Help is never far away - just ask

April 28th, 2024 3:40 PM

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EDITOR – I see that the annual Darkness into Light walk is coming up. It’s never a bad time to highlight the tragedy of suicide, because that’s what it is for everyone … the person who opts to end it all and the many people who’ll be devastated by the sudden unexpected loss … the grief that never goes away.

Bláthnaid Treacy at the launch of Darkness into Light.


With so much awfulness in the world, it’s understandable that people may feel desolute.

Wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, endless talk about climate change … cosmic gloom and doom all around … the housing and homelessness crises in Ireland, the cost of living, and the age old challenges to our quality of life such as bullying, depression, debt, addictions, failed relationships, exam worries, and abruptly ended friendships.

But there’s hope too, and help for anyone, without exception, who reaches out. Debt can be managed or got around – bullying can be tackled once the victim (regardless of age) shares his or her ordeal.

Nobody need be alone in facing the slings and arrows of life. A trouble shared is more than halved. The key to avoiding dark thoughts is simply to pick up the phone, or talk to a friend.

The big D comes to all someday, but I reckon that life on this flawed but also in so many ways beautiful planet is worth living.

Help or support for anyone is never far away.

All you have to do is reach out.

John Fitzgerald,


Co Kilkenny.


Have you memories of black pudding making?

EDITOR – Foods made from the blood of animals are some of the oldest in Ireland, but their cultural value is often overlooked.

I am conducting research on rural practices of domestic black pudding making for an MA in Irish food culture and foodways with UCC.

I am interested in recording memories, recollections and stories of domestic black pudding making from the female perspective.

I am particularly interested in the details of the day – structure, roles, responsibilities, the individual nature of recipe, sights/smells/sounds, equipment used, ingredients, the form the puddings took.

Little research has been conducted about the heritage customs of the seasonal pig or cow kill, domestic pudding making, the value of recipe, or that excess puddings were sold to provide a small income for women.

If readers would like to take part, and I hope they can help me out, please complete a brief initial questionnaire, which can be found at www.flavour.ie/blackpudding

Kate Ryan,



Transport police could help drive footfall to airport

EDITOR – I  warmly welcome the proposal to set up a dedicated transport police force.

As major efforts are being made towards improved public transport, the public and transport staff need to be kept safe at all times.

Along with route provision and frequency, safety is a major factor in driving footfall. I encourage the servicing of Cork Airport with direct coach/bus routes from West Cork and Kerry at times to synchronise with main flight arrivals and departure rotations.

A carefully-tuned well-publicised timetable could drive more footfall to Cork Airport’s 50 destinations and spread a more equitable share of the aviation business, which is currently seeing 84% of passengers going through Dublin Airport.

All opportunities must be explored to grow Cork Airport to its potential 5m passengers.

John B Hosford,



There should be a criminal inquiry into Stardust now

EDITOR – There should now be a criminal inquiry into the Stardust tragedy – that is the very least the victims deserve after over 40 years of campaigning by the families. Now we all know they were unlawfully killed in the most horrific way possible.

This was due to an electrical fault at the club and not arson. There was insufficient security staff and doors were chained and locked.

The States ill-fated attempts at the investigation and inquiry were heart-breaking for the families who never gave up hope for the truth to surface.

Our laws favour the rich rather than people from a working class area like Artane.

In the words of Christy Moore’s ballad, which was banned at the time, They Never Came Home.Injustice breeds anger and that is what was done in this case.

Noel Harrington,



Castration idea costs more than a snip for taxpayers

EDITOR – I’m sure our local TD isn’t alone in his latest rant for failing to engage brain before operating mouth, but no doubt his sincerity is assured.

Taking a hard line on law breakers is a widely-held wish amongst the public at large, but he fails to quantify the cost of doing what he suggests.

I can’t quote an Irish figure but I do recall the UK government reporting several years back that, after all the costs incurred in apprehending offenders, the public was worse off by some £50,000 a year per inmate in holding them in prison.

The 2024 equivalent in euro is probably nearer €60,000 plus his medical bills for castration and dealing with wounds, which might mean even less potholes being repaired.

After all, his 25-year sentences would individually involve taxpayers paying at least €1.25-1.5m each.

Any ex-convict does not pay his/her debt to society, nor will they be employable on release, but Deputy Collins can rest assured the prostitution he wants to legalise is alive and well in Cork providing an estimated €20,000 per day to fund organised crime.

Nick Turner,


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