Not All Bad News


Sir, - Day after day the newspapers regale us with stories of greed, corruption and total disregard for basic human rights. I doubt that I am the only one who despairs when reading of yet another manifestation of these characteristics. So, how extraordinary (and heartening) it was to open the Weekend section of last Saturday's Irish Times and to find, not one, but two stories about decent, kind, loyal and loving people.

Kathy's Sheridan's piece about Iris Murdoch (or rather about the book by her husband, John Bayley) was a masterpiece of lucid, empathic reporting. It was impossible to read it and remain unmoved. How tender his descriptions of trying to help her dress or undress: how poignant her reaction to his loss of temper with her. No hype, no self-pity or self-praise, just a perfect illustration of Shakespeare's "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds."

Then there was Maeve Binchy's piece about the millenium party - surely one of her best. How splendid the doctor who understood how to help his patient, whose reaction to being told she had six months to live was: "But I'll miss the party." Perhaps Maeve's people are fictional, but they ring too true not to be based in reality. As a friend of mine said: "These people are the glue which holds the world together. Without them it would fall apart, and life just wouldn't be worth living."

So thank you John Bayley, Kathy Sheridan and Maeve Binchy for reminding us that there is more to life than being the coolest, sexiest, meanest, richest or most powerful kid on the block. - Yours, etc., Harriet O'Donovan-Sheehy,

The Green Road,


Co Dublin.