Monday, 1 Jun 2020

Letters to the Editor: 'Myth of Church's charity to State persists down the years'

Eric Conway (Irish Independent, Letters, November 29) seems to accept the myth of Catholic Church charity when he writes that “the Church stood up to the mark when both (schools and hospitals) were badly needed”.

In fact the Catholic Church took over – some say hijacked – the non-denominational school system built in the 19th century. With a declining population in the first half of the 20th century, there was little demand for new schools. However, during the same period, there was extraordinary growth in the numbers of priests and nuns. By the late 1960s the number of male and female religious had grown to about 20,000 – most of whom were on the State payroll in schools, hospitals and social services. Every service provided to the State was charged at the going rate.

In 1967 the religious were paid an income of €1bn, in current values. The major source of the religious orders’ current vast wealth is State salaries – which, of course, were well earned, even if the orders kept the best-paid State jobs for themselves.

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Yet the myth of Catholic charity to the State persists.

I am somewhat surprised Mr Conway raises the relationship between the Catholic Church and Hitler. The concordat with the Vatican in 1933, concluded soon after Hitler had come to power, has long been seen as giving moral legitimacy to the Nazi regime.

Furthermore, Hitler could not have come to power without the consent of the Catholic Centre Party, which stood aside to enable Hitler to assume power. By concluding the concordat, the Holy See became the first legal partner to Hitler’s regime.

Anthony O’Leary
Portmarnock, Co Dublin

Housewives could teach those in power how to run a budget

Government spending scandals have become very common in our country. I refer to both overspending and underspending.

There appears to be any amount of our money available for non-essential goods and services. However, when funds are required for essential services they always appear to be in short supply. Despite all the well-paid Government advisers, none of them seems to be able to differentiate between needs and wants, and prioritise accordingly.

The best managers of money that I know are housewives, often working on low incomes and tight budgets. They could teach the Government a thing or two about needs and wants. I think we should put a few good decent Irish housewives in charge of taxpayers’ money and we might start to see a bit of value. They would certainly bring a bit of common sense to the table, a gift that seems to be in short supply in the present administration.

Marius Shovlin
Raphoe, Co Donegal

Smith needs our support – we can’t give in to mob rule

Lisa Smith, not convicted of crimes, is getting huge negative reaction on her return to this country with her child. Where’s the beef? She was held in northern Syria by one of the largest terrorist Kurdish organisations, which has been involved in terror operations against citizens in Iraq, Syria and Turkey, for many decades.

Calm down everyone. We have convicted Irish quasi-political ex-IRA terrorists for crimes committed here in recent times sitting in our Dáil and being involved in our established democracy which began in the 1920s. Is this acceptable? I don’t think so.

Lisa Smith is a damaged woman, deserving of our sympathy, and our priority is to make her well for her own and for her child’s welfare and future.

Are we going to go down the road of prosecuting her because she left Ireland to go to a war zone? Let sanity prevail. Mob opinion is never fair.

Robert Sullivan
Bantry, Co Cork

Look to Blair’s foreign policy for answer to terrorist attack

The violent murders on London Bridge were a terrible occurrence. The British government should try to understand what radicalises young Muslim men to commit such heinous crimes.

It would be a good start to examine why the UK illegally entered into the 2003 Iraq War and interfered in Libya and Syria in 2011.

Hundreds of thousands of equally innocent Arab civilians have died since 2003 as a direct result of Britain’s foreign policy.

However much we abhor terrorist crimes on homeland Britain, it is an uncomfortable fact that Tony Blair and David Cameron have much to answer for. While the United States seeks the extradition of Julian Assange, whose only ‘crime’ was to expose the truth, George W Bush and Tony Blair have blood on their hands, whereas Assange does not.

Dominic Shelmerdine
London, UK

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