Letters to the Editor: 'Strong tea is key to a happy life'
Sir - Dermot Cooke (Letters, Sunday Independent, February 24) gave some welcome and much-needed advice on how to make the perfect cuppa.
It reminded me of an essay, entitled Strong Tea, which was written 56 years ago by John B Keane. In it, he gave any young man with an eye to marriage, the following advice when in the house of his fiancee.
"Quietly, and without letting anybody know, he should pay close attention to his cup of tea. If the tea is weak and watery, he should most certainly take stock of his position and ask himself if he is prepared to spend his life in the company of a woman who sees nothing wrong with watery tea. If the tea is strong, he must experience no further doubt.
"He must marry the girl immediately for there is the danger that word will go out about the potency of her tea, a quality which will enhance her in the eyes of men who are seeking this particular type of girl."
All children deserve equal love and care
Sir - Great hue and cry is presently being made about the safety of children within the Scouts.
The safety of our children must always be paramount, whether it be in the Scouts or anywhere else our children gather to play. While children's freedom and safety is important, so also is the manner in which they are reared and brought up.
A weekend away with friends is so important to young people growing up, and it is equally important that our children are reared under proper conditions, to know love and care, not in some cramped hotel or hostel room, perhaps being dragged from one place to another.
Damage done to children under the conditions stated will manifest itself in later years. Let all children be loved and cared for equally!
Sir - I attended a Scouting troop when a lot younger and like the majority of youngsters never encountered anything except good professional child care and character-building adults. I think that Tusla now telling the Scouting Ireland to get its house in order reminds me of the old idiom of pot calling the kettle black!
Repeal debate had balanced coverage
Sir - Mary Stewart (Letters, Sunday Independent, February 24) alleges those opposed to the repeal of the Eighth Amendment were sidelined by the media. This reminds me of Queen Gertrude's words in Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Mary Stewart has had innumerable letters of protest published, prior to, and after the vote.
The media coverage was evenly balanced in the main, and people today also can access far more information than in 1983 and are aware of their individual rights. Those opposed to the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy, refute the principle of ''free will'' that God gives to every human being. They also refuse to accept, even deny, that the State is a social creature, with obligations to all of its citizens.
Human right to life is the vital issue
Sir - Gene Kerrigan (Soapbox, Sunday Independent, February 24) asserts that there are just three things that matter to the "allegedly pro-life camp", ie location, location, location.
Yep, Gene's computation is correct but not his clarification. The three magic words that matter to anybody who is genuinely pro-life are "right to life".
One only has to look up Oldenburg Baby, aka Tim, who miraculously survived an abortion and then spent nine hours in a receptacle while medical staff waited for him to die, to realise what that means. Tim didn't die and appeared to have a very happy life (check out his photos online) for 21 years.
Fundamental human rights are just that, fundamental, irrespective of location.
Truth is abortion is wrong and evil
Sir - I refer to Gene Kerrigan's article on abortion (Soapbox, Sunday Independent, February 24). He writes that the pro-life group is arrogant and aggressive. Does he not realise that abortion is the killing of another human being when it is most vulnerable and defenceless?
It is wrong: it is evil and no amount of padding it around with soft euphemistic language will change that truth. Pro-choice people either cannot see or don't want to see abortion as evil. Abortion is of major public concern, not just a private matter. That it was passed into law by a two-thirds majority makes it legal but not right - a bad law.
Tragic questions of life and death
Sir - Brendan O'Connor (Sunday Independent, February 24) wrote about the tragic case of 19-year-old Shane Michael Skeffington who killed his nine-year-old brother Brandon before taking his own life. Mr O'Connor states "and then there is another side to mental health, the really acute, dangerous end of it".
This is a side that scares a lot of people.
I am currently researching why some people with suicidal thoughts act on them while others do not. Unless you have been to the very edge, you really have no understanding of the thought processes of someone who is suicidal.
I am not a professional, rather an expert by experience, having suffered from depression/suicidal thoughts for many years before overcoming them through psychotherapy.
I am interested in hearing from people who experienced suicidal thoughts in the past. If they didn't act on them, what thought processes stopped them? Equally I am interested in hearing from people who attempted suicide and survived. What differences are there between these two groups of people? Do the people in each group have things in common?
I started this research with help from Galway Bay FM initially who helped me publicise it and have been humbled by the honesty of people who contacted me and shared their stories. I now wish to hear from a greater number of people to help me form a more accurate assessment.
For people not in a crisis at the moment, I can be contacted in strictest confidence on email@example.com.
UK Brexiteers will not keep us quiet
Sir - Emmet Healy (Letters, Sunday Independent, February 24) tells us that Brexit is ''far too serious an issue for games of brinkmanship''.
He is right, given the fact that Brexit is one of the most significant political declarations made in Europe since World War II.But he is wrong to be blaming the Irish since the people who brought it to the brink are the Brexiteers in the UK.
Through Brexit, one of the members of the EU, which is also one of the most powerful and richest countries in the world, has declared economic war on nearly 30 other European democracies with which it had signed a treaty to cooperate in matters of mutual interest.
From an Irish point of view, Brexit is significant since, in addition to its economic costs, it virtually tore up an international agreement - the Good Friday Agreement - the UK signed with this country to draw a line under our mutual colonial past. The backstop is an effort to maintain the conditions of the Good Friday Agreement.
When Ireland states these facts, however, it gets the riposte from political and media circles in London that Paddy should know his place and should shut his gob.
Given the significance of Brexit in European and Irish terms the answer to that has to be NO.
Finding peace in hospital symbols
Sir - I read the recent reports of the review group of voluntary organisations, stating that health services run by religious orders should be ''cognisant of the impact of decor'' on patients and ''strive to ensure'' their personal preferences are met.
There are many of us who have been patients in some of these hospitals who have obtained great solace and comfort in knowing that there is a chapel to say a prayer in before/after an operation, a priest or chaplain available to talk to and a crucifix or other religious symbols in the rooms. In some church-run hospitals, it is also a privilege to be able to receive the Eucharist while an in-patient. What about the preferences of those who want these services to continue?
I personally find great peace knowing that the religious ethos and ''decor'' still exists in religious-run hospitals and I hope that it may long continue.
Helping hand to the world
Sir - Ireland had reason to feel proud last week as the Taoiseach launched the Government's new international development policy.
The policy shows ambition and genuine commitment to improving and expanding Ireland's international development work, and to reaching the furthest behind first, at a time when very few other countries are taking steps of this kind.
Its success will be measured by its ability to transform the lives of people living on the very margins of society: the millions of families fleeing war, or displaced for generations by conflict; the communities whose livelihoods are threatened because of climate change and grinding poverty; and women and girls whose potential can't be realised because of lack of education, violence, and inequality.
I was pleased also to note that the Taoiseach reaffirmed his Government's commitment to the United Nations target of allocating 0.7pc of gross national income to official development assistance by 2030, while accepting that we are far from that point. Ireland expects to spend 0.31pc in 2019 on overseas aid.
While this new policy is an important first step, commitment must now be matched by action.
Daughter's battle against anorexia
Sir - Reading Clelia Murphy's very candid article on anorexia (Sunday Independent, February 24) brought back horrible memories of my daughter, then aged 15 and vegetarian, who suffered for a short time from this disease. And that's what it is... a disease.
She refused to get out of bed to go to school and would not eat.
This went on for three months and it was only when an excellent doctor, in one of our top hospitals, said she would have to go into hospital and go on a special eating programme that would include fish and chicken, that she asked me: "Would it be OK if I eat rice and pasta"? These words were music to my ears. But that was not the end of the struggle. She would eat but then throw up, which she denied, even though she knew that I knew.
Eventually, she started eating and thank God today she is a fit and healthy young woman.
Name and address with the Editor
Thanks, Dr Ciara, for speaking out
Sir - I congratulate Dr Ciara Kelly for coming out and highlighting what she refers to as 'A single issue that's causing sleepless nights' (Living, Sunday Independent, February 24).
I am one of many single people who have been struggling to find a home after I lost my own home in 2013. Ironically, 2013 was the very same year that those in power outlawed bedsits!
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would end up homeless and having to spend time in a Father McVerry hostel in Dublin's city centre.
However, the reality is, I, like so many others, have ended up homeless through no fault of our own. I worked all my life and paid my taxes. I reared my children on my own after my marriage broke up.
I never turned to the social welfare for any help or support.
Instead, I worked every hour to put my children through education and put a roof over their heads. I managed until I lost my job in 2013 when the downturn hit.
It was not only the pain of losing my job that hurt. More importantly, my self-esteem, confidence and the essence of my soul were broken. As a result, I ended up in St Patrick's Hospital for four months when I hit an all-time low. I could not see a spark of light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.
It was after all of this that I faced the fact that the Government is not building any one-bed apartments for the many single people in my position. To think that there is still no plan to deal with the situation as Dr Kelly points out is not only an insult to us... as a woman, now 65, I'd go as far as saying it is downright ageism.
Name and address with the Editor
Sir - Just to say very well done to Dr Ciara Kelly (Living, Sunday Independent, February 24). It is so refreshing to read such sensible and logical arguments.
It is time that all of those involved in the decision to outlaw certain types of cheap accommodation accepted that these actions, however well intentioned, have had catastrophic effects on people whose voices are not heard.
This is a very important story. Please do not let it end there.
Sir - As an older person reading 'Mid-life crisis' (Living, Sunday Independent, February 24th), I envied the jolly great fun that the mid-lifers were enjoying at the opening of the new Avoca restaurant in D4.
But then, I'm not complaining, we seniors can look forward to a lovely quiet evening at home, enjoying home-cooking, and watching that super TV programme that the mid-lifers will miss.
Sir - Can our rugby nations not find any other company other than Guinness to sponsor its rugby showpiece?
When the Guinness ads come on I hit the off button. I wonder how much they pay to the participating countries? Also, do they cough up any money to help people with alcohol addictions?
Michael A Rafter,
Time to bring back married priests
Sir - Paddy Agnew's article on the Vatican's 'clerical abuse' summit may cause some to feel that the Catholic Church is on its way out (Sunday Independent, February 24).
Perhaps a solution could be found in the ordination of married men - as was the case for over 1,000 years and as is still the case in the 'Uniate' church under Rome. I myself have met married men in the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship who are "living saints"!
Sean O Ceallaigh,