Wednesday 21 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Centre will hold if and when media provides it with a voice'

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin at the MacGill Summer School in Co Donegal last year. Photo: North West Newspix
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin at the MacGill Summer School in Co Donegal last year. Photo: North West Newspix
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

I note the sub theme of this years MacGill Summer School is ‘Can the Centre Hold?’. It’s a valid question. But there are many elements to the answer. One is the role of the media. Strangely that topic is not included on the MacGill programme.

Unfortunately in the ratings and sales-motivated media, the “centre” often seems not to feature. Views from the extremes or the margins are often presented as if the holders of those views are more committed, more honourable or more passionate in the pursuit of their cause than those who are more balanced in their approach.

Yet the reality is that it is usually the politics of positivity – whether that be the centre left or, even occasionally, the centre right – that offers solutions to the problems facing our society. Those of us committed to consensus or dare I say it “centre politics” are as passionate and committed to that political approach as the extremes are to theirs. The difference being that balanced advocates try to find solutions, the extremes just try to find scapegoats.

But when the extremes are being propped up by a fawning and often lazy media the centre has to work even harder to simply exist. In that reality, perhaps the centre won’t hold. That is the danger and something the media should reflect on.

Perhaps political reporting will no longer be based on whose son, daughter, cousin, nephew or niece will inherit the family seat, the latest opinion polls and the impact on the party leaders, but rather on the policies and ideas promoted. It would make a nice change.

Cllr Dermot Lacey

Donnybrook, Dublin 4

When will State take some of the blame for America’s wars?

One of the realities of war crimes trials is the unjustified impunity for some and justified imprisonment for others. Radovan Karadzic and Radko Mladic were justifiably convicted for Bosnian war crimes.

The Dutch supreme court has ruled the Dutch state bears 10pc responsibility for the failure of its military peacekeepers to protect Srebrenica Muslims towards whom they had a duty of care (Irish Independent, July 20). Why have we not heard similar levels of responsibility being applied to the higher UN echelons and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council?

No US, British, French, Russian or Chinese generals or politicians have ever been convicted of war crimes. The absolute power they gave unto themselves when they drafted the UN charter gives them immunity and impunity to abuse power absolutely.  

Just as Bosnian Serb leaders bear the major share of responsibility for atrocities committed in the Bosnian war, and Dutch peacekeepers a minor share, the United States now bears a large share of responsibility for the carnage and infrastructural damage that has occurred due to unjustified wars in the Middle East.

However, we must not overlook the significant minor share of responsibility that rests with countries and their political leaders who actively assisted these US wars.

When will we see the Irish Supreme Court apportion a just percentage of responsibility and reparations due to the victims of wars in the Middle East that were facilitated by US military use of Shannon airport?

Dr Edward Horgan

Castletroy, Co Limerick

Grace and Lowry have human warmth in common

Paddy Holdcroft (Irish Independent, July 23) says Shane Lowry looks and sounds a little like the late great Brendan Grace. Yes indeed, one could see that being the case. But one absolute similarity is, that just like the late comedian, the champion golfer also comes across as such a lovely human  being. And that’s what really makes their achievements in life all the greater.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

When sport unites our island, we can forget the tired politics

We have the united Ireland we most need when sportsmen and women do us proud, North and south. The political stuff is well worn out by now.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork

Lisa Smith didn’t take wrong turn – she chose her path

I refer to Paddy Murray’s letter (Irish Independent, July 22) in which he said we should welcome home Lisa Smith and her child. She “ended up in a war zone”,  he says, as if she had taken a wrong turn on a car trip.

The truth is this person chose to go to join a savage and merciless group of her own volition. If the terrorists she joined were successful and were still in operation, would she be perfectly happy with her lot there?

She chose her lot, let her accept the consequences.

Tony Walsh

Tramore, Co Waterford

Irish Independent

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