Have we lost perspective?

As a country we need to consider more urgent issues

Sir, – Last week I visited Somaliland to meet those affected by the drought and to see how our teams are responding to the hunger (famine) crisis in the Horn of Africa.

I met thousands of internally displaced people who no longer have a means of making a living as their animals have died. These people, some of the poorest on Earth, are now destitute and dependent.

The people I met told me they eat one meal a day if they are lucky and consume food with little nutritional value as the price continues to spiral upwards because of global food price increases caused by the conflict in Ukraine.

The numbers in need across three countries in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia) are staggering – at least 18 million people.

Returning to Ireland, I was struck at how internally focused we have become. This week the main news item was about the rights and wrongs of an author’s letter to The Irish Times.

It feels almost like we care more about how we are perceived on the world stage instead of caring about the urgent issues that we are facing globally, such as displacement of people, starvation and a climate emergency.

We know Ireland remains a country generous to those most in need. But the agenda or interest of our commentators sets a precedent for what Irish people consume, talk about and ultimately are informed enough to care about.

Has our capacity or interest to look outside at the “big bad” world waned? Have we lost our perspective? I hope not! – Yours, etc,

PAUL O’BRIEN,

Chief executive officer,

Plan International Ireland,

Dublin 8.