Monday 29 December 2014

Letters: Britain should act now to honour Daniel O'Connell

Published 01/09/2014 | 02:30

A portrait of Daniel O'Connell
A portrait of Liberator Daniel O'Connell

Your August 29 news item reporting the unveiling of a Cahersiveen memorial plaque in honour of Daniel O'Connell coincides with news that pressure is growing for a similar public mark of recognition in London.

When Francis Campbell, former British Ambassador to the Vatican, took over the leadership of London's St Mary's University earlier this month, he gave several newspaper interviews.

In the course of these interviews he called for the erection of a statue in London's Parliament Square in honour of Mr O'Connell.

The timing of the suggestion coincides with the recent announcement of British government plans to create a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, who acknowledged the inspiration of O'Connell in his own non-violent civil rights struggle for national freedom.

Over 100 years ago the Catholic parish church of Cahersiveen was officially named Daniel O'Connell Memorial Church of the Holy Cross in recognition of O'Connell's human rights leadership in both Ireland and Britain. The time is surely right for Britain to recognise this outstanding member of the House of Commons, and I urge Irish Independent readers to support this campaign.Alan Whelan,Heronsforde, London Boom led to Ireland's decline

Fred Meaney highlights the fact that "there are so many things in our society that are not acceptable" (Letters, August 30).

He fails to mention the fact that all of these problems were made much worse by the bankrupting of the country by the decisions of a small number of its most powerful citizens during the years of the boom. The biggest calamity since independence was missed by those who are now complaining about its consequences.

A Leavy, Sutton, Dublin 13

A return to 'puke football'

For the last week I looked forward to the replay of the SFC semi-final. I, along with many others, thought it very unfair to ask these warriors to go back out within six days and go to war once again, especially as they are amateurs.

However, both sets of players, like so many times in the past, just wanted to wear the county jersey with pride and worry about injuries later. Though the game between Kerry and Mayo was exciting it was - as best described some years ago by the game's finest-ever footballer - 'puke football'. I can't ever remember seeing any team engage in so much pulling and dragging. It certainly had little to do with football.

The winners of yesterday's semi-final will sleep easy in their beds and not have too many nightmares, I'm sure.

Fred Molloy, Glenville, Dublin 15

Obama must stand up to Putin

US President Barack Obama needs to grow a spine, take a leaf from Reaganist foreign policy, and meet expansionist Russian President Vladimir Putin head on. Send American soldiers to Ukraine - at Kiev's request, of course - and call Putin's bluff. No Russian soldier will kill an American one outside a declared state of war, in the knowledge that to do so would itself create that state of war.

With their advance halted by an American presence, backed by the 10,000-odd soldiers NATO is mobilising in the area, any further Russian incursions will be prevented, and an end will have been put to this episode once and for all.

Killian Foley-Walsh, Kilkenny city

Squeezed middle have it easy

References to the so-called squeezed middle in pursuit of a particular agenda simply don't bear scrutiny. Many of these people or families have a weekly income, after tax, of €1,000 or more, when tax breaks and the very significant college fee subsidy are taken into account. Yet many families have to get by on a weekly income of less than a third of that.

These are the people who are truly being squeezed. At this back-to-school time they will be driven, by sheer need, into the arms of moneylenders. In fact, they are regularly squeezed till they cry out in pain, at which point gardai are often called.

They did not have the capital to take part in an irresponsible property investment binge, yet they have ended up paying for one, ironically. The so-called squeezed middle might, more accurately, be referred to as 'middle income, high expectation'.

Cadhla Ni Frithile, Clonard, Wexford

Fishing not an option in Famine

Tommy Shields (Letters, August 29) tells how upon visiting a museum in Kerry he happened upon two words - "fishing failed" in relation to the Great Famine. "Surely fishing could not have failed all around the coasts of Ireland?" he asked.

The Famine had its most devastating effect in the west of Ireland. Unfortunately the west coast also has our most treacherous waters.

By the time of the Famine, Ireland had been deforested and timber was at a premium. The only boat available to the inhabitants was the curragh - a small boat made of animal hide covering a light timber frame. These boats were incapable of deep sea fishing and were extremely dangerous in the Atlantic Ocean.

Another problem was the lack of refrigeration and the high cost of preservation salts. In effect, this meant that, even if large quantities of fish had been caught, there was no means of preserving for transport inland.

John Bellew, Dunleer, Co Louth

Ryanair check-ins 'unfair'

I am appalled by the way in which Ryanair is now operating online check-ins. While checking in online for my trip on August 30 from Dublin to Zadar, in Croatia, I found that I could not check in for my return flight and print the boarding pass until seven days and two hours before departure.

What this means is, that in order to print my return boarding pass before leaving the country, I have to pay €5 per person per seat for the privilege of printing the relevant pass.

Where I am travelling to in Zadar has no internet access and my departing flight leaves early in the morning on August 30 (the only time I could possibly print the pass while still in Ireland). I think this new practice is very unfair

Margaret Jacob, Address with Editor

Time to act on hare coursing

The Minister for Arts and Heritage, Heather Humphreys, has a peculiar attitude to the preservation and protection of wildlife.

On August 13, she condemned the illegal shooting of a protected peregrine falcon. She stated: "It is intolerable for birds of prey and other wildlife to be persecuted, poisoned or shot". She also expressed concern that the incident might impugn our international image as a nation that treasures its wildlife heritage.

Less than 48 hours later, Ms Humphreys issued a licence permitting the capture of hares for coursing, in which they will serve as live bait for greyhounds. Thousands of the timid creatures will be netted in the Irish countryside. A percentage will die in the struggle to break free and others will perish in captivity. And on coursing day a percentage will be mauled or forcibly struck by the muzzled but hyped-up greyhounds.

The minister issued the hare coursing licence despite numerous appeals from animal protection and conservation groups not to do so.

John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny

Irish Independent

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