Monday 29 August 2016

Letters: Western democracies must act over power-seeking Putin

Published 31/07/2014 | 02:30

President Vladimir Putin can be described as a power-seeking missile because he was once a member of the KGB, a tool of the Communist Party which repressed personal freedom and now he has become an ultra Russian nationalist.

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Putin's denial of having any involvement in the crimes currently being committed in the Ukraine is not deceiving the international community and he knows it.

Therefore he shows not only a lack of respect to the Western democracies, but also, by definition, his self-respect as well.

Russia is rich in energy resources such as oil and gas, and has been described as Saudi Arabia with trees.

However, if Putin believes he can use those Russian resources as a weapon to rebuild its empire, he must be faced down now by Western democracies even if it comes at an economic cost as history teaches us appeasement never works.



It's balmy. It is 1am in the morning during July 2014, midweek. I live in an unfinished housing estate and I have to get up for work at 6.30am. I need to close the bedroom windows as the neighbours across the road are partying into the night. None of them have to go to work in the morning as the social are looking after their every need.

They are on their second, maybe third relationship and St Vincent de Paul is calling regularly, no bother. Each one of them has two cars in the driveway much better than my own.

The ice cream van is jingling into the estate daily and their many children are waddling up to the van bloated and obese. The property developer has gone into receivership and has spent the last month on his holidays in the Costa del Sol.

I arrive home at lunchtime and the neighbours are sitting around in their pyjamas, smoking fags and on their mobiles. The estate is choking with weeds along the kerbs and the grass area needs to be cut. One of the neighbours is walking his dog and it's doing its doings on the footpath. Ah what the hell about it! Sure someone else will pick it up or let it lie there.

Last Saturday I was trying to clean up around the estate entrance, when one of the unmarried mothers, who resides in one of the four bedroomed houses, drives up and gives me that "keep out of my way you fool" look.

I pick up the Irish Independent for a browse and see our politicians climbing a fence for their own political gain. As the fella says we are mighty wee country altogether that can keep it all going!



Recently the matter of salaries paid to presenters on RTE TV and radio was raised. The question asked whether we, the public, are entitled to know what each presenter is or was paid. As the wage bill is furnished by Joe Public, it would seem only fair that we are told.

When we tune in to radio and television and listen to the various programmes dealing with the woes of people, the injured party is then finally warned, "take care of yourself and I'm sure this matter will be raised again" followed by a long list of adverts.

Aren't we – the people who pay the wages of the presenters – entitled to know how much we are paying for such brilliant advice?



The Commonwealth Games are under way in Glasgow. As well as many republics around the world, Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own individual teams.

What a pity that the one absentee is the Republic of Ireland. Its participation would enhance competition amongst local nations; stimulate greater interest in sport; and facilitate even better co-operation and understanding between Dublin and Belfast.



As Israel continues to wage horror and unimaginable devastation on the besieged, captive population of Gaza, we ask how much longer will that state be allowed to act with impunity in its breaches of international law against the Palestinian people?

As an occupying power, Israel has a legal, and moral, obligation to protect the people of Gaza. Instead, it has wreaked massive destruction on the territory, killed over 1,200 people, maimed and injured over 5,000 and made hundreds of thousands homeless.

The entire infrastructure of Gaza is being pounded into dust. To call any of these acts self-defence is utter fallacy, Israel's actions over the last 24 days are an affront to humanity.

Gaza Action Ireland, a civil society initiative coming from the Irish Ship to Gaza, fully supports the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). It backs calls for sanctions on Israel, the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and for the Irish Government to take meaningful action for the people of Palestine, living through their 66th year of occupation.

As the thousands of people marching all over the country in solidarity with the Palestinians in the last few weeks attests, the Government has not been acting in our name in this regard, and we say no more to Israel's attacks on Gaza.



Billy Fitzpatrick (Irish Independent, July 29) is wide of the mark in seeking to "indict" John Redmond for calling on young nationalist Irishmen to fight on the British side in the Great War. He claims that this was done "it would seem, on foot of a vague promise of home rule". The reality was much less vague.

The Home Rule Bill, introduced in 1912, had passed all parliamentary stages by May 25, 1914. Although, on the outbreak of the war, Redmond voiced nationalist support for the Allied war effort, he waited seven weeks, until King George had signed the Home Rule Act onto the statute book, before making his recruiting call at Woodenbridge on September 20.

Hailing the successful culmination of the 40-year campaign for Irish self-government, he explicitly framed his call as, in part, the repayment of a 'debt of honour' to Britain for having kept its word.

Mr Fitzpatrick's attempt to drive a wedge between Parnell and Redmond will not work. Both men could insert occasional separatist-sounding phrases into their rhetoric, but both were equally committed to the peaceful attainment of a devolved Irish parliament with power to manage all domestic Irish affairs under the supremacy of the Imperial parliament.

The fact that Home Rule was never implemented, it is true, makes Redmond's recruiting call seem in retrospect a misjudgment. But that failure was due, not to any flaw in the concept itself, but to the lack of an agreed solution to the problem of a million Ulster people who were determined not to be part of it.

That problem was rendered even more intractable by the unmandated conspirators of Easter 1916 and by Mr Fitzpatrick's vaunted War of Independence, which arguably undid whatever goodwill Redmond's previous efforts at conciliation had achieved.


Irish Independent

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