Tuesday 15 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'A match made in heaven'

The late Philomena Lynott, mother of Phil Lynott, polishes his black bass guitar at the Irish Rock ’N’ Roll Museum at The Button Factory in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Photo: Frank McGrath
The late Philomena Lynott, mother of Phil Lynott, polishes his black bass guitar at the Irish Rock ’N’ Roll Museum at The Button Factory in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Photo: Frank McGrath
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Sir — I have sweet memories of meeting the late Philomena Lynott back in 2005, when we in Bantry stole a march on the rest of Ireland and held our St Patrick’s Day parade on March 13 (for the simple reason of that being the nearest Sunday to the 17th).

The parade’s grand marshal that year, invited by Bantry Town Council, was Philomena Lynott, mother of The Black Rose whose music inspired a generation of rock ’n’ rollers. Philo showed how traditional Irish music, mixed with rock, could produce the magic of Thin Lizzy.

From the viewing stand, Philomena told the crowd: “I am deeply moved and honoured to have been invited and that the music of my son should be so sweetly remembered by the people of Bantry. He would be so proud to know he is still so highly thought of.”

Later in the hotel, a group of parade officials and aficionados of the great Phil sat and listened to Philomena, who delighted us with lovely personal stories of her

beloved son.

It was an unforgettable day, and before I left, she gave me a picture of herself and Phil — and written on the back were the words of his song Philomena, the last lines of which go:

“...If you see my mother

Tell her I’m keeping fine.

Tell her that I love her

And I’ll try to write sometime.”

They’re reunited now. RIP mother and son.

Robert Sullivan,

Bantry, Co Cork

Precious waters give us pride of place

Sir - Ireland's rivers, lakes and the salty wet stuff are legendary. Thank God we're surrounded by water. But is it sometimes a blessing in disguise?

Rockall with songs and poetry puts it in our minds too. But some famous lines in films - or was it a fishy tale? - come to mind: ''You may take our freedom, but, you'll never take our plaice!''

Ken Maher,

Kilcoole, Co Wicklow

Don't let them get away Scot free

Sir - In the last number of days the Scottish government has made threats to the Irish fishermen that their fishing vessels will be boarded and impounded if they continue to fish in waters off Rockall.

Perhaps in response we should ban the wearing of the Scottish kilt in public? And maybe put in an injunction against the bagpipes?

Martin Ford,

St Anne's Terrace, Sligo

A rock in the sea gives Brexit lesson

Sir - The haggis is in the fire with the Scottish weighing in on Rockall. No Scottish claim to Rockall has ever come to public notice until now - and it seems its is more to do with Scotland flexing its muscles.

Of course Irish fishermen are in the middle of it and being cynically threatened with penal sanctions if they do not yield to Scottish demands. The disputed ''rock'' is not a jurisdiction or an island, it is just a geological elevation which is barely above the water at high tide. It also represents a dangerous maritime obstruction - so why has a government which claims it as theirs not placed a lighthouse to warn away shipping?

It is not possible to live on the rock and its only use seems to be a tool to extend jurisdiction by those laying claim to it for economic and political reasons.

In fact Rockall is the domain of the seagulls which stop on the rock for a "rest" as the fly over it.

Flippancy aside, this dispute remains a valuable lesson to what may become a regular event in a post-Brexit world where waters and other jurisdictional will be disputed as the UK leaves the EU. So we had better get used to this type of argy-bargy - it may be a sign of things to come.

Maurice Fitzgerald,

Shanbally, Co Cork

Who's to blame in Gulf flashpoint?

Sir - The explosions on the two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz last Thursday are a stark warning to the world that the situation in the region is not only fragile but is fast reaching the point of no return.

Everyone has their own opinion as to who was responsible - that's what they call "the fog of war". But with a US carrier in the locality, an unpredictable US president, and America's friends in the region - the Saudi Arabians - also demanding action against Iran, I fail to see the sense in Tehran undertaking this type of attack.

It knows full well the outcome of such actions. In a volatile world, and with a US president keen to ramp up his re-election campaign, it would seem to be an act of national suicide on behalf of Iran.

So I wonder who's to blame?

Mike Burke, Sixmilebridge, Co Clare

Make a stand on cruel fur farming

Sir - The Government needs to listen to animal welfare groups on the subject of fur farming. Opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority of the Irish people want it banned.

Every year in Ireland around 200,000 mink are slaughtered, mostly for the US fur trade. The mind boggles at the very thought of all those tiny creatures, reared in cages, and then having the skin ripped from their bodies after slaughter.

Fine Gael is the only political party that has not pledged to back the Solidarity Bill, due to be debated on July 2.

Why is Fine Gael so slow to support measures aimed at easing the suffering of animals?

In 1990, it was a Fianna Fail-Progressive Democrat coalition that banned otter hunting.

In 2010, it was the Fianna Fail-Green government that banned carted stag hunting - in the teeth of fierce opposition from Fine Gael which defended this appalling "recreation" that forced captive deer to run from packs of dogs until they collapsed from exhaustion, racked by pain and bleeding from head to foot.

Now, in the run-up to a vote on a bill to end the torturous plight of farmed mink, we have Fine Gael once again failing to respond humanely to animal suffering. I appeal to the Taoiseach, who projects a caring, liberal image, to take stand on this issue. If Fine Gael is truly compassionate, forward-looking and progressive, it needs to make a stand.

John Fitzgerald,

Callan, Co Kilkenny

Thanks to Doonbeg for warm welcome

Sir - It puzzles me why there was such criticism of the people of Doonbeg for recently welcoming the president of the USA. While few people in this country agree with Trump's policies, that does not mean that they should not have given a good Irish welcome to the president of the United States - and separate the office from the man's policies.

Maybe we could be much more an influence on him in getting him to see things from our perspective - in areas like climate change for example - by engaging with, rather than protesting against him. As we have already seen, protest has no effect on him whatsoever

I applaud the smart people of Doonbeg who, in their calculated wisdom, came out in full force and gave him a great Cead Mile Failte. The people of Doonbeg realise that if it was not for the Trump Hotel and Resort, their village would barely exist.

Like it or not, Trump has made an immense difference to the local community. Is it not in the human psyche that people will support anything that puts bread on their table? This is just the way of the world.

So hurray to the people of Doonbeg for the great welcome they gave to the president of the United States of America and long may they benefit from it.

Mary O'Dowd,

Kilkee, Co Clare

Time to revise the certs system

Sir - I let out three cheers of hope for all the stressed students facing exams when reading Sean de Brun's letter last week.

The senior lecturer at Mary Mac made excellent sense when suggesting the traditional leaving cert programme should be modularised and assessed over a two-year period.

We would not overload an electric socket in our homes without running the risk of blowing a fuse - so why on earth do we allow this outdated exam system to continue to overload our young students' minds?

Quick fire exams are like cup final shoot-outs. A player does not blaze his penalty over the bar because of his lack of overall skill on the pitch. Just like that exam paper, it's down to pressure, anxiety, and expectation on the big occasion. We should not dismiss the bright sparks of the future because of the present antiquated examination process.

Brendan Buffini,

Whitebrook, Co Wexford

If Thomas Moore had no shoes

Sir - While on a visit to Avoca, Co Wicklow I stopped by where the three rivers - the Barrow, the Nore and the Suir - meet. The meeting of rivers is immortalised in the poem by Thomas Moore and a statue of the poet is erected there.

The story that I heard is that a traveller stopped to rest at this spot and, after reading the poet's poem at the statue, penned the following ditty:

If Tom Moore had to walk without shoes on his feet

And travel all day with nothing to eat -

And sleep in a bed without blanket or sheet,

He wouldn't give a damn where the Bright Waters meet!

Leo Gormley,

Dundalk, Co Louth

Eamonn's eulogy drifts wide here

Sir - Your sports writer Eamonn Sweeney delivered a smash of sorts on men's tennis (Sunday Independent, June 9), implying there was no crack in it at all, with the level of top seed male domination, contrasting sharply to the women's game currently.

Is this a fault on Eamonn here, who usually volleys heaped praise to us, on multiple greats over a wide range of the sporting spectrum?

It appears that the legends Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, domination combination, has Eamonn in a spin, and his normal eulogising service has drifted wide here.

Michael Reid,

Slane, Co Meath

Keeping it short when I turn 100

Sir - Some years ago one of my 13 grandchildren sent me this text: "A speech should be like a skirt - long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to hold the attention."

Well, in five years and a few days I will keep it short when I am thanking the President for his gift when - God willing - I hit the century. Or will it be cut till 110? These are weird times, you know.

Kathleen Corrigan,

Coothill, Co Cavan

A day to remember all our holy wells

Sir - Alongside Father's Day, Bloomsday and whatever other special events readers may be celebrating today, may I point out that June 16 is also our "national holy wells day".

Water is life, and these sources of water are of great historical interest and significance in Ireland.

I hope that our awakened environmental awareness will promote a proper recognition of these often neglected sacred and historical places, scattered throughout our island home.

Sean Quinn, Blackrock, Co Dublin

We need to talk about dying with dignity

Sir - Resident as I am now very comfortably in a nursing home, which is more like a hotel, I noted with interest Dr Foley's letter on 'the euthanasia debate'  (Sunday Independent, March 31).

You might remember he was a supporter of having euthanasia debate. I am too - as I am of a rational, grown-up discussion.

I also share his desire not to spend any more time in hospital. (That said, the recent time I spent in hospital was very, very good - perhaps chiefly because I felt listened to.

This is important. I was listened to when I spoke about having been a member of Dignitas for six years, and about how I wished to have the same assurance of a good death in Ireland (calm, comfortable, and dignified). This organisation assures this for me, though at considerable expense and a considerable distance.

In fact while I was in hospital (for a four-month stay) I wrote a sort of open letter to my doctor and a solicitor in the hospital. This letter had begun as one to the Taoiseach, in which I called for a referendum on euthanasia.

I attached my 'hospital letter' to an email which on May 8 I sent to Minister Halligan (of the Dying with Dignity 2015 Bill), and the Taoiseach, and also some others in the Oireachtas.

So far I haven't got a huge response - though I have had some, for which I am very grateful.

In the letter I called for a referendum on euthanasia, and in my email I concluded by asking what is holding up Minister Halligan's 2015 bill. Either way, I feel allowing assistance in dying, with safeguards, would be good.

Obviously I am still hoping for that healing miracle to get me 'home home' - but I have made some friends here who like things that I like (including poetry, puzzles and jokes. Ireland's Own is a good source).

I don't think I could speak/write highly enough of the carers, the nurses and the management here at my nursing home, where I am treated with such great care, humanity and respect. But after enduring 20 years of MS and many more years of my particular kidney trouble, I feel I'm very close to having had enough.

I'm not long-haul campaigner material. Everyone who matters knows that. But I would like to get a national discussion started and I am trying to do that here.

Orla Ní hAonigh

A Dublin Nursing Home

A party that needs to purge its soul

Sir - Gerry Adams should take the opportunity his retirement presents to apologise to the SDLP in particular for the intimidation his movement carried out in his name for electoral advantage, which has led to a much weaker SDLP today. I mean all the assaults on SDLP election workers, the "IRA" slogans daubed on homes and cars, the cars and election offices burnt and the lies told about the origins of these activities.

It's time Sinn Fein purged its soul.

John O'Connell,

Derry City

Play it again... and feel good

Sir - Reading your well-being columnist Alison Canavan last week (Sunday Independent, Life, June 9), I saw she wrote in her Self-care Corner about the joy of re-watching your favourite movie, and how it always makes you feel good. How right she is. I used to do so and must do so again. So out comes Casablanca with Bogey and the gang. "Here's looking at you kid!" Thank you, Alison.

Brian McDevitt,

Glenties, Co Donegal

Punish politicians' empty promises

Sir - If citizens are punished for breaking the law, then should not politicians be punished for breaking promises?

Pat O'Callaghan, Mallow, Co Cork


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