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Sinead Ryan: Thanks Bill, but I think we know how to raise our own children

I'm annoyed at Bill Cullen's latest comments which, once again, harp on about the soft children he believes we've created today compared with his Penny Apples history.

Bill has no children of his own, so one has to assume he's talking about ours, yours and mine, when he claims that we've "mollycoddled" them by "chauffeuring them everywhere" and taking them on foreign holidays.

He says we've put them in a "dossing syndrome".

Better parents, he seems to suggest, would have them tramping the streets at 6am flogging apples for nothing.

Well, sorry Bill, but I thought the whole point of having children was hoping that you could give them a better life and start than you had.

So, should we go back to the Angela's Ashes days of cold, hungry, penniless families, who somehow would be better off for it?


Work ethic is one thing -- and believe me, if you saw the work that kids have to put in at school these days with double and triple the number of subjects that you had in your day -- then you wouldn't criticise either their efforts or those of their parents to want something better for them.

Every single intelligent commentator agrees that education is the key to our future.

Hard work is possible from someone who is driven to school.

Hard work is capable of being performed by a hard-working family who save up to go to Spain for a couple of weeks in the summer.

We're not talking helicopters and mansions here, Bill.

Bill says he's fed up with us whingeing. Well, I'm fed up hearing Bill whingeing.

He's successful, no denying it, but success isn't about how many hotels you own, or whether or not you drive a Bentley.

Maybe that's all you strive for if you were born into poverty. Other people consider being able to bring their family on a simple holiday once a year, or having a modest home or a decent car as a success.

If we don't all live up to Bill's standards, that is a pity, but it's not something we'll lose sleep over.

Would I be better off if my kids had to get up in the middle of the night to do a newspaper round? Would they?

Would everyone be more successful if they marched four miles to school in the rain, dodging traffic?

I think I'll bring up my children as I see fit and live with the failure of them not being helicopter-owning millionaires.

Ooh, the shame!

This is just Nikki Pelley syndrome all over again

I'm pleased that the Spanish authorities seem hell bent on going after wife killer Dermot McArdle after he skipped turning up to complete his court sentence and pay his fine to his wife Kelly-Anne's family.

But I'm amazed at the actions of his girlfriend Claire Dollard who, since his conviction, has had a baby with him. Is this 'Nikki Pelley' syndrome all over again?

Nikki, you'll remember, is murderer Joe O'Reilly's girlfriend -- and waiting for him to come out of jail so they can resume their fantasy life. What is it with women like this? Would you want to shack up with someone who is clearly capable of killing a woman they don't like?

Personally, I'd find it difficult enough to live with a convicted drunk driver or drug pusher, never mind a killer.

Do they think he didn't do it?

Or do they think it could never happen again?

And bringing a child into the mix can't be a good thing.

Let's hope McArdle does his time and it gives Ms Dollard time for a long, hard think.

Women priests must be the answer to Church's prayers

Archbishop Michael Neary said recently that if women and laity had been involved in Church matters, the current crisis would be better handled.

Of course, the truth is that if we had women in the first place in senior positions in the Church, it's likely that most of the abuse would never have occurred.

It was the misogynistic power-plays of a testosterone-filled institution that left our children in the state it did.

If there was ever a time to redeem and welcome women priests, then surely it is now?

The Church seems to take the view that it has no more paedophiles than any other sector of society, but you only have to look at other religions to see this is not true.

Religions which allow priests to have a family and live "normal" lives do not end up raping children, in the main.

Churches which force unnatural and unsupported lonely lifestyles on their members have such a lot to learn. It's not too late now if the Church wants to redeem the situation.

How about married priests or, indeed, women priests, if we're going to be serious?