Time for an honours system?


Sir, – Around this time each year we begin to hear of awards being handed to sportsmen and women as a reward for their achievements.

The “amateurs” receive these and are happy to do so, for the sport they love. The “professionals” now tell us they had a “job” to do, and we know they were well paid for it.

In Britain, Queen Elizabeth has announced her new year’s honours list, conferring knighthoods and other awards which are usually distributed among a wide sector of the population.

I have just finished reading Mary Robinson’s latest book Everybody Matters, a memoir. I never realised what a wonderful influence she has had on the world stage, for many years, particularly in her capacity as United Nations commissioner for human rights.

It makes me wonder why do we not have some way of recognising such dedication and purpose as other countries do? Too often we are only made aware of a person’s influence, and good deeds, when they are dead, which is very sad.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a list of people were submitted each year (say to The Irish Times) for consideration, which then would advise its readers of the merits of such names, who then would vote on their worthiness. The successful recipients would be presented with their accolades by the President.

Mary Robinson, in my book, would warrant a PHR award (Proponent of Human Rights). – Yours, etc,


Shanganagh Vale,


Dublin 18.