Thursday 22 February 2018

Have your say

Public safety must be priority for FAI

No doubt many people will have serious concerns for their own safety and the safety of their families following confirmation by the FAI that they are in discussions with their English FA counterparts regarding a 'friendly' between both countries at the Aviva Stadium next year.

Following the unprovoked riot at Lansdowne Road Stadium in February 1995 by English fans, the FAI must first consult with the Garda and other relevant organs of the state before any decision is made on whether to invite the England team to Dublin. Like most sports fans, I would be keen to see England playing in Dublin, but unfortunately such a fixture has the potential to create serious confrontation.

In the wake of the violence witnessed in 1995, it emerged that members of the racist British National Front, Combat 18, and the English Defence League travelled to Dublin with the intention to cause serious trouble. They were spectacularly successful.

The fact that this prospective fixture has the potential to generate income for the FAI should not be the deciding factor on whether or not it is sanctioned.

Tom Cooper

GAA clubs caught in spiral of despair

I'm a Leaving Cert student and player with my local rural junior club. I've been following Eamonn Sweeney's commentary on all things GAA and I'd just like to let you know how things are vis-a-vis our club's situation, if I may.

Basically, due to the economic downturn, our senior team has disintegrated. We're a proud club, and have danced under the lights of senior and intermediate football since the turn of the century but were this year relegated to junior football (with zero points, embarrassingly). We lost in the region of 10 players from last year's championship side, roughly seven of those to emigration to the likes of Canada, Australia and even England of all places, the result of which is visible with our performances this year.

The point I am trying to make is the following -- lift an economic textbook and you will come across a theory called the multiplier effect (the relationship between an investment into the economy and the effect it has on national income; for example, a €1 injection creates €2 in the economy. So when that money is not invested, the economy theoretically takes twice the hit).

This theory is directly applicable to the effect of emigration in small rural clubs. When the youth of a GAA club leave, it has an disproportionately negative effect on the people left behind. Morale plummets, enthusiasm ebbs away, bad results bring negative local publicity, which in turn only exacerbates the problem. Add into the mix the cynicism and inferiority complex of your typical Irish man. A spiral of despair, Eamonn.

There is little doubt that the GAA as an organisation is suffering because of this talent drain to more prosperous locations. Perhaps the chaps up at HQ should publish a report on the issue and the effects on clubs and communities. I'm sure it would render frightening results, but at least we could see the bottom line and take some proactive approaches to lessen the blow. Our club will survive this recession though. After successfully running a Strictly Come Dancing fundraiser for the new training pitch development (1,300 lucky souls in attendance), the future seems less bleak, the blow of emigration somewhat softened.

Name and address with editor

Stynes' humanity a shining example

With nothing but doom and gloom being beamed into our homes incessantly for the past number of months, the recent programme entitled Every Heart Beats True was nothing short of inspirational. In a country where greed, avarice and "mé-féinism" have taken deep root, particularly amongst our politicians and bankers, it was so refreshing to witness the marvellous humanity of one of our own Down Under, Jimmy Stynes.

J P Burke

Sunday Independent

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