Social issues should not be dealt with Constitutionally
Published 21/08/2014 | 02:30
All this hand wringing about abortion and other social issues is so typically Irish and makes one fear that despite everything over the last six years, nothing has changed.
I think we all know that there won't be any meaningful reform or change as long as Enda Kenny's generation of the grey old men from the 1970s is still in control. Mr Kenny is nothing if not the political son of Liam Cosgrave.
The 1937 Constitution is clearly not fit for purpose and was written for an Ireland in a period of time that has no connection to the reality of how Irish people live today.
It lacks the classical simplicity of the US or French constitutions, which have both stood the test of time and have been able to adapt to societal changes.
A constitution is not the place to enter clauses concerning social issues like marriage, abortion, gay rights or the role of women or men in society. These are issues that should be removed and dealt with by legislation that reflects the popular will of the people at any given point in time and can be changed accordingly.
If you are against gay marriage, then don't marry a gay person, and their right to marry won't affect your life in any way.Similarly, if you object to abortion for personal or religious reasons, then you won't have an abortion, no matter what the circumstances of your crisis pregnancy. But that doesn't give you the right to deny another women her right to make her own decision if she finds herself with a crisis pregnancy.
Get the excuses in early
It is a week-and-a half away and already excuses are being put forward in case Dublin should defeat Donegal in the SFC semi-final
It's the sponsorship, it's the professional approach, it's the physical fitness, it's Dublin being unfair in playing their opponents with 15 players on the field.
Go back to the 1970s and see how fair the great Kerry teams were when they completely dominated Gaelic football. Remember in 1974 a Dublin team from B/Division won the All-Ireland when they defeated Galway.On their way to victory, they defeated the holders of the Sam Maguire when they beat Cork in the semi-final.
Back then, it was the great Kevin Heffernan who lifted Gaelic football from the doldrums and created a following that has lasted to this day, There was no big sponsorship - it was brains and heart that saw the boys in blue show the rest of Ireland how the game should be played.
In fairness to the Kerry team of 1975, they beat us at our own game - they learned from the Dubs about the man running off the ball, the short hand pass, and, above all else, total discipline, total commitment.
So before I hear any more complaining about how well this Dublin team is looked after, remember that Gaelic football is a simple game - it takes belief and effective execution of a team's skills.
Don't moan if you are defeated because your players stayed in their own half for the whole of the match.
In short, stop whining and get on with the game!
Scant regard for human life
"We are led by the least of us," said US writer Terence McKenna.
People are being killed on this planet at an alarming rate.
IS is rampaging through the deserts of the Middle East, people are dying in the conflict in Gaza, blood is being shed in Ukraine, and these are just the current news stories.
The civil war is still, I presume, raging in Syria, and Africa has so many different conflicts that you cannot keep up with them. And you can be fairly sure that there are some conflicts we haven't even heard of.
It seems that there is a very little value placed on human life.
I think we may be a little arrogant to suggest that man is the most intelligent animal on the planet - mice seem to have more cop on!
Attymon, Co Galway
Pylon plan will create jobs
Ralph Riegel tells us that Tour de France and Giro d'Italia star Sean Kelly has joined a local campaign (CAP) to oppose the proposed pylon grid which will eventually link Munster to Leinster (Irish Independent, August 18).
One wonders why Mr Riegel mentioned either the Tour or the Giro, as Mr Kelly won neither, though he did win the Veulta, the Tour of Spain, which the article did not mention.
This pylon plan is a good one and will bring jobs and investment into parts of rural Ireland which have been suffering for too long.
Foulksmills, Co Wexford
Pope is made of sterner stuff
For some time now, some commentators have been making invidious, childish comparisons between the relative merits of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. In reality, both men bring their own unique personalities to the "job".
Pope Benedict came across as a gentle, quiet theologian and scholar, while Pope Francis appears to have a more outgoing personality. However, never was there a case of outward appearances being more deceptive.
While Pope Benedict, as the scholar, was reluctant to use the 'big stick', Pope Francis seems to be made of sterner stuff.
What has escaped the attention of many commentators is that in his relatively short pontificate to date, Pope Francis has enforced two excommunications. The first was of the Australian priest, Fr Greg Reynolds. He was excommunicated by Pope Francis because he campaigned for women priests.
The second was the leader of the Austrian "We Are Church" faction, Martha Heizer. She was excommunicated by Pope Francis for supporting women priests and married clergy.
Navan, Co Meath
What planet is Howlin on?
Brendan Howlin is in favour of the reintroduction of payments to recognise high performance.
Is he living on the same planet as the rest of us?
You pay high salaries to people to get high performance, so why go overboard and give them something further? People are recruited to work to the best of their ability - if they don't, they should be let go, not given a bonus for something they should have been doing in the first place.
Farmhill Drive, Dublin 14
More to craft beer than IPA
I would like to congratulate your paper for its coverage of the beers being produced in Ireland today and the stories behind the brewers that make them.
However, after reading the piece by Liam Campbell (Irish Independent, August 16), I wouldn't want your readers to think that the range of craft beers being made today solely consists of India Pale Ales (IPAs). There's a vibrant beer scene in Ireland and the IPA is but just one style, albeit a popular one.
There's a wide range of beer styles, from lager to porters and stout right through to barley wine and a number of beers aged in whiskey barrels. These are made by a growing number of small, independent producers. Some are already winning international awards and more will undoubtedly follow.
It is important that these brewers continue to receive coverage in the press. This will encourage people not only to seek them out but to actually try their beers.
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4