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Good will come out of this ‘alien invasion’ as the way we all live and work changes forever

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Sign of the times: A woman walks past a coronavirus mural on Camden Street in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Sign of the times: A woman walks past a coronavirus mural on Camden Street in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

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Sign of the times: A woman walks past a coronavirus mural on Camden Street in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Covid-19 may be the best thing to have happened to our world in recent times. I do have empathy and sympathy for those families who lost loved ones and we are going to lose a lot more. I am a high-risk elderly pensioner myself but if God decides that this virus is going to end my days, so be it.

This alien invasion has united the world in a common goal.

This virus made us realise we need to help one another because the virus is a threat to all of mankind, rich and poor alike, and when taking people's lives it does not distinguish between creed, colour or race.

I have watched how happy my grandchildren are since school ended and the lockdown started. Having their mothers and fathers with them all day working from home is great, doing home tutoring and playing games. This virus will change how we live and work in the future.

Hopefully, it will bring families closer together. Our four families have talked and seen more of each other via the internet. We do this once a week and I hope to continue doing so in the future.

My generation is suffering the most, but we have failed to teach our children to take better care of our planet. I am ashamed to say that my generation invented consumerism, which is killing the planet today.

People and leaders of the world, when discussing climate change, never mention the elephant in the room - there are too many of us on this planet. We consume the Earth's riches at an exorbitant rate, raping and ravaging the planet of natural resources on land and in the sea. Worst of all, we are putting nothing back - our only contribution is waste products and chemicals that are poisoning the planet. We are unlike any other creature on the planet. They just take what they need to live.

To all those people on the frontline who keep us safe and supplied at home - nurses, doctors, cleaners, post persons, waste collectors, delivery persons, shop assistants and gardaí - a big thank you and our reward to you should not be left at applause in the Dáil.

All these people should be rewarded by us when they come looking for a pay rise. To those I failed to mention, I love you all.

Enjoy our family time together because no one knows what the future holds. God bless us all.

Christopher Coughlan

Castledermot, Co Kildare

 

De Valera's sympathy on Hitler's death insensitive

Since the 75th commemoration of VE Day on May 8, there have been numerous articles and observations both criticising and supporting the decision of Éamon de Valera on the visitation to the German Legation to sympathise with Dr Eduard Hempel on the occasion of Adolf Hitler's death.

The debate polarises opinion, those in support arguing that it was first and foremost an expression of the Irish State's steadfast neutrality which endured, despite intense pressure to join the allied effort, and to a lesser extent a combination of personal respect for Hempel and the niceties of diplomatic protocol.

It is of little doubt that all of these political and personal forces played a role in de Valera's decision. However, what has seldom featured in the debate was the fact that at both a personal and governmental level, he had a deep and profound awareness of the appalling tragedy that had befallen Europe's Jews in what would soon be globally described as the Holocaust.

In fact, de Valera had been aware of the existence of the Nazi plan to exterminate Europe's Jews from as early as 1942 through a relationship with Robert Briscoe, the State's only Jewish TD, and a detailed and lengthy correspondence starting on December 12, 1942, with Yitzhak Herzog, the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and a close acquaintance, who implored: "Revered friend, pray leave no stone unturned to save remnant of Israel, doomed at last to utter annihilation in Nazi Europe."

On January 30, 1943, Herzog continued to beg de Valera to express a neutral Irish State's abhorrence at the Nazi slaughter "of two million European Jews - with a further five million threatened with extermination".

There is copious documentary evidence in the National Archives supporting the fact de Valera knew that millions of Jews were being systematically exterminated. This awareness makes his May 1945 visit to the German Legation an extraordinary act of political insensitivity to global anti-Nazi sentiment, but also towards the appalling suffering of Europe's Jews.

The fact that de Valera's expression of sympathy still causes such debate 75 years on was in this sense summarised in Herzog's cable of July 24, 1944, imploring the Irish government to "halt deportation of these tragic people, that the cruel tragedy will shock history till the end of days, the voice of civilisation calls to [the] whole of humanity not to rest but save what can be saved to snatch a precious branch from the fire".

Surely this knowledge should have engendered in de Valera an empathy for the murdered Jews of Europe, not for the death of their annihilator.

Dr Kevin McCarthy (biographer of Robert Briscoe)

Killaloe, Co Clare

 

Sisters' €200m gift could be a huge help in Africa

Apart from a call to publish its correspondence with the Vatican, the public response has been muted to your report of the announcement by the Sisters of Charity that they are gifting lands to the State valued at €200m (Irish Independent, May 9). As you rightly point out, this marks the end of the Sisters' 186-year long involvement in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin. This is surely a significant turning point in our history.

While Health Minister Simon Harris has thanked the Sisters on our behalf, we need to reflect on the implications of this gift. The issue is not complicated. John Hopkins University has suggested recently that healthcare systems in sub-Saharan Africa will be overwhelmed if Covid-19 cases escalate. The Sisters of Charity work in Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia. They founded and continue to run a 97-bed hospital in Chikuni, Northern Province, Zambia. Had the Irish Government offered to pay even 5pc of the value of these lands, this sum would have gone a long way to improving this hospital and helping it prepare for Covid-19 cases.

The World Health Organisation has called for international solidarity at this time. Hopefully this gift from the Sisters of Charity to the Irish people will prompt the appropriate response.

Garrett Sheehan

Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

 

Term 'new norm' is scary and wholly unnecessary

What is it with this term 'new norm', a scary term if ever there was one. What's wrong with just trying to bring our lives back to normal? We have always had to make changes in life to better ourselves.

This time is definitely more challenging, but so be it. It will be nothing to what all our wonderful medical people have achieved already.

Just 'normal', please. That will do.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

 

Rules for the over-70s are both unfair and illogical

I write to protest at the inequitable treatment of my age group, the over-70s. My wife and I have faithfully followed the medical and political advice to remain in our house and avoid contact with others - up to now.

However, the continued policy of treating us as some form of delicate species unable to think for ourselves will sadly, I believe, lead to many of our generation simply ignoring the advice while continuing to behave sensibly and avoiding physical contact with others.

We are aware we are more at risk should we contract the virus and we therefore have a far greater personal interest in remaining safe.

I instance a couple of anomalies which simply do not make any scientific or logical sense. First, why can I not drive, cocooned in my car, to our nearby park for a walk. As it's too far for my wife to walk there and then enjoy the peace and serenity of our local park, we are disadvantaged simply by location.

Equally, the regulation limiting the use of a golf course or tennis court to those who live within 5km makes no sense. If one member is allowed to drive for 5km cocooned in his car without social interaction, please explain to me the difference in another person doing the same but driving 25km to the course.

I urge the Government to employ common sense by amending these regulations. Unfortunately, bad law simply results in it being disregarded by sensible law-abiding people.

James G Duggan

Raheny, Dublin

Irish Independent