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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (20/12/16)

Your letters, your views.

State is to blame for failings on disabled care

The trial is over. There was never going to be any other verdict. Disabled people In Ireland don’t ‘matter’ to this government or previous governments. Emily was a child abandoned by the state. The discourse of “carer fatigue, stress, pressure”, posits disabled children and adults as automatically a burden on their families and on the state. But that is not the correct analysis.

It is not the children or adult with a disability that is at ‘fault’, to be ‘blamed’ ‘scapegoated’ as ‘causing’ the pressures on their caregivers. The narrative is more correctly argued as state sponsored abuse by the very denial of services, care, and support.

In recent years cutbacks have disproportionately affected disabled people. As a disabled woman with a rare neuro-muscular degenerative disease, getting the care I need has almost led me to suicide. It seems infinitely preferable to fighting the HSE in my area for the ‘crumbs’ from the table.

On complaining about the lack of HSE community/primary care support for myself and my twin (same disease), we were both declared ‘serial complainers’ under the HSE vexatious complainants policies.

We only discovered this by obtaining our HSE files under FOI. We complained about this ‘status’ and our complaint was investigated by an independent investigator who upheld our complaint.

The HSE were ‘recommended’ to apologise, own responsibility, and to enter mediation over our care, to sort the mess. Now, how can any family, any sick or disabled person battle these pernicious responses from the HSE when seeking care, or community support? It has broken myself and twin sister.

We won’t, in Ireland, highlight the totally inadequate HSE provisions. It seems almost impossible to stand against the HSE’s annihilation of sick and disabled people.

Their response to any claim for more support ends up first rejecting, then blaming the person who is ‘requesting’. It amounts to passive euthanasia. A hoping for ‘death’, so we will ‘go away’. To blame Bernadette Scully, or Emily (for being the burden) certainly lets the state/ HSE off the hook. It’s a ‘neat’ analysis , but utterly wrong.

The fault lies in our second class status as citizens in Ireland. We simply don’t ‘matter’ to either government or the HSE.

Dr Margaret Kennedy

Redford Park
Greystones
Co Wicklow

Coveney’s risible response on crisis

I was cringing reading Simon Coveney’s response to the occupation of Apollo House in Dublin by the Home-Sweet-Home group. “Simon Coveney: Apollo House sit-in ‘not the way to deal with homeless crisis’” (Irish Examiner, 17/12).

Essentially what the “occupation” shows is that the homeless crisis is not a “supply side” problem as we are repeatedly told. According to the 2016 census, there are 20,000 apartments and houses, excluding holiday homes, vacant in Dublin city and suburbs, with nearly 9,000 of those in the city centre.

It is risible for the minister to attempt to rest his laurels on the fact that he is “very accessible” — to who one wonders? Certainly not the unfortunate citizens who are taking the full brunt of this, and the previous government’s ineptitude and blind allegiance to a fiscal ideology that has shown over and over that it can do no other than ensure social injustice to such an extent as to see citizens unable to access even the basics of life.

The housing crisis can only be solved when government intervenes and builds social housing designed to provide an opportunistic for all citizens to access a place where they can be safe and go on to build for themselves a home in which to live out their lives. The minister’s “solution”, at best, will see ongoing episodes of homelessness to various degrees and would see many thousands of citizens condemned to living their lives in the bedrooms of houses originally designed to accommodate a family.

At this time of hope and goodwill, the government must stop the pandering to the “market”, get out from underneath the lobbyists and set out to address the needs of people.

Their failure thus far is both sickening and mortifying.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond
Sligo

Phil O’Connell is truly inspirational

This is the time of the year to reflect on sports stars and Cork athlete Phil Healy was crowned recently at the Irish Health National Awards in Dublin with the title “Inspirational Achievement”.

At the Inter Varsity Championships in Santry in April, Phil, representing UCC, ran a sensational anchor leg in the 4 X 400 meters relay. Phil’s run was described by commentators Cathal Dennehy and Ronan Duggan as coming from “the depths of hell” in fifth place to overcome a deficit of circa 100 meters.

An observer stated it was a phrase that could have been taken from Dante’s Inferno. The YouTube video of the relay went viral viewed, not alone by those from the world of athletics but by viewers in all walks of life being inspired by a runner who turned a “mission impossible” into victory.

Phil Healy became a celebrity overnight and a poster girl for resilience.

College coaches in various sports showed the video to their teams as a means of inspiration, and Good Morning America posted the event on its Facebook page. Delegates from the beleaguered IAAF were extremely grateful to Phil for casting a very positive light on the sport of track and field.

Phil Healy won three national titles this year and ran a seasonal best in winning the 100 meters at last June’s Cork City Sports. The 22-year-old athlete from Bandon Athletic Club graduated from UCC with a degree in Health Science and is now taking a post graduate course in Computer Science. Phil’s goal for 2017 is to compete for Ireland at the World Championships in London next August.

Michael O’Connell

Mansfield House
Passage West
Co Cork

Real miracles are never far away

With all of the bad news that is readily available online and on TV, people forget miracles happen every day. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. First there is the miracle of the universe and earth being created. The earth spins continuously to give everyone sunlight during day and darkness at night.

We also have the miracle of love. We aren’t forced to love, but we do it anyway. The human body is a brilliant masterpiece, a perfect puzzle that can only be attributed to a divine mastermind.

If you are searching for proof that miracles exists, look no further than the sky above your head and take in its infinite splendor. We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?

Anthony Woods

Marian Avenue
Ennis
Co Clare

The true meaning of Christmas

Growing up in the US in the 1950s and ’60s, Christmas was a really big deal for me. I would get excited and start telling my mom and dad what I wanted for Christmas in September. My parents told me not to mention Christmas until after Thanksgiving day. But I keep it up and was relentless in my pursuit of the gifts I felt I needed.

Then the excrement hit the fan, my dad cancelled Christmas. There would be no Christmas lights on the outside of the house and no Christmas tree in the house, no decorations and no Santa on the lawn.

For the next three months I pleaded, apologised, did everything I could to have Christmas, but it was a no-go.

On Christmas Eve my dad asked me to help him wash our car at the car wash. During this time away my dad arranged to have lights put up on the house, put Santa on the lawn and have our neighbours take the Christmas tree out of their garage to our house and decorate it.

We really enjoyed Christmas that year. It made me appreciate the meaning of Christmas, it’s not the gifts, it’s your family and friends who make it all worthwhile. And by the way... I never mentioned Christmas before Thanksgiving again.

Kevin Devitte

Mill Street
Westport
Co Mayo

Trump’s cabinet fills me with fear

Why do I get the feeling US president-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet looks like a military junta. Didn’t he say he knows more than all the generals and then nominates four of them? We’ve been conned by a Celebrity Apprentice!

Herb Stark

Carriage Club Dr
Mooresville
North CarolinaUSA
USA

Sinn Féin wants to kill unborn citizens

Sinn Féin courting the ‘liberal’ attitude on abortion is antagonising its supporters, as Sinn Féin is now countenancing the killing of unborn Irish citizens both in Northern Ireland and in the Irish Republic.

Fr Con McGillicuddy

Sacred Heart Residence
Raheny
Dublin 5


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