Only when we descend depths of sorrow can we understand the complexity of being human

Sir — I read, in Life magazine last week, Sallyanne Clarke’s article on grieving about her son, and how she and Derry coped over the last 10 years. It tore me apart.

uch grief and sadness. Such a beautiful young man age 16 year taken by suicide. She rightly suggests suicide should be spoken more openly about.

She writes too when someone dies as a nation we’re very good at funerals, we’re very good at wakes, we’re fantastic for getting in there showing support.

But six weeks later everybody goes back to their own lives. And you’re still in the depths of this grief — you’re still with the horrible loss and you don’t know how you’re going to get over it.

My dear husband Peter died 15 months ago and there is not a day that I don’t think of him. He was 90 and a half. I’m like a child: I have to hold onto the half.

If I hear people saying again that he had a good innings I’ll crawl under a rock.

I miss him as if he were 19 years and would have loved him for 200 years. He was the most loving, respectful, witty, funny man I’ve ever met. Our marriage was made from heaven’s embroidered cloths. Life has changed so terribly much.

I miss the chats and the non-chats. The cat still runs up and down, and life goes on in a strange way.

When a young person dies it’s so cruel: it’s like a crucifixion and is brutal on the parents and family. There were other harrowing stories in Life magazine about children who have died.

Heartbreaking to hear, but my heart and prayers go out to them, their parents, and their friends.

It is only when we have descended the depths of sorrow that we can understand the complexity of being human, feel for all suffering creatures, and give understanding, kindness, and companionship.

Terry Healy Riordan, Kill, Co Kildare

Big Fella’s vision was far ahead of his time

Sir — One-hundred years after the death of Michael Collins, it is good to see the leaders of the Civil War parties will both address the centenary commemoration of his passing tomorrow. This healing is long overdue.

Would this have happened sooner had Collins lived? Who knows? What we do know is that Ireland lost an energetic young man in a hurry

That Collins was ahead of his time is without question. Even as the Civil War began, he prepared a lengthy memorandum for the minister for external affairs, Desmond FitzGerald, to provide as much information as possible on developments as diverse as overseas agriculture, hydropower, the use of citizen armies and the use of cinema to promote government policy.

As we remember the Big Fella on his anniversary, can we recall one of his last statements: “Let us not waste our energies brooding over the more we might have got. Let us look upon what it is we have got.’’

Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo

Civil Service packed full of ‘busy fools’

Sir — Eoin O’Malley wisely pointed out in the Sunday Independent last week that an attempt to avoid making even a single error can result in a paralysis where nothing at all happens.

To be married to a perfectionist can be hell. To have one in one’s social circle can be nearly as bad. However, to have them in positions of influence in the civil service is worse, as their search for unattainable perfection can have a serious negative affect on citizens’ lives.

Look at the fiasco of the new children’s hospital. Somebody wanted the best hospital in the world, not being satisfied with just a good hospital.

The accountancy profession has a phrase for this type of situation. They refer to “busy fools”. A lot of work, a lot of trading, but no reward.

Anthony Hanrahan, Renvyle, Co Galway

Healy-Raes to line out for Puck Fair

Sir — What with the huge interest in the poor goat at the Puck Fair recently, I’ve a solution that would make the festival even more famous throughout the world.

Michael and Danny Healy-Rae, who both do a fantastic job for the people of Kerry, could volunteer to replace the goat on alternative days.

Eamonn Stanley, Drumcondra, Dublin 9

Time to kick Kneecap from festival’s stage

Sir — The fallout from the presence of the Irish rap group Kneecap at the West Belfast Festival has once again fuelled concern about the intentions of the band in promoting tension within Northern Ireland. Their language can only be interpreted as seeking confrontation rather than reconciliation between the differing communities in the North.

Having read several books on the violence in Ireland between 1916 and 1923, one would have hoped lessons would have been learned in not promoting future conflict. Diarmaid Ferriter’s book on the Irish Civil War, Between Two Hells, was certainly a salutary reminder on the brutality of that conflict between two warring republican factions.

Mary Lou McDonald has assured us that republicans have moved away from violence and embraced democracy. Will the words and actions of Kneecap be condemned by Sinn Féin?

We strive for new relationships on this island that focus on dealing with social issues — not an ideology that focuses on conflict and further division.

George Millar, Newtownards, Co Down

Less than pleased by Ulster Bank’s antics

Sir — With Ulster Bank leaving, one assumes that, like the business itself, all its ATMs will soon disappear. For now, according to the bank’s radio ad, it has “less” of these machines.

It appears the company is as lax with its grammar as it has been with its banking standards.

Down with the pedants, though. Behold the wonders of light-touch regulation and all that.

Brendan Corrigan, Bogota, Colombia

Devils’ hellish start could still be halted

Sir — A word of thanks to Eamonn Sweeney for his insightful article in Hold the Back Page on the ongoing travails at Manchester United. He highlights many of the problems facing new manager Ten Hag — of course, the biggest problem of all facing them is the lack of vision at the top of that organisation.

While fans of all other clubs are laughing up their sleeves, I sincerely hope the new regime on the red side of Manchester can turn things around.

Anthony McDonagh, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan

Blended learning a fix for student crisis

Sir — The lack of suitable student accommodation has reached crisis point, and many students may be forced to refuse or defer their college offers. The alternative is a daily commute to college, and that option isn’t feasible for many students.

Simon Harris has made little progress in providing extra student accommodation, so he is now appealing to householders to provide a bedroom in their homes for students.

It all sounds very ad hoc. Who is going to assess the suitability of such accommodation? There has to be a better solution and, of course, there is.

The blended learning used during the pandemic allows students to take lectures online and make occasional trips to the college campus.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it enables all students, with and without accommodation, to begin college together.

Billy Ryle, Spa, Tralee, Co Kerry

A third sex category solves sporting issue

Sir — Surely the answer to the physical problem created by trans players in female sporting competitions is to create a third sex category?

Just as in many sports, there are the three grades of senior, intermediate and junior, which were created so that players of roughly equal ability could compete against each other. Could we have female, male and trans?

The trans campaigners have decided there is a third sex, so be it.

Pat Conneely, Glasnevin, Dublin 11

Credit due to Kerrigan for speaking the truth

Sir — One of the correspondents on your letters page last week wrote that Gene Kerrigan “should apologise to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil” for his comments about them.

What for? For telling the truth? Most Sundays I buy the Sunday Independent to read Kerrigan’s commentary and the weather — and that’s it.

When I moved here from Boston in June 1997 I read everything I could lay my hands on to understand the political system and parties.

I have always thought Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael do not represent the people of Ireland — they represent the big banks, developers, vulture funds and so on.

Paul Meuse, Killarney, Co Kerry


Gene Kerrigan’s column from last week’s Sunday Independent

It’s time to topple column of cynicism

Sir — I want to express my disgust at the bile that relentlessly spews from Gene Kerrigan every week in his articles.

Although I grew up with the Sunday Independent as the regular Sunday newspaper and also read it most of my adult life, I will no longer purchase it. Each week’s article constitutes yet another politician-hating missive — and by this stage I have had enough.

You’d wonder why anyone would go into politics and offer themselves as a hostage to fortune to the Kerrigans of this world. We have seen the contribution the media has made in the US to politics; surely a recognition and awareness of this should endorse the need for responsible, objective, well-informed commentary — as opposed to the bigoted and cynical articles we readers are subjected to each week.

I will no doubt miss the convenience of my paper being delivered — but it is no longer a pleasure to pick this newspaper up from my step.

Mary MacDonald, Templeogue, Dublin 6

Toxic political take pushes readers away

Sir — To use Gene Kerrigan’s word, the only thing “toxic” in last week’s article by him was the article itself.

The tone was negative ó bhun go barr as far as I can remember — as I only had the stamina to read it once.

We were treated to adolescent gossip about a certain politician on the campaign trail who was “cheating on his mistress”; and another who “had long chats with his wife in Dublin from the hotel reception telephone”.

There was no mention of all the good these people have done for the country — free travel, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, building infrastructure to improve relationships between the Republic and the North, Temple Bar, the IFSC. Just think of all the national and international honorary doctorates that they received between them.

We are encouraged to change our energy providers to get better value. I am tempted to change my Sunday news provider to get the same.

I am sure there are positive aspects to the article, but they don’t readily come to mind.

Michael Collins, Kimmage, Dublin 12

Bertie deserves the respect of nation

Sir — Gene Kerrigan’s article (August 14, 2022) included a mocking of Bertie Ahern.

Bertie is decent, with very worthwhile achievements — and, yes, I have acted as his accountant/adviser.

Bertie’s tenure in office created more jobs — by far — than any other taoiseach in the history of the State. The Central Statistics Office shows 1.379 million jobs when Bertie became Taoiseach in 1997. The figure was 2.112 million when he left office in 2008. That’s a gain of 733,000 jobs.

Obviously a “shake-out” took place during the subsequent worldwide financial crisis and the jobs figure stood at 1.821 million following the recovery in 2011. That means a reduced net gain of 441,000 jobs, but this is still a 32pc increase compared with 1997.

I add that it is still a mystery to me how and why the Tribunal (referred to by Gene Kerrigan) pursued and reported on Bertie’s family law and related (modest) personal finances, which, in my view, was not part of its remit.

Des Peelo, Sutton, Dublin 13

Power went to heads of Fianna Fáil TDs

Sir — In his article of August 14, Gene Kerrigan tells us Fianna Fáil has been “a uniquely toxic presence in politics”.

This is a party that has been in power for nearly 80pc of the time since it first took office in 1932, including during the collapse and bailout in 2010.

Being human, it was inevitable they allowed power to go to their heads. This is especially the case since they had the support of much of the Irish media during all of that time.

Anthony Leavy, Sutton, Dublin 13

In Memoriam: Dillon Quirke


Tipperary hurler Dillon Quirke, who passed away earlier this month

There you are, testing your hurley
for suppleness: eager, impatient

to begin another match. To utter
the grace notes which would define your life,

to wield your stick until a world comes back…
The wristy strokes. An arcing sideline cut.

A solo run, the sliotar stilled.
There you are, powering from midfield

to rally a flagging team,
or score another rousing point.

And there you are for ever now,
wearing your beloved club colours

or your county’s blue and gold…
Poised on the tips of our tongues:

memories of your feats
already tantalising,

shading into might-have-beens.

Paddy Moran, Templetuohy, Thurles, Co Tipperary Only when we descend depths of sorrow can we understand the complexity of being human

Fry Electronics Team

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