State must not disown its duty to protect skies
Sean Riordan’s report in Monday’s Irish Examiner, that ‘we’ may have a secret deal with the UK to shoot down a hijacked airliner, comes as a bit of a surprise, or maybe not. True or false, or partially true, I am more surprised by the suggestion that the Department of Defence could negotiate such an arrangement without at least the technical advice of the Defence Forces.
If true, then it should only be a temporary arrangement, until such time as the Air Corps has the means to provide this air cover.
If other neutral countries can afford to do so, why not us? It is never acceptable that our Government might disown its responsibility to protect our skies, simply because it is not willing to provide the Air Corps with the means to do so. In some of my many submissions and articles on Irish and Scottish defence issues, I have pointed out options on how the Air Corps could be given the necessary capability, including the relatively inexpensive option of leasing Gripen fighters from Sweden, as recently arranged by the Czech air force.
I note that the alleged ‘agreement’ is in respect of hijacked commercial aircraft only, and does not extend to shooting down straying Russian military aircraft. So, in this regard, our neutrality remains intact.
Our neutrality notwithstanding, the UK legitimately regards the Republic as within its area of interest, and has to consider possible threats to its own national security coming from its vulnerable western flanks.
Finally, I am bemused at the idea that the British taxpayer might foot the bill for Irish air defence.Maybe it is not such a bad idea after all.
Gaeltacht criticism is beyond belief
Máire Úna Ní Bheagaloich (Letters, Aug 9) rightfully upholds both the cultural honour and creative validity of the modern-day Gaeltacht experience for many of the nation’s teenagers, during their long summer holidays. Having just had our daughter’s first experience of Coláiste Sámhraidh in Muiríoch, Co Kerry, it seems to us to have been a perfect developmental sojourn for all the right and healthy reasons — social, emotional, physical (Céilís go leor!), as well as educational as Gaelige. We couldn’t speak more highly of it in the round.
Apart from a warm, caring and hospitable Bean an Tí, her wholesome home-cooking and general supportive vigilance, there was kayaking, trips to the local aquarium and a shopping visit to Dingle. This was all on top of a comprehensive classroom experience in the language, and copious creative gatherings for ceol, damhsa agus craic.
The supervision and transport supports were brilliant, with older students, teachers and bus people all working smoothly and efficiently to ensure safety and streamlining of activity, as well as the Gaeilge ‘ag caint’ aspect. The only ‘complaint’ mar-ya, was that they all didn’t want to leave for home at the end of the fortnight. How bad is all that?
How anyone can cast any cynical negative aspersion on the experience is beyond belief. One would have to be either a total snob or have a mammoth chip on their shoulder about an authentic, rich, yet simple, joyous experience, to do it down in any way. That it helps the local western seaboard community economies is an added boon, as the fees are worth every penny of the well-organised and dutifully delivered package.
To the nay-sayers, one could only retort...’Bah-Humbug’. What’s that ‘as-Gaeilge’?
Problems at GOAL
The Irish Aid Agency GOAL was established by John O’Shea.
The volunteers of GOAL have established an excellent reputation for the agency down the years. I had the privilege of meeting some of these volunteers in various countries. Hard workers and well respected.
John O’Shea, as CEO, had built up the agency and his reputation.
John was outspoken but always worked in the interests of those who needed assistance.
At some stage a decision was made to pass the management of the agency to others. This resulted in a former politician taking over as CEO, GOAL.
Perhaps John O’Shea needs to return to assist with sorting out the current problems experienced by GOAL.
Sometimes its more important to “get the job done” rather than “play the political game”!!!!
Celibate is a typo, they forgot the r
After listening to and reading about the ongoing debate on and about celibacy it reminded me of a tale about celibacy.
A young priest arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other priest in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.
He notices, however, that all of the priests are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new priest goes to the head priest to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies The head priest, says, ‘We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.’
He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn’t been opened for hundreds of years. Hours go by and nobody sees the old priest.
So, the young priest gets worried and goes down to look for him.
He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing ‘We missed the R!
We missed the R!
We missed the R!’
His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably. The young priest asks the old priest, ‘What’s wrong, father?’
With a choking voice, the old priest replies, ‘The word was....
Lacking quality in EU representation
If no MEP ever said anything unless he or she knew exactly what long-term effect it would have on the future of the people of Europe, a huge hush would fall over Brussels. Unfortunately, the people who would really know how to run Europe are organising community activities, maintaining cars, editing newspapers, growing vegetables, repairing house damage, running cafés and restaurants, practising alternative health, tending cattle, driving taxis or looking after grandchildren – all useful, competent people. Shame that such people never stand for election. Double or treble the salary, huge expenses and pension, and no responsibility for anything at all must surely be tempting.
Irish sport deserves better than this
Last February, the former sports minister Michael Ring made an exuberant declaration in his native Westport that no less than €10 million was being provided by taxpayers to support the Irish endeavor in the Rio Olympics and the Paralympic Games.
To date there has been a doping scandal and the disgrace and embarrassment of this is compounded by the spectacle of a large volume of tickets, allocated to Ireland, ending up in the control of a ticket tout.
Why are there no comments, explanations or observations from the current Sports Minister, Shane Ross, who built his reputation as being the guardian of taxpayers’ interests? Why is the State not represented at the Rio Olympics by a leader or a dignitary of greater stature and international distinction than a junior minister only recently appointed to that role for the first time?
Perhaps the flourish of Deputy Ring’s Westport announcement, made just prior to the general election campaign, constitutes an Olympian achievement for the last Government and what ensues afterwards is mere political trivia that requires neither ministerial attention, nor even a cheerleader in attendance at Rio.
Ross shows height of hypocrisy on OCI
Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, displayed the greatest hypocrisy when he threatened the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland that he would be consulting the Attorney General on how he can impose his plan to have an independent person join the committee investigating the sale of Irish Olympic tickets in Rio. Is this the same politician who totally disregarded the Attorney General’s ruling on the recent abortion vote and instead abandoned all traditional notions of cabinet responsibility?
Just you wait for the pension cut
All we need now is a Minister like Ernest Blythe to take the NPV of one shilling off the old age pension.