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Letters to the Editor: 'Lay Catholics deserve to help choose their new archbishop'


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Sarah Carey (Irish Independent, January 18) paints an interesting picture of the Catholic Church worldwide and in Ireland. 2020 is likely to be a momentous year for the Church in Dublin and the island of Ireland.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has clearly indicated he will submit his resignation letter to Pope Francis in a few months’ time when he reaches his 75th birthday.

His time at the helm of the Dublin archdiocese has rarely seen him out of the news and he has not been slow to engage with difficult issues of the day.

Now is the time to think about possible successors. Catholics deserve a voice in selecting his successor. I suspect the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, would welcome suggestions from faithful Catholics for the three names to be submitted to Pope Francis when the time comes.

When I lived in London, on several occasions Cardinals Heenan and Hume asked parishioners to submit names of possible area bishops. Lay Catholics felt very empowered by the experience.

Priests too have their ways of having their voices heard as back in the 1970s the priests of Brentwood diocese engaged in an exercise which included a very professional questionnaire to determine the qualities they sought of their next bishop.

Bishop Patrick Casey was duly appointed and undertook to serve in that capacity for 10 years. After 10 years he returned to his home diocese as a parish priest.

Surely now is the time for Irish Catholics to speak up and suggest names of priests or bishops they feel would provide the leadership needed for the next 10 years.

Alan Whelan

Killarney, Co Kerry


Housing crisis caused by Government’s dogmatism

Eoghan Murphy insists he has the answers to the housing crisis despite the glaring evidence to the contrary (‘Murphy wants ‘the chance to continue what I’ve done’ as Housing Minister’, Irish Independent, January 18).

While it is hard to see Murphy as some sort of ogre taking actions he knows well are ruining people’s lives, it really is remarkable he cannot see the fallout of the homelessness  crisis – and things are getting steadily worse.

Maybe Murphy’s obvious delusion is explained by Einstein’s observation about the definition of stupidity: repeating the same thing over and expecting a different result. But the truth is most likely less complicated.

Murphy is not a fiend nor a fumbling incompetent. Every action he and his colleagues take is the logical response to the questions that are formed by the ideology that informs everything they do.

Our problem is we have a Government populated by straitjacketed ideologues who repeatedly ask the wrong questions. Their questions are not centred on what would best serve the common good, but rather what will preserve the status quo. Such ideologies are dogmatic and rarely change course.

Keep that in mind on February 8.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Sligo


Media has chosen the usual suspects to take power

All the talk in the Irish media about possible results of the General Election is so much hot air. The result has already been decided by the Irish media.

The Irish media have already decided we will approve the return to power of the political party that governed this country for two-thirds of the time since independence.

The Irish media have already decided we will approve the return to power of the political party that won five elections in a row between 1987 and 2007.

The Irish media have already decided we will approve the return to power of the political party the decisions of which bankrupted the country in 2010.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13


Pay Defence Forces a bonus to win war against gangsters

With regard to the recent spate of gangland murders and apparent lack of Garda resources to deal with it, may I suggest a temporary solution.

To increase Garda numbers would be very costly and also would not solve the problem in the short term as new recruits need to be trained.

Why not use our underpaid Defence Forces instead? They are already trained and as far as I know are kicking their heels in various different barracks around the country.

They could assist gardaí in patrolling areas of our country plagued by the drug gangs, relieving gardaí to perform other duties. They could be paid an extra allowance which might also solve the morale problem in the Defence Forces due to low pay.

I have been to Paris and Rome recently and have seen soldiers patrolling both cities and I felt much safer as a consequence. Opinions?

Vincent O’Connor

Church Road, Tullamore, Co Offaly

Irish Independent