Many years ago my wife and I found ourselves in the company of John Hume and his wife for a few late-night drinks at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties. We, of course, knew we were with someone special.
After seeing Miriam O’Callaghan’s excellent programme in RTÉ’s ‘Ireland’s Greatest’ series back in 2010, we realised we had met one of the world’s really good human beings, up there with Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.
May he now rest in peace.
Glenties, Co Donegal
John Hume was a man of peace and a ‘real’ Irish hero
We have lost a ‘real’ Irish hero with the passing of John Hume.
He never killed anyone for his cause. He never encouraged others to do likewise. He never endorsed violence in any form as the road to peace. He was steadfast in his belief that the road to peace was only through dialogue, breaking down barriers and building bridges.
His strength was his words. That old adage of the word being mightier than the sword surely is apt to put next to the name of John Hume.
Throughout the most toxic period of Irish history, he stood up for peace.
He never wavered, although at times he looked spent, he always rallied, ready for another speech or round of negotiations.
If we had honours in Ireland, such as a knighthood, then surely John Hume would be the ultimate knight, one to command respect at the most exalted and honourable of round tables.
And may this man of peace rest in peace.
Fine Gael should really keep Fianna Fáil at a safe distance
As a supporter of Fine Gael, in the immediate aftermath of the general election in February – and the historic progress made by Sinn Féin under the provocative leadership of Mary Lou McDonald – I anticipated that within a relatively short period of time, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil would merge as one political movement.
My thinking around a potential merger was on the basis that it appeared the Civil War stance, which defined the relationship between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and the very nature of successive governments for nearly a century, seemed almost irrelevant.
This was particularly the case against the backdrop of the profoundly critical negotiations surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union, the substantial challenges faced by government, particularly in the areas of health and housing, and the requirement for experienced and measured political leadership to manage the economic crisis which has stemmed from Covid-19.
In addition, there was an obvious necessity to form a long-term, collective, stable and rational opposition to the utterly reckless economic strategy of Sinn Féin which is not only unworkable, but would leave our small island economy exposed.
Upon reflection, it would be irresponsible and unintelligent for Fine Gael to even consider a merger with Fianna Fáil. The blatant reality is that Fine Gael has established an identity which has been founded on a commitment to fiscal responsibility, historic social progress and, in the last months of the previous government, a compassionate response to the challenges presented by Covid-19.
In comparison, the Fianna Fáil-led administration in the early 2000s can be held solely responsible for the absence of stringent banking regulations, and the diminution of Ireland’s ability to govern itself financially.
Since the return of Fianna Fáil to Government, Micheál Martin has not spoken to the nation in the same reassuring way as his predecessor as Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.
The Barry Cowen saga has curtailed the ability of the Government to make meaningful progress and epic infighting has occurred in the party, effectively bringing it to the brink of civil war.
St Peter’s College, Wexford
‘Inemuri’ is the path to enlightenment, Eamon
In Japanese corporate culture, there’s a concept called ‘inemuri’, or “sleeping while present”. You can doze off in a meeting, at a park or at a restaurant, and it is socially acceptable to nap while at work!
Its value is seen in energising the brain and helping the individual become more relaxed and composed, thereby enabling him or her to contribute in a more meaningful and insightful way.
Eamon Ryan should consider the significant merits of embracing inemuri and ‘wabi sabi’ – a worldview centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection – and not be apologetic in the slightest.
We await profound insights of wisdom and enlightenment and wish him and his colleagues well on their trip into the unknown!
Killester, Dublin 5