Letters to the Editor: We should be proud of our stance on alcohol labelling

Alcohol has been linked to liver disease. Photo: Getty Images© Getty Images/iStockphoto

Letters to the Editor

Extensive coverage was recently given to alcohol industry views on Ireland’s health information labelling regulations claiming “real risks” to their business (‘Health labels “could affect French wine imports” here’, Irish Independent, Business, May 1).

What was not mentioned were the reasons for these labels. Rising levels of liver disease, low public awareness of the alcohol/cancer link, and sadly one of the highest rates of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the world are some of the risks posed by alcohol.

The regulations are modest measures giving details of calories, alcohol content, warnings about drinking in pregnancy, facts about cancer and liver disease plus a link to a government public health website.

These measures have widespread public support (72pc in polling data), have been extensively debated in the Oireachtas and were passed into law in 2018 with an overwhelming majority.

The article points to claims that the labels are “nonsense” and lack “subtlety” and “nuance”, but what the labels actually provide is accurate, independent information.

We can be proud that Ireland is leading the way in ensuring consumers have access to facts and not just the promotional spin of vested interests.

Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland

Coleraine House, Coleraine Street, Dublin

Pioneering GP couple who understand fundamental cruelty of abuse

I was reading an article recently (Irish Independent, Weekend, April 15) regarding a new documentary film by filmmaker Sinéad O’Shea entitled Pray for our Sinners which brought back a vivid brutal memory from my Blackrock College schooldays in the 1960s.

I well remember tears flowing down my face and very nearly passing out in the loo from the dreadful excruciating pain after receiving six lashes of the “biffo” (leather strap), as they called it, on the hands from one priest. It was brutality at its worst.

The documentary tells the story of two Navan GPs, Mary and Patrick Randles, who in the 1970s rescued women from mother and baby homes and exposed the horror of corporal punishment in Irish schools, which helped eventually outlaw legally this brutal practice in this country in 1982.

I quote Mary Randles saying: “I suppose when you’ve been treated very badly, a terrible aspect of it is that you doubt yourself, because you’ve been treated so badly. You ask yourself, ‘Did I deserve it?’. I always think that’s one of the cruelties of abuse – not only are you abused but that you have to justify it to yourself afterwards. So I think [speaking publicly] was maybe part of the process.”

Brian Mc Devitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

Glenn Ryan’s complaints add up to little more than excuses

Glenn Ryan’s extraordinary attack on the world and its mother following Kildare’s defeat must draw into question whether he is an appropriate mentor to a team of young footballers (‘“It’s meant to be a neutral venue” – Kildare boss Glenn Ryan launches scathing attack on GAA after tight defeat to Dublin’, Irish Independent, May 1).

If Mr Ryan has a genuine complaint about how his side was treated, he should make an official complaint and seek a replay.

As a lover of the game, I would give him full support should the evidence he produces have any merit. Somehow I doubt it, as all his gripes amount to innuendo and relate to matters that would impact equally on both sides, such as the throw-in delay.

The usual moan about Croke Park being an advantage to Dublin just does not stack up.

I have never witnessed a game played there where a Dublin team won and any rational, unbiased analyses could point to the victory being down to this tardy “familiarity” claim.

The litany of “complaints” can justifiably be dismissed as nothing more than excuses – and what sort of an example is that to the team he coaches?

But what must be of greatest concern to all is his dog-whistle attack on those officiating at the game, suggesting his side was “getting treated second-rate”. This attack is every bit as dangerous as the antics of sideline parents and fans that have, in recent years, gone from such verbal abuse to physically assaulting officials.

I suggest Mr Ryan reflect on his behaviour and consider his future as a team coach. In any event, the GAA and Kildare County Board would be well advised to do so.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

A visit from a different US president? We’ve changed our tune...

After the warm welcome given to US president Joe Biden recently, Donald Trump’s coming visit to Co Clare will seem like a damp squib in comparison. Instead of an Irish band playing The West’s Awake for Trump, it will likely be The West’s Asleep.

Leo Gormley

Dundalk, Co Louth