Madam – Well done to ESB workers who got the country back in the light, back on its feet.
In the country's hour of need, they did, and are doing, Trojan work, a great job.
They can walk tall.
They have done themselves proud.
They deserve a standing ovation.
And all emergency workers, paid and voluntary, who helped in flood areas, and every place they were needed, did wonderful necessary work.
They all showed a true Irish spirit. And they showed what Irish men and women are capable of and willing to do.
With people like them, our country is in good hands. True, genuine patriotism.
And they didn't demand bonuses or golden handshakes.
Credit where credit is due.
Clonsilla Road, Dublin 15
NO DIFFERENCE IN ORDER OF SUFFERING
Madam – Though Ruth Dudley Edwards's article ('Suicide rates reveal true legacy of Provo violence', Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014) is challenging, it is nonetheless salutary to remember that one must make a distinction between correlation and "causation'' regarding the heartrending phenomenon of suicide. It would also be helpful to resist the temptation to introduce the idea of "another order of suffering'' into this sad narrative – an idea which effectively denies, or at least diminishes, another narrative of suffering on this island.
Ms Edwards might care to reflect upon some hard realities which bring home the intensity and ferocity of violence imposed upon our progenitors, inclusive of the police, general security forces and others, by those whom the Irish State has the arrant impertinence to venerate as heroes and patriots within the environs of Leinster House. This order of suffering from 1916 to 1923 does not deserve to be effectively omitted from the scales of human suffering – however unintentionally.
Ms Edwards is fully aware that all three phases of violence – 1916, 1919-21, and 1922-23 – were instigated by Fenian nationalists who threw acid into the face of liberal democracy. Within four years of activity (inclusive of 1916), over 2,500 people had been killed, and 6,000 people wounded. This scale of human suffering must not be divorced from the nightmare of the 30 years of Provo war, for to do so is to give succour to the dastardly violent foundation myths of this unethically founded State and its glorification of sanitised murderers.
I would respectfully request that Ms Edwards should withdraw the phrase "another order of suffering". Citing the length of the timeframe regarding Provo violence as justification for including the phrase simply flounders when tested logically and analytically. Both orders of human suffering on this island were the same, and reveal the same abhorrent nature of Fenian nationalist fascism.
Celbridge, Co Kildare
HOLLOW WORDS CAN'T HIDE TRUTH
Madam – Well done to Tony Fagan on his letter (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014) 'Hollow words from Sinn Fein'. He speaks such truth. Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and Co, are so focused on trying to rewrite history that they miss the main point – we are not stupid people, we are quite aware of their agenda.
In Tony Fagan's letter, he brings to mind the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe. Never forget how Ann, his widow, tries to sleep, thinking of her pain and loss.
In relation to Mary Lou, I get the impression she is in total denial regarding the crimes of Sinn Fein/IRA. Let's ask about the theft of millions of euro by the IRA or the murder of PSNI officer Ronan Kerr.
Ask Gerry Adams why he visits Margaretta D'Arcy in Limerick prison. He says she's not a criminal. I don't think he understands the word.
Of course, Mr Adams knows all about the law – he makes his own rules.
SEX WORK AND SEX CRIME NOT SAME
Madam – We shouldn't be bullied by those who use half truths to associate supporters of legalised and safe sex work with serious crime. It may be in the interest of the rescue industry to conflate trafficking or soliciting a minor with sex work but it is doing a disservice to everyone else, including victims.
Their judgmental stance towards a person with a disability who may visit an escort for a chat is not unlike homophobia, and they dismiss the views of sex workers who operate willingly.
The UN and Amnesty International have condemned Sweden's law criminalising buyers of sexual services as dangerous and a health hazard.
It also infantalises women by telling us that we can't make decisions for ourselves and has broader implications for personal freedoms – the inevitable consequences of a law based on wishful thinking.
Name and address with Editor
'SECTION 31' HAS NOT GONE AWAY
Madam – It is a measure of Eoghan Harris's antipathy to this Government that in condemning it and Alan Shatter, he actually lauds Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Fein (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014).
One normally expects to find Mr Harris backing a member of Cabinet whom anti-Israeli agitators love to demonise, and backing Garda Commissioner Callinan. But no, the temptation to have a crack at the Government was too strong.
He also rails about some media outlets not being more vocal in the GSOC affair. Might I suggest that the Section 31 mentality which Mr Harris rightly lauded at the time still permeates some media organs. Conor Cruise O'Brien and some like-minded folk from that era must be turning in their graves!
Ballina, Co Mayo
BITTER AIR AT LOSS OF FANTASY EMPIRE
Madam – One has to smile at William Barrett's strenuous efforts to undermine the Irish people and its Republic and his underlying arrogance and determination by trying to convince us that we would have been virtually superior beings by staying part of the UK, or being British, and would like us to finally accept this on his behalf (Sunday Independent, Letters, February 9, 2014). I sense an air of bitterness at the loss of his fantasy empire.
He refers to Eoghan Harris's personal opinion that before 1916, Irish people were content with symbols of the British empire, such as the Union flag and the monarchy, and referred to the British navy as 'our navy', while in reality an entire century (and before) was marked by an intense resistance against British rule which culminated in series of revolutionary movements and also outright rebellions.
There was the uprising of 1798, Robert Emmet's rebellion (1803), Daniel O'Connell (1820s), the Young Ireland Movement (1840s), the 1848 Rebellion, Irish expatriates supporting rebellion at home in the Irish Brigade during the American Civil War (1840s), the Fenian Uprising (1866), the Charles Parnell era (1870s), the Land War (1879), Civil War (1922-23).
The Famine was the final nail in the coffin, where Queen Victoria was openly mocked as the 'Famine Queen', in her propaganda-driven visit to Ireland of 1849.
Mr Barrett's personal fantasies of trying to impose an image of the British empire in 'glowing terms' is sadly his own.
Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
SOMETHING VERY ROTTEN IN IRELAND
Madam –I refer to article by Eilis O'Hanlon (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014), headed 'Mortgage sell-off is an act of pure financial treason'.
It is an absolute national scandal to say the least that our Government is willing to allow 13,000 Irish families be thrown to the mercy of vultures – vultures who are invited to buy ex-Irish Nationwide mortgages at crazily low rates.
Oh yes, there is definitely something very rotten in the state of Ireland – especially when the Taoiseach dismisses the genuine pleas of the people who deserve respect, including journalist Eilis O'Hanlon.
I fully agree with Ms O'Hanlon when she says: 'I don't know why being confronted with the fact these people don't give a rat's ass about us should still be surprising, but it is.'
It is more than clear that An Taoiseach and the current Government don't give a rat's ass about the people of this country who have suffered greatly since they used us, the taxpayers, to bail out the bankers and keep them in their overpaid jobs.
Naul, Co Dublin
MALL WILL NOT HONOUR HERITAGE
Madam – The latest news from Moore Street is very sad (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014).
The Paris Bakery, which represents all that is good in commercial development, preservation and restoration, job creation and a loyal customer base, has been told that its lease will not be renewed by Chartered Land, the same party that has allowed the National Monument to deteriorate.
The contrast was obvious when I visited Moore Street last October and had a delicious lunch at the Paris Bakery. The developer which now seeks to close the bakery has failed to preserve the buildings where the brave men of 1916 spent their last hours as free men, whereas the owners of the Paris Bakery have painstakingly restored the historic building and created a business that brings visitors and tourists to this historic street.
Restoration, not destruction, should be the goal in this historic quarter of Dublin.
A museum developed by commercial interests and dwarfed by a shopping mall will not honour Ireland's history or properly tell the story of 1916. The National Monument must be restored and the derelict condition remedied. Restoration of the individual buildings and the creation and support of small businesses like the Paris Bakery would support the creation of a heritage quarter and provide context and appropriate surroundings for the restored and preserved National Monument.
Robin Mary Heaney,
MARCHING TO A DIFFERENT TUNE
Madam – One doesn't need a masters in psychology to guess the reaction of the organisers of the St Patrick's Day parade in New York if members of the gay community did not participate in the event, irrespective of whether or not they marched without banners proclaiming their sexual orientation.
However, in the past, the organisers of the parade were delighted to have as Grand Marshal a former 'Chief of Staff' of the Provisional IRA – a terrorist gang that murdered men, women and children in an attempt to achieve a 'United Ireland' by force.
Harold's Cross, Dublin 6W
THOSE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE
Madam – I wish to express my concerns about Brendan O'Connor's article on the Vatican (Sunday Independent, February 2, 2014).
It shows a total ignorance of the great work the Catholic Church has done. We all feel great shame about what has happened in our church. But there is shame in all our lives about the things we do to other people. Many paedophiles hid behind the collar. Christ got us to examine ourselves when He said: "He who is without sin cast the first stone."
You seem to have some atheistic agenda to forget about the 90 per cent-plus good that Catholics did and continue to do.
'PAMPERED' STAFF RESTORED POWER
Madam – As the country recovers from the latest storm, I can't help wondering if anyone else has recognised a cruel irony. As we are all aware the ESB group of unions, including members working for ESB Networks, held the country to ransom with threats of power outages over Christmas to protect their generous pensions. They were vilified by many as being over-paid, greedy and pampered. With each storm tens of thousands lost power, many of whom would no doubt have shared these anti-ESB worker views. How fitting it is that they have had to rely on those self-same "pampered" workers to restore their power supply.
Kilmacud, Co Dublin
BEING FAIR TO OUR FOOD INDUSTRY
Madam – I refer to an article by Fiona O'Connell (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014).
I feel the comment re our rivers ie "that with all the toxic fertiliser and animal waste we keep pumping into them" is grossly unfair to one of our most important industries.
She might look at Ear to the Ground of February 13 on RTE Player and the very impressive O'Dwyers Butchers from Cashel.
I'm sure she would agree that they represent all that is best in Irish food production.
Glanmire, Co Cork