Pippa's elegant, modest example
Sir - I am not one to follow British royalty but I thought Pippa's dress was superb (Sunday Independent, May 21). Our Irish brides could take their example from her and wear an elegant modest dress for a church or even a non-church wedding.
She showed that one can look perfectly charming without exposing bosom, shoulders or back and look decent and respectful on the big occasion.
The Ward, Co Dublin
The acceptance of gay people
Sir — We are presently inundated with inches of press columns and other media speculation about the next leader of Fine Gael.
It’s a sign of how far we have progressed as a country that the sexuality of Leo Varadkar, one of the contenders, is hardly discussed. This is as it should be.
It’s not even a quarter of a century since homosexual acts were decriminalised in this country. Last Monday was the second anniversary of Ireland voting to legalise same sex marriage. However, as the recent anti-gay graffiti postings on The George pub in Dublin show, there is still an element of society which wishes to sow hate and attempt to bully gay people.
That is why Kevin Doyle’s assertion (Sunday Independent, May 21) referring to Leo Varadkar if he becomes leader of Fine Gael, “he’s about to make global headlines for being Ireland’s first gay Taoiseach...”, is so important. It is another step in the normalisation and acceptance of gay people, and hopefully anti-gay sentiments will be finally consigned to the dustbin, at least in this country.
Sir — So Enda has named his day of retirement at last. The situation has been so prolonged that many of us have forgotten just why there was so much pressure on him to resign in the first place. However, Enda now has much to look forward to as he is now free to pursue the position of president of the European Council when Donald Tusk retires.
His closeness to Merkel and Co could well see him walk into this elevated position, and his proven ability to duck and dodge difficult situations and problems could well make him perfect for the position.
Meanwhile, the pretence battle for the new Fine Gael leadership goes on when it seems clear just who the winner will be.
So Fine Gael can go into battle with a new leader when the new election comes full of fresh fire and vigour.
Can anyone see any change likely to happen?
The masses have become so disillusioned with our leaders, political, religious and Garda, that there is likely to be a huge number of people who will not bother wasting their time voting.
So in the meanwhile 300,000 civil servants are lining up for a pay rise, water charges have not gone away and the OAPs are expected to give thanks for the extra €5 they have received.
Perhaps Enda can talk the British into becoming a part of Ireland and getting back under the EU umbrella once more.
In politics they say everything is possible.
Michael O Meara,
Killarney, Co Kerry
Sir — How sadly depressing and negative Gene Kerrigan’s article (“Is he gone yet? Who’s up next? Oh, him?”, Soapbox, Sunday Independent, May 21)
What a mean-spirited appraisal of Enda Kenny’s time as Taoiseach of our country and a lazy blind-minded analysis of the two candidates for the future leadership of Fine Gael and possibly our next Taoiseach
Kerrigan writes: “For the first 36 of his 41 years in The Dail he didn’t do much. He was a backbencher most of the time, and spent short periods (a year here, two years there) in two minor offices (youth affairs and tourism).”
What a disparaging insult to our Parliament and our precious democracy, and what a lack of understanding of the role of our elected Dail Deputies and their role both in government and opposition. “Enda is an already fading memory,” Kerrigan goes on to rant without a scintilla of evidence or sense to this argument.
Lucan, Co Dublin
Behind the evilness of the unforgivable
Sir — How terrible, the sights and sounds of innocent children fleeing in terror on a night that should have been one of their happiest.
Manchester joins other cities of the world that have known the evilness of the unforgivable terrorist. Some put forward reasons why these people act this way — such as powerful countries who profess peace, yet are involved on a daily basis in the slaughter of innocents, with their country torn apart, all in the name of war! While this goes on the silence from the rest of the world is deafening.
How many children will die each day from hunger, whose lives could be saved by what is thrown away from the tables of the over-fed!
No child is born a terrorist, terrorism is bred into their psyche from listening to those who’ve lived a life of torture and unfairness from the rest of the so-called-civilised world.
Nothing from either arguments justifies the killing of innocents.
The barbaric act committed against the innocents in Manchester on Monday night can never be justified by anyone with a civilised mind, and yet, and yet!
Those of us who claim to be civilised will today eat and sleep, while elsewhere many will die from hunger and drought. No we are not terrorists, it’s just that we don’t think about it!
Earlier, perhaps, we spared a few euros for the collection plate. It will help cleanse our conscience and give us absolution.
Another atrocity will soon be committed and it will be given headlines!
Manchester will fade on to the back pages, only those who’ve lost will remember.
Clonsilla, Dublin 15
Terror and some mythical dangers
Sir — It is always noticeable at times of terrorist attacks, like the one in Manchester, that they are never carried out by the much maligned groups like the National Front, UKIP, EDL, the so-called French Far Right and those of similar unpopular beliefs the media wish us to beware of and condemn even when they are guilty of nothing.
Strange values we share, when most arrests in street protests, etc are those of the ‘liberal’ persuasion who become animated and even violent that others might display differing political viewpoints.
There will now be ritualistic claims that “we must never give in to terrorists”, while at the same time warnings of the mythical dangers coming from law-abiding bogey-men or those who merely make a bit of noise regarding their national identity.
They are not making bombs and setting out to destroy the lives of their fellow British. Concentrate instead on those who are the real enemy.
And it is timely that many in Manchester have been referring to the IRA atrocity of 1996. Let us not shy away from the truth of reality.
Bantry, Co Cork
Miriam’s smile is like the sun rising
Sir — After seeing the stunning Miriam O’Callaghan on your front page (Sunday Independent, May 21) at her daughter Alannah’s wedding, the following came to my mind:
There is a woman who always keeps her head up high. Her eyes sparkle like a bright star in the sky. She has the stamina, beauty, and courage that one would admire. She has the love and happiness which inspires.
She is a woman who one can always count on, and a woman who sees no wrong. Her beauty shines from the inside out, it flows like a journey down a long route.
Her smile shines beautifully like the sun rising over the horizon, and her intelligence, wisdom, and hard work are not surprising.
She is a genuinely caring woman, who goes the extra mile to help one in need or broken-hearted, and throughout all her hard work, no one ever sees her fall apart.
Brian Mc Devitt,
Glenties, Co Donegal
P.S. I wrote the above letter just before the horrific evil Manchester Arena bombing. I somehow found the contrast of the positive goodness of the wedding picture and the dreadful evil that happened to occur afterwards, extremely hard to comprehend.
Paul brings art of confession back
Sir — Recently I attended a public interview conducted by your sports correspondent Paul Kimmage entitled ‘Tour de France 1987’.
I can honestly state that it is hard to know where to start in an effort to describe the honesty of endeavour Paul managed to convey in the precise exercise that occupied the 90 minutes that ensued in a packed Workman’s Club.
Confession in the Catholic Church sense may be in a state of neglect but it was resurrected on the stage in front of our eyes. No nuance was left unexplained and Paul’s honesty and humour were as exposed as any human being would allow.
I can only wish him and all his colleagues my best wishes on all their efforts on behalf of the Irish Hospice Foundation in the future.
Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Sir — The old people used to say it’s ‘bad to be too smart and not be supple’... Oscar Wilde, the genius, outwitted himself when conducting his own law case. Didn’t he incriminate himself in the end? Smart or unsmart we are all human and only passing through. God send a level-headed person to take the reins in government now.
Cootehill, Co Cavan
Trade war with UK
Sir — There is a lot of talk about finding new markets for Ireland’s exports post-Brexit. People who say we can export to the Continent instead of Britain forget that very little freight sails directly from Ireland to Europe. It’s much faster to use Britain as a ‘land bridge’. If a trade war breaks out the EU will not allow us to trade tariff-free with the UK, and the UK could make it impossible for Irish trucks to use the Dover-Calais crossing. Ireland’s exporters could end up being cut off from the UK and the EU markets!
If things get nasty we have to back the Brits. A truck loaded in Belfast or Cork can be unloaded anywhere in the UK the next morning. Most Irish companies export to Britain, not Poland or Germany.
Martin Mansergh’s claim (Sunday Independent, May 21) that the US is our largest export market seems wide of the mark.
Friar’s Walk, Cork
The relevance of the national broadcaster
Sir — I would like to applaud Eilis O’Hanlon’s article (Sunday Independent, May 21) on how the monies from the sale of land by RTE could be spent. For too long the shambolic running of RTE has been ignored by the political class and more importantly, blatantly ignored by all in RTE.
When was the last time any of the “prima donna” presenters (Ms O’Hanlon’s words) allowed any discussion or input from members of the public on the licence fee, presenters’ salaries or even the relevance of the national broadcaster today?
The salaries of every public service and private sector profession and their relevance are forensically examined by RTE presenters every day but, sadly, any debate about their pay is non-existent.
As for the land for sale, yes, absolutely use it for the new maternity hospital. After all, the taxpayer and TV licence holder have paid for its upkeep for years.
Cashel, Co Tipperary
Distasteful attack on lifesaving dogs
Sir — I want to express my absolute disgust at the article regarding dogs (Sacred Cows, LIFE, Sunday Independent, May 21). I expected some tongue-in-cheek humour and some tales of humorous doggie disaster... instead, I was left with feelings of disgust, anger and upset.
So much of this article is distasteful, not only referring to a dog’s “stupidity”. Dogs are responsible for so much good in the world — they make autistic children’s lives liveable, they support and aid those who suffer from life-threatening seizures, they sniff out drugs and catch dangerous criminals, they ease symptoms of depression, loneliness and isolation. Need I really go on?
Anyone who has stuck a nose outside their front door or has access to media of any sort knows that dogs literally save lives. The writer refers to unconditional love as a sign of stupidity (I won’t even go where I want to with that one!) but the disgusting IRA reference and the idea that anyone who cares for their dog would leave it howling and barking in the garden on its own? I’m appalled at the Sunday Independent for publishing this. It’s not humorous, entertaining or even well written.
There are ways to be funny when writing about issues/ people/ animals you don’t like, but this is isn’t one of those successes. I know every dog lover will be disgusted by the writer’s jabs at lovable, brave and loyal pooches but apart from that, why does this person think it is OK to joke about IRA punishments? We’re not there as a nation, nor will we ever be. That pain lives on and will continue to do so.
Who will stand up for the calves?
Sir — Fiona O’Connell (Lay of the Land, Sunday Independent, May 21) likened the modern dairy industry to Goliath.
Unfortunately for the thousands of male bovine calves there is no David to fight this giant and save them from their voyages of unimaginable suffering and terror.
The end of their journey is even worse as they are further subjected to harrowing acts of cruelty before they are slaughtered.
Apparent indifference to the suffering of live exports is inexcusable, perhaps people should be mindful of the opinion of philosopher AC Grayling’s that a person’s integrity is never more fully tested than when he has power over a voiceless creature.
Glounthaune, Co Cork
IRA and writers
Sir — Forgive me for sometimes wondering would
Jim Cusack, Ruth Dudley Edwards and Eoghan Harris have anything to write about
if the IRA hadn’t existed.
Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin