Friday 30 September 2016

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Published 04/08/2015 | 02:30

‘Roger Casement’s trial a travesty’
‘Roger Casement’s trial a travesty’

Ben Macintyre, a correspondent of 'The Times' of London, on July 31 described Roger Casement as a traitor and a homosexual.

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Casement was Irish, born in Dublin and captured in Kerry where his enemies dared not trust any jury to find him guilty of treason. So he was tried by a jury in London. Leading the prosecution was England's Attorney-General, FE Smith, who two years previously was organising a proto-Freikorps to defy the British government and crown forces in arms.

The London trial was a travesty. Casement's reputation rests alongside that of Robert Emmet, Theobald Wolfe Tone and Lord Edward FitzGerald. He needs no pardon from monarch or commoner. Casement was never charged, let alone convicted by a jury of his enemies, of offences of a sexual nature.

I realise English laws on homosexual acts have been altered since 1916. I had thought that the principle that a man or woman must be presumed innocent until proven guilty had remained unchanged.

Perhaps I missed something?

Donal Kennedy

Palmers Green, London N13, UK


The wages of greed

"Money is the root of all evil" is not an expression merely glossed over today as another wise saying, because we are actually experiencing its harsh reality. We have been inundated over the past weeks with reports of the terrible damage the "dirty stuff" has caused.

The Banking Inquiry, toxic banks controversy, bank officials on trial, tax frauds, forged wills, repossessed houses and, not least, Eurostat placing the boot into the financial fiasco that is Irish Water - all are part and parcel of everyday living. Why? Because they are the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger 'utopia' era that ignited terrible greed and choked our sense of values.

When the Government, bankers and regulators lost the plot, the money flowed through like buttermilk - with no restraints. Human nature being what it is, the gullible loaded with dosh dotted the country with replicas of the house that Jack built. Alas, the inevitable crash came.

The real tragedy was the psychological effect the Celtic Tiger had on society in general. With easy money available, get-rich-quick sideline speculation distracted diligent job concentration and devalued ideas on wages and salaries. The old idiom of "one man, one job" no longer applied. The consequence is the social, economic, institutional and general turmoil that envelops our country.

James Gleeson

Thurles, Co Tipperary


Maulings against GAA spirit

It's a phenomenal achievement to get to the All-Ireland quarter-finals in Croke Park, but I doubt the players from Kildare and Fermanagh will ever remember it like that. Realistically, they didn't expect to win, but to be beaten by such massive margins is unnecessary and humiliating on a personal level for the players involved. This is exactly the sort of thing that causes the depression issues the GAA is trying to combat.

Players taking a break from employment or having only part-time work commitments in order to dedicate all of their efforts to fitness and nutrition will only result in more games like we saw at the weekend. It's not a level playing field. Any team that has to play against Kerry or Dublin are lambs to the slaughter. With the result obvious before the game even begins, it's also not very entertaining for fans who pay a lot of money for tickets.

I love Kerry and Dublin, but this is against the spirit of the GAA and should be discouraged.

Margaret O'Sullivan

Wilton, Co Cork


Tell us more about Yeats

I think your recent article (Irish Independent, July 26) is a little unjust to WB Yeats, who liked the fairer sex. He employed women as actors and Golden Dawn members, and in your own article you say that he shouted down Máire Ní Shuiblaigh, but not Miss Algood, so maybe he just had likes and dislikes? But he had his daughter educated well and never talked down to her.

It's true that Yeats flirted with fascism, but so did many in Europe at that time, with the exception of Jews and left-wingers, of whom hundreds were killed before the war. It wasn't until after 1935 that people began seeing Adolf Hitler as evil and uncontrollable. Before that date, people thought he was strong, like Napoleon.

And another thing: Yeats liked lots of Catholics, even though he may not have liked their religion. Apart from Maud Gonne, he was also great friends with Oliver St John Gogarty, Edmund Dulac and all his audience in the theatre and at poetry readings, and his followers of all religions in the Golden Dawn.

Above all, he even fell in love with a Catholic working-class girl and had a son with her - illegitimate of course, but with the very Catholic republican name of Kevin Barry O'Neill.

But in general you are right - we really do need to re-write the biography of Yeats, national poet or not. In our time we want to know more about his private self, not just his public face.

Patricia Hughes

Address with editor


Let Army patrol rural areas

Paul Williams paints a horrific picture of crime and despair in rural Ireland (Irish Independent, August 3). Villagers are plagued by marauding thugs and have no resources to combat robberies and destruction. They see no solution to their problems.

Actually, there are two possible, and very effective, solutions.

The Irish Defence Forces are among the best in Europe. While they provide United Nations services, they are also deployed within Ireland to provide armed guards for cash-in-transit.

Until An Garda Síochána has sufficient manpower to protect villagers in rural Ireland, the Irish Army should be deployed to patrol problem areas. Initially, this would take only one company of soldiers, fully armed, using army trucks, patrolling rural roads from dusk to dawn. Think of the relief of the affected villages. Think of the frustration of marauding thugs. This solution is well within the Defence Forces' mandate.

The second solution is to divorce ourselves from this notion that only the bad guys have guns and the good guys don't need to be armed. This is patently untrue. People who have been victims of crime should be fast-tracked for a firearms licence. If a criminal terrorises you in your own home, you should be able to defend yourself and your family.

This is not rocket science, this is common sense.

It is plain wrong that people in rural Ireland are being made to feel vulnerable and helpless in 2015.

Patricia R Moynihan

Castaheany, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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