Sunday 26 January 2020

Letters to the Editor: 'We get upset at others’ plight only when it’s in our faces'

St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam
St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Once upon a time in Holy Ireland, we had mother and baby homes, orphanages and industrial schools. Everyone knew about them. You couldn’t but know about them. They were everywhere.

Mostly, we said nothing about them. There wasn’t any point. It wasn’t our business to stir up trouble.

When we walked past them, we looked down at the ground and thanked our lucky stars that no one we knew was inside any of them.

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At Christmas, when thoughts of these places crossed our minds, we tried hard not to dwell on them – in case we got upset.

Christmas is not the time for getting upset, if you can possibly avoid it. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year. Happy Christmas.

But when we did think about them, we made up stories – so that we could stop thinking about them quickly.

We’d tell ourselves that the people inside these places would get turkey and ham and cake on Christmas Day and that someone would hang up decorations and that there would be fizzy drinks and second-hand toys for the children.

After this bit, the stories ran out.

We guessed, however, that the people inside these places wouldn’t be much in the mood for carol singing or laughing at Morecambe and Wise on the telly – but we couldn’t afford to get into a tizzy over things we couldn’t do anything about.

We would only get upset – and that would spoil Christmas for everyone else.

Then, as the years went by, we totally forgot we knew anything about what it was like back in the days of Holy Ireland.

So, it came as a big shock to all of us when we found out that we had all these mother and baby homes, orphanages and industrial schools. “How could this have happened in Holy Ireland?”, “Who is to blame?”, we shouted in dismay.

When we saw a grainy black and white film that someone had taken on Christmas Day inside an orphanage, it broke our hearts to see what it was really like. We swore things like this would never happen again. We would make sure of it.

Once upon a time in Ireland, at the start of the 21st century, we had people living on the streets, in B&Bs and in things called hubs and direct provision centres.

Years later, when we saw a video that someone had taken with their phone on Christmas Day, it broke our hearts too.

Chris Fitzpatrick

Address with editor


Hefty prices a far cry from my £52 wedding breakfast cost

I read in the Irish Independent (November 16) that Irish weddings cost on average €25,000 – a hefty sum to spend on one day. I don’t know if this includes dress, shoes, veil, and make-up, car hire to church or registry office. In 1963 when I got married, the wedding breakfast for 52 guests cost IR£52 – which included two bottles of Champagne.

Una Ni Roibeaird

Co Laois


TDs will end crises only when they affect their own families

In view of the appalling reports of overcrowding in our hospitals and the two-tier health system which promotes money over need, and of private schools reaping monetary dividends from excluding the poor, perhaps it would be a good idea that any TD once elected stay in the public health system themselves and eschew private healthcare.

Also, that in the interests of fairness their children attend the local non-fee schools. Surely, as legislators, they would then ensure the best possible healthcare and education for all, including themselves.

Sean O Doibhlinn

Address with editor


Votegate scandal won’t be easily forgotten with time

It seems to me the leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are now in posturing mode. One thing they can be in no doubt about is that the electorate never postures at the ballot box.

Brexit is all but done, there is now a timely gap for the electorate to decide who we trust in government. Why is it that both parties appear to favour an election in April or May?

Is TDs claiming expenses while not visibly voting in the Dáil the issue they fear? Do they really think our memories are so short?

The Irish electorate remembers.

Joe Harrison

Spanish Point, Co Clare


It got a bit hairy for Labour – lessons should be learned

The next leader of the Labour Party in Britain should be made to invest in a set of blades.

The last leader elected to power with a beard was Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, who served as prime minister between 1895 and 1902. Labour electing its first female leader could also be an option.

Kieran O’Regan

Dublin 9

Irish Independent

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