Direct provision exacerbating refugee suffering
The death of a Korean asylum seeker, Youjung Han, at the Kinsale Road accommodation centre, in Cork, is a tragedy. Her six-year-old son found her body.
Is the Irish direct-provision system contributing to such tragedies, and is it inhumane? Does it impose further suffering on those who live in such unacceptable conditions?
Ireland has one of the lowest rates in the European Union (EU) of permitting the entry of refugees and asylum seekers, and one of the highest rates of rejection of asylum applications. Our policy on refugees seems to be to make the system so difficult to enter, and so uncomfortable for those here, that others are deterred from seeking protection in Ireland.
Given our own history of emigration, and the conflicts from which so many people are fleeing, we must live up to our obligations under the UN Convention on Refugees.
National training ship badly needed
That efforts (Irish Examiner, August 23) are being made to acquire a permanent Irish sailing training ship is welcome. Asgard 2 went down in the Bay of Biscay in 2008.
No lives were lost, only the beautiful brigantine on which young Irish people learned teamwork, self-confidence, the skills of sailing, and the spirit of adventure.
Was the insurance money, which should have bought a replacement vessel, handed to the Department of Finance?
Unsafe cycling habits in Dublin
I visited Dublin in June. I loved the city, but could not believe the number of cyclists riding without a helmet, and it was mostly the less-experienced riders.
As a retired nurse, this appalled me.
At one bus station entrance, there was a sign warning passengers to be aware of cyclists passing between the bus and the sidewalk.
When the bus is stopped to take on passengers, cyclists should be stopped behind it.
How many cyclists and pedestrians die every year in Ireland, because unsafe practices are considered normal?
Rose of Tralee still blooming
Wasn’t the Rose of Tralee a blast this year? Many people say the festival is outdated.
However, with the aid of modern technology, and a little controversy, it had me captivated.
Another institution that people say is outdated is the Eurovision. However, what always made this watchable was the late Terry Wogan’s witty comments. The Eurovision has departed from its original script, too. For instance, a bearded drag queen, Conchita, has won it.
What made the Rose of Tralee watchable was Twitter. There was no Terry Wogan, but, instead, hundreds of people across Ireland, including myself, giving our own sarcastic comments on what was unfolding. It was also interactive. We could ‘like’ and comment on each other’s tweets. Controversy came in the form of a stage-invading ‘father’ and a Rose calling for repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
Despite the organisers saying the festival is apolitical, it’s incredible to think they hadn’t foreseen one of the Roses mentioning abortion, when they had discussed it during the week.
I’ll be watching it next year, but only if my Twitter machine is near at hand.
I’m sure the organisers will ‘plant’ further seeds for controversy!
No hard questions for Gaza visitors
I don’t suppose Zoe Lawlor (Irish Examiner, Letters, August 25) spent time with any of the Israeli children traumatised by the daily rocket attacks on their homes? I don’t suppose she has ever sat and talked to a Jewish child who doesn’t understand why Muslim people hate them.
I wonder, too, when she was meeting-and-greeting the people from Gaza who visited Galway, did she sit and ask the men if they believe women are equal to them, or if they were proud for Ireland when we became the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage? Did she ask if they would live among Jews, if that was the price of peace?
Of course, the people from Gaza received a warm welcome. Most people who visit Ireland do. We can be a welcoming people.
But I don’t suppose the organisation Ms Lawlor speaks for will ever extend the same welcome to a group of Jewish visitors.
Footballer Mick deserving of award
In reference to Kieran Shannon’s excellent article on Mick O’Connell, I would just like to endorse all that he said. (Irish Examiner, August 23).
As a young guy, I worked in New York in 1985 and played with the Kerry team, along with my fellow exiles. Tommy Hennessy, RIP, from Ballylongford was a great man to get work for the young Irish and he introduced me to Mick, who had been appointed manager of the Kerry team. Even though O’Connell was in his late forties at the time, he was as fit as a fiddle and could leap into the air to field a ball as if he was on springs!
He is a gentleman: modest, unassuming and great company.
It was right for the Association of Irish Journalists to honour this legend of Gaelic football. He is a worthy recipient.
Gay marriage votes not ‘bought’
Donal O’Driscoll is right when he says GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) received funding from Atlantic Philanthropies, but, then, so did a lot of other charitable organisations. He is incorrect, though, in implying that this funding was used to canvass support for a ‘yes’ vote in last year’s marriage-equality referendum (Irish Examiner, Letters, August 25).
Yes Equality, the organisation that campaigned for same-sex civil marriage in our Constitution, was an amalgamation of three entities: Marriage Equality, GLEN, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). Indeed, I remember reading that, at the end of March, 2015, there was only €30,000 in the bank, as this new organisation wondered how it was going to finance a poster campaign, in addition to its national bus tour.
Contrary to what Mr O’Driscoll is suggesting, there were not millions in the bank, and the tens of thousands of volunteers who knocked on doors, campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote, did so out of their own pockets.
When he says “if American interests are serious about influencing Irish opinion, they will have to donate far more than what appears to be the case now”, he might note a recent US Supreme Court ruling that reaffirmed its abortion stance, striking down a Texas law that would have required abortions to take place in mini-hospitals, instead of regular clinics.
In a 5-3 ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Justice Stephen Breyer in his majority opinion, but offered her own, concurring view, stating that “medically unnecessary abortion restrictions will never be tolerated by the highest court”, before adding that “when a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed, rogue practitioners ... at great risk to their health and safety.”
If there is to be a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, I would suggest that, rather than worrying about funding coming from outside the country to influence public opinion, Mr O’Driscoll should, instead, invest in a good pair of walking shoes and all-weather attire.
Knocking on doors was what changed minds and led to the resounding victory in the same-sex equality debate. The same will be the case if, and when, there is a referendum to repeal the Eighth.
No debt of gratitude owed
Have our citizens been satisfied with the way our country has been governed over the last few decades?
I suspect that answer is most likely to be ‘no’. The rich have become richer, the poor have become poorer.
We no longer have a middle class. It has been wiped out by debt.
We live in a debt-ridden society.
Government is motivated by the desire of a party to gain power, or to remain in it, and not by what might be best for the country and its population. Needing to be in power overrides any other considerations. So, government borrows as much money as it likes, and gets us to pay for it. They call this fiscal space. Or quantitative easing. Quaint buzz words for more debt. Thus, economic lies become everyday political tools.