Saturday 1 October 2016

With fans like these, an all-Ireland team would be unbeatable

Published 16/06/2016 | 02:30

Irish fans in Paris for the Euros. Pic:Mark Condren
Irish fans in Paris for the Euros. Pic:Mark Condren

I have watched in earnest the many videos, pictures and commentary on the festivities in France for Euro 2016. I am in no way a football enthusiast, my interests lie elsewhere - but I will admit that nothing makes the soul beam with as much pride as the Irish fans in France.

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Their level of enthusiasm, support, joy and PG fun is above all others. The level of never-ending support and belief to be seen in those stands ensures the status of the Irish as simply the best fans in the world.

Even in times of our worst failures, the fans never said never and kept the momentum going. While the Ireland v Sweden match was in play, the Irish fans took a moment to honour the memory of the Northern Ireland fan Darren Rogers who sadly lost his life after falling from a cliff in Nice.

If fans from opposing teams - who were once enemies - can unite to pay their respects, then perhaps the so-called differences that once separated this great isle now only exists in memory. Our rugby team, which is considered world class, benefits from having players from all corners of the country.

The future of Irish football lies not only in having the best players, but also in having support from all sides. As a country we will benefit from having a stronger team - and at long last the so-called divide can be finally laid to rest.

If we had both teams united together, with the best fans in the world behind us, any future team in Ireland would be unbeatable.

The only question remains, which song to play as our anthem? Why only one? After all, the Irish are noted for singing many, many songs.

Julie Bennett

Mountrath, Co Laois


McWilliams weighs in on Brexit

What a politician David McWilliams is. After several hundred words explaining how we all think, (Irish Independent, June 15) all he can give us is a hunch as to what would happen post-Brexit. How much time and resources has been invested in giving him the title economist?

It all seems such a waste.

Frank Hunt

Ballinasloe, Co Galway.


David McWilliams, a man with a keen finger on our national pulse, has called it correctly once more on the Brexit issue. The cringing embarrassment felt by many as Enda Kenny used the London-Mayo game as a political tool is just an example of how this once-proud nation has succumbed to being a soap box for big business.

If Britain leaves the EU, so what? Why should we worry?

Didn't we spend 800 years trying to get rid of them in the first place? Britain won't go because they will scare their populace into staying.

However, I would have liked to see us think outside the box for a change. Of course a nation that incurred 2pc of total EU bank debt but willingly paid back a whopping 38pc of EU bank debt can always be relied on to do the right thing.

John Cuffe



Secularism and our schools

The Revd Patrick G Burke states that attempts to force secularism on this country's schools is akin to a Trojan horse (Irish Independent, June 15).

I would argue that the argument is far more overt than the good reverend would like to admit. Being openly secular and wanting to pursue this as an ideology is not something to be ashamed of. If it appears hostile to existing religious beliefs, so be it.

Using weak Constitutional argument to try to maintain religious control of our children's education is perhaps more comparable to the last sting of a dying wasp.

Simon Cunnane



Revd Patrick G Burke (Irish Independent, June 15) misquotes me when he says I think that our Constitution does not provide parents with the right to a denominational education for their children. What I actually wrote was, "While the Constitution provides for a (negative) right not to send a child to a State-controlled school, it does not guarantee that a parent has a (positive) right to send their child to a publicly funded school that is controlled by a church and which can exclude children on religious grounds."

On this point I invite Revd Burke to read 'Religion, Law and the Irish State' by Dr Eoin Daly.

I also note that Revd Burke omitted to reply to my question to him regarding the cries for increased secularism in countries where minority Christians suffer state-sponsored discrimination.

My guess is that the "neutral position" Revd Burke so bemoans would receive a huge welcome from Christians in such countries.

Rob Sadlier

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16


Don't neglect Moore Street

It was with disbelief that I heard that Heather Humphreys plans to appeal the recent decision by Judge Max Barrett regarding the battlefield site of Moore Street.

As well as referring to those who have fought a long, difficult battle as "cranks", the Minister says a consultative group is to be set up - the third such group in recent history.

Apparently none of these groups gave the answer the Minister was looking for.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the area as the "Lanes of History". The main political parties all support the creation of a historic battlefield quarter that could become the jewel of the northside as well as creating a sustainable financial return.

Surely the Minister's office must support this.

Barry Lyons

1916 Relatives Association, Dublin 9


Abortion and free will

Once again a civil war of words is erupting in Ireland over the right of a woman to make a decision about her own body. There are valid reasons some women do terminate a pregnancy. Whatever these reasons are, none of us have the right to deny a pregnant woman with a life-threatening malady her own right to life, above that of the foetus.

No doubt the Bible and the word of God will be quoted and misquoted, as people attempt to prove their point of view outranks all others.

As a person who believes in God, whomever He/She is, can people please respect the free will that has been given to every single human being in the world.

It is my considered opinion that if God wants a child born at a time and place, to parents of His/Her choice, it will happen, irrespective of any human intervention. In fact, isn't this the core of the Nativity? Instead of ranting and raving about sin and Hell (which does not exist), it would be far better for all concerned to work towards a humanitarian society. A society where every life is sacred - especially that of pregnant women who require a termination.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Irish Independent

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