Letters to the Editor: Post-natal support at CUMH was excellent

One reader praises lactation consultants, while others take aim at Michelin stars and condemn the atrocities committed in Gaza
Letters to the Editor: Post-natal support at CUMH was excellent

A reader hopes future investment in lactation services will result in more women getting support. File picture: Katie Collins/PA Wire

I was sorry to read Niamh Hennessey’s article on November 5, regarding the lack of lactation support she received in CUMH after the birth of her children.

Like the author, I recently had my third baby in CUMH. However, my experience of the lactation services was very different. On each of my admissions, I met wonderful lactation consultants within a day of having each child, even in the height of covid, on baby number two.

As a public patient I was given all this timely support at no charge. This included the loan of a hospital breast pump and all required paraphernalia when one baby was admitted to the neonatal unit and I was discharged home.

I continued to receive excellent, on-demand, free support from my local PHNs after discharge from hospital. I know the lactation consultants in CUMH and in the public health team have had a hugely positive impact on my family. I am hugely indebted to their kindness, compassion, and support.

I’m sorry to hear other women have not had the same experience and I hope that future investment in public lactation services will result in more women getting the support they need, at the time they need it, without the need to pay.

Tríona O’Riordan, Glanmire, Cork

Interdependence central to peace

We know that no military solution will bring a permanent end to the tragedy of war in Israel or Palestine. We know that only a just peace, based on international law, can do that.

We join with those on this island calling for the international community to focus now, working together with the people of Israel and Palestine, to bring this forward, with an immediate ceasefire and a rebuilding of shattered communities.

Palestinians inspect the damage of a destroyed mosque following an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis refugee camp, Gaza Strip, on Wednesday. Picture: Mohammed Dahman/AP
Palestinians inspect the damage of a destroyed mosque following an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis refugee camp, Gaza Strip, on Wednesday. Picture: Mohammed Dahman/AP

Our focus in the coming year, across the worldwide family of Quakers, is on the Zulu concept of Ubuntu. It emphasises our deep human interdependence, captured by the phrase “I am because we are”. 

Its relevance increases on a daily basis at this tragic time. That human interdependence is true of all the citizens of Palestine and Israel. It is true of all of humanity. 

So let us understand that we are also intimately involved in this tragedy. Let us seek to uphold everyone in the Light.

Will Haire, Clerk, Ireland Yearly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends in Ireland

Michelin stars are emperor’s clothes

I read with interest Joe McNamee’s interview with Takashi Miyazaki of Ichigo Ichie fame, and his decision to forfeit his Michelin star and I applaud Takashi Miyazaki for reading the room and acknowledging the reality of dining out in Ireland.

Co Cork currently has five Michelin-star restaurants and all offer the ubiquitous ‘no choice’ tasting menu. In other words, this is the menu, take it or leave it.

The price of such tasting menus can be €150 or more per head. With a drink and a bottle of wine, that’s anything from €300 to €450 per couple; a few outings like that, and you’d need to re-mortgage the house!

And the thing is, there are so many top-drawer restaurants in Cork that offer high-quality food in beautiful surroundings at very reasonable and affordable prices. Might I suggest Max’s in Kinsale, Cush in Ballycotton, Goldie in Cork city, and the numerous top-class operations in Midleton, such as Sage, Ferrit and Lee, and the Farmgate. All offer high-end dining at considerably less than the aforementioned Michelin stars.

When I think of Michelin stars, I’m forever reminded of the emperor’s new clothes!

Finally, I look forward to dining in Ichigo Ichie Bistro and Natural Wine.

Brian Flynn, Rochestown, Cork

Targeting civilians always a war crime

The massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas and other armed groups on October 7 cannot be seen as anything other than a war crime and the taking into Gaza of civilian hostages, including children, is indefensible. Hamas and Islamic Jihad should release these civilian prisoners immediately. Let us hope that little Emily Hand is among them and will be returned safely and quickly to her family.

More than 4,000 children have been killed by the Israeli military in the past few weeks and this massacre in Gaza, similarly, can only be described as an egregious war crime. Worse, it is part of a series of attacks on Gaza since 2006 that has resulted in many thousands of Palestinian deaths. Hospitals, ambulances, schools, refugee camps have all been bombed. Nowhere is safe. Many have argued that Israel’s actions are genocidal.

A key difference between the Hamas attack and what Israel does is that no major power has a problem with naming the crime when committed by Hamas. Israel, on the other hand, is actively supported by the US and Britain, and enabled by the EU, as it brutally flattens Gaza and kills thousands of civilians. 

There is nothing new in this. The Israeli state has for decades acted with impunity against Palestinians and has treated the UN and other international institutions with disdain.

The deliberate killing of civilians is always a war crime, no matter who the perpetrator.

Fintan Lane, Lucan, Co Dublin

We must account for genocide

Genocide is the most serious crime against humanity. The UN was founded so that catastrophes such as the Holocaust could never happen again. Why does genocide keep happening?

The German colonisation of South-West Africa was facilitated by the genocide of the Herrero and Nama people. The Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government killed up to 2m Armenians and other Christians and ‘successfully’ ethnically cleansed most of Turkey of Armenian people. In September 2023, the Armenian people living in Nagorno Karabakh were ethnically cleansed from the homeland they occupied for many centuries by Azerbaijan supported by Turkey.

In Cambodia the Pol Pot regime killed up to 2m Cambodian people between 1975 and 1979, yet the UN continued to recognise the Pol Pot regime as the legitimate ruler of Cambodia until the 1990s. The genocide and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia ‘successfully’ helped establish the semi-independent region of Republika Srpska. The genocide in East Timor by Indonesia was supported by the US, Britain and Australia, and only ended because Indonesia went bankrupt in 1999. The Rwandan genocide, supported by France, reduced the proportion of the Tutsi population significantly and is still contributing to the chaos in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The genocide in Darfur Sudan is still happening and being ignored by the international community. 

Palestinians carry a wounded woman into the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza Strip. Picture: Mohammed Dahman/AP
Palestinians carry a wounded woman into the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza Strip. Picture: Mohammed Dahman/AP

Is genocide now happening in Gaza?

The UN established the Responsibility to Protect principle (R2P), but R2P has instead been abused to wage wars of aggression. Genocide keeps reoccurring because history shows that acts of genocide have for the most part been ‘successful’. No proper accountability has ever been achieved for genocide, and no effective efforts are being implemented to prevent genocide.

Edward Horgan, Castletroy, Limerick

Cinema is changing, not dying

Kevin O’Neill asks all the wrong questions about the future of cinema and cinema-going (‘Changing times: Where have all the cinemas gone in Cork city?’).

Readers may recall in the noughties when e-book readers burst on to the scene. Not only was the death of the printed book predicted but also the demise of the bookshop. Of course what actually happened is the market expanded and far from affecting the printed book, e-book readers have had the opposite effect and now one will struggle to find any sight of these devices anywhere except online.

The cinema industry globally is still transitioning after the double whammy of streaming and pandemic, but it is clear the overall movie and entertainment market is expanding. Existing cinemas are finding new, innovative ways to entice customers back. For example, I was at an Odeon cinema recently and patrons were playing a game on the big screen prior to the main event using their smartphones and the chance to win prizes.

Other cinema chains are introducing additional choices such as gourmet food, arcades and ten-pin bowling. And if you want to really understand the cinema industry in Ireland, then the Anderson-owned Omniplex cinema group with their multi-million euro cinema expansion on both sides of the border is a good starting place.

Man is a social animal. Anyone that thinks he will stay at home binge watching forgettable films on his own and drinking six-packs is not paying attention. But then the death of cinema has been predicted so many times over the past 100 years that it has almost become a by-word for lack of progress.

The Gate Cinema in Cork City centre will reopen soon under the new and exciting management of the Arc Cinema group. Until then patrons can enjoy the Cork International Film Festival at the Everyman, Cork Opera House, and Triskel Arts Centre as well as the cinemas in Blackpool, Ballincollig, Mallow, Middleton, Bantry, and Youghal.

Tom McElligott, Listowel, Co Kerry

Beatle Boots and Fab Four collars

When The Beatles visited here 60 years ago, I was working in a men's clothing store in Bray.

We sold lots of ‘Beatle boots’ and suits with the mandarin collar, as worn by the Fab Four. I oft had visions of well-dressed young chaps around the town, greeting each other with, “hey dude”. Ah yes, I (happily) remember it well.

Tom Gilsenan, Dublin 9

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