Letters to the Editor: 'Solving beef farming crisis'
Sir - Coming from a farming background, I understand and empathise with the present plight of Irish beef farmers.
There seems to be no easy solution to the crisis they are facing.
Dairy farmers had similar problems in the past, so they opted into the cooperative movement and set up cooperative creameries and achieved ownership of the processing stage of their business.
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Perhaps the long-term solution to the beef farmers' crisis is for beef farmers to set up cooperative meat processing plants and they should be supported in this by all the farming organisations.
The beef barons will always maximise their profit, so the beef farmers need to become their own beef barons and cut out the middle men.
Johnson's treachery may be good for us
Sir - The British prime minister's ''suspension of Westminster'' is to be welcomed for a number of reasons.
Corbyn is now seriously challenged as to whether he has a role in upholding the UK's democracy. Despite their squeals of outrage, Corbyn has already wasted three years in trying to engineer personal and party gain from Brexit.
Johnson's flouting of democracy only underlines the more treacherous aspects of his narcissism and further subverts his worth and stature as someone with whom to negotiate. This should reassure the EU and our own Government that their strategy of remaining united and resolute is correct. This way they avoid any involvement whatsoever in the evolving fiasco of Westminster.
Brexit has for a long time been in need of a boot so the rest of us could get on with ordering ''the new order''.
However, Johnson inserting the boot in this way and at this time reveals his huge insecurity - and in my view casts doubt as to whether a crash-out Brexit will happen at all.
St Thomas's Square, Kilkenny
Boris could be our true ally
Sir - Having regard to the Leave referendum in the UK and Northern Ireland, I have no doubt that if Ireland ever got the same opportunity we would follow Britain out of the EU.
Cosy up to Boris, lads. He will prove to be our true ally at the end of the day.
Bantry, Co Cork
Rich heritage of language devalued
Sir - The recent move to reduce Irish, our beautiful language, from its place on the secondary school curriculum is regrettable.
The language is a big part of our rich heritage. It's part of who and what we are, and where we came from. More supports - be they financial or educational - should be provided, for learning, speaking, and using Irish.
What does it say about us that some of our migrants have already established their country of origin's languages on the curriculum.
Meanwhile we devalue ours.
Clonsilla Road, Dublin 15
Words of advice for TV presenters
Sir - I have noticed that at least two weather forecasters on Irish terrestrial television have taken to either opening or closing their slot with a cupla focal as Gaeilge.
Any chance of some of our super-paid presenters doing the same in order to give more impetus to a rolling ball?
Blackrock, Co Louth
Dignified memory of a dreadful day
Sir - I'd like to thank the decent caring people of Mullaghmore for their recent dignified remembrance of that awful day in August 40 years ago when four people on a boat trip were snatched from life.
Passengers who are missing the bus
Sir - I see several reports in the daily papers where Dubliners complain about public transport. Apparently, buses and trains are frequently late and passengers have to stand as seating is scarce.
They should consider themselves lucky. If they lived in Co Monaghan they would find it hard to get on a bus at all.
The No 32 bus from Dublin via Dublin Airport to Letterkenny is supposed to serve towns in Co Monaghan. But travellers going from Dublin Airport to Monaghan are frequently refused access to this bus as there is only room for those going to Omagh or Letterkenny. It does not matter who was first in the queue. This could mean a wait of two or even four hours to get on a bus.
The people of Monaghan are being treated appallingly. Expressway will have to bring back the service from Monaghan to Dublin that they stopped to save cash. Saving money should not enter into it. Service to the community is what should count.
Castleblayney, Co Monaghan
Remember the most vulnerable
Sir -In last week's Sunday Independent, Declan Lynch reminded the reader how "the old conservative traditions in Ireland required things like the incarceration and torture of poor and unwanted children".
However, it behoves us all to think about what liberal, compassionate Ireland now offers unwanted children particularly when they are at their most vulnerable in the womb.
Plus ca change.
Stoneybatter, Dublin 7
No consolation from the bishop
Sir - Catherine Corless, the woman who revealed that 798 children had been buried in a sewerage tank in the Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, is reported to have stated that she thought it would have been lovely if Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary had taken a walk up to give encouragement to her and her companions tending to this extremely sad burial site.
If it is actually true that the Bishop of Tuam doesn't have time to call to the site of this tragedy which took place in his very own town, then his professed care for unborn babies and young children must be a selective one.
Here he appears to offer support to some children in great need with one hand but with his other hand he refuses to offer consolation and contrition to those children who have prematurely died through neglect.
Why does he behave like this?
Is it money?
Perhaps money, which is important in most secular affairs, has also become important too in modern Catholic practices?
Perhaps it could be that the prospect of the Catholic Church losing a lot of money along with substantial property holdings through payments to relatives of such deceased children is something that stops the bishop from just simply "dropping by" to visit the former Tuam Mother and Baby Home?
But if the lay people of the church were allowed to express their own views in a good mannered and open way on parables of the Gospel including about the parable of the Good Samaritan then this would, I believe, be a very good thing.
The bishops and other Catholic leaders would surely be much less likely to get away with failing to be Good Samaritans when they are most needed to take the right course of action.
Kilrush, Co Clare
My school's valuable life lesson
Sir - On reading Michelle Hegarty's excellent letter in last week's Sunday Independent, about what makes a good teacher, I was reminded of my own first day in secondary school. I started in Mount Melleray, Co Waterford, in 1959, almost 60 years ago.
The English (and also Latin) teacher explained to us, that for the following five years, he would have to teach us several poems, certain prose readings and, of course, two or three plays by William Shakespeare, firstly for the Inter Cert (three years) and two years more for Leaving Cert.
However, he further explained that if we never passed an exam, he would encourage us to appreciate everything we would learn for the following five years. He encouraged us to always read.
I for one have never forgotten his advice and nearly 60 years on I am still reading books.
What a marvellous teacher that man was.
Ballincollig, Co Cork
Meat limits that have no benefit
Sir - Not one media interviewer has asked the vital question of Meat Sector Ireland PLC - namely: what beneficial effects have the limits of four moves and the 30-month maximum age on your steak or roast - or, on the contrary, what are the adverse effects of the non-compliant animal?
The answers from any farmer will be: absolutely none.
Michael Teehan, Moyglass, Fethard, Co Tipperary
Something's amiss with Boris Johnson
Sir - My late friend Conor Cruise O'Brien once posed the question: is there intelligent life on Tom King (back when he was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland). It was an example of Conor's genial and great humour.
Had Boris Johnson not written The Churchill Factor, one would be tempted to ask the same question of the British PM.
However there seems something is amiss in his cognitive make-up. If he appears soon with a comb-over like Donald Trump my fears will be confirmed.
Tony Moriarty, Harold's Cross, Dublin 6W
Our minister must protect biodiversity
Sir - Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan has been attacked by self-proclaimed "champions of rural Ireland" for her decision not to allow roadside hedge cutting in August or extend burning of vegetation into March. While we don't have a Bolsonaro here in Ireland to permit the slashing and burning of our precious eco-system, we do have powerful lobby groups that would gladly sacrifice our biodiversity to advance selfish sectional interests.
If these people really cared about our countryside, they'd welcome curbs on the destruction of nesting birds and vital pollinators that depend on the cover provided by hedges.
Another decision by Madigan that could be reversed if the Government capitulates to the pro-blood sports lobby, is the ban on the netting of hares for coursing.
I hope the minister will not yield to these lobbyists. About one quarter of species in Ireland (birds, mammals, insects and wild plants) are already facing extinction. The curlew has declined by an 96pc since the Seventies, and only one-third of Ireland's hedgerows are now capable of supporting birdlife.
The prohibitions on hare capture and the slashing and burning of vulnerable wildlife habitats are baby steps on the way to a more caring and responsible approach to conserving our priceless flora and fauna.
Callan, Co Kilkenny
Historic meeting of contrasting tribes
Sir - Today's All-Ireland football final is a very special day in the GAA calendar. Today's game has all the symbolism of the ancient Tailteann Games, when the tribes of Ireland gathered in competition to honour the Irish deity, Lugh Lamhfada, who was associated with skill, mastery, sportsmanship and heroism.
The teams will contest today's game with determination, industry, commitment and courage. Each will thrill and excite its followers with Gaelic football of the highest standard.
Every player who sets foot on the hallowed turf of Croke Park will give his all to capture Sam for his county. Every ball will be keenly contested. Every score will be precious. Every interception will be decisive.
Certainly, heroes will emerge to pluck the ball out of the sky or to score a goal of individual brilliance. But this is a day when players, mentors and supporters of each county are united as one in the pursuit of greatness.
This will be a display of skill by amateur sportsmen. Like the Tailteann Games, the pride of place is what counts.
Some describe this game as a contest between urban sophistication and rural naivety. Others compare it to the Biblical battle between David and Goliath. And remember, David hit the bullseye in that battle.
Spa, Tralee, Co Kerry
Stop tinkering with the timetable
Sir - God be with the times when children went back to school on the day after the All-Ireland final on the first Sunday of September.
Now the classrooms reopen in August, the same month as the MacCarthy Cup is presented.
This year's hurling final was on August 18 and five days later I saw children in school uniforms. The earlier return appears to be because of weeks off at Halloween and in February.
Many find bringing the completion of the All-Ireland championships forward more difficult to fathom and lament the tampering with tradition.
After today's football decider, the GAA is effectively handing media coverage to rival sports such as rugby and cross-channel soccer. This is surely an own-goal and putting the 'we guys' who slavishly support English soccer teams more in our ears.
Navan, Co Meath
Eamonn hits the spot once again
Sir - Congratulations on two superb articles by Eamonn Sweeney on last Sunday's back page of the Sport section.
The article on referees should be required reading for all coaches, players, administrators and fans in hurling and football. The article on Tipperary and their ability to think on their feet was excellent. I totally agree that spontaneity has been coached out of players in some codes.
Long may Sweeney continue to exercise our minds.
Rathanker, Passage West, Cork
Show offside rule the red card
Sir - Gaelic football and hurling are more exciting without any offside rule.
I believe soccer would benefit if offside was omitted. There would be more goals and no more 0-0 draws or shoot-outs.
Summer romance blooms and fades
I enjoyed Emily Hourican's reflections on fast-disappearing summer (Sunday Independent, August 25). One memory, from the movie Grease, was "the look of horror on Danny's face when Sandy turns up at his high school" weeks after their hot summer romance.
I remember such an experience after a summer romance here in Co Donegal in my youth. A few weeks later we passed each other in the centre of Dublin - we just smiled.
Summer was over, and we knew it. Still, a lovely memory.
Glenties, Co Donegal