Monday 24 October 2016

Pearse engaged in the very thing he had warned about

Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30

Heroic insurgency: Pádraig Pearse. Picture Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Heroic insurgency: Pádraig Pearse. Picture Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before the centenary commemorations fade from our memories, I would like to thank you for the diverse reports and opinions on the Easter Rising published in your columns.

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They explored usefully some controversial aspects of the Rising: whether it was justified in moral, political and military terms; why some armed groups stood aside whilst comrades fought; the course of the fighting itself and the retribution that followed.

But, for me, one central enigma remained unexamined.

In his March 1916 pamphlet 'The Sovereign People', Pádraig Pearse roundly condemned "acts done by anybody purporting to represent the people but not really authorised by the people".

He derided such acts as "usurpation, impertinence, a nullity".

Yet, a few weeks later, Pearse, invoking the sovereignty of the Irish people, led a small band of idealists into a heroic insurgency.

In proclaiming that "Ireland, through us, strikes for her freedom", was he not engaging in the very usurpation that he himself had warned against?

Michael Drury

Brussels, Belgium

Austerity a threat to us all

In 1920, the young British economist John Maynard Keynes, who had attended the Versailles conference as a junior member of the British delegation, wrote a critique titled 'The Economic Consequences of the Peace' whereby he basically stated that without restoration of the German economy the restoration of a stable liberal civilisation and economy in Europe would be impossible.

Nearly 100 years later, we are witnessing, in this writer's opinion, a similar attack by those who argue for austerity to be maintained.

We now have a growth in various right-wing governments and the extremes of political discourse to back it up.

It is my wish that our leading politicians in the EU will learn from our shared history and call a halt to austerity and take lessons from Keynes - otherwise, will the unthinkable happen again?

Paul Doran

Clondalkin, Dublin 22

The Taoiseach and the Border poll

With respect to the Taoiseach, ('Prepare for Border poll in the wake of Brexit' - July 19), the way "East Germany was dealt with" was somewhat exceptional.

As I remember, being "absorbed into West Germany" involved the East's radio and TV stations being closed down overnight and the transmitters being switched to the West.

Then the citizens of the German Democratic Republic were invited to exchange their currency at a ludicrously favourable exchange rate, which almost bankrupted the Federal Republic.

Finally, all the East's secret police files were opened to the public, a process still going on to this day.

Something for everyone, then!

Richard Eames

Waterloo, Merseyside

Might I respectfully suggest that Enda Kenny is woefully mistaken if he believes that the majority of the population of Northern Ireland are prepared to consider a 32-county republic in an effort to remain within the EU.

The two issues are not complementary by any means.

We may, as a region, have voted to remain within the EU, but a clear majority of UK voters, of which we are but a small part, voted to leave, and we have to respect that.

Better the devil you know...

Gareth James

Greyabbey, Co Down

End of trout fish farming

Inland Fisheries Ireland's decision to cease its trout fish farming operations (as advertised in the national media recently) and then go to public consultation is a classic case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

This decision will undoubtedly result in closure of many waters that rely on stocked trout, particularly Brown trout, and the financial case put forward for closure requires scrutiny.

The impact not only on the amenity but the economic loss to the local and national economy also needs to be examined.

Cllr Andrew Duncan (Fine Gael)

Mullingar, Co Westmeath

We must learn from the past

Are we learning from history? Is it now too late to curb the further erosion of civil and human rights in Turkey?

Before the outbreak of the World War II, members of the military in Germany struggled for peace and foresaw the havoc their political representatives were planning and enacting.

With support from international governments in 1944, the 'July Plot' against Adolf Hitler, aimed at ending World War II, could have saved millions of lives.

Eve Parnell

Dublin 8

Levelling the playing field

The proposed blanket ban on Russian athletes in the Rio Olympics seems harsh. Surely, the fairest way to deal with this is to allow all Russian athletes to take part, subject to the administration of a mild counter-balancing sedative before each event?

Gerry O'Donnell

Dublin 15

How to save Gaelic football

As a passionate follower of the GAA, may I make the following suggestions, which might just make Gaelic football a more entertaining spectacle:

(a) a team is allowed three consecutive hand-passes after which the ball must be kicked - to pass or to shoot;

(b) the team in possession of the ball cannot play the ball back into their own half of the field having entered their opponents' half;

(c) The team in possession of the ball has one minute to make an attempt at scoring; failing to do so will result in the loss of possession to the opposition. (Time-keeping and the 'shot clock' should not be the responsibility of the ref.)

(d) A player who makes a 'clean catch' in the middle of the field (only) following a kick-out should be rewarded with a free kick.

In my humble opinion, the implementation of some of these suggestions would make for a much more entertaining spectacle and might just save football from its current state of paralysis and negativity, which has plagued the game in recent years.

KP McEvoy

Rosenallis, Co Laois

The sincerest form of flattery

I think the lovely Mrs Trump had her speech written by Enda Kenny.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

Stirring up trouble for Billy

I can understand Billy Keane's lack of enthusiasm for people playing spoons. The man has enough on his plate running a pub, without fellas (or lassies!) with spoons stirring up trouble.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Irish Independent

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