Why glorify slaughter at the Somme?
I’m sick to death listening to Irish TV and radio commentators and self- appointed spokespeople rattle on and on about the battle of the Somme and about how many Irish soldiers took part in it.
The facts are that not one Irish soldier took part in the murderous campaign. Yes, there were Irishmen who, through their own choosing, donned British uniforms, becoming employees of the British government, to fight for king and country under a British flag which quite rightfully made them British soldiers.
They were not fighting on behalf of an Irish government, because we were involved in the process of fighting for our own independence, which was gained in the following years by the bomb and the bullet supplied by none other than the Germans!
Why not have a yearly protest about the British and German royalty who set the seeds of war in order to hold onto their diminishing powers? Why not have a yearly name-and-shame list of the armchair generals who ordered innocent, gullible young men to march into machine-gun fire that could have only one outcome?
Most, if not all, illiterate Irishmen who joined up did so due to the use of propaganda and all other devious means employed by the colonial occupiers of our land.
Why is there such a need within certain sections of Irish society today to glorify such wanton slaughter as if it was our patriotic duty to do so?
We were slaves to colonialism and it looks like things haven’t moved forward since the recent commemorations of the 1916 Rising by marching along O’Connell St, where many pretenders were seated outside the GPO.
Here we are, a few short weeks later, rubbing shoulders and sharing podiums with people who inherited titles from descendants who used and abused their powers to order our fellow Irishmen to their deaths.
Douglas Haig, as the imbecile lieutenant general, was responsible for the slaughter at the Somme in which 60,000 were killed on the first day; he received £100,000 on his retirement in 1921, while many of those Irish who returned home maimed or shell-shocked by the horrors of an avoidable war were shunned because they accepted the king’s shilling and fought for British royalty.
But, many, like Dan Breen and Tom Barry, are venerated to this day as heroes for the roles they played in the War of Independence. Don’t get dragged along in someone’s else’s dubious whirlwind. Create or follow your own.
Absolute power on life not a basic right
Please give me a few inches of space to express my view that the Irish Examiner’s recent coverage of the abortion debate has been very one-sided. I realise the Mick Wallace bill was bound to receive support from Alison O’Connor, and generally be commented on subjectively. Mr Wallace, who describes himself as ‘pro-choice’, was given a chance to explain his position on what is a very emotive subject, after which Margaret Hickey strongly defended the anti-abortion view.
However, my complaint refers to the fact that the darker side of the trendy and democratic-sounding ‘pro-choice’ position, is rarely or even never put under the spotlight.
In Ms O’Connor’s column (July 1), she quotes Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell as saying, “Ultimately, it is the right of the woman to choose whether or not she wishes to carry a pregnancy to term; to have full bodily autonomy.”
If this position is accepted, it really means that the so-called fatal foetal abnormality argument is a total red herring, as all women should be entitled to end a pregnancy for any reason or none. A forecast by a doctor that the unborn child could survive for 90 healthy years would confer no less a right to abort.
Perhaps there will be a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, but, if so, I hope the citizens of this country, in giving recognition to the fact that it is women who carry new life, will also recognise that absolute and unrestricted power over life and death is neither a basic nor natural right.
Brexit reality has sprung on all sides
As yet we have only a sample taste of Brexit. Why the sudden panic? David Cameron may have stepped down but his office is not being filled until October. No negotiations will go ahead until article 50 of the EU treaty is invoked and Britain formally declares its intention to quit. And it has even been suggested by a top minister — health secretary Jeremy Hunt — that another vote may be called on Brexit. Recall we had a re-run of a EU referendum?
What counts now is that reality has suddenly sprung on all sides and the implications have become more obvious. Very valuable time is still available for discussions and understandings on the vital issues that deserve top priority. Panic solves nothing.
Here at home, Brexit gives us vital time for serious debate on our role, including the ‘absolute red line issue’ of corporation tax. Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes would be wiser to take it cool on his threat of another Brexit here at this precarious hour and watch for further developments.
It’s simply by watching for the errors of others the wise man corrects his own.
It’s time to drive insurance changes
People have taken too much theft and exploitation from insurance companies. As many claims end up with the Injuries Board, this costs insurance companies nothing. Fraud is also a weak defence as very few perpetrate it. To add to this hypocrisy, the Central Bank then encourages insurance companies to increase premiums.
The Central Bank is the very institution which could not even properly supervise banks or companies like Setanta. I would not put any of them in charge of an empty box.
No mere mortal can understand insurance and the basis of its twisted, punitive, self-serving rules. On the basis of this immorality, a mature woman driver is now created equal to a much younger male driver.
There’s nothing like equality when it’s profitable.
Neither insurance brokers nor providers care about increasing claims as they just inflict these on even the safest of drivers. If the Central Bank wants to be more useful than it actually is, it should control the legal ‘profession’ which also profits from abusing gombeen claims.
Drivers of Ireland, you have nothing to lose but the claims of others. Rise up and dictate to your insurers for a change.
Hare coursing bill loss is no surprise
The recent defeat of Maureen O’Sullivan’s bill to ban the medieval horror that is hare coursing won’t have come as much of a surprise to long-term animal rights campaigners. Simply put, the three main political parties in this country seem to be incapable of doing the decent thing when it comes to enacting legislation to protect animals. Ms O’Sullivan has once again proven herself to be a true friend of our animal kin. Huge thanks, too, to Deputies John Halligan, Shane Ross, and Finian McGrath for having the courage of their convictions to do the right thing and support the bill.
Their actions served to highlight the absence of Deputy Katherine Zappone during the vote.
New taxes don’t solve all ills
We really are headed downhill fast now. Whichever government pretends to be looking after us, they continue to spend us into doom as well as being totally unable to sort out any of the problems their predecessors created.
Every time they realise that they — by which I mean WE — are in financial trouble, they are incapable of thinking of anything except inventing a new tax or increasing another one while everything around them gets worse.
The clearly increasing amount of illness is caused at least partly by their deliberate pollution of our drinking water (aluminium, chlorine, what they dishonestly call fluoride), and the increasingly dangerous illegal dumping.
To even imagine that you could tackle both of those serious problems by increasing charges is a clear indication of their dream world. I wonder when the last discussion was over whether or not they could get away with a fresh-air tax?
European Bank not planning a move
Last week your newspaper published stories quoting Irish officials as suggesting that EU agencies based in the UK could move to Ireland in the wake of Britain’s referendum on the EU.
The officials made reference in this context to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
I would like to point out that the EBRD is not and never has been an EU institution. Over half of its 67 shareholders are from outside of the EU. The US is the EBRD’s single largest shareholder. Other major shareholders include Japan and Canada. China became the EBRD’s 67th shareholder this year.