Why is navy taking break from Med?
The sailors of the Irish Naval Service deserve full credit for the very difficult missions they have undertaken in the Mediterranean to rescue drowning and endangered migrants, many of whom are fleeing in fear of their lives from violent conflicts towards questionable safety in Europe, even if Europe, especially Nato, played a major role in fuelling these conflicts.
When the LÉ Samuel Beckett returned to its base in Cobh, Co Cork, on December 16, to a well-deserved welcome, most people did not realise that its rescue mission had not been replaced for the coming months by another Irish Naval Service ship.
This would be justified if it were the case that no migrants were crossing the Mediterranean at this most dangerous time of the year.
However, UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration reported that on Thursday, December 22, up to 100 migrants were feared drowned when two boats capsized.
The Irish Naval Service has rescued more than 10,000 migrants so far, but the question must be asked, why have they taken a break from their rescue missions over the winter months? Why are these winter migrants who are drowning less important than those rescued during the remainder of the year?
Ireland has about 500 soldiers serving overseas at present, and these soldiers will be continuing their arduous duties right through the Christmas period. This is as it should be.
The same should apply to the Irish Naval Service. The defence minister — Enda Kenny — needs to explain why this decision was taken to abandon the Irish Naval Service rescue mission in the Mediterranean over the most dangerous winter months.
Tackling the crisis of homelessness
In order to solve any problem, let alone a crisis, it is crucial that the correct questions are asked in assessment and the outcome is envisaged.
Daithí Ó Frithile’s observations (Irish Examiner, Letters, December 24) on the current homelessness crisis are balanced and correct; however, the sad fact is that the problem is set to continue, get worse, and plague our communities in perpetuity — the ideology of the Government, and many others in Leinster House, will see to that.
Simon Coveney and his colleagues cannot solve the crisis, Mr Ó Frithile, because they are looking at the problem through the same prism as those who see it solely as a money-making opportunity.
Making a spectacle out of punt
On the very same day as we had the appalling spectacle of up to 3,000 people queuing for food parcels at the Capuchin Centre in our capital city splashed across the media, Eric Conway finds other reasons to be cheerful as he gloats on the “substantial punt” that he wagered on the back of the outcome of the US presidential election (Irish Examiner, Letters, ‘Trumps up! We’re not all losers now’ December 23).
I don’t know what brand of conservatism your letter writer subscribes to but it looks like it fits in with what Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives, recently referenced as “alligators” in the swamp after he admitted he’d “made a big boo-boo” on thinking Trump doesn’t really want to drain it after all.
The third verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew (5:3) springs to mind: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
George Micheal gave us his heart
The shocks keep coming. What a year for losing our best loved stars. Now 53-year old George Micheal has been so sadly taken from us.
A short but very intense life, George was very gifted and talented. 2016 has been a horrendous year for losing much adored stars. George was up there with the very best of all time. Sadly this will be George’s Last Christmas on Earth, However, we will listen to ‘Last Christmas’ for eternity.
Mighty pen writes hurler’s future
Many years ago I took part in a UCC debate and stated that I would take a relevantly unknown hurler, not currently playing with a senior club, and have him lining out for the Cork seniors within the year.
I began a series of letters to the Examiner, using a variety of names but all selecting Cork teams with my man, Derry Cotter, listed either in the backline or in the subs. Derry had been a good hurler with North Mon, but had not played senior since going to college.
Shortly after my letter appeared in the paper, the Cork county championship started, with several of the senior clubs engaged on a particular weekend Cork were due to play away to Galway.
A Cork team was selected and, lo and behold, D Cotter was listed as a sub. He played in that game as one or two of the original selection were absent.
My point was established on the might of the pen.
Sleeping rough due to Celtic Tiger
Your editorial of December 23 tells us that “this relatively well-resourced society... should aspire to proudly making its most vulnerable members free from poverty, homelessness, want, or hunger”.
The editorial also tells us that “this represents political and social failure that was not as recognised as it should have been when the centenary of 1916 was celebrated”.
The time for recognising the needs of the most vulnerable in our society was in the decade or so prior to 2009 when both government expenditure and bank lending tripled. That was when our media told us that we were awash with cash and that Irish poverty was a thing of the past.
Not alone were these statements untrue, but the country actually went bankrupt soon afterwards, resulting in major increases in taxes and charges for services being dictated by people who were giving us €85bn in a bailout.
The people who suffered most as a consequence from this political and social failure were the most vulnerable.
Not alone do editorials such as yours of December 23 not recognise how far we have come since the collapse of 2010 but media in general failed to challenge the recklessness of the pre-2009 period which is the cause of much of the present homelessness and hunger.
Independence and murders
Having read Derek Linster’s rather garbled letter (Irish Examiner, Letters, December 21) about the most oppressed people ever (in his case, Protestants), I’m still unclear about what it is he’s trying to say.
According to himself, he was a child in the 1940s but appears to speak with great authority about the flight of Protestants out of Ireland before and after independence in 1922.
How does he know of what he speaks? Is Mr Linster engaging in some revisionism of his own here? It is now accepted by all but a tiny clique of historians that murder was done to the Protestant Irish in the south and west of Ireland both during and after independence for no other reason than sectarianism and bigotry.
The game was up alright and scores, mostly imagined, were settled in the most appalling fashion by Catholic fascists calling themselves the IRA.
For the open-minded there are books, documentaries, and other data to prove this contention. Admittedly there is data available which purports to show otherwise but this has been dismissed as bad history by most independent observers of the period.
Transplant register is heartwarming
Revolutionary medical breakthroughs mean many more lives could be saved by organ transplant. The problem is the lack of donors. I had a heart transplant this year — if I didn’t, I would be dead.
Someone I never knew donated his or her heart to me, someone they would never meet. I thank the donor and their family for making it so.
Now, Health Minister Simon Harris pledges to legislate for a transplant register. Can I give some free advice to the minister? Just do it. Don’t get bogged down by politics and doing white, yellow, green, or blue papers on the subject.
Just get a copy of the Wales law and change wherever it says ‘Wales’ to ‘Ireland’; sign it, vote on it, and have it become law, done in one or two hours. If any TD votes against the bill I’d say they have a cold cold heart or none at all.
Sing us a different tune
Carols From Cork — what a misnomer! The Christmas Eve concert on RTÉ 1 did not include a single Cork artist.