Here is this week’s People’s Letters Page…
Since 12th January 2021 there has been a great deal written about the formal and informal systems which were part of the 2015 Mother and Baby Home Commission.
Unfortunately, in these matters, a lot of people rushed off to give their opinion without doing their homework.
From the very start of the 2015 Commission there was a two track system.
One for the survivors who wanted to present their case informally and the other for the formal route.
None more so than the Bethany Home survivors, roughly 64 formal applicants.
To my great shock there were 550 survivors taking the informal track.
When discussing this with the people I represented my advice would be, if they wished to follow the informal route, go to the park, find a tree and have a chat to that.
Both made no sense.
The Bethany Home Group was only interested in getting redress that the thousands of Catholics got in 2002. Not a penny more and not a penny less. We also wanted the same state apology and our records to be held by a State office and not some agency cowboy outfit.
In 2002 the State supplied legal help to people having to make these life changing decisions.There is no doubt in my mind that the state, ministers and senior civil servants have taken advantage and misled the mother and baby survivors whose lives, in many cases, were affected extremely badly and were in need of proper professional help.
These people, in the main, would not have understood what they were entering in to and the repercussions that would have lifelong effects. This was against their human rights in 2015 and should not have been on the Mother and Baby Commission of 2015. with out Legal help ?It was pretty obvious from the start that using two different systems was not going to work. Survivors telling their stories without revealing their identity and without having to prove that their submissions were truthful and correct to make their case?
I had to stop reading some of the cases in the report, which the State took four months to send to me the report, as they were so unbelievable. Could this really have happened? I asked myself.To me it seems so wrong, being a Protestant survivor from The Bethany Home, that it has taken so many years to find the proof to back up my case so that it can be used in a court of law.
How can it be that one survivor has to back up their story with proof and reveal their identity, yet others can come in and not have to meet the same criteria. It should have been very clear from the outset that you could not have two systems operating in the same enquiry. It could only lead to one outcome, total confusion.
The State has a duty to go back to these 550 people to establish the best way for them to receive the justice they deserve in a proper and professional manner.
It is hard to believe that the professionals and academics of Ireland didn’t have a grip on this many months ago.
No good can come from The Minister announcing how much it will cost ie one billion Euros. He is trying to stand in the way of these 550 people ever getting any justice.
Regarding the 64 which were on the formal side of the Commission, he went to great pains to let us know that he has to get the money from The Catholic Church and The Church Of Ireland.
Just to remind him again, The Bethany Home survivors only want what was given to thousands of Catholics in 2002.
We do not need to know where he might or might not get the funds, we should have received twenty plus years ago.
Maybe it will take another twenty years. We need a fast track to justice now.
All living survivors should be treated the same.
You can argue amongst yourselves for as long as you like once we are all gone and that won’t be too long as I am sure you are aware!
There are three battles raging in most people.
First, the battle in one’s mind.
Second, the battle on one’s heart.
Third, the battle of one’s past.
It is the last one that is first to dominate the other two.
To reminisce or not to reminisce is an inevitability of ageing certain to dominate our thinking as we edge towards the sleep of death.
Peace of mind is the gift of acceptance, gratitude, reality and forgiveness.
A peaceful heart is the gift of love appreciation and kindness towards fellow humans.
There is no peaceful past, and a peaceful present is the gift of coming to terms and understanding of life’s complexities with the mistakes of parents, history, friends partners and ex lovers.
End all wars.
John J. May
Old Bawn Tallaght
A Eagarthóir, a chara,
Doris Murphy of Rebels4Choice informs us of her sadness that the repeal of the 8th amendment has not made abortion fully acceptable for all.
Many, if not most of those, who voted for its repeal had no intention whatsoever that it should do so as they were deluded into believing that abortions would be permitted only in certain situations of extreme distress.
The fact that within a year of its repeal 6,666 tiny lives, at their most vulnerable and defenceless stages, were terminated lends the lie to all such so-called guarantees.
The forthcoming review of the legislation will allow them the opportunity to call those responsible for deluding them to account.
It will also allow for them to make their deepest concerns widely known and to activate their support for those who now seek for a radical reversal of the most inhuman and pernicious consequences of the referendum result.
Colm Ó Tórna.
Among the mammals severely threatened by Climate Change, according to the World Wildlife Fund in its “Feeling the Heat” report, are mountain hares.
This should concern us because Ireland’s hares face a growing threat from multiple sources.
The Irish Hare is a sub-species of the Mountain hare that is unique to Ireland. Aside from Climate Change, it has to contend with loss of habitat resulting from urbanisation and the unintended impact of modern agriculture.
It also struggles to survive the relentless human predation that some people like to call “sport”…it can be legally harried with foot hounds, chased and killed by mounted hunts, and netted for use as live bait by more than seventy coursing clubs.
As if this weren’t a daunting enough set of challenges, the past two years have witnessed the spread of the deadly RHD2 virus in the countryside, a disease that is highly contagious and fatal to hares and rabbits, which it kills agonizingly.
It can be spread by coursing activities, especially via the use of nets to capture hares and the practice of corralling them into compounds or paddocks where these normally solitary creatures endure lengthy periods of stressful and unnatural captivity. One diseased hare can quickly infect the others in such a confined milieu.
The government adopted limited measures to curb the RHD2 threat last year by cancelling a dozen coursing fixtures and politely asking coursing clubs to be vigilant.
This was a hopelessly inadequate response that has failed to eliminate the disease. I hope the government, with its supposedly greenish tinge, will take more effective action later this to protect our native hares.
Hare coursing must be permanently banned, both to safeguard this gentle creature from wanton cruelty and, more urgently, to prevent the disappearance of the entire species from our island, which would represent an ecological catastrophe.