Greta’s message isn’t difficult to understand

Greta’s message isn’t difficult to understand

Dear Editor, John McGuirk calls Greta Thunberg “a very impressive young woman”, (IC 22/08/19), yet compares her to the Children’s Crusade’s deluded child leaders. Disclaiming any desire to criticise her, he gives the impression he’s itching to do just that, mocking her “holy mission, sailing to the promised land”.

He lists failures of “the Green movement”, equated with “her followers”.  A jumble of policy setbacks (US withdrawal from Paris agreement) and false predictions (his teachers told him Bangladesh would be underwater by now). But no predictions based on peer-reviewed scientific reports are quoted.  The polar ice caps ‘which we were told would disappear by 2012 (his teachers again?) remain stubbornly cold.’  Sadly not.

An Arctic area the size of the EU is on fire, which researchers describe as “unprecedented” and “insane”. The burning peat makes future fires more likely, a feedback loop not included in the IPCC estimate of 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe.

We Christians have a duty to face reality, using our God-given gift of reason. Let’s not be among those Pope Francis described as “tempted to think that what is happening is not entirely clear” (Laudato Si’, 59).

“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change” – Greta Thunberg.

Yours etc.,

Victor Haberlin,

Stratford, London.



Hong Kong protest is efficient if not exactly Irish

Dear Editor, The protests in Hong Kong – which your paper covered diligently (IC 29/08/19) – have revealed among other things the resilience of a people who have stood up for their values in the face of persecution in violence.

Pictures and videos coming in from the region show not mere hooliganism and aimless rioting, but mass organised protests of educated people who are standing together arm in arm.

The government has tried every deterrent measure possible, but rather than cowering down to the powers-at-be, citizens have employed clever tactics to keep the peace, making clear that they won’t be backing down any time soon. They’re using laser pointers to disorient facial recognition technology and neutralising tear gas instead of fleeing from it.

This is, perhaps, the most efficient protest the world has ever seen. As a secondary thought, it makes you wonder why our tiny country doesn’t display these same qualities – we are much more passive than confrontational.

Yours etc.,

Fiona Murphy,


Co. Louth.



Are atheists a new denomination?

Dear Editor, I read with interest your article ‘New Patrons for Church Schools’ (IC 29/08/19) including two massively undersubscribed schools here in Kerry. The piece tells us that the new schools will be nondenominational Community National Schools under Education Training Board patronage.

Interestingly adverts for new Community National Schools run by Education Training Boards proclaim their ethos as multidenominational. Does the term multidenominational include parents who want either totally secularist or atheist options? Are atheists a new denomination? Surely there should be some honesty in the language we use.

Yours etc.,

Alan Whelan,

Killarney, Co. Kerry.


Parishes are the best place for new entrants to study

Dear Editor, Dr Diarmuid Martin said last week that Maynooth is “still trapped in its old vision” – I don’t think there are many people in Ireland who wouldn’t agree with that statement. It’s true that the seminary did churn out many fine religious men, but it was of its time and is now no longer fit for purpose.

There are maybe a dozen men entering formation each year, cut off from the world in a place that is reportedly wracked with scandal after scandal. I think the best solution is to move all would-be priests into a parish where they can learn how to effectively live out their mission and discern whether this is truly the life they want to pursue.

This would coincide with their education which must be of the highest quality. Instead of learning in a stuffy old building, these trainee clergymen will be out in the world and learning what the Gospel call really is before putting on the collar.

Yours etc.,

Margaret Downey,

Armagh City,




A strange country

Dear Editor, I read with great dismay in your paper (IC 29/08/19) that the Capuchin Day Centre is facing increasing pressure to offer provisions for struggling families daily. Bro. Kevin said that the spike in housing costs since 2013 has forced the centre to upgrade its services as more and more people are relying on the charity to survive. What kind of Ireland are we living in when families many of whom have working parents can’t afford essentials for their children?

It’s very easy to point fingers and apply the blame to different organisations or entities, but it’s resoundingly obvious in this case that the Government is responsible to a significant degree in the dearth and price of housing in this country. Until those in charge begin sorting out these national problems, reliance on charities will remain commonplace in Ireland.

Yours etc.,

Ted McLaughlin,


Dublin 24.