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Letters No agenda at play in removal of O’Farrell from old photo

Letters to the Editor


'Her Surrender' by Leitrim artist Sinéad Guckian.

'Her Surrender' by Leitrim artist Sinéad Guckian.

'Her Surrender' by Leitrim artist Sinéad Guckian.

Any suggestion that the “airbrushing” of the 1916 Padraig Pearse surrender photograph was done to exclude Elizabeth O’Farrell from the image, because she was a woman, is not true. (‘Painting of woman airbrushed from GPO Rising surrender unveiled in Seanad to mark International Women’s Day”, Independent.ie, March 8).

Elizabeth O’Farrell stated in a later interview that she decided to step back when she became aware that a British Army officer was taking a photograph. She was obscured, apart from her feet, by Pearse in the resulting image. So, in fact, there is no image of O’Farrell on the original negative to begin with.

The photograph was bought and published on the front page of the Daily Sketch (May 1916). It was a sub-editor who decided to paint out the feet, purely for aesthetic reasons.

There was no gender-based or political agenda for that alteration. Later published versions of the photograph show the unaltered image.

However, the painting does provoke a couple of questions. Was it right to include O’Farrell in such a way as to partially obscure Pearse? It is doubtful that she would have been happy with this. Another concern is the portrayal of the two British officers, erect and head held high, while Pearse and O’Farrell are depicted with heads lowered in submission.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Sligo

Closing churches a clear mark of disrespect to Christians

The decision by Government to further delay opening churches for public worship until Easter Monday, immediately after the most sacred week in the Christian liturgy, lacks any medical or civic justification.

The Government’s continued imposition of empty churches across the country, right into the heart of Easter, makes no sense. It shuts down communal and family worship. It shuts out the hope and promise of Easter for a demoralised country. It should be seen for what it is – gratutiously disrespectful to Christians.

Ray Kinsella

Ashford, Co Wicklow

If used in the wrong place, renewable energy is a threat

In response to Ciaran Cuffe (‘Ireland must tap into its renewable energy sources’, Letters, March 4), renewable energy may be an opportunity, in the right place. But it is also a threat in the wrong place, causing erosion, landslides, river contamination and large-scale fish kills.

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Scepticism about the value of onshore wind energy is based on an increasing understanding that the ‘mature technology and economic value’ are not the whole story. There are high-carbon emissions from physical activities and the resources involved (mining and transport of ore, steel forging, concrete).

Additionally, lovely areas, even those of outstanding natural beauty, become threatened with huge turbines, new roads, infrastructure and transmissions to the grid.

Meanwhile, we are relying on high-carbon natural gas as the basis for a growing proportion of wind and solar. We need to understand what proportion of which energy will be the most technically and economically efficient, least environmentally damaging, low-carbon and sustainable. Rather than increasing destruction of the countryside, SMRs could gradually replace high-carbon gas plants with infrastructure and transmissions already in place.

Anne Baily

Co Tipperary

Royal family’s hands are tied by ancient laws on Catholicism

Keith Nolan tells us that the UK monarchy is an archaic institution (‘Need we be surprised by allegations of royal racism?’, Letters, March 10) which prohibits a Roman Catholic from becoming monarch. However, there is a reason for this ancient law.

James II was a devout Catholic king who sought to enforce his religious beliefs on a country whose population was primarily Anglican. The king catholicised the army and the judiciary as he believed in the divine rule of kings.

Members of Parliament panicked and asked William of the Netherlands to become King of England. James II, who was also William’s father-in-law, abdicated and fled to France.

The Bill of Rights in 1688 formally established parliament as the supreme authority, thus creating the first constitutional monarchy in the world. The Act of Settlement in 1701, which was passed by parliament, prohibited Roman Catholics from ever succeeding to the throne.  

Kieran O’ Regan

Dublin 9

People right to question RTÉ for buying television interview

I hope Pat Stacey would be as quick off the mark condemning our Government as he was in disagreeing with those who objected to RTÉ shelling out €10,000 for an interview with Harry and Meghan (‘Ignore the showboating politicians criticising RTÉ for airing the Meghan and Harry interview’, Independent.ie, March 10).

Barry Lyons

Dublin 9

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