Monday 16 September 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Mum knows best and there are two sides to every story'

Journalist Lyra McKee was the victim of a fatal shooting in Derry
Journalist Lyra McKee was the victim of a fatal shooting in Derry
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Having read Tanya Sweeney’s ‘top tips’ on motherhood (Irish Independent, April 24) I was disappointed to see some of the advice being offered by someone with a platform. Seeing as Ms Sweeney was kind enough to offer unsolicited advice to Meghan Markle, I thought I’d return the favour by enlightening her on some of her not so sound advice.

“I hope you’re lucky enough to get a good sleeper” – what is a good sleeper? Science would suggest a good sleeper is a baby who wakes frequently as this is an inbuilt mechanism that helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Sleep deprivation is tough, but it’s a normal part of being a parent, especially in the early days. And this constant need to equate lots of sleep with being “good” is misleading and inaccurate.

“Don’t sweat it if breastfeeding doesn’t work out” – in the same vein, don’t sweat it if training for that 10km is too hard; don’t sweat it if your writing is rubbish, right? It doesn’t matter that it’s what you wanted to do, and that it’s something you’re prepared to work for. By all means, support mothers who choose to formula feed and encourage them to own their decision, it’s theirs to make. But don’t dismiss a mother’s wish to breastfeed by telling her not to “sweat it”. It’s ill-judged advice at best, and patronising at worst.

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“Get your baby used to being around other people” – why? Your baby doesn’t need other people, your baby needs you. There is so much pressure on mothers now to go against the biological norm of holding and nurturing their babies. If they want to hand baby off for a break, absolutely fine. But it’s not something to necessarily aspire to. It is also OK and normal to want to stay skin to skin with your baby, to not want to pass your baby around like a parcel so they can “get used” to being handled by a bunch of people unknown to them. It is absolutely OK not to want to leave your baby to go out on date nights until you are physically and emotionally ready to do so – be that weeks, months or years.

I appreciate that Ms Sweeney’s article was an opinion piece.

Emma Whelan

Dublin 15


Lyra’s commitment to peace is a legacy we should honour

Tragically, the murder of young journalist and LGBT activist Lyra McKee may yet prove to be a watershed. It underlines the fragility of peace and the urgency for politicians on all sides to seize the initiative from those who have nothing to offer but despair and division.

I have to say I have been astonished at the tendentious claptrap in the online commentary from some people who would claim to be republicans. While avowedly not condoning what happened, they try to obscure its intrinsic evil by wrapping it in the context of their own one-dimensional ideological view of the world. I may not have agreed with Lyra McKee on certain issues, but I commend her courage and single-mindedness in pursuing her goals and above all in her commitment to peace, which has to be the foundation for all true reconciliation and progress. As the great Martin Luther King said: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

John Glennon

Hollywood, Co Wicklow


Onus is now on politicians to restore hope in the North

CONGRATULATIONS on a profoundly direct editorial analysis, in the aftermath of Lyra McKee’s murder.

In addition, Colette Browne (April 24) gives a strikingly clear opinion on politicians’ responsibilities, North and south: “To rekindle and restore hope for peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland.”

Brendan Gallagher

Naas, Co Kildare


Time we saw the light over election posters on lampposts

Shiny, plastic election posters attached with plastic cable ties to lampposts are past their sell-by date. Since the 1840s the political poster was the only way to ‘get your face’ across to voters, but the internet has been invented and most people walk with their heads in their phones. So, let’s consider an alternative to the plastic poster and cable ties.

Eve Parnell

Dublin 8


Parental leave scheme is too costly for many new fathers

Your report (“Doherty under fire for suggesting cash isn’t cause of low paternity leave rates”, Irish Independent, April 25) highlights the aloof detachment of members of the Government. Regina Doherty apparently fails to understand a father with a modest income could not afford to take part in her “parental leave” scheme which would greatly reduce his income and thus expose his family to having to rely on the local soup kitchen, or even worse, to the tender mercies of her colleague Eoghan Murphy over at housing, for a roof over their heads.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

Irish Independent

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