As one of those who left Ireland as a late teenager in the mid-1960s, I write to congratulate the people in the land of my birth on the result of the referendum.
While it brought an end to much pain and misery for gay people, the result is even more poignant as it is a statement that the nation is determined to give full expression to the freedom that was enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation and which has remained elusive until recent times. The people have made it unambiguously clear that it is their voice and not that of the Catholic Church which will determine the laws of the State. It is a cathartic moment in Irish history and one which gives good reason to celebrate that the needs of human beings must always supersede theological or ideological dogma. Ireland has moved irrevocably from a theocracy to a democracy.
As a practising Catholic, I am ecstatic at the result because I always believed that God gave us intelligence to make difficult moral decisions and in so doing activate the positive spirit of the gospels in our everyday lives, thus enhancing the pool of goodness to cultivate a healthy society.
Merely following outdated man-made rules diminishes spiritual growth. God did not want us to be nodding dogs to a church hierarchy which seemed to be more concerned with controlling the minds of the people rather than promoting the spirit of Christ. Ironically, the church's authorities have sabotaged its own authority and the road to the restoration of the latter will be a long and painful one, but there is room for optimism.
I particularly welcome Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's sentiment that the church must engage in a "reality check". He seems to be the right person to bridge the gap between the church's traditional views and those of the people. That gap was obvious to me as a young person growing up in Ireland and later on experiencing third-level education in Britain. While visiting the home country, there was always a growing boil waiting to be lanced.
The church now has a wonderful choice to make. It can either continue to bury its head in the sand or use the evidence before its eyes to reposition itself more meaningfully in the lives of real people. Perhaps it might be pertinent to remind itself of the 'Galileo' experience when it excommunicated him for using his brain to postulate the Copernican system and was later forced to exonerate him in the face of public humiliation.
Edward J Norton
Grave concern for church
I suggest that the rainbow depicted in Wednesday's Irish Independent cartoon is indicative more of wishful thinking for a Catholic Church in crisis than the reality on the ground, which is the fact that Irish society itself has become deeply mired in a moral crisis.
When our children can be deprived by law of that most fundamental right to life itself, or of a father's love or a mother's love by popular vote, then the signs of moral crisis become unmistakable for our society.
Of course, this is a matter of grave concern for the church.
Fr Freddy Warner
Portumna, Co Galway
Collins as President?
I write having read letters published from Mr Cian Desmond (Irish Independent, May 29) and Mr T Gerard Bennett (June 2) regarding Michael Collins and the issue of the recent referendum on presidential age.
Mr Collins would have in fact been only 124 if he were alive today, one might call him - the "young fella".
However, how could he have been made President in 1922 at the time of his death when the office would not be created for another 16 years, at which point he would've been a 48-year-old, had he been alive.
When he died, Collins was Chairman of the Provisional Government, Minister for Finance and the man tasked to lead this country through its infancy and to the build foundations for the new State.
It is very clear he had already achieved an awful lot in his 31 years before he died, and for the young people of Ireland today he is a mythical and loveable figure.
But it's easy to have a slightly biased view living within a short distance of where he was born and where his short life ended. As an accomplished leader (militarily and politically) and speaker, Collins's purpose in Irish politics would always have been better served in Dáil Éireann and he could have easily survived in Irish politics until well into the 1950s in a hands-on role and having a say in the running of the country, instead of taking a back seat and a more neutral role of President later on in his life.
Bandon, Co Cork
Tribute to late, great Bill
Having watched RTÉ's excellent tribute to the late Bill O'Herlihy on last Friday's 'Late Late', I, as a fellow Corkman, could only cast my mind back to distant days of the 1950s when we both studied together in our early education days at St Finbar's College, Cork. He was then the same jovial, chatty, fun-loving Bill as depicted, extending those infectious talents of his into his life as a gifted journalist and sports broadcaster in later life. A lovely man - he will no doubt be greatly missed.
Kinnegad, Co Westmeath
Create more jobs from less work
I refer to the editorial in the Irish Independent on June 4: 'Economic alarm bells simply must be heeded'.
There are, however, much louder alarm bells than the editorial refers to; alarm bells that tell us economic conditions have changed utterly in the 21st century and will no longer answer to conventional, self-serving budgets or outdated employment policies and public-pay-increasing gimmicks.
Growth as a major economic force has been replaced by sufficiency; even the most wayward exam student would know we cannot continually produce more when we are already producing too much. That same student would also have copped on to the reality that automation eliminates work on a truly massive scale and that any sane employment policy must entail generating more jobs from less work.
These basic fundamentals of economic thinking play little or no part in Government planning, or indeed lack of planning.
It is as if advanced technology never existed and the scope to grow and employ were unchanged from history. Such scant regard for facts does not bode well for successful results in the economic examination we all sitting at the moment.
Tubbercurry, Co Sligo