Thursday 29 September 2016

Backing barbarous hare coursing that damages tourism

Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30

Timmy Dooley voted for hare coursing Picture: Tom Burke
Timmy Dooley voted for hare coursing Picture: Tom Burke

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley says he's concerned that a perception of corruption in Irish sport might have an adverse affect on our tourism industry.

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I'm sure he stays up all night worrying about our sporting reputation abroad. Mr Dooley was one of 114 TDs who voted against a Dáil Bill to abolish live hare coursing in June. I wonder if he and the other politicians who see fit to allow this cruel practice to continue have any concerns about the negative image it presents internationally.

Hare coursing is about as far removed from the Olympic spirit as you can get. Instead of promoting fair competition or equality of opportunity, it involves an unequal contest between pairs of hyped-up greyhounds pitted against the gentlest creature in the Irish countryside.

Since the rejection of the anti-hare coursing bill by our politicians, video footage of hares being mauled, forcibly struck, and tossed into the air like rag dolls for fun at Irish coursing events have spread like wildlife across the globe via social media. Some of the footage shows the terror in the eyes of the innocent creatures as they twist and turn and dodge on mud-sodden or water-logged fields in the depths of winter. And the child-like screeches of the hares can be heard in some instances … a pitiable sobbing that has failed to elicit a response from our political establishment

People everywhere are now seeing what our national parliament endorsed as a legitimate sporting activity: a practice banned in almost all the jurisdictions that once permitted it … a "game" that shuns publicity. The events card at every fixture carries the stark warning: 'All Unauthorized Photography Strictly Prohibited'. People have been beaten up and/or ejected from coursing events for attempting to gather evidence of what goes on.

Hare coursing has the potential to hurt our tourist industry in the long term. Animal welfare groups in several countries are already advising people to boycott Ireland over a "sport" that makes the doping scandals look harmless by comparison.

The politicians who support this mediaeval barbarism should hang their heads in shame.

John Fitzgerald

Callan, Co Kilkenny

Soaring car insurances a farce

The business of soaring car insurance premiums has become an utter farce. Only car users are not amused!

If memory doesn't fail me, only last July we were informed that according to official data the cost and number of claims were decreasing and that the insurance regulatory body asked insurance companies why premiums had been increases under the circumstances.

We also remember that insurance companies found it fit not to reply on that occasion. Now all of a sudden, to justify another hike of 18.7pc on insurance premiums, they are saying that the number of car drivers, accidents and indemnity payouts, including the disgraceful increase of the amount paid for whiplash claims, are the cause for the soaring premiums.

Have the government and/or the insurance regulatory body properly investigated to verify these assumptions? Why are insurance companies not asked to reveal their profits over the last two years?

There are many car users who have the sneaky suspicion that profits may drive these companies before anything else, and that motorists are now asked to subsidise their greed.

Concetto La Malfa

Dublin 4

Fiasco of underfunding Irish Water

Thank for the timely coverage by Paul Melia (August 11) on the underfunding of Irish Water. There are 10 million reasons why Ireland needs a fully operational, fit-for-purpose Irish Water. The population of Ireland will reach 10 million by 2050 and the work on the vital social infrastructure required then needs to start now. The water needs of such an increased population span fresh water catchment and delivery, foul water collection and treatment, and storm water management and protection.

An integrated unitary, publicly owned Irish Water model required to provide for this service needs to be:

1. All-island in its catchment and management.

2. Fully funded by a combination of domestic and commercial end-users supported by central taxation funding and augmented by targeted investment financing.

Anti-Irish Water candidates won a clear majority in the last election but they collectively and individually ran away from their responsibility to govern. Today the resultant do-nothing 'ghost coalition' of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin prefer to leave Irish Water as an open political wound rather than face the challenge of providing its urgently needed integrated water service infrastructure. Paul Melia correctly calls this a fiasco. Our children will call it betrayal. Bring Back Labour - we need vision, courage and decision-making.

B M Brennan

The Liberties, Dublin

Séamus, you have a point!

Mr S McKenna (Irish Independent Letters, August 12) excellently elucidates the shortcomings of the Hawkeye system and demonstrates its inability to fairly and accurately determine valid scores in the game of hurling.

In so doing has he inadvertently coined the catchphrase by which he will be greeted for some time to come.

"Séamus, you have a point!"

Peadar O'Loughlin

Dublin

Pádraig chipping in on Zika

Perhaps Pádraig Harrington could have been more concerned with criticising performing-enhanced sportsmen and women at the Olympics, and indeed any other shenanigans Irish folk in Rio might be getting up to.

Calling his fellow golfers 'sheep' because they are more concerned about their future health and that of their potential offspring, other than with winning medals, is a legitimate decision for those golfers to take.

Steady on, Pádraig.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

O'Donovans row the way to do it

A to B, close your eyes and row like a dog. A diet of steak and spuds, and, most importantly, a smile.

Aidan Hampson

Artane, Dublin

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