Dear Editor, It was wonderful to see over 100 people attending a Catholic retreat in University College Dublin, reported on in your paper (IC 23/01/2020). I believe universities in Ireland are a difficult place for students to openly speak about and practice their Faith, a view that is most certainly shared by many.
Looking at the pictures of the ‘Ignite’ retreat, it was so refreshing to see so many students together enjoying talks and having a good time, more of this is needed in all universities so students of Faith know they are not alone. In an increasingly polarised society, many university students in Ireland (and in Western society in general) seem to be becoming more and more intolerant of beliefs that jar with their own in the name of some form of liberalism. They don’t realise they are becoming the very authoritarians they seek to defy.
It seems the organisers of the retreat had to decide against having US-based Catholic author and speaker, who regularly talks about chastity, Jason Evert, being one of the speakers at the retreat. It seems threats of protest by other students caused them to make this decision. I don’t like to see people bullied like this, and being forced to change their programme under pressure from outside forces. Once students where one of the biggest voices for free speech, now it seems free speech only means voices they want to hear, voices that don’t challenge any of their precious beliefs. How sad.
I wish to congratulate the organisers of Ignite and wish them well in the future, I hope they continue with this initiative – bringing students together to meet others so they can be affirmed and supported in their Faith.
Housing crisis effecting many strands of society
Dear Editor, There has been copious amounts of discussion regarding the provision of social housing in Ireland and with good reason. Overall in Irish society there is a lack of housing, simply supply and demand is certainly one of the main issues driving up prices for those who want to buy.
Many less fortunate people are being left languishing on waiting lists while staying in emergency accommodation which can be hubs for drug dealing and general substance abuse. This is particularly difficult for those already suffering from an addiction.
Families too, are having to bring children from one insecure accommodation to another. My heart really goes out to the kids who are being deprived of a childhood and extremely disrupted education.
However, we must not forget about young professionals who have no way of getting on to the property ladder, the help to buy scheme seems to be a failure and more must be done. They end up spending huge amounts of their hard-earned pay on extortionate rents rendering it impossible to save for the future. While people in emergency accommodation must be housed, we must not forget about affordable housing for those who fund social housing but have no choice but to emigrate as they face increasing financial pressures due to poor Government decisions.
Dear Editor, Mary Kenny cautions against rhetoric on ‘mass’ migration. She does not believe that an influx of hundreds of thousands of foreigners constitutes mass migration (IC 30/01/2020), and we are not supposed to even discuss it! Mary must know that the Brexit turmoil that engulfed Britain would not have occurred if the political and media elites had listened to ordinary people about the social and economic problems caused by mass immigration.
Artane, Dublin 9.
Bishops, priests must do more than ‘talk’ about youth
Dear Editor, I’m sick and tired of this plethora of bishops and priests talking about the need to engage young people, and how important it is to have youth actively participating on our Church.
I’d say the majority of them enjoy making these ‘prophetic’ statements but in reality they sit on their thumbs and head home for a nice snooze and a whisky after Mass. Support and promote Alpha, Youth 2000, Catholic Youth Ministry Ireland, Pure in Heart and all the others I say. Less of the rhetoric and more action I say.
Racist commentary in Ireland must be tackled
Dear Editor, There has certainly been a rise in racist commentary in Ireland which Bishop Kevin Doran highlights on your front page (IC 30/01/2020). This is becoming an increasingly important issue to tackle. Politicians are using the fear some small rural communities have of migrants and asylum seekers to gain support.
It’s dishonest and most certainly doesn’t even factor into the huge issues facing Ireland at the moment, particularly health and housing. Immigration to Ireland is relatively very small. However, I would say people who have these fears must be listened to and not demonised, tackled in a dignified manner and their arguments picked apart – otherwise racism will continue to fester in Ireland and we’ll be moving towards an Irexit.
It must be said that even if someone questions some aspect of immigration to this country on some media platforms they are immediately lambasted and criticised – sometimes very personally – this is no way to engage in a dialogue and better understand one another.
Dear Editor, David Quinn is spot on (IC 23/01/2020) when he says that consumerism and status has replaced religion. There is certainly a connection between this and our violent society. I particularly found it interesting when he discussed fatherlessness and how gangs become young people’s parent figure. Why does the Irish Government refuse to acknowledge or realise the importance of children having a mother and a father? It confounds me.