Nawtin wrong with talking proper on air
Sir - Reading Gay Byrne's comments re 'news' being pronounced as 'nooze', etc, was a reminder that Gay was always an advocate of 'talking proper'.
He must throw his hands in the air, hearing (Radio1 included), 'thirty' as 'tirdy' not to mention 'three' as 'tree', one could go on but best to say 'nawtin' more.
Beaumont, Dublin 9
Three sports icons who gave so much
Sir - what a sad weekend when three of Ireland's best- ever sports people all decided to retire over a few days.
I am talking about the great John Muldoon of Connacht rugby, and the sister-in-law pairing of jockeys Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh. When I read in the Sunday Indo that Nina had retired after riding a winner at Punchestown, it was a shock - I could not grasp that now three top sports persons were gone.
I was watching John playing his part in Connacht's big win last Saturday over Leinster and also Katie riding her last winner at Punchestown before retiring on Friday, and then to find out that Nina had called it a day also.
All three were so brave in their own particular sport, John rescuing the ball from scrums and going highest in the lineouts, and the two ladies risking life and limb on horseback, be it over the jumps or on the flat.
After Nina had her baby last year and came back racing, my heart was in my mouth. I was so afraid that she would have a fall and get injured - thank God she came out safe each time.
Nina and Katie were born into racing and it was in their genes to become great at their professions, whereas John came from a hurling background but defied all odds to become one of the greats with the oval ball.
The pleasure they have given to us all, whether it was on the rugby field or the racecourse, is immense. Best of luck in whatever path in life you now choose, and thanks for the memories.
Lecarrow, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo
Heritage Bill is a threat to wildlife
Sir - Conservationist and wildlife protection groups, including An Taisce, are outraged at the Government's proposed Heritage Bill that will allow burning of vegetation in March and an extension of hedge-cutting to August.
Currently, hedge-cutting and burning of vegetation in upland and lowland hills are prohibited between March 1 and August 31. Rightly so - as to do otherwise would severely endanger breeding birds and adversely affect bees that feed on gorse. Sensitive habitats would be ravaged to the detriment of wildlife.
Not that such a toxic proposal surprises me. A few months from now, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will grant a blanket licence to coursing clubs to capture hares.
Every hare snatched from its natural habitat will be subjected to the terror and trauma of a contrived chase.
Politicians who endorse hare coursing are hardly likely to worry about bees or yellowhammers being smoked out of their habitats, or shredded by strimmers.
In June 2016, 114 TDs voted to retain this so-called "sport" - and we expect these same politicians to spare a thought for the birds and the bees?
Callan, Co Kilkenny
'Doctor' Trump will see you now
Sir - It has been reported that US president Donald Trump dictated the letter that his doctor signed, relating to the president's 'astonishingly excellent' health.
Ethical issues aside, the idea of 'scripting' your own report is astonishing. It is hoped that this is another fake news story but all indications are that it isn't.
By the way, I have a report that says all of my letters to the editor are "astonishingly excellent" and should all be published.
Irish, but not Irish enough
Sir — I am writing to you in frustration and disappointment with our Irish education system.
I am an Irish citizen, born and bred in Co Clare. I began school in an all-Irish speaking preschool in Clare in 1997 and graduated (as head girl) from Laurel Hill Colaiste FCJ in 2013. I have represented Ireland four times in rowing, and have proudly won medals for Ireland on the European and world stage.
In 2013, I began undergrad studies at Yale University in America and graduated in May 2017. It had always been my intention to return home to Ireland once I finished in Yale. I dreamed of qualifying as a psychologist. But as I began applying to clinical psychology doctorates this year, I was quickly alerted to my “non-EU status” — where I would face double fees, compared with my EU counterparts.
I am no longer considered Irish enough to be eligible for Irish fees in Ireland — despite my being an Irish citizen. Even though, while studying in the USA, I spent between six and 16 weeks a year at home in Clare.
I am now told I will have to pay international fees of €30,000 instead of the usual Irish fees of €14,000. My interactions with Irish university officials is even more disconcerting.
One said: “In some circum-stances, the Irish university can make exceptions if the student was offered a full scholarship to an overseas university for their undergraduate degree. This would have to have been a full scholarship that they could not have reasonably turned down, and therefore they would not be then deemed a returning immigrant in that case.”
US Ivy League universities do not offer scholarships — but they do offer financial aid. Yale gave me a very generous financial aid package which covered all my tuition.
My parents contributed around €9,000 towards the $65,000 annual cost of attending Yale. Could one “reasonably” turn down this offer from one of the world’s top academic institutions?
It is frustrating to have Irish universities believe I should reject such an offer. And it is doubly disheartening to have a respected university official deem me a “returning immigrant”.
We are a nation long defined by emigration, and as we work to build a world community, more and more Irish students are looking to gain work and study experience abroad.
As a nation, we are quick to talk about this diaspora and are quick to meet Irish abroad — but we are not creating any incentives for actual Irish people to want to return and bring their worth to Ireland.
Why do we actively encouraging the brain drain from our country?
I am not the first student to struggle with coming home to Ireland and know a large group of Irish students who have completed or who are currently completing studies in America. I can assure you I am not alone in feeling disappointed in our education system’s disowning of us.
Mar a deirtear, “Nil aon tintean mar do thintean fein” agus taim ag iarradh filleadh ar ais do mo thintean, mar saoranach.
Yale University, USA
Jury’s out on unfair legal system
Sir — Last week you carried an article about the number of people who fail to turn up for jury service. But surely this is not surprising, as anyone who is called for jury services must travel to court at their own expense. The State makes no payment of any kind.
Also, it seems there is a long list of people excused from service — doctors, dentists, nurses, vets, chemists, members of the Oireachtas and so on. It is obvious the system is unfair, like everything else it is the little people who are left to bear the burden. If people know the truth, far fewer would turn up.
Rugby socialism could be the future
Sir — Neil Francis does not believe that socialism will work for Irish rugby. He says departures of Leinster players to other provinces are not beneficial to either the individual players or to rugby in general.
The arrivals of the likes of Henshaw and Cronin would not be seen as a socialism bonus for Leinster, not to mention the great Nacewa and Contempomi.
The performance of Leinster against Connacht in Galway might convert Francis to a reverse socialism to strengthen Leinster’s back-up players.
Socialism for all then, could be the future for rugby.
North Circular Road, Limerick
Getting rid of history: a leap into ignorance
Sir — The sad news that history is being dropped from the Junior Cert as a compulsory subject is a mistake. There is no doubt the course is too broad and this impacts on how it is taught. Perhaps the curriculum should help pupils by getting them involved in projects to understand the relevance of our history. During the 1916 commemorations, schools participated in many events linking with their local community.
Every individual and every country has to understand their past before they can understand the present or future. We learn from parents, grandparents and friends, and as we later look back over the years it makes up part of the person that we become.
The Irish language is just one part of our history — and it has been fully protected — but our own much broader national history (plus international history) is being downgraded.
The idea that education should be determined by money and business is a sad reflection on society. Why not just have courses on ‘Three ways to get rich and famous without knowing anything’? I’m sure a large number of people would sign their children up to it.
I believe it’s possible to get schoolchildren interested in history but maybe the curriculum or method has to change, including working on community projects — instead of just learning dates.
Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath
Vote to protect the beauty of life
Sir — Public opinion polls in recent times have shown that the upcoming referendum vote on the Eighth Amendment’s removal from the Constitution has broad support among certain age groups. Even the most optimistic politicians in all parties will concur that opinion polls are not the most reliable way to second guess the more informed people who make up the electorate. I believe the electorate must reverse the above predictions by exercising the right of individual conscience on this thorny issue.
May 25 is the time for the silent majority throughout the land to express their conscientious objections to thwart those who oppose the protection before birth that is still enshrined in the Constitution.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the Russian novelist, once wrote that “beauty will save the world”. The beauty and gift that is life is arguably the greatest beauty.
The inalienable right to life should never be taken away from unborn foetuses — who will become tomorrow’s citizens of Ireland if allowed the protection in the womb that they deserve.
People of conscience must vote to protect the Eighth by supporting the unborn defenceless child in the womb.
A Yes outcome will without doubt lead to a blood-letting of biblical proportions.
Listen to women, not politicians
Sir — If you don’t trust politicians, ask yourself, do you trust women, because trusting women and not politicians lies at the core of this debate.
The proposed legislation seeks to remove power from a rigid, inflexible and very ambiguous constitutional amendment and place it back where it belongs — in the hands of women and their doctors.
The events of the last week involving CervicalCheck has laid bare how this country views and values women. It echoes so many past injustices where women have been forced into silence and have been utterly devalued.
This must stop. We need to start trusting women and to see them for who they are — our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our friends.
Women will continue to be mothers, will continue to be the compassionate heart of the family — but until the Eighth is repealed, women will continue to be devalued, mistrusted and controlled.
Rathcormac, Co Cork
Getting to the heart of the matter
The unbounded elation at the return of the sacred relic of St Laurence O’Toole to Christ Church Cathedral is very understandable. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder. As for those dastardly thieves who in cold blood stole the revered organ, they could now be described as heartless.
Janemount Park, Limerick
The creation of a monster in HSE
Sir — I never quite understood the thinking, if there was any, behind the disbanding of the regional health boards as we once knew them.
The health boards were regional and accountable. Whatever you might think of politicians, they brought an oversight with their position on the boards.
I recall the time the health boards were replaced by the new Health Service Executive, and thinking that a monster was being created — and recent disclosures regarding the HSE and cervical cancer should be a wake-up call for all concerned.
I say bring back the regional health boards and restore the confidence required in this crucial area of all our lives.
Dunboyne, Co Meath
Nuala’s voice is sorely missed
Sir — I have been an ardent admirer of Nuala O’Faolain all my adult life. The absence of her voice during this turbulent time is sorely missed.
Firstly, I must congratulate your paper for honouring the 10th anniversary of her death in last Sunday’s issue and secondly for choosing Donal Lynch to write about the wonderful Nuala.
His analysis of her life and work is erudite and compassionate and I’m sure that she would have been pleased to have been remembered by your paper. His piece demonstrated he had a deep knowledge of her work and of the woman herself.
Rathmines, Dublin 6
‘Shining light’ in rape trial analysis
Sir — For the beleaguered Ulster rugby supporters, your Niamh Horan has been a ‘shining light’ in her pragmatic and honest assessment of Irish society in their response to the aftermath of the Belfast rape trial involving Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding.
I feel the punishment imposed by the IRFU was in response to a vindictive and unforgiving campaign by activists who do not represent the compassionate society that has been the cornerstone of this island.
Your correspondent has enabled a reflective debate to take place on the actions of the IRFU — however well intentioned they were at the time. To exile players from this island is a throwback to a past that we had hopefully left behind. Or have we now become unwilling to forgive and give people a second chance?
Newtownards, Co Down