Letters to the Editor

Letters: Decision to invite Jarlath Kearney to write a column proved a gift to readership

Jarlath Kearney

I cannot let the final column by Jarlath Kearney (December 11) pass without comment.

The editor’s decision to invite Jarlath to write occasionally for The Irish News proved to be a gift to the readership.

Jarlath’s column provided a counterpoint to much of the noise and chatter in our accelerated age of news production and mediated reality.

He managed to install a point of contemplative and critical reflection – through pace, insight and a skilful language craft – that served not to diminish but to throw a certain light on the narratives swirling around on the other pages of the newspaper and in the wider
media mileu.

The writer interrupted the manic rhythms and short-term horizons of news agendas and our accelerated sense of living in fragmenting narratives, to draw us back from ourselves and our collective immersion in a calculated global economy of inattention.

Attention disorders are not merely individual challenges.

Without long time-spans imaginary structures that support time vanishes, and nothing is left to guarantee pauses and intervals.

The wonderful South Korean philosopher, Byung-Chul Han, sees such disintegration everywhere – in the constant flow of information, in the endless operations of digital work and overproduction of meaning.

Jarlath’s columns have been a welcome interruption… an invitation to pause and linger over those truths and languages that find no space in our impoverished public and media arenas.

Who will speak up now for beautiful thoughts about “dignity”, “love” including “public love” and radical inclusion that does not stop at mere tolerance of the intolerable.

In these times of acceleration towards a possible ecological abyss and social disintegration, Jarlath’s words have been a timely and mindful invitation to pause in the face of a slow violence that we are visiting upon our earth, our bodies and our ways of knowing.

Thank you Jarlath and those who have been entrusted to you.

You brought great dignity to your writing and to the columns of The Irish News.

Queen’s University, Belfast


Demands for introduction of Irish language act are nonsense

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness played the card of collapsing the assembly over a silly heating issue deemed a scandal because it was not of Sinn Féin’s making, how could we have foreseen that three years of non-government would be the disastrous result?

It’s hilarious there are now calls for Sinn Féin MPs to take up seats in Westminster when they won’t even be part of governance for their own constituents at home.

There is also the nonsense of SF demands that there be an Irish language act built into any future set of criteria to follow going forward as a precondition to sharing power.

They do not appear to realise that compulsory Irish was tried and failed here in the Republic, so how does Sinn Féin hope to get past unionist and loyalist opposition to their perceived one-upmanship?

Most of us here in the south cannot speak the Irish language despite many years of an education system trying to beat it into us. It is too difficult to learn and not knowing it does not make us any less Irish.
So please,  Sinn Féin do not deign to believe you are pursuing such rubbish on behalf of the island of Ireland as a whole.

Get on with governance and being part of the Northern Ireland community. English is what we speak down here.

Bantry, Co Cork


Source of inspiration to flagging clerics

Christianity is a victim of its own global success and it must be a struggle each Christmas for spiritual leaders to find something new to say.
Can anyone help out Pope Francis in Rome, Archbishop Welby in Canterbury and Patriarch Cyril in Moscow? The letter in The Irish News (December 11) by Brian McClinton, may be timely and a source of inspiration to flagging clerics. Brian McClinton says: “We are all ultimately human beings with the same hopes, fears, aspirations, and we are all inspired by similar values and achievements”. 
Mr McClinton continues: “...an obsession with identity can lead us along destructive and divisive paths”.
Is the editor of Irish Freethinker alluding to the dignity and conscience of humankind in the first sentence?
Does he continue with a description of what might commonly be called sin? I wonder if some religious leaders in our Churches might ever discuss the merits of atheism.
Mr McClinton’s magazine always tries to live up to its name “Freethinker”.
The November-December edition of Irish Freethinker is already published. But might Advent 2020 see a local Church leader write a feature for Irish Freethinker?

Belfast BT5


Both DUP and Sinn Féin to blame for Stormont crisis

Icouldn’t believe my eyes, Patrick Murphy, Deaglán De Bréadún and Tom Kelly are writing what I have been thinking for some years now. It’s so difficult watching our health service and education collapsing and MLAs continue to get paid and not doing anything about it. I have written to The Irish News before and I now implore Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill to step down as everyone now understands they cannot agree to work together.

Please listen to the people and remember DUP and Sinn Féin are to blame.
Michael McGimpsey knew what was required.
I read the book Burn and if that doesn’t fire your anger nothing will. Shocking. Thanks to Sam McBride for keeping us so well informed

Belfast BT8

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Letters to the Editor