Monday 14 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: Blaming nuns over dead babies is the easy way out – while real culprits aren’t held to account

BURIAL GROUND: A sign which reads Dignity left at the grotto in the Tuam Mother and babies site. Photo: Andy Newman
BURIAL GROUND: A sign which reads Dignity left at the grotto in the Tuam Mother and babies site. Photo: Andy Newman
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

This persecution of religious orders has gone too far. The nuns did not get the unmarried girls pregnant or give them TB, and it was not their duty to pay for burials of babies with names in early to mid-20th century Ireland's graveyards that might disgrace their mothers.

If an unmarried girl buried her dead child in the local graveyard it would have to be done without a headstone and in secret, and as such girls did not have money to do so it was up to the government or local authority.

If the Government really wanted to do right for the babies it would get the names of the girls whose babies died from the nuns and find a proper burial place for them, but we know that it doesn't have the courage to do it; blaming the nuns is easier.

I would have thought the newspaper would have someone who knew the social and medical history of Ireland a little better than seems to be the case from the coverage given to this issue. Even films like 'Ryan's Daughter' described very well how life was in the west of Ireland regarding morality and respect in the community.

Being known to have been in such a home was enough to force girls when they left it to take the boat to Holyhead as a social life and marriage in the community where they lived after that was impossible.

Excavating the site and not identifying the babies is futile. This is likely to make another public sector industry of it all at taxpayers' expense and to add to the persecution of the religious, who were not public sector workers hired by a concerned government to look after the innocent babies.

Those burials could not have taken place without government approval and local authority agreement as it's almost a certainty that funds were sought by the nuns from both before the ad hoc solution was found.

Michael McPhillips

Ballymun, Dublin 9

I take issue with Children's Minister Katherine Zappone describing what happened in Tuam as part of "a pattern of injustice we cannot overcome unless we acknowledge it", while she also campaigned for and welcomed the removal of the Eighth Amendment, which acknowledged the right to life of the unborn. That she does not acknowledge abortion as an injustice makes a mockery of her position as Children's Minister; indeed abortion is the foremost child-protection issue of our time.

As she calls for the identification via DNA testing of the remains of the hundreds of children feared buried in the sewage system of the former Bon Secours mother and baby home, will she similarly call for the consent of all fathers (via DNA testing, if necessary) to the abortion of their children?

Will she ensure that the thousands of unborn babies in Ireland from 2019 onwards, who will have their lives terminated in the womb, will have the "respectful burial and memorialisation" she is calling for the Tuam babies? Her handling of babies aborted on her watch will be telling.

Helena Byrne

Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Lack of responsibility in society is not sustainable

I SUPPOSE it is too much to hope for that we might get a result in the presidential election that signals some form of backlash against the pseudo-liberal, neo-Marxist enabling claptrap that society here and in the wider western world has been spoon-fed for years, and which seems to have become the accepted "wisdom" for some: "Forget about the truth. Your 'truth' is what's important. You are entitled. Do what you want - there is no such thing as personal responsibility, there are no consequences - it's always someone else's fault. You are oppressed. You are a victim."

How about this instead: "Get up off your ass and work, so that the ageing, ever-decreasing population of the working poor who (a) have to get up and go to work every morning and (b) actually want to work, can stop paying for the ever-increasing amount of dead weight being piled upon them."

Of course genuine people in difficulty who want to work should be supported constructively, but what we have at the moment is a "wedge" model of economics.

The thin end of the wedge is declining all the time, but is expected to support a constantly expanding load at the opposite end.

It's an absolute dream for the idler, but it is not sustainable.

Peter Keating

Charleville, Co Cork

Grannies should not have to pay for housing crisis

KARL Deeter and Brendan Burgess view homes as houses, as in too many bedrooms for, God help us, one or two people.

One person deserves one bedroom, and friends/family can sleep in the kitchen/bathroom/hallway when they come to stay.

We are not solitary creatures, one-bedroom places are like prison cells, one inmate, no more.

The housing crises was caused by the lack of building, not by some granny who wants to stay in her council house to have her grandchildren over at weekends.

First we were going to all go to step-down housing, not being forced mind, just the carrot approach. Now council tenants are going to be out the door when the youngest child is gone.

This is madness. People love their homes, with memories and familiar things, with visitors and pets.

So let the Government hurry up with the thousands of social and first-time buyers' homes, and leave the grannies in their homes.

Margaret Docherty

Terenure, Dublin 6

Stars in mesmerising film will leave you in tears

I WENT to the cinema this week. I went to a movie that asks you to feel deeply, more than it asks anything else.

Tears flowed down my face. I kid you not.

Why? Watching the dreadful addictions of a successful country-rock singer, who falls in love with a wonderfully talented lady, and whom he helps to become a star.

The movie, of course, was 'A Star is Born', with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

Both are just pure magic. I dare you not to cry.

Brian Mc Devitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

Islanders shouldn't have to cast their votes early

REMEMBER the 2011 presidential election, when the islanders had voted before the RTÉ debate with Pat Kenny with the interjection by the late Martin McGuinness and the now legendary anonymous tweet?

Once again we see our islanders forced to vote prematurely in an election. Why are they not treated the same as the other voters in the State?

This practice evolved due to the unpredictability of our weather, and poor methods of transport to and from the islands.

The present weather and improved forecasting, together with much improved transport to and from the islands, has ruled out the need to have this early ballot.

Perhaps the islanders are twice as smart as the rest of us in that they will not be swayed by last-minute interviews and debates in the media. They have voted while the electioneering continued.

Is there a subtle message from the powers that be, there are so few of you out there your votes don't matter so the moratorium on broadcasting need not apply?

Everyone's vote is the same, and so everyone should be treated the same, and all ballots should be cast on the same day.

In the unlikely situation where the ballots become stranded on the island(s) the count should be postponed until all the boxes are opened together at the various counting centres.

Paddy Murray

Castlepollard Co Westmeath

Was the whole doughnut saga simply over-baked?

FOR a while there, we had various reports on the subject of doughnuts.

All quiet now...people must have seen through them?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont D9

Irish Independent

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