Letters to the Editor

It is do-or-die for United Kingdom and our proud Republic

The viability of Irish independence is about to be put to the test with Brexit weeks away. The Republic as a country never really got out of the UK and it could be argued it is a republic in name only. It has only free state status realistically and practically, but fundamentally reliant on the UK as a quasi dependency of a kind, which without it would perish. Ireland has lived under the shadow of the United Kingdom and particularly London, notwithstanding Northern Ireland. However, that might soon come to an end with our nearest and dearest neighbour catapulting itself out of the EU country club. It must from now on stand on its own two feet with the countdown coming to an end, or fully return to the UK to survive. Many aspects of business life in the Republic are rooted to the UK system. As an example: educational qualifications such as City & Guilds and music certification from the Royal College of Music for good recognition, is still coming from the UK despite 100 years of so-called independence. Most of the food wholesale market sells to the UK. The insurance and banking sectors too are heavily tied into British institutions. The Republic has pretended to be an independent country, but always heavily dependent on its nearest neighbour for trade strength. Hardline republicans are against any British involvement in Ireland, but overlook the crucial economic links to the UK – of which there can be absolutely no doubt. The EU has given Ireland a better international standing and mountains of funding, with the EU pledging it will “stand with Ireland” in the fallout of Brexit. This EU commitment if it has veracity will be crucial to the Republic’s survival. However, it may not be enough to weather the tsunami of Brexit and its untold destructive effects. If the Republic fails because of the British withdrawal from the EU, it will show us if Irish independence was really viable or a fictional delusion. Northern Ireland’s place within the UK system will also be tested big time as it desperately fights for its stake within the UK. Unionists may have a fight far more formidable than republicans if they want to keep their union. A union which is now badly fractured and deeply divided.  Brexit will be the biggest test of Irish independence and Ireland as a whole. And one it is likely to fail unless it can get its act together like never before. It will be the biggest ironies of all to watch a deadly fight for Irish independence come to nothing and see a country forced to see that it hadn’t what it took to become fully independent from its colonial history. It is do-or-die for the UK, but it is also do-or-die for the proud Republic.

MAURICE FITZGERALD
Shanbally, Co Cork

 

Children struggling with suicidal feelings is a challenging issue for families

It remains a sad fact that Northern Ireland consistently records the highest rate of suicide of all areas of the UK. Every year, hundreds of people in our communities take their own lives with many more experiencing suicidal thoughts. A number of these are children and for families a young person struggling with suicidal feelings can be one of the most challenging issues they will face. Our Childline service is somewhere where young people experiencing these feelings frequently turn for help. In just one year (2018/19) Childline delivered 461 counselling sessions to children from Northern Ireland over suicidal feelings. This represents one in 10 of all contacts to Childline from Northern Ireland and is an increase of 15 per cent from the previous year. Our trained Childline counsellors encourage young people to talk about their feelings and problems and show them that there are people who can listen and help. But much more can be done to help young people. Childline in Northern Ireland has renewed its call for government departments to take urgent action to progress the proposed Protect Life 2 Suicide Prevention Strategy. The NSPCC wants the strategy to be delivered urgently, with the correct level of investment and with a clear focus on children and young people. Children struggling with suicidal feelings can often feel alone with nobody to talk to and nowhere to turn for help. If we are serious about preventing suicide, then this issue has to move further up the political agenda in Northern Ireland. Young people must know that help and support is available. Childline is available on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk. 24 hours a day, every day. Children don’t have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

MAIREAD MONDS
Childline manager, Northern Ireland

 

No cause for childish climate protests

Climate change is simply another term for natural evolution, in my opinion and that of all the sensible majority of the world’s population.

There is no cause for all the silly childish protests around the globe by youngsters and their adult manipulators who are having grim fun in the guise of concern for the planet.

There are teenagers being made to worry at their breakfast tables that the world is going to end any day now – at least by 2050 – and this is establishing a negative mindset, devoid of any reason, and instills irrational fear on impressionable, innocent young folk.

Be like me, instead.

I don’t lose any sleep over man-made this or that, weather changes which are part of life – melting ice, rising seas or alien invasion.This is all just words of doom and gloom which are meaningless but for the fear factor.

Everything is fine. Give over with the fads and the fright. Enjoy every day, because we are all going to die, and not before our allotted time on this lovely planet is due.

ROBERT SULLIVAN
Bantry, Co Cork

 

Facts need to be respected

The impact of Jesus is similar to the impact of Mohammed. The resultant interpretation of both men’s philosophies have encouraged wars, intolerance and mayhem across a large swathe of the world. The consequences of this intolerance can only be ignored or whitewashed if facts are not respected and become treated as fake news. TJ Hardy (September 18) should consider the power of suggestion, brain washing and avoidance of science when considering the reasons why religions have such a hold on so many adherents. Violence and organised religions is a world wide phenomenon. Myanmar is a recent example outside of the Abrahamic trio. Drawing near to a godhead that doesn’t exist is a form of studied delusion. The consequences are clear for all to see if our critical faculties are engaged. I suggest that YouTube debates involving Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are suitable primary sources for skeptics.

Prof BILL TORMEY
Dublin 11

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