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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (28/09/16)

Your letters, your views...

Aided suicide campaigner gives update on condition

I have been asked lately to write a letter to give you an update on my condition. Well I have just spent three weeks in Wexford where I received steroids for a week, then I had to learn to walk again and try and control my balance as I had lost them both with my seizures. I’m seeing a physio on a weekly basis as they are still not working.

I had another MRI scan which showed six more multiple sclerosis spots on my brain. I also have a hernia between two of the discs in my neck which will have to be removed under surgery.

My debt increased to €19,000 and I owe one month’s rent which didn’t go through while I was in hospital. I leave for Dublin in the morning for a pre-op as I have constructive surgery on my bowel and bladder next Wednesday.

So that is my story so far. I’m on thickened liquids, can only eat food that’s chopped up. I have a catheter. I have no computer as I fell and broke them both so that ends my communication. I’m 51 today so I’ve reached the year the doctors doubted. My condition has worsened but I’m still alive, in debt but living through it. That’s the update you have been looking for.

Kate Tobin

Co Wexford

If ‘NASTI’ teachers want equality let’s give it to them

NASTI (Naval-gazing) ASTI claims to just want equal pay for equal work for its members.

I’ll agree to that, work five days 9:00-5:30 with half hour lunch break and 48 weeks a year like the rest of us, that’s equal.

Or are NASTI Teachers more equal than others? Time for change for sure.

Kevin T Finn

Kingston Close

Trump really might have what it takes

Many of your readers no doubt worry about Donald Trump’s lack of political experience.

Many years ago Tony Benn’s uncle, Sir Ernest John Pickstone Benn, said that, ”Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”

On that basis, President Trump will manage just fine.

Karl Martin

Dublin 13

Liberals would see me vote Trump

One can only sympathise with the American people, having to make a decision in the forthcoming presidential election. Donald is weird, and Hillary is beyond weird. If I had a vote and push came to shove I’d probably reluctantly vote for the former. Purely on the basis that Hillary’s “liberal” supporters in Ireland, and elsewhere, are singularly lacking in the virtue of tolerance that they so condescendingly lecture everyone else about. God bless America.

Eric Conway

Co Meath

If not statehood then where for Palestinians?

Desmond Fitzgerald (letters, Sept 24) is correct to indicate that it’s not necessary to label illegal Israeli settlements as ‘Jewish’ although I imagine that the majority of people that do so are only doing so to reflect that they are populated predominantly by non-secular Jews as opposed to reflecting any anti-Semitic sentiment. What’s more relevant than the religion of the settlers is the illegal nature of the settlements, and the support they get from the Israeli government.

The remainder of Mr Fitzgerald’s letter is riddled with speculation and disingenuous attempts to delegitimise the Palestinian cause. He calls the desire for a Palestinian homeland a ‘fantasy’ that only manifested itself after 1967, kind of ironic when one thinks of the foundation of the Israeli state, a country founded on the basis of biblical precedent and established through the forced movement of tens of thousands of Palestinians from their homes.

He talks of Palestinians preferring land to go to waste than to see settlements established, ignoring the fact that most have been established through the destruction of Palestinian homes and the ploughing up of olive groves established over generations. He questions whether any Palestinian state will welcome Jewish citizens, which may reflect the extremes established on both sides but ignores the significant number of moderate Israelis and Palestinians who wish for peaceful coexistence but whose voices are not heard.

Unfortunately, a two-state solution, rather a secular mixed one, is the only one on the agenda now and neighbouring Arab states have some culpability in that due to their actions against Israel in the early days of its existence.

However if the desire for a Palestinian homeland is a fantasy, as Mr Fitzgerald declares, then who are the Palestinians and where should they live?

The international community has repeatedly recognised the claim for a Palestinian homeland as a legitimate one and the occupied territories as being just that, occupied, and subject to the Geneva convention which Israel continues to flout.

This intransigence has fuelled the rise of political extremism on both sides which makes peace a distant aspiration. In addition, the continued expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements makes any two-state solution increasingly untenable so maybe Mr Fitzgerald will get his wish and the campaign for a Palestinian homeland will indeed become a fantasy. As to what happens the Palestinian population, ground down by decades of subjugation and daily humiliations, who knows?

Barry Walsh

Linden Ave

Please don’t fund greyhound sector

With pre-budget submissions pouring into the Department of Finance, I would appeal to the Government NOT to give a single cent this time around to the greyhound sports sector.

This utterly cruel and intrinsically corrupt industry, which encompasses the vile practice of hare coursing, “blooding” of dogs on live animals, widespread doping of greyhounds, the callous treatment of dogs whose sporting days are over (they are routinely shot or dispatched with a whack of a spade or shovel, as hinted at in the movie Man About Dog), and the export of greyhounds to China… where they are raced to death or boiled alive for human consumption.

Each year, the Government has doled out enormous sums of taxpayer’s money to this blot on the Irish sporting landscape. Last year the greyhound sector received €14.8 million.

On a positive note, the industry is in decline. Figures from the Irish Coursing Club show that the number of active greyhound owners in Ireland has dropped from 9,826 to 5,940 in the period 2011 to 2015.

Attendances are down drastically in recent years at both hare coursing and track racing events, and sponsors have been backing away in their droves from hare coursing since graphic film footage of hares being mauled and tossed about by dogs at Irish venues surfaced on YouTube.

Far from throwing a lifeline to this ailing industry, its decline should be welcomed. It will be good riddance if and when it finally goes to the wall.

Only then will greyhounds find contentment in loving homes and hares run free in our countryside.

John Fitzgerald (Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports)

Lower Coyne Street
Co Kilkenny

Widening laws would lead to killing of an infant

I note that Minister Zappone has “called for a wider discussion on abortion beyond cases of fatal foetal abnormalities, rape and incest”.

If we do wish to widen the discussion, a useful starting point is that promulgated by the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University in a 2012 article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

In that article, the learned authors argue strongly for “after-birth abortion”. They point out that “the moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a foetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual”. Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”.

They conceded (perhaps reluctantly) that “both a foetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons”, but their key point is that neither is yet a “person” since a “person” means an “individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.” In that premise, they argue that it was “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”; and they therefore concluded that “after-birth abortion (i.e., killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.

From a pro-abortion standpoint, this line of reasoning of course is wholly logically consistent with the standard justifications for pre-parturition abortion. I wonder might this article broaden the debate sufficiently for Minister Zappone and whether or not she agrees with the article’s conclusion; or, if she demurs from it, what the basis in logic of any such demurral might be.

Seán mac Cann

Co Tyrone


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