Sunday 23 October 2016

When Martin O'Neill said 'queer', it's like he spat the word out

(An open letter to Martin O'Neill) Dear Mr O'Neill.

Published 14/06/2016 | 02:30

Manager Martin O’Neill. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Manager Martin O’Neill. Photo: Kyran O’Brien

First, a small bit of background. I'm 54 years of age and gay, and, believe me, grew up in times when being gay was very difficult. In my younger years, very few people came 'out' as gay.

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Even now, there is, believe it or not, still a stigma attached. Hence it can be difficult for some to accept that they are gay and it can lead to all sorts of trauma. Which can lead to detrimental anguish and finality.

The marriage referendum being passed does not mean that being gay is any easier. There is still a lot of anti-gay feeling and sentiment out there.

With that in mind, I have to say that I found your "queer" remark very offensive. It really does show a side of you that I never thought existed. I know you apologised, and while that is the appropriate thing to do, I just can't get around the fact you said it and that that is your opinion of gay people.

We know soccer is a macho sport and perhaps that is an image you (and Roy ) have to exhibit. I think I may have even accepted the term "gay" but when someone says "queer", it's like the word is spat out. Why would you think that if you and Roy went to a tournament on your own that it might be perceived as you being "queer". What a ridiculous opinion to hold.

Finally, let me say I am not one to usually take umbrage, and certainly not at my age. In my life, believe me when I say, being gay was definitely something not to be identified as.

Now I thank God that I am well passed what other people think and am proud to be gay. I would never deny my sexuality, as it is what I am.

And just to put you and Roy at ease. You might be surprised to find out that not all "queers " find you or Roy as worthy catches.

Gerard O'Rourke
Co Dublin

EU must recognise Anglo-Irish ties

The various commentators and politicians expressing concern over the possible effects of Brexit on British-Irish trade, immigration and the Border with Northern Ireland seem to be ignoring the fact that any problems would not be caused by a Britain's exit but rather by continued Irish membership of the EU.

Britain and Ireland have had a common travel area since 1923 and undoubtedly Britain would be happy for that to continue. Similarly Britain would be happy to continue free trade with Ireland without Border posts. If there are to be any restrictions they will be imposed on Ireland at the behest of the EU and not by Britain.

If the EU is really interested in Ireland and its national interests then it would accept that the geographical position of Ireland means that it will need to negotiate travel and trade agreements with Britain directly rather than via Brussels.

If the EU is not willing to allow Ireland to do this and Ireland accepts that, then that surely is a betrayal of the independence that Ireland fought for 100 years ago.

Neil Addison (barrister)
New Bailey Chambers, Duke Street, Liverpool

Ireland should break for the border

As one living a few miles from the Border, no one wants a Trump-like barrier between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

And it can be avoided even if Brexit wins the UK referendum! Enda Kenny has rightly pointed out that the Republic has more to lose than any other EU country. Likewise, commentators have made it clear that a Brexit would be disastrous for farmers in the Republic as the UK is the largest importer of their produce.

Just as the Republic joined the EEC on the same day as the UK, let reality prevail and prepare for the Republic leaving the EU the same day if the UK does so. Then there would still be no border!

Lord Kilclooney (former MEP)
Mullinure, Co Armagh

Pundits need to pick up their game

I find in many cases the level of basic grammar surrounding punditry, certainly in the case of Gaelic and soccer, to be of a poor standard betimes.

Examples - "the lad done well", "the referee seen it and did nawtin", "I'da likin to see him havin' a shot" - etc.

Mind you, while my own grammar is reasonable, I could never 'kick a ball out of my way'. There, done I am like!

Tom Gilsenan
Beaumont, Dublin 9

Greatest day in Irish rugby history

Saturday, June 11 was the greatest day ever in the history of Irish rugby. Ireland beat the mighty Springboks for the first time on their own turf in South Africa. More remarkable still they did it with just 14 players.

For good measure, the Irish under 20s became the first male Ireland team to beat a hitherto invincible All Black side.

You made us all proud and wrote your names in the gallery of the greats. Congratulations to all concerned.

Ed Toal
Galway City

Ali and the Western psyche

It is wrong that Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob (Irish Independent, June 11) is using the death of Muhammad Ali to insult people with a 'Western psyche' to tout his view of politics.

Muhammad Ali tried to unite people, not insult or divide. That's why he was loved. And respected.

The beauty of the Western world is that we live by the principles of Magna Carta, the principles on which our judicial systems are founded, principles no king, no pope, not even a god are permitted to over-rule. That is the Western psyche, and we can be proud of it. Maybe Mr Al Qutob should learn from Ali.

Monica Muller
Rossport South, Ballina, Co Mayo

Religious segregation in schools

Rob Sadlier (Irish Independent, June 10) is being disingenuous in comparing religious segregation in northern schools and segregation in religious instruction in community schools in the Republic.

These are two very different things. He must be aware that in the northern context, children were completely segregated - Catholic children went to entirely Catholic schools, Protestant children to Protestant schools. This reduced any chances of interaction between school children of different faiths during school hours.

In southern community schools, children of different faith backgrounds study almost all subjects together and therefore mix and learn about each other during the majority of school time.

It is only in their religious education (a small proportion of their school week) that they study apart, which makes perfect sense.

Only a secularist with no real grasp of what 'religion' means to its adherents could think it reasonable to oblige people of different faiths to attend religious instruction of other faiths.

Religious instruction is not the same as Comparative Religious Studies.

This is notwithstanding the fact that he has lamented often enough in his letters to this paper that atheist secularists have to endure any level of religion in public life whatsoever.

A further fact he seeems willing to ignore is that 'different religion' implied 'different politics' in Northern Ireland. Because of this we had to endure dreadful situations such as at Holy Cross, where Catholic schoolchildren were terrorised on their way to school by loyalist families.

Nick Folley
Carrigaline, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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