Strong objection to Crown piece
Madam – I would like to strongly object to the publishing of John Crown's hate-filled diatribe against Catholics in Ireland (Sunday Independent, May 19, 2013). His language was reminiscent of the type of phraseology that has preceded persecution throughout history.
As a Catholic, I felt not only insulted and deeply wronged but threatened.
OFFENDED BY CHURCH BASHING
Madam – As a constant reader of your paper, I was shocked and very upset at the article by Prof John Crown (Sunday Independent, May 19, 2013). A large number of your readers are Catholic and must feel the same way as I do.
Catholic Church bashing is now very much the norm in Irish society. It is a pity that the Sunday Independent has joined in.
Our Constitution reflects the ethos of our people in its opening lines; we do not need this kind of invective from this man; he seems to an expert on everything, God help us.
The least you should do now is to apologise to your many offended readers.
APOLOGISE TO ALL IRISH CATHOLICS
Madam – I read with shock and amazement the article written by Prof John Crown (Sunday Independent, May 19, 2013) and wish to complain in the strongest possible way. As a member of the Catholic faith, I feel hurt and angered by the blatant hatred towards my faith present in this article. If this article had been levelled against any other group on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability or age etc, there would be an outcry by the same media. It has offended numerous people of the Catholic faith.
I believe that an apology to all Catholics living in Ireland, from both the Sunday Independent and Prof John Crown is required
FALSE PREMISE OF CROWN ARTICLE
Madam – What an incredibly arrogant and intolerant article by Prof John Crown, (Sunday Independent, May 19, 2013), epitomised by his stated assumption of "thinking people" sharing his viewpoint.
It is outrageous of him to suggest that those who for reasons of conscience (which may indeed by informed by the teaching of the Catholic Church) oppose legislation on abortion are giving political allegiance to the Holy See (a different concept) and are disloyal to the State and its Constitution.
This is the same false premise which was used in past centuries to justify the oppression and in some cases execution of Catholics in these islands.
Prof Crown is the ideological successor to Thomas Cromwell.
The headline on last week's article was not suggested by Prof Crown.
BRUTON REPLY A DEMOCRATIC SIGN
Madam –It was democratic of your paper (Sunday Independent, May 19, 2013) to enable former Taoiseach John Bruton to reply to strong criticism of his views on austerity, as reported in the media
Many would agree with him on a sustainable economic model, that is realistic and protective of the environment worldwide. He gave an example of how a German uses 40 times the amount of water of the average Egyptian and that we can't expect other countries to help us out, when their economies are under pressure too.
His main point is that as a country we are spending far more than what is coming in with a current deficit. Irish people, however, do feel justifiably angry at how the main Irish banks were bailed out and saved by our State's reserve funds in 2009 and the banks have not been showing much leeway in return. The pressure on the country and its people seems all one-way since.
Austerity in practice has been hard on a good proportion of the Irish population. St Vincent de Paul has spent millions of euro helping people in the last three years.
People are not spending money as before in coffee shops and restaurants, the life-blood of small towns around the country. They are still closing. The Sunday Independent reported on what is happening in Dun Laoghaire.
Most people have seen incomes drop and nearly everything else going up in price. John wrote on the need for the world to not increase its populations and not be so greedy of our planet. And he is right on that.
But, there are tens of thousands of Irish people who are genuinely feeling the pressures of austerity. About 150,000 have emigrated in the last four years.
I like John Bruton, but do not always agree with his views. It is really bad timing to say that these years of austerity will be worth it in the end, as we still endure it.
As his former boss, Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, said at a cabinet meeting in the Eighties, that is all very well in practice, but what about in theory?
PROTEST AT NEXT YEAR'S EUROVISION
Madam – Having watched the Eurovision Song Contest, I wondered if we should just pull out of the competition next year.
But then, I thought, hold on a minute. Instead of throwing in the towel, why not use the contest to lodge a national protest at what the whole Eurovision set-up has become?
Remember that much-loved episode of Father Ted in which Ted and Dougal sing My Lovely Horse? In the same episode they get to sing in the Eurovision, and come last... a case of art imitating a future real life situation.
Next year, we could enter a song something along the lines of the one the Craggy Island clerics made famous. The theme would be all the more poignant given the horse-in-the-burger scare that gripped the nation, and much of Europe.
Naturally, the song would need different words to the Father Ted version and of course the title couldn't be the same.
How about My Lovely Horse's Ass?
Callan, Co Kilkenny
JOB ALLOWANCE IS NOT JOB BENEFIT
Madam –Your article "One in seven on the dole has never worked a day in their life" (Sunday Independent, May 19, 2013), contains inaccurate information which I feel needs to be clarified.
The reporter refers to 'Jobseeker's Benefit' several times in the article as the €188 payment that the unemployed receive. The article states that one in seven people in this State has been on benefit all their lives without having worked a day in their lives – this is impossible.
Let me clarify this for you. Jobseeker's Benefit is paid to those who have paid PRSI contributions and find themselves unemployed. It is only paid to those who have worked. It is paid at a rate dependent on the contributions that have been made. Not everyone would be in receipt of €188 per week. Jobseeker's Benefit can be claimed at full rate, and, provided PRSI contributions have been made, it is paid for a total of nine months only.
Those in receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit pay a tax of 20 per cent on the payment they receive. This is calculated by Revenue when they return to work and is applied by reducing the tax credits of the person who was in receipt of benefit.
I believe the reporter should have referred to Jobseeker's Allowance in this article. This is a State payment given to the unemployed that is means tested. Those in receipt of this payment need never have worked a day in their lives, nor do they pay a tax of 20 per cent on it. If they ever started working, their tax credits would not be reduced.