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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (14/12/16)

Your letters, your views.

Thousands missing since Mary Boyle disappeared

A vigil took place on Saturday last at the gate leading into the farm where wee Mary Boyle went missing all those years ago. I sat and listened attentively as journalist Gemma O’Doherty discussed in a clear but compassionate way the content of the documentary film which was shown surrounding the case off the six-year-old Donegal girl who disappeared without trace 40 years ago.

This was the second time for me to watch the film and it shocked just as much as the first time I saw it.

The film, Mary Boyle: The Untold Story, is gaining an international stage, and will be shown to audiences in a number of America’s largest cities throughout the coming year.

In those past four decades since, thousands of children have gone missing all over the world for many different reasons, some due to family disputes and some who were victims of those who preyed on the innocent and vulnerable.

The Mary Boyle case has been highlighted in the Dáil by Sinn Féin Pearse Doherty, and Independents Clare Daly and Mick Wallace.

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has raised it at the highest level in the European Parliament by highlighting the shortcomings in the stalled investigative process.

Over the years, this rural expanse of mountain and sea, has had numerous murders and cases of people going missing in dubious circumstances.

Please spread this tragic story on whatever social media channels are at your disposal.

As Martin Luther King said, injustice anywhere poses a threat to justice everywhere.

James Woods

Gort an Choirce
Dun na nGall

Appalling actions of Putin in Syria

As we approach Christmas cocooned in our bubble of Western security and safety, where for many of us, the most pressing issue is how to feed the commercialised narrative of corporate greed. Perhaps, therefore, a pause in the rush to indiscriminately spend is appropriate in order to focus on those men, women and most especially children who are locked in the horrific tragedy of Syria’s brutal civil war.

As a nation getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the suffering of our fellow human beings in the birthplace of Christianity is surely an immensely poignant moment, or if not, then it should be. This is especially applicable with regards to the pre Civil-War Christian population of Syria, which constituted almost 12% of the population. However, in March of this year, Antoine Audo, the Chaldean bishop of Aleppo, addressed the UN in Geneva with the stark fact that, as a consequence of being caught between Islamic extremists and Russia’’s barbarous and indiscriminate bombing campaign, the Christian population has shrunk from 1.5m to barely half a million in less than five years.

This statement needs further analysis: As a western civilised state, we can certainly understand (in a rational sense at least) the slaughter of innocents by the nihilists of Isis as an inevitable consequence of the drive to establish an ideologically ‘pure’ Sharia caliphate. However, what is completely incomprehensible is the wholesale slaughter perpetrated by Russia, a supposedly deeply ‘Christian’ country. The complete disregard for the sanctity of human life in Russia’s intervention, supposedly on behalf of securing a secular regime controlled by Bashir al-Assad under the authoritarian leadership of Vladimir Putin, its new Tsar, must surely appall anyone with a shred of compassion.

How then can anyone with any sense of credibility still defend Russian barbarism in Syria, and if so, on what basis? The theoreticians of the ultra-left (oftentimes from the comfort and safety of ivory tower academia) have attempted to justify/explain it by patronisingly presenting the ‘greater good’ argument of defeating Isis. According to this rational, there is an acceptable casualty number in order to defeat one’s enemy. This position is morally corrupt. In reality, they are defending the expansionist ambitions of an increasingly totalitarian Russia with dreams of a resurgent Middle Eastern empire, and should therefore, be condemned by all people of good conscience.

Dr Kevin McCarthy

Co Cork

’Tis the season for animal empathy

As we approach Christmas and the mass killing of billions of farm animals, animal lovers who eat meat might ask themselves this simple question: How is it that we can love our dogs and our cats yet seem incapable of harbouring feelings for the animals that we choose to eat?

Our contradictory relationship with animals is routinely explained away by the natural empathy we feel for our dogs and our cats, an empathy that rarely travels as far as the pig or the cow or the chicken.

A long time ago, I acknowledged to myself that, while that position was understandable, it was nonetheless morally untenable. Just because I can love my dog and my cat but not feel the same love for a pig, or a chicken, does not mean they should be treated differently. They are all animals, all sentient beings. They should be treated as such: Equally.

Why not embrace your natural empathy this Christmas and keep animals off your plate? It surely is the compassionate way to celebrate this otherwise beautiful day in the year’s calendar.

Gerry Boland

Co Roscommon

Charities and the use of condoms

Trócaire which, I am told, translates as ‘mercy’ in the second language of our republic, was established in 1973 by the bishops of Ireland. Its mission statement is to respond to poverty and injustice in the developing world which is a most worthy aim.

However, the provision of condoms is not regarded by Roman Catholic Church as permissible for health protection and forbids their use. Some years ago, it declared that condoms do not guarantee 100% safety for those who use them, which is true. However, I wonder how many members of the Holy See would refuse a medical procedure to save their life unless it guaranteed 100% success?

Your readers may respect the obligation of Trócaire to follow the Vatican’s edict on the issue of condoms but disagree with it. There are many other charities to donate to that see the availability of condoms as a human right.

Tony Moriarty

Shanid Road
Harold’s Cross
Dublin 6

Unsporting gender quota attitude

While Sports Minister Patrick O’Donovan’s declaration on ‘burning the blazers’ via future government policy on funding sporting organisations is unlikely to have the same catastrophic fallout as former minister Phil Hogan’s edict on water charges, many nightmarish echoes are all too audible.

Again, we witness the strident arrogance of a minister who this time threatens, with the funding stick, to bully century-old organisations into changing their ways within two/three years. An attitude underpinned with little or no consultation with the parties involved, ignorant of the risk of tokenism and anti democratic philosophy, pandering to populism and with the potential to cheapen the graft and industry of talented women to add real value.

Within our sporting organisations, just like with the precious resource of water there is an unquestionable need for inclusivity, modernisation and reconstruction to shape a viable future.

Grasping for political headlines with shallow, narrow thinking and a ‘just because I can’ attitude will reap equally superficial rewards.

Michael Gannon

Thomas’ Sq

Price of postage

Sadly those of us who continue to use An Post to keep in touch with friends yet again face rising postal charges. Some years ago I invested in a solution which might appeal to fellow An Post users. I purchased what are called standard N stamps. Oddly, consistent with An Post’s totally inadequate marketing of Ireland’s fantastic commemoration and special edition stamps, these N stamps are seldom available in local post offices. They can though be purchased by post from the GPO at the current standard rate, thus guaranteeing considerable savings when used in years to come. At the moment, I am using stamps purchased two years ago at 55c for my 72c Christmas cards. Next year these 55c are likely to be worth 93c.

Alan Whelan

Co Kerry

Brexit — accept it

The UK needs to grow up and accept the Brexit result. You don’t like it either: tough! Make the best of it. Using the Irish courts is ill-conceived and will cause more upset on the island of Ireland. The Irish courts will bounce this thing to the European Court of Justice and surely this irony cannot be lost on anyone.

Accept the result and get on with it! Stop using Ireland as a pawn. If those ‘remoaners’ had put as much effort into the ‘Remain’ campaign they wouldn’t have this problem now.

Both ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ need to unite and get the best possible deal. Your closest neighbour, Ireland, will help in any way we can but this is not the way. Democracy must always be the winner and if people cop on then the UK and Ireland can be too.

Killian Brennan

Malahide Road
Dublin 17


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