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Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland comes at a time of opportunity for us. We are at a major spiritual crossroads. Many people have washed their hands of religion. Others are clinging to wreckage, petrified of the erosion of all they hold sacred. Many are ambivalent.
Slowly rising from the ashes, however, is a growing number of Irish people are recognising their birthright — the inalienable truth that the spiritual life is integral to their humanity. What they need now is guidance — a Church who will meet their experience, respecting their psychological/spiritual journey.
A Church which will promote the language of intrinsic value rather than intrinsic disorder, a Church that will recognise that the laws of psychological health support and underpin the laws of spiritual strength — a Church that will not crush the bruised reed.
Many will say how naïve I am in hoping that the Church can embrace the humility and skill needed to accompany us on the perilous journey of spiritual integrity — but when I see the compassionate face of Pope Francis a faint smile arises in my heart.
I am sure that those remaining Catholics will welcome Pope Francis visit to Ireland. But there are many who suffered at the hands religous abusers who will not welcome the head of a church that protected these paedophiles.
The Pope should not be given the trappings of a state visit until the Catholic Church in Ireland has fully paid of those who were abused by priests, nuns and brothers of that church.
To date the religious orders have only paid a small fraction of what they owe. Furthermore, we the tax-payers have been left to pick up the tab.
Indeed, white-collar crime is not confined to the bankers.
The current high level of accidents and casualties on our roads is a contributory factor to insurance costs. It is important that financial resources are available at all times for the implementation of the national road safety strategy. I am confident that the Taoiseach and the Minister for the Environment and Local Development fully agree with the need to allocate substantial financial resources to upgrade the level of garda activity in enforcing the road traffic laws and to enable the National Safety Council to scale up its road safety educational and advertising activities.
There is hardly a family on this island that has not been touched in some shape or form by a road accident. There is no acceptable rate of road fatalities or injuries. It is incumbent on all of us to implement the key provisions of the national road safety strategy at every opportunity.
Young drivers have to pay high levels of motor insurance and, therefore, I welcome the fact that the Government has established the motor insurance advisory board to ascertain how car insurance can best be reduced for such drivers. The plain fact is that young drivers pay exorbitant levels of car insurance, with some in their early twenties, paying as much as €3,500 or €4,000 for annual car-cover.
This is not an incentive for young people to start up a small-business because car insurance would be such a prohibitive cost in the initial stages of such an enterprise. If young drivers can drive without any accidents for a short period, their insurance costs should be substantially reduced.
Insurance companies have to come clean in proving that insurance premia for young drivers across different insurance sectors. Speed is a reason young drivers are involved in accidents, but the vast majority are paying exorbitant levels of car insurance. The majority of young drivers are careful and responsible when driving, and should not be tarnished for the illegal behaviour of some minors.
We must work on a number of aspects of road safety and much can be done through regulation and enforcement, and a little prayer to St Christopher, will get you on the right road.
Cllr Noel Collins
It appears to me that when a “hot potato” issue comes before those who have been elected by the people, to adjudicate on such matters of national importance a new mechanism is introduced — a Citizens Assembly.
On the recommendations of this unelected group the Government uses their findings to get them of the hook of responsibility and tell us we are just giving the people what they want.
The 100 citizens are unelected and should not have any more say than the ordinary citizen.
I did help to elect my local TDs to decide on matters of immense social and national significance and did not expect a clever slight of hand by the Government on the governed. Would the Government be happy to have a Citizens Assembly on say the housing crisis or the health service or even TDs’ salaries? I didn’t think so.
In the year that is in, it how can we have forgotten what cost us so dearly — national self governance!
This slight of hand that is being used to foist on the people the so called findings of the Citizens Assembly is undemocratic and politically self- serving.
Dublin is an estimable, fine capital of Ireland, but liveable social space is needed throughout the Irish republic. Means need to be designed that can effectively provide schooling, living-accommodation, good general social care and good means of communication and transport.
Third level and public forums alike should work on enabling ‘social Ireland’. In a real way a good means of enablement for life beyond Dublin is needed for the rest of the State. The Dublin population catchment is about 1.6 million people. That level of population density is generating a draw for more resources. Dublin will draw water from the west as it grows and draws people.
The Irish republic cannot sustain an “all to Dublin”.
We have some historic and contemporary global ability, so this should be being cultivated and developed.
St Patrick’s Day 2017 should be organised now. The cabinet knows where they are likely to be abroad and we ought to make the best of it for the island and for the Irish republic. It should be a whole island effort, not just for Dublin.
Communities, be they in Roscommon or North Cork, east Mayo or north Donegal should equally benefit.
Why are the media and our politicians referring to Ms Sturgeon as the head of a government as though she were somehow a world leader. Scotland is not a country. It is a region of a country — ie the United Kingdom. She is the first minister of a local assembly which is a step up from a local authority.
It is embarassing to see Enda Kenny, who is the leader of a country, giving her the respect and status her position is not entitled to.
Only some of us really pay for water
I refer to the letter sent to you (Irish Examiner, November 25) by Joe O’Donoghue with regard to what Jerry Buttimer said on TV3 about his concern for people who supply their own water wells.
And he goes on to say that the Irish people already pay for their water. I would like to inform Mr O’Donoghue that we, the people on group water schemes and private dwellers, are the only people that pay for their water and we are also paying all our taxes.
It is high time that this saying — “the Irish people already pay for their water” is put to bed once and for all.
Brexit will create a massive vacuum for Irish fishermen and we must be alert to the threats it poses. If British waters are taken out of the equation where will the E U fishing fleet look to as an alternative?
We cannot give up any more fish as we were sold out in 1972 by the then Fianna Fáil government.
Our government must start telling the EU the Common Fisheries Policy must be adjusted to protect Ireland’s fishing Industry.
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