Thursday 29 September 2016

Honour slain Garda

Published 18/10/2015 | 02:30

The State Funeral of Garda Anthony Golden
The State Funeral of Garda Anthony Golden

Sir - Garda Anthony Golden will be remembered and honoured for his bravery and his dedication to upholding the peace. Many thousands of people have signed books of condolences around the country to express their abhorrence of what happened to this decent, caring and honourable man.

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There is another way, I suggest, that we can honour his memory: By offering greater cooperation with the gardai in their unrelenting fight against crime.

By not turning the other way when we witness, or become aware of, criminal activity such as drug dealing, stabbings, or planned robberies, or have knowledge of violent domestic disputes that could escalate into murder or serious injury.

If we are serious in our expressions of grief we should stop pretending that our failure to report crime that doesn't personally concern us is anything less than a lowly form of cowardice. One that plays directly into the hands of the type of person who shot Garda Golden and an innocent young woman before ending his own life.

John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny

Sir - Are Travellers second class citizens in this country?

Last Wednesday night I organised a candle light vigil in Galway for the 10 Travellers who tragically died in Carrickmines a week ago. It was the second such vigil I recently organised, having held one a few months ago for the Berkeley students.

I publicised the event in local and national media, exactly the same as I had done for the Berkeley memorial. All local politicians were invited.

We had a beautiful vigil which was well supported by members of the Travelling community. Members of the settled community were very much in the minority.

The Mayor of Galway, Frank Fahy, and County Cathaoirleach, Peter Roche, attended and spoke briefly as did two members of the Galway Traveller Movement. No other local representatives attended.

Last June during the Berkeley vigil, there was a much bigger crowd. A number of local representatives attended as well as the Mayor and the Cathaoirleach. Two national newspapers sent reporters and RTE and TG4 sent film crews.

This time the only national coverage the vigil gained was a mention and photograph on the RTE website, thanks to an RTE reporter who is personally known to me.

We talk about welcoming 4,000 refugees to our shores. Maybe a little more compassion and reaching out to our fellow Irish people might do many more of us no harm.

After all, the main reason why I, a member of the settled community, held this vigil was to allow all people irrespective of their background an opportunity to show support and compassion to some of our fellow Irish citizens who have recently gone through such a horrific trauma.

Tommy Roddy,


Taking Eilis to task on TV3

Sir - Eilis O'Hanlon has no clear understanding of the past year of TV broadcasting as shown in her article on the subject (Sunday Independent, 11 October).

The anti-RTE, and the usual anti-Irish Times, bias shows a person fervent in some myopic anger. Eilis is right to suggest that the last month of rugby and indeed this month will bring in TV3's lion share of its audience.

She fails however to understand that all Irish TV has been suffering over the last 10 or so months. The highest audience share so far this year for all Irish TV broadcasters was in September with 48 pc of Irish viewers watching Irish TV, and just 42 pc watching our national TV services in August.

Eilis is the same type of journalist who would quickly denounce any attempt by RTE to commission an Irish version of a British programme, as it would clearly show RTE's inability to be creative, but when an independent broadcaster latches on to the success of British versions of international shows, she question why pseudo-intellectuals in the Irish Times feel that it might diminish anyone's national identity.

She probably didn't even know that RTE haven't held exclusive rights to the Rugby World Cup for the last three tournaments, the previous two were held by Setanta and supported in 2007 by TV3 and in 2011 by RTE and TG4.

Indeed her assertion that RTE ONE was 5pc from TV3 in 2014 is completely inaccurate. RTE ONE had a 20pc share of the audience with TV3 getting 10pc, and RTE ONE had 100pc more of an audience than TV3, if you really want some exaggerated statistics.

Eamonn Geoghegan,



Confusion over War dead

Sir - The piece in your most recent issue (Sunday Independent, 4 October) by Liam Collins headed: "They Answered Ireland's Cause," has caused a little confusion. Under the pictures of those cut down in their prime is the short sentence: "All died in WW1."

Vincent McNamara sadly died at Gallipoli but his out-half partner, Harry Jack survived both WW1 and WW2. Harry Jack passed away peacefully in Dublin on the 19 December, 1977 at the age of 86 after a full and interesting life.

His father, although a Methodist, sent Harry to the best education in Cork - the Christian Bothers - in 1905. Harry played rugby and teamed up with Vincent McNamara and both entered Cork University in 1910 and played together for the University. Harry was a sub for the Irish team in 1912 and 1913.

In 1914, Vincent and Harry played for Ireland against Scotland and Wales. Then Vincent joined the British Army and Harry went away to the Federal Malay States as a botanist in the British Colonial Service. Harry continued to play rugby for Selangor in Kuala Lumpur where he met up with a Dr. Hickey. Many years later Dr. Hickey formed Greystones Rugby Club in Co Wicklow.

In 1921, Harry was home on leave and joined Lansdowne Club and played on the Irish team once again. He then returned to Malaya and continued to play rugby.

In 1926 while home on leave, he played in Lansdowne as a sub on the Irish team for all positions behind the scrum. He then returned to Malaya where he continued with his rugby, but this was mostly in the capacity of a referee.

In 1934 Harry transferred to the Fiji Island as the Director of Agriculture. There he enjoyed watching the Fijians playing rugby in their bare feet. The Fijians had been playing rugby for many years before Harry arrived. Harry went with the Fijian Team on their first tour of New Zealand just prior to WW2.

They wore boots for the first time in the match in Auckland, and were losing at half time. But then they took off their boots and won the match. They won all remaining nine matches in their bare feet.

In 1944 he returned to Ireland and attended Lansdowne Club of which he became President in 1960.

Harry Jack had married Dorothy Purdy in Kuala Lumpur in 1919 and they had two sons and one daughter. The eldest son in the Merchant Navy was lost at the age of 21 as 3rd officer on the SS Arakaka in 1941. The small cargo ship collecting weather data was sunk by a U-boat.

All the crew were lost including three meteorologists from the RAF. The second Met Ship, the SS Toronto City was sunk shortly after with all crew lost and another three Met men from the RAF. Their daughter married a farmer in Cork but she died in 2002. Harry's younger son became a GP in Dun Laoghaire, now retired and alive at 88.

There may be some folk who would like to know that Harry Jack survived.

Henry Jack,

Dun Laoghaire

Dev's unfortunate education policy

Sir - I agree wholeheartedly with Ronan Fanning's estimation of de Valera - clueless about economics and society. (Sunday Independent, 11 October). Not alone that, but his education system, destroyed many the aspiring career. I remember a boy that went to school with me, a mathematical genius. If he got a question that was just figures, he got 100pc. If it was a "ceist as Gaeilge", he failed.

It made ignoramuses out of people. I will never forget some years ago I got into a debate with an Oxonian academic historian about the Geraldine Rebellion, the Desmond Wars and the Nine Years War. When he left for a few minutes, I asked three secondary school teachers looking on, to assist me before he came back. They could not, despite having learned their "Stair."

This demonstrates the state of ignorance that people were reduced to, because of this crazy policy.

Martin Aherne,


Co Galway

Misspelling of Claire's name

Sir - I like to keep an eye out for anything written about Bulmer Hobson as I recall him once being referred to as 'the most forgotten man in Ireland'

So I started to read with interest your extract in the Sunday Independent of Gene Kerrigan's new book as not only was Bulmer mentioned but also his wife (then fiance) Claire. My interest turned to disappointment however as he refers to her as Claire Cregan. She was in fact Claire Gregan - only a small spelling/research mistake on the part of Mr Kerrigan and probably not terribly important to a lot of people, but important to me as she was my grandmother.

Caroline Mitchell,


*Gene Kerrigan writes: It's a spelling mistake made in transcribing notes - and then unfortunately repeated. While a disappointment for Ms Mitchell, for which I apologise, I hope the error is redeemed by the telling of Hobson's story, his kidnapping by the IRB and Claire Gregan's search for him. It was my reading of files such as Hobson's that propelled me to write the book, as I realised how much had been brushed aside by those who glorified the Rising and by those who demonised it.

Kindness doesn’t cost

Sir - The Sunday Independent has many journalists that both provoke, anger, stimulate and entertain me.

They trigger all my emotions.

Brendan O'Connor's piece on "Why I've returned to saying the rosary" (Sunday Independent, 11 October), where he expands on his gratitude theme from the previous Sunday, is truly poignant for me and I urge all your readers to research same.

Many years ago, as a commercial traveller, I sent a card to a customer who had retired thanking him for his courtesy, acknowledging his loyalty and wishing him a long, healthy and happy retirement.

I should mention at this stage I had never normally sent cards to anyone for any occasion.

Subsequently this gentleman sent a letter to my chief executive extolling my virtues, many of which I did not recognise.

That gesture progressed my career path to the highest level and stimulated my awareness to acknowledge and appreciate by word, deed or email every time I receive or witness excellent service or a kind act.

It means so much to the recipient and costs nothing.



Timing the trip to Dublin Airport

Sir - Colm McCarthy's article knocking the proposed Metro North connecting Swords with the Airport and the city centre (Sunday Independent, 4 October), is written through the eyes of a person living in the nice leafy south city suburbs.

Central to his argument is that we have the tunnel already and we could further develop this. The problem with that solution is that the tunnel connects the airport to the east link bridge and then the south side suburbs. The tunnel is not very relevant to north side Dublin, west side Dublin or the rest of the 26 counties.

Swords is one of the fastest growing suburbs in Europe and it needs proper connectivity.

Equally any person that has travelled anywhere in the world will have noticed there is a good train connection from airports to the city centre. Colm suggests you can drive from the city centre to the Airport in 17 minutes. I asked the taxi drivers in O'Connell street (who can drive on the bus lane) and their answer was 30 minutes "depending on the traffic". You would miss most flights, Colm, if you allowed 17 minutes to get to the airport from O'Connell Street.

John Murphy,

Glasnevin, Dublin 9

Famine numbers couldn’t survive

Sir - Correspondence in your Letters Page (Sunday Independent, 11 October) regarding the Great Famine failed to mention a number of crucial points, the most important being the population of Ireland at the beginning of the Famine years - almost nine million. How could that number have been sustained indefinitely without massive emigration and starvation when the staple diet of the people failed.

In 1847 out of 919 people who died in Armagh workhouse, 55pc were Protestant, and in Irvinestown workhouse in Co Fermanagh the same year, out of 46 families 22 were Protestant.

This would question the claim that the Famine was genocide against the Catholic people.

A Thompson,

Co Tyrone

Why fight the evidence

Sir - Ruth Dudley Edwards's article (Sunday Independent, 4 October) on the Great Famine brought forth a crop of correspondents whose arguments have long since been discredited by Irish historians.

The British state provided public relief schemes that at their peak employed three- quarters of a million workers. At one point three million people were being fed daily by the state and its various agencies. The British state spent in the region of one billion euro (in present-day values) on Famine relief. While there were indeed food exports during the Famine, these were dwarfed by the scale of food imports, principally American maize. These actions are hardly consistent with the idea of a government or a state bent on genocide. Why, against the evidence, do some people cling to the notion that the Famine was genocide?

Liam Kennedy

Emeritus Professor of Economic History

Queen's University, Belfast

Government policies to blame

Sir - Ruth Dudley Edwards wrote "get over the fact that the Great Famine was not genocide," (Sunday Independent, 4 October). Tell that to Nobel Laureate (1998) Amartya Sen. His work shows that "famines" are not caused by blights, but by deliberate government policies. In Brit-run Ireland "social status" meant faith. Millions for Maynooth was no beneficence, but the cultural genocide that replaced the Penal Laws. Catholic priests did not starve in the "Famine", as they were on the Crown's payroll, to preach that it was God's will that the starving must pay their "just debts" even if it meant their children would die.

J. P. Maher, PhD

Professor Emeritus,



Famine genocide 'myth' refuted

Sir - Ruth Dudley Edward's interesting and informative article refuting the nationalist myth that the Famine was genocide, kindled a clutch of predictable responses, each repeating, like children, statistics and fatuous slogans that roll continually down the years. Clearly the cult of martyrdom is still deeply embedded in the Irish psyche, the eradication of which would be akin to depriving a baby of the comfort of a favoured dummy.

William Barrett,

Surrey, UK

Blight was real Famine cause

Sir - With reference to the Famine and Sam Dunne and Christopher Fogarty letters, the Famine was caused by the Blight, resulting in a loss of 13 million tons of potatoes. This loss was difficult to replace. The Corn Laws were repealed and corn was imported from all over the world. We were never self-sufficient in edible wheat. In 1847 we imported 900,000 tons of wheat and exported 150,000 tons, net imports of three-quarters of a millions tons. In August 1847 over 3 million people were being fed directly by the different schemes used or a mixture. At present we import 50pc of our flour.

James Mathers,


Sunday Independent

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