Irish values and American values


Sir, – Fintan O’Toole is wide of the mark in his criticism of Leo Varadkar’s speech in Washington last week (“No, Taoiseach, Irish values are not American values”, Opinion & Analysis, March 20th). The Taoiseach was alluding to the historical United States, which did indeed give the world true democracy. The US revolution predated the French one, but both of them created the environment where hereditary monarchs or religious autocrats could no longer have the absolute physical and psychological power they enjoyed, and abused, up to then in Europe and further afield.

For generations, America did indeed welcome the world’s huddled masses to its shores. That it is not doing so now is down to the constraints imposed by severe population growth. But we can hope that reminders of its past, of the sort provided by the Taoiseach when he, briefly but uniquely, had its leader’s attention, might, just might, make it temper its current measures in the name of compassion and humanity.

The US is the parent of globalisation, and it is this, despite the headline-grabbing opposing cases, that has made the world as a whole far more integrated, tolerant, and caring than it ever had been before. – Yours, etc,


Windy Arbour,

Dublin 14.