Toll of the pine marten
Sir - Until recently I had three cats, neutered and well cared for. One by one, they mysteriously disappeared. I was puzzled until one night at dusk we saw a pine marten in our shed - mystery solved.
In the forest in our area the population of squirrels had increased, and they were damaging the barks of trees. The forestry department, in all their wisdom, decided to replace pine martens in order to keep down the number of squirrels.
Unfortunately, they forgot to tell the pine martens to stay in the forest. A neighbour who has kept poultry for more than 30 years, lost her hens, all 20 of them. A farmer had to house his sheep because Mr PM was eating the tongues of newborn lambs - yuck!
I wonder did the department give any thought into releasing these vicious animals? People have lost pets, poultry and other defenceless creatures that come their way. We had defences against foxes, but the pine marten has a big advantage over the fox. He can climb. I hope the trees in the forest are safe!
Maura Hogan, Ballynacargy, Mullingar
Vote of the elder lemons
Sir - So John Masterson agrees with the younger generation who feel they are "thwarted by retired old farts" (Living, Sunday Independent, August 7)
He goes on: "the referendum exception that proves the rule is, of course, the way the Irish voted for marriage equality last year by almost two to one. And do you remember all the young people who flew home to vote?"
Well, yes I do, but have you ever wondered why so many elder lemons did not fly home to vote? Right, because elder lemons live on pensions and can't afford to go abroad. Furthermore, this elder lemon not alone voted for marriage equality, but wrote a letter supporting it which was published in the Sunday Independent, and as a result of which, I received an absolutely vile anonymous letter.
Incidentally, do you remember that other referendum in which taxpayers had a golden opportunity to get that club for superannuated political drones, known as the Seanad, off their backs? The opportunity was lost, mainly because younger voters couldn't bother to vote!
Brendan Casserly, Bishopstown, Cork
Sir - Brendan O' Connor, in his "Mid-life Crisis" column (Living, Sunday Independent, August 7), dismisses the setting of goals in training routines, "that will then be done and then I will just move on and find some other goal . . ." The setting of goals should never be dismissed.
To many of us, we take the easy route so as to avoid exercise despite knowing intellectually its benefits, and if we are in the habit of not exercising, it can take an effort to get into a routine.
Unless we decide to take part in some team exercises and receive encouragement from our peers, it can often be an uphill struggle to maintain a regular exercise routine. Setting a goal can be a very useful way to overcome this. I have been running on and off for years.
However, last September I got out of the habit of my regular running routine so I needed some incentive to help me get back into it again. Six weeks ago, I registered to run the 8K Streets of Galway road race, despite not having run in nine months.
Recently, I completed the race just 40 seconds slower than my time from last year. I know if I hadn't set myself this aim, I wouldn't have kept my routine over the last six weeks.
Tommy Roddy, Galway
Honesty about attending Mass
Sir - What a searingly honest article by Sarah Carey on her attendance at Mass (Sunday Independent, August 7).
It may comfort her to know that very many of us have difficulties with faith. After all, it would not be called 'faith' if we had certainty. We do acknowledge that "nothing is impossible to God" and that our minds simply cannot comprehend the mind of the Creator. However, He did say that He would be with His Church always and we can accept this knowing that it is filled with sinful people.
When we consider the Apostles, with Peter denying Him thrice and the rest abandoning Him in His hour of need, we can rest assured that we too will be forgiven our transgressions through His mercy. This Year of Mercy should concentrate our minds on the shortness of this life and the importance of living it to the full.
Mary Stewart (Mrs), Donegal Town
Struggling with our faith
Sir - It was really refreshing to read Sarah Carey's honest description of why she goes to Mass (Sunday Independent, August 7). I have no doubt that many readers will share her experience of struggling with faith but finding the Mass ritual a comforting space within the busy lives we live.
But I think many of us who are open about our faith are not necessarily "Holy Joes" but struggle at times with our faith. But as in any relationship, at some stage a leap of faith is required, in terms of having a relationship with God, and being part of a faith community can support us along the rocky road of life.
Frank Browne, Templeogue, Dublin 16
Human capacity for goodness
Sir - Yes, as Sarah Carey ably demonstrates in her article ("My dirty little secret: why I go to Mass," Sunday Independent, August 7), it is indeed quite possible to attend Sunday Mass and enjoy its religious ritual, its social warmth and our human capacity for goodness, yet still miss out on the "special offer," which is the encounter with the Divine.
Take another step forward in faith, Sarah! You are almost there.
Fr Freddy Warner, Portumna, Co Galway
Difficulties with transubstantiation
Sir - Sarah Carey is to be complimented for the honesty in her article ("My dirty little secret: why I go to Mass" Sunday Independent, August 7).
She says that she now has "a crisis of faith" owing to her difficulties with the transubstantiation belief, as a result of which she says "I rarely receive the Eucharist".
She and your readers of like mind may find of interest the fact I go to Mass daily mainly to so receive. For me, it's as easy and as difficult to believe in transubstantiation as it is to believe that 2,000 years ago God communicated with Earthlings via the body of an itinerant preacher who called himself Jesus Christ. It's the communication that the Eucharist facilitates that I value.
Joseph Foyle, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.
Hike of €5 is an insult to pensioners
Sir - I could not contain myself when I read the heading "FF set to force €5 a week hike in state pension", (Sunday Independent, August 7). They are demanding this rise. Well, bully for them. What will I do with the €5 increase. Maybe I'd get a few extra sausages or a rasher or two. Maybe buy a packet of Smarties.
It's an insult to pensioners, €5. One would think by the heading we were getting an increase of €500, the way FF are talking. I couldn't even buy a nice glass of red wine for €5.
We pensioners have paid taxes for years and PRSI and we are been given a €5 hike. Are these TDs living in the real world or Disney World? This Government would make you sick. A hike of at least €25 should be the increase. You can keep your €5.
Terry Healy, Kill, Co Kildare
Different voices of experience
Sir - I attended Fortune's Fool Productions' performance of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure in Dublin Castle Gardens on Tuesday, August 9 before I read or heard about Emer O'Kelly's unfair review (Sunday Independent, August 7).
The show was "disastrous" for her, as she (almost entirely) couldn't hear a word. The nature, spirit and joy of outdoor Shakespeare is that you get down and grassy (on an elegant piece of acre in this case) and live among the action and characters. One such leapt over my head in the course of an energetic scene.
What was your reviewer (whom I respect) doing sitting on a park bench on the distant perimeter? No wonder she couldn't hear! I don't buy for a moment that the formidable Ms O'Kelly would allow herself to be "told to sit" there or anywhere.
From all angles, resonant and melodious voices of different timbres reached the ears of the circled audience members who chose to "sit upon the ground" and hear the story of "some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall"!
Oliver McGrane, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16
Emer O'Kelly writes: I most certainly was directed where to sit. As due to three major spinal surgeries I cannot sit on the ground, and had brought a camp chair, but was told there was a seat reserved for me on the perimeter.
Being unfair to Casement
Sir - James Mathers' letter 'Casement's full story' (Sunday Independent, August 7) is both unfair to Sir Roger and factually inaccurate.
The view that "Britain was fighting for democracy and human rights" in its war against Germany and the Ottomans is, frankly, laughable. Britain's Great War was a 'balance of power' war, waged to destroy an emerging commercial competitor and to absorb the strategic Ottoman territories of Mesopotamia and Palestine into its Empire.
There is no event called the "Armenian genocide". "Genocide" is a legal term invented in the 1940s. For an event to be termed "genocide" there needs to be a ruling by an international court. No such ruling has ever been made. Quite the reverse. European courts have recently ruled that arguing there was no "Armenian genocide" is quite legitimate. Genocide, in this case, is merely an accusation with no legal basis, and cannot be taken as fact. There is no telling historical evidence to support it and much evidence against it. The present Pope has no legal authority or knowledge in this sphere. The Pope of the time, Benedict XV, demanded the release of Turks Britain was attempting to put on trial for the so-called "genocide".
The Turks did not "massacre one million Armenian Catholics" as Mr Mathers alleges. Around 650,000 Armenians perished in the Great War from all causes, including insurrection, fighting in the ranks of the enemy, Royal Navy blockade, disease, hunger and poor conditions brought on by the Allied invasions, flight to the Russians, withdrawal with the French army in Cilicia or as victims of the mismanagement of the Erivan Republic, between 1914 and 1923.
More Turks and Kurds died in the same period, and the death rates in eastern Anatolia were comparable with those of the Armenians. We are talking about civil war, brought on by invasion. The vast majority of Armenians were not Catholic; they were Gregorian Christians worked on by Protestant missionaries to change their faith.
Dr Pat Walsh (author of 'Britain's Great War on Turkey'), Ballycastle, Co Antrim
Sir - In his criticism of Roger Casement (Letters, Sunday Independent, August 7) James Mathers writes that during the Great War, the British were "fighting for democracy and human rights".
I wonder has he ever looked up the British authored Sykes-Picot Agreement 1916, which split the Middle East into spheres of influence between colonial powers. Mr Mathers would be better off studying the motives behind this and its aftermath before attacking a man who worked tirelessly to uphold the human rights for people in many nations.
Ross O'Carroll, Stillorgan, Co Dublin
Custodians of our sporting heritage
Sir - The controversy generated by the GAA decision in 2014 to award Sky Sports the sole right to air 14 championship matches a year was manifest on Saturday, August 6, when the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship quarter- finals were played at Croke Park.
As the tickets sold out early and the state broadcaster, RTE, was not permitted to broadcast the matches live, those of us without tickets wishing to see the games had to either go to the pub, or subscribe to Sky Sports. Such expenditure is out of the reach of many fans - older ones on fixed incomes in particular.
These older fans, who were the backbone of the GAA throughout the decades, were abandoned by the GAA to sate corporate greed. To sell the rights to a pay-to-view television company to broadcast championship matches is anathema to the values, aims and objectives of the GAA, and a foot in the door of the ugly face of mercenary professionalism in an amateur sport.
The GAA is not just a sporting organisation, it is the heart of an army of people of diverse political, social, and economic backgrounds, yet all subscribe to the notion of loyalty to the common good, not to profit. It has prospered because it places community above narrow, self-serving demands. It is the embracing of this diversity and loyalty, which is the strength of the GAA.
The Croke Park hierarchy does not own the GAA; no one does. We are just the current custodians of an organisation whose sporting and cultural assets are worth protecting. We have a collective duty to future generations to pass on our sporting heritage as it was passed on to us: untainted and unsullied by individual and corporate greed.
Tom Cooper, Templeogue, Dublin 6W
The life of Chief Dave Bald Eagle
Sir - I love reading obituaries, even though my eyes are not so good and Chief Dave Bald Eagle, (Sunday Independent, August 7) was worth perusing. What a faith and belief he had, and when he fell off the horse he was riding, in his 90s, got up and went on!
He got no credit for his advice to John Wayne, regarding horses, and was an unsung hero, surely. But he adopted and took in children and reared them with his own; always doing well. And he appeared to have asked, and received health (mind, soul and body) to the end!
Like Gay Byrne (wonderful broadcaster), Mr Eagle believed. He was 97 and "lived until he died". I have five years to get to be as old and hope for the same! Gay Byrne's "school" of hard knocks (Living, Sunday Independent, August 7) is worth perusing too - Who could "outwit" that fella?
Kathleen Corrigan, Cootehill, Co Cavan
Sir - It's that time of year again when the people of Killorgin hoist a terrified wild animal into the air in order to act out some sort of post-pagan ritual, where a goat is king, and his devoted followers celebrate with copious amounts of drink, while the "king" observes the goings-on from his lofty perch yearning, perhaps, for his lost domain, the rocky crags of the wild Kerry countryside.
This bloody nonsense attracts even more animal abuse in the form of the gangs of unscrupulous horse dealers and puppy-farm breeders that put maybe two pups on show, while the rest languish in the oven-like conditions in the boot of the car
It only goes to prove that in this country, animal-welfare laws are non-existent; a country that cares nothing for its animals cares less for its people.
Mike Burke, Sixmilebridge, Co Clare
Sir - Boxer Paddy Barnes should not have wasted his energy by bad-mouthing Rory McIlroy, and instead concentrated solely on training and winning his first fight.
Acting the clown on Twitter is no substitute for good manners. Karma will always bite us on the arse.
Robert Sullivan, Bantry, Co Cork