Monday 16 September 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Insight into discrimination'

'It does come down to the most basic human emotions, if Travelling people and settled people are to continue to live together in Ireland.' (stock photo)
'It does come down to the most basic human emotions, if Travelling people and settled people are to continue to live together in Ireland.' (stock photo)
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Sir - Having spent a day and night last week in Knock, Co Mayo, I would like to express my view on the Travelling community and how they are discriminated against.

It was matchmaking day in Knock for the Travellers on that day (August 15), so a huge turnout was there.

I was in a local shop and my son wanted chewing gum, which I was refusing to buy for him. The shop owners made it obvious that they thought I was a Traveller and grabbed my seven-year-old son to put him out of the shop. They also started pushing me out, too, by pressing into my back. It was shocking.

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I have been a nurse for the last 20 years, but I was appalled by the treatment of us by these shop owners - and for the first time in my my life I became fully aware of the discrimination Travellers face.

I can see clearly now how the relationship between Travellers and settled people continues to be a problem. With 31,000 (Census 2016) Travellers in Ireland, the relationship will always be strained if respect is not part of people's attitude towards each other.

It has to start with respect and this may take a long time to grow due to people's attitude. Why would Travellers have respect for settled people when they are treated like this and vice versa?

It does come down to the most basic human emotions, if Travelling people and settled people are to continue to live together in Ireland. Prejudice is a difficult one to overcome but it really does start there.

Nuala Hyland,
Portarlington, Co Laois

Shoulder to cry on for Kilkenny

Sir — I have a wee poem for you, inspired by events on the field last Sunday.

The game of hurling
Can be so fast
It is hard to know
Your elbow from your arse

To execute a shoulder
Tuck in that elbow
Like an Irish dancer
Keep it low

For if it is out
And all can see
You run the risk
Giving away that free

Shoulder to shoulder
May be the intent
But if you miss
Off, you are sent


Kieran Faherty,
Barna, Co Galway

Referee was in the right over red card

After the controversial red card issue in the senior hurling final, I feel it is important to write in support of referee James Owens’ decision to red card Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan. 

I have sympathy for Hogan — not because of his actions, but because of what he will have to live through following his dismissal. I am sure he now regrets his rash decision.

Well done, referee Owens, who did not act in haste, but consulted without the benefit of an action replay before making his decision.

Congrats to Tipp and condolences to Brian Cody, his selectors and panel on what was a sad ending to their year.

Tony Fagan,
Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Women’s sport in spotlight at last

Sir — It’s great to be alive! Real support for women’s sport has finally come about... both senior camogie semi-finals on national radio and TV, live footage of the women’s soccer World Cup and, of course, the ladies’ football semi-finals being played in Croke Park for the first time.

There’s a long road ahead but no doubt the 20x20 campaign has stimulated this success and long may it continue!

Ellen Murphy,
Nurney, Co Carlow

Age means nothing when you’re in love

Sir — I read Sarah Caden in last week’s Sunday Independent, wondering if it was really OK for Leonardo DiCaprio to be romancing girls aged under 25 when he is a middle-aged 45-year-old. Sarah also wrote about Sean Penn, who is dating a 27-year-old girl — one year older than his daughter.

But, Sarah, it’s actually very common for older men to marry or date girls younger than themselves, and it has been since time began.

I myself am married to an almost 90-year-old and I am just 70 and we are in our sixth year of marriage. I had to kiss a lot of frogs and it took years for me to find my knight in shining armour, in fact he was a commandant in the Irish Army for much of his life before he ended up being my prince charming.

He is the most gorgeous, generous, thoughtful, loving, caring man I have ever met and great company. He is always in a cheerful mood, he lives for the moment and is wise.

If you are compatible, can listen to one another, have a good sense of humour and get on well together, it doesn’t matter the age difference. Grab life with both hands.

Remember Sarah, the older the fiddle the sweeter the tune.

Terry Healy,
Kill, Co Kildare

Roll up, roll up, Ireland for sale

So Greenland is not for sale to Mr Trump? Too bad, perhaps he might like to try Ireland. It has many things going for it.

1. He already owns a bit of it.

2. They have nearly sold most of it to oil barons, vulture funds and the like. And to think that when I was going to school we were told Ireland had no natural resources.

3. He could start mining for gold on Croagh Patrick.

4. He would be in close proximity to his friend Boris across the water.

5. He could build the wall to protect his golf course that was refused.

6. He could sell it back to the American government for twice what he paid and they could make it the 51st state.

We could divvy up the money and go live somewhere with decent services. Cuba perhaps?

Ah well, perhaps it’s only wishful thinking.

Michael O Meara,
Faha, Killarney, Co Kerry

We are a strong state of 27 nations

Sir — Angela Merkel in Berlin was rock solid last week with Boris Johnson.

Backstop is a tool — she is not for turning on its goal. If he dislikes that tool, it’s up to him to produce one equally as good for achieving the same and absolutely non-negotiable purpose.

The tone of Johnson may mean he is slowly beginning to face reality. He now has to put up or shut up. As some UK tabloids said: ‘Show us what you’ve got, Boris.’ But his bluff has been called and the blame will clearly lie 100pc with him.

“Our gallant allies” in Germany showed us where they stand. In fact all 27 equal partners, with our 447 million people, stand together.

We have no longer a 26-county state but a 27-nation Ireland.

Tom Carew,
Ranelagh, Dublin

No concessions to madness of Brexit

Sir — I am increasingly concerned by the growing volume and breath of exhortation, especially in Irish media, that our Government make an overture or concession to the UK to avoid a hard Brexit.

Besides the fact that this overlooks the EU’s central role in the issue, such exhortation is blind to the villainy of English nationalism central in this madness. To concede anything at any point to this volatile, incoherent populism is to further fuel its braggadocio, delusion and dishonesty.

Michael Gannon,
St Thomas’ Square, Kilkenny

Harris lances nationalist boil

Sir — The wonderful Eoghan Harris has probably done more to puncture the rancid boil of self-pitying nationalism in the Republic than any other journalist or commentator.

Could we not share him with the English? (Indeed, he tells us he is getting plenty of media offers there.) It seems to me they have a pretty bad dose of the self-pitying nationalism themselves over there.

Alan Coakley
Bandon, Co Cork

Dutchman need not fear our dogs

Sir — I read with interest the letter sent by Wilfred Reneman, who whilst thoroughly enjoying his holiday, had the misfortune to be bitten by a dog. I’m pleased to note he expects to pay further visits to Ireland. Should he do so, I hope he may find time to visit Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, where he will be able to see the very steps at the end of the inner harbour where an illustrious former compatriot came ashore.

The spot is marked by a blue plaque and there is a small statue nearby to the gentleman. I have made enquiries at the local cottage hospital/medical centre, and find that in the intervening time, there has been no recorded case of visitors from Holland ever being bitten.

Meinherr Reneman, therefore, may be assured he will be completely safe here because our hounds have been well trained to recognise a Dutchman, and never ever to bite one.

Alaistair Macleane
(aka McZozimus),
Islandmagee, Larne, Co Antrim

Planning zones drive up prices

Sir — The planning act was introduced in 1963. The object is to try to get people to live together in close clusters so that services such as sewerage, water, schools, buses, shops and churches are all within a reasonable distance.

However, what was once a very simple process has changed into a monster.

Councils have zoned land around our towns and villages. The value of this zoned land has soared so much it is now not practical to build a cheap little house on the land. The price of the land will far outstrip the cost of the house.

This means that we cannot build cheap houses anymore. The houses must all be mansions to recover the cost of the site.

Michael Kiely,
Ovens, Co Cork

Let’s talk about cannabis dangers

Sir — May I first offer my condolences to all families who have lost loved ones in drugs-related circumstances in recent and not so recent times. Apparently there have been 125 MDMA-related deaths in the past 12 years in Ireland.

My reason for writing relates to the Donal Lynch interview with Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor in last week’s Sunday Independent, in which she felt there was a laissez-faire attitude to drugs in colleges and she was going to show leadership.

Sounds good until your read the next sentence: “I’m not talking about weed, for instance. I’m talking about MDMA, ecstasy…”

Why not, minister? Why not also talk about weed? Are you not aware that both are linked? Are you aware that it’s illegal?

While some users go straight onto Ecstasy, many others are regular cannabis users in the first instance and progress over time to other drugs.

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction: “Until a few years ago, the majority of those seeking treatment for their drug problems for the first time in their life were opioid users. However, that has changed, and now the largest group of first-time treatment entrants is those seeking help for problems related to cannabis use (37pc), with heroin in second place at 28pc followed by cocaine at 21pc.”

Cannabis is illegal because it is harmful, not harmful because it is illegal as some suggest.

Bernie Mc Donnell,
CEO Community Awareness of Drugs,
Gardiner Row, Dublin 1

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