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No matter how daunting, there’s always light

May 8th, 2023 3:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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EDITOR – We all have free choice, but I think of suicide as a choice that brings only grief and despair. At the very least, it can’t hurt to explore other options, including ones that maybe someone else might think of.

With our world racked and ravaged by so much that’s truly ugly, depressing, fear-inducing, and seemingly beyond meaning or resolution, it’s no wonder that people seek a way out of life via self-destruction.

Yet there’s so much to live for. There have been wars in the past. They ended, not soon enough, but a time always comes when the fighting stops. That applies to modern wars as it did to past conflict, of whatever scale or mind-boggling horror. Famine stalks many a land, but good people work to ease the pain of hunger.

Every life can hit a rough patch, including a set of circumstances and challenges that might seem insurmountable, the only way out appearing to be one’s own permanent removal from the equation.

But in truth there’s always a way out. It might not be any of the ones we’ve considered. It could be a solution that someone else comes up with ... but only if we talk about the problem to somebody else!

The benefits of reaching out to someone (a friend, a help-line ... anyone) far outweigh any perceived advantage to be gleaned from prematurely ending one’s life.

I think it’s better to give life another chance, and not only because even the most awful problems can be sorted or worked around. Another exceptionally good reason not to press the self-destruct button is that other human beings, including at least a few we care deeply about, will suffer terribly as a consequence – a living death of endless, undeserved grief.

It’s so much better to press the ‘pause’ button and take that small but literally life-enhancing step. Just talk to somebody.

I’m reminded of people for whom the slogan ‘Darkness into Light’ has a special resonance. The men and women who opted for suicide but who, for whatever reason, survived. They reported near-death experiences consisting of loved ones telling them how valued they were, and, as happens in many NDEs, they saw a light at the end of a tunnel.

The overwhelming majority of such people were glad they’d lived. So, I reckon it’s best to choose life over death, when we have a choice, as distinct from life after death … before it’s time for us to leave this old world.

If we happen to know anyone who’s suicidal, I think we should lend support, or at least let them know it’s okay to talk about whatever it is that’s weighing down on them like a dark heavy cloud. If we achieved nothing else in life, it would be nice to save someone’s life. Life can be far from a bed of roses, as we all know, but no matter how daunting it seems, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

John Fitzgerald, 



The three-day abortion delay is simply bad law

EDITOR – Our long experience as abortion rights campaigners tells us very few people voted yes on May 25th 2018 because of the three-day waiting period, whatever Stephen Donnelly may claim.

The claim is irrelevant anyway. The abortion review is to see what works and what doesn’t, what’s good law and what’s bad. And the three-day delay to abortion provision, besides being patronising, infantilising even, is bad law.

The World Health Organisation says: ‘Mandatory waiting periods can have the effect of delaying care, which can jeopardise women’s ability to access safe, legal abortion services and demeans women as competent decision-makers.’

The three-day delay means two trips to an abortion provider, which is inconvenient if you live in a city and have a comfortable home life. But if you are not well off, the cost of extra time off work or extra childcare can be prohibitive. If you live in a rural area, this means extra travel costs, and more hours away from home. If you are in an abusive situation, that’s twice as many risks you have to take to access healthcare. If your abortion provider is picketed by anti-abortion providers, that’s twice you’ve got to run their gauntlet of hate. The three-day delay to treatment, as with other obstacles to abortion provision in Ireland, were inserted into our laws to make conservative politicians more comfortable. 

The price of their comfort was the discomfort and suffering of thousands of Irish abortion service users. 

It would be cynical in the extreme if Donnelly and the rest ignore the recommendations of their own review and perpetuate this bad law.

Lucy Boland,

Rebels For Choice co-convener,


Pupils should learn ‘modesty’ – not porn

EDITOR– The controversy about changes to the Junior Cert relationships and sexuality programme erupted again and progressed along predictable lines. 

Those activists in favour, present it as merely children dipping their toe into the ‘real world’ of pornography, consent, and gender identity ideology. I suspect that the vast majority of parents would like a holistic approach, having healthy relationships with integrity as a core value. Instead of ‘examples’ of pornography, we need modesty appreciation (ie awareness, respect, and reverence of our inherent value). Instead of ‘consent’ training where we ultimately collude with peer expectations, the vision of marriage in its fullness ought to be presented. Finally, instead of defining ourselves so as to fit in with the latest gender ideology fad, we need to recognise our identity as moral beings, capable of weighing up the consequences of the various alternatives. We owe it to the next generation to help them make better choices.

 Gearóid Duffy,

Lee Road, 


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