It's time to close the circle of Irish history
Published 02/11/2015 | 02:30
I was a young man in 1966 when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising - and I can't, for the life of me, figure out where the intervening 50 years have gone.
One thing I do know is that, in that epoch, we have come a long way - socially, religiously and politically.
Socially, we are more compassionate and open, and no longer hide our frailties and imperfections under the proverbial bushel.
Religiously, we are more moderate, open and less dogmatic.
Politically, we have ticked quite a number of boxes on the 'Politically Mature Exam Paper' - but no doubt there is certainly more to do.
A quantum leap in this regard would be, in the 2016 election, a coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.
This would be a fitting tribute to the dream of the 1916 volunteers and draw a permanent line, once and for all, under the term 'Civil War politics'.
McWilliams' premise is plain daft
I have to write to take issue with David McWilliams' article in the Irish Independent last Wednesday, 'Great expectations - the driving force behind latest property crisis'.
While I accept that he is a renowned economist, that article seems a little naive.
To start with, the premise that property prices can be compared to the price of electricity is plain daft. There are many things you could make the comparison with, but electricity is exactly the same as spuds.
Both of those are governed by so-called 'classical economics', where supply and demand are a governing factor in prices rising and falling.
They are what I would suggest could be called items of almost infinite availability that can be, and often are, seasonally adjustable.
The same principles apply in the case of apples, oranges or any other commodity that is outside anybody's real control.
When it comes to housing and rental costs, we are in a completely different sphere.
I am sure that I do not have to spell it out, but the fact of the matter is that land is a finite resource. It cannot be enlarged, grown, manufactured or increased in any way, shape or form.
It is not affected by weather (unless we want to bring in the contentious matter of global warming, where the jury is still out), disease, governments (at least in stable regions) or any other man-made interference (I will have to be allowed to exclude nuclear fallout here).
That being the case, there is only one way cost/prices of this resource can go - and that is upwards.
Mike J Moore
Address with editor
Adams out of order with jibes
Wouldn't you think Gerry Adams should be the last man in Ireland to criticise Enda Kenny's flight of fancy about having to get the army in to protect the banks and the ATM facilities if the economic crash 'got out of hand'?
Instead, the Sinn Féin leader is having a laugh in his criticism of Enda - insisting such a thing could never have happened.
This is guff from Gerry, when armed troops and gardaí at our banks became a regular feature of Irish life when the Provisional 'movement' made robbing banks a major feature in their 'fight for Irish freedom'.
Perhaps Mr Adams is unfamiliar with the phrase: "Oops, sorry... I think I said something I shouldn't have".
Curragh proposal not at the races
The proposed €55m investment at The Curragh falls well short of what is required. The racecourse already lags well behind Ascot, Cheltenham, Longchamps, Sha Tin and Arlington - and embarrassingly so.
The new Curragh should be a ground-breaking, all-seater facility, one that sets the standard for every racecourse on the planet and does justice, finally, to those who labour with dedication and courage year after year in Irish racing and breeding.
As much as €1bn may be needed to bring our racecourses up to a 21st-century standard.
A radically upgraded Tipperary, for example, could host the autumn champions weekend, being as it is just down the road from Ballydoyle. Up north, either Down Royal or Downpatrick must be turned into the state-of-the-art racecourse Belfast deserves.
Half-hearted mediocrity doesn't win the Gold Cup, the Prix de l'Arc or, on the weekend that's in it, the Breeders' Cup.
Surplus priests hold solution
The decline in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in Western Europe and the US during the last 30 years is cause for serious concern.
The situation in Ireland in this regard is no different from that in the rest of the western world.
The main solution adopted to deal with this problem has been the sharing of ministry across parishes - in effect, the amalgamation of parishes.
There are doubts, however, that even this can continue to be effective because of the continued decreasing numbers of priests.
A far more positive solution is to invite priests who are surplus to requirement to serve in areas where they are needed.
Some steps have been taken in this regard, but the process could and should be considerably improved to achieve better results.
Travelling around the country one notices that towns, and even cities, have been 'twinned' with those elsewhere.
Similar arrangements could be made between dioceses with an over-supply of priests and those with very few ordinations.
There will be challenges and difficulties, no doubt, associated with these arrangements - but this did not deflect Irish priests helping to staff dioceses across the English-speaking world for well over a hundred years.
It should also be remembered that the most recurring theme in the history of the Catholic Church has been priests and missionaries from one part of the world evangelising in other parts of it.
J. Anthony Gaughan