Will we ever show the appetite to fight the war on drug crime?

Sir — I was not surprised to see it was the Americans who put up the reward for the capture of the top members of the Kinahan cartel, even though much of the heavy lifting was done by An Garda Síochána.

he murderous Kinahan cartel is worth over a billion euro — but they must know that the end is in sight for them. There are only so many corporations and drugged-up teenage gunmen they can hide behind, and they are running out of road.

What amazes me is that the Irish authorities — whose citizens are the focus of this international criminal investigation —have not themselves seen fit to put up a hefty ransom.

The non-committal attitude of government to any form of reward speaks volumes about their commitment to fighting organised crime.

After all, it took the death of your newspaper’s fine journalist — Veronica Guerin — and not a member of An Garda Síochána to prompt the creation of the now much lauded Criminal Assets Bureau.

An Garda Síochána has had many successes over the years and have lost members while protecting Irish citizens, but we need to look at creating new and separate services, independently funded and operated from the main force.

Those services should include an independent security/
intelligence service, to work on threats from terror groups both external and internal.

There is also a need for a new major crime-fighting body — similar to that of the UKs National Crime Agency or the FBI.

An Garda Síochána cannot be expected to carry out all of the above tasks, with its limited resources, personnel and budget — certainly not to the satisfaction of the international community.

I wonder what minister for justice or government will be brave enough to initiate those reforms? I don’t think I will see it done in my lifetime.

Christy Galligan (retired garda sergeant), Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Homophobia: the worst disease

Sir — Homophobia has again made itself known in our fair land with vicious and unprovoked assaults on several men this past week.

It’s utterly unrealistic to expect to live in a society where everybody has 2.4 children, a traditional family, and a dog. A society where everybody is a stereotype — and those who don’t fit in must spend their lives looking over their shoulder.

Our country has become one the most vicious places in Europe. Week after week we read of people being violently attacked.

Homophobia has now established itself as a hate crime and looks like it may be growing. Homophobia and general murderous violence in Ireland must end. Is Ireland sliding into pit of violence where the price of life is zero?

Maurice Fitzgerald, Shanbally, County Cork

Law must ensure this never happens again

Sir — Killing of the innocent is always outrageous, barbaric, inhuman. But the killing of those two fine, decent men in Sligo is unspeakable.

Men everywhere need to man up and say — and prove — that it’s ‘not in my name’.

These two decent men cannot be given their lives back. But in their name laws must be put in place, and applied, to ensure the like of this never occurs again.

Margaret Walshe, Clonsilla Road, Dublin 15

Beattie and unionism are definitely not ‘OK’

Sir — Joe Brolly’s interview with UUP leader Doug Beattie was pure Norman Mailer. Doug stops. He is troubled. We sit in silence. Question. Are you OK?

No Joe, he is not OK. He is delusional. “I am not what people think I am,” he says, “I think I am a failure, I have carried that sense of failure all my life.” And those same sentiments are exactly what the people think you are Doug, not some saviour of the unionist cause. It beggars belief that a man who admits to carrying a sense of failure will be leading what was once the north of Irelands largest party in the next election.

Quaffing a pint he settles down to discuss war time experiences, a subject taboo to every ex war hardened veteran, but not to the intrepid U U P leader who to coin a Mailerismn is a hero to himself, who could not answer the simple question, as to who coined the ‘Union of people’ slogan? The hollowness exposed by Brolly in this superb interview epitomises the state of unionist politics in the north of Ireland.

Wilson Burgess, Bonds Hill, Derry City

Gender equality lies in the ballot box

Sir — In her article of April 10, Julia Molony tells us that, under capitalism, “female emancipation was synonymous with success in the market economy”.

She did not mention the lack of success of women in the political world in which women are grossly under-represented in most of the parliaments of the world.

The Dáil is nearly 80pc male.

To solve that problem, all women have to do is vote for women candidates at the next election. They do not have to do anything much, but just turn up at the voting station and use the blunt pencil.

Anthony Leavy, Sutton, Dublin 13

TK Whitaker and the pride of the West

Sir — The feature in your paper on April 3 (‘Atlantic wind of change to blow through the West’) about the establishment of the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) brings with it both a sense of pride and hope for the development of Connacht, as I am a ‘Westerner’.

As author of the biography of the late Dr TK Whitaker, however, the new ATU has additional significance for me.

Among his many public service roles Dr Whitaker was Chancellor of the National University of Ireland for 20 years (1975-1995). His appointment came at a time of controversy regarding third-level technical institutions being denied university status and being treated, as Whitaker wrote in 1977 “as some state corporation, rather than a pioneering third-level educational institution needing special freedom and flexibility… in a country still too biased in favour of the purely academic”.

The establishment of the ATU would undoubtedly have had his wholehearted support.

Anne Chambers, Rathgar, Dublin 6

Girls fly the flag for club and country

Sir — When I was teaching PE, back in nineteen sixty five,

Girls did not play much sport, for it was thought unwise.

Some would play camogie, or a bit of basketball,

But it was just unheard of, for them to play football.

Schoolgirls weren’t allowed race for more than 200 yards,

Back in those days it was thought that it would be too hard.

Today they run in marathons, they’ve come a long, long way.

They box at the Olympics and as professionals for pay.

But it’s in the game of football, they’ve made the greatest strides,

They play for club and county they fly the flag with pride.

And Sweden has a mighty team, ranked second in the world,

And the Irish drew with them, away in Gothenburg!

Nicky Barry, Killarney, Co Kerry

An Post flouting the law — to the letter?

Sir — Is it legal for An Post to demand customs charges on books from the UK?

Even though books are exempt from Vat, and customs regulations are fully complied with, An Post persists in seizing my property unless I pay unlawful charges. Their notice offers no redress, no appeal, just a direction to a labyrinthine website where one is confronted with a ‘bot’.

It’s as if the complaints procedure is designed to keep complainants at a distance until they give up in despair.
Worse things happen in our world, but An Post’s treatment of its customers is infuriating — and possibly illegal.

Patrick Quigley, Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Holohan fiasco will cost us dearly

Sir — We hear regularly the words trotted out “lessons need to be learned” every time there is a failing at government or civil service level in relation to would-be appointments.

But do they ever learn?

I found it ironic that the row over the appointment of Dr Holohan to lead a research position at Trinity College is that his expertise was intended to better prepare us for future pandemics — his ‘learnings’.

The problem was not that such a outstanding individual should not have landed the position, but that his remuneration should be linked in an underhand way to the funding of such an important area of research.

The shoddy handling, the secrecy between the protagonists will end up costing the taxpayer dearly.

That Dr Holohan is mired in this debacle taints the legacy of his steadfast contribution to the welfare of the nation during the pandemic. We owe him — let’s remember that!

Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely Dublin 18

At least the CMO left with his dignity

Sir — The treatment of Dr Holohan, by the Government, was nothing short of disgusting and deplorable.

Dr Holohan guided the nation through the Covid crisis with daily updates and recommendations, at a time when his wife was terminally ill.

For him to be treated like this is abhorrent.

Dr Holohan has now walked away with his dignity intact, while the Government is in tatters.

Maureen Bennett, Mountrath, Co Laois

Canonisation of Dr Tony must wait

Sir — I think ‘controversial’ is the word mostly associated with Dr Tony Holohan. His sainthood will have to wait while we try to recover from it all.

Robert Sullivan, Bantry, Co Cork

Seconds out, round one, in crime fight

Sir — I wonder if Drew Harris was sending a coded message to Daniel Kinahan — the mob boss with links to professional boxing — when he recently said, “he can run, but he can’t hide”.

These words were attributed to former heavyweight world champion Joe Louis, on being told that his upcoming opponent in 1941, Irish-American Billy Conn, was particularly elusive..

Conn led on points, but got careless and was knocked out by the Brown Bomber in round 13.

The Garda Commissioner has thrown down the gauntlet. and It remains to be seen whether he can lay a glove on any of the kingpins in the crime gang.In his corner he has the American police force, Europol and the UK’s National Crime Force.

Seconds out, round one!

Jim O’Connell, Ashtown, Dublin 7

Turf-cutting bans and the Green agenda

Sir — I see the Greens in government are sticking to their guns in seeking a ban on the sale and distribution of turf from September, despite claims from the backwoods wing of Irish politics that the move will drive a stake through the heart of rural Ireland.

Their consistency on this issue is commendable. Our peatlands are ecological treasures beyond price, helping to prevent flooding by absorbing water and protecting human health by storing enormous amounts of deadly carbon dioxide.

Whatever about a turf-cutting ban discommoding country dwellers, hare coursing should be banished forever from our countryside.
Who would have thought that coursing clubs would have greater political clout than turf-cutters?

John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny

Will the Greens even be here in 2122?

Sir — When I was wondering what to write in the time capsule box of my Census form, climate change assailed my imagination. Thinking 100 years ahead brought home to me the jeopardy that threatens my descendants.

My concern for those of my family who I’ll never meet is in no way appeased when I look to the Green Party — who would see itself the prime mover in securing a liveable Ireland for future generations. Indeed I think there is good possibility that the party will again suffer a wipeout as in the February 2011 election.

The Greens continue to fail to get the strategic message across, and fail to keep on board the people who are concerned about climate change.
Recent observations by the Green leader about slow driving and spending less time showering, together with asserting that the State will put nobody’s “granny in prison for burning turf”, in an effort to quiet the ire of small rural communities who are to be banned from selling turf, sounds “a bit Irish”.

They certainly do not project a vision for a “green Ireland” that would engage and motivate the shower takers (the vast majority), the drivers (the many) and the turf cutters (the few).

A shower-taker and car-driver myself, all I detect is patronising and divisive ‘biteenism’ that will leave my Census form smouldering, long before any descendants could ever get to read it.

Michael Gannon, St Thomas’ Square, Kilkenny

Boris Johnson is real Captain Hindsight

Sir — Hindsight is a really super word, it covers a multitude of lies and excuses.

When we realise we should have done something important we backtrack and say, well, in hindsight we should have done so and so, and this forgives all.

The situation at the moment requires foresight so we should not have to use the dreaded H word when the inevitable happens. It is patently obvious where this man is coming from.

His aim is to control by any means possible. Lies, cheating and subterfuge are his methods. People mean nothing to him. Ultimate domination, nothing less will satisfy his arrogant persona and ego. He has surrounded himself with those of a like mind.

He must be stopped now so in the future we will not have to say “so in hindsight”.

But enough about Boris!

John K Kenny, Kilbarrack Road, Dublin 5

Let our descendants enjoy movie classic

Sir — Kathleen Corrigan tells us in the letters page last week that she is 97 and three quarters. Well done.

Would she share with us something she would like to put in the Census time capsule?

My selection: ‘Don’t remake The Quiet Man’.

Kevin A McFadden, Garshuey, Lifford, Co Donegal

Don’t be fooled by cuckoo weather

Sir — Being a year-round swimmer, I was stepping out of the sea at Fenit bathing slip the other morning, when a couple of female joggers jocosely shouted: “Stay out of the sea during scaraveen, Billy boy!”

The reference to ‘scaraveen’ reminded me of a gifted teacher who was an environmentalist long before green politics became fashionable. When it came to Irish culture, folklore, nature, history and geography, he was without equal. So while I have heard and read many definitions of ‘scaraveen’, I have never deviated from my former teacher’s description.

‘Scaraveen’ is an anglicising of the Irish phrase ‘garbh shion na gcuach’, which means ‘the rough weather of the cuckoo’. The term gradually became ‘garbh shion’ and, finally, ‘scaraveen’.

The cuckoo, a solitary bird more often heard than seen, returns to Europe in early spring. As an infamous brood parasite, she lays her eggs in the nests of small song birds. Once hatched, the cuckoo chicks eject the legitimate occupants and are then fed by the unsuspecting foster parents.

Folklore has it that scaraveen is nature’s way of exacting retribution on the cuckoo for the havoc she causes in the bird world. During scaraveen — from mid-April to mid-May — mild spring weather has been known to revert to cold, wet miserable weather — giving rise to the tale of ‘April and May keep out of the sea, June and July swim until you die’.

But it’s advice I have constantly ignored as the mental and physical benefits of the daily dip make it well worth the risk.

Billy Ryle, Tralee, Co Kerry
 

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/will-we-ever-show-the-appetite-to-fight-the-war-on-drug-crime-41560364.html Will we ever show the appetite to fight the war on drug crime?

Fry Electronics Team

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