Please think again, Ryanair
Sir - It's a no-brainer to treat staff well. It makes economic sense! I presume Ryanair has made the calculations of the projected loss if the strike goes ahead on Thursday. It's not only the cost of rearranging people's flights - possibly €2m plus - but then on top of that the reluctance of all those customers ever to fly with Ryanair again.
It always makes economic sense to treat people well in the workplace. I'm sure that's true if you worked out the cost of recruitment versus retention. I also have a strong personal reason for writing - two of my good friends are getting married in Eguisheim, France on Saturday. The nearest airport is Basel and most of the guests, including the elderly parents of the groom, are flying on Thursday, the day of the planned strike.
The next direct flight with Ryanair is on Saturday itself, the day of the wedding - not giving enough time to make it to the ceremony on time.
I'm pleading with you for the flight to go ahead, not just for me but also for your own reputational sake. I'm sure the unions will be discreet enough to meet in a venue that's away from the media's eye and willing to negotiate something that would work for all employed in Ryanair.
Loosen chemical straitjacket
Sir — A friend of mine, who recently turned 70, sent me an email beginning with the question: “Where have all the years gone?” It’s a question I found myself asking recently.
A couple of weeks ago, on a trip to Dublin, I visited the newly developed DIT campus in Grangegorman on the site of the former St Brendan’s psychiatric hospital. To be precise, I wanted to see the old church on the campus, still standing, a little removed from the rest of the buildings there.
It was in this unusual location that former chief psychiatrist with the then Eastern Health Board, Professor Ivor Browne, held regular holotropic breathwork sessions with people he felt had experienced various traumas in their childhood and believed they could be helped by this regression-type therapy. It was on July 4, 25 years ago, I stopped taking lithium, which I had been told by the psychiatric profession at the age of 20 that I would be on for the rest of my life. A couple of weeks later, I did my first holotropic breathwork session in this little church.
At this point in my life, I had been struggling with very severe depression and my prescribed lithium was doing nothing to alleviate its symptoms.
Since then, I have had an interest in mental health matters and, more precisely, suicide prevention.
Dan Neville, president of the Irish Association of Suicidology (Sunday Independent, July 1), talks of the importance of people in mental distress speaking out and seeking help. However, as he says, “fully supported services for those suffering from mental health difficulties must be a priority”. This does not mean giving people a diagnosis and a prescription. Alternative therapies, like those which Ivor Browne practised all those years ago, must also be provided. Otherwise we simply provide a chemical straitjacket to people, which metaphorically speaking, can be more inhibiting than the walls of former psychiatric institutions.
Like my friend, I may look back and wonder where all the years have gone, but at least I am here and can look back. Unfortunately for some people, many of whom are very young when they take their lives, will never be able to do this. It is imperative that these people are provided with a full range of psychological and alternative therapies. The little green/pink/blue pills simply don’t work for everybody.
Water mess! Blame the politicians
Sir — So the critical aspect of conservation in the management of our water supply is now to be implemented by citizen ‘snitching’ on fellow citizens who may be attempting to consume water through the medium of the hosepipe.
Far better that our two main parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, be fined the €125 for every single breach of the ‘hosepipe rule’.
After all, we can thank the dictatorial attitude of Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan, the then Minister for the Environment, for the unmitigated disaster in attempting to introduce what needed to be appropriate and fair charges for one of our most precious resources.
Be that as it may, we still might be aspiring to a proper
water management infrastructure had Micheal Martin, the Fianna Fail leader, not made a populist-motivated U-turn on water charges after the last general election.
I also submit that citizens would have considerably reduced qualms of conscience in ‘snitching’ on ‘hosepipe offenders’ if the fines were directed as I suggest.
No, minister — on two counts
Sir — That was an interesting letter from John Fitzgerald (Sunday Independent, July 1) agreeing with minister Josepha Madigan taking to the altar in the Church of St Therese in Mount Merrion, Dublin, but disagreeing with her granting a licence for hare-coursing.
Now I am not in favour of the latter, but I would have thought a much greater reason for disagreeing with Ms Madigan was her campaigning for abortion. I do not agree with cruelty to animals but have an even greater difficulty with terminating the lives of unborn babies.
It is hard to understand her wish to meet Pope Francis,
who has spoken so often against abortion, never mind her wish to advise him how the Church should change. There are very many churches which can accommodate her views and it would be more honest of her to join one of them instead of scandalising those who treasure and value the Catholic Church in spite of its, and our, many sins and failings.
Mary Stewart (Mrs),
Let Pope pay his own way
Sir — I believe it’s outrageous that Irish citizens are expected to fork out expenses for the Pope’s visit in August. Especially as the Vatican vaults contain trillions of dollars in priceless treasures and hold billions of dollars in real estate worldwide.
Every year, thousands of people leave money and property to the Vatican. Even in Ireland at least 30 people leave property on their death to the Catholic Church. The Vatican Bank holds billions of dollars in gold bars.
In my opinion, popery has passed its sell-by date, yet billions of people still believe a cosmic clockmaker snapped his fingers to create humans rather than billions of years of evolution. We should remember that Socrates was executed for teaching the youth of his day not to be like sheep, but to think for themselves and to question everything to do with politics and religion. Charles Darwin warned that it’s a waste of time to try to argue with anybody indoctrinated with a religion.
It’s no wonder Darwinism implies that the only eternal life we can expect is the recycling of our atoms, of which we are all composed, when our bodies decay. These will be incorporated into other organisms.
At least that is compatible with common sense and logic, unlike the various religious with their illogical utterances.
No problem that a woman stepped up
Sir — Something is missing in the coverage of the Mount Merrion service which recently took place instead of the normal Saturday evening Vigil Mass.
In 2004, the Vatican, in the document Redemptionis Sacramentum, stated: “If participation at the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible on account of the absence of a sacred minister... then it is the Christian people’s right that the diocesan bishop should provide… for some celebration to be held on Sundays.”
Such a celebration normally takes the form of a liturgy of the word with Communion, and is facilitated by a lay person, a clear statement being made at its introduction by the facilitator that it is not a Mass and that the sacred hosts have been consecrated by a priest at a previous celebration of the Eucharist.
In the circumstances outlined in the press reports (the members of the congregation were already seated), though normally permission from the diocesan bishop is required, I see no reason why one of the people of God should not step forward and facilitate such a service. That it was a woman who stepped forward — don’t they always when the need arises? — is no comment on the validity or otherwise of the ordination of women.
Family planning is Africa’s solution
Sir — Fergal Keane (Sunday Independent, July 1) quotes some frightening statistics regarding predicted population growth and poverty in Africa. But he doesn’t propose any solution.
I wonder if it is naive to suggest that comprehensive family planning — compulsory if necessary — would go a long way to solving the problem in the not-too-distant future.
Looking at various countries, it seems to me that a high birth-rate and poverty go hand in hand, and to avoid a social crisis and deprivation and consequent violence, people who are surplus to requirement are encouraged, by various means, to emigrate.
So perhaps it is time to make African aid contingent on that country engaging in comprehensive family planning.
Join a union to close the pay gap
Sir — P Byrne (‘Pension apartheid should be ended’, Letters, Sunday Independent, July 1) believes that public sector workers enjoy unfair benefits over private sector workers in terms of pay, pensions and conditions.
However, the real divide is
between unionised and non-
unionised workplaces, and the differences between the unionised public sector and the mostly non-unionised private sector are a reflection of this. Defined benefit pensions are by no means the preserve of the public sector, but their decline in the private sector has mirrored the decline of private-sector unions.
Regarding pay, statistics from the UK’s Department of Business show that, from 1995 to 2016, workers who were union members — whether in the public or private sector — enjoyed a “wage premium” averaging from 14pc to 26pc compared with workers who were not union members.
Rather than allowing themselves be pitted against the public sector, private sector workers unhappy with their lot must join a trade union and demand better.
Evil murder of Veronica
Sir — Last weekend brought back memories of the horrific murder of your wonderful, brave journalist Veronica Guerin, 22 years ago, on June 26, 1996.
First the movie Veronica Guerin was shown on the Saturday night on RTE1.
Then the following morning, in your newspaper, a lovely
photo of her memorial in the Dubh Linn Garden at Dublin Castle (Sunday Independent, July 1, ‘Remembering Veronica 22 years after her murder’).
Just recently I finished reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, a harrowing story of love and care in the very worst of circumstances.
The murder of millions is of course evil. The murder of one special human being is evil. as well. Murder is evil. Just a fact. End of story.
Campaigning on behalf of animals
Sir — Fiona O’Connell’s column is always a pleasure to read, with her breezy, undemanding style and a passion for the natural world that calls to mind the poet Wordsworth. Her latest article (Sunday Independent, July 1) was a timely reminder of how campaigners for the welfare of animals can be misunderstood and characterised as “unbalanced” or “fanatics”.
I know from personal experience that taking up the cause of our dumb friends can be a thankless task, one that can make life difficult... sometimes almost unbearable. Seeing how animals suffer is distressing in itself, but when you encounter powerful and seemingly invincible opposition to one’s efforts to ease their plight you wonder sometimes if it’s worth the bother. Campaigners, being only human, often throw up their hands and say, “Nobody cares” or, “The politicians will never listen”.
But on calmer reflection, we know this is not true. I have been involved in various animal welfare campaigns since the early 1980s. Success never comes easily or quickly, but there have been victories. In 1990, the long campaign for the abolition of otter hunting ended when the Fianna Fail/Progressive Democrat government took heed of mounting opposition to the hounding of those aquatic creatures in the waterways and along our riverbanks. The licence permitting the cruel sport was withdrawn and has not been re-issued since. In 2010, the Fianna Fail/Green coalition banned stag hunting, meaning that these majestic animals would no longer be chased by huntspeople and packs of hounds until they collapsed from exhaustion, their bodies ripped and bleeding. The same government was set to ban fur farming but fell before the law could be enacted. Earlier this year, the use of wild animals in circuses was banned by the present government.
So, despite misunderstandings and the unfair stereotyping of campaigners, we have been vindicated repeatedly in our stance and will, in time, make further progress in our efforts to make the world a less cruel place for animals. Hare coursing and fox hunting remain stains on Ireland’s reputation that await consignment to the same page in our statute book reserved for “field sports” like otter hunting, badger baiting, stag hunting and dog fighting. We will continue to advocate for the protection of non-sentient beings, domestic, agricultural and wildlife.
Sir — I refer to the letter headed ‘Poster “protests” in breach of laws’ (Sunday Independent, July 1).
I was a serving member of An Garda Siochana based in Dublin city centre, circa 1997.
The public display of these graphic images was a regular occurrence in the city centre.
Following a complaint from a member of the public who found the images offensive, Section 7 of the Public Order Act was indeed invoked and a number of the images were seized and arrests made. A file was forwarded to the DPP. However, as the word “offensive” does not feature in Section 7, we were directed to return said images and no prosecutions ensued.
Tony O’Connor (retired Gda Sgt),
Sir — Some years ago, CIE Writers’ Group brought out an anthology, There’s Love and There’s Sex and There’s the 46A.
What will their next collection be called?
Sir — Carol Drinkwater (an actor in a long-running vet saga from years ago) comes to mind with this awful sweaty weather. You could not give or get better advice than to drink water. It gives life but can also take life if we are careless when swimming or dipping in it. God knows there are so many warnings, but they are not heeded and the drownings make sad news.