Sunday 23 October 2016

A tribute to the victims of Nice on a summer's night in Cork

Published 19/07/2016 | 02:30

People at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Nice attack on the Promenade des Anglais Photo: APAP Photo/Luca Bruno
People at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Nice attack on the Promenade des Anglais Photo: APAP Photo/Luca Bruno

'A Summer's Evening on the Quad' concert at UCC was held on Saturday with a large audience entertained by Rebecca Storm and Michael McCarthy, originally from Cork city, Keith Hanley from Charleville, the fab band of An Garda Síochána and great young support singers also.

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The people of France were remembered in the aftermath of the attack in Nice where 84 people, including children, were killed and more than 100 injured on the city's promenade on the evening of Bastille Day.

We were asked to stand for a minute's silence, which was followed by the French national anthem. France has suffered major attacks in the last 18 months, with many killed and injured.

The Nice tragedy comes just eight months after gunmen killed 130 people in Paris. Nice has also become a popular holiday destination for visitors from Ireland.

Well-known solicitor and Corkman, Gerald Kean - based in Dublin for years, but who has not forgotten his roots - was MC for the evening.

He closed the night by speaking abou the charities chosen for 2016 to which concert proceeds will be donated - the Children's Leukaemia Association, Cork Association for Autism, Cork Life Centre, Cork Penny Dinners and the Disability Support Services UCC.

Some €500,000 has been raised by the concerts for local and regional charities. The first Quad Concert was in 2006, with actor and comedian Niall Tóibín as the lead performer.

Mary Sullivan, Cork

Pamplona continues to shock

The Spanish media has been full of outrage over a frightening spate of sexual assaults on women in Pamplona during the annual running of the bulls last week. The prevailing sentiment is that the "cultural" event was tainted and overshadowed by the outbreak of violence and depravity, and that the incidents could damage the city's image.

Perhaps the nature of the festival in question might provide a clue as to what happened.

The annual bull run involves the deliberate mental and physical torture of the bulls, which are forced to run in front of jeering sightseers, before being taken to a public arena to be further humiliated and killed.

The Pamplona festival of terror and torture is an affront to humanity that should have been banned centuries ago. Should we really be so shocked, or even surprised, that such an event would attract the wrong kind of people?

John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny

Public transport doesn't cut it

Iarnród Éireann's latest attempt to coax people into leaving the comfort of their own cars for the discomfort of its dilapidated train carriages with its new campaign will not work with me: "Make trips to remember this summer - Forgettable trips are made in the car, trips to remember are made in the train."

My car is five steps from my front door. Heuston Station is 5km. To get to Heuston Station I must take a 40-minute journey by bus, then walk 15 minutes to the station.

I could be half-way to my final destination by then, but instead find myself standing on a crumbling platform bracing myself against the chill winds waiting for the train.

Passengers in mainland Europe don't have to freeze on the plateform before trains arrive; it's called logical planning.

A single ticket from Heuston Station to Galway is €36.65, an adult open return is €51.40. A citizen of the Republic of Ireland, in 2016, shouldn't have to spend more than €50 on a 205km, 2.5-hour journey, not when the vast majority of us have cars.

The reason for this extortion is that the infrastructure is out of date, it is inadequate and it is an ineffective transport system. When was the last time you heard someone praise the public transport system in Ireland, or comment that it is convenient and timely, or even that it is adequate?

The Government needs to improve and add to existing infrastructure before anybody is going anywhere. Before that, I say, take the car.

Gavin Wylie, Castleknock, Dublin

Islam: tolerance, mercy, fraternity

Once again, innocent civilians are being slaughtered appallingly by a malevolent lunatic. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the dead and wounded of the Nice massacre.

We stand united in strong solidarity with the French people and government during these testing times. It is contemptible to ascribe such acts to any historical, political and social injustices. How dare anyone ascribe such acts to Islam, a faith of tolerance, mercy, compassion and fraternity. Such acts are purely and simply criminal.

Dr Munjed Farid al Qutob, London, United Kingdom

Leave our Rory alone

The 2016 British Open Golf Championship at Troon, Scotland, is by now well and truly over.

The loud cheer you hear, though, is of those who got their wish in Rory McIlroy's failure to win the famous Claret Jug.

Prior to this great competition, there has been a frenzy of coverage as to why he has decided against going to Rio to compete in the Olympic Games. He gave his reasons, but apparently they weren't good enough - although there were many other world-class golfers who also decided to pull out and were left alone.

Rory McIlroy is first and foremost a normal human being with feelings like everyone else. Yes, he has a talent for playing golf, but shouldn't he be allowed a modicum of privacy as well? His private life has been gone over with a fine tooth comb. To the begrudgers, I say: Leave Rory alone.

Fred Molloy, Dublin 15

Irish heroism at Rorke's Drift

I welcome the belated recognition of Irish heroism on foreign fields in your columns, particularly of the Irish Defence Forces serving with the UN under Commandant Pat Quinlan in Katanga in September 1961, but also the 2nd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers at Etreux on August 27, 1914.

We are still a long way from recognising the Irish role at Quatre Bras and Waterloo under the Duke of Wellington, son of the Professor of Music at Trinity College Dublin.

At the same time, we must not overlook Irish heroism at Rorke's Drift, and I draw particular attention here to the VC awarded to Surgeon-Major James Henry Reynolds (Castleknock College and TCD).

We are indebted to Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Harvey, who has recently published a book on the subject, 'A Bloody Night - The Irish at Rorke's Drift', fittingly launched by the British Ambassador, Dominick Chilcott, in the Stephen's Green Hibernian Club.

Gerald Morgan, Trinity College Dublin

Irish Independent

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