Capitalist view of Christmas will gain Anita many admirers
On the day Anita Robinson article – ‘Stop giving capitalist Santa chimney space’ (December 12) – a school friend visited with his Italian wife both work fitting prosthetics and travel throughout Europe where the festive season is celebrated but generally don’t go ‘Santa doolally.
With three young children staying with grandparents, Claudia’s father, a life-long socialist describes the present day portrayal of Santa as a “Coca cola guzzling capitalist pig”. As my friend Michael said the universally recognised gesture – raised clenched fist with a single slap to the elbow which he demonstrated minus the string of Italian profanities – which he still struggles to understand.
The Irish grandparents will be sending a gift from them (sorry not Santa) of three large pots of ling heater honey – from Co Down – as requested. The Italian grandparents have splashed out on terracotta pots, seed packets of herbs, tomatoes and edible flowers plus a large bag of grandpa’s special compost.
Not exactly a credit card melt down so far. However, on Christmas day a gathering of at least 40 will assemble with hampers of local, often grown or made by the guests, of food, wine and cheese and all without artificial gift wrapping or flashing LED lights. In Anita’s article her daughter asks “mummy is Santa God? – perhaps here one would think he is. Could it ever happen that a group of local consumer savvy children visiting perhaps Italy conclude they are not religious – they have hardly any Santas.
As my visitors stated they celebrate this season without any serious financial pressure rather than getting the must-have gadget, that money will be spent throughout the year citing an already booked weekend next autumn, family staying in a tree house – with water sports available and wild mushroom foraging.
Brexit had to raise its head in conversation,. However, Claudia, who is attempting to understand Irish humour said what about an Irexit or Eirext from this U Santafest which they have exported to UK and Ireland.
Anita’s article is now carefully folded in an envelope headed for Turin. She should expect from fans – many emails - well at least one from grandpa Guitta.
Give to charity with confidence this Christmas
The festive season is a traditional time of giving, with many charities hoping to avail of the public’s extra generosity in the run-up to Christmas.
While this generosity is something to be applauded, I would encourage anyone considering giving to charity this Christmas to do so with confidence by undertaking some simple checks first.
As a first step, ask if the charity has registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and, if so, what is their registration number.
It’s a legal duty for charities to register with the commission, a separate process to applying to HMRC for charitable tax status (which is voluntary and usually indicated with a reference number beginning with X).
All registered Northern Ireland charities have a charity number beginning with NIC, for example NIC100161, and are listed on the public register of charities (available on www.charitycommissionni.org.uk) where you can find a range of information on each charity.
Around 6,000 charities have been registered by the commission so far, with more added to the register on a weekly basis as registration progresses.
If a charity is not yet registered, you can still check to see if they are known to the commission and are listed on the commission’s online registration list. This lists if the organisation has closed, failed to apply for registration, needs to contact the Commission or been refused registration.
While incidents of fraudulent fundraising may be rare, they can have a devastating impact on those who believe they are donating to a good cause, as well as on public trust and confidence in the charity sector as a whole.
Taking the time to undertake a few basic checks before you donate can help to ensure you are giving to a bona fide and accountable charity.
TOM McGRATH CBE
Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
Taoiseach is out of touch with north
When Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ventures north to put us in our place about Brexit and the rights of the nationalist population, ‘who will never again be left behind,’ it would be fair to say he has lost contact with northern political nous. His political reputation is not founded on his knowing what he is talking about.
If the European Union he extols is so wonderful why are there more than 3,000 children and their families classified as homeless in his southern nirvana. The flaccidity of his leadership and his lack of concern about homelessness is exposed when he states, ‘nobody should expect a free home’. On his watch they won’t expect any home and this catastrophe has the hallmark of ‘ nationalist people being left behind.’
All his trips north achieve is to stampede the lethargic DUP to develop a technique of pseudo subtlety and abstruseness which permits them to deal with his trivial statements as though they were momentous. The result of all this bombast is nothing more than a form of appeasement for their respective supporters.
There is power in numbers
I am no a supporter of Brexit and sent four letters to the editor of The Irish News. My first letter was June 9 2016, number two July 13 2016, number three on November 3 2016 and number four on May 3 this year all expressing my opposition to Brexit.
In The Irish News (December 11) the 209 signatories of support to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar were very impressive. There is power in numbers.
I had major eye surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast performed by Mr Sharkey and his professional medical team, to which I say thank you. This world becomes a small place when you are a patient in hospital so God help every patient.
Castlederg, Co Tyrone
Well done Johnny Rea
It was great to see Johnny Rea getting his just reward on BBC Sports Personality of the Year. To win three world titles in a row is an amazing achievement and for all the size of our wee country. We have produced some real sporting superstars from here in Northern Ireland over the years. It’s great to see a minority sport like motorcycling get recognised. The great Joey Dunlop never got the rewards he deserved, so it was good to see.
Portadown, Co Armagh
Plea for used stamps
Could I ask readers to please send me used stamps as during Christmas there are usually lots of them.
I got them from readers in the past and I send to charities such as Guide Dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf. These stamps are very much appreciated and a big thank you to all who have sent them before.
59 Burnthill Crescent
Glengormley BT36 5AE