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Your letters, your views.
Insightful tale of a life in service
I have just read a book which was published by a priest who says Mass in my hometown. An Endangered Species (by Jerry Daly and published by Columba Press) is the story of the life and times of an Irish missionary priest which reflected as much on the lack of leadership and problems in the church as it did the joys and sorrows of a missionary priest.
The book was a wonderful revelation of the life and opinions of an ordinary man who gave up his life in service of others. But it is much more than this, it speaks of the terrible conditions that apartheid imposed in South Africa and dealing with the tensions present in the UK during the Troubles.
It tells of the humanity and struggles of ordinary men whose position in life created loneliness and depression.
Fr Jerry became a priest during the ‘Golden Age’ of the Catholic Church in Ireland, he left Ireland for the missions as a young man only to return in his retirement to a very different Ireland and a very different Church that was in decline.
Yet he is not one for living on the past, on the contrary he looks very much to the present and the future. Frustrated by the inactivity of church leaders who he says are preoccupied with “moral problems… to do with sex and gender, divorce, contraception, gay unions, married priests and women priests”.
He suggests that younger generations “will focus not so much on the exquisite beauty of their own souls, but on the alleviation of poverty, homelessness, hunger and disease, care for the environment and peace building”.
The priesthood in the Irish Catholic Church is indeed an endangered species, however, whilst the solution to protecting an endangered species is usually to create specially protected enclosures for them, perhaps in this case, it was part of the cause of the present scarcity. It is a sad fact that we may be throwing the baby out with the bathwater and that, as Fr Jerry suggests, there will be as little as 200 priests in Ireland in 25 years’ time.
I know that for some, that will be 200 too many, and for others it will not matter to them one way or the other, but I think it will be loss to us as a people, whether you are a catholic or not. At its best, it is a witness to a very different life of service and of giving which is something very precious.
In any event whatever your views on the future of the Church in Ireland, this is a refreshing humorous and insightful book that is definitely an unexpected and enjoyable stocking filler.
Rent controls will further limit supply
The Irish Property Owners’ Association are calling on the Government to review the measures being put forward to re-introduce rent control and impose further restriction in the sector. These proposals will further deplete the supply of properties as property owners withdraw units through unaffordability to manage or maintain.
Gross interference in the role of the private rental sector, impose further restrictions on periods of time that rent can be increased and amounts of the increase which is not fair or equitable.
It also endeavours to smother the true problem that exists, the lack of accommodation available is a result of the inactivity of the Government to provide adequate investment in this area, and who by their actions are making the private residential landlords of Ireland suffer for this incompetence.
Politicians should extend the hand of friendship to property owners in the interest of tenants affordability. All that is necessary is co-operation and understanding and for politicians to treat the sector as a business. Short term interference causes long term difficulties undermining the confidence of prospective investors.
The State has caused the rental crisis and continual interference is making it worse, a typical example is the rent control introduced by Minister Alan Kelly which complicated the market and increased rents.
Irish Property Owners’ Association
Visit of naval vessel was not welcome
A lot of media attention was given recently to a Russian naval convoy that made a journey in late October from Russia via the English Channel and Gibraltar to Syria. Spain cancelled its permission for this fleet to refuel at the Spanish enclave of Cueta in Morocco. Should Ireland, as a government-declared neutral state, agree to provide refuelling facilities for such Russian naval ships? It is most unlikely that our Government would allow this, or that most Irish people would approve.
Yet on November 5 a Netherlands navy submarine — HNLMS Bruinvis — was refuelled in Cork harbour, and was also being resupplied by a container truck that had travelled from the Netherlands for this purpose.
The Netherlands has been actively involved in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and is carrying out bombing attacks with its F16 aircraft, that have resulted in some civilian fatalities according to US military reports.
Therefore Ireland, as a neutral state, should not be allowing military forces of a belligerent state such as the Netherlands to transit through its territory and to refuel at its ports.
Fond memories of a great poet
It is with great regret we learn of the passing of the internationally renowned and respected poet, John Montague.
We remember him from our days as publicans in Ballydehob here in West Cork where both he and his wife Elizabeth Wassell had a home which I am sure gave him peace where he got inspiration for some of his writings.
They used to come in fairly regularly when living near the village so we got used to talking to them and seeing them enjoy the companionship of their neighbours and sometimes bringing some of their friends in with them.
He was easy to talk to and always engaged with the locals who would drop by on their way from the mart or just calling in to meet other friends from the area. Both he and photographer, John Minihan, were regulars and of course knew one another very well as artists expert in their own fields.
The late John Verling, another great west Cork artist, was a close friend of Montague as he had collaborated in some of John Montague’s works as an illustrator.
Ireland has lost a great talent but has left a legacy which can be enjoyed for many years.
Misery of our own
It’s such a marvellous demonstration of democracy to allow refugees to speak in public on Claire Byrne Live.
I wonder if these people would get the same speaking rights in the countries they fled? I very much doubt it.
People seeking refuge here should not condemn this country. We owe nothing to any immigrant as we never colonised anyone, nor can we afford to be sentimental. It’s disgusting that hardly a mention was made about the misery of our own people on Ms Byrne’s show.
Dr Florence Craven
Many supermarkets and large shops have designated car parking spaces to assist customers with young children, the ‘Mother and Child Spaces’. These spaces serve a number of functions: Regarding safety, they are typically located close to the shop entrance so young children do not have to interact with moving vehicles; and regarding practicality, are wider to allow for removing a child from a child seat.
We have three young children and it amazes me how much disregard is shown by selfish individuals.
There are people that feel their use of these spaces is justified, there are the charming people who just don’t care less and their mission (to get bread, milk and a copy of this fine publication) is all important and everyone else can be inconvenienced at their expense. Let us not forget the precious people who worry about their cars and do not want to have their doors scratched by others so use the wider space.
The straw that broke this camel’s back was the recent sighting of the two only designated spaces occupied, one with a man having his lunch in his van and the other with a man reading a newspaper and eating (unseasonably may I add) an ice cream as I wrestled in a narrow gap to extract two children from either side of a car 100 yards away in the rain.
I write to express my continued dismay and my disappointment and can I plead for respect and clemency in this matter.
Therapists are available to help
Following Majella O’Donnell’s call for accessible services for those suffering from depression, I would draw your readers’ attention to the fact that the Irish Council for Psychotherapy has over 1,500 qualified and accredited psychotherapists from around the country on the ICP register. All these practitioners, after lengthy in-depth training, are specifically skilled to work with people who present with mental health issues including depression, stress and anxiety, trauma, family crisis, and so on.
The full register of ICP accredited psychotherapists can be found on www.psychotherapycouncil.ie.
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