What’s behind the anti-English World Cup sentiment?
Published 20/07/2014 | 02:30
Madam - Friends I made in London while working there told me they were coming to Dublin on holiday during in the World Cup and wished to experience the atmosphere in one of Dublin’s pubs while watching England playing.
Before my friends’ arrival I decided to sample the attitude of the patrons in a number of pubs to see how many, like President Higgins and my humble self, were supporting England in the World Cup.
I knew many Irish would support any team but England. However, I was not prepared for my experience in the first pub I visited. When Italy scored their first goal everyone in the pub, including members of staff, erupted into loud cheering. When England equalised I was the only one to applaud. This clearly was not a pub to host my English friends during their visit.
At half time I headed off down road and found another pub that looked good – it had a sign indicating that “neat dress” was essential. But once inside I realised that keeping a civil tongue in one’s head was not essential. The air was blue with the kind of language that would make Mrs Brown and her boys blush. The owner also seemed to think that patrons required loud background music even during football matches.
Finally I found a pleasant haven for my English tourist friends, a pub where attitudes and behaviour appeared more acceptable and some customers even cheered for England.
There is a widespread presumption that all tourists will automatically enjoy our pub culture without question. But from some of my excursions I can tell that many of our visitors are irritated by some our habits. Chief among them is the almost continuous – and loud – foul language. And I can tell you they are not amused by the high prices of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, either.
Could there be any connection between the apparent rise in anti-English sentiment and the rise of Sinn Fein?
Some way to go to being proud
Throughout the civilised world Irish people are considered kind just and considerate and in most cases they are entitled to be thought of in that way. In the past few months or years however many scandals of abuse have come to light. All of these scandals were well known to have happened by people in authority but unless they were forced to speak out they stayed silent.
There was the Magdaline Laundry abuse, the priests who abused so many and were allowed to stay within the Church, the unfortunate women who suffered at the hands of those who performed symphysiotomy on mothers trying to give birth to their children. But none of these atrocities could have happened without the State being aware of them.
Today surely we are all similarly aware of the terrible situation of the homeless, the drug addicted, the people living in poverty, the youth of our country forced to emigrate or to take a job at €50 a week plus social welfare.
Seven years ago the State saw it necessary to enact a law overnight to secure the repayment to bondholders to the tune of some €60 to 80 billion. Surely the vulnerable are entitled to the same kind of help, or is the law different when it comes to the poor.
Should we not demand that there be proper facilities provided for the sick, that is all the sick whether caused by drugs or otherwise? Should we not be ashamed to see our own sleeping on the street?
Are we the laughing stock to the rest of the world for saving the Euro, but in the process, putting ourselves in penury, a situation likely to last for the foreseeable future?
Are our politicians not ashamed to see our people in the state that they are now living in? Try living on the minimum wages to achieve a better understanding.
When we have righted all the wrongs done to the poor and the sick, then, and only then, can we hold our heads up and say Yes, we are proud to be Irish.
Coalition’s policies are “immoral”
Madam - Re last week’s letter “How others live” (Sunday Independent, 13 July, 2014), my Civil Service pension is €13,309 gross per annum, a cost neutral pension accepted in 2005 due to personal circumstances.
Since 2008 not only has there been no increase but I have been subjected to a Pension reduction of 1.3pc together with USC charge of 4.95pc .
With VHI of 21pc I have a take home pay of €184 per week. Even “dole” recipients get more than this and yet I am, as a civil servant, excluded from all benefits available to welfare claimants and the low paid.
After 35 years service I am to live on €184 per week. Destitute does not even begin to describe my circumstances. I am devastated and sickened beyond words.
The imposition of these taxes may have been warranted but government’s retention of these taxes on a miniscule income is an amoral act by every member of government. And in conclusion, though I of course include it, please do not print my name and address. I am humiliated enough as it is.
(Name and address with Editor)
Help available for distressed Mamils
Madam- I am writing regarding Shane Doran’s article “Confession of a Mamil”. I have to take issue with this piece which ridicules the beneficial sporting pursuits being taken up by middle aged men. I am one of those seemly offensive men enjoying cycling. I have now moved on to become one of those lycra loving triathletes.
The article highlights a very negative experience a journalist endured after borrowing a carbon fibre bike and hitting the road with no preparation. Perhaps a journalist could be sent to interview a cardioligist or bariatric surgeon to highlight the beneficial gains obtained by exercising in your middle age.
There was no mention of the Mawil (Middle aged women in lycra). Personally I would like to congratulate all those brilliant ladies who have turned to running, cycling and triathalon in their droves.
Regarding injuries, many clubs now set up training programmes suited to all levels. Most people are sensible enough to take a gradual increase in performance avoiding the physio.
To end, a big hello to all those fantastic people who have got off the sofa and enjoy the thrill of exercise at any age. My vote is for more closed off cycle ways and funding for triathalon.
No offence intended towards the journalist who wrote the entertaining article. I realise it was written in a light hearted way .
Lough Key Triathalon Club,
Fair air play for Irish musicians
Madam- Well done to Johnny Duhan for his piece on airplay procedures and practices in Irish radio. As someone who is about to release an independently financed album, I’d like to think I would earn some small reasonable amount of royalties for what airplay I garner. It would help offset my costs and further develop my musical productions and hopefully evolve into a small business enterprise for me.
If singer/songwriters of Mr. Duhan’s proven calibre are having difficulty getting airplay royalties, what chance does an unknown entity like myself stand?
If radio stations use our music and do not pay, is this not akin to theft ?
I have spent time joining IMRO, obtaining ISRC codes and getting an album together over many long hours of labour, only to find that I may not even be paid the due royalties if I manage to get a bit of airplay, because of a poor and under-developed sampling system.
My belief is that the computer technology, software and hardware are out there to facilitate a 100pc reporting of airplay listings to IMRO, but radio stations resist the change because they see it as an increased financial burden on their businesses.
What of the financial burdens of the creative artist ? The recording of airplay listings and submissions of same is not as manually labour intensive an operation as in the past and surely if ISRC codes are used, automatic logging should occur in the majority of cases and should guarantee a royalty payment. Have we not a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to oversee and regulate here also? These are some of the questions that I would like answered. If we do not value our music and artists, and stand up for fair pay for air play, then society, and the economy as a whole lose out and the native Irish music Industry suffers. If the seedlings in the nursery are not tended and fed, then the crop yield of future musical talent will not flourish.
Trusting SF to break its promises
Madam - At election time, the question usually is, “Can political parties be trusted to keep their promises?” However, in the case of Sinn Fein, the question should be; “Can Sinn Fein be trusted to break its promises”? As it is, Sinn Fein promises on public sector pay will lead to a brain drain of the most talented from the Civil Service. Its promises on taxation will frighten off both foreign and domestic investment.
Of course if we can trust Sinn Fein to break their promises, then maybe everything will be fine. Dorcha Lee,
Reshuffle was just window dressing
Madam - Having read the lead story on the front page of your paper (Sunday Independent, 13 July 2014) I could not help but notice that all the members of the Labour Party were interested in was who was going to get what portfolio in the re-shuffle and who was going to get the position of junior minister.
There was no mention by any of them about serving the people the party was established to represent. The so-called strained relationship between the new leader of the Labour Party and the leader of Fine Gael is only window dressing, to create the impression that the Labour Party under Joan Burton is now going to be somewhat radical. However, one has only to remember that this new leader was a part of the old guard, which helped to implement the austerity measures now in place. Joan Burton is also on record as saying that she would continue to support the programme for government.
This party can no longer claim to represent those it was founded to fight for.
Dr Tadhg Moloney,
We feel good but don’t get results
Madam- Congratulations to Patrick Fleming for his letter on letters to the editor being chosen as the “Letter of the Week.”
I do not expect this letter to be given such an honour nor do I expect that it will be published. Why? National newspaper in this country will not print letters of substance or letters that require the mass media to be held accountable. (Space does not allow me to support these two premises but if asked to do so by the editor I will gladly do so.)
Ninty-nine per cent of the letters to editors are “feel good expressions” of the writer without the expectation that there will be any follow-up or change resulting in society. Seldom do editors allow on-going discussion between letter writers and those in positions of power and influence. In short - letter writing to editors of newspapers in this country can best be described as a feel good moment without any result.
Vincent J. Lavery,
Irish Free Speech Movement,
We must adapt to our circumstances
Madam - Reporting and analysis of economic matters by Irish media is determined to give only one view of a very altered economic situation. In a century that is defined by the excellence and genius of technology there has never been the slightest attempt to examine the effect of such technology .The reality of an entirely changed situation of goods/service supply and dependence on human labour is never mentioned and events which raise questions on these vital matters conveniently ignored and repressed.
Last week the UK price index showed one of the greatest annual price index reductions ever recorded. This may appear good but it’s it an alarming wake-up call of what is happening in the business markets of the world. There is such a glut and oversupply of goods and services that competition is cut-throat and profits reduced and eliminated like never before. Business is failing on all sides and can only lead to monstrous monopolisation unless oversupply is managed and restrained. Yet the call from political and economic journalistic circles is a return to “growth”; increasing further the flood of goods and services that feed madcap promotions, constant sales and tantalizing special offers which increase weekly the percentage of the shopping trolley going into landfill.
In matters of work and employment the lack of balanced reporting and comment is even more deplorable. Automation, which is truly awesome and improving, is never mentioned in the struggle to provide jobs. Indeed policies lauded and encouraged by the media are utterly counterproductive and detrimental towards providing employment into the future. Working harder, longer and towards later retirement only ensures that greater numbers will never work at all.
Economic success is gauged by the ease and reduced interest at which we conduct “bond” sales; in other words borrow. There is no other ambition and our Government has been extremely successful. We are welcome clients at the “bond market” counters having proved conclusively there is no austerity or hardship we will not inflict on the Irish people to repay the conversion of defaulted private borrowing to public long term debt. Recent revelations on troubled Portuguese Banking reveal just how fragile supposed “recovery” is and how easily the whole absurd edifice could crumble.
These are dreadful times for many. But in reality we live in the best economic times that ever existed. Apart from extraordinarily enhanced living conditions we can produce everything the world needs and desires in great abundance.
But we are turning this almost Utopian situation into a nightmare. Practically all our misfortunes are self- inflicted and can be traced back to our inability to deal with the success of technology. A world of abundance, sufficiency and automation can not be administered by an ideology of shortage, growth and work. We must adapt to extraordinary and wonderful economic change wrought by the genius of technology. We have no hope of doing so as long as media exercises a stranglehold of censorship on considering and discussing the enormous and benign impact of modern technology on the economic situation in the 21st century.