From the mouths of wild goats

Sir — Will you bear with me for an aul poem in honour of King Puck?

The goat was thinking his life was never better,
Though his hairy coat made him a big sweater.
Still and all, he’d great grub, and lots to drink,
And a crown on his head, so he was in the pink.

He’d heard from his dad that it’d be all right,
High above the town, for three long nights.
The craic was ninety, Killorglin was packed,
With locals and tourists, and all that crack.

They offered him drink, from a pot called Sam
that Kerry had won, the best team in the land.
In a way, he hoped, he’d be up there for ever,
Mollycoddled, and kept out of the weather.

The hygiene was great, for when he had to go,
The straw got dampish, he went with the flow.
Then on day one he noticed a hubbub below,
With lots of people all arguing to and fro.

The goat was famous! They were talking to Joe!
He might even be called by The Late Late Show!
Joe’s callers were all concerned for his health,
But no one thought to ask him how he felt!

Nicky Barry, Woodlawn Park, Killarney, Co Kerry

Puck Fair goat deserves better

Sir — I hope that the mercy extended to the captive mountain goat at the Puck Fair in Kerry will prove a watershed in the battle against recreational cruelty.

The decision to take the unfortunate goat down from its 15-metre-high cage came in response to an avalanche of complaints that the animal would suffer in the sweltering heat, apart from the stress it would endure anyway from being isolated for so many hours and confined against its wild nature.

The town of Killorglin and its annual fair will lose nothing by dispensing with this practice that is cruel to animals and an embarrassment to Ireland.

The fair will still undoubtedly attract big crowds and the music and other heritage activities will be no less successful in generating tourism.

John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny

Community remains precious in our lives

Sir — I very much enjoyed Colm O’Rourke’s article last week on where Shane Walsh will play his future club football. May I address these words to that excellent player?

Shane, a uasal — Congratulations on a fine All-Ireland display. Your performance enriched the day.

Many years ago, in 1967, I began working in Dublin and was invited by a new pal to play with his local Dublin club. I thanked him and said I would consider his request. I did so, briefly.

My own club (Spa, Killarney) had reformed in 1966 after having gone out of existence in 1952 due to the ravages of emigration. On many weekends, I and other ‘exiles’ faced the 380-mile round journey from Dublin to Killarney to Dublin.

Year by year our club grew in strength. Our scattered rural community was reignited and reunited. Young people were inspired to get involved.
Roads have greatly improved, as have cars. The tedium and almost torture of those drives are not quite so soul-destroying.

Shane, as you ponder what to do, remember there are very few aspects of life as precious and enduring as community.

Michael Gleeson, Clasheen, Killarney, Co Kerry

Taxes driving out private landlords

Sir — All last week we saw the headlines about private landlords leaving the market. But is it really any wonder?

If somebody rents one room in their house, they can claim up to €14,000 tax-free a year — but if they rent out the whole house, they pay up to half in tax.

Where is the logic in this? The State should be offering a tax incentive to private landlords who provide good quality accommodation under a certain figure, (say €14,000 a year). This would reduce rents and might stop landlords from quitting and encourage private investors (maybe as their pension) to look at the rental market.

Brian Lube, Kilcock, Co Meath

Transgender choice too early for children

Sir — My sincere thanks to Eilis O’Hanlon for alerting us all to the scandal of the referral of Irish children for transgender treatment.

I am only a layman, but I do think this seems to be a self-promoting cause by a very vocal minority. I’m appalled to hear 200 minors were referred — 32 at 10 years or under, including two who were five years old.

If any one of these 32 children were asked what they would like to be when they grow up and we then took them and schooled them solely for that occupation; we then trained them for that one thing, regardless of their changing opinions; and we then compelled them to be bound to that occupation for the remainder of their working life, would any of us think that fair or reasonable?

Paddy Murray, Castlepollard, Co Westmeath

Why are officials aiding and abetting?

Sir — Eilis O’Hanlon is getting to the heart of the matter: why is official Ireland turning its gaze away? Or in the case of academics and HSE officials, aiding and abetting?

Mary Matthews, Dunleer, Co Louth

O’Hanlon highlights frightening agenda

Sir — Eilis O’ Hanlon’s revelation that under-age children were sent by Irish authorities to a discredited clinic that treated transgender patients is truly frightening.

The fact the media, including RTÉ, have generally ignored this shows how scared they are to objectively look at the organisations pushing this agenda.

Eilis has shown great courage in writing about this issue, and her comments on the Children’s Ombudsman are very revealing.

Pat McGrath, Monkstown, Co Dublin

Higgins has lauded the authoritarians

Sir —President Michael D Higgins has in the past lauded Chavez, Maduro, Ortega and Castro. In last week’s paper, Gene Kerrigan described Michael D as anti-authoritarian. Come again?

Patrick O’Brien, Limerick

Some final applause for Brendan Bowyer

Sir — It was a privilege to be in the congregation at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity Within for the memorial mass of Brendan Bowyer.

Brendan was the star of the showband era, always packing the ballrooms, travelling the length and breadth of the country.

The beautiful historical cathedral, where his father Stanley was an organist for many years, was packed to capacity by his many adoring fans.

As Brendan left on his final journey, the congregation burst into rapturous applause, as befitting the star he was.

Jeanne Collins, Grantstown, Co Waterford


Arthur Griffith’s contribution to Irish independence must never be forgotten

Griffith was father of the nation

Sir — Arthur Griffith, the founder of Sinn Féin, died 100 years ago on Friday. He was the man who led the Irish delegation at the negotiations that produced the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and served as President of Dáil Éireann from January 1922 until his death later that same year.

A ceremony took place last Friday in Leinster House, following criticism of a lack of state commemoration.

Griffith’s prodigious contribution to Irish independence must never be forgotten.

The notion of abstentionism, allied to the withdrawal of Irish MPs and the setting-up of a separate parliament, was buttressed by Griffith.

He will always be rightly remembered as the father of the Irish nation.

John O’Brien, Clonmel, Co Tipperary

It is the people who make a hospital great

Sir —Liam Collins last week wrote about the Royal City of Dublin Hospital and how we keep on allowing great old buildings to be put on the scrapheap.

Yes, it is a fine building, but let’s not forget the great doctors, nurses, domestic staff and other disciplines who made this hospital a special place.

These people dedicated their lives to helping others, and all sections of society benefited from their expertise, compassion and professionalism. Thanks for all the memories, Liam.

Alice Leahy, Bride Road, Dublin 8

Should we be paying to protect Trump?

Sir — I see Donald Trump is to visit Ireland later this month. Maybe Doonbeg should be careful what it wishes for.

Trump is the worst leader the US has ever had. He has not shown the decency to accept he lost the last election, and he is primarily responsible for the attack on Capitol Hill, which cost people their lives.

The Irish Government should not now be forced to spend €1m of taxpayers’ money to protect him, especially as he will have a US Secret Service team with him.

Noel Peers, Graignamanagh, Co Kilkenny

Harris in cold house, but Hume sweltered

Sir — With reference to Anne Harris’s letter in last week’s paper, in which the final sentence reads “the Sunday Independent apparently has built a cold house for dissenters”, I respectfully suggest from what memory I have left that the Sunday Independent of a certain time built an exceedingly hot house for one dissenter — John Hume — in his efforts to engage in peace talks with the IRA.

However, Anne’s letter was most informative.

I enjoy my Sunday Independent read each week and I congratulate your fine writers who keep us informed, entertained and sane.

Eilish O, Portlaoise, Co Laois

Kerrigan should say sorry to FF and FG

Sir — Gene Kerrigan in his piece last Sunday is entitled to have strong anti-Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael opinions, but he should not attribute attitudes to these parties that are untrue.

Mr Kerrigan wrote: “Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael resent Michael D Higgins because they believe the presidency is theirs by birthright.”

This is clearly not true. Fine Gael never regarded the office as theirs — as they have never held the office, and in 85 years only once came close, in 1966.

In the 50-odd years since, they have never come close and have never since then nominated an important party member as a candidate. Only FF and Labour have held the office, apart from Douglas Hyde.

There were five candidates at the last presidential election, including a Sinn Féin candidate, but the two parties whom Mr Kerrigan claims think they have a right to hold the office did not bother to put forward any candidates at all. Fianna Fáil have not had a candidate for the past two presidential elections.

Mr Kerrigan should apologise to Fine Gael and to a lesser extent to Fianna Fáil for denigrating them with a slur that is not in accordance with the facts.

John F Hyland, Killiney, Co Dublin

Empty premises can house the homeless

Sir — I travelled to Knock recently and could not believe the number of houses and retail premises that were lying empty in towns and villages, and yet we have a housing crisis?

The RTÉ series Cheap Irish Homes has shown how these houses and shops could be turned into lovely homes, some needing only cosmetic redecorating. They could be used to house Irish people and our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.

I know the first thing people will say is there’s no public transport in rural Ireland, and having lived in the country I agree, but this has always been the case, and it’s up to the Government to address this.

Bus Éireann buses are not suitable for rural roads, but the Local Link transport service uses minibuses and they’re a lifeline for countryside dwellers.

John Morgan, Dundalk, Co Louth

Replying to letters is common courtesy

Sir — I wish to offer my support to your readers who have complained of their treatment as older “non-techy” people.

Last January, I wrote a letter to three major hotels in the midlands, one in the west and one in the south east, seeking a quotation for a small family gathering. I have yet to receive an acknowledgement or the courtesy of a reply.

Also in January, I wrote to a major department store in Dublin about whether I could get a replacement lid for an expensive kettle I had bought there. Again, I have not yet received a reply.

Is our money not the same as everyone else’s, just because we do not go online to communicate? Do they not think they will grow old themselves some day?

Brighid Howley, Salthill, Galway

Do TDs have bank CEOs on speed-dial?

Sir — Unlike the rest of us who have to go through a process of tackling a modern-day maze of telephony, I wonder if our politicians, when they need to contact their banks or utility suppliers, have to endure the same process.

Or do they have the CEOs and board members on speed-dial?

Liam Power, Blackrock, Co Louth

Survey shows our heads in the sand

Sir — Conor Skehan wrote in your paper last week about the decisions made by previous governments and their consequences in the energy crisis.

Political commentator John Healy once coined a phrase to describe the actions of our politicians: “There goes the mob, I must follow them.”

They do say that all politics is local, and that is certainly true in Ireland. We elect politicians who promise to represent their communities and this gets them re-elected. They also have children to feed and mortgages to pay, but don’t look to them to consider wider national issues.

Most people see everything through the lens of their own circumstances. This is not condescension, it is common sense.

Our national politicians are expected to be national politicians, but they are not. They read the opinion polls and follow the crowd.

Your survey last week showed depressing but expected results. The Irish population is again putting its head in the sand and refusing to face many of the realities that are screaming at us in this turbulent time.

Anthony Hanrahan, Renvyle, Co Galway From the mouths of wild goats

Fry Electronics Team

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