Wednesday 28 September 2016

If Ireland has friends in Europe like these...

Published 13/09/2016 | 02:30

Patronising: Nicolas Sarkozy (right) and Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2012
Patronising: Nicolas Sarkozy (right) and Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2012

Following on from the two excellent articles by INM columnists - Colm McCarthy: 'Ireland has no special place in the affections of our "allies" in Europe' ('Sunday Independent', September 11) and Brendan Keenan: 'Once again, Ireland finds itself a mere pawn in a much bigger game' (Irish Independent, September 10) - I think it is important that the penny drops with the Irish people that we don't have, and probably never had, 'any friends' in Europe.

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This clichéd expression was used as nauseam over the years by our politicians when it came to various referenda to sell the virtues of the EU and its institutions.

Yet it is pretty clear with the Apple ruling that Ireland is once again being used as some sort of guinea pig, just like we were with the whole austerity agenda.

The manner in which we were aggressively pushed into a bailout (which we might have needed anyway), charged exorbitant interest rates, forced to pay virtually all bondholders to ensure no contagion to the European banking system, was at best deeply unjust and at worst a form of bullying.

No one stood up to the ECB and in particular the EU Commission and demanded fairness and a decent deal.

We were patronised by the Big Two, with Angela Merkel accepting we were a "special case" (this turned out to be a meaningless term) and Nicolas Sarkozy giving Enda Kenny tousled hair for his trouble.

The member of the troika which showed most understanding and had advocated a better deal for us was, ironically, the IMF, traditionally the big bad wolf!

My own view is that we have less valid arguments (moral and otherwise) with the Apple case than we had with the bailout programme yet here we now have a queue of the great and good defending our sovereignty and tax independence ... that boat has sailed, I am afraid and it will fall on deaf ears, as will our wants and needs regarding Brexit.

The sad thing is that we are so far in at this stage, we can't extract ourselves from the unwieldly beast that is Europe.

Éamon Ó Béarra

Adare, Co Limerick


Irish woman detained in Iran

On June 6, an Irish citizen, Professor Homa Hoodfar, was detained in Iran while undertaking research on behalf of Concordia University in Canada, where she works.

Prof Hoodfar is a renowned anthropologist, who has decades of experience working in culture and gender politics. She had visited Iran to meet family and undertake work on women's participation in politics there.

Although 65 years old and suffering from a serious neurological condition, she is being held as a 'security prisoner' and denied access to her lawyer, doctor and family.

Among the initial reasons for her arrest was that she was a feminist.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers has written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, urging Ireland to seek the early release of Professor Hoodfar on humanitarian grounds.

We are willing to provide any further information or facilitate a meeting between the minister and/or his officials with Prof Hoodfar's relatives in Ireland.

Mike Jennings

General Secretary

Irish Federation of University Teachers Dublin 2


Our cardiac cath lab policy

The methodology used to assess need for cardiac catheterisation laboratory capacity in Waterford has captured my imagination.

Such a methodology could be applied in other areas to prove a lack of necessity for the provision of extra facilities or services.

One could use it, for example, to disprove the need for additional primary school capacity in an expanding suburb with a school intake capacity of only 30 places per year, and with 60 children coming of school-going age every year.

A survey would show that half of the children from the suburb were going elsewhere to attend school, thus proving that the 'true' necessity is only for the existing capacity.

This methodology clearly could have wide applicability and utility for various Government ministers.

Dr Tom Hogan

Dublin 15


Leaving Cert system skewed

We know that countries who plough lots of resources into the preparation of their athletes up their medal haul at events such as the Olympic Games.

How can we claim that the Leaving Certificate is totally fair if disadvantaged pupils have to compete with pupils who have access to multiple grinds, 'good schools' - often fee paying and catering for the advantaged?

Level playing fields, how are you!

The Leaving Certificate is skewed towards those who are good at reproducing predetermined knowledge, a knowledge that is itself sometimes suspect.

The nonconforming, creative, innovative pupils and blue-sky thinkers are frozen out unless they sell their soul to the devil and conform.

Teachers in particular have been well served by the present system as it helped them to get to college, etc, and lends itself to simplistic, didactic teaching. Can teachers cope with a pedagogy that will make more sophisticated demands on how they approach teaching, learning and assessment?

Turkeys and Christmas, and conflict of interests, come to mind!

Joseph Mackey

Athlone, Co Westmeath


Refusing the Apple

God help us. The more I read about this Apple affair the more confused I get. Just thinking how different our world would be, if Adam & Eve had acted like our Government, and rejected the offer of an apple.

Damien Carroll

Dublin 24


Polished performance

In that photo of Kilkenny camogie player Julie Ann Malone (Irish Independent, September 12) I noted her well-polished fingernails.

No doubt she was hoping that a polished performance would nail the opposition. It did.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9


Personhood reappraisal

Now that the liberal intelligentsia has decreed that personhood does not begin at conception, the compilers of the 'Oxford English Dictionary' should be apprised of this information.

Brian Ahern

Clonsilla, Dublin 15


So Enda's got his mojo back

Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he has got his "mojo back".

I think it would be more beneficial for Enda to get John Halligan back, as his "mojo" won't keep him in power!

Seamus McLoughlin

Keshcarrigan, Co Leitrim

Irish Independent

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