The report of silence from the political parties when asked if their TDs decided to forego their expenses (not incurred) during the coronavirus emergency (Irish Independent, April 18) is indicative of the entitlement, selfishness and greed which exists among our political class.
It would be an act of generosity if they followed the example of some business leaders and reduced their salaries by 50pc and donate to charities providing meals for those in need.
Dromahair, Co Leitrim
Nursing homes fees should deliver the best care possible
The news the HSE is to deploy resources to the nursing home sector and more specifically those in the private sector is to be very much welcomed.
Our elderly need to be protected and by chasing the virus and eliminating the clusters it could prove instrumental in the fight against Covid-19.
Ultimately, however, the private sector has failed. It is only right nursing homes have been bailed out but that should not have been the case. Given the fees they charge they should have been the best-equipped, best staffed and best run medical institutions.
Sadly this has not been the case and there cannot be a return to the status quo.
Feed the birds because they sing so well for their suppers
As we all face restrictions and discomforts, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful bird song and drop a few crumbs from your table to our feathered friends outside.
Address with editor
‘Elegy’ from the past rings true for grieving families
Martina Devlin (Irish Independent, April 18) draws attention to the way visiting restrictions in nursing and residential homes mean the elderly “have taken their final breaths” without a family member or even perhaps a staff member present.
She rightly adds such “end-of-life isolation seems particularly harsh”.
There is a memorable passage in Thomas Gray’s ‘Elegy in a Country Church-Yard’ (published 1751) which acknowledges the desire to have someone with us when we die is universally rooted in our human nature; for, the poet asks, has there ever been anyone who, at the moment of death:
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires.
The dominant literary figure of the late 18th century in England was Dr Samuel Johnson, famous for among other things his criticism; and an essay on Gray was included in his classic, ‘The Lives of the English Poets’ (1779-81). It is clear most of Gray’s poetry is not to Johnson’s critical taste but when he comes to the ‘Elegy’, his praise is unstinting.
He singles out the somewhat longer passage of which the lines quoted above are a part and he does so as an illustration of his contention that the ‘Elegy’ “abounds with images which find a mirror in every mind, and with sentiments to which every bosom returns an echo”.
This is in effect an endorsement of the universality of the experience conveyed.
One should of course add that those who regret their inability to be present at the death of a loved one – to shed their tears or “pious drops” – are also bearing witness to a feeling which implicates all of us.
Cornelscourt, Dublin 18
No immunity? Perhaps it’s time to take our chances
The affable and highly impressive ‘Irish’ Dr Mike Ryan from the WHO yesterday released the cataclysmic information that natural infection does not confer immunity.
I am not an immunologist but this
suggests to me there is zero hope of a vaccine unless by some serendipitous fluke. So we have had it!
Maybe it’s time to party and take our chances.
Serendipity – looking for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer’s daughter .
Dr Michael Foley
Rathmines, Dublin 6
Trump’s desperation may spell out his falling fortune
Could the real reason why Donald Trump is so anxious to get the US economy back up and running is that his personal fortune is plummeting by hundreds of thousands of dollars as each day goes by?
He is probably rightly figuring that with another few months of lockdown he will be lucky if he still ranks among the millionaires on the world’s rich lists.
Dundalk, Co Louth