Greens may be adept at the blood sport of politics, but if they support hare coursing they are done for

Neasa Hourigan was politically eviscerated by the Greens for voting against the Government on eviction ban. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Letters to the Editor

The severe sanctions imposed on Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan for backing a motion that sought the retention of the eviction ban contrasts starkly with the way junior minister Niall Collins had been treated by the Government in the wake of those unanswered questions about a planning application.

I hope the Greens will press for a little “parity of esteem” in Leinster House because; after all, what’s sauce for the Green goose should also be sauce for the Fianna Fáil gander.

Ms Hourigan’s political evisceration also brings into question the draconian whip system that coerces elected representatives into doing a party’s bidding instead of what the voters elected them to do.

Another issue will come before the Dáil in the coming months that should equally be debated and voted on without the whip. One that concerns me is Paul Murphy’s Bill to ban hare coursing.

The Green Party has an official policy of opposition to this abhorrent practice, but its TDs will be expected to back hare coursing unless a free vote is allowed on the bill.

While compromise is inevitable in coalition arrangements, Green Party support for hare coursing would signal the beginning of the end of the party, though not of the wider green movement in Ireland with its dedicated animal protection campaigners and advocates against biodiversity loss.

For a Green TD to vote for hare coursing would be on a par with saying “Yes” to climate change, applauding the hole in the ozone layer, or saying it’s OK to pull the last dozen polar bears off the ice floes and throw them to the sharks.

Unfortunately, a government that can ram through a measure that will clearly exacerbate the homelessness crisis, thus adding to the sum total of human misery on this island, is not too likely to be worried about a humble hare being hounded in a real, as distinct from a political, blood sport.

John Fitzgerald

Callan, Co Kilkenny

Why nature is taking its revenge on human folly

Dave Robbins (‘Climate messaging needs to change if we are to achieve the goals we set ourselves before it’s too late’, Irish Independent, March 23) is right to assert that this is our last chance to avert climate emergency.

The horrifying loss of biodiversity, the surging extinction of rare species, flooding, heatwave, earthquakes, landslides, glacier melting, ozone depletion, ocean acidification, plastic pollution, deforestation, desertification, air pollution and water pollution are turning nature into a formidable nemesis.

Climate change denial is ignorant, subtle and malign.

It is time to realise the intertwined relationship between climate change and human rights, and work tirelessly to meet sustainable development goals and poverty alleviation.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob


Kudos to ‘Seachtain’, but church swipe inaccurate

Well done on your Irish language supplement, Seachtain, published weekly in your newspaper.

The article by Ciarán Dunbar on the language being a bulwark against the emergence of a substantial extreme right-wing party in Ireland was interesting (Seachtain, March 22).

The only quibble I have with the article was the author taking a swipe at the Catholic Church, implying that a tendency towards extreme nationalism and right-wing politics was in some way inherent in Catholicism.

I would remind Mr Dunbar that the Catholic Church is arguably the most multicultural human organisation in the world.

John Glennon

Hollywood, Co Wicklow

Money is key to solving the climate change crisis

The latest intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change synthesis report came out this week and made for stark reading.

Wealthy countries such as Ireland have been called on to “defuse the climate time bomb”.

Mary Robinson warned that without drastic action right now, we will get to a point where people won’t be able to live.

In the wake of these fire-and-brimstone predictions, ordinary people are wondering what they can do, how they can help.

It can be a hard question to answer when a handful of huge global organisations are responsible for generating the majority of greenhouse gas emissions, and fossil-fuel companies are unchecked as they continue to explore new sites to drill for oil and frack for gas.

Something hardly anyone is talking about is money; that is, the money a regular person has in the bank, or tied up in a pension or other investment fund.

This money is not sitting there passively but is being used to fund exactly the fossil-fuel infrastructure and exploration that is detrimental to our survival on Earth.

I’m leading a grassroots campaign, Divest Ireland, which sprung up this year from the One Future Ireland network, and is trying to spread awareness of this issue.

While most people in Ireland may not be able to afford to switch their diesel car to an electric one yet, anyone who has pension savings of any size can make a difference. Divest Ireland is asking them to start a conversation, with their employer and/or pension provider, about divestment of these funds from fossil fuels and provision of sustainable fund options.

Pensions and investments can be a boring or confusing topic for those not trained in finance, but instead of leaving it to the brokers and financial advisers, we all need to start asking these questions and using our consumer power to demand change. This is how the tide will turn.

Time is of the essence, as by the end of this year the Government aims to introduce a scheme to automatically enrol all workers in a pension fund.

Without the provision of sustainable fund options, this means that billions of Irish euro will continue to fund the fossil-fuel industry, and thus the continued pillaging of Earth’s precious resources. This would be a disaster that can still be avoided.

Jane O’Hara

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin

History tells us more than Saddam were to blame

Most historians would dispute John Carey’s suggestion (‘Only person responsible for Iraq war is Saddam Hussein’, Letters, March 24).

The seeds of today, not alone in Iraq, but, Israel, Iran/Persia/Palestine, etc, were sown as far back as the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, by the British, French and Italian governments, who put their empires ahead of President Woodrow Wilson’s plea for modern democracy in the former Ottoman Empire nations: nations who had a history of peaceful relations with Jews, Muslims and Christian. The divisions caused by the Treaty of Versailles were magnified after 1945, this time aided and abetted by the US and Israel. ​

The rise of Hussein, no more than the rise of the al-Qa’ida, was manipulated by Western secret service agents who thought they could control the puppets.

The rest is history for us, whilst the innocent people of those areas suffer.

Declan Foley


Actions of Bush and Blair cost thousands of lives

Further to the letters on Saddam Hussein and the illegal Iraq war of 2003, I do not believe the invasion was justified. Yes, Saddam was a nasty piece of work but there were no illegal WMD found in Baghdad, and the reason Iraq descended into chaos at the end of the invasion was because the Iraqi armed forces were disbanded and the ruling Ba’ath party dissolved.

George W Bush and Tony Blair are, at least, guilty of gross incompetence that has cost hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilian lives, thousands of American and dozens of British.

Both Britain and the United States have an inglorious history of interfering in Middle East affairs even after the Iraq debacle, not least the ongoing Syrian instability.

Dominic Shelmerdine


Poor pet in the doghouse over an allergy to cats...

Katie Byrne’s article headed “Modern Morals” in (Irish Independent, March 24), deals with question from a girl asking, “I’m allergic to my boyfriend’s cats – can I ask him to give them away?”. After reading further, the only conclusion one can come to is: the country is gone to the dogs.

Leo Gormley

Dundalk, Co Louth