Saturday 23 November 2019

Awareness vital in suicide fight

Madam – Eilis O'Hanlon's interpretation of the issues involved in reporting on suicide (Sunday Independent, July 14, 2013), is restrictive and misguided. Internationally and in Ireland, media guidelines for reporting on suicide exist not to police language or impose euphemisms but to facilitate vital discussion of suicide in media so that it is factual and accurate and can provide life-saving information to the one in four of your readers who may be experiencing a mental health problem.

A considerable evidence base from international research and the World Health Organisation highlight that sensationalist coverage of suicide can lead to the copycat effect and, more importantly, through responsible reporting media professionals can play a considerable role in suicide prevention and encouraging much needed open discussion on suicide.

The media guidelines are designed to be used pragmatically; each journalist should use the language he or she is most comfortable with. The chief concern is not any particular turn of phrase – the central consideration is the purpose that a given article serves. Contributing to societal awareness and debate is key, but coverage that is voyeuristic and sensational does a disservice to all.

Sorcha Lowry,

Headline, Blessington St, Dublin 7


Madam – I found Gene Kerrigan's article on the abortion issue (Sunday Independent, July 14, 2013), nauseating. The liberal media are very quick to proclaim the rights of the mother but very rarely mention the rights of the unborn. Mr Kerrigan can use his talent with semantics to put across his viewpoint, but at the end of the day we are talking about the deliberate taking of human life that can neither speak for itself nor defend itself. That is a fact that very few would deny. The argument that it is a woman's body to do with as she pleases holds no ground either – after all it is not just her body anymore, there is also the one growing inside.

John Bellew,

Paughanstown, Dunleer, Co Louth


Madam – In my life time Maggie Thatcher has been the most influential and powerful woman by far. There is a good chance Hillary Clinton will be the next woman of power. In the meantime, I have been watching the situation regarding the abortion bill being debated here at the moment; I watched people get out and protest with their feet as they marched on Government Buildings. At the end of the march they gathered to listen to a man (Declan Ganley) telling them about abortion. After that others went to a cathedral to listen to another man (a bishop). No offence to these men, I am sure they think they are doing good.

I believe that decisions to be made regarding abortion should be made by women as they are the people most affected by them. I can't understand why women are allowing males any influence in one the most important decisions regarding a woman's life and mental state.

How can a male ever know or realise the ultimate effects of abortion on a woman's life?

David Hennessy,

Rathnew, Co Wicklow


Madam – The current demand for religious orders to pay compensation to the former residents of the Magdalene Homes appears to be yet another attempt to blot out the enormous debt that this country owes to the Catholic Church since the foundation of our state and long before.

It is very difficult to believe that the contribution made by nuns and priests to health and education is being forgotten, not to mention their work among the poor and destitute at a time when our emerging state desperately needed 'all shoulders to the wheel'.

The Christian Brothers taught us Latin, Greek, Higher Maths, a respect for – if not a love of – Irish language and culture, and the possibility of third-level education when many of us had little other opportunity.

Where are all the former pupils of the Christian Brothers, Jesuits, Cistercians, St Louis nuns, etc, now that the impression being given is that there were no positives in the Catholic Church?

Why don't they speak up?

The wealth that is being demanded from religious orders was given to them by generations of Catholics to enable those orders to carry out their chosen charitable work .

The work of religious orders saved the State (the taxpayer) vast amounts of money over generations.

But instead of showing any gratitude to those who contributed so much in the past, the present administration seems hell-bent on a land grab.

What will they do if they get the land? Build gambling casinos on it?

How very appropriate.

Joe Curran,

Celbridge, Co Kildare


Madam – In your Business section leader (Sunday Independent, July 14, 2013), the current minister for finance wants to borrow another €750m to 'create jobs'. This is a great example of the profound ignorance leading our country for the last 60 years (and not only in finance). The fact that Fianna Failure has been creating totally artificial 'jobs' for the last five or six decades and then creating the fantasy money to pay for them is one of the main reasons we are in such deep trouble.

The total number of 'workers' in government who produce nothing whatsoever but have to be paid out of the taxes of the few remaining genuine workers (such as our local butcher and greengrocer) stands now at about 360,000. Even worse is the fact that because they have no real work, they all have to pretend to be useful so they get up to all sorts of things to impress their equally useless bosses. One is making new laws that serve no purpose except to increase crime and waste thousands of hours of precious garda time. Another is to try to change our time relative to UK in order to waste thousands of hours of air/ferry/rail timetable publishers' time.

We need to greatly decrease non-productive jobs, Mr Noonan, not invent even more. Or is it that you still do not understand where real money actually comes from?

Dick Barton,

Tinahely, Co Wicklow


Madam – Was David Norris too refined to say arse?

K Nolan,

Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim


Madam – Carol Hunt (Sunday Independent, July 14, 2013) was correct in her analysis of the modern Ireland. 'Give up work and opt for the dole.' We live in a country where 40.6 per cent of day-to-day spending is on Social Protection, which is 15.6 per cent of GNP; 1,469,000 people received a weekly payment from Social Protection in 2012 at a cost of €20,774bn; household benefits cost €369m; 1,700,000 people have a medical card which equates to a cost of €2,500bn. Meanwhile the working population is 1,849 million. She is also correct in her analysis with regard to the Government attitude, 'Shut up and suck it up – aren't ye lucky to have jobs at all!' In this country it is a case of not 'what you can put into it', it is 'what you can get out of it'.

Tommy Deenihan,

Blackrock, Cork


Madam – My Sunday Independent on July 7 was dated August 20, 2020 on the front page but all the other pages were correct.

Vol 108 but number 399 did not seem right. Am I the holder of a one-off treasure?

Marie Murphy,

Merrilocks Rd, Liverpool

Reply: The paper is always a treasure! It was a totally unexplained glitch in the first edition that night. We are sorry for the confusion. –Campbell Spray, Executive Editor–Operations

Irish Independent

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