Monday 25 March 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Nuns did their best on sex education in a different time'

'I can’t speak for the nuns in 1930s Ireland. But I imagine that many of them were good people.' Stock photo: Deposit Photos
'I can’t speak for the nuns in 1930s Ireland. But I imagine that many of them were good people.' Stock photo: Deposit Photos
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Anthony O’Leary makes some valid points about the role of nuns in educating children about sex (‘Nuns failed in their duty to provide proper sex education’, Letters, Irish Independent, February 20).

However, the past is a very different country and a very comforting one at that. It is very easy to stomp around the misty moorlands of another age and fire our muskets at windmills on the moon. It is much more difficult to try to steer the capricious old ship of public opinion towards today’s more uncomfortable issues, like the unsustainable growth in the world’s population, or acknowledging that there are more people enslaved in the world today than at any time in human history.

I can’t speak for the nuns in 1930s Ireland. But I imagine that many of them were good people, motivated by the idealism and patriotism of their time. We in 2019 forget that before the 1950s there was an incurable disease that was 100 times more infectious than HIV. That disease was syphilis. It was a terrible disease and one that promised a slow, lingering and horrifying death.

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Nuns who were also involved in hospitals and caring for the sick would have been familiar with syphilis, and its horrors would have coloured their own attitudes to sexual behaviour and protecting the children in their care. Condoms, not being at all as effective as they are today, would offer very little protection against STDs or even pregnancy, and handing them out would have given young people a false sense of security, and have been grave a dereliction of the nuns’ duty of care to the young people in their charge.

Kevin Ryan

Richmond, London, England

Gradual erosion of human rights puts democracy at risk

The human right to freedom of conscience is not provided in legislation for the majority of healthcare staff.

Conscientious objection is only provided for doctors and nurses in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.

All other healthcare staff are now less equal than doctors and nurses. This is despite the fact that Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) confirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that they are endowed with reason and conscience.

Article 7 of the UDHR states that all people are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. Article 18 states that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Unfortunately, there are now calls for another human right to be curtailed or denied. Article 20 of the UDHR states that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

The gradual erosion of human rights in Ireland is a very slippery slope for Irish democracy.

Bernadette Flood

Kilcock, Co Kildare

Pressuring vulnerable women over abortion choice is wrong

I feel very strongly about this termination/abortion issue. If you weren’t present at the conception, you have absolutely no right to try to interfere in the women’s/couples’ decisions later on for whatever path they choose. Loitering around clinics and hospitals hoping to ‘catch’ women and persuade them to change their minds is despicable. It’s never an easy choice and it’s exclusively the choice of those present at conception to make.

Claire Healy

Address with editor

SF may like to consider being absent from Leinster House...

Once again Mary Lou has excelled. How often does she need to fill her mouth with her feet before even Sinn Féin realises she is a liability? Answers, in Irish, on a postcard, please. Perhaps we should all be thankful they ignore the House of Commons and seem to be heading the same way at Stormont. What a pity they turn up at Leinster House.

David Ryan

Co Meath

Irish Border would not be an issue if it wasn’t for Brexit

I welcome Len Gurrie to the Brexit debate in which he challenges my opinion as making no sense (Letters, February 18). He is entitled to his view that Brexiteers have not declared economic war on the citizens of the rest of the EU, and especially on the citizens of this democratic republic and former colony.

But I beg to disagree. He is also entitled to his opinion that if a hard Border ensues, it will not be the Brexiteer vote that causes it. I disagree. If the Brexit vote had not occurred, the Border would stay as is. But all we have to do is wait and see.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Irish Independent

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