In this time of trouble, we need a laugh and Noah Lyles, a fast runner but not as fast as initially thought, provided it.
Because of Covid restrictions, a number of sporting events have been postponed or cancelled, including the Olympics. The spirit of the Olympics is to inspire us to be the best we can - faster, higher, stronger - and this does truly inspire many, although not this year.
An alternative was set up with athletes basically competing by a Zoom-like approach at different locations around the world and Lyles competed in the 200 metre event in an apparent time of 18.90 seconds, a new world record that even he could not believe - and he was right. As it turns out he had mistakenly started in the wrong lane and thus run 15 metres less than others. He would have known that something was wrong as athletes at this level know what they are doing every second of the race. Obviously, this was his worst best day. These errors do occur with the Darwin swimming pool being only 49.5 metres long, a small difference that will cost a lot to fix, and Portsmouth, England have a pool 5cm too short. It shouldn't matter too much as demonstrated by Eric the Eel, in the Sydney Olympics, who had never before swum in a 50-metre pool. He did however win his heat, in the slowest ever Olympic time although this was helped by the fact that his two opponents fell in.
We need to look for the fun in life and enjoy these occasional small, 15-metre errors as everything is too serious at the moment. If we need to look for further inspiration, watch the Eddie the Eagle movie, telling the story of a very brave or perhaps stupid ski jumper, who although hopeless, inspired everyone.
FG's hospital fiasco has left us with a bitter pill
GROUCHO Marx once said that a hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running. The ill-fated National Children's Hospital isn't even finished yet but its meter is already off the scale. Hugh O'Connell now reports yet another delay ("Children's hospital work stalls as row over costs leaves site idle for months", Irish Independent, July 10).
Since 2013, three Fine Gael health ministers appear to have been asleep at the wheel of this out-of-control crazy juggernaut. If this trio - James Reilly, Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris - had been discovered driving a jalopy in the same manner, they would have faced stiff penalties. Instead, they skipped away from this fiasco, leaving new Health Minister Stephen Donnelly holding the shovel and the taxpayer footing the bill.
Bayside, Dublin 13
Kindness during crisis brings food for thought
I am a pensioner from the Irish community in the shielding category living in Wembley Park, London, and I wanted to write to you to tell you about the kindness I have received during this pandemic.
I was very concerned about how I was going to get food at the start of lockdown but Ruth, at the London Irish Centre, came to my rescue. The centre provided me with fabulous meals on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, cooked by 'Emily Eats' and delivered by Vas. The standard of food was excellent and these three meal deliveries became the points I looked forward to in the week during a very scary and isolated time.
Vas was so kind and at times (certainly during the early stages of lockdown) he was my only real contact with the outside world. He always offered a smile and provided reassurance. Many thanks to the London Irish Centre, Emily Eats and Vas the delivery man.
Brent, London, UK
Questions over students' safety must be answered
Katherine Donnelly's article ("UCD to attend face-to-face classes for at least half the time", Independent.ie, July 9) states correctly that UCD has raised the expectation among students that this will be the case in the autumn.
However, the aspiration raises a number of questions that to my knowledge have not been answered yet. Not least among them, how will classrooms/lecture halls be cleaned? How will public health guidelines (for example, the wearing of face coverings) be enforced? How will PPE for staff be organised? How will students on campus but not in class be managed? How will contact-tracing data be collected and maintained? How will vulnerable staff and students be accommodated?
As the article states, the planning for teaching and learning in the autumn is ongoing at UCD and has involved some high-level discussions with the three campus unions, including the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT). It is clear that all involved want UCD students' experience to be as good as possible under the circumstances arising from the pandemic. However, much detailed planning has still to be undertaken to ensure that this is not at the expense of the health and safety of the students and staff.
UCD IFUT branch chair
Death toll shows why US gun law must be changed
While we all saw the demonstrations all over America and in other countries at the death of George Floyd at the hands of policemen, I didn't see the same outrage, rallies or protests at the killings that occurred in the US over the past few days that left over a dozen dead and many wounded in the major cities.
Six of those murdered were African American children, between the ages of six and 14 years, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when gun-toting criminals from within their own communities opened fire.
In New York, there were 44 shootings with 63 victims, while in Chicago 75 people were shot, with 13 fatalities.
Yet not one rally or demonstration from Black Lives Matter or any other group who have been so vocal in relation to police brutality.
Their silence is deafening but sadly so are those in charge of this nation.
This is America's failure to amend the constitution that entitles persons to bear arms.
In 2017 there were 14,542 gun-related murders, with 553 of those involving police shootings.
In 2018 there were 10,265 gun-related murders, with 991 of those allocated to police shootings.
Yet those most vocal about the police are nowhere to be seen or heard with regards to the murders of innocent children and adults within their own communities.
We must have balance and fairness when it comes to the arguments surrounding police and policing, but America's love and obsession with the gun is as big a threat as the pandemic that rages or even, sadly, the present incumbent in the White House.
Letterkenny, Co Donegal
People who say Fianna Fáil can’t be trusted should read up on the party’s achievements
I believe those who are so fond of repeating the mantra, "Fianna Fáil can't be trusted", would do well to reflect on the history of the many significant achievements of Fianna Fáil over the many years in which they have been in Government. The facts are listed below:
1. In 1938, Eamon de Valera negotiated the Anglo Irish Treaty, ending British use of our ports and ensuring Ireland's neutrality in World War II.
2. De Valera and his Government then managed to guide Ireland through World War II without a shot being fired by an Irish soldier.
3. The Rural Electrification Scheme in 1946 brought major socio-economic change which benefitted the entire country.
4. The setting up of Aer Rianta in 1937, with financial responsibility for Aer Lingus and the entire country's aviation infrastructure.
5. Seán Lemass, while he was Taoiseach from 1959 to 1966, created new industry and employment and is credited at home and abroad with laying the foundations for the modern economic success in Ireland.
6. The introduction of free second-level education by Donogh O'Malley in 1967 and the provision of free school transport was a very important development.
7. The setting up of the system of Regional Technical Colleges in the 1970s, together with free education, created a highly educated young work force which attracted many foreign firms to invest and set up industries in this country.
8. Albert Reynolds secured €8bn in structural funds from the EU.
9. Fianna Fáil governments have introduced measures to improve the lot of the under-privileged, the unemployed and pensioners, including free transport and fuel allowance.
10. Noel Dempsey introduced tax on plastic bags.
11. Micheál Martin was instrumental in introducing the smoking ban.
12. Bertie Ahern was instrumental in the peace agreement in the North.
Kilberry, Co Kildare