Donal Barrington's legacy
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.
I came across Mr Barrington once in the 1970s. At the time, I was involved as a member of The Friends of Medieval Dublin, led by the late, great FX Martin in a forlorn effort to save the Viking archaeological site at Wood Quay.
A marathon "battle" was fought on the streets and in the courts. It was very much a case of David facing Goliath as our tiny group, which challenged the might of Dublin Corporation, aided and abetted by the government of the day. At the time, Barrington was the leading senior counsel in the State and he agreed to act on behalf of a near-penniless group of activists in drawn-out proceedings in the High and Supreme Courts. Though we lost that battle, in the long term we won the war. Mr Barrington should forever be remembered for the visionary and selfless role he played in the events of that time.
Fr Iggy O'Donovan,
No understanding of Palestine situation
Sir - I am a son and grandson of Holocaust survivors. My maternal grandmother's entire family was wiped out at Auschwitz; my father survived pogroms, famine and forced labour. I am also an Israeli national who proudly served my country in the Israel Defence Forces, first as a regular soldier and - for 20-odd years - as a reservist.
In all these capacities and from the bottom of my heart, I reject with disgust the letter by Edward Horgan ('Standing up for Palestine', Sunday Independent, January 7).
Mr Horgan clearly has zero understanding of what the Holocaust actually was. It was a systematic programme of extermination, aimed at murdering every single Jew on this planet, for the sole 'guilt' of being Jewish. While the Nazis failed to achieve that purpose, they did manage to murder six million Jews in just five years.
In claiming that Israel perpetrates "similar atrocities" (to the ones perpetrated by Nazis against the Jews), Horgan has not just attacked me and my comrades; even more shockingly, he desecrated the memory of my dead relatives and of all other innocent victims of the Nazi genocide. Insult and abuse, not 'Palestine', is what Mr Horgan is 'standing up' for.
Real West Bank
Sir - I read the Letter of the Week (Sunday Independent, January 7) with amazement.
Edward Horgan is, I suppose, entitled to his personal view as a well-known and travelled "peace activist", but to even begin to mention the Holocaust in comparison to the situation of the Arabs in Israel and the Arab-occupied areas is odious.
Building in Arab-inhabited areas in the West Bank and in Israel itself goes on at a phenomenal rate and hundreds of new Mercedes and Toyota cars are being driven up and down the roads in the West Bank as I saw on a four-week visit just before Christmas.
When will the Arab leaders 'Stand up for Palestine' - as in Palestinian Jews and Arabs?
Dr F Baigel,
States share guilt
Sir - If your writer (Letters, Sunday Independent, January 7) wants to compare Israel with the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people, may I give a sense of balance by reminding him that a total of 10 European countries were complicit in carrying out the Holocaust, not just Germany.
So the writer is in effect comparing Israel with those 10 complicit countries. He might also like to read Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners to educate himself about the actual facts instead of relying on his intuition.
Gaza stirring hate
Sir - In last Sunday's Letter of the Week, a plea was made for a greater understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While wholeheartedly agreeing with this sentiment, what followed afterwards was disappointing: the same accusations made against Israel (human rights abusers, apartheid state), while the Palestinians were given their usual free pass on all the wrongs committed by them.
Why are commentators on this subject so coy about the fact that the elected government of Gaza is a terrorist organisation which regularly incites its people to murder Jews.
Sir - The activist Edward Horgan (Letters, Sunday Independent, January 7) claims to stand up for Palestine but ignores the role of the Palestinians' notoriously corrupt leadership who use the likes of the 'Electronic Crimes Law' to suppress any criticism of their lavish lifestyles and refuse to negotiate honestly with Israel.
Health service still in sickly state
Sir - Another year gone and another few weeks of sick people trundled together on chairs and trolleys, all pleading for help.
This is the sixth year in a row that this present Government has sat by and watched the old and the young being treated in such a despicable manner.
Our Minister for Health has offered all his sincerest and genuine sorrow at the plight of the sufferers. Take heart though, he has promised to put before the Government a bed plan that is a photo of a bed and to explain that all he needs is 2,500 of these along with the staff to go with them.
The likelihood of both being delivered is like US President Donald Trump donating every penny he owns to the people of Mexico.
The experienced staff that we once had in our hospitals are now working in other countries where they are paid proper wages and work under conditions which allow them to give care to patients seeking their help. The bed plan will prove to be similar to the proposed house building scheme.
Middle Ireland reaching out to all
Sir - So called 'Middle Ireland' as described by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week, refers specifically, in my opinion, to rural Ireland.
Allow me to assure you, this Middle Ireland "is dead and gone", it passed away on May 23, 2015, when Ireland said Yes to Equality.
If our honourable TDs met their constituents face to face, they would be aware of this fact.
My Middle Ireland is much more progressive, accepting and understanding than the Government wants to believe.
It is home to countless families who have watched their children leave for far-flung places, only to return for holidays, with open minds and altered world views.
My Middle Ireland is culturally Catholic, making the sign of peace with people wearing Repeal jumpers at Midnight Mass.
My Middle Ireland is reaching out to the mammy and toddler groups. It is listening to their often heartbreaking pregnancy and birth stories, and using this to spur on the fight not only for our rights as people of reproductive potential, but for those who cannot fight for themselves.
We are Middle Ireland, and we will Repeal the Eighth Amendment in order to ensure that everyone can receive progressive reproductive care in their Ireland.
Nonsense to add to financial burden
Sir - Our health service is in dire straits. Budget constraints, lack of staffing and innovative recruitment, among other issues, have led to an intolerable situation for the Irish public and healthcare staff, both in acute and community settings.
Senior management of the HSE and the Minister for Health Simon Harris have admitted in the last week that it has become an unmanageable situation.
Yet Minister Harris and the Government wish to further burden the taxpayer and the country's health services by making the taxpayer pay for abortions in our maternity hospitals. It hardly makes sense!
Relief to hear words of sense on Trump
Sir - My husband and I have just returned to Canada from a brief after-Christmas visit to Ireland. I was beginning to think every journalist and person in general over there had taken leave of their senses, until I read Niamh Horan's article ('Trump can eat what he wants if he creates jobs', Sunday Independent, January 7).
It is a relief to hear a sensible voice in the midst of outrage. No matter what one thinks of Mr Trump, I am flabbergasted at how effective the propaganda machine has been. Try to keep the sanity flowing.
Thanks for honesty
Sir - I just want to thank Niamh Horan (Sunday Independent, January 7) for writing an honest article about President Trump's achievements in his first 11 months.
I am an Irish Canadian... born and raised in Dublin graduating in 1966 with a Bachelor of Business Studies. My wife and I live in the beautiful city of Cuenca, Ecuador, which we love.
I was delighted to see your comments... the vast number of Irish writers in both your paper and The Irish Times have such a negative view of this president... he is certainly a very complex and often irritating man with a penchant for hyperbolic statements.
But I do believe he has a good heart, and a perfectly competent brain... It is a tragedy that the liberal media and the vast array of Trump haters will not give the guy a break.
Thank you again.
Give Obama credit
Sir - Regarding the article by Niamh Horan, (Sunday Independent, January 7) about Donald Trump and "that book", I wish to protest against her conclusions. Not for the first time, her assessments of events are way off the mark. She credits Trump with creating 2.1 million jobs, reviving the economy, reversing job losses etc. This despite the fact he is only 11 months in office and has done little except cause controversy in that time.
It takes a long time to turn around an economy, create jobs etc - it doesn't happen overnight. He is taking credit for the work done by Obama, who became president when the economy was at an all-time low and employment was in a terrible state. Niamh, please give credit where credit is due.
Success vs respect
Sir - Niamh Horan (Sunday Independent, January 7) is a big fan of Donald Trump.
She writes that we should not follow the herd criticising Trump, and highlights the successes his presidency is delivering.
It appears that success is much more important to Niamh than respect for women. Perhaps if she had been grabbed in an inappropriate place by her idol she may have a different view.
Quotes that make you stop and think
Sir - Two quotes from your newspaper (Sunday Independent, January 7) are worth repeating on the subject of violence:
1. From the 'Harris' article by Maurice Hayes from his memoir Minority Verdict with regard to the Provisional IRA campaign: "There was in all that time no injustice, no unfairness, no degree of discrimination, that was worth the sacrifice of a single life."
2. From Ruth Dudley Edwards's article made by Bishop Daly in an interview with Patsy McGarry about the carnage he witnessed on Bloody Sunday: "When you see what a high velocity bullet does to the human head, any romantic ideas about violence you have go out the window."