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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (09/10/16)

Your letters, your views

Citizens’ assembly work could be avoided

It is to be welcomed that the activities of the Citizen’s Assembly (CA) are to be ‘streamed’. By this means, anyone with a computer or a smart-phone can see and learn what is taking place.

Submissions are an important aspect of the work of the Citizen’s Assembly. Yet in regard to those concerning the pro-life amendment, Ms Justice Laffoy, chairperson of the CA, seems to give limited attention to this aspect.

On November 27, the judge said to the assembly that submissions were integral to the work of the assembly. She also said the submissions would form “the basis of the selection” of advocacy, and other organisations, which would make presentations to the assembly. This may, or may not, be all to the good.

To verify, and read, such submissions will be a mammoth task. In the last similar case, the Government “Green Paper on Abortion”, some 15 years ago, the working group received approximately 10,000 submissions. The closing date for submissions on this occasion is 16 December 2016.

On current emailed submissions, only the name and the e-mail address is required. Particulars of citizenship, country of residence, or age are not sought. In any event, Judge Laffoy and her staff will have a huge job in verifying this aspect alone.

It may sound facetious to suggest it, but these persons could be spared this task, if the answer to the elusive abortion problem is to be found in the locked safe of An Taoiseach’s office.

In the meantime, to tell us what we’re talking about, we look forward to the streaming of the actual taking of an unborn human life.

Donal O’Driscoll

Dargle Rd

Blackrock

Co Dublin

LoveBoth website should be visited

One of the most common myths promoted by those who are trying to remove the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution is the claim that the unborn child represents nothing more than a “clump of cells” and as such can be readily discarded with no ethical considerations.

Quite apart from the fact that every living human being from 9 weeks gestation to 90 years old can be described as “a clump of cells”, it’s good that we now have the LoveBoth Project to provide more information on the development of the unborn baby in the womb. At just 11 weeks gestation, the baby can stretch and jump, swallow, suck and his or her facial features are formed.

These are sobering thoughts indeed when you consider that every prochoice advocate in Ireland is happy to tell us that they support abortion with no restrictions up to 12 weeks (many more, of course, support abortion well after that time).

I would encourage everyone to check out the website of the LoveBoth Project which is a new initiative of the Pro Life Campaign, where they can find out more about the development of the unborn child, which leaves his or her humanity in no doubt whatsoever.

Patrick Budds

Killeagh

Co Cork

Time to pay tribute to 1916 nurses

Tim O’Brien and Frank McNally (Irish Times, November 25 and 26) record that RAMC prisoner Dr George Mahony treated the wounded 1916 leader James Connolly at the GPO.

He was shot in the leg during a reconnaissance mission in the regions of Middle Abbey Street and had crawled back through Williams Lane to Princes Street, out of the battlefield fire to the safer sanctuary of the GPO.

This forgotten laneway also plays a part in the history of a courageous group of Cumann na mBan women who remained in the GPO until the roof caught fire on the Friday. These women, mainly from the GPO Nursing Contingent, were holed up in the Coliseum Theatre and later trapped in Williams Lane between two burning barricades as they made their way to Jervis Street Hospital with the wounded Volunteers on stretchers.

Accompanying the women were Fr John Flanagan, medical student, Jim Ryan (who later returned to the GPO), the Volunteers’ chief medical officer, John Doyle — and George Mahony from Cork. A group of eight armed Volunteers, disguised as Red Cross helpers, escorted them through the burning battlefield. On Pearse’s orders Joseph Plunkett appointed Desmond FitzGerald to lead the group.

The GPO Cumann na mBan Nursing Contingent gave great credit to George Mahony for his assistance to them both in the GPO and during the journey, short in distance but long in the undertaking, as machine-guns blazed and fire raged round them. At a critical juncture Mahony and Fr Flanagan negotiated with the British Army to ensure the group’s safe passage to Jervis Street.

The story of these brave and fearless Irishwomen who tended the wounded Volunteers should be recorded alongside that of the men who accompanied them before the 1916 centenary year is over. At least one daughter of one of these women is still with us. It is time to reclaim the story of these women and to afford them a fitting tribute.

Maeve O’ Leary

Granddaughter of Lucy Agnes Smyth, Cumann na mBan Nursing Contingent, GPO Garrison

Mordialloc

Victoria

Australia

You cannot insult the electorate

While it is gratifying and unsurprising that a majority of the Roman Catholic community voted for Donald Trump, it is frightening and worrying that a significant number of Catholics and others voted for Hilary Clinton. The United States has always had a disturbing history of deep-seated anti-Catholicism, and not just among the less educated classes.

The US elite has frequently displayed this sinister trait. Many had assumed that the election of JFK signalled the end of this phase of its history. However, this is definitely not the case. This is evidenced by the frightening level of anti-Catholic rhetoric exhibited by Clinton’s election team, as revealed in the leaked Podesta /Newman emails. Hopefully, the Democrats will learn from their defeat. You cannot arrogantly insult a large section of the electorate with impunity.

On a lighter note, one wonders will all those Hollywood luvvies such as Barbara Streisand, Cher, Amy Schumer etc, actually fulfil their promise to leave their luxurious lifestyles, because of Donald Trump’s victory? I wouldn’t hold my breath!

Eric Conway

Navan

Co Meath

Public cash could be better spent

As a self-employed small business employer and of course a taxpayer I couldn’t believe an article I saw on Ibec in your paper on December 1.

Average pay to directors was €365,498 that’s just over €1,000 per day; Ok in fairness this includes pension contributions of €51,841 or almost €1,000 per week a lot more than Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s €200,000 per annum. The organisations administrative costs came to €16.8m. On top of this travel and motor expenses totalled €271,358 or €5,218 per week. Also there were “establishment charges” of €1.5m, whatever that means. The directors said “other income of €594,613 is lower than 2014 mainly due to the once-off nature of activity in sector-specific activity”.

Could someone please explain, what on Earth this means? Can anyone tell me what Ibec do, apparently they are an industry representative organisation, what industry do they represent, surely taxpayers’ money could be better spent if private industry represented themselves.

Joe Deegan

Belgard Heights,

Tallaght, Dublin 24

Do we really want Haugheyism back?

I think it is fair to say that most of us were shocked when Trump was elected president of the USA. But can we be so smug when some people are suggesting that Bertie should be the next Irish President. Indeed , if so we have very short memories.

A Minister of Finance that had no bank accounts and kept money under his bed. No thanks!

Do we really want to return to the days of Haugheyism?

MIke Mahon

Kilvere Park

Templeogue

Dublin

What value should be put on the hare?

The kidnapping of a greyhound with stud value of €1m was a shocking criminal act and hopefully the gardaí will apprehend those responsible.

But I can’t help thinking of the contrast between the priority this animal will receive and the sad fate of our gentle Irish Hare, a mammal that survived the last Ice Age only to be subjected to organised, cruelty for “sport”.

Thousands of hares are kidnapped every year in Ireland, snatched in broad daylight from their habitats by coursing clubs to serve as live bait for greyhounds.

Many of them are mauled, forcibly struck, or tossed about by the dogs. Some of them die of broken bones that can’t heal. Others expire after a coursing event as a result of stress-related ailments.

A greyhound can fetch big prices and make fortunes for owners, trainers and gamblers. What value should we place on the iconic Irish hare, part of our treasured wildlife heritage that politicians, as shown in a Dáil vote on coursing last June, are willing to throw to the dogs?

John Fitzgerald

(Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports)

Lower Coyne Street

Callan

Co Kilkenny


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