Legislature has failed to honour our Constitution

Legislature has failed to honour our Constitution

Dear Editor, In the upcoming referendums we are being asked to delete reference to the ‘home’ and to hand over to the courts a hot potato, that of redefining the ‘family’; as they interpret the phrase “other durable relationships”.

The human rights implications of cutting our understanding of family adrift from being founded upon marriage has strangely escaped comment.

Each of our relevant human rights codes have an article which specifically links the family to marriage: The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, #16; the Charter on Fundamental Rights of the EU, #9; the European Convention on Human Rights, #12; The European Social Charter, #16. These assert the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection.

In the same way as our capitalist economic system threatens the environment, it is also dismembering our families. Currently home break-up is the major cause of homelessness, while our birth rate has fallen unsustainably, such that we as a people, are no longer replacing ourselves. Redefining the family so that it is cut off from its natural moorings (marriage) is merely an unwelcome distraction.

Last month’s Supreme Court unanimous (7:0) decision in the John O’Meara case, where he was awarded a widower’s pension, despite the State’s opposition, demonstrates that politicians cannot predict how the Supreme Court will interpret vague phrases. It also shows that the real problem is not the wording of our Constitution, but that the legislature has failed to honour our Constitution’s wording.

Yours etc.,

Gearóid Duffy

Lee Road, Co. Cork.


‘Mind boggling’ HSE takeover of St John of Gods

Dear Editor, I have just read that the HSE will be taking over St John of Gods.

It made me cry! It’s mind boggling. The HSE has shown themselves to be in a very sorry state with the problems of trolleys in hospital corridors, dealing with waiting lists for mental care of teenagers and long waiting lists for operations for children. Just to mention a few problems. Now, they are taking over St John of Gods. Unimaginable! Totally bonkers.

St John of God Order has provided community services in Ireland since 1892. Great records of providing a successful track record in developing strengthening and improving services for adults and children with intellectual and physical disability and mental health problems.

St John of God devoted his life to alleviating human suffering and comforted the afflicted and dying in Spain in the 1500’s.

The pomegranate symbol of the order reminds us of our heritage. The cross is the symbol of Christianity reminds us of Jesus suffering and our call to follow in his footsteps.

The nurses, psychologists, doctors, and staff are second to none and all deserve an Oscar.

I worked in St Johns and also within the HSE for about 40 years in St Raphael’s Celbridge, residential care, fund raising and in Thomas Street Dublin and it was a privilege and a great joy to do so. I was a small cog in a big wheel and felt it was like heaven on earth to work there.

I read too that the HSE may move the St John of God service users from where they live now for maybe 40 years to other facilities away from their ‘brothers and sisters’ they have grown up with. What will it do to them and their parents and relatives?

Over the 40 years of happiness joy and such an honour to be associated with St John of God brothers and clients and service users I thank you one and all for your pure dedication to caring for people with special needs.

I hope the HSE know that they are undertaking a very valuable treasure.

Yours etc.,

Terry Healy Riordan

Kill, Co. Kildare


Marginalised early Church good example for modern Ireland

Dear Editor, Regarding Steven P. Millies’s article ‘Catholic mission has to come before the institution’ [The Irish Catholic – February 1, 2024], in terms of prioritising mission over institution, he says: “Mostly I’m talking about presentation and how we approach the world.”

Consequently, and despite granting that “Scripture, dogma, or any infallible propositions of Catholic faith” be left intact, the Catholic product needs to be augmented, enhanced with new features, and presented in a manner making it more attractive to consumers. He leaves room for the removal of non-infallible propositions.
He posits this recipe as the only response to the marginalised state of Catholicism in places like Ireland. But two aspects of the marginalised early Church provide a better example of response to the current social status of marginalised Catholicism.

Firstly, the Faith was actually preached and taught to the early Christian community itself. Secondly, despite intermittent persecution the doctrine-based, virtue enhancing practices of enough Christians constituted an “approach to the world” different to that posited by Stephen Millies. It generated a witness or presentation that was eventually received as a coherent source of meaning for life which slowly inebriated a significant section of the culture.
This same slow process of conversions, devoid of sudden mass conversions is still happening today. It’s best to learn from it.

Yours etc.,

Neil Bray

Cappamore, Co. Limerick