Friday 18 October 2019

Teen’s campaign shows true compassion

• A young Irish teen wrote to the Irish Independent explaining that he does not have long to live. But his message was one of hope telling those in pain that there are other options.

He has had three episodes of cancer in four years. When he was hearing of some young people tragically ending their lives, Donal Walsh, aged 16 from near Tralee, Co Kerry, wrote the letter telling anyone of his age group who may be thinking of suicide that they can get help. He explained that he, on the other hand, had no choices and he would love to have more time to live and that he definitely didn't want to die. He explained how it made him angry to think of others of his age group ending their lives when he had no choice in his coming to an end.

It is estimated that as many as 600 people from all age groups may end their lives in 2013. His message to his peer group is that for any of them considering suicide, there is help out there.

"As a 16-year-old who has no say in his death sentence, who has no choice in the pain he is about to cause, and who would take any chance at even a few more months on this planet, appreciate what you have, know there are always other options and help is always there," he wrote.

There are many groups continuing to be set up around the country to offer support, including counselling, to those under severe pressure and stress in their lives. Our economic recession is believed to also be contributing to these stresses.

Last week, he was awarded €15,000 in compensation for an injury after a road accident last year.

His barrister told the judge that Donal wanted it to be given to his sister for her future education. The judge, knowing his health prognosis, said to his father who was there representing him that he wished Donal the very best and that he is a beacon of light.

M Sullivan

College Road, Cork

Absentee landlords

• It took a good century of national endeavour to rid the country of absentee landlords and the whole lot has been undone in 10 years.

We are flat out trying to package and sell off property abroad.

Not only will the rental income be denied to an economy crying out for growth but by virtue of double taxation agreements, no taxation will be forthcoming.

Wouldn't it make sense to give tax breaks to locals if they invest in risky property? It might cause the eventual return to home-based and taxable ownership of the national resource. It would cost nothing and within 10 years it would redress most of the damage.

If we have to choose between an incentive to already rich locals and a sale of national assets abroad, we should be fully aware of the consequences of our choice.

There is no future in forcing whatever money is left in the country abroad when something can be made of it locally.

Frank Browne

Coolfin, Co Waterford


• Long ago, in a far-off mythical land, a banker and a politician did a deal on a property development.

The politician stole €3m and put it in his pocket. He said to the banker: "See how good I am? The government didn't see anything!"

The banker says quietly to the politician: "I'm going to show you there's nobody better than a banker..."

Later there is a tribunal of inquiry. The banker goes to the chairman and says: "Please, give me €1m and I'll show you a banking magic trick.''

Intrigued, the chairman accepts the offer and gives him the money.

The banker hides it and asks for another €1m. The chairman, watching closely, gives him the same again, which the banker hides again.

Then the banker asks for yet another €1m and he hides it, just the same.

The chairman is starting to wonder where the magic trick is and says: "What did you do with the three million? Are you trying to make a fool of me?". The banker answers: "No, no, certainly not! Just have a look in the politician's pocket."

Anthony Woods

Ennis, Co Clare

Professional opinion

• The debate in relation to the request for abortion where a woman says she is suicidal should also include the fact that assessment of suicidal risk is more typically carried out where a patient is known to a psychiatrist/psychologist.

Risk factors include issues such as whether a person has a history of self- harm or trying to kill themselves previously, whether they have made a plan, whether they have any hope for the future, what type of social supports the person has around them and so on.

In the case where a woman presents with no previous mental health history and is previously unknown to the doctor, the reliability of the assessment is reduced.

At the end of the day, if a woman says she is suicidal is there any psychiatrist or psychologist who is going to disagree? I think not.

Legislating for abortion in cases where an individual claims to be at risk of suicide can only lead to a very liberal abortion regime. Abortion is not an evidence-based treatment for suicidal intent and, in fact, is a risk factor for mental health issues in the future.

Dr Ruth Cullen

Clinical Psychologist, SCR, Dublin 8

• One could be forgiven for thinking that John Bruton (Kenny abortion crisis as Bruton intervenes, Irish Independent, April 29) is trying to make Fine Gael a slightly constitutional party – a term once used for Fianna Fail.

Mr Bruton, as a former Taoiseach, should know that we are obligated by the European Court in the A B C cases to clarify and make clear our position in the matter. They are not dictating to us, just telling us to clean up what is our own law.

I don't know what Mr Bruton is up to. Is he trying to make life difficult for Mr Kenny or has he put his foot in to it again, like the famous children's shoes misfit!

Brendan Cafferty

Ballina, Co Mayo

Taxing issue

• Una Nic Fhionnlaoich makes the suggestion that along with the present property tax, there should be a tax imposed on the possession of productive land, because a property tax that discounts such land is, "discriminatory and unfair".

Obviously, such a tax would impact on the biggest landowners – farmers – more than anyone.

The greatest sectors of the Irish economy at the moment are the ones that export. Food, pharmaceuticals, and anything that produces more than Ireland can use are all bringing in much-needed revenue. Food production is amongst the biggest of these sectors.

What happens, then, when we begin taxing the foundation of that sector; when we tax the land the food is grown on? Well, the same as happens when we tax any other means of wealth production – the wealth stops. If we tax productive land, its owners will (logically) stop it from producing, to save money.

Killian Foley-Walsh

Kilkenny city

Gathering's Tara snub

• It seems to me a sad thing that in The Gathering, we commemorate the Famine deaths but fail to acknowledge the sunny August day in 1843 when those who were later affected by the Famine changed the world by holding the world's first million-person march at Tara.

It was an event that affected not only the Martin Luther King and anti-slavery movement, through Frederick Douglass, but would also have been studied by Gandhi in his legal studies in London 1883.

But then that might mean Tara was a world heritage site worth protecting and we wouldn't want that.

Pauline Bleach

New South Wales, Australia

Irish Independent

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