Letters to the Editor: Act in solidarity to fight injustice

Every section of society has to play its role by standing up against injustice at every level, whether it is within the home or in public spaces
Letters to the Editor: Act in solidarity to fight injustice

Floral tributes laid at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where primary school teacher Ashling Murphy was found dead last week. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ever since the killing of Ashling Murphy we are seeing fingers quickly being pointed in different directions all over social media platforms. 

Racist and xenophobic remarks do not help the situation as violence against women is not linked to any one community but rather a problem we are seeing around the globe.

As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s organisation I know too well how targeting minorities can put the lives of law-abiding citizens in danger.

It is time that we all come together in solidarity and address the issue head on rather than looking at who we can blame. 

We must change social norms in society so that women feel protected and safe, so they never have to look over their shoulder.

While it is the job of the State to afford protection of its citizens, every section of society has to play its role by standing up against injustice at every level, whether it is within the home or in public spaces.

As an Ahmadi Muslim woman living in Ireland, I stand in solidarity with all the women in Ireland against gender-based violence. 

I want to extend my love, prayers, and sympathies to Ashling’s family.

Nudrat Jahan


Co Meath

Have a social revolution to end repulsive behaviours

It is more than past the right time for a social revolution to end the rampant belittlement, abuse, and discrimination of women in our societies. 

We must confront and knock down the negative and restrictive masculine cultural barriers that condemn women to be treated as second-class citizens.

We need to become people of values that actively reject all forms of discrimination and antisocial behaviour (sectarianism, racism, sexism, etc) by creating just laws and ways to ensure equal rights and protection to every human being, and that especially means the other 50% of our humanity who are women.

A very simple formula can be applied to dramatically and positively transform society and that is the 50,50 = All of us rule (Men + Women = US).

In every field of human endeavour, political, religious, business, and social, men and women must have equal rights and treatment (equal opportunities, pay and conditions, etc).

Equal representation of the genders must form the bedrock of a just civilisation, starting with the government who must have the proper balance of 50% men and 50% woman authorised to direct and lead us. All political parties must endorse this basic principle.

All men regardless of their station in life have no right to ever sexually assault or exploit women or girls, they should always recognise and respect them as equals.

The senseless murder of Ashling Murphy and the rise of domestic abuse over the Christmas period highlight the need for urgent direct action to stop these cowardly thugs and their repulsive behaviours.

Michael Hagan


Co Antrim

Education is key to ending sexism

I agree with many of sentiments expressed by Fergus Finlay —
I have turned a blind eye to cheap, vulgar sexism — it is all men
(Irish Examiner, January 18).

Education, not just for boys but girls too, is needed to teach children what is acceptable and what is not.

Examples of this should be played out in classrooms. The key is reinforcing this message every year in school right up to leaving cert.

Just because something is taught a few times does not mean it’s learned. Good behaviour and respect should be ingrained as part of growing up in Ireland.

Our journey should start now. Let’s begin.

Michael Murray



It is all men

Just to say thank you to Fergus Finlay for his article on Tuesday. It doesn’t need anything else — “It is all men.”

Frank Clarke

Passage West


Girls perform well in single-sex schools

How sad is it that Educate Together’s Colm O’Connor uses the occasion of the murder of Catholic school teacher Ashling Murphy to advance his anti-Catholic prejudices — School is where our children can learn to respect themselves and each other (Irish Examiner, January 17).

Girls succeed in achieving their very best and  outperform boys in single-sex schools.
Girls succeed in achieving their very best and  outperform boys in single-sex schools.

As part of my MA in Education studies I learned that the very successful single-sex schools that Mr O’Connor would have us destroy are the very schools where girls succeed in achieving their very best and where they outperform boys.

In his call for a revised history curriculum would he ensure a special place for such international heroes of girls’ education emancipation such as Mary Aikenhead, Nano Nagle, and Catherine McAuley? These Irish Catholic women were very much ahead of their times.

Alan Whelan


Co Kerry

Coillte must protect Ballymartle Woods

Several years ago while working in Riverstick, Co Cork, I came across a gem of a woodland, Ballymartle Woods, near the edge of the town.

This beautiful woodland, which looks like it may once have been part of a large Demesne, took many decades to mature into the rich and varied ecosystem it is today. 

A small wetland stream meanders through the damp woodland valley floor and trees rise up on both banks, and the surrounding hills. 

It provides a natural habitat for a wide variety of mammals, birds, insects, frogs, and amphibians. Bats have been observed here on summer evenings.

A woodland walk along the upper reaches of one bank gives local people access to the forest.

It is with deep regret and incredulity that I learn of Coillte’s intention to sell a major part of this public forest to a private developer.

The walk, they say, will not form part of the proposed sale and they think the woodland will be preserved. “There may only be a B&B cabin or glamping and it will bring jobs, money, etc.”

It will also bring diggers and trucks, pipes and sewage, pumps, sumps, noise, light, and the inevitable pollution to the damp valley floor.

In an uplifting and inspiring way local people and local groups have come together in their hundreds to oppose this sale and devise an overall recreation and amenity plan for the area while preserving the integrity of the woodland.

Coillte’s mission statement says: “Our forests deliver multiple benefits for People, Climate, Nature and Wood.” 

Their apparent indifference to the fate of Ballymartle Woods and the wishes of the local people does not sit easily with this.

At a time of biodiversity collapse, with so little of our land under forest and when the need and desire for people to go outside has never been greater, then surely we deserve better from those tasked with looking after our natural heritage than this unseemly haste to flog it.

John Cuthbert


Co Cork

Investigation into Iveagh House event

There are issues to be investigated as to what exactly went on in Iveagh House on the evening when Ireland won a UN Security Council seat. 

One such is whether there is an attitude of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ vis-a-vis regulations and the rest of us here in Ireland. 

Will the committee on foreign affairs raise the closely linked issue of what exactly was being celebrated?

John Maguire

Pembroke Road

Dublin 4

Plant-based food is best for the planet

If the global community is serious about taking radical measures in order to dramatically slow down global warming, then moving away from industrially produced, animal-based food is one such radical measure.

It is increasingly accepted that producing food through animals is inefficient and wasteful.

Producing food through animals is inefficient and wasteful.
Producing food through animals is inefficient and wasteful.

Globally, animal agriculture uses roughly 80% of all arable land and about 40% of all freshwater, yet it produces less than 18% of all calories consumed globally. How inefficient and wasteful is that?

It is also well understood that producing food through animals is at best harmful and at worst disastrous for the environment. 

Globally, animal agriculture produces nearly 60% of all agricultural emissions, while also being the leading cause of wildlife extinction, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

In addition, producing food through animals — in particular the intensive, or factory farm, model — is highly dangerous to human health and a root cause of antibiotic-resistant diseases.

The solution that a growing number of experts and analysts across the globe are beginning to call for is radical yet also doable: A complete switch from the animal agriculture model to a wholly plant-based food production system. 

It is estimated that by avoiding meat, dairy, and farmed fish, food production would free 75% of all arable land, while abundantly housing and feeding a rapidly growing global population.

For the animals, for ourselves, for the health of the planet we all live on, it is imperative that the global food production system moves rapidly, away from animal agriculture and towards a plant-based food economy.

Gerry Boland


Co Roscommon

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