SIR – Since deciding to stand in the 2019 Local Elections, I’ve been regularly advised that, to have any chance of being elected, I should accept that rural people are conservative and not voice some of my opinions.
Not only is this assumption untrue, it’s offensive to many of us living in ‘the country’. To suggest that we’re somehow incapable of coping with controversial or challenging topics, or that we lack the ability to engage in respectful, meaningful debate, even when we disagree.
Which is why, in advance of the Pope’s visit, I wish to express my profound sadness and sense of injustice at the systematic abuse inflicted by the Catholic Church on this country.
At a time when millions of euro are being spent on the Papal visit, we should rather be prioritising the recovery and mental health of victims.
I have no wish to offend Roman Catholics and I of course believe everyone is more than entitled to their faith. My main concern, however, is to not offend the victims of abuse, by staying silent as the cover-ups continue or by failing to lend my support to their protests and pleas for justice.
The Catholic Church is the richest organisation in the world. It has paid €209m towards investigations and compensation. We, the tax payer have paid €1.5bn. More of our tax will fund the visit, which is expected to cost €32m.
Let’s stop assuming that everyone who lives in a rural area is unable to comprehend this absurdity without taking personal offence.
I think the Christian approach to this is to prioritise victims over the Papal visit by using it as an opportunity to insist on full disclosure, sincere apologies and full compensation.
I was so humbled by the people I met while canvassing for West Cork Together for Yes. I met so many Catholics who were proud to be ‘yes’ voters, as much as they were proud to be Catholic. Like any faith, there are grey areas, we have to check ourselves. I think we all instinctively know when not to be blinded by our faith, where to draw the lines, where right and wrong is. I believe we all know right from wrong in this situation.
Holly McKeever Cairns,