I watched the Irish women’s World Cup qualifying play-off win against Scotland on Tuesday night and was delighted with their success.
However, I was sad to hear that a group of young players sang a pro-IRA song in the dressing room after the game.
Some of them may not even appreciate the meaning of the “Ooh, ah, up the ‘Ra” chant, but that doesn’t excuse their participation.
When Limerick won the All Ireland hurling title in 2018, players and fans alike sang the IRA-connected song Seán south of Garryowen in the dressing room at Croke Park and elsewhere.
The book lost lives by David McKittrick et al. lists and tells a brief history of 3,600 of those killed in the campaign of violence in Northern Ireland.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Ireland manager Vera Pauw not only for the success of the Irish team but also for her very detailed and sincere apologies for this unacceptable insult to victims of violence at this time.
In response to a question about IRA violence last August, Michelle O’Neill, Vice President of Sinn Féin, said, “I think there was no alternative at the time.”
In human coexistence there are always peaceful alternatives to political violence.
There has never been a proper and sincere apology from today’s Sinn Féin, or its predecessors that later became Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, for the unjustified violence committed on behalf of the Irish people.
If all the people of Ireland are to be truly and peacefully united, our leaders must not only apologize for past unjust killings but also refrain from such violence in the future.
Edward Horgan, Castletroy, Limerick
Leave ‘Ooh, ah’ where it belongs with McGrath
I have no doubt that after their victory in Scotland to qualify for the 2023 World Cup, the Girls in Green (or Burnt Orange) were simply caught up in their boisterous celebrations and had no intention of chanting, ‘Ooh, ah, up the ‘Ra ‘.
Her editors took note of manager Vera Pauw’s insightful comments: “The problem isn’t that it shouldn’t have gone out, but that it shouldn’t have happened.”
Ms Pauw’s apology on behalf of herself and the players was genuine and unequivocal. Declan Rice, a former Irish player who now plays a starring role for England, also innocently found himself in a similar situation while playing for Ireland a few years ago.
I come of a generation tied to a turbulent history on this island, which in the past would have believed such chants, songs and languages.
However, I believe that our wonderful troop of young athletes today do not and should not carry that baggage around with them.
Hopefully this will give them a unique opportunity to encourage a sportier and friendlier atmosphere on and off the pitch, which unfortunately is still lacking at the Terraces of Celtic Park and Ibrox and some facilities around this island.
Let’s leave “ooh, ah” where it belongs with Paul McGrath and our new heroes and heroines.
Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
Were they naive? Yes, but regret was immediate
What a wonderful and moving interview with Amber Barrett, scorer of the World Cup winning goal, on RTÉ TV last night as she dedicated her team’s victory to the people of Creeslough in her native Co. Donegal. Overall it was an amazing win by a great group from Mná Óga na hÉireann.
It’s a bit unfortunate that some commentators have decided to see the whole thing as spoiled by one of the chants used by the team in their dressing room celebrations.
I don’t know if that was influenced by the context of the Glasgow game and the age old rivalry between Celtic and Rangers.
I was surprised myself that this particular “little song” seemed to come so easily to women. It seems to have entered the national rebel chant repertoire for a younger generation.
These things happen under the radar of the official media. They also reflect something of a class division, I think, as football is the most worker-friendly of our big three team sports (GAA, rugby and soccer) at grassroots level.
On the other hand, it is interesting to note that the modern anthem, even of Irish rugby, The Fields of Athenryrelies on a sense of our oppressed past.
I would guess that most of the young women, probably all of those who sang the post-game chant, didn’t see it in any way as support for the Provisional IRA, but rather as a sort of “hooray, hooray – we did it”.
Still, given the divisions in our country, people need to be aware of how their solemn chants are perceived. Because of this, it was right that the team apologized to anyone who might have been offended by their actions.
John Glennon, Address to the Editor
An own goal in pursuit of the united Ireland of the future?
Have the celebrations of the Republic of Ireland women’s football team following their victory over Scotland last Tuesday night furthered the cause of a united Ireland?
lan Spencer, address from the publisher
Taoiseach misunderstands what to apologize for
The headline caught the eye: “Taoiseach Admits He Got It Wrong” (Irish IndependentOctober 13).
My first thoughts were that he was about to change course and abandon his failed housing and health policies.
Were we on the cusp of a new Ireland, an Ireland for all, as promised in Fianna Fáil’s recent manifesto?
Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed within a word or two. It seems the Taoiseach apologized for inappropriate words he uttered while engaged in what he is most successful at – swearing at those who disagree with him.
If only you could build houses with it, but as the saying goes: waffles are best eaten for breakfast.
Jim O. Sullivan, Rathedmond, Co. Sligo
A rich, frugal childhood is all anyone needs to thrive
The letter “In tough times, look to frugal examples from the past” (Irish IndependentOctober 10) fits very well into today’s world.
More than 65 years ago, at the tender age of nine, I accepted thrift as a normal part of life.
I went to a local village flea market and bought a women’s tweed jacket for two cents. This jacket was turned inside out and redesigned by my mum and my five year old brother also wore it happily for a few years.
My precious toys were stones – which I lined up in our garden as my “disciples”. I spent my free time happily and fulfilling teaching these “disciples”.
I never knew what boredom is. What a beautiful, happy childhood I had blessed.
My parents were hardworking compatriots who valued education for all of their seven children.
We had to pay for our university education, but we certainly appreciated and appreciated this gift.
Luckily during my UCC years I could have afforded a six cent bar of chocolate once a week and an occasional trip to Thompson’s on Patrick Street for a cup of tea and a nice bun.
Halloween was awesome – playing Snap Apple at home and all the fun with nuts and barm brack. Christmas has always been magical.
Then we were so excited and excited when the plane finally dropped off our new baby.
I believe my simple and humble childhood enriched me and prepared me for life. All I ever wanted was to be a teacher and I still love and enjoy it.
Resilience, responsibility, a positive attitude and work ethic, kindness and gratitude should be taught to our children in all schools and the blame game must stop. We are a great country.
Catherine Devitt, City of Tipperary
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/apologising-for-past-violence-and-renouncing-it-into-the-future-will-unite-us-not-ira-chants-42067996.html Apologizing for past violence and renouncing it in the future will unite us – not IRA chants