Tuesday 21 May 2019

The people of Ireland stand united with the people of France

People hold panels to create the eyes of late Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as
People hold panels to create the eyes of late Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as "Charb", as hundreds of thousands of French citizens take part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015.
Members of the Public during a vigil march in Dublin's city centre for people killed in a shooting at the Paris offices of French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo on Sunday. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Protesters carrying a giant cardboard pencil reading "Not Afraid" take part with hundreds of thousands of French citizens in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015
Demonstrators make their way along Place de la Republique during a mass unity rally

Letter to the Editor

With thousands of messages of solidarity with France, the people of Ireland immediately reacted to the horror of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Thousands joined the French community in marches, gatherings and vigils in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. From Ballina to Cavan, Dun Laoghaire, Waterford, Wexford, Longford, Kilkenny, Killarney, Portlaoise, to name but a few, letters, cards – many in French – flowers, and children’s drawings illustrated the deep bonds between our two countries, our people, around shared values.

The barbaric attacks were aimed at making all of us feel fear, and feel disoriented, disunited.

Together with the people of France, the people of Ireland have sent a very clear response.

Not only shall we not be afraid but we are ready, each of us, to rise and stand in active support of freedom, in support of our journalists and policemen, to fight for the values that are core to our societies.

Your messages, the support of President Michael D Higgins, the presence of the Taoiseach at the helm of the republican march which gathered millions in Paris, the strong expression of solidarity by all the leaders of the parties in Dail Eireann during a solemn session, the moving mobilisation of the representatives of all faiths at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral – they all express the particular depth of the relations between Ireland and France, our common belief in the values of liberty, equality and fraternity and our joint commitment for peace and tolerance.

Je vous remercie de tout mon coeur.

Jean-Pierre Thébault

Ambassador of France to Ireland


Confront ‘merchants of death’

The Holy Book of the Koran reads: “God states ...‘If anyone kills another soul unless the soul is causing corruption in the earth – it is as if he had slain all mankind’.” (Koran 5:32).

The Christian Bible tells us: “Thou shalt not kill.” But then Christianity  goes on to say “...unless it is in a war that is considered ‘just’”.

So both religions say it is wrong to kill unless the enemy is “corrupting the earth” or the enemy is unjust.”

Incidentally, when will the issue of those ‘merchants of death’ who manufacture the weapons of death and destruction and make massive profits from governments around the world be brought into the conversation regarding modern-day warfare?

Vincent J Lavery

Irish Free Speech Movement, Coliemore Road,

Dalkey, Co Dublin


Don’t republish insulting images

After rightfully condemning the terror attacks in Paris, Dr Ali Selim stated that he would seek legal advice if any sources in the Irish media published, or republished, an insulting image of the Prophet Mohammed.

This responsible act should be welcomed rather than berated. If an Irish media source knows that there will be a measured response to the publication of an insulting satirical image then

perhaps it will think before it prints.

On the other hand, if a senior Irish Islamic scholar is seen to be stepping up to defend a deeply held religious position in face of a worldwide outcry in defence of “democracy and free speech” then fanatical elements will also have reason to refrain from knee- jerk reactions.

The question we should all ask ourselves is, what kind of society could possibly emerge when people request free rein to knowingly incite other sections of their community?

Richard Kimball Angliham, 

Menlo, Co Galway


Spike in hospital emergencies

I listened with interest to several interviews with Health Minister Leo Varadkar. He dealt with the situation as it was and not as he would wish it to be, as his predecessor did. In each interview three issues arose. 1. Hospitals having to cancel elective surgery; 2. The changeover of junior doctors in January with the consequent lack of continuity; and 3. Patients not being discharged at weekends.

As this spike in hospital emergencies occurs at this time every year, surely it is a ‘no-brainer’ to: 1. Don’t plan elective surgery for January; 2. Change the date of junior doctor changeover or only change half the number at one time; and 3. Like all other crucial public services, i.e. ESB, gas, transport, etc, discharges should take place on a seven-day week basis. Weekend discharge would also be more convenient for most families.

Pat Conneely 91

Cedarwood Road,Dublin 11


Don’t joke over President’s height

Impressionist Oliver Callan’s jousting with Mark Patrick Hederman on RTE’s ‘Today with Sean O’Rourke’ radio show on January 12, over the  Abbot of Glenstal Abbey’s objection to the lampooning of President Michael D Higgins’s physical attributes, made for rather painful listening.

Not that I entirely agree with Abbot Hederman, but I do sympathise a little with his argument that Michael D’s short stature – something he can do nothing about – should not attract relentless comedic attention.  

Empathising with Abbot Hederman is not a matter of religious allegiance for me; it’s just that I’ve long come under the spell of the abbot’s quasi-mystical persona from afar!

Oliver McGrane

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16


Exercise did not help my ME

As an ME/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patient who has tried Graded Exercise Therapy (GET), I was deeply upset to read the article ‘Sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome ‘can benefit from exercise’’ (Irish Independent, January 14).

In fact, GET made me worse, not better.

You see, ME patients suffer from a range of symptoms, one of which is Post Exercise Malaise (PEM), where a patient’s body “crashes” after mental and physical exercise.

The extent of PEM differs between patients, as ME/CFS presents itself in mild to moderate to severe in form. Those severely affected are bedridden.

I can’t and won’t speak for other ME/CFS patients, but I can speak for myself, as a patient who has lived with this debilitating condition for over three years (I contracted it when I was 30 years old).

My symptoms range from debilitating fatigue, nausea, lack of concentration, PEM, sore throat, sore ears, muscle pain, joint pain, swollen glands, electric shocks in my fingers, torso spasms and insomnia. Different days throw up a differing variety of symptoms.

If GET did cure ME/CFS, I’d be better by now, having tried a programme under the supervision of a consultant for 18 months.

Instead of increasing exercise, we had to pull back on my exercise, as my body continually crashed.

As a regular reader of your paper, I encourage your journalists to further investigate ME/CFS and look forward to reading well-founded articles

concerning research in the field of ME/CFS.

Marie Hanna Curran

Colmanstown, Co Galway


Farming out our problems

While drinking tea in a pub, I met a farmer who I took to be about 65, without asking him his age.

He told me that he had been sent to “help out” on his childless uncle’s farm, a day’s travel away, when he was seven years old, as his own family’s farm was too small to be eventually divided between himself and his brother, and he was the sibling chosen, thus solving two problems at one stroke.

This got me thinking about Enda Kenny’s “great little country to live in’’ remark, over half a century later.

These days, remarkable progress has been made in that we now see so many people emigrate instead, to some other state, far, far away –some galaxy, if our betters could arrange it, as out of sight and mind is a damn sight better than the opposite.

It turns out that the gentlemen in question was actually a bachelor of 80, which goes to show how deceptive appearances can be.

I did not have the heart to ask the farmer if some relation had been sent to help him.

Liam Power

Ballina, Co Mayo

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