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Circle of life keeps turning

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Nature: Corlea Bog

Nature: Corlea Bog

Nature: Corlea Bog

Sir - While walking today in Corlea Bog in Co Longford I was lamenting to myself that it was the second successive day I had not seen any swallows.

They've gone, I thought to myself - and without even a flutter of farewell to us who have enjoyed them all summer.

I've heard reports that many migratory birds are mysteriously dropping dead out of the sky for some unknown reason... but hopefully our visiting birds will survive to return to us in spring.

Unfortunately there is reason to wonder if we ourselves will live to welcome them because of this dreadful pandemic that is sweeping the land.

But as I was willing myself to come to terms with the swallows' departure, I heard what sounded like a pack of beagles barking or perhaps school children playing. It was just then I saw 15 geese breaking their V-formation and gliding down out of a clear blue sky, heads up and tails down gabbling loudly to each other in their own goose language.

Oh, to have been able to tell them they were so welcome!

The flock of geese made a few circles before touching down on the Bord na Móna-created lake.

As I watched, I just thought that the circle of life goes round and round as it has done for thousands of years and long may it continue.

We'll get through this.

James J Heslin,

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Foigha, Keenagh, Co Longford

 

GAA's refusal to call it a day an own goal

Sir - The GAA needs to show some leadership by calling off the inter-county championships for this year and handing back the €19m of government funds committed to the venture.

The slew of inter-county footballers travelling across the country this weekend - some into and out of Level 4 counties, as the highest infection figures to date have just been announced, does nothing to inspire the upholding of the letter or the spirit of Covid recommendations.

Projected figures and current Nphet recommendations carry the serious threat that the championships will have to be abandoned in any case, generating a greater negative effect on people than if the decision is taken before the process starts.

The travails of Stephen Kenny's Ireland team last weekend and the current difficulties for League of Ireland clubs clearly demonstrate the difficulties of keeping teams Covid-free. It is inevitable that some GAA teams will experience similar difficulties, with the knock-on effect of handicapping their on-field endeavours and thus devaluing the overall competition.

Coming from a county that is gifted with the expectation of being capable of winning the Liam MacCarthy any year, it is difficult to exhort the calling off of this year's championships -but there is a greater need for pre-emptive national leadership now than at any time during this pandemic.

Michael Gannon,

St Thomas' Square, Kilkenny

 

Green Party has gone to the dogs

Sir - In its pre-Budget submission last year, the Green Party demanded that public funding for the greyhound racing industry be stopped.

In the Budget announced on Tuesday, the Green Party in Government announced a €2.4m increase in funding for this same industry. What a difference a year makes.

Vera Dolan,

Manor Court, Galway

 

Pensioners all at sea after Budget

Sir - It was disappointing for all our senior citizens that they received no increase in the old-age pension in the Budget.

In what was the biggest budget in the history of the State, a paltry €5 per week was not forthcoming to the elder lemons who all through their working lives had 'got up early in the morning' to support their families and help to build this State.

That great advocate of old-age pensioners in recent years, Willie O'Dea, has been silent on this occasion and appears to have gone to ground. Then again, his party is now part of the Government.

Are our seniors seen as a soft touch by the powers that be as they do not have a powerful union to fight their cause? The irony in all of this is that pensioners who live on our off-shore islands got a lift of €7.30 to bring their weekly pension increase up to €20 - to compensate for their additional costs of living - while their counterparts on the mainland got diddly-squat. The islanders from Valentia to Tory can be heard singing boisterously that wonderful song of the sea: Thank God We're Surrounded By Water.

Tom Towey,

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

 

RTÉ far too happy to splash our cash

Sir - Eoghan Harris mentions that RTÉ is spending €450,000 to find out what people think about it - this despite the broadcaster expecting to lose up to €20m this year.

All the evidence points to RTÉ being inefficient. For example, RTÉ's Claire Byrne presents her Radio 1 show each weekday for just two hours. On the private sector-run Newstalk, 72-year-old Pat Kenny presents his similar show for three hours. The UK journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer fronts her current affairs show each morning on TalkRadio for three-and-a-half hours.

Until recently Mary Wilson presented RTÉ Radio 1's Drivetime every evening. The station, which claims to be cash-strapped, has now replaced her with two presenters. Is this because Mary Wilson was exceptional or because RTÉ is flaithiúlach with taxpayers' money?

Karl Martin,

Bayside, Dublin 13

 

No, men don't hate women actually

Sir - I wish to express my disgust, anger, and annoyance about an article in last week's Sunday Independent, 'Women have very little idea how much men hate them' by Stella O'Malley.

This divisive and androphobia-generating headline and article is completely inappropriate and incorrect. Such deep anti-men anger and resentment should not be published in a national newspaper.

To deduce from anonymous tweets that all men are misogynists and women abusers is totally repugnant. And then to churlishly use nine words out of approximately 1,100 to flippantly suggest 'not all men'... petty tokenism.

Have standards dropped so low to allow a journalist lazily use anonymous online abuse of women (which is both cowardly and despicable) to accuse men of unconscious misogyny and trying to reassert male power? Unadulterated nonsense.

Perhaps the writer needs to consider her own unconscious misandry and shadow side. Remember, it isn't just 'other people' who do this.

Martin Judge,

Drogheda, Co Louth

 

Sporting fare such a feast for senses

Sir - I would take issue with Mattie Lennon's letter - 'Some of us survive on a sport-free diet' - in last week's Sunday Independent.

Sport has provided the nation with so many great moments. From Italia '90 when the nation held its breath to Ronan O'Gara's drop goal in Cardiff to secure Ireland's first Grand Slam in more than 60 years... such joy, such delight.

Sport, like the arts and music, has the capacity to bring the nation together and make us all feel that little bit taller.

Richard Holden,

Maynooth, Co Kildare

 

Politicians' call for rise is a pet peeve

Sir - Last week some politicians called for dog licences to rise from €20 to €100 every year.

This would be an outrage. Many older people are kept alive by the love they receive from pets.

As it stands, the lack of any increases in this year's Budget to pensioners and those on social welfare will make it much harder for dog owners to keep their pets.

Martin Ford,

St Anne's Terrace, Sligo

 

Lack of female sport is offside

Sir - This letter is relevant to half (at least) of the population. Where is female sport in your sport supplement? Maybe 95pc of the time it is non-existent.

This is not helped by having practically no female sports journalists at your paper. It angers me.

Noeleen Keatley,

Castledermot, Co Kildare

 

Judgment call hard to follow

Sir - If one judge judges another judge then does the judge who judges the judge judge the judge the way the judge she is judging judges?

Or does the judge judge the judge the way the judge who judges judges judges?

Paul Comiskey,

Finglas East, Dublin 11

 

Justice served for State in Brady trial

Sir - It is hard to understand the point of the protesters at the Courts of Criminal Justice last week, with placards reading 'Justice for Aaron Brady'. Because justice is exactly what Brady got - 40 years of it.

Congratulations to An Garda Síochána on their successful prosecution of a very difficult case. I look forward to congratulating them further when they round up and prosecute the remaining members of the gang.

Tony Fagan,

Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

 

Editor is clued in on Irish language

Sir - Bailíonn brobh beart (every small twig helps to make the bundle).

I look forward to the Sunday Independent every week as my weekend 'happy hour' treat with a hot cup of coffee. There's always a variety of interesting stories, politics and sport - and then there's the crossword, in which they invariably include at least one clue, as Gaeilge.

This may be viewed as a trivial acknowledgment of the importance of our native language but to those who strive to nurture and promote the spoken cúpla focal it is a positive token of recognition and inclusion.

We often hear the regular conversation: 'Ah sure, the language is dead, we are an English-speaking nation...' I can't argue with that but a large cohort of daonra na hÉireann strive to enjoy the social aspect of speaking Irish. Even to sit and listen encourages us to revive a language that we learned but perhaps viewed as challenging homework.

So maith thú! Well done to the Editor of the Sunday Independent for contributing in a way to make us stop and mentally translate the simple English crossword solution into that unique, musical pronunciation that truly enriches our Gaelic tongue.

Eilís Uí Bhriain,

Caisleán Uí Liatháin, Co Chorcaí

 

Tragedy marks both sides of sorry story

Sir - Private Harold Washington of the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment was 15 when he was killed, along with two other British soldiers, in the War of Independence in Dublin on September 20, 1920.

Medical student Kevin Barry (18) was hanged on November 1, 1920, for his part in this ambush.

Harold Washington is buried in Salford, north-west England, where he was born and reared. In the 1920s Salford had some of the worst slums in these islands. Salford was also the home town of Ewan MacColl, who wrote Dirty Old Town and played a major part in the folk music revival in Britain and Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s.

The four people who lost their lives as a result of this ambush were all aged 15 to 20. This poem is dedicated to the memory of the youngest and is inspired by the songs of MacColl. Remember, there are two sides to every story.

Come gather around me, soldier boys

and listen to my story

How I took the crown

And wore the brown

For neither King nor glory

And now I lie, at 15 years

buried deep beneath the sod

Shot by a lad

Who wasn't bad

Tho' he filled me full of lead.

They hung him from a gallows tree

in dirty Dublin town

His name was Barry

And I feel sorry

That he too's in the ground.

My name is Harold Washington

I fought to put food on the table

And to be free, like him

I carried a gun

That is our tragic fable.

Chris Fitzpatrick,

Terenure Road East, Dublin 6

 

Hard to just power through this issue

Sir - I read with interest the letter in your paper last Sunday which outlined the writer's frustration with ESB. Over the last few years I too have encountered similar issues in our corner of north Kildare.

It reached a peak this year, with 16 power outages so far -and, yes, we've paid our bills. Various reasons have been given with the blame put on farmers out ploughing in the area. I had to step back from my phone at this allegation.

Family and friends in various parts of this country haven't had anything close to our problems.

Even with a few planned outages we did not receive postcard notification. When I addressed this issue with the ESB I was asked by three different customer service reps if there was a problem with the post.

Not at all. I've received all the Electric Ireland bills, thank you.

So the main obstacle to working from home in our area is the frequency of electric power outages. Should ESB provide us with free home generators?

Pauline Sweeney,

Naas, Co Kildare

 

Terrible service is not just a blip

Sir - I wish to sympathise with the writer of your Letter of the Week - but I'd also like to say how lucky they are to have had their electricity off only four times in the last few months.

If they had been living in the east Meath area around Julianstown they would have experienced seven interruptions this year. Having lived here for 25 years, I can say the loss of electricity supply is getting worse.

As well as full-blown outages, we regularly get 'blips' in supply. The supply fails for about 10 seconds and then returns. ESB Networks doesn't consider these "blips" as outages - though all of our timers go back to zero.

Our worst experience was last year when the local generator blew with a huge power surge that destroyed our kitchen lighting, the cooker extractor, the house alarm system and caused the security lights to blow. The cost of replacing these was €800.

My neighbours experienced televisions and cookers burnt out and lights exploding.

All we got was a letter from ESB stating they do not have to cover the cost.

Formal complaints have been registered - but nothing has improved. Maybe your letter writer in Kill, Co Kildare, should count herself very lucky.

Des Butler,

Julianstown, Co Meath


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