Thursday 20 June 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Working out if it's a Sunday is a marathon - not a sprint'

Runners taking part in the Belfast City Marathon. Photo: Cate McCurry/PA Wire
Runners taking part in the Belfast City Marathon. Photo: Cate McCurry/PA Wire
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Now that the dust has settled on the 2019 Belfast Marathon and sore and, possibly, sprained ligaments and muscles have been well rested and restored, might I be permitted to make a few comments. Hopefully, if my analysis is incorrect, readers of the Irish Independent, who are astronomical experts, will put me right.

As I see it, science and etymology became tangled with religious practice, as some good people in Northern Ireland were upset that the marathon was run on a Sunday (May 5).

The science part enters as to what day precisely is a Sunday. Every four years an adjustment of one day has to be made to correct the Gregorian calendar (in relation to the earth’s orbit around the sun) which was inaugurated by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. England adopted this calendar nearly 200 years later. It would seem that the one day adjustment, every four years, means that over a period of 28 years, every day of the week, in orbiting terms, is a Sunday.

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The etymology bit relates to the name Sunday in English. It is a pagan name referring to the sun god. Interestingly, in the Irish language, Sunday is called the Lord’s day, Dé Domhnaigh.

Finally, St Paul might possibly be included, in spiritual terms, as a marathon runner. He said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (St Paul was imbued with Greek culture and, so, he would have been aware of the famous Greek marathon.)

Micheál O’Cathail

Dún Laoghaire, Dublin

Many others can trump the president for racist conduct

DONALD Trump is right to claim he is the least racist person. Just think about it: who unleashed the Iraq War on spurious pretences? Who promised historic Palestine to the Jews 100 years ago? Who gave Israel carte blanche to occupy Arab and Muslim lands, changing the status quo beyond recognition with impunity? Who gave orders for Nato and coalition aeroplanes to attack Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc, long before Trump came to power? Who pledged to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital since 1995? Who abetted dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, Africa and far beyond? Who imposed sanctions on Cuba and other Latin American states? For me, Trump is the most honest, straightforward and outspoken American president.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London, UK

Actions of some senators did justice to the term ‘hysterical’

JUDGE Kevin Cross recently described doctors’ reactions to his statement of “absolute confidence” as “hysterical”.

However, I find that actions and other tactics by some learned members in the Seanad to obstruct the passing of the Judicial Appointments Bill to be far more worthy of the description ‘hysterical’.

Pat Breen

Co Carlow

Good lesson in how teachers can inspire pupils to succeed

I HAVE been listening to the ads on RTÉ radio promoting a programme about ‘a teacher that inspired you’.

Well, it was 1947 and I was still in primary school. The master (as we called him) must have seen some spark in me so he put me forward for what was then known as a county council scholarship.

This meant staying in school with his son and his daughter (who were not eligible for a scholarship) after other pupils were gone home, and school for a half day on Saturday morning.

The winter of 1947 was very severe, cold, with frost and snow, but my mother bundled me up in warm clothes and I made my way through the snow to school – only about five minutes’ walk from my home. The exam came, held in Portlaoise, and we booked into a hotel. Results eventually arrived. I had gotten first place in Laois, which entitled me to four years’ free secondary school. In 1947 it had to be boarding school – all free. On the Leaving Cert I was awarded a scholarship to university, ending up with a BA and H Dip. I returned to my alma mater and taught there for 38 years. Two years were spent in another school, so I completed 40 years.

None of this would have been possible were it not for the master who had helped and inspired me in primary school. I am very grateful to him for inspiring and helping me.

Agnes Conroy

Mountmellick, Co Laois

Cyclists risk all by using their mobile phones on the road

DRIVING through Santry recently, I passed a cyclist – nothing unusual there.

However, he was riding ‘fully hands free’, and busily texting. He did, in fairness, bring both hands to his handlebars as we approached a red light. The answer to the next obvious question is, of course, a definite ‘no’.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Irish Independent

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