As there are certain characteristics belonging to each country that portrays its culture, I’m wondering if we are being subservient to owning our own cultural values as Irish people.
This was brought to my attention when I observed that religious symbols had been removed from a local hospital and other public buildings. As we are now called a multi-denominational country, in my innocence I believed that each religion and every other culture would each respect each other’s beliefs.
I didn’t put much thought to the removal of these symbols until I read that An Garda Síochána are now going to change the rules for other religious cultures.
For almost 100 years, the Garda of this country have been told not to wear any form of religious object so as not to confuse uniform with personal beliefs. I have never seen a nurse or doctor in this country wearing any form of their religious beliefs other than nuns and priests. Now I do not have an issue with who wears what, that is not my point.
The fact that because people have decided to come to live in our country and tell us that they are offended and we in our usual “of course“ way decide “oh, they are right”, so WE conform to their way in the hope we won’t be called racist or offend them. But if you go to their countries then you had better not be offended by their culture or beliefs.
So they took down our religious symbols. So be it, yet what I don’t understand is when I see others going around expressing their religion by wearing their scarfs, turbans, and hijab in the hospitals, and now due to new rules the Garda will as well. The word uniform means ‘to remain the same in all cases’. Previously every member of An Garda Síochána would wear the same outfit regardless of religion, race, or creed. However, now exceptions are being made for certain cultures and religions.
Why is it one law for us and another for them? Where’s the EQUALITY in that? Was it not a better system when everyone was treated exactly the same as the uniform presented a united equable approach.
This does not in any way help with the self-esteem of people who work hard and have worked and paid their way to bring our country to a place where we brought peace.
We have been renowned for our friendliness and hospitality over the decades and have had the blessings of been called ‘The Island of Saints and Scholars’. From our ancestors that starved, though there was plenty of food in the country, and those who kept their faith and practised it, regardless of at times that they faced the death penalty for doing so.
Today, through the ceremonies of communion, confirmation, christenings, weddings and funerals we still try to hold on to some reverence of our faith.
What are we really being told by our governing body and what are we telling ourselves as the 100th year of our independence is approaching?
Marian E Murphy