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As a truly neutral country, we could act as peace brokers

Letters to the Editor



Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photo: Reuters

Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photo: Reuters

Russian president Vladimir Putin. Photo: Reuters

Ireland may believe itself to be “neutral”, but the restrictions placed on some Irish TDs by Russia tell the real story.

We are aligning ourselves more and more with the EU position and all that it entails, including closer links with Nato.

Instead of going with the EU, can we listen to the words of the Ukrainian peace activist Yurii Sheliazhenko who says that war is attractive to the simple-minded, while peace is complex and needs intellectual effort? War is a choice and it is always a bad one.

Instead of lining up with the EU, could we be strengthened by the spirit of Article 29.2 of the Irish Constitution and act as arbiters of a pacific settlement? Prisoners have been exchanged and Vladmir Putin has opened a grain corridor. Let us hear the voices for peace and let Ireland lead the way.

Elizabeth Cullen

Thomastown, Co Kildare

It’s a World Cup that stinks – time for a clearout at Fifa

The awarding of the Fifa World Cup to Qatar in 2010 has been tainted by bribery and corruption and has given this tournament an unpalatable smell that few, other than the teams and some hardened supporters, would want to be associated with. That Qatar, in collusion with Fifa, would attempt to “sportswash” its human rights and equality issues symbolises this World Cup. ​

The deaths of thousands of migrant workers who worked in unsavoury conditions to construct the very stadiums that teams, officials and fans now stand in, cannot be washed away by the PR stunts of Messrs Beckham & Co.

I fully understand that we must abide by the laws of the country we visit but when those rules are oppressive and demean certain sections of the community then organisations like Fifa should ensure that equality and human rights will be uppermost in any agreement and that winning country must institute reforms that include these fundamental rights.

This is not the first time that Fifa has been tainted by human-rights issues – we remember Russia and Argentina and the controversies surrounding them.

With recent allegations that there was an attempt to bribe the Ecuadorian team to lose their first game against Qatar, Fifa needs a top-down clearout before the next World Cup – otherwise that rotten, decaying smell could be Fifa itself.

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Christy Galligan

Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Starving small schools of funding is not the answer

Budget 2023 dropped the primary-school pupil-teacher ratio target to 23:1 – the lowest ever in Ireland.

A celebration? Not quite, as small primary schools remain severely underfunded.

The capitation grant, which is the main income for schools to pay for the spiralling costs of basic needs – heating, electricity, school insurance, hygiene, cleaning services and paper, naming a few – is calculated by the number of pupils in the school.

In the current climate, many more than 23 pupils per teacher would be needed to cover the basic needs costs in our urban small schools. Covering basic needs is a real challenge. While all other large schools in our catchment area are Deis and can offer pupils hot meals, after-school care and comfortable basic needs, we are struggling.

It’s time the children in our small schools are treated with respect and dignity. It’s time small schools are funded appropriately. ​

If small schools are unsustainable, then a plan to change this must be dignified and respectful of the school community.

Starving small schools of funding for basic needs – so families will choose “better resourced” large, sustainable schools – inevitably will end up closing small schools.

This is why solving this problem is vital for the Government. Shaming school management is not the way to go about it.

Sabrina Faulkner Richardson

Cavan No 1 National School, Cavan town

For whom the bell tolls? The Greens at the next election

Who would have thought it? The Greens batting on behalf of capitalist behemoths.

Eamon Ryan tells us that contractually, we, the motorist, are obliged to pay the toll increase. It was agreed, he said. In 1978, I signed up to the public service.

Part of the deal was a contract guaranteed on retirement. Two years after I retired, without consulting me or thousands of retired public servants, the then Finance Minister simply cut our pensions due to Fianna Fáil’s mismanagement of the economy, culminating in the 2008 crash.

It seems big boys operate under a different set of rules than taxpayers, who pay for everything. Thus the Government defends the large corporations.

Indeed, Apple had Ireland in its corner battling the EU over €14bn tax. Now the toll companies have the Greens. Roll on the election – and for whom the bell tolls.

John Cuffe

Dunboyne, Co Meath

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