Wednesday 22 October 2014

Letters: Adams could be IRA whistleblower

Published 09/03/2014 | 02:30

Gerry Adams,Sinn Fein deputy for Louth   at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 14/11/13
Gerry Adams

Madam – With the advent of the whistleblower controversy, Gerry Adams has called for Garda cold cases to be pursued. What an appealing vista that may open.

If Adams' memory is rejuvenated, he may recall his membership of the Provisional IRA, become a whistleblower and give the Garda information concerning the murder of Jean McConville and perhaps many such heinous crimes committed by the Provisional IRA.

However, that may cause Sinn Fein to question Adams' appeal to the electorate and to replace him with Mary Lou McDonald for the next election.

In that event, Eamon O Cuiv may get his wish to see Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein forming the next government become a reality. However, in that event, I would apply for a UK passport as I don't want to travel at the behest of a government which has supporters of Provisional IRA murderers sitting at the Cabinet table.

Tony Moriarty,

Dublin 6 W

Buyers guilty as thief

Madam – I wonder if I could, through the medium of your newspaper, inform the thief/thieves who, last Saturday/Sunday in the early hours of the morning, ransacked our shed, which housed a bicycle and power tools belonging to my son.

I would like him or them to know that he is still paying for this bike, but that wouldn't mean anything to you because you never paid for anything in your life. I would also like you to know that the first thing my son and his colleagues in Dublin Fire Brigade did when he bought his bicycle was to cycle from Mizen Head to Malin Head in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind of Ireland to raise much-needed funds for this excellent charity, of which we are immensely proud.

You, on the other hand, would never do anything like that in your life. So there, you little shit. You have the bike but you will never, ever be in the same class as my son and his friends who will continue to fund raise for needy causes, while you and your sort are out sizing up houses to steal from. Oh, and by the way, the dirtbag who buys this stolen bicycle and power tools from you is just as guilty as you are, if not more so.

So there.

James Dempsey, (ex DFB),

South Circular Rd, Dublin 8

HARD QUESTIONS FOR SF LEADER

Madam – I find Gerry Adams' letter, 'Views on North are blinkered' (Sunday Independent, March 2, 2014), galling to say the least. Many eminent people have tried to study the cause of suicide. There are several and I would list depression as top of the list. Mr Adams and his cohorts are responsible for a lot of pain and depression in this country. How can he blame Unionism or British rule for the high suicide rate? I suppose he'll blame anybody but himself. He and he alone knows what hurt and pain and depression he has caused.

Then I turn to page 4 to read 'Adams' order to take explosives into Britain'. He denies it all.

Another article tells us how SF scrapped its planned homecoming party for Hyde Park bombing suspect John Downey – just like the one they held for the killers of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe. Adams gives him his full support, saying he is entitled to a party.

Why is Gerry Adams not asked more questions about this kind of thing in the Dail? What sort of country would vote for someone like Gerry Adams?

Una Heaton,

Limerick

HANDCUFFED LADY MYSTERY SOLVED

Madam – Many thanks to Gene Kerrigan for his concise article (Sunday Independent, March 2, 2014), which ties up many loose ends on the Garda Whistleblower saga. Finally there is an explanation for a high profile female public servant being handcuffed, arrested and placed in a cell for some time, having committed no crime.

This is the first time anyone has offered a reasonable explanation for this strange occurrence. Until it is faced head-on personally by each of us, we will make no progress as a democratic republic. Hats off also to Maurice McCabe and John Wilson for their courage.

Kate Foley,

Kilkenny

INVEST IN PEOPLE TO SAVE RURAL LIFE

Madam – I was surprised and sad to read 'The Devastation of Rural Ireland,' by Donal Lynch. (Sunday Independent, March 2, 2014).

Rural Ireland has become a lonelier place to live, with poor public transport, a bus once a week where it used to run once or twice a day.

There is only one answer – investment in the Irish people.

No more post office, garda station, pub or business closures. Enda Kenny said Ireland is the best country in Europe. It's time to divert money from Nama and Europe to help local towns and villages in Ireland.

Bernard Rafter,

Slough, Berkshire, England.

IRISH WAS PATH TO A JOB FOR LIFE

Madam – I fully agree with the view expressed by Declan Lynch 'A monument to our national failure', (Sunday Independent, March 2, 2014). No doubt, there were Gaelgoirs who made a career out of being proficient in Irish as it ensured they had a job for life. In the early years of the State's birth, this was important as the only alternative was the emigrant ship.

There was a man I dealt with regularly over the years in business. In many conversations during our working relationship, he told me he was an enthusiastic Irish speaker as a young man in the early years of the new Irish State. He, like many of his colleagues at that time, went to Irish classes to perfect their native tongue. Years later he met one of his former classmates in town. He greeted him warmly and addressed him by his English name. His former friend told him that he had changed his name years earlier and was now known only by his Irish name. And the cynical reason was that he realised early on in his career that if he became a fully fledged Gaelgoir, he would never be out of a job!

Those who were not cute enough to see the career opportunity took the boat to England. Would it not have been better to teach them good English rather than be seen as the thick Irish when they looked for jobs over there?

Brendan M Redmond,

Terenure, Dublin 6w

LANGUAGE SHAPES OUR VERY THOUGHTS

Madam – Declan Lynch (Sunday Independent, March 2, 2014), misses the point. Language matters. It forms our thoughts and shapes our lives.

The Irish language, because of exclusion from public life, has gone from being the majority language in the early 1800s to being a minority language today. This was the greatest social change in Irish history. Imagine had England been conquered and its language replaced by Spanish, French or German.

Imagine an English population unable to read Shakespeare except in translation and cut off from their own history. Imagine the effect this would have on the psyche, confidence and sense of self. Now consider Ireland: an Anglophone State where officialdom uses Irish as an ornament, if even that.

Our English-only mentality costs us export markets and jobs. Our negativity toward speaking Irish saps morale. We need to open our minds to the wider world. Rejection of Irish, no matter how it is presented by Declan, is profoundly negative and shameful, rejecting as it does normal curiosity as to the meaning of place names, common surnames and historical sources.

America and Australia are offshoots of English culture. We are not. Americans promoting English is an affirmation of self. The Danes learnt English without abandoning Danish and have a stronger economy than we have. Small open economies with educated multilingual confident populations do well.

It's high time to stop being in awe of the Dutch or Finnish multilingual and become Irish multilinguals. Speaking Irish makes Ireland sound and feel like a regular European country. It is the recovery of our intellectual and cultural sovereignty and contributes to an inclusive Irish identity beyond colour or creed.

Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh, BL,

An Leabharlann Dlí,

Baile Átha Cliath 7

NO SHORTAGE OF LAW LIBRARY CHAPS

Madam – After reading Emer O'Kelly's article (Sunday Independent, March 2, 2014), I found myself reading it again on Monday and I still couldn't figure out what it was all about.

Ms O'Kelly's article, under a headline: 'Refusal of travel expenses for judiciary may be straw that breaks the camel's back', certainly caught my eye.

The judiciary in question don't have a boss – and when it comes to respect, just try chewing a bit of gum next time you're in court, and watch the downtrodden chap on the bench reminding you, apologetically, of the powers he/she has.

Ms O'Kelly kind of suggests that if these guys don't get their bus fares paid, that the availability of learned fellows from the Law Library will dry up. But by the time the Law Library chaps start thinking about the bench, they are fairly well heeled.

So the real issue would seem to me to have nothing to do with money, but the power that goes with a job. That and related social aspects would be more than enough to attract an adequate sufficiency of chaps.

RJ Hanly,

Co Wexford

Plain packs a positive step

Madam – Former Assistant Commissioner of the Garda Siochana Tony Hickey, writing in the Sunday Independent (March 2, 2014) says: "I think plain packaging runs a high risk of boosting the illegal cigarette trade further." Representatives of the Revenue Commissioners and the Garda at an Oireachtas committee meeting on January 23, 2014, stated categorically that they are satisfied plain packaging will not boost the illicit trade of tobacco. Garda Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne told the committee there is "no evidence" to suggest a link between plain packaging and an increase in illicit cigarettes.

We are amazed that a former Assistant Commissioner would rely on speculation that the rate of the illegal trade is "somewhere around 20 per cent". The fact is the rate is 13 per cent, according to the Revenue Commissioners.

The Irish Cancer Society is disappointed that Mr Hickey has taken the exact same point of view on standardised packaging as the major tobacco manufacturer, and client of his business, Philip Morris International.

Mr Hickey says the evidence of plain packaging reducing smoking is "not apparent". Australia was the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging in December 2012 and although it is early yet, studies from Australia show positive signs. A recent study in the state of Victoria showed that those smoking from plain packs perceived their cigarettes to be lower in quality, perceived their cigarettes as less satisfying than the previous year, were more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day, rated quitting as a higher priority and tended to support the policy on plain packaging.

There has also been a 78 per cent increase in the number of people contacting the Australian smoking quit line number printed on the plain packaging.

Smuggling does not happen because the price of cigarettes is high, but because of weak detection and a lack of enforcement. And Revenue has stated that it does not believe "anonymous looking" packs will be any more or less difficult to counterfeit than current packs.

Finally, Mr Hickey complains that public health measures introduced "have had little impact". This is false. The smoking rate is coming down. From a situation where one-in-four of the population smoked 10 years ago, we are now looking at one-in-five today. The number of children smoking is also down. Ireland is well on the way to achieving the government target of a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025. Plain packaging is not the one great policy to end smoking, but is simply a further step to reduce the power of tobacco companies to mislead consumers about the harmful effects of smoking tobacco.

Kathleen O'Meara

Head of Advocacy & Communications at the Irish Cancer Society, Dublin

RTE's fat salaries

Madam – The interview with Noel Curran in the Business Section (Sunday Independent, February 22, 2014) was a frustrating read. I don't know why the interviewer did not question some of his statements. For example, he suggested recorded shows in the UK seem 'sanitised' and 'canned'. Has he seen The Graham Norton Show? It is The Late Late Show that has seemed canned for many years now. Also, he gripes about losing €5m in funds. He expects to get licence fee money, advertising funds and then more money on top of that from the stretched taxpayer to fund the still fat salaries.

If they bring in a broadcasting charge, it should be split with all Irish channels and radio (such as the excellent Newstalk), not just given to the selfish RTE.

Sinead Lynch,

Bandon, Co Cork

BEMUSED BY WHISKEY PRIZE

Madam – I could not help but smile when I read your Letter of the Week winner last week. The letter complained of the "glorified drinking fest" and the "drunken orgy". All valid points in truth but oh the irony when I looked at what the disgruntled letterwriter had won – three bottles of whiskey!

Perhaps a more appropriate alternative prize should be found for the letterwriter.

William Carroll,

Mountmellick

OFFENCE AGAINST HER MAJESTY

Madam – The photograph in Life magazine (Sunday Independent, March 2, 2014) of the Queen and Joan Collins with caption "The Bitch meets Joan Collins" is vulgar and extremely offensive to both the Queen and our Irish State. As your publication is one of the national papers, an immediate apology for this is warranted.

John Tynan,

Dungarvan, Co Waterford

APOLOGISE FOR ROYAL INSULT

Madam – I am horrified at the caption under the picture of the Queen and Joan Collins. Apology please.

Mary McAdams,

Dublin 3

In praise of Pope Benedict's work

Madam – In his article on Pope Francis ('The People's Pope', Sunday Independent Life magazine, March 2, 2014), Mark Binelli makes some extraordinary comments about Pope Benedict XVI.

His comment that Benedict XVI looked as though "he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves, and menacing teenagers in their nightmares", verges on the bizarre. One wonders what Mr Binelli was thinking of when he wrote those remarks on the page.

He calls Pope Benedict's pontificate "disastrous". What does he have in mind here? Benedict XVI's many successful pastoral visits (eg, to the United Kingdom)?

Was he thinking of his much admired encyclicals or his remarkable trilogy of books on the life of Jesus Christ?

Did he have in mind the Pope's frequent condemnations of abuses in the church or his meetings with the victims of clerical child molesters?

In common with so many other intellectually uninquisitive journalists, Mr Binelli tries to contrast the present Pope and his predecessor.

He writes of Pope Francis's "basic mastery of skills, such as smiling in public..." If he takes the trouble of looking at a few photographs of Pope Benedict he will see that he, too, smiled in public; a shy smile is still a smile.

Mr Binelli writes of Pope Francis's "critique of unchecked free market capitalism". If he bothers to read about Pope Benedict, he will find that he made such criticisms himself.

What is especially odd about Mr Binelli's article is that one person who has been loud in the praises of Pope Benedict is Pope Francis.

CDC Armstrong,

Belfast

Sunday Independent

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