Letters: Injustices of the Famine can help us empathise with today’s homeless

Past injustices and prejudices can help us empathise with the beleaguered and stricken

Letters to the Editor

I agreed with your Editorial that suggestions of compensation by Britain for Irish Famine devastation are impractical and unhelpful (‘Remembering the Famine Helps Us to Address Future’, Irish Independent, May 8).

Besides, I would prefer if it was a debt unpaid – how can money compensate those and their families who are long gone?

Remembrance with empathy is how to respect and honour the less fortunate people who walked our land in the 1840s.

We should not be bought off by any of Charles Trevelyan’s descendants.

You are correct that past injustices and prejudices can help us empathise with the beleaguered and stricken.

Today, I witnessed a kind lady who had no cash to hand asking a homeless man – one of our own, sitting on a path begging for some money – if he would like something to eat instead.

She kindly bought him a chicken sandwich and a drink.

True empathy by one of us toward another more than 180 years after the Famine, as I sat uncaringly in close proximity to his plight.

Aidan Roddy

Cabinteely, Dublin

Russian spy ships must be viewed as threat to security

I am not sure which is worse. That Defence Minister Micheál Martin thinks that Russian spy ships snooping around the communications cables lying in Irish waters are not a threat to Irish security.

Or the same minister thinking that a deal with a Nato member to defend our airspace from Russian aircraft does not violate our so-called neutrality.

Jason Fitzharris

Swords, Co Dublin​

We may well be replaced, yet each of us is truly irreplaceable

We are not all replaceable in life and one size certainly does not fit all.

I often hear people say that once we die, we are replaced; no sooner is your death notice announced than your job is be advertised and someone else is in your bed. But such statements are expressions of ignorance.

Even the best people may ultimately be replaceable, but how many people will it take to replace them – and how long will it take?

One size does not fit all.

The only reason we get that impression is because we have degraded everyone into numbers and statistics. The plain truth is people are not replaceable. It is highly unlikely you will find the exact package of qualities you like in one person duplicated in another.

Appreciation of your own unique qualities can help you understand that, while you could be replaced, you are definitely not replaceable. Many of us do not recognise our worth. As you live longer and grow wiser, you will understand and accept that not everyone can be replaced.

People come into your life and you just know you will never be able to replace them when they are gone.

Claire Mulrooney

Birr, Co Offaly

Cancelling historical figures leaves no room for learning

I understand Trinity College’s desire to disassociate itself from George Berkeley, whose writings and slave ownership are now considered repugnant. We in the US, are doing likewise by removing statues from public spaces, renaming sports teams, and changing the names of some institutions.

However, there is one drawback. Current and future generations will not learn about the person and his flawed philosophy.

It is far more educational to leave these names in place but locate nearby signage explaining why honouring these people is now considered wrong. Only then will future generations learn from our mistakes.

Paul L Newman

Pennsylvania, USA

Failure to raise debt ceiling would be a global disaster

Whatever the turmoil that will be created from the Ukraine cauldron, it will only have a marginal effect on the global economy compared with the destruction resulting from any reluctance to raise the US’s debt ceiling from the current $31.4 trillion.

Such a scenario would result in many undesired global outcomes such as further interest rate rises, an enhanced cutback in lending, and a stock market collapse.

John F Higgins


Everton fans in Mayo facing a slight conflict of interests

The last time Everton were relegated was in 1951, the year Mayo last won Sam.

Perhaps Everton supporters in Mayo will have mixed feelings, as they battle to “stay up” over the next few weeks?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9