Giving people their dreams
Sir - It is with a genuine lump in my throat and a tear in my eye that I think of all the children who will not have a home for Christmas.
Where will these children wake up on Christmas morning to see what Santa has left? And the parents, who must feel like failures, through no fault of their own, will not be able to give their children the Christmas they had always dreamed of giving; the excitement of the children coming in and waking mammy and daddy to say Santa has been and left the things asked for in their letter.
My wish for 2018 is that the whole country can come together to give these people the dream of a happy life in a loving, warm home.
Can't the Government/Nama release land to build houses, in areas suitable for families? In the past, many families have moved from Dublin to smaller towns and villages, formed new communities and found it to be one of the best decisions they ever made. By doing so now, new jobs will be created in service industries.
The Government must play its part by giving incentives to encourage investment outside Dublin. Surely council planners and architects can design and price houses that are easy to heat and maintain, then offer them to contractors and material suppliers on condition they must only be allowed to add a 10pc margin, at the same time ensuring employees are given the going rate for their labour.
We have always been seen around the world as the most giving and generous country when it comes to helping our brothers and sisters overseas. Now it is time to pull together and lift our fellow brothers and sisters to create happier lives for themselves.
More is happening in so much less time
Sir - It's Christmas once again. Where did the year go? A week feels like a day; a month feels like a week; a year feels like a month. Is time speeding up? Or perhaps life is so hectic that we don't have time for time. Science confirms this, it tells us that the rotation of the Earth is slowing, and time is speeding up.
Evidence for this assertion comes from the Schumann Resonance, which is like the Earth's heartbeat. Maybe we need to get back in harmony with that beat. The sensation that time speeds up as you get older is one of the mysteries of time. People across the world are experiencing the feeling that time is speeding up. While a day is still constituted in 24-hour increments, time seems to be moving faster than ever.
In today's computerised world, more is happening in less time. Days, weeks and years fly by. This isn't just a physiological symptom of those who are progressing in age, as every age from teens to the elderly is experiencing this phenomenon. One day it's Easter and before you know it, it's Christmas. Wouldn't it be amazing to take time out from time? Slow everything down and return to the long days when time was on our side.
I feel; therefore I am
Call me Spirit on a journey
To experience a physical life.
A promise that is a dream;
To be loved; to give love.
To have the unconditional love a Mother gives.
This journey takes time.
It is called 'Life'
It is my life
It may be long or short
depending on what is allotted to me.
A heart beats above me.
Now my heart is beating too
I am warm
I am secure
This must be the 'unconditional love'
I am bud from seed
I will open into a beautiful world.
I know not what my future holds
or what I may bring to the world
Only that I am unique
A link in the chain that is humanity.
Therefore... I am
I cannot wait...
Nothing more beautiful, yet...
Sir - Christmas Eve, children tucked up in their beds awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus, hoping he delivers what they've asked or written for.
There is nothing more beautiful than the excited faces of innocent children opening presents or receiving delivery of exactly what it is they requested.
There is, however, the cold hard side to this: the children who've never known the joy of Christmas, who from birth have struggled to survive on the poorest food and water. They are from war-torn regions of the world, their rulers showing no mercy to man, woman or child.
Elsewhere in the world, and nearer here at home, there is the hidden brutality of the innocents who are trafficked and forced to live in sub-standard conditions.
Christmas is a time of celebration, but let us not forget it is only one day out of 365.
They say what you give you can afford, be sure you are not giving to a charity with overpaid directors. Help those nearest to you who you know need help. Happy Christmas to all.
Slaughter of so many innocents
Sir - One of the stories associated with Christmas is that of King Herod and the slaughter of 2,000 innocent children. In his first days in office, President Trump authorised an attack on the village of Yakla in Yemen that reportedly killed 25 civilians, including nine children. Anwar Awlaki was one of those killed in 'collateral damage'.
Since the first Gulf War in 1991, up to one million children have died due to wars in the Middle East. One was an Irish child, Juliana Clifford McCourt, who was on one of the aircraft that was crashed into the Twin Towers in New York. Up to 500,000 children died as a result of UN sanctions on Iraq during the 1990s. A senior US official said: "Yes, it was worth it."
Over the 12 days of this Christmas, hundreds of children will die of disease, hunger and bombs in Yemen. "All across the lands" of the Middle East perhaps as many as 2,000 children will die. That star shining from the east may be a drone firing hellfire missiles. Perhaps King Herod was not so bad after all. We are not doing nearly enough to stop the slaughter of the innocents.
Mary's vision of Christmas
"I had a dream, Joseph, I think it was about a birthday celebration for our son. The people were preparing for about six weeks. They went shopping many times, and bought elaborate gifts wrapped in beautiful paper with lovely bows. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our son. I don't think they even knew him. I had the strangest feeling that if Jesus had gone to this celebration, he would have been intruding."
Thank you, Joe
Sir - Just a few lines at the end of 2017 to say thank you to the Sunday Independent for all your news during the year. I look forward to it every Sunday.
I can't mention everyone but Joe Kennedy's column keeps us aware of all the nature around us. I love his reference of pier-axe plunges into the half frozen apple.
I think there's a bit of a poet in him.
Thanks again to all the people who work on your paper, it's really appreciated. Have a wonderful Christmas and happy and peaceful New Year,
Margaret M Deegan,
Sir - Gosh, I'm reading that Donald Trump's father and grandmother had the middle name 'Christ'! That crazy guy sure had everything going for him.
God knows who'd want his job, but we hope and pray world peace will come and stay. Sure, you never know what's around the corner.
Sir - I am embarking on a 'story' project on adoption and would be grateful if I could make contact with adopted persons (over 18), birth mothers and adoptive families
As a parent who has been fortunate to form a family through the adoption of two children, this subject is close to my heart.
I can assure each person that their details will be treated in the strictest confidence and that they may speak anonymously to me if they wish.
I am available at 091-792017 or email Drfhealy@outlook.com.
Fidelma Healy Eames,
Sir - To most people, at first glance, it might seem puzzling that Sinn Fein and their supporters would direct more bile and venom at Bob Geldof than they do at the disgusting ethnic cleansers and war criminals of Myanmar.
That is until one realises that this is just a tactic to deflect attention away from the war crimes of the Provisional IRA, Sinn Fein's armed wing, who have yet to be held accountable for the bombing of crowded pubs (Birmingham) the firebombing of restaurant diners (La Mon) and the slaughtering of Protestant workmen on their way home to their families (Kingsmill). Not to mention the unspeakable act that they borrowed from Chile's General Pinochet, of disappearing their own people. Hypocrites doesn't begin to describe the pernicious grouping that is Sinn Fein/IRA. Bob is a saint by comparison.
Upcoming debate worse than in 1983
Sir - Last week's editorial (Sunday Independent, December 17) dealt with the upcoming debate that will take place on the abortion referendum which will be held in the middle of next year.
It is an indication of the type of conversations that will take place when you urge politicians to "set a proper tone, respectful to all sides and cognisant of the wider medical, legal and indeed ethical and moral issues...".
Abortion is a very divisive issue with pro-life and pro-choice people having diametrically opposed views. How do you reconcile such divergent views? In one respect it's a little like the irreconcilable views of Nationalists and Unionists in Northern Ireland.
The upcoming debate will be worse than the original one in 1983 because of social media when everyone is a broadcaster. As a pro-life activist, I am not hopeful of respectful conversations taking place in the coming months. The issue will be settled with a democratic vote.
I just hope the result is something we can all come to terms with, unlike the Brexit and American election results,
The relationship with Britain
Sir - Eoghan Harris's article ('Tubridy tries to have it both ways on the royal wedding', Sunday Independent, December 17) states that Great Britain "recently gave us €9bn to get us through the recession".
My first problem with this is that they 'gave us' €3.85bn and it was given as a loan and at a commercial rate of interest and as stated by William Hague, the then British Foreign Secretary, during the Queen's visit, it was very much in their interest to do so. The loan is being repaid with full interest and in time, as is only right and proper.
The way Mr Harris makes the statement suggests that the British authorities just handed us this wad of money for free, which is untrue. Several people of Unionist persuasion seem to be under the mistaken impression that this money was given to Ireland with no strings attached and that false impression needs to be corrected emphatically.
He also states "they also gave us parliamentary democracy". Well yes, but only to a point. When the Act of Union was passed in 1801, and only after a second referendum, the island of Ireland had one quarter of the overall then UK population, yet we were given 104 out of 680 seats. When I went to school, 104 was a long way from one quarter of 680. The fact that members were unpaid and travelling expenses were unheard of should have meant that the numbers should have been weighed more heavily in Ireland's favour, if anything.
He also states they also gave us railways - big deal. Every country in Europe, and many far poorer than Britain, built railways in the 19th Century. However, there were serious problems with the manner in which successive GB administrations dealt with developing railways in Ireland.
For long periods they left the development of the network to private enterprise. This was a disaster for Ireland as it meant that large tracts of the network were not completed until relatively late in the century, despite pleas by the prominent British MPs Lord Morpeth, in 1839, and George Bentwich, in 1846, that a special case for State intervention existed in Ireland, to build a comprehensive rail network with state funding, as had been done in Belgium and other European countries, where those networks were completed decades before they were finished in Ireland.
In passing, he also states there are more Catholics in Queen's University Belfast than Protestants. Again, why would there not be? Recent census records show there are more Catholics in NI in that age group, so it is no surprise there are more Catholics in any university in NI.
Overall, I often agree with Mr Harris and agree wholeheartedly that it is not in Ireland's interest for GB to Brexit, but as Leo Varadkar rightly points out, they created this problem themselves.