of whom have been specifically targeted for their religious beliefs.

He must, however, be a causal reader of the Letters page as (for example) the Syrian conflict has certainly elicited a reader response.

Perhaps the conclusion he should draw is that the Irish people have a hard time watching a wealthy and prosperous nation apply brutal economic sanctions against a population so that they become so utterly impoverished they vote in terrorists (for that is what Hamas is) to lead them.

Apparently Israel missed that message of desperation, so Hamas has resorted to doing what terrorists do ... and Israel has responded by doing what oppressors do.

It has not gone unnoticed.

Phil Miesle, Ennis, Co Clare

Is the Taoiseach watching?

Almost 2,000 slaughtered in Gaza, mostly innocent women and children yet not a word from our Taoiseach. Is the West awake, is the Taoiseach still with us, do we have a Taoiseach?

Hugh Doyle, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath

The 'anti-Semitism' chestnut

I find it sad, and slightly disturbing, at how readily the term 'anti-Semitism' is wheeled out by apologists for Israel's actions in Gaza.

In all my years in Ireland I have heard plenty of derogatory comments aimed at West-African taxi drivers, black people in general, Roma gypsies, Travellers, the British, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Muslims, those with red hair, etc., but I have not heard a single negative comment aimed at Judaism or Jewish people.

Ill feeling towards Israel is a result of the horrific images of the hundreds of Palestinian children killed or maimed by the Israeli onslaught from land, sea and air and its decades-long nose-thumbing at the UN and its resolutions.

There is no denying the actions of Hamas and its rockets, but if a large brute of a man forces a small dog into a cage with poor sanitation, food and water, and continually beats that dog into submission, then the dog - despite the futility of its actions and inevitable further punishment - will show defiance by biting the man.

Damon King, Dublin

I agree with concerns on ESRI

I find myself in full agreement with Jim O'Sullivan (Irish Independent, July 29) who questions the recent claim by the ESRI that wealth inequality in Ireland has narrowed during the recession.

The evidence that the Government's austerity policies have had greatest impact on the least well-off and most vulnerable in society and served to increase inequality is clear and indisputable.

A year ago Social Justice Ireland revealed that the gap between Ireland's rich and poor is widening.

It showed that over a single year the disposable income of Ireland's poorest households fell by a massive 18.6pc while the income of the richest actually increased by more than 4pc.

Today, the top tenth of the population has 14 times as much disposable income as the poorest tenth. It was eight times more in 1980.

Recently, the same organisation highlighted the rise of Ireland's working poor.

Over 16pc of Irish adults living in poverty are actually employed and this number is increasing.

The flat-rate taxes and cuts in services introduced in successive budgets have impacted disproportionately on the lower paid and those on social welfare.

CSO figures show that there are now more than three-quarters of a million Irish people living in poverty, a rise of almost 120,000 since the start of the recession.

It is clear that the true brunt of the recession has been borne by the poorest in our society, no matter what government cheerleaders would have us believe.

Kevin P McCarthy, Killarney, Co Kerry

Players should respect anthem

I wish to agree 100pc with Cyril Farrell in his column (Irish Independent, August 2) in regard to the total lack of respect accorded to Amhran na bhFiann by our GAA players.

Removal of their helmets by hurlers is one issue.

However, the failure to stand to attention during the national anthem is, in my opinion, a more serious issue, not to mention the players breaking to take up their positions before the anthem has ended.

Let's accord our national anthem the respect it deserves.

John Shelly, Waterford

Unhappy with sentencing

The headline on Dearbhail McDonald's comment piece (Irish Independent, August 1) announced that "Anthony Lyons's jail term restores our faith in sentencing for sexual assaults".

Well, I'm sorry, but I can't agree.

As far as I can see, all the Court of Criminal Appeal did was to reduce the suspended portion of the six-year sentence from five-and-a-half years to four years.

What would have been wrong with giving the guy the full six years?

He pleaded not guilty, made the victim fight all the way and, as far as I could see, didn't show any remorse whatsoever.

I don't know either the victim or Ms McDonald, but I cannot be convinced that this was another example of white-collar justice.

We don't know what might have happened if the two men hadn't come along. It doesn't bear thinking about.

I hope time will be fair to the victim.

RJ Hanly, Screen, Co Wexford

Par for the course?

I recently came across a report in the Irish Independent from July 9, 1936. A young man was sentenced to six strokes of the birch for stealing a golf ball.

Changed times. Some handicap!

Tom Gilsenan, Dublin 9

A charge too far

I PROMISED myself, and you, not to write any more letters. I have kept that promise for 18 months but, at this point, I can stand it no more. The subject of the water tax has pushed me over the edge.

In one of the many discussions I have had on the subject, one person pointed out that water costs money to store and purify and pump around.

Everybody nodded. However, I then asked the following question. "Our Government extorts about €38bn in taxes from all of us in various ways.

"If one of their very first priorities with all that money is not to ensure that the population of Ireland has decent drinking water in their homes, can anybody here please tell me what that worthless shower in Dáil Éireann are actually there for?"

Silence was the only answer.

Dick Barton, Tinahely, Co Wicklow

Irish Independent

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