Sir — A week ago, targets for Ireland’s emissions were finally agreed. As farmers we were told to reduce emissions by 25pc. A few days later, we saw the UN genuflecting to a tyrant in the hope that he would allow grain to leave a Ukrainian port to help alleviate a global food crisis. This same tyrant caused the disruption in the first place by invading and causing mayhem in his neighbouring country. It is be yond incredible to think that European energy policy has also gifted him the light switch of Europe.
gainst this backdrop, our emissions targets have been set.
Vladimir Putin and his allies can hold us to ransom for our energy, our fertiliser, our everyday household goods. They have scant regard for the environment or human rights.
The fact we have become so highly dependent on these countries for our daily needs means it is harder to impose sanctions if they fail to comply with targets to reduce global warming.
Thankfully, as of now we have our own safe, secure supply of sustainable food. Unless this food can be produced elsewhere on the planet in a more sustainable, safe and secure way, restricting food production in our green isle in present times would be an act of sheer insanity.
Our “sackcloth and ashes” approach to global warming at this moment is akin to trapping a mouse in the kitchen seen nibbling a biscuit, whilst ignoring the lions outside the window mulling over when to devour us. Unless our European politicians and diplomats can tame the lion kings, all the efforts we make to halt global warming will be as futile as a candle in the wind.
It’s time we developed policies whereby we can demand the same standards of sustainability for what we import as what we produce.
Ned Ward, Navan, Co Meath
Well done, Eilis, on speaking the truth
Sir — Eilis O’Hanlon is a brave and honest writer in these days of fake news and restricted reporting. It is important to have someone to tell us truthfully what is happening in Irish society.
I believe many parents are not aware of what is being taught in our schools. She has made many aware now of the agendas in sexual education. Consequently, parents will be able to object and protect their children. I admire and congratulate her.
C Doran, Raheen, Limerick
A new UN could stop the war machine
Sir — People in every country are tired of our universal reliance on violence to solve conflict and the exacerbation of war and its devastation. We are tired of feeling that nothing we do will help. But the US and other countries are relying on our complacency, and there are so many reasons and examples of why and how we can stop the war machine driven by the armaments industry.
The war in Ukraine is escalating. US-UK-Nato continues to send weapons to Kyiv. Washington is calling Russia and China “existential threats” to the US, and military bases are expanding across the world. In March, US President Joe Biden said if the US sent planes and pilots, it would mean World War III, but now the White House is discussing sending fighter jets. How are we supposed to interpret this?
There are billions of people globally who want war to end. Collectively, our voice is strong and we can stop the death, the destruction of our environment and food sources, the prioritisation of wealth and greed over lives, and the demolition of historical and cultural artifacts.
We need a new United Nations, not the one controlled by the wealthy self-serving five nations who control the Security Council; a new movement rooted in humanity and ensuring the safety and security of the entirety of our global community. We need it now before it is too late for mankind.
Daniel Teegan, via email
Thanks for the memories, Brendan
Sir —Having watched the touching ceremony celebrating Brendan Bowyer’s life in Waterford Cathedral last Wednesday, I was moved to write a few words.
It evoked many wonderful memories of Brendan and the Royal Showband — they came drifting back down the years. Many a 10 bob note I parted with happily to witness their prowess. I was never disappointed.
People who knew Brendan personally described him as a thorough gentleman.
Unfortunately the grey mist of time descends and nobody escapes but the memories live on. I like to think of him reunited with his old friend Tom Dunphy and other deceased members of the band. Thanks for the memories. May you rest in peace.
James J Heslin, Keenagh, Co Longford
Give the league a sporting chance
Sir —I have threatened to write to you over the last number of weeks regarding the lack of coverage of League of Ireland football in the sport section, but after last week I felt I had to. In a week that had three successful Irish teams in Europe, there was not one mention.
The League of Ireland has seen a huge increase in the number of supporters attending in the last couple of years because of the quality of football, but one wouldn’t think so when reading the sport section in the Sunday Independent. Can you please review the coverage the league receives and give us fair space in your paper.
Dessie Robinson, Dublin 1
Marty Morrissey — a god amongst men
Sir — Many years ago when a little boy attending primary school, one of the teachers informed our class that God is everywhere. That prompted one of the lads to whisper, “Oh, I hope He is not in the cloakroom eating my lunch!”
Fast forward a few decades and Marty Morrissey may well be God’s representative on Earth, cropping up in every nook and cranny of our fair land.
In his GAA role with RTÉ the bould Marty travels the length and breadth of Ireland to do commentaries, interviews and submit interesting reports. The versatile broadcaster also regularly sits in for morning radio programmes, to the delight of his countless fans.
The talented man added another string to his bow recently when describing the goings-on at a major Muslim celebration event at Croke Park on a Saturday morning before donning his GAA hat later in the day.
Marty Morrissey is some man for one man.
Noel Coogan, Navan, Co Meath
Visit from Trump will cost us dearly
Sir — As if things are not bad enough in this country, I see that further misery is in store for us — Donald Trump and his minions are to pay us a visit.
At a time when all efforts should be made to avoid unnecessary expenditure of public funds, it would appear there is to be massive security around him at the expense of the taxpayer. It should be made clear to this disgraced ex-president that the people of this country do not want him. Life is difficult enough without him.
Michael O’Connell, Listowel, Co Kerry
Sabina Higgins’s call for peace is not treachery
Sir — Having read Senator Malcolm Byrne’s comments (July 31) directed against Sabina Higgins for her measured, humane, and eminently responsible call for peace negotiations in the Ukraine conflict, I am overcome with a sense of fear. Fear that we have lost sight of our humanity in a dystopian Orwellian world where vying for peace is seen as an act of treachery and advocating for war a unifying act of solidarity.
A recent study from the European Council on Foreign Relations shows the percentage of Europeans who favour a peaceful negotiated settlement of the Ukrainian conflict far outweighs those who would have the war prolonged to “teach the Russians a lesson”.
While Mrs Higgins’s call clearly reflects the will of most Europeans, our Government’s position has not only rendered it impervious to the worsening economic plight of its voters but also to the threat of starvation in Africa as a result of this continuing conflict.
Senator Byrne’s presumption that somehow Mrs Higgins cannot empathise with the plight of Ukrainians or hold Russia responsible for its aggression while simultaneously calling for peace is disingenuous. They are not mutually exclusive sentiments.
Claiming her calls for negotiated peace implied equivalence in the positions of Ukraine and Russia in the conflict is as absurd as suggesting our own historic decision to negotiate our independence over 100 years ago was an admission of culpability for centuries of colonial dominance.
Pat Whelan, Castlebridge, Co Wexford
Eoghan Harris’s role must be recognised
Sir — More than one eulogist observed that it took his death for the colossal courage of David Trimble to be fully appreciated. Like most great leaders he stood up to his own tribe and to his own innermost instincts and made peace with his enemies. The peace process years were a period of febrile nationalism in the Republic. The Sunday Independent took a firm editorial stand against the consensus to put the unionist case.
It was certainly neither popular nor profitable. The editorial team, of which I was then a deputy editor, not only contended with media hostility, but were sometimes summoned by political leaders in pursuit of an explanation. That it was a necessary patriotism or an exercise in democracy didn’t always convince.
When David Trimble took his seat at the Good Friday Agreement negotiation table the many powerful persuaders for peace knew that he was making a giant leap of faith. And in death we see clearly what he was; a great civil rights leader.
The week’s obsequies also highlighted a fact that Trimble biographers, official and otherwise, had long acknowledged: the crucial role of Eoghan Harris in David Trimble’s historic compromise. Particularly when he led his party into power-sharing in the absence of weapon decommissioning by the IRA. Dean Godson at the Harmony Hill Presbyterian funeral oration called him Trimble’s “friend” and along with other speakers referenced the Nobel acceptance speech which, he said, was drafted by Harris.
But the death of a great statesman also demands a reckoning, a time when those who participated in the life must make account of their actions.
The sin of omission, as all who seek justice know, is particularly grievous. In last week’s Sunday Independent, northern editor Sam McBride spread the Trimble net wide to include the complex cast who helped fertilise his vision… except for Eoghan Harris. Both McBride and Joe Brolly quoted liberally from the Nobel speech… but didn’t acknowledge the person who drafted it… Eoghan Harris. Clearly the Sunday Independent lifted the flap of the memory hole exemplified by George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth and dropped the name Eoghan Harris down it.
The photoshopping of history is the distortion of history. Were it not for a passing reference in Deaglán de Bréadún’s obituary, there would be little difference between the Sunday Independent’s coverage and Stalin’s infantile cutting Trotsky out of the picture.
The Sunday Independent apparently has built a cold house for dissenters.
Anne Harris, Monkstown, Co Dublin
Irish talent is lighting up the big screen
Sir — Introducing 15-year-old Charlie Reid, the young star who is turning heads at the moment alongside Olivia Colman in Joyride, reminds us more than ever that “People need good stories” (the headline on the cover of your July 31 Life magazine with the talented actor inside on page four).
And just like the wonderful Catherine Clinch who plays young Cáit in An Cailín Ciúin, we are blessed that producers and directors are uncovering such budding Irish talent on the big screen for our enjoyment and satisfaction. So much for the naysayers who predicted the end of cinema-going. Indeed, the catchphrase “exclusively in cinemas” is fast becoming the good news story of the year.
Tom McElligott, Listowel, Co Kerry
Sunday serendipity is a satisfying read
Sir — For an exile of many years, can I say how much I enjoy buying my Sunday Independent here in London NW4 every Sunday. It is part of the Sunday morning routine, going to the tennis club for an hour or two, then walking to my newsagent for the paper.
There is always a serendipitous piece which is very satisfying to read: last week the feature “Love letters from the Lord of Lambay” (July 31).
I know there was a revamp of the paper, following the change of ownership. I think it has a more interesting look and feel. Today’s version has a very modern, progressive sense to the whole thing.
Keep the present format as it is — it’s great for helping people like us retain a connection with the country we came from.
T Kearns, London
Nuclear energy can replace fossil fuels
Sir — In response to Anne Baily’s letter on the removal of legal barriers to nuclear power (July 31), let me say this. An enormous amount of energy can be released from a small amount of radioactive material. To that extent it could replace fossil fuels as a source of energy, contributing to a reduction of global warming.
That being so, it is noticeable that our energy/environmental authorities never even mention nuclear energy.
There is of course the lesson of Chernobyl, but others, like the French, have a good safety record. I would not be in favour of building a nuclear plant on this small island, but in future the French will be able to transmit the electrical energy produced in their nuclear plants across to Ireland. Of course we will have to pay for it, but there is no free alternative — so why not?
Brendan Casserly, Bishopstown, Cork city
O’Neill should take back her remarks
Sir — I am certain that the overwhelming majority of people on the island of Ireland are appalled at the statement made by Sinn Féin First Minister designate Michelle O’Neill in her recent BBC interview, in which she stated there was no alternative to the IRA campaign of violence before the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).
The continued justification and glorification of the IRA campaign by leading Sinn Féin spokespersons makes it all the more difficult to achieve peace and reconciliation. Additionally, it inflicts further pain and suffering on the families of the victims who died as a result of their murderous campaign
I would like to remind Ms O’Neill that a power-sharing executive was first established in 1974 under the Sunningdale Agreement. It was brought down by a combination of factors, including the Ulster Workers’ Council strike led by Ian Paisley, loyalist paramilitaries and others, and the intensification of IRA violence.
The essence of the GFA was — as former deputy leader of the SDLP, Seamus Mallon, so aptly described it — a “Sunningdale for slow learners”. And in the intervening 24 years between Sunningdale and the GFA, further thousands of people also needlessly died.
During the Troubles, the IRA campaign was responsible for over half of all murders. I challenge Ms O’ Neill to justify what was achieved by the many sectarian atrocities carried out by the IRA. Bearing in mind many of those that founded the IRA claimed they were established to defend the Catholic community against attacks from loyalist paramilitaries and other organisations, how is that they killed more Catholics than any other protagonists in the conflict?
As First Minister designate, she assumes new responsibilities for all sides of the community. She should therefore apologise for her insensitive remarks and withdraw them.
John Cushnahan, Former leader of the Alliance Party and former Fine Gael MEP