Racism has no place in a civilised society
Published 24/07/2015 | 02:30
Racism in all its ugly vileness is rearing its evil head in this country. The latest manifestation of this depravity is the vicious attack on the home of a defenceless family in Clondalkin, Dublin.
"Blacks out" was sprayed across the front door and walls of an unfortunate woman's home. She and her two children had to leave and seek refuge with a friend. It is too horrible to contemplate. I'm glad to say that the woman's neighbours have condemned this dreadful attack and the people of the area have expressed their sympathy and full support for her.
Let us ask ourselves what kind of devils can behave in this sickening way? What kind of evil, depraved individuals think that this is the behaviour of any normal human being?
How could they imagine that it is acceptable to inflict such suffering on a poor woman and her two little children? Such sick individuals have no place in a civilised society.
The gardaí must do everything possible to bring them to justice and the sentence of the court should reflect the gravity of the offence.
We desperately need to have proper, enforceable anti-hate laws in this country. Every effort must be made to help this woman and her family, and we must do all in our power to stamp out the evil of racism in our country.
Let's reject and condemn all manifestations of racism and make it a very serious crime.
Silly season on seagulls
In recent days we have been subjected to a spate of silly season scare stories about seagulls attacking dogs, terrorising sheep in Kerry, diving like Stukas from the Nazi Luftwaffe on cross-country ramblers and cyclists and "colonising" entire fields.
As the stories got bigger with the telling, imaginations ran wild, fuelling even darker fears of the kind explored in Alfred Hitchcock's horror movie 'The Birds'.
Senator Denis O'Donovan rose to the occasion, as he saw it, by demanding a cull. Similar calls have been doing the rounds on social media and in thousands of phone texts criss-crossing the land.
The senator's outrage against the gulls reminded me of another debate, back in the mid-1970s, when a politician claimed that hares could remove babies from prams if not controlled and kept under constant observation by coursing clubs.
Let's not get carried away by anti-gull hysteria. This breathtakingly beautiful creature is part of the fabric of the planet's avian environment, a graceful bird that occupies a special place in the literature and folklore of many island nations. Gulls add a musical resonance to a walk along a coastline or on the country roads a little farther inland. The seas and oceans of the world would be dull indeed without them.
In Ireland, they are a protected species and that status should not be altered in the slightest. Bird-brained calls for the mass killing of gulls are motivated by ignorance of their intrinsic value to the ecosystem, their remarkable intelligence and highly evolved social structures.
Senator O'Donovan and other members of the Oireachtas who share his analysis of bird behaviour are entitled to their views, but let's not rush to judgment and scapegoat our feathered if occasionally strident friends. We've been gulled by politicians for long enough in this country!
Callan, Co Kilkenny
I was not impressed by Liam Collins's aggressive rant against the seagull population (Irish Independent, July 22). Extermination was top of his list as a way of avoiding "gulls as big as dogs" eating fast-food leftovers on our city centre streets.
Did it ever occur to Mr Collins that these over-sized birds may be suffering from obesity due to an addiction to fast food? It's a habit that was no doubt learned from the multitude of human consumers who stuff their faces with this rubbish and dump what they can't finish on the path.
I believe that before embarking on his culling campaign, Mr Collins should first examine the laws that permit fast-food outlets to operate on every second street in city centres throughout the country.
Obesity has become a huge problem in Ireland. The throwaway culture that has become endemic is crippling not only the population but our natural habitat as well.
So stop blaming the birds for becoming opportunistic and start pointing the finger at the flourishing fast-food industry.
I enjoyed Liam Collins's article on seagulls. Thankfully, in this part of the island we have not encountered this problem - yet.
Judging by Mr Collins's picture, he is not yet of my vintage, but I still think his lemonade bottle was worth 3d - as mine was - and not 3p.
Apologies to Liam if his picture has not done him justice.
Headford, Co Galway
Rather than cull the gulls, why not clean the streets? Then the gulls won't come down to clean up, and if people are worried about the decline in the small bird population, they should observe the law and not trim hedges during the nesting season.
The year Ireland partied
With three new political parties launched this year, will 2015 become known as the year Ireland partied?
Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Do today's Irishmen and women still occasionally encounter leprechauns, pookas, banshees or any of the other various Irish fairies' kith and kin?
Or has modernity banished the fairy folk to the shadow lands of legend and lore?
In the hope of learning whether fairies still haunt the Irish countryside or lurk within secluded urban byways, I am attempting to conduct what might be called an Irish Fairy Census throughout the land.
I wish to invite your readers to share with me any first-hand encounters they may have experienced with Irish supernatural beings in any of their elusive and fascinating forms.
I may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at 12364 Summit Ridge Drive, Nevada City, California 95959, USA.
Nevada City, California, USA