Gorman's letter a disgrace
From Dr Sonja Tiernan
While an advocate of free speech, I realise however that there is often a need for certain regulations, such as that which appears on your website warning contributors that 'offensive or abusive comments will not be published'.
Needless to say I am both amazed and appalled at the highly offensive letter from Noel Gorman published in the Sunday Tribune (5 July 2009) entitled 'Same-sex union agenda distracts from economy.' Besides the fact that it is not acceptable to employ such antiquated language as 'evil behaviour' to describe homosexuality, the sentiments expressed in Mr Gorman's letter must clearly be in breach of our Incitement to Hatred Act 1989. Under the terms of that act it is an offence for a person to publish and use words 'likely to stir up hatred against a group of persons in the state or elsewhere on account of their race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, membership of the travelling community or sexual orientation'.
Does Mr Gorman really think that such a vagrant breach of our country's progressive legislation will inspire people to say 'no' to the EU? It is about time that same-sex couples can avail of the same protection and rights that have been extended to heterosexual couples since the formation of our state.
It is a brave move for the government to introduce the Civil Partnership Bill, which is a small step in seeking equality for all. The Green Party should feel proud of this achievement, yet Noel Gorman slams them as a disgrace. Shame on you Mr Gorman; your letter expresses bigoted and disgusting sentiments. It is you who is the disgrace.
Dr Sonja Tiernan,
Centre for Gender and Women's Studies,
Trinity College Dublin
Church's cruel influence
From Paddy Phelan
The Ryan Report raises serious questions about the church/state relationship in Ireland. It is quite apparent, to anybody who wants to see, that the Catholic church has been riding on the back of the Irish state like a giant octopus for a long time. The tentacles of this octopus have reached into every crevice of Irish life to the detriment of many people's happiness. Nowhere has this been more apparent than the area of human sexuality where the church's warped views have been forced on people from pulpit, confessional, papal bull, bishop's pastoral, etc. The "churching" of married women after childbirth was a classic example of guilt induction for women. It was a 'cleansing' ceremony for the mother before she could return to normal church proceedings. The idea that women were somehow unclean after childbirth, or maybe it was the conceptual sex, was an affront to all women, and was the brainchild of some controlling misogynist male 'father' of the church. Of course this thinking was in line with the thinking that created the dogma of the Virgin Birth.
The most important platform that the church has used to inculcate its ideas into generations of Irish people is primary education – "give us the child and we will answer for the man". Our primary schools are paid for by the state but run by the church under the patronage of the parish priest and thereby the bishop and thereby the pope. If the religions want to do their particular brands of inculcation (it can't be called education) they should do so outside of primary school curriculum time, using their own personnel, time and money. This would leave our primary schools available for children of all religions and of none. This was the original concept of primary education in Ireland until the 1937 constitution handed control to the religions.
We now need a new constitution for a modern Ireland that will finally give us full separation of church and state. The 1937 constitution gave us a theocracy under the guise of democracy. There is no need for Irish people to look askance at countries like Iran where clerics rule. We had our very own supreme leader in Archbishop McQuaid who helped to write the 1937 constitution and for whom nearly all our elected politicians, to their eternal shame, bowed the knee, kissed the ring and tugged the forelock. A democratic republic is something we never had. Instead we had a priest-ridden people in a church controlled theocracy. Ask the abused from the Ryan report, which is the tip of the iceberg. A report on our primary schools would reveal another tsunami of mental, physical and sexual abuse suffered by children under the patronage of Mother Church.
And the church should apologise to the generations of Irish adults who ended up in asylums and mental hospitals thanks to the guilt induction brainwashing, under the guise of education, foisted on the people with the connivance of the state.
O'Keeffe's request cynical
From A Leavy
The statement by Cork East deputy Ned O'Keeffe, and member of the main party in government, that some of his constituents will not get proper school buildings unless 'the tallies' [votes] in their area are more favourable for him and his party is symptomatic of the extent to which human beings are corrupted by power. His statement is an assertion that taxpayers' money should be used to blackmail the citizens of this democratic republic into voting as the government sees fit (5 July 2009). To argue, as Ned O'Keeffe has done, that money collected from all taxpayers should only be spent on areas that support the government is outrageous. To say that such an attitude is not acceptable is an understatement of some magnitude.
For a prominent member of the majority government party to say that he only looked after people who gave him their vote is symptomatic of the arrogance of members of the government who are in power too long and think that they are entitled to treat all of us with contempt.
It is also symptomatic of the pathetic coverage of political affairs that so little comment has appeared in the national media on this very fundamental challenge to the basic rules of our democracy.
1 Shielmartin Drive,
Irish workers will vote No
From Ted Neville
"Firm hires migrant workers to 'keep manners on Paddies'" was a headline in Friday's paper. A bin collection firm in Carrick-on-Suir hiring migrant workers from Eastern Europe has been hit by a strike by 27 Irish workers, some of whom have been told to work longer hours and take a 49% pay cut – or walk.
It was the Treaty of Nice and this Fianna Fáil government which facilitated large-scale economic migration from Eastern Europe after May 2004.
Foreign workers themselves are being exploited for lower conditions than is normal in Ireland. This is helped by the Laval and Ruffert judgements from the European Court of Justice; relying on the Charter of 'Fundamental' Rights which copperfastens the exploitation of foreign labour and the displacement of Irish workers from their jobs.
Does this failed government seriously think that any of these Irish workers in Tipperary, or those, for instance, from Irish Ferries who lost their jobs because of job displacement to cheaper Eastern European labour, will vote 'yes' to Lisbon, and give more power to the European Court of Justice which gave us the Laval judgement, etc? I suspect these Irish workers will all vote NO.
'Turnberry', Carrigaline Rd
At last, same sex unions in Holy Ireland… so what else is new under the sun? According to mediaeval clergyman Giraldus Cambrensis of Wales, same-sex unions took place in Ireland in the 12th century. But His Holiness will not be pleased because, as Cardinal Ratzinger, in a 1986 letter, he wrote the following: "When civil legislation is introduced to protect behaviour to which no one has any right, neither the church nor society should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground and irrational and violent reactions increase."
A cardinal said recently that homosexuality was against the natural order, but he is ignoring human sciences that homosexuality is not a perversion but a natural condition for some. The clergy should read The Forbidden Tales of the Bible by Jonathan Kirsch which reveals the love between Jonathan and David, the precursor of the Messiah. I have no particular interest in homosexual behaviour but rather in the 2,000 years of church hypocrisy and all the suffering and anguish that hypocrisy has caused, all in God's name.
Dartry, Dublin 6