Blames rich states
Sir - The response or non-response of wealthy Arab states - U.A.E, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia - to the refugee crisis currently engulfing Europe has been instructive.
These countries will, of course, be the first to express outrage over any American intervention in the region but when it comes to supporting their brethren with any practical intervention, there seems little solidarity.
Saudi Arabia has, however, offered to build 200 mosques in Germany to accommodate the faith needs of the displaced.
So, while not housing or feeding a single migrant, the obscenely wealthy Saudis are nonetheless keen to nourish them spiritually by indoctrinating their children with the senile ramblings of the Wahhabis’ death cult.
It’s true that few in their right mind would want to live in ghastly repressive Saudi Arabia but that’s not really the point. It has been suggested by Miss Merkel’s CDU that “instead of thinking about funding mosques in Germany, Saudi Arabia should take in refugees themselves and stop funding IS”.
If that despotic theocracy were to do those two things, we might see some movement towards a resolution of the crisis. While it avoids doing either, we shall only see an escalation.
What if it was you, or yours?
Sir - My granddad worked in the Guinness brewery until he was 62. He's 83 now, and his knee is wrecked - too long driving trucks and lifting kegs in the cold and rain on James's Street.
He married his first love, my Nana, after he crashed a wedding in 1961. She used to sell shoes out of Roches, best in the city, or so she used to tell us. She had to give it up when she married himself, but never looked back. She used to love telling us about serving the gentry and the paupers of Dublin.
They had three kids, all grown now and flown to far-flung corners. She still talks about them like they were here today. One of them, the youngest, is my Mam. She stayed. She has three kids of her own - myself, the eldest; my brother; and my sister, the baby.
I've just finished college, nine years of writing essays and studying textbooks, finally ready to take on the world. The brother has been teaching for the last two years, and he seems to have a gift for it. The kids love him and he skips into work each day. The sister is nearly finished college. I'm not altogether sure what she wants to do, but she is loving the chance to decide on her own destiny.
Imagine if in the middle of all this plentiful suburban charm, all that was once innocent and pure and promise unbridled and joy and hope came terror. Unadulterated terror and fear. And what was once whispered in shadowy corners of the mind but never truly imagined came to pass in hideous, frightening detail. And the choice that was offered was between certain death and infinite misery. To put your Mam, your Nana, your granddad with the wrecked knee, on some rickety boat and pray that it gets seen among the ravaging tide before she sinks. To put those you value above all else at risk because the alternative is too terrible to consider.
That is the choice that faces many today. I hope, I pray, that the choice they make is the wisest, because I know it's not the fairest or the one that any of us wants.
Sick of the lectures on refugees
Sir - In reply to the countless middle-class journalists, of which your paper can boast more than its fair share; left-leaning politicians; celebrities in general and, in particular, Sir Bob Geldof, who it seems grasps every opportunity to slag off the place of his birth with that condescending manner he has become famous for; can I say that the vast majority of Irish citizens care very much for the plight of these tragic refugees, and the ordinary people of Ireland are sick to the back teeth of being lectured to by the aforementioned.
Who the hell do they think they are with their "we should all care what happens to them" and "we should give them a warm welcome"?
As with nearly everything else in this country, we get decisions being taken as knee-jerk re- actions by people in power who think they alone have a handle on the situation. It's only in years to come that the consequences of their ineptitude becomes apparent.
The truth is that this mass migration of humankind could, and probably will, have dire consequences for Europe, no matter what action is sanctioned. And now as their country of choice, Germany, closes its borders, the question has to be asked: What happens now?
It's clear that a couple of ghost estates and a number of closed and run-down hotels isn't going to cut it. It's high time the governments of Europe got their fingers out and came to some kind of agreement other than imposing quotas. If this was a monetary rather than a humanitarian emergency, meetings of member states would be convened at very short notice.
The fear is Islam, not refugees
Sir - Brendan O'Connor's effort to give us reassurance on how such change as can be expected from the influx of a great body of migrants from the Middle East and beyond will turn out okay in the end is grounded in irrational hope (Sunday Independent, 13 September).
That he can summon the less than catastrophic influx of eastern Europeans into this country is not comparable - he rightly does mention that they, after all, are not much different from us, but does not say what the similarities are.
An issue skipped over by O'Connor and the main body of Irish media who refuse to talk about the elephant in the room is the incompatibility of Islamic doctrine with liberal democratic institutions. This is a doctrine and ideology that most of these migrants adhere to and would endeavour to establish throughout Europe.
It is also interesting that O'Connor should use the recent same-sex marriage referendum as the signifier of Irish tolerance, but it seems lost on him that no such tolerance can be attributed to the mass of migrants he wishes to welcome.
Open our homes to the homeless
Sir - Would the very kind people who offered to open their homes to those fleeing
war-torn Syria now open their homes to homeless Irish people?
The Government has decided to turn down your kind offer in favour of handing over the task to the private sector. Many of the Irish homeless people are either on the streets or in hotel rooms. Please take pity on our homeless people, many of whom have young children.
Templeogue, Dublin 6W
Chance missed to examine masons
Sir - I noticed an article by Liam Collins on freemasonry in Ireland (Sunday Independent, 13 September). What a pity that this article followed the recent trend by reporters of being welcomed to the lodge on Molesworth Street and being told that freemasonry is a charitable and fraternal organisation and nothing else.
In line with this trend, the reporter concluded that other than "dressing up and indulging in ancient rituals and ceremonies and traditions and doing good for themselves and others" there was little else to ponder about this fraternal men's club.
This was a wasted opportunity for readers to discover what freemasonry and its influence in Ireland is all about. Freemasonry in Ireland can be traced back many centuries, but it certainly gathered pace with the plantation of Ulster and subsequently thrived in the 1700s, with many lodges having an equal number of Roman Catholic masons and masons from the Reformed churches, and many had a majority of RCs. Similarly-minded RC societies came about following pressure from the Vatican to quit freemasonry.
The Orange Orders and the United Irishmen were birthed by freemasons, and some other Irish republican organisations can also trace their origins to the same source, including the IRB, which at one stage was called The Phoenix Society, an organisation associated with Clann na Gael, which in turn evolved from the Universal Brotherhood.
Captain Donal Buckley (Ret'd),
For this we will have to answer
Sir - The question will be put by generations of Irish people to come, how this nation allowed empires of crime to fester in this country. They will ask why the Irish people turned a blind eye to "an armed state within a state", why decades of terrorism by one of the most sophisticated paramilitary organisations in the world were tolerated.
They will state that they wish to hear no more about a united Ireland for a very, very long time, if ever.
Praise the ECB, but was it legal?
Sir - Gene Kerrigan is right to criticise politicians for their silence on the "gambling greed" of those who lent us money during the boom (Sunday Independent, 13 September).
He makes less sense, however, when he criticises the ECB. We have to acknowledge that the ECB, funded by the central banks of all euro zone states, including some of the poorest, were the last resort lender at low rates when everyone else demanded unsustainable interest rates.
Your excellent editorial on the Banking Inquiry on the same day acknowledges these qualifications. It also raises the important issue of how legal the ECB actions were and, rather than just complaining, whether they should be challenged legally.
Sutton, Dublin 13
Careful with those aliens
Sir - Brendan O' Connor (Sunday Independent, 13 September) writes in jest of the kind of message he might send into outer space to be received by aliens. I have long been of the view that we shouldn't be advertising our existence to other parts of the vast unknown universe. What if we draw the attention of an advanced civilisation that happens to be carnivorous and that might conceivably, having paid us a visit, acquire a taste for human flesh?
If those aliens with their advanced weapons and technology decided to harvest us for food they'd only be doing to us what we have been doing for aeons, on an industrial scale in recent centuries, to so many of the inferior but tasty species on the planet.
We humans like to search for a meaning in life. We value our sense of worth and dignity, and rightly so. But imagine how hard it would be to remain motivated or even occasionally good humoured, knowing that we were being reared to become burgers, to end up on a sizzling pan, or to be turned into medium rare human or Kentucky fried Homo Sapiens? The best we could try, to show defiance to our new overlords, might be to whistle Always Look on the Bright Side of Life as we dangle upside down with our legs strapped together and edge ever closer to the rotating head slicer.
No, I'd definitely give those interstellar communications a miss. But if we really must draw attention to our planet, and our inimitable way of doing things down here, I'd keep the message short, simple and direct, as in: Please don't eat us.
Callan, Co Kilkenny
A Croker dream come true
Sir - When I was a child I dreamed about Christmas 12 months of the year. I'm an old man now, innocence gone. Still I dream the dreams of impossible things, like tickets for today's All Ireland Final. When everyone stands for The Amhran Na BhFiann, being Irish is a wonderful thing.
On Wednesday by post two tickets arrived. My hands shook as I looked and realised we're actually going to this wonderful match.
Thank you so much. You know who you are. Thank you from the bottom of both our hearts. You've made two old Dubs believe in Santa once more.
Kilkenny/Dublin have the numbers
Sir - After the last two matches in the hurling and football championship, the experts are all out in force, wondering how the red hot favourites, in each tie, won so easily and signalled that they will continue to win for the foreseeable future.
It is really quite simple. Kilkenny in hurling and Dublin in football, can basically field a full team easily, with enough over to form a second one, from which they select their subs. Kilkenny really only do hurling, so all their efforts are directed in that direction and Dublin has a vast population with so many major clubs to pick from.
Cast your mind back to each of their last matches. They were both barely holding firm in the first halves against Galway and Mayo. However they used their bench of subs fully in the second period, and took full command of the games.
Let's go back to allowing only three subs on to the pitch for a game to help level the play, before the public loses interest in the championship.
Remember rugby's political history
Sir - I am as proud of the achievements and esprit de corps of the Irish rugby team as any one could be.
That said, Declan Lynch's forensic and deadly accurate description of the rugby spectacle as we know it made for sombre and troubling reading.
Take Ireland for example. The "men of rugby " saw fit to stand down our national anthem and commission a ghastly alternative.
Far from bringing a lump to the throat I cringe whenever I hear it .
I think it's worth remembering that although the Irish Free State officially came into being in 1922, the Council of the Irish Rugby Union refused to fly the Irish Tricolour and persisted in flying the Union Jack until 1932, when William Cosgrave intervened.
I think whenever and wherever any team representing Ireland competes, it is our own national anthem that should be played, not a substitute.
Neil Francis is doing good work
Sir - Can I just say that the last two pieces of journalism I've read from Neil Francis (Montreal Olympics/ Bruce Jenner and doping in rugby) have been marked by courage and veracity - rare things in the media today.
I think Neil is turning into quite a serious journalist now. Keep up the good work.
Abortion debate has two sides
Sir - I found ironic the use of the word "debate" in the article "Creating a safe space to talk about abortion issue" by Carol Hunt (Sunday Independent, 6 September). I found no evidence of any debate in this article, only one-sided examples to show how those who opposed abortion were wrong and showing how those who welcomed it had been vilified. She celebrated the fact that abortion was being discussed, and rightly so, but while arguing with examples like an 11 year old girl raped by her father in Paraguay, or a 22 year old in El Salvador, who had lupus and kidney disease and was forced to carry a foetus that had no chance of survival, where most people would agree that abortion was necessary, there was no mentioning of the shades of grey that inevitably would arise surrounding abortion being introduced here. As for the jailing of someone for up to 14 years, I would assume that that would be because that is the law in Ireland. Abortion is seen as murder. Right or wrong, it's the law.
Both sides of the story and unbiased reporting with all the detail of what is being spoken of is all I ask for and expect from the Sunday Independent.