Sir — Somehow, it doesn’t seem right to be having the All-Ireland Hurling Final in the middle of July, with Wimbledon just finished, the Open in progress and our schools on holiday.
While I am still in favour of the GAA ‘split season’ for inter-county and clubs, I see no reason why the All-Ireland finals cannot be played one month or five weeks later.
It would be far more agreeable to play the quarter finals this weekend, consequently allowing club championships in 28 counties to begin by the end of July.
This would leave just four counties having to play ‘catch-up’, not an insurmountable problem, I suggest, especially as the four would — probably — be different from year to year.
The issue here is the will and determination of county boards to begin their championships once participation in inter-county competition has finished. County championships in counties that have long since finished with
inter-county competition have still not started — despite the frequently heard argument for playing “our games” in “the good weather”. Just wait and see what the weather will do to the match today.
The elimination of broad-brush thinking and a more flexible attitude in efficiently dovetailing inter-county and intra-county championships will be key in reducing this uncomfortable feeling many hurling people have this morning.
Michael Gannon, St Thomas’s Square, Kilkenny
Sir — It has been reported that 1,500 surgeries are expected for Irish patients at a new hospital in Spain. Ostensibly the treatment will be available because of the EU Cross-Border Directive.
This is great news for all our citizens who are on hospital waiting lists. One now hopes plenty more procedures will follow as a result of this directive.
I’m just curious how Spain can build a state-of-the-art hospital for €60m and we end up spending billions on a children’s hospital that’s not yet completed.
The mind boggles to think what this Spanish hospital has achieved.
John O’Brien, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Sir — You cannot put a sticking plaster on the crisis in Ukraine.
I struggle to understand why it is portrayed as some catastrophic fault of the State that refugees have to shelter overnight in an airport or possibly end up in tented accommodation in some military camp.
If I were fleeing my country in fear of my life and that of my family, I would be satisfied with safe shelter for as long as it took.
In fairness, I haven’t heard any cries from refugees about a lack of welcome or good treatment during their stay in Ireland — quite the opposite.
I’m equally sure refugees from Ukraine or any other country understand the enormity of the challenges we and many other countries face.
Why is it no longer acceptable to say we are doing our best? Why do we have to play pretend games of seeking to be the best in the class?
For Pete’s sake, we can’t provide affordable housing for our young people or for those less fortunate. Let’s get a grip on our expectations until this war is over.
Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
Sir — Laoise de Brun’s letter last week claims a “radical re-ordering of society” is taking place because of the Gender Recognition Act 2015.
While the act has positively impacted the 882 trans men and women who have been granted gender recognition certs, the lives of the remaining 5.1 million people remain unchanged.
The notion of “radical restructuring” may best be reserved for changes that impact a greater proportion of our society.
Derek Kelleher, Kill, Co Kildare
Sir — Can I borrow a little corner of your newspaper to wish GAA legend Pat Spillane well after he announced last week that he will hang up his Sunday Game analyst’s hat after this year’s football final?
I know time slips by in the blink of an eye, but it’s hard to believe that Pat has regularly featured on The Sunday Game for over 30 years. It’s a testament to his love and knowledge of the game that he has continued to entertain us.
Well done, Pat, and all the best in whatever you next set your hat at.
James Murphy, Mullingar, Co Westmeath
Sir — The publication of abortion figures for last year brings the total number to almost 21,000 in the last three years. The Abortion Rights Campaign considers this as something to be celebrated and seeks the removal of the three-day waiting period.
In 2019, approximately 1,000 women did not proceed with an abortion following the initial consultation. In 2020, the figure was almost 1,500. Figures for last year are not yet available.
This provision of the three-day waiting period, allowing time for reflection, is clearly having a welcome effect.
The Minister for Health would be well advised to listen to more than one side of the discussion on this issue as part of the current abortion legislation review.
Brendan Fleming, Malahide, Co Dublin#
Sir — British government statistics continue to show the number of Irish residents travelling to the UK for abortion services is continuing to rise.
According to the National Women’s Council of Ireland, 775 Irish residents travelled to the UK for abortion services since 2018 when the ban on abortion was lifted.
Women are still being forced to go to the UK because of bureaucracy and doctors who object or are completely opposed to it and are trying to take the decision to have an abortion away from women.
The position regarding abortion in the Republic is still very uncertain, and the Government has to do more to clarify the position regarding services.
All doctors on the GMS system should now be mandated to make their position clear to the government in writing regarding their position on abortion and ensure their clients are advised of that position.
Too many women are finding out when it is too late that their GP may be strongly opposed to abortion. They then have to go to the trouble of finding another GP quickly, or buy plane tickets to travel to a country where a right to an abortion is a right and not a quasi right.
Maurice Fitzgerald, Shanbally, Co Cork
Sir — As a participant, I was more than happy that Archbishop Eamon Martin accompanied us on last week’s rally — a rally for life, not for “a very, very political matter” as claimed by Gene Kerrigan in last week’s paper.
I find it amazing how the Roe v Wade verdict is being interpreted here. After all, isn’t it exactly what happened here with the repeal of the Eighth Amendment? The matter was withdrawn from the Constitution and handed back to the legislators.
In the US, the Supreme Court ruled abortion was not provided for in the constitution in the first place, and the late judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg is reported to have actually agreed with this interpretation, which is contrary to Mr Kerrigan’s claim that the verdict was based “on argument, not ideology”.
As a long-time opponent of the death penalty and a believer that life is precious, I am delighted with the Roe v Wade verdict and hope it will lead to factual and balanced debate on abortion.
Mary Stewart, Ardeskin, Donegal town
Sir — The energy crisis should be a stark reminder of the need to heed the lessons of history.
The highly controversial deal with Shell for the Corrib gas field amounted to an appalling giveaway of the nation’s vital energy resources.
Corrib has been in the ownership of UK, Norwegian, Canadian and Spanish interests over the years, with not a single share owned by the citizens of Ireland for the nation and with no representation on the board.
The mistakes of the past must not be repeated. Given the need to run down fossil-fuel production for the sake of the survival of the planet, we see the welcome moves toward alternative energy. It is vital that this and future governments secure a meaningful portion of ownership of all energy fields.
The rush to get the offshore sector up and running just in order to get production going must be tempered with intelligent planning, with a healthy degree of national ownership in mind.
Although at sea, the areas most suitable for production of wind-driven turbines are finite — and should not be taken out of the control of the nation so that private companies can divide them at will, leaving us vulnerable to the likes of Vlad the Butcher.
The ownership of offshore and land-based energy fields must not be handed over to private interests just to be farmed out at will — as has been the case with the Corrib and others.
Joe Brennan, Ballinspittle, Co Cork
Sir — In the aftermath of the shellacking of Dublin by Kerry in the 1978 All-Ireland final, Dubs supporters were understandably subdued.
Con Houlihan wrote that the Hill was as quiet as Main Street Knocknagoshel on a Good Friday afternoon. Well, last Sunday it was quieter still after Sean Ó Shea’s eloquent right boot sent the ball thar an treasnan to win it for the Kingdom. This time the Hill was as quiet as Main Street Knocknagoshel on a Good Friday afternoon during lockdown. Sorry, Con.
The followers of the Green and Gold used to take semi-finals in their stride, but those days are long gone.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether the booster Kerry received last Sunday will be enough to stave off the challenge of the Tribesmen. They would do well to remember how a hugely fancied Meath, having trounced Kerry, fell at the last hurdle against Galway in 2001.
Whatever happens, there will be more eagerly awaited chapters in the Kerry-Dublin saga.
Jim O’Connell, Blackhorse Avenue, Dublin 7
Sir — On the eve of MetroLink’s Railway Order application, Colm McCarthy (‘Metrolink: Eamon Ryan’s €10bn plan to fix what ain’t broke’, July 10) is claiming public transport in North Dublin isn’t broke.
Of course, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Mr McCarthy, who opposed both the Dart project and the Luas — two of the most successful public transport projects in the history of the State — is now also opposed to the metro.
Thankfully, both public opinion and government policy have moved on significantly from the anti-rail ideologies of the 20th century. Sadly, decades of devotion to this way of thinking have left us in the mess we’re trying to fix now.
MetroLink is the most important transport project currently planned for Dublin. It will provide a high-capacity rail corridor from the M1 at Lissenhall to the Luas Green Line at Charlemont through Swords, Santry, Ballymun, Glasnevin, Phibsboro and the city centre.
It will connect with the Dart at Glasnevin and Tara Street, the Luas at O’Connell Street and provide an additional connection to the airport. In addition to this, it will also unlock land for tens of thousands of new homes. This is a landmark investment in modernising Dublin’s transport infrastructure and will set the benchmark for future major infrastructure projects in Ireland.
MetroLink is an investment designed to last over the centuries. Its benefits will be reaped for generations. I doubt you’ll find many people in London or Paris quibbling over the cost of their metro lines built over 100 years ago. It’s also never going to be cheaper. The Dart cost a mere £113m in 1984; delaying projects will only mean that costs will rise once they’re belatedly built.
The economic, climate and health effects associated with traffic gridlock in Dublin are significant, with congestion estimated to cost €2.1bn a year by 2033. The metro would help offset this cost by a considerable amount. The ability to travel from Swords to the city centre in only 25 minutes would be a major boon in such a traffic-choked city.
We simply cannot afford not to invest in MetroLink and other high-capacity sustainable transport solutions.
The overwhelming public response after the announcement last week was not about how much it would cost; it was about the unambitious timeline for its delivery. It is undeniable that the vast majority of people in Dublin want to see MetroLink built and built quickly.
Feljin Jose, Dublin Commuter Coalition
Sir — I listened to a radio discussion last week on the images from the James Webb Space Telescope.
One contributor, having ticked off a list of the startling new information reaching us about the possible origins of the universe, poked fun at those of us who still believe in a bearded old man having created the universe and who continues to intervene in our lives.
Funny, but the same glittering array of cosmic panoramas and sparkling wonders in those far-off spaces makes me even more inclined to believe that some conscious agency is behind this wonderful universe of ours.
Not the caricature that atheists joke about, but some primal force that was more than a mere chance collision or fusion of objects or a once-off “big bang”.
Behind the apparent randomness of what we see in space there is order, a symmetry and regulation. In our own lives, many of us have experiences that point almost irrevocably to something greater that keeps life’s show on the road.
John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny
Sir — A couple of years ago, one of your correspondents contacted you to ask that Declan Lynch stop using his column as a Liverpool fanzine. It was a timely letter, I thought.
Since then, Declan has mentioned his beloved team — but not too often. Seven Sundays have elapsed since they were soundly beaten in the Champions League Final, and no mention of it yet.
Has Declan taken the hint?
Patrick O Brien, Limerick city