Oireachtas prayers

 

Sir, – This is a Christian-majority country, and our elected politicians represent this majority and should not be pressured into abandoning their beliefs and heritage. – Yours, etc,

R COTTER,

Celbridge,

Co Kildare.

A chara, – Jennifer Kelly (April 1st) says it is “inappropriate and galling to many” that both Houses of the Oireachtas begin their business with a prayer. For “many” we must, of course, substitute “a few”, given that as far as I am aware there is nothing to support the notion that it is an issue that exercises people in great numbers. Concerning the appropriateness of the practice, I would suggest she read the preamble to our Constitution, which begins “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred”.

This, I would suggest, more than justifies our elected representatives beginning state business with a brief prayer.

And while it is regrettable that she and a small number of others may be galled by this, the simple fact is that in this life there is no pleasing everyone. – Is mise,

Rev PATRICK G BURKE,

Castlecomer,

Co Kilkenny.

Sir, – In the House of Commons, the Speaker’s chaplain recites a prayer that urges MPs to avoid selfish weaknesses and also to “seek to improve the condition of all mankind”. To my mind, this is a superior prayer to the Oireachtas prayer, which only mentions a Christian God and seeks that “that every word and work of ours may always begin with thee, and by thee be happily ended”.

While both prayers impose a belief in God on elected members of parliament at least the British prayer aspires members not to be selfish and to do good for everyone in the world. Maybe, it would be a good thing for the Ceann Comhairle to use similar words which have the same high aspiration without mentioning God, the queen or anyone else. Surely this is something every TD, whether religious or not, might aspire to agree on. – Yours, etc,

SEAN O’BRIEN,

Kilrush,

Co Clare.