Saturday 21 September 2019

Cosgrave and Lynch stopped slaughter in Northern Ireland

Prevented deaths: Liam Cosgrave
Prevented deaths: Liam Cosgrave
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

One Sunday in August 1969, when tensions were rising in Northern Ireland, British PM Harold Wilson "imagined" he had the immediate answer to end British involvement there.

He telephoned the then-Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, on a secure line, informing him he would have no objection to the Republic sending the Irish Army into the North.

Prior to the phone call, Wilson had in fact ordered the general officer commanding (GOC) of the British army in Northern Ireland to confine all troops to barracks from midnight on the following Tuesday, for 72 hours. He further directed that the troops in the barracks could only defend their barrack if it came under direct attack: they were to take no part whatsoever in any occurrence outside the barrack.

On Monday morning, the GOC met the military attaché in the British Embassy in Dublin. He outlined the scenario that would ensue if the Irish Army attempted to 'invade' the North.

The 'B' Specials had the same up-to-date armoury as the British army; the large number of gun clubs throughout Northern Ireland, with all members well trained in the use of firearms, by comparison to the then aged equipment of the Irish Army. They did not even have a wireless communication system. The GOC also pointed out the fact that if the Irish Army crossed the Border, it would be deemed an attack on Nato; placing the Government of Ireland in international hot water. Any Irish person imagining Nato would not have responded is indeed a fool.

The main concern of the GOC and the military attaché was the danger of wholesale slaughter of Catholics by a well-armed militia, who at this stage were in a state of deliberately induced terror from unionist politicians, and clerical firebrands. Both men went to the then leader of the Opposition, Liam Cosgrave, to whom they outlined everything in detail.

Mr Cosgrave immediately went to Jack Lynch who, when faced with the reality of the situation, ordered the Irish Army back from the Border. A month later, a number of the Army top brass held a meeting in Mullingar barracks to plan a coup d'etat: they were foiled by An Garda Síochána.

Mr Cosgrave and Mr Lynch were criticised by those whose ideology on uniting Ireland was only by violent means. The fact remains, they prevented thousands of people being killed, or maimed, in what would have been sheer lunacy.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

Chess isn't even a sport to Ireland

Roy Keane said that "if you're worried about the physical side of any sport, then play chess". Sadly, the Government is not very keen on recognising chess as a sport, in spite of Ireland having its first chess world champion - Diana Mirza from Co Limerick.

She won the World Schools Under-17 Chess Championship and said that "an unfortunate thing is that chess lacks funding in Ireland and that is a very big problem because it comes down to parents or whoever else may be able to support the players".

Regarding chess and fitness, for the last decades, professional chess has become so demanding (not only mentally but also physically) that all top chess players have to be slim and very fit (and even before World War II, Max Euwe was a boxer; Jose Raul Capablanca played lots of tennis; and before Alexander Alekhine dethroned Capablanca in 1927, he gave up drinking and smoking, and underwent a programme of physical training). The same cannot be said about all top golfers, and yet in Ireland golf is considered a sport.

Grzegorz Kolodziej

Bray, Co Wicklow

No need for Rory to tee off on Roy

I've been a fan of Roy Keane and Rory McIlroy since they both first graced us with their great talents.

But now, hearing the story from Rory that Roy once snubbed him for an autograph, I can only say it is time for Rory to move on from such resentment, and perhaps start winning again.

Incidentally, I would not give any chance to Alex Ferguson knocking out Keane in the boxing ring. Roy is made of steel.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

McIlroy's not engaging his mind

Rory McIlroy should realise that there are worse things in life than Roy Keane refusing to sign an autograph for him. A broken engagement springs to mind. Just ask Caroline Wozniacki.

David Gavin

Celbridge, Co Kildare

The Church challenges on morality

The stance of the Catholic Church in the referendum on abortion is far from being the "discouragement of critical engagement with its teaching" that Philip O'Neill claims (Irish Independent, Letters, October 5) leads to "the failure to release the intelligence of its people - particularly that of the young".

It is, in fact, the opposite. It is the increasing discovery today of Catholic teaching on 'hot' topics such as the 'Theology of the Body', the sacredness of all human life, and the equal right to life of both mother and child that is challenging our young people and society at large to look beyond the shallowness of our modern day's version of truth as purely subjective.

Dressed up as a lamb in the language of 'compassion', it has the wolf's intent to bully us into a maze of relativity (dubbed 'complexity' as an intelligent deceit), it isolates us behind a wall of 'self' and tempts us to despair with its maxim that: 'All attempts to reach moral certainty are destined to fail'.

As Saint Pope John Paul II wrote: "Man's history of sin begins when he no longer acknowledges the Lord as his creator and himself wishes to be the one who determines, with complete independence, what is good and what is evil," (Veritatis Splendor 102.2).

Fr Freddy Warner

Portumna, Galway

Media group-think on Eighth

I am wondering why it seems that practically every journalist in the mainstream media is campaigning for repeal of the Eighth Amendment, as indicated by Rachel Dugan (Irish Independent, October 5).

Is it 'group-think'? Surely there has to be someone who sees the benefit in the Amendment, which has saved very many lives.

Surely the value of equality - equal right to life of both mother and baby - resonates with many who constantly strive for equality. I find it very hard to believe that the humanity of the unborn baby can so easily be dismissed. I would welcome an analysis of how so many have come to accept abortion as a solution to a crisis pregnancy when so many other supports are available.

Sadly it is looking increasingly unlikely that we can look forward to a factual, balanced and realistic debate on legislation of abortion, and its consequences, as evidenced in so many countries.

Mary Stewart

Ardeskin, Donegal town

Irish Independent

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