THE PEOPLE’S LETTERS PAGEPadraig Conlon 12 May 2022
Here is this week’s People’s Letters Page…
This year’s Darkness into Light event has a special resonance, I find, coming as it does after the long months of lockdown and the recent weeks of living hell unleashed by a greedy dictator. And that’s without even mentioning the Climate Emergency, rising fuel costs, debt concerns, and the countless other slings and arrows that seem contrived to keep our hearts heavy and the smiles off our faces.
There are so many reasons to be downright miserable, depressed, and yes, suicidal… as we make this often rocky, sometimes hazardous, and occasionally frightening journey across time and space.
But I say it’s still worth staying the course. No matter how desperate or overwhelming the odds appear we mustn’t lose hope.
I found the early days of lockdown oppressive and almost unbearable. It was straight out of a dystopian novel about a futuristic society where life was just not worth living. Sometimes it felt like being under house arrest, or confined to an open prison.
Except that life IS, I believe, worth living.
A week or so into lockdown I found that walks in the countryside, even if restricted to two kilometres could be uplifting and therapeutic.
Like many others, I rediscovered aspects of nature I’d forgotten about or blithely taken for granted.
Padraig Pearse in his poem The Wayfarer, eulogized about seeing a squirrel in a tree, butterflies, and rabbits playing in a sunlit meadow.
When I first read the poem in primary school it meant nothing to me. I just wanted the class to end so I could get home.
But lockdown recalled for me its emotional homage to nature. Breathing the clean country air during lockdown seemed a privilege.
We couldn’t travel very far, or go to the pub, but we could re-connect with Mother Earth. So, lockdown had its upside, once you began to cope with it.
Some problems that people face are not so easily resolved, but equally we know that almost every problem, however scary or devastating it might appear, can be solved, or shared, or avoided…especially if we seek help with it.
The reminder we hear so often from voluntary groups to “pick up the phone” is the best advice going, because it’s true that there’s always someone out there who can help turn things around.
A great case for avoiding suicide, I believe, is the fact that, according to research, almost every person who’s survived a suicidal attempt and had a Near Death Experience (NDE) was relieved that the attempt failed.
Some of them believed that a loved one on the “Other Side” had encouraged them to give life a chance.
Whatever one’s religious belief or lack of it, I think it’s interesting that survivors of suicide invariably give the thumbs up to living, despite the often distressing or seemingly insoluble issues that led to the suicide attempt.
Sure, the world is full of horrors and dark clouds can obscure the minds and pathways of any human being, but there’s hope too; helping hands…support available by just reaching out.
It doesn’t have to be darkness for any of us, no matter how daunting the hand of cards that life has dealt us.
So, before contemplating or taking that final step, why not talk to someone?
There’s light, too, in abundance, and relief, and rainbows in the sky, and solutions that maybe we hadn’t thought of.
It was great news (Northside People West, April 27th) to read that a local resident, is going to set up a repair service, to repair household items, rather than they be unnecessarily dumped into landfills.
And replacement items, carried many carbon miles, across the globe, by ship and plane.
We continually hear and read, about pollution, damage to the environment, carbon footprints, decline in bio diversity, flora and fauna.
All empty bladder, but no concrete sensible, action.
So, it was refreshing to hear and read that someone had the gumption, the cop on, the willingness to act positively, and practically and constructively and to actually act, and do something worthwhile.
Well done to him.
His initiative will certainly help the environment immensely.
And it will also help people’s pocket.
A great and welcome initiative.
I am writing to say how utterly repugnant I found Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien’s recent comments on migrants and homelessness.
I was utterly shocked to hear the Minister, who is a TD in Fingal, an area with a very diverse population, come out with such a disgusting comment.
According to the Minister large numbers of migrants coming into the country are responsible for the lack of housing.
Surely, he could have looked closer to home and seen that the critical shortage of available social and affordable housing is down to the failure of the Government he is a part of.
His clumsy attempt to blame immigrants for the shortage of housing is disgustingly irresponsible and just gives the far-right more ammunition to peddle their filth.
Maybe the Minister would do well to try and fix the problem he is being generously rewarded to fix and leave the scapegoating and unacceptable comments to those of a more vicious persuasion.
What hope have we got when a member of our Cabinet comes out with such reprehensible garbage.
Minister Darragh O’Brien certainly does not speak for all of us in Fingal, I hope he withdraws his remarks.
I heard the actor Pat Nolan, who at one time played Barry O’Hanlon in Fair City, mention to Ray D’Arcy on radio (Mon 25th) that he once worked as a telegram boy.
It reminded me of my very first job, when I spent my summer school holidays working in the same role in Bray.
As I recall, my boss at the time always referred to me as “boy messenger”…tended to keep one well grounded!
My route extended out as far as Kilmacanogue, a fair old trek on a single speed high nellie type bicycle.
The highlight (or would be highlight) was having a telegram for Robert Mitchum who was in Ardmore Studios working on the film “ A Terrible Beauty” alas one got no further than the security gate where the man on duty took charge of the telegram.
So I never got to meet, one of my all time favourite actors…no doubt too old ‘Bob’ might have enjoyed meeting me?!
Innocent but thankfully happy days, and the start of a fifty year working life.
Thank God for it all indeed.
I am writing to advise readers of the Dublin People of a forthcoming free webinar on clinical trials being organised by Cancer Trials Ireland.
Taking place on International Clinical Trials Day on Friday May 20 from 2-3pm, the webinar aims to promote public awareness and understanding of clinical trials.
The webinar will feature clinical trial expert, Professor Seamus O’Reilly, on how trials work and how to access them, while previous trial participants will share their experiences of what to expect. There will also be an opportunity to answer any questions that registrants may have about trials.
With approximately 25,000 people diagnosed each year in Ireland with invasive cancer, the role of clinical trials in preventing, finding and treating cancer is crucial.
Trials can provide early access to drugs not otherwise available. They can save lives and also help improve people’s quality of life.
Cancer Trials Ireland’s Just Ask campaign is all about encouraging patients to ask their medical team if there is a clinical trial that may be suitable for, or relevant, to them.
For a booklet on cancer clinical trials, to find out about the trials currently taking place in Ireland, or to register for this free webinar, email email@example.com.
Cancer Trials Ireland
111 St. Stephen’s Green