Letters to the Editor: 'Politics, pirates, bees and raccoons - book them in'
There will be those who will gift a book for Christmas and here are some which drew my attention this year. They shine a light on a part of history or political events today and topics of scientific concern like saving the bees.
'Martin McGuinness: The Man I Knew' by Jude Collins (Mercier Press, Cork, 2018) features interviews with 27 people who knew him in the years of conflict in the late 1960s to early 1990s and in the 1980s to 2016 as a politician and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland. He died in March 2017 and is a big loss to the peace process. There is no power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland for two years this January. Many said they won't see his like again in the way he could bring people together while acknowledging there are others who can't forget his role in the violent years of conflict.
Bill Clinton said in his eulogy to him at his funeral: "Somewhere along the way, for whatever reason, he decided to give peace a chance. Some of the reasons were principled, some were practical, but he decided... He was good about sticking with something he decided to do, and he succeeded because his word was good, his listening skills were good, and he was not afraid to make a compromise, and he was strong enough to keep it if he made it."
'Ireland's Pirate Trail' by Des Ekin (O'Brien Press, Dublin, 2018) is on Irish and foreign pirates who plundered around Ireland and overseas for 1,000 years and used our harbours and inlets as havens to escape capture for their ocean thieving. His earlier books 'The Stolen Village' (on a suspected contract kidnapping of villagers in the Cork village of Baltimore by Barbary pirates in 1631) and on the battle of Kinsale 1601 are on display together in Waterstones, Cork.
'The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage' by Jared Yates Sexton (USA, 2018) is an insightful American book on the election of Donald Trump and on what the US political establishment needs to learn from it. The author was on the 2016 campaign trail and witnessed why people decided to vote for Trump.
'100 Plants to Feed the Bees' by the Xerces Society (Story Publishing, USA) is a beautiful 240-page American publication described as "a wonderful and much-needed book that will inspire and inform the creation of bee-friendly wild-flower gardens".
Raccoons moved this year to east of Macroom, Co Cork, reported recently in the Cork media. All you ever wanted to know is in 'Raccoons: A Natural History' (Smithsonian Books, USA, 2002).
Maybe someone could tell Smithsonian Books they are in Ireland for some 16 years. They love dumpsters, as they are called in the US - refuse bins here. One of their specialities. It's why they are nicknamed 'masked bandits' in the US.
College Road, Cork
Regions should have more say on political decisions
Dr Theresa Reidy, a political scientist at University College Cork, wrote recently in your newspaper a piece entitled 'To solve the problems in rural Ireland, we have to decentralise our political power' (Irish Independent, November 27). She said the people of Dublin have watched their region choke over the past 18 months, while other regions have watched as the recovery has been painfully slow.
She goes on to say the destiny of rural regions will frequently be contingent upon demand in sectors like agriculture and tourism. She further states every important political decision is made by central government in Dublin and the regions do not exist in any meaningful political way. In many European countries, local authorities provide and manage health and education services, hiring the professional staff necessary to run each operation smoothly and within budget. Local county councils, education and health boards provided these services in the regions successfully for many years in the past. Policing is another area where local authorities play an important role in other EU states.
Perhaps it is time to consider going back to making political decisions in the regions - and providing power at a local level once more.
Cloonacool, Co Sligo
The British people can have no one to blame but themselves for Brexit mess
I wish to respond to Len Gurrie ('EU's hostility to blame if UK leaves with no deal', Letters, November 27).
I work in the tourist industry in Dublin and from conversing with people from Britain (mainly England), I've discovered that the majority of them do not know what Brexit really means and they don't realise that any bad outcomes will be self-inflicted. They are the ones who voted to leave. Nobody told them to go, but they just can't grasp this concept.
For air travel after the end of March, Brexit means that British people have decided to absent themselves and their airlines from the benefits that accrue from the agreements/treaties that all airlines currently enjoy and operate under, both within and also outside the EU.
Contrary to Mr Gurrie's apparent understanding of the issue, the EU will not be banning British airlines. The truth is that the British electorate will have effected this ban.
Equally, the "hostile attitude" within the EU to the UK, that Mr Gurrie perceives, doesn't exist and never has. What is happening in that regard is that the EU is adhering to the rules, regulations, directives and laws that have brought so many positive reforms and benefits to Europe over the past five decades.
In a recent piece by 'Sunday Independent' columnist Colm McCarthy, it was clearly outlined that there is no and never has been any directive, law or regulation that provides for punishing or (as Mr Gurrie feels) "making an example of the UK" or indeed any other nation that looks to exit the EU.
The simple truth is that Britain decided all by itself to leave behind all the benefits of EU membership without considering any of the implications, good, bad or indifferent.
That some of their more enlightened politicians are actively trying to mitigate negative outcomes seems lost upon many of the British population. It's about time that they realised the truth that the UK is falling into the abyss. They can't go back to the past when they arrogantly sent ships out across the globe to other lands and took back home the fruits of foreign assets and resources. It wouldn't be tolerated now. They need to realise that working together in a full partnership is the best way to prosperity and peaceful living.
Ratoath, Co Meath