Fix it for long term
Sir - The last of the unfortunates who perished in the Carrickmines tragedy were laid to rest on Thursday.
Grief stricken parents, relatives and friends left behind to mourn for the rest of their lives will no doubt be left to wonder if this tragedy was avoidable had proper facilities been provided.
Prayers from Pope Francis I'm sure were welcomed by all who have suffered, but the suffering will go on long after the prayers are over.
Temporary sites or arrangements for the ones who are left is simply not good enough. These people must be looked after, not on any temporary basis. Is it any wonder that some of the Travelling community turn to crime when they get to a certain age, seeing or remembering the conditions under which they were forced to live while the settled community stood idly by.
Perhaps the politicians consider the votes of the Travellers to be of little importance.
Someone is reputed to have once said, "Though you do it to the least of mine, You do it to me also."
Time to tackle this crime spree
Sir - As one of the many thousand of Blackrock villagers who attended the State funeral of Garda Anthony Golden, I have never witnessed anything so sad and sombre in my life. It was heart-breaking to observe over 4,500 uniformed gardai slowly marching four abreast in a half-mile cortege to the sound of a muffled drum. Many were moist-eyed and with quivering chins as they assembled to honour their murdered colleague. It was a bright, warm autumn day with the sea as calm as a mill pond and an eerie silence, unbroken by even the cry of a gull or oyster catcher.
Why had this to happen in one of the most picturesque areas of Ireland? The answer is simple, this is still the terror triangle of Ireland.
Petrol-stretching, diesel-laundering, cigarette-smuggling and every kind of criminal activity still occur in this area on a regular basis and yet not one of the godfathers of these dastardly crimes have been brought to justice, stripped of their ill-gotten gains and locked up.
A lot of people know who they are but a combination of omerta, bribery and terror has allowed them continue to perpetrate their activities. The border area of south Armagh and north Louth is a tight-knit community where a mouse could barely break wind without everyone knowing about it, yet it's hear not, speak not, say not, when it comes to these terrorist thugs who think nothing of snuffing out a life to achieve their aims.
As your correspondent Jim Cusack reported (Sunday Independent, 18 October) "These are the actual IRA 'made men' who live in the extravagant mansions, drive 'flash motors' and control the border area." These terrorists masquerade as flash Harrys, business men and ordinary farmers as they pollute the rivers and lakes of the area and grow fat on their ill-gotten gains.
So Commissioner O'Sullivan, send in your posse and rid this area of these scum for ever.
Micheál Mc Keown,
Adams is always the victim
Sir - In his well-deserved tribute to late Garda Tony Golden, Eoghan Harris (Sunday Independent, 18 October), made reference to comments by Gerry Adams on the Sean O' Rourke RTE programme on October 12.
I was listening to that and heard how Adams portrayed himself and Ms Ruane MLA as targets of dissidents - I won't say Republicans. That he was let away with it I found quite extraordinary. It is an old Adams trick to paint himself as a victim also. He might have been asked of course about Tom Oliver and the finding of the body of Jean McConville in Louth. Or that all killers in that area seem to have been were bred in the same swamp of terror and mayhem.
How dislike of Irish was created
Sir - Your correspondent Martin Aherne (Sunday Independent, 18 October), commenting on the extract from Ronan Fanning's biography of Eamon de Valera, accuses Dev's education policy of destroying many an 'aspiring career'.
I won't go so far as to state that my own career was marred by this policy, but it did impinge somewhat. There was a science room in my national school, complete with gas jets (decommissioned) and a cabinet with glass doors containing artefacts pertaining to the study of science. This subject was apparently replaced on the curriculum by the teaching of Irish.
Having passed the examination for entry into a Dublin company, I was duly employed as a 'boy messenger'. Some time later, a vacancy occurred in the company laboratory and I was called for interview. I was asked some questions on science and chemistry and to name some related objects on display. Unfortunately, I drew a blank, thus ending my prospects of becoming a laboratory assistant.
In my opinion the restoration of Irish was hindered from the start by the emphasis on the literary rather than the oral, and only created an antagonism towards the language which was regrettable.
Rising presaged a wasteland
Sir - In two installments of a series on The Rising, so-called, (Sunday Independent, 11 and 18 October), Gene Kerrigan has chronicled with relentlessly prosaic and banal detail the doings of those maladapted and misguided eejits. Indeed the theatric character of the narrative is such that it takes on a novelistic air, and to an extent that it reminded one of Oscar Wilde's observation: "The only form of fiction in which real characters do not seem out of place is history".
The extract from Ronan Fanning's book (Sunday Independent, 11 October) on de Valera, though elegantly presented, allowed logical consistency and credible cogent criteria for justifying the attribution of "greatness" to go out the window, contrarily making a very compelling case for the contention that he was in every regard a menace. If, when the last remnants of European civilization were imperiled, instead of debasing his country to that of the delinquent of the British family, he had brokered a rapprochement between that warmongering maniac Churchill and Germany, claims for greatness would sound convincingly more legitimate.
With a detachment that seemed, in the circumstances, cold if not brutal, Ruth Dudley Edwards characteristically brought readers abruptly back to reality by simple recourse to the facts regarding "...questions on the Easter Proclamation". Pre-emptively on this issue too, Oscar stole a march: "Give children beauty, not the record of bloody slaughters and barbarous brawls, as they call history..."
Ominously, the background scenes of ravaged Dublin presaged the wasteland to which they would ultimately sink the country.
Who gained most from these allies?"
Sir - Ruth Dudley Edwards made two interesting and related points in her article: "Some Awkward Questions on the Easter Proclamation," (Sunday Independent, 18 October).
She said that "the Ulster Covenanters hadn't been looking for help from an enemy who threatened the whole future of the UK" - ie, the Germans; and she asked who were the "Gallant Allies in Europe" mentioned in the Proclamation and then makes it clear it was these same Germans, who were massacring lots of unarmed Belgians. But surely the Germans played a far bigger part in helping the Unionists fight Home Rule, than the IRB fighting the British in Dublin.
Historian Ronan Fanning states in "Fatal Path" that the Ulster Unionist Council had bought some 25,000 rifles and three million rounds of ammunition in Germany in May 1914 - an episode known as the Larne Gunrunning.
The Irish Volunteers had bought a miniscule 1,500 rifles and ammunition in Germany in July 1914, which were landed in Howth - an event that led to the Bachelors Walk bloodshed. Fanning quotes Michael Laffan as saying "the army, so reluctant to move against organised Ulster gunrunners, was prepared to kill hostile but unarmed Dublin Citizens." Fanning also says: "the graphic contrast between the British Government's response to Unionists and Nationalists running guns into Ireland further undermined Redmond's position as Leader of Irish Constitutional Nationalism."
I suggest the following question should be teased out - which side, Unionist or Nationalist, benefited most from German involvement, either as "Gallant Allies" or armament dealers.
Pádraig Ó Callanáin,
It's 'TG4 Abu' for sports coverage
Sir - After watching the wonderful selection of football matches on TG4 over the last few months, both provincial club finals and ladies football, I was so proud and happy that we have a station that shows us so much variety.
We have heard so much lately of cutbacks at RTE and other stations, and have watched Sky and Setanta take over so many sporting events. But that's no good to the likes of me and thousands more who have not got those services.
TG4 cover the Tour de France every year. They also show boxing, snooker, darts, motor racing and horse racing. But it is the televising of the provincial rugby matches that is the highlight, every weekend without fail at this time of year. It makes the paying of the TV licence more appealing to one and all. So TG4, thank you and keep up the good work.
Murt Hunt, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo
Not interested in Web Summit
Sir - The Government's lacklustre engagement with the organisers of the Dublin Web Summit is a perfect example of their apathetic attitude towards innovation and entrepreneurship. Unless it is an actual "jobs announcement" with an accompanying photo-op - then they are not really interested. Dublin's loss is Lisbon's gain.
Language please now, Brendan
Sir - Brendan O'Connor's article on the Budget (Sunday Independent, 18 October), was a fair representation of the people's reaction to it, even though one can sense his personal cynicism towards it, which is his right as a columnist and a citizen.
Still I find it objectionable for him to use language like the term "baldy" on two occasions to describe and attempt to degrade the minister's profile in the public mind, irrespective of how good or bad he felt the Budget was. In future, Brendan, play the ball, not the man.
Remember we are still borrowing
Sir - Shane Coleman is right to highlight in his article (Sunday Independent, 18 October) the fact that the Budget increases are taking place while this country is still borrowing money.
It is a pity that the Irish media and academia did not take the same attitude to even more generous budgets during the boom when some of the coverage of budgets bordered on the euphoric. If both media and academia had been more critical of the decisions of the powerful back then, we might not have had the increases in borrowing that derived from the crash, the bailout and the consequent austerity.
Landlords have rights too
Sir - There is a lot of debate referring to 'rent certainty' in relation to tenants who are renting property from private landlords.
Most landlords are in business, yet are not treated as such, and are subject to more taxation and restrictions than are other businesses. The idea of rent certainty is a good one, if it ensures landlords can be certain of receiving their right to regular weekly or monthly payments from tenants.
This is a big problem in the business, but this is not what the narrative is about.
The public should be aware that if one steals a loaf of bread from a shop, they are liable to end up in court, but if a tenant owes a year's rent, it is not a criminal offence.
All a landlord can do is suffer the loss, and very possibly pay thousands of euros to put a property back into shape, in the hope the same thing won't happen after the next letting. And it can.
Bantry, Co Cork.
Celibacy is obstacle to vocations
Sir - As a former Pallottine Father in 1960s London, the report (Sunday Independent, 18 October )on the two men appealing to the world for a priest to come to their parish of Ballymore saddened me. How has such a situation come to pass in Ireland, when between 1950 and 1980, the Irish seminaries in Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Dublin and Maynooth were packed with young men wishing to become priests, despite the mandatory celibacy obligation?
As one of those young men, I can safely say that we never gave a thought to celibacy. A priest is what we wanted to be; as for celibacy, if there was going to be a problem, that would be dealt with after we were ordained. How delusional we were, as evidenced by the number of priests who turned to drink in an effort to assuage their loneliness or formed liaisons with women.
I had a Pallottine colleague who went through a phase when he drank before celebrating mass. Thankfully, he recovered from his addiction. But the world has changed since those days, and sex is all around us. This factor makes it extremely difficult for young men to accept celibacy as a prerequisite to being ordained.
Therefore, I suggest that mandatory celibacy must be abandoned in the case of the secular clergy. Not to do so now, will leave Ireland with many more villages such as Ballymore. The Irish episcopate must act now in the best interests of their people: after all, didn't Christ command them to feed his sheep.