Tuesday 27 September 2016

Bias against our sport

Leters to the Editor

Published 15/05/2016 | 02:30

'On Wednesday, May 11, the main sport news item on RTE Radio 1 throughout the day was a report on an English Premier League match of the previous evening, even though there was a full programme of Irish Premier Division football matches that same evening.' Photo: Sportsfile
'On Wednesday, May 11, the main sport news item on RTE Radio 1 throughout the day was a report on an English Premier League match of the previous evening, even though there was a full programme of Irish Premier Division football matches that same evening.' Photo: Sportsfile

Sir - The recently held centenary commemorations honouring those who fought for Irish Independence was acknowledged with pride and thanks by the public as they attended events throughout the country in huge numbers.

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The Gaelic Athletic Association's presentation of Laochra in Croke Park attracted in excess of 82,000 people to witness a spectacular evening of Irish sport and culture.

The Irish Army presented every primary school in the country with a copy of the Proclamation and the national flag, while Irish people at home and throughout the world responded spectacularly to the parades and pageants showcasing our distinct language, song, literature, dance and sport. We were witnessing a cultural renaissance. It wasn't to last long.

On Wednesday, May 11, the main sport news item on RTE Radio 1 throughout the day was a report on an English Premier League match of the previous evening, even though there was a full programme of Irish Premier Division football matches that same evening.

It seems that English football is now regarded by RTE as our own national soccer league.

As a publicly-funded institution, RTE should project a distinctly Irish world view. Giving Irish football appropriate coverage would be a good start.

Tom Cooper,

The sad scourge of suicide

Sir — On Monday of last week I awoke to a scene all too familiar at this stage.

My father entered the room and said the same words as he did the last time. He said he had some bad news and mentioned one of my friend’s names. Before he said another word I knew that I had lost another person to talk to, another friend to turn to and that another life had been needlessly lost.

A person that grew up with me since the age of three or four was no longer there. He would never kick a ball, crack a smile or lift a pint again. He will never travel the world, buy a house or start a family. His 21st won’t be a celebration, but rather a reflection on what could and should have been. We hear all the experts and politicians pine over the state of mental health in the country. I couldn’t help but glare at my local politician as he passed this young man’s coffin. Sometimes it’s too little, too late.

The feeling of anger in my community amongst our young people is indescribable. Not only have they lost someone they cared for, they also have been let down by the leaders of this country.

I saw young men normally full of life stare into the distance, some of them literally staggering as they moved. “I don’t know,” was all we could say to each other. Last week a newly established Government promised a wider response in the mental health sector. I think it will be one of the most important promises a government has had to make since the men of 1916 promised us our freedom.

The pain of suicide plagues communities where it’s passed on from one person to the next. I look at my local Gaa team and wonder will we be able to field a team next year, we are down two players already because of this epidemic.

I feel we never hear enough from young people like myself in relation to this problem and this is why I wrote this letter.

I know my friend is still up there looking after all of us, it’s a pity i can’t say the same of our government.

Name and address with editor

Enjoy the effort, enjoy the sun

Sir — While of course it’s disappointing for Nicky Byrne and Ireland that he did not qualify for the Eurovision final, he did himself, and Ireland, proud. He put on a great show. Very enjoyable.

Life, and every thing in life, is about being in it, doing one’s best, and enjoying the journey.

Everyone can’t win. No one can win every time.

Good luck to him. Good luck to Ireland.

Enjoy the effort.

Enjoy life.

Enjoy the sunshine.

Margaret Walshe
Dublin 15

The role of the Legal Aid Board

Sir — I refer to the article entitled ‘Murphy takes the mickey out of the Irish people’ (Sunday Independent, May 1).

A number of references were made in the article to the Legal Aid Board and in particular to the financial eligibility criteria that it applies in assessing applications for legal aid.

The board’s statutory responsibility is to provide legal aid in civil cases and also to provide a family mediation service. The thresholds and allowances referred to in the article apply to a person’s eligibility for civil legal aid. 

The board is not responsible for the provision of legal aid in criminal matters and the criminal legal aid scheme is currently administered by the Department of Justice and Equality. The board has no role in relation to Mr Paul Murphy’s case. It is a matter for the courts to determine if a person is eligible for criminal legal aid

or not.  

John McDaid
chief executive,
Legal Aid Board

Sabina’s invitation to nurse gathering

Sir — I am an ordinary citizen and so is Sabina Higgins, but why was Sabina and not I invited to speak at the Nursing and Midwifery Board gathering in Trinity College?

I have no nursing or midwifery experience or expertise, and as far as I know, neither does Sabina.

Joseph Mackey
Co Westmeath

Colonial sins of the past

Sir — I think that Ms Ruth Dudley Edwards should give half of her salary to Gerry Adams as he provides the basis of half of her columns/contributions to your esteemed newspaper.

I have no empirical knowledge of the extent of Gerry Adams’s distortions of the truth regarding English/British colonial history in Ireland (he does not engage my mind nor thoughts for my every waking hour).

However, I find Ms Dudley Edwards seriously adept at spouting misleading and lying versions of British colonial rule in Ireland, coupled with British-like selective amnesia relating to their grotesque actions here.

To stay within the vein of last week’s column (Sunday Independent, May 8) I would list:

l The shooting dead of 400 disarmed Irishmen by the English, at Smerwick Harbour, under captain Walter Raleigh (or Ralegh) in 1585.

l The selling, into slavery, of over 500,000 Irish people into the Caribbean Islands between 1641 and 1651.

l The selling into slavery of thousands of Irish people into the cotton belt of America for 100 years before the arrival of the African slaves.

l The 10,000 hangings in Wexford, Carlow and Wicklow following the 1798 uprising.

l The banning of the peaceful Daniel O’Connell monster meetings, particularly the intended meeting at Clontarf.

l The deliberate mismanagement of relief programmes and the utilisation of the Famine distress for the consolidation of the Planter occupation of Ireland.

When vaginas and strong male backs were requested by the colonialists in Australia, the English administration in Ireland ensured a steady supply of slave labour — men and women — to satisfy Australia’s colonial class’s needs.

Let’s not forget the reduction of the Irish population — by three million people — between the Famine and 1918.

Obviously, in Ms Dudley Edwards’s mind, those English/British campaigns caused no hardship to the Irish people.

We, the Irish, should go on our bended knees and thank the English for their benign, gentle, Christianising emissaries such as Cromwell and Mr Churchill  (I include the cynical, bullying hypocrite Churchill for his genocidal campaign against the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya, where 250,000 men women and children were murdered, in the Fifties, in the most insanely brutal manner conceivable.)

John Doyle
Co Kerry

Being fair to Danny Healy-Rae

Sir — Eilis O’Hanlon (Sunday Independent, May 8) is to be commended for restoring a measure of balance to the discussion involving Danny Healy-Rae’s contribution to the climate change controversy. Independent TDs are frequently and incorrectly accused of tending only to local issues within their own constituency.

When Deputy Healy-Rae highlighted the need for dredging the Shannon River he demonstrated a national perspective on rural concerns. Co Galway in particular has suffered severe and often chronic flooding caused by the river Shannon bursting its banks due to rain.

James Hogan
Co Tipperary

Enchanted island of Dail Eireann

Sir — And so we have a minister of this Government consulting the Attorney General to ask whether he should comply with the law of the land. Is this an indication of how smart our new Government is?

What did he expect the AG to advise? That Dail Eireann is an enchanted land whose inhabitants are not required to comply with the ordinary rule of law.

J Coughlan
Co Galway

Rolling over under water pressure

Sir — Finian McGrath should be ashamed of himself for the way in which he rolled over as soon as some pressure was applied regarding water charges.

He was elected on an

anti-water charge manifesto and as soon as he gets a whiff of power, he turns his back on his voters, no principles. I’m absolutely disgusted.

A Foley
Dublin 14

Alcohol marketing and consumption

Sir — John McGee (Sunday Independent, May 8), commenting on plans to regulate marketing in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, queries whether there is any empirical evidence to show that alcohol marketing influences consumption levels. In reality, there is no shortage of such evidence.

The last decade has seen the publication of numerous longitudinal studies that have tracked young people over time, measuring their exposure to alcohol marketing and their subsequent alcohol consumption.

Studies of this nature are important because they are designed to establish cause and effect relationships. The clear evidence from this research is that marketing works.

This is hardly a revolutionary finding, especially to the alcohol industry itself, given that it spends tens of millions of euro every year marketing its products in this country. As one systematic review of these studies concluded: alcohol advertising and promotion increases the likelihood that adolescents will start to use alcohol, and to drink more if they are already using alcohol.       

Delaying and reducing young people’s alcohol consumption is a child welfare issue because early initiation into drinking is strongly associated with alcohol-related problems in later life. We all have a vested interest in addressing this problem. Quite apart from the personal pain alcohol abuse can cause to individuals and their families, it is a major drain on our  economic health, with estimates suggesting that abuse costs the taxpayer €3bn per annum.

The proposed marketing restrictions will not, in themselves, instantly solve the problem of alcohol abuse or underage binge drinking, but they are an essential part of the wider cultural change needed to address the problem.

Dr Patrick Kenny
School of Marketing,
Dublin Institute of Technology

John Moran’s vision for country

Sir— John Moran’s contribution (Sunday Independent, May 8) has both bemused and angered me in equal measure.

Mr Moran refers to people who will continue to live in rural Ireland as “casualties’’ in terms of life as we have known it. He goes on to say that the state cannot afford to “subsidise’’ rural Ireland, and while some still choose to live in the countryside, they must accept that their personal choices come at a considerable cost to all.

His vision is the creation of the growth of regional cities as opposed to the preservation of rural living. This he says will ease the scale of our Dublin problems by slowing down the influx of people into it.

The last time I checked, rural Ireland was very much part of this state, and its people have made an enormous contribution to the successful building of our country since we gained independence.

Mr Moran goes on to ask, should we have a totally new city in a green field site, somewhere near Portlaoise or Athlone, which is more central, or expand his favourite city of Limerick because of its proximity to Shannon Airport and the cities of Galway, Cork and Waterford, this would also boost the rural areas of Clare and Tipperary.

But why not be more ambitious and also build a new hub in the west of Ireland around Knock airport and support the urban centres of Athlone, Longford, Carrick-on-Shannon, Sligo, Castlebar, Tuam and Roscommon as well as the rural areas of Connacht.

This would be a much more balanced approach to the problems of our overcrowded capital city, and would also ensure that the rural way of living would not have to be “subsidised’’ or supported by the state in the years ahead.

Tom Towey
Co Sligo

Courage of true friends of Israel

Sir — In his article (Sunday Independent, May 8) Eoghan Harris refers to Israel as being the “only democracy in the Middle East”.

Israel controls the West Bank and Gaza and maintains an artificial Palestinian minority in Israel proper so that the latter are effectively politically powerless. The population of Israel/West Bank/Gaza is divided equally between Palestinians and Israelis. But the Palestinians have no political voice or power in how they are treated by Israel. Surely more akin to apartheid South Africa than to a functioning democracy?

The ongoing treatment of the Palestinian population by the Israeli State is discriminatory, dehumanising, oppressive, brutal, and replete with continuous breaches of international law. These are the expressed views of such respected observers as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, UN Human Rights Council, Defence of Children International, Yesh Din, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Moreover, the Israeli State uses smear tactics to brand critics of its policies as anti-semitic and “friends of terrorism”.

The only path to lasting peace in Israel/Palestine is through recognition of the humanity of the Palestinian people through a just and dignified settlement — not the current policy of brutalising and suppressing them.

Since 1948 the Palestinians have been told that they are the aggressors/terrorists, and the people that dispossessed them, the innocent victims.  The Palestinians have been crushed, dispossessed, cheated, tortured and killed in terrible numbers.

True friends of the Israeli people are those that have the courage to offer genuine criticism — not those that act as non-critical mouth pieces for current policies.    

Barry Meyler
Co Wicklow

Bruce versus Luas

Sir — What is the difference between Bruce Springsteen and the striking Luas drivers? On Friday, May 27, Bruce will be transporting 82,300 people to bliss with rock ’n’ roll; Luas tram drivers won’t  be transporting anyone, anywhere.

Kevin Devitte
Co Mayo

Sunday Independent

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