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Leo Varadkar is in no position to criticise Qatar’s human rights record

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has nothing to write home about when comparing civil rights abuses here and elsewhere. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has nothing to write home about when comparing civil rights abuses here and elsewhere. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has nothing to write home about when comparing civil rights abuses here and elsewhere. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

In an interview on RTÉ’s Week In Politics, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar stated that he would not attend the World Cup finals because of Qatar regime’s civil rights record.

One has to wonder if roles were reversed, how easy would it be for the leaders of Qatar to make the same noises when asked if they would travel to Ireland in similar circumstances?

They too could refuse, pointing to the almost impossible chances Irish citizens have to own a home and the plight of many who end up living in their parents’ box room or confined to B&Bs, not to mention the many homeless children we tolerate here and the growing numbers now living on our streets.

They could also mention the fact that children here, in urgent need of surgery, are left for years in pain before they can access the healthcare they need. Or the long wait for a hospital bed that sees patients, many elderly, lying on trolleys for days.

Add to all of this the low-wage conditions that the majority of workers must endure as well as the increasingly precarious access to vital utilities that many, particularly lone parents with children, are now facing.

Many now are having to experience frequent disconnection from electricity supply as they do have not the means to keep a meter in credit. One could go on.

Mr Varadkar has nothing to write home about when comparing civil rights abuses here and elsewhere. Or could it be that he is not being hypocritical – rather, what lies behind the many failures of governments that he has led, or was a senior member of this past decade, is that he has a very selective opinion as to what is, and what is not, a breach of a citizen’s civil rights?

Mr Varadkar just does not see the deprivations being suffered in Ireland as breaches of citizens’ civil rights.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Sligo

Own goal by Infantino leaves me eager for more action

The World Cup kicked off earlier than expected with Fifa president Gianni Infantino’s infantile 60-minute monologue in Doha on Saturday, putting his poor hosts Qatar in the shade. It was an all-out attack by the super-sensitive, multi-millionaire. Unfortunately, Gianni scored a spectacular own goal for his side, right into the bottom corner. I can’t wait for the next match.

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Aidan Roddy

Dublin 18

​Plain Sailing: Rod knows how to please his Irish fans

Celtic supporter Rod Stewart finished his show in the 3Arena in Dublin with a powerful rendition of Grace against a backdrop of swirling images of the 1916 Easter Rising, followed by an encore of Sailing and a final image of Queen Elizabeth.

Like all great performers, Rod the Mod understands his audience – and how we’ve changed.

Chris Fitzpatrick

Dublin 6

America could do with a president like JFK today

Americans will eat Thanksgiving Day’s turkey dinner next Thursday, November 24, in a divided country. It’s déjà vu all over again. The indecisive Joe Biden and the ultra-protectionist Donald Trump are determined to contest the next presidential election.

Thanksgiving Day, a federal holiday in the USA giving thanks for the year’s harvest, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

It has historic roots in religious and cultural traditions but has long since become a major secular holiday. How the USA could do with a president like John F Kennedy, whose charisma, heroism and youthful energy was a breath of fresh air. He appealed to the nations of the world to join together to fight what he called the ‘common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war.’

When JFK was presented with three turkeys for Thanksgiving by the National Poultry Board, he cooked one for family dinner, he gifted the second to Dr Martin Luther King, the charismatic Afro-American civil rights leader, and he pardoned the third. JFK’s symbolic gestures to equal rights and compassion were lost on the American public in its hysterical rush to consumer spending. He was assassinated in Dallas on Friday, November 22, 1963. Dr King was assassinated in Memphis on Thursday, April 4, 1968.

Irish consumers have embraced Black Friday weekend shopping. But let’s be careful lest we end up with huge debts, maxed-out credit cards and unwanted gifts.

The self-indulgent American shopping frenzy conflicts with our core values of moderation, inclusion, compassion and care so powerfully conveyed by JFK, in his policy of active citizenship, civil rights and patriotism.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry


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