Kenny at centre of green storm over NY parade
In the run-up to St Patrick's Day, an event that sees global recognition of Ireland's own particular shade of green, why is it acceptable that our great and powerful leader can show to the world what is, in my opinion, a contemptuous shade of bias towards the LGBT community? This is an evocatively dismal example of ignoring an issue and hoping it will go away, all for the sake of the long-held tradition of travelling to the big country for the parade.
As Enda Kenny struts his stuff, representing our country, brandishing a slip of shamrock resembling lost hope from his lapel, the fact that he is happy to participate in the New York parade implies he is not a true representative of all the people of this island.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has confirmed he will be boycotting the event over the issue, the first mayor in 20 years to do this. The newly elected mayor showed his support to the LGBT community, and to the watching world by standing alongside our very own Panti Bliss (Rory O'Neill) as they marched in the long-running 'St Pat's For All' parade in Queens last week.
The organisers of the New York St Patrick's Day parade do not allow gay participants to carry banners, or use anything to identify themselves as gay.
In an interview with Irish Central in New York, Panti alluded to the fact that the Irish St Patrick's Day parade has been inclusive for over 10 years, and that the option to march among the people of New York and not state your identity was not something to be accepted: "For us, the parade is just an excuse to have a party outdoors regardless of the weather. All parades are gay. If it isn't a gay parade it's just an organised march in traffic lanes."
The message we send out is a simple one: yes, we have gay members of our community; we have gay politicians; we have gay senators, doctors, teachers, artists, builders, bakers, actors, nurses, writers and sports stars, but we will not be supporting their rights if it means the shamrock has to be sent in the post.
This message obliterates all that this island has to offer, from every member regardless of creed, colour or sexual orientation.
SOLUTION IN UKRAINE
I'm not a fan of Henry Kissinger but I have to agree with most of his article in the 'Washington Post' on March 5 on Ukraine. Mr Kissinger's arguments include: "If Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side's outpost against the other – it should function as a bridge between them . . . Ukraine should not join NATO."
Mr Kissinger's solutions to the Ukrainian crisis need closer analysis: "It is incompatible with the rules of the existing world order for Russia to annex Crimea. But . . . Russia would recognise Ukraine's sovereignty over Crimea. Ukraine should reinforce Crimea's autonomy in elections held in the presence of international observers. The process would include removing any ambiguities about the status of the Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol."
However, the rules of the existing world order were already broken by the West and cannot easily be put back together again, as the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya can testify. Vladimir Putin seems to have learned some lessons from the NATO intervention in Kosovo.
Mr Kissinger's good solution is probably a few weeks too late. The delicate sovereign egg of Ukrainian sovereignty has been knocked off the wall, in an East/West tug of war that could lead to civil war in Ukraine and another Cold War in Europe. The effective annexation of Crimea is likely to become de facto.
The real crisis will come either if the West refuses to accept this reality, or if Russia seeks to annex further parts of Ukraine. Peaceful resolution of this crisis under the auspices of the UN and/or the OSCE would be the correct way to go, but the UN is deadlocked and sidelined on the issues and the OSCE may be leaning too much westward. The costs will be borne by the people of Ukraine.
VIOLENCE AND VICTIMS
I read Mary Kenny's article (Irish Independent, March 10) with complete and utter disgust. I will keep my reply short. The content of Ms Kenny's article can be summed up in three main points.
1) Poor judgment on the victim's part. "No state can or should protect individuals against their own poor judgment in personal relationships."
2) The victims should have known better. "Before you commit, enquire."
3) It's the victim's own fault. "Adult women have some responsibility for their own free choice of partners."
Well, Ms Kenny, I challenge you to pay a visit to one of the Women's Refuges. Do so and you will come away enlightened and you will retract the above comments.
ENGAGING WITH UNIONS
The recent Fine Gael Ard Fheis adopted the following motion: "That Fine Gael call on the Minister for Education and Skills to reverse his decision to phase out the externally assessed Junior Certificate and engage with education partners to implement reform while not undermining the credibility of the Junior Cycle."
Now that the senior party in Government lacks faith in Mr Quinn's proposals, is it time to reconsider their position and engage in real and meaningful dialogue with the unions?
MICHAEL BARRY (ASTI, CEC),
LEGENDS OF RUGBY
We have been inundated over the last few days with tributes from all quarters to the rugby career of Brian O'Driscoll, which is now coming to a close.
O'Driscoll is well deserving of those tributes. His record as a rugby player speaks for itself, and while I think that calling him the greatest ever Irish rugby player is a bit over the top, the list of the injuries that O'Driscoll suffered playing for Ireland entitles him to the utmost respect.
Perhaps his most famous game for Ireland was against France on March 19, 2000, in Paris when he scored three tries, which helped enormously in the 27-25 victory.
What is always forgotten is that David Humphreys scored the winning penalty in the 78th minute.
O'Driscoll would have been on the losing side if Humphreys had missed. Yet Humphreys rarely gets credit for a great kick under even greater pressure.
Getting older need not be a frightening experience. Now you have the experience of making mistakes, learning from them, and moving on.
With age comes the slowing-down process. Again, not a bad thing, as most people seem to be like headless chickens, running around at 100 miles per hour, and going nowhere. Now you think before you act, and having thought whatever it is through.
Nature takes on a brand new perspective as you realise, in spite of all the power-mad freaks on this earth, it is still a wonderful place to be part of. The dawn chorus of our feathered friends, as they sing their love song to the morning dew. The rising newborn sun each morning telling us we live another day. The flowers opening their buds to embrace mother nature.
Dear friends old and new. The beautiful memories of those who have been called to the other side. Never forgotten, and we keep them alive in our hearts and our minds. We all come in with nothing. And all, rich and poor, depart with nothing. To where? Who knows? Just another journey, as we pass through on our karmic learning curve.
We are pure energy, balls of light, and our poor old bodies merely a vehicle to protect the inner sanctum of our Holy Grails.