Letters: GAA gods used to enthrall us and make stubborn mules toe the line — now they just have to have GAAGO

Christy Ring in action for Cork. Photo: Connelly Collection/Sportsfile

Letters to the Editor

Sir — After a full week of pleading, I convinced my father to bring me to the Munster final between Cork and Limerick in 1947. It was on in Thurles, but that wasn’t where we were headed...

There was only one man with a wireless for miles: Mick Caplice. Mick was also the only one around who bought Carbery’s Annual costing three shillings. It was the sole publication advertising the dates and times of matches. So Mick was a GAA god and he sent word of the fixtures and throw-in times. On Munster final and All-Ireland days especially, the crowds would come through the fields, always on a Sunday after a quick mass and a prayer for the players.

Every room and cranny was full, including the hallway, with men backed up the stairs from wall to bannisters that were ready to burst. Latecomers had to settle for standing on chairs at the open windows and stragglers depended on the chair people to relay the scores.

Even on a day as important as a Munster final, farmers had to make their daily trip to the creamery. Every donkey had to smarten himself up because someone had to be last in the queue, and an obstinate mule could delay a farm worker’s goal to be on time for the throw-in.

P.D. Mehigan, also known as ‘Carbery’, of Carbery’s Annual, would be on commentary and his communication was so good, you might feel like you were in the stands.

When Christy Ring had the ball, a hush would descend on the crowd as a score was coming. Then the shouting, clapping and cheering could be heard all over Graigue and as far away as Kilclooney.

Time and again, people closest to the wireless covered their ears with the deafening buzzing and crackles of the old wet battery Pye radio turned up to the last.

Men shuffled from foot to foot waiting impatiently for Mick turning the dial to tune back to radio 2RN.

Cork vs Tipperary on May 6 jolted me back to my days crammed into Mick Caplice’s kitchen. The pub was packed — the local publican taking over as the GAA god; the only man with the GAAGO. John Caplice, Graigue, Kildorrery, Co Cork

RTÉ mandarins killed longwave radio stars Sir — Harry Mulhern’s Letter of the Week (May 14) summed up the plight of Irish workers in post-war Britain. My father, PJ Muldowney, was personnel manager for Ford in Cork from 1938 to 1962 and sent thousands of workers to Ford’s Dagenham plant and other company operations in the UK, at the behest of Corkman Patrick Hennessy (later Sir Patrick), who was chairman of Ford in Britain.

When he came back to Cork, he ensured he met up with old friends still working on the factory floor. He never forgot his roots, unlike the mandarins who cut the lifeline of longwave radio for a saving of €250,000 a year. Maybe eaten bread is soon forgotten. Greg Muldowney, Shandon, Co Cork ​ Sir — I agree with the sentiments expressed by Harry Mulhern regarding the termination of longwave radio and its effect on the older generation of Irish in Britain. Ireland no longer has a generational memory. Bobby Gilmore, Navan, Co MeathShane Ross has track record with polls Sir — Shane Ross (May 14) believes Leo Varadkar is sliding down the greasy pole in the party leadership beauty contest, on the basis of an opinion poll that could be totally different after another month.

I can assure Ross there is still only one poll that counts — he experienced that himself in the last general election. Shane is not the first political commentator to write the political obituary of Fine Gael and I don’t believe he will be the last. Thomas Garvey, Claremorris, Co MayoSmall fish in a big pond need turbines Sir — Tipperary man Gerry Duffy (Letters, May 14) is concerned about the incalculable damage a few wind turbines will do to our marine ecosystem. I take the opposite view: anything that prevents overfishing and the scouring of the ocean bed is a good thing and will encourage the regeneration of at least some of our fishing stocks. I know where the smart fish will be a-swimming! Dr Michael Foley, Rathmines, Dublin 6Full marks to your bridge columnist Sir — Many congratulations on your bridge column. I really enjoy Justin Corfield’s contribution. It’s always good to have a little food for thought. Perdita Quinlan, Kilmacud, Dublin 14I see red on Greens’ brown bin charges Sir — Why are the Green Party and the Government allowing waste management companies to charge for compost bin collections? The contents of these bins are the raw material for garden compost and are not going to landfills.

Now that our native peat products are banned and are no longer available for horticulture and gardening use, compost is an environmentally friendly solution. Brian Lube, Co MeathA united Europe tops any commonwealth Sir — Europe is Ireland’s commonwealth, in that we are better off as members, financially and democratically. Far from Sam McBride’s opinion of a united Ireland being “far off” (May 14), unionists might think about how better off they might be in a united Ireland within a united Europe. Peter Pallas, Bantry, Co Cork ​ Sir — If we were to rejoin the UK’s Commonwealth, the direct link between the Irish State and the Crown would be restored. Because the British monarch is always head of the Commonwealth, this would mean that, symbolically speaking, the monarch would occupy a higher position politically than that of our democratically elected President.

I wonder how the families of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974 would feel about that? Don’t play it again, Sam. Tom Cooper, Templeogue, Dublin 6WPlease stay off the grass — until June Sir — A leaflet was dropped into the houses on our road some weeks ago, encouraging us not to cut the grass for the month of May, thereby turning our gardens into “havens of biodiversity”, this being of great benefit to the bees etc. Of course, one misses the endless “pleasant” drone of lawn mowers. Ahem. Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont, Dublin 9Claim of neutrality is just nonsense Sir — The major organs of the Irish media, along with a large number of nationally elected officials and the present Government, claim Ireland is neutral when it comes to the war in Ukraine. Nonsense!

Just as one cannot be a little pregnant, a nation cannot be a little bit neutral. Neutrality is not assisting either of two belligerent states in any manner. Those in the media and elected officials across all parties who claim Ireland is neutral when it comes to the war in Ukraine are either ignorant in the subject of political science as to what comprises neutrality, lying, or demagogues. Vincent J Lavery, Dalkey, Co Dublin

GAA greed cuts off its most loyal followers Sir — As the GAAGO row rages on, are we now going back to the future, with many elderly volunteers being forced to listen to GAA matches on the radio? These people have given a lifetime of loyal service to the GAA and now in their twilight years cannot access the games put behind a paywall. This is not good as a huge chunk of our audience both young and old are cut off from viewing the games they love. They should be able to view our national games on RTÉ.

The elderly are the backbone of the association. Many don’t have broadband and those who have are in some instances forced to ask their grandchildren to help them to access our national games on the internet. Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo ​ Sir — Elderly GAA supporters are being reduced to listening to the game on the radio as they did 50 years ago. And all for the sake of financial gain (greed). Should the Government look at the GAA and perhaps reduce the funding given to it?

Would this bring them to their senses and make them realise that they cannot be allowed to screw their supporters? Michael O’Meara, Faha, Killarney, Co Kerry ​ Sir — It seems all the controversy around the GAA stems from a plan to replace the lucrative Sky deal with a new income stream based on pay-per-view. But what has really given rise to all of this? I feel that it’s the hybrid championship/league model put together by the GAA to have a large number of matches in a very packed schedule, run off over a short few months.

We are losing the traditional calendar of the GAA. As I watched the most recent Sunday Game, I heard a whinge of a dog in the studio. My first thought was that even the dogs in the street know what’s going on. Seamus Holian, Castlebar, Co MayoGovernment silence over UHL conditions Sir — The Sunday Independent last week published an article by Gabrielle Monaghan on the appalling conditions suffered by her and patients at University Hospital Limerick. All nine levels of Dante’s Inferno come to mind.

One would imagine that our government members might react in some fashion to apologise or even to trot out the usual excuses. While overworked staff struggle to cope in our hospitals, people live in fear of needing urgent medical care. I know many suffer in silence while their medical conditions deteriorate rather than face the war zone that is our health system.

Did I hear one politician or one broadcaster mention conditions in UHL as highlighted by Gabrielle Monaghan’s account during the entire past week? No. Instead, they descended en masse on a tiny community in Clare who dared to question their decision to dump dozens of single men on them without consultation.

Did any one of these concerned politicians or broadcasters stop at UHL on their way to or from Clare? Surely our Government’s responsibility is to provide even basic healthcare to its citizens. If they can’t do that, what chance do migrants have? Eilish Ní Raifteirigh, Portlaoise, Co LaoisRacism continues its relentless rise here Sir — The burning of a makeshift refugee camp in Dublin represents a new low in the insidious growth of racism in Ireland. But it’s unfortunately a logical follow-on from the gradual ratcheting up of tensions by far right and xenophobic groups that have sought to exploit the refugee crisis for their own political ends.

The daily non-stop attempts to foment suspicion and hatred of “others” entering our country to “dilute our culture and ethnicity” were bound to result in such a sinister act of violence against the most vulnerable in our midst.

Past conquerors came to plunder and enslave. Not so these people who are victims of tyranny or severely life-threatening situations, as distinct from conquerors or enemies. Let’s give the red card to racism and take our flag back from the xenophobes. John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co KilkennyWaiting for Godot, sorry... broadband Sir — National Broadband Ireland (NBI) in its latest PR spin has generated media coverage about its recent connections to the “homes of Donegal”. Remote off-shore islands finally entering the digital age is a good news story. But for us waiting for this fibre Godot, can more urgency be applied?

Since the launch of the National Broadband Plan in 2020, just 7pc of the 569,000 planned premises that are to be completed by January 2027 have been reached. On sterile figures alone, the NBP is moving with all the urgency of treacle flowing uphill.

A NBI website check tells me my expected date of connection is a vague date range of January 2025 to December 2026. In other words, don’t wait in. John Tierney, Ashtown, Fews, Co WaterfordWhen AI meant something else Sir — The recent controversy over AI (artificial intelligence) brought back pleasant memories of my childhood in east Mayo in the late 1950s and early 1960s when I first heard the term AI. This was a different kind of AI and was the acronym for artificial insemination, which was developed to fertilise cows and make bulls more or less redundant.

Our local AI man was Alfie McHugh, who covered the triangle between Ballyhaunis, Claremorris and Knock. He drove a white Fiat car whose sharp engine sound was like a racing car.

Alfie was always flying here and there in his Fiat tending to the needs of cows. Another AI man of the period tells a story in his memoirs of the farmer who had his “needy cow” in the stable and said to him: “I will leave you at it, there’s a nail behind the door to hang your trousers!” Even then there was confusion over AI. Walter Kilcullen, Dunboyne, Co MeathImagination required to fix housing issues Sir — I liked all three of Jim Walsh’s simple fixes for the housing crisis (Letters, May 14). The idea of providing hospital staff with accommodation could easily be achieved by using vacant hospitals such as at Baggot Street which could be made almost instantly available.

I have long campaigned for such imaginative use, as well as the former teacher training accommodation of the Church of Ireland at Rathmines. While the powers that be sit on such stock, afraid of diluting its value in respect of their neighbours, the nursing staff and homeless suffer. Ian Elliott, Windsor Park, BelfastGrow up, Ciara, and stop trying to shock Sir — I was absolutely appalled at Ciara Kelly’s article on her newly acquired swear word (Life, May 14). Does she really feel she needs to use these words to get people’s attention? Grow up, Ciara, and stop trying to shock us. Maureen McGreevey, Ballymena, Co AntrimBravo for speaking out, Nicola Gallagher Sir — The last sentence of Nicola Gallagher’s interview with Rodney Edwards last Sunday was as follows: “I will not be silent any more.” I have nothing but the greatest admiration for this wonderful lady in speaking out. She will never have any regrets. Bravo, Nicola. Brian McDevitt, Glenties, Co Donegal

Privatisation will be the ruination of us Sir — Why are we not facing up to the incontrovertible fact that the policy of privatisation as practised by this Government continues to be detrimental to the well-being, health and wealth of our nation?

The one commodity which is necessary to advance the nation and the lives of every man, woman and child in this country every day of the week, 52 weeks of the year and every year into the future is energy. Every single aspect of life on this island will depend on security of energy supply.

This disastrous merry-go-round is starting again with the signing over of control of our green energy “fields” to private enterprise. Where are the politicians with vision and courage? Joe Brennan, Ballinspittle, Co CorkCowardly, shameful attack on young boy Sir — Those who attacked a young boy, on his own, should forever be ashamed of themselves, and their cowardly actions. They have shamed their parents, relatives, friends and their community. Margaret Walshe, Clonsilla Road, Dublin 15