Sunday 25 September 2016

Sportswomen have a right to proper, modern facilities

Published 25/08/2015 | 02:30

Ireland’s Six Nations’ winning captain Niamh Briggs. But are we doing enough to encourage women in sport?
Ireland’s Six Nations’ winning captain Niamh Briggs. But are we doing enough to encourage women in sport?

The lack of proper private changing facilities for women in sports stadiums was recently brought to my attention by a friend whose young daughter was interested in rugby. Unfortunately, she was deterred at the outset from her dream sport on experiencing embarrassment and fear in the changing room, all for want of these basic necessities. On this occasion a quick change was necessary for a female game, after a male one had just finished.

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So many women are now involved in a variety of competitive sport that it's natural to expect they should be equally encouraged and appreciated as their male counterparts. This is obviously not so in the provision of first-class private ladies' changing cubicles, showers, toilets and coaching rooms in many stadiums.

The influx of women to competitive sport and physical activities has been a gradual process over the past 20 years, and planners of new venues hadn't the foresight to grasp the rapidity of change and current demands. Hopefully the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be a true replica of modern essentials.

Women's lib is not an issue. It's the inspiration and excitement contributed by such accomplished young stars as Katie Taylor, Stephanie Roche, Olive Loughnane and others that ignite the popularity of female sports. These young ladies - and hundreds like them - who choose a goal for which they are willing to exchange a piece of their lives for our entertainment deserve the highest respect and support in their efforts.

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary

Tackle this problem now

I was delighted, like everyone else, to watch the recent Galway versus Tipperary All-Ireland hurling semi-final. However, the thing that really disappointed me was the attention, or lack of it, given to the tackle on Seamus Callanan in the 63rd minute, which was extremely dangerous, as he was forced head-first into the ground.

This incident wasn't given any attention in the following day's Irish Independent, and only one of the so-called experts mentioned it. What he said about it was just that "Callanan was rugby tackled". That would be like reporting that Brian O'Driscoll was "rugby tackled" in the first Lions test in 2005.

Others shared my view. Consultant Physician Dr Mary Ryan wrote a letter (Irish Independent, August 21) in which she said that "after rewatching the tackle several times, it could have left Mr Callanan with a permanent disability".

If this sort of tackle is not highlighted now, what would be the outcome of another copy of this "rugby tackle"? Giving away a penalty and getting a yellow card is a risk defenders will take, but the next attacking player might not be as lucky as Mr Callanan.

Aidan O'Rourke

Kilmallock, Co Limerick

The endgame nears

Sunday, August 23, 2015 is a day that should be noted in history. This was the day when two sovereign European states, Serbia and Macedonia, opened their borders to a mass of poor, unidentified people hoping for a better life in Europe.

This echoes Berlin in 1989 when the Soviet troops realised the endgame of the Soviet state had arrived.

European states no longer have the means nor the will to maintain their tired, decaying systems. The endgame has begun.

Tom O'Brien

Coalisland, Co Tyrone

Same old sorry story

Tim Pat Coogan is letting some people off the hook when he tells us that "it was government by 'The Boys', the Men in the Know, who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing" that caused "a massive increase in suicide, emigration, homelessness, unemployment and national unhappiness" (Irish Independent, August 24).

What about the boys and girls of the media who cheer-led the celebrity culture during the boom? At that time, budgets which saw public expenditure rise by more than 50pc over one three-year period were labelled "responsible". The few who raised questions were scoffed at as "marginal whingers" for pointing out that everything in the garden might not be as rosy as was painted in the media at the time.

The problem is that nothing much has changed. As happened during the boom, much of the current media coverage consists of political celebrities who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, scoffing at austerity and denouncing the very idea that vital public services have to be paid for.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Decriminalising drugs

Regarding Jillian Godsil's article about the alleged War on Drugs (Irish Independent, August 21), apparently it is over. When was it ever happening? So ferocious has the State's war on drugs been that drugs are bought and consumed with gay abandon. There has been de facto decriminalisation of drugs in this country since the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, so closely modelled on the UK's equivalent Act of 1971.

Ms Godsil knows perfectly well that people who have lung cancer cannot choose to stop having lung cancer. People who take drugs can and do choose to stop. Ms Godsil admits that she smoked cigarettes for 20 years. If her "addiction" was incapable of being defeated then, surely she could never have stopped? But she did. She chose to stop.

I must agree that cigarettes would never be permitted to enter the market had they been invented today. I suspect alcohol would be viewed similarly.

Both of these drugs cause enormous damage in our society. Quite how the existence of two destructive drugs is an argument for legalising a third or a fourth, I am very unsure.

Curiously, the ill-effects of the banned drugs is never discussed. Cannabis (supposedly a 'soft' drug) has been linked to lower IQ. Further, it has been linked to erratic and violent behaviour: "Those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad."

Indeed. As we stupefy ourselves we turn our backs on all in need of our help in this world, and we ignore what is wrong and selfishly pursue our own pleasures. What sort of a society wants that?

Finally, I must ask who it is that will benefit from legalising drugs. The commercial sale of these drugs will no doubt be carried out by the same kinds of big, international companies that we distrust with hamburgers and fizzy drinks. Why would we trust them with mind-altering substances?

Shane Quinn

Marino, Dublin 3

Irish Independent

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