Sir, – Bernard Shaw had the last word on remittances (Diarmaid Ferriter and Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, Opinion, November 16th), as he did on many topics of timeless interest, more than 100 years ago: "The money that Ireland has accepted from America without shame, and without perceptible gratitude, both in domestic remittances and political subscriptions, is incalculable. We are the champion mendicants of the world . . ."
I believe Mr Shaw was mistaken that remittances from the Irish diaspora were received “without perceptible gratitude” but he was surely close to the mark in estimating that the importance of remittances in sustaining poor Irish families was nearly incalculable.
To be sure, not all emigrants could be relied upon to remember those who remained in Ireland.
There were surely real-world examples of the apocryphal son who wrote to his parents after securing employment in America, “I was going to send you 10 dollars, but I have already sealed the envelope.” – Yours, etc,