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We were welcomed


Cartoonist Tom Mathews

Cartoonist Tom Mathews

Cartoonist Tom Mathews

Sir - No doubt, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker's remark that "there is a reason the number of O'Neills and Murphys living in the US exceeds the number in Ireland" will have certain commentators rushing to tell us that Irish immigration was different as "they went there to work", even though almost all of the current refugees want to work.

During the Famine many of the Irish were so ill from typhus and malnutrition they were in no fit state to work. During the years 1847-1848, mass immigration caused a typhus epidemic in Canada, yet it continued to accept our desperate people - French-Canadian 'Grey Nuns' put their own lives at great personal risk by treating the gravely ill. In more recent times several countries continued to accept our migrants while they themselves were experiencing economic recession and yet we have among us those who begrudge refuge to people who are fleeing guns, bombs and other horrors in their homeland.

John Bellew,


Co. Louth

Geldof showed us the way again

Sir - Willie Kealy writes in his excellent article (Sunday Independent, 6 September), "Our leaders defend a monochrome culture") of how our timid politicians resist helping in this great humanitarian crisis because they think we're racist. And he goes on to write, it is the malaise of the politicians that they almost always insult the people by underestimating them.

Well, one of our own unsung heroes, showed them the way.

Bob Geldof declared on the Dave Fanning radio show that he is immediately going to put up some of the migrant families in his properties in England.

Brilliant as usual, responding with action, not just words, unlike the politicians.

Brian McDevitt,


Co Donegal

Refugees need a miracle

Sir - Eoghan Harris is a super-smart writer, often over my head and hard to grasp. But how true that the only real way to fix the horrible plight of the migrants is by 'Tackling the tyrants who create the refugee crisis" (Sunday Independent, 16 August).

Everyone in Ireland would love to help more, but there are lots of migrants to be helped. Our country is very small and overcrowded as it is. A miracle is needed and lots of prayers to make Syria and other places out there safe to live in. They say that faith can move mountains.

Kathleen Corrigan,


Co Cavan

Irish emigrants were largely legal

Sir - Any pretence that the EU is a democratic body has just been dispelled by Jean Claude Juncker who has announced a compulsory redistribution of migrants who are now all officially re-classified as being refugees when it's patently obvious that most are not. It seems many are simply strong-arming and emotionally blackmailing their way towards what they see as a better life.

For some reason we in Ireland are singled out by Junker's comment that there is a reason there are more Murphys and O'Neills in the US than at home in Ireland.

Of course what he fails to understand is that all nations that took us in since the famine did so willingly and apart from the recent and relatively insubstantial number of "undocumented" in the US, we went to these countries legally.

Do we now have less sovereignty than we did in 1916? A fact we might ponder when we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Rising next year. It seems our EU masters feel they have bought our compliance to every dictat. I wonder would Padraig Pearse have to re-write some of his O'Donovan Rossa eulogy today.

Patrick Doggett,


Dublin 12

Our neutrality has made us parochial

Sir - De Valera remained neutral in WWII to preserve his imagined Ireland. De Valera's speech on St Patrick's Day, 1943 is pure nostalgia; a materially poor Ireland but with great spiritual wealth. Sporting youths were at play and comely maidens were dancing at the cross roads. All this would be put at risk if he entered the war and thousands of GIs were stationed here. The Irish closed society dominated by priests would be the first casualty of the war. We would mix and grow up rather than grow up 'mixed up'. GIs were overpaid, oversexed and over here. The GI would have nylons in his kit bag to attract the girls. Ceilli dancing and Irish music would be replaced by jitterbug and jazz music. The aesthetically paved streets would become covered in chewing gum.

We would speak mid-Atlantic English rather than Gaelic. The British had problems too, the GI was more attractive to their girls than local chaps and troopships had to be used to transport GI brides back to the US. Because we were neutral we remained parochial until we joined the EEC in 1973.

Kate Casey,

Barrington Street,


Not such a big happy family

Sir - Do you hear all those handwringing, breast-beating, banshee-wailings, hair-tearing members of the UN-loving "Mankind is One Big Happy Family" brigade despairing over the Muslim world's self-inflicted horrors, leading to the Islamic swamping of Europe? Maybe now they will finally come to the full realisation that the United Nations can neither keep, the peace between a blind man and his guide dog; nor unite, a pair of late adolescent virgin rabbits without, the American soldier dying in the tens of thousands?

Howard Hutchins



Be careful refugees aren't terrorists

Sir - We now face a huge threat in Europe. What we face is a Trojan Horse under the subterfuge of refugees entering Europe. "Islamic State" terrorists will take advantage of western sympathy to asylum seekers and will send trained terrorists to Europe hidden among migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Yes, we should take refugees in, but we must be very careful of who they are

Dennis O'Rourke,


Co Meath

Burglars have no fear of the law

Sir - While welcoming the new legislation to clamp down on burglars, especially serial offenders, I would suggest that we also need a greater emphasis on community policing and a massive national campaign with government backing to ratchet up security in both urban and rural districts. No matter how severe the penalties are for this crime, the burglar believes he won't be caught.

But it's completely different when he knows that a community is vigilant, with his every movement potentially being monitored and that gardai could well be receiving a text message before he has even entered his chosen target.

And sharing of information on suspected burglars with the gardai must also become the norm. When it comes to protecting our homes there is no room for the crass "informer stigma" that still prevents some people from reporting crime.

Burglars are the ultimate cowards. They care nothing about the terror and trauma their vile crime inflicts, apart altogether from the loss of valuables or property to their victims. They operate on the assumption that their masks will never be removed to reveal them for the parasitic louts they are.

John Fitzgerald


Co. Kilkenny

We need special gardai for burglars

Sir - I read an article headed "Outrage after funeral robbery" (Sunday Independent, 6 September) about how an 83-year-old pensioner's house was broken into when she was at her husband's funeral. What is happening in rural Ireland with crime and robbery it is a national disgrace.

But we have seen this before in the UK where a farmer cannot leave his tractor unattended in the field because it may be stolen; or a JCB Digger is taken and found the next day in a container ready to transport to the Continent. One answer is a fully funded Garda department to concentrate on rural crime, with fast patrol cars and a helicopter to catch the robbers in the act.

It might seem over the top but it could cut crime. Also every local person must be the eyes and ears of the community. Every GAA, soccer and rugby club should be alert going to or from training. And social media and text alerts should be used to the full. As it is, it seems some parts of rural Ireland are under siege at the moment.

Bernard Rafter,

Berkshire, England

Many benefits to a water authority

Sir - Last Sunday night as I twiddled the dial on my radio I came across a news broadcast from BBC Radio 4. Along with the reports of the refugee crisis another report grabbed my attention. United Utilities which supplies water to around 300,000 customers in the North West of England announced that a boil water notice in force since the beginning of August because of cryptosporidium in the supply, had just been lifted and customers were to be compensated by between £50 and £60.

In Galway in 2007 we had a similar outbreak of cryptosporidium which made our tap water undrinkable for up to five months. Two older water treatment plants were closed and two newer ones upgraded to rectify the problem. Obviously we didn't receive any compensation as we weren't paying for the service in the first place.

There are many benefits to a utility company being in charge. It's such a pity this government and Irish Water have made such a complete mess of trying to achieve this.

Tommy Roddy,


Parrots a-plenty in the Dail

Sir - Gene Kerrigan got it right, although he took his time getting to the point (Sunday Independent, 6 September).

Those of us who read Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island in our youth were quicker off the mark. Covert parlays; furtive, clandestine missions that needed no words to convey their sinister intent; Secretary General Brian Purcell the unhappy Blind Pew toting the Taoiseach's dreaded 'black spot' to an unsuspecting Billy Bones - the Garda Commissioner.

All that it lacked was a one-eyed sea cook with a wooden leg. Parrots it had a-plenty, in the Dáil and in the media. What surprised me was that Cap'n Flint - sorry - Taoiseach Enda Kenny didn't appear to realise that such messages can be delivered in both directions. We the electorate, marooned for five years now on Austerity Island, have more than a touch of the Ben Gunn in us. When Cap'n Enda's crew go looking for the treasure trove in the next election, they might find that we castaways have hidden it where they will never find it.

Seamus Hayden,


Co Donegal

Doesn't share Kerrigan's planet

Sir - As a constant reader of the Sunday Independent and a regular contributor to your letters page, I am at a loss to know what planet your journalist Gene Kerrigan has just visited.

His back page piece "When policing justice is given the elbow" (Sunday Independent, 6 August), is the greatest load of mishmash that has ever appeared on your noble pages.

It reads like the ramblings of a troubled grumpy old codger who ties all his "chips" together and lobs them onto one of his shoulders. It has as much coherence and logic as an episode of Fr Ted.

The blatant dismissal of the Tánaiste's imprisonment in Jobstown and the equating of that with a couple of jostlers down in Roscommon is beyond belief.

He feels the need to tell us that brick-throwing is not acceptable but water balloons are "children's toys" and by definition therefore harmless to all. Later in his piece he goes off on yet another tangent talking about "our kind of people".

This self-indulgent laneway ends up in a literary cul de sac. Thank God. I couldn't have taken much more.

Sir, your excellent paper is better than this.

Pat Burke Walsh,


Try talking to the Northerners

Sir - When I initially read Mr Kelleher's letter (Sunday Independent, 30 August), outlining the shameful antics of a boozy bunch of Northern lads on a Sunday afternoon in the States and his frustration with the amount of Northern related articles hogging the pages of your paper over the past number of weeks I simply laughed at his myopic viewpoint but ultimately I was disappointed that he would dismiss a province so hastily.

Yes, the Northern Ireland Assembly does dip into black periods from time to time requiring intervention from both the Irish and British Governments but it is imperative that it continue to function, for both sides of the border. Ultimately, I have no doubt that it will succeed, because it has to. Failure is not an option.

As a lily-white living in Armagh for a number of years I have never been ridiculed for my roots. Take my advice, the next time you are in a similar situation get chatting to the lads, you will find they are not such a bad bunch. Like Mr Kelleher, I was sitting in a bar in the States 10 years ago but unlike him I actually got chatting to one of the lads socialising there. He happened to be from Armagh. I married him.

Fiona Derry,

Co. Armagh

Praising Eamonn's League promotion

Sir - I applaud Eamonn Sweeney's regular promotion of league of Ireland soccer in his Sunday sports compendium "Hold the Back page". Last week's article (Sunday Independent, 6 September), was in tribute to Dundalk's manager, Stephen Kenny, but the overall gist of the piece was a strong "thumbs-up" to the League in general. The goal-scoring statistics presented by Eamonn strongly indicate that, despite fierce competition from abroad via satellite, our soccer league is holding its own on both entertainment and atmosphere. Moreover, we are seeing the League trophy moving around clubs more frequently thus sustaining the interest from Derry to Cork, from Bray to Galway. Finally, and most importantly, at €15 a game, it's affordable. Looking forward to the title run-in.

Damien Boyd,



Joe Brolly is his preference

Sir - It was rather surprising to see Colm O' Rourke begrudgingly give credit to Dublin for their win against Mayo. He could have refrained from the "big dog awaits" banner till nearer the final.

However he occupies the ha'penny place when compared to Eamonn Sweeney's coverage. Mr Sweeney should be ashamed of himself to state that "a lot of people came to bury Gaelic football at Croke Park". I don't know from Adam where he got that from.

Joe Brolly covered the game perfectly without maligning one single player.

Ml. Teehan,


Eleanor is smokin'

Sir - Re Eleanor Goggin's article in Living section of your paper two weeks ago, "When Smoking is good for your Mental Health,"

I was surprised by the complaint I read in last week's paper from a Cork reader. I think that Eleanor Goggin is an amazing writer; her wit is phenomenal and I always enjoy her upbeat writings.

When I was in hospital myself, quite recently, I was asked by a doctor how many cigarettes I smoke each day. My truthful answer was, "Well, it depends which child is in the house at the time." Cork reader, please get over yourself!

Kathy Ward,


Dublin 12

Sunday Independent