Jesus's maxim 'love thy neighbour' also applies to refugees
In response to Seamus Hanratty's letter (Irish Independent, November 19) in which he laments the Government's "naive liberalism", I would suggest that attitudes such as his are part of the problem.
The 2011 census showed that there were around 50,000 Muslim people living in Ireland in that year, and I can only assume that figure has risen since.
In the last four years, I can find no reported incidents of Islamic extremism on our small island. These people live their lives just like you and I, albeit without enjoying a traditional full Irish breakfast. They are our friends, our neighbours, and most importantly, our fellow human beings. For those who practise the Christian faith, I believe all men and women were included when Jesus said "Love thy neighbour as thyself".
Mr Hanratty seems afraid that any refugees Ireland takes in will "never have any loyalty to the Irish State, they will only have loyalty to Allah and Mohammed first and foremost". Similar sentiments were uttered by Edward Carson and the Ulster Unionists. They believed that Irish Catholics would only ever be loyal to the Pope in Rome, and as a result our country was divided and plunged into religious conflict for decades.
All over the world, human beings of every faith have coexisted peacefully by forgetting the minor differences that separate them and focusing on the many similarities that bring them together. I would tell Mr Hanratty not to worry.
No matter how many refugees the Irish government chooses to help, he will still be able to enjoy his full Irish breakfast.
Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
Water meters: where will it end?
Outside, as a new day of economic recovery dawns, the water meters are going in! Is this how "we cherish the children of the nation" in 2015, by measuring their consumption of the oil of life itself?
One is left to wonder if a meter is to be installed outside the local church, a few hundred metres down the road, and, in relation to the baptism of the newborn children of the parish, will the local priest be expected to exhort his parishioners to bring a bottle?
"God help us, and save us, and guard us!" as my grandmother, born in the year of Charles Stewart Parnell's Second Home Rule Bill, was wont to exclaim, at moments of particular oppression.
Indeed, Parnell's "Keep a firm grip on your homesteads!" remains our watchword, as banks (particularly UK banks) make impossible demands on us, and the Revenue Commissioners chime in happily, with the property tax.
But all in all, as the season of Christ's birth is almost upon us, we must, in terms of the 75pc welfare bonus we are to receive with trembling hands this week, be thankful for microscopic mercies!
Where will it all end? Still, I'm looking forward to the raising of a glass of freshly metered water.
Clonard, Co Wexford
Cherish disabled babies' lives
As parents of children with life-limiting conditions such as anencephaly, trisomy 13 and trisomy 18, we welcome the results of the recent opinion poll which showed that fewer people are now supporting legalisation of abortion for children like ours.
It has been extraordinarily hurtful to listen to powerful campaigners and politicians use our children's disabilities to justify abortion.
Anencephaly or trisomy 13 and 18 are conditions which shortened our children's lives. Sometimes we just had hours or days with our precious babies.
But those conditions did not make our babies less human, or less valuable. In fact, having a baby diagnosed with a severe disability made us more determined to protect them.
Parents need better support - perinatal hospice care - from the HSE, so that they have time to make memories with their babies and to establish a pathway to healing. It is shameful to see the Children's Minister single out babies with a severe disability as the basis for abortion reform, instead of urging the HSE to do more for families who want to make sure their babies are protected and cherished.
Thankfully, the Irish people are realising that our children's lives have value. Our politicians, as always, seem to be lagging behind the people in a more enlightened approach to caring for families where babies may not have long to live after birth.
Every Life Counts,
Dominick Court, Dublin 1
Hume is our Mandela
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 and a great night was had.
But after seeing Miriam O'Callaghan's excellent programme in the 'Ireland's Greatest' series back in 2010, we then realised we had met one of the world's really good human beings, way up there with Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela.
Glenties, Co Donegal
Casualisation of teaching
With reference to the article by Katherine Donnelly with the dramatic headline 'Teachers here are among the best paid in the world' (Irish Independent, November 25), I notice no reference is made to the culture of casualisation in the profession in this country.
This disgraceful situation results in many highly qualified teachers finding themselves almost begging for teaching hours in second-level schools. It is shameful.
These teachers should be welcomed into the system with open arms but instead of that, they are in many cases given minimum hours on a casual basis.
There is a tradition in the education system here of trying to get things done on the cheap.
And dramatic headlines which do not tell the whole story cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.
Not only do many teachers have minimum hours but they are also often prevailed upon to undertake additional duties voluntarily.
So less of the dramatic headlines, please, and more balance in the article!
Máire G Ní Chiarba
Thomas Mc Donagh House