Patill Johnson ('Dec.29) and interest in the welfare of the British Army. Like him, 3 hope the time is not too far distant when a large number of troops will no longer be needed in Ulster. After all, the people of this Province are our own flesh and blood, which is surely mare than just being able to 'speak English." What I do quarrel with are the suggestions in Mr. Johnson's article as to why the troops should leave. For example, my experience and that of other Army chaplains is that morale amongst service-men and women is very high. and that there are no 'disturbing" signs of a decline.
1 would take to task the suggestion that the violence which soldiers witness affects them in the sense of breeding "a contempt for human rights and even life itself. for the rule of law, and for the principle of obedience to orders. Just the opposite. A maturity far beyond their years comes to these young lads as they try to grapple with their burden; they become more and more phlegmatic and objec tive. '
Obviously, wives and children do not like to be separated, but this is a challenge facing many service families. whether the unaccompanied tour be to Singapore, Cyprus. or here at home. With regard to drug offences by troops stationed in Northern Ireland, this Headquarters has given me the following statistics: 1970-nil: 1971 -5 cases; 1972' 3 cases: hardly a problem when you consider the tens of thousands of troops veho have served in the Province during that time. "Ireland's need is realism" — agreed. but let that realism extend to an assessment of the "men in uniform."
(Rev.) Donald N. McMillan ' Senior RC Chaplain Army Headquarters, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland.
MAY I, through the courtesy of your column sir. ask that the priests and leaders of church groups form some ty.pe of organisation within their church so that wherever old people are living alone their neighbours are made aware of them and are asked to work on some rotor system to keep an eye on them every day' Appalling tragedies have been reported up and down the country Over the past weeks, but one can only wonder at the number of old people who suffer, are terrified and alone, but recover and so do not hit the headlines.
We must all, as a community, care and those outside the churches would co-operate were they approached. No one need feel that he is intruding on privacy because he is watching for a light going out at night or curtains being drawn back in the morning or even noticing that an elderly person has not been shopping at the normal time.
Some excuse for calling can be made however trivial and a sick person is unlikely to spurn help at that point.
Both young, middle aged and elderly can co-operate in such a scheme which would relieve untold suffering as well as let the elderly know that someone cares for their welfare.
It should also be remembered that should this "good neighbour" be worried about the old person he can quickly contact the local social worker or health isitors whose number is in the telephone directory and he will he given immediate help. Hugh Faulkner Hon. Director Help the Aged 8-10 Denman Street.
WOULD like through your columns to bring to the notice of any interested readers the need for voluntary helpers, especially from May to October, at our Holiday Home, Mary's Mead.
This is a Holiday Borne owned by the Multiple Sclerosis Society. It has been specially adapted and equipped so that men and women with the condition can have an enjoyable holiday. whilst very often giving their relatives a well-earned rest.
The Horne is open all the year round. but of course, the summer season is busiest. Although there are permanent staff, volunteer helpers are always very welcome
If anyone reading this is interested in spending a week or fortnight working at Mary's Mead, perhaps they could write to: The Matron (Mrs. J. 0. Gifrond),
Mary's Mead, Godden Green,
near Seven,oaks, Kent.
She would be delighted to hear from them and supply further details.
Heather J. Connell, S.R.N. Welfare Secretary The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 4 Tuchbrook Street, London SWIV ISJ.