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To ignore our humanitarian obligations is to be shameful

Desmond Fitzgerald is hypocritical for criticising those of us who advocate a generous national response to the humanitarian tragedy in the Mediterranean ( Letters, September 3).

This is the same man who, just three months ago, wrote “of the burning shame of being gay inflicted on me and a daily terror of my shame being found out (Irish Examiner, May 26). That was written from the sanctuary of cosmopolitan London, which had offered him sanctuary and security to live his life in peace, without having to suffer the same illogical, religious-inspired prejudice that ended with Declan O’Flynn’s dreadful murder in 1983.

That we were able to be the first country in the world to vote for full equality for our gay citizens is thanks to the modernisation of our formerly insular and homogeneously Christian society by three decades of EU money. But this irony seems to escape Mr Fitzgerald. However, his ungracious and opinionated attitude should not surprise us, given his t unrelentingly negative commentary on various political and social happenings.

Of the refugee tragedy, Mr Fitzgerald wonders why “any of these people” don’t accept “the help offered to them by Israel”, but he uses the same fallacious economic and nationalist arguments of the 1930s that excluded Jewish refugees then.

I suspect future historians will be as scathing of today’s exclusionist immigration policy as today’s scholars are when reading documents from the 1930s.

And unless we pressure our parochial political class to accept that we have legal and humanitarian obligations as EU beneficiaries, then we will continue to behave shamelessly on the international stage. Plus ca change, indeed.

Dr Kevin McCarthy


Co Cork


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