Letters to the Editor: 'I’m one of tens of thousands the State has failed through the housing crisis'
I write this on Christmas Day. Last night at around 3am, I awoke to my own screaming.
The reality of having nowhere to go next had invaded my dreams.
Let me introduce myself.
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I am one of the tens of thousands of displaced people in this country rendered homeless by the housing failure.
I have had nowhere to live for more than 15 months since the landlord terminated my tenancy to accommodate a relative.
This is my second no-fixed-address ordeal since November 2014.
I have moved 10 times in the last 15 months.
On Sunday I have to move again: to where, I don't know and I don't have a car, a van or a caravan to sleep in.
I've always had an aversion to the gross commercialism, consumerism and sickly sentimentality of Christmas.
I find the cognitive and moral dissonance of the season to be almost unbearable. But that cognitive and moral dissonance exists all year round now.
While GDP continues to grow, so also does the number of displaced people like myself.
Such people include students, teachers, nurses, guards, army personnel, tradespeople, retail assistants, secretaries, artists - the list goes on.
We are now asylum seekers in our own country: sleeping on friends' floors, sofa-surfing, emergency-lodging with relatives and acquaintances, sleeping in cars, vans, caravans, tents and boats, house-sitting and moving from one temporary rental to another.
Turkey, trifle and pathological denial do nothing to address the social injustice underlying this social crisis.
Affordable places to live with security of tenure is the only way.
No fixed address, South County Galway
If we all aim for the stars, some will hit the target
For Marianne Faithfull, 'she realised she'd never ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair'. The dream of her youth was dashed by reality.
For me it was, 'I'm not going to walk on the moon'. As a child growing up in the 1960s, the Nasa space programme and the moon landing offered the promise of space exploration for all and travel to other planets. Fifty years later it hasn't happened and for me it probably won't happen.
The end of the year brings another resolution - lose weight. A review of last year's resolution to lose weight, and again reality interferes with intention.
What should we all do - lower our expectations and almost achieve them or aim high and look for the best? The world needs more people to aim for that which we all think they cannot do as a few will make it and the world will be better for their efforts.
Box Hill, Melbourne, Australia
Catholic influence grows among other EU nations
It was splendid to see the revised Missa Cantata broadcast from Ashbourne Church courtesy of Eurovision to the faithful practising the predominant religion in the European Union.
Catholics represent 45.3pc of Europeans as against the next nearest, the Protestant religion of 11pc.
The Catholic figure does not include the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church which has between 240 and 260 million members.
It is not surprising, since a large part of Europe is the remnants of the Habsburg Empire ruled by Empress Maria Theresa and her successors.
The Missa Cantata in its original Tridentine form was celebrated as the last Mass in most Cathedral churches in Ireland up to the 1960s.
In 1960 Pope John XXIII's code of rubrics distinguished the Missa Cantata from a high Mass and a low Mass.
Since then a sung Mass with choir and without additional priests, it is called a Missa Cantata.
Our politicians of all hues see our recent social legislation including Christmas Eve announcements that abortion will be available to girls under 15 in special circumstances without parental involvement as a mark of progression or coming of age as a country.
I would doubt that these 'progressions' will be viewed with acclamation in European countries, especially by the increasing number of European political parties that are appearing across Europe with Catholic leaders.
Angela Merkel's successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is regarded as socially conservative.
She is an active Catholic and has served on the Central Committee of German Catholics.
In Bavaria, the largely Catholic state has issued a decree that Christian crosses are to be placed at the entrances to all its public buildings. The premier Markus Soder said it should be seen as "a clear avowal of our Bavarian identity and Christian values". The Bavarian CSU party kept Ms Merkel's party in power during her tenure.
We may have far to go to convince our incoming cousins in Europe that we are still the same country that sent our brightest and best 1,000 years ago to bring Catholicism to Europe.
Cleggan, Co Galway
It's so important to be recognised when it counts
The usual increase in church attendances around Christmas reminds me of a reflection by the late Noel Purcell. Noel remarked that he liked to 'pop' into the church most days, for a quick visit. His logic being that when eventually he would be carried in, he didn't want 'Himself' gazing down and querying, "Who's yer man?" Indeed.
Length of Brexit farce is beyond rhyme and reason
Why don't someone give us a break,
Not much more that I can take,
This confounded Brexit night, and day,
If it don't stop soon it will be the end of May.
Dundalk, Co Louth