In praise of independence

Sir — On the morning after I read John O’Brien’s wonderful article on rural isolation I had a visit from a garda enquiring about a man who had died, trying to track his movements in the last month of his life. Less than an hour later I was contacted by a woman living in rural Ireland whose brother had contact with Trust over the years. She was awaiting the release of her brother’s body for burial after being found dead in his city centre flat, where he had lain dead for about a month — too long to be identified without access to his dental records.

The article should be compulsory reading, not just for people interested in the GAA.

Some people working in the area of health and social services are aware no doubt of cases like this, some stressing the importance of independence if even living in “a world that has stood still for generations”.

“Experts” who plan services are too often removed from the reality of people’s lives, their time spent juggling statistics around to measure performance and outcomes without due regard to the resilience, wonder and complexities of the human condition.

The picture accompanying the article might be shocking, but it captures the contentment of Mick who some day yet may celebrate in Croke Park.

Alice Leahy,

Director & Co-founder, Trust,

Bride Road, Dublin 8