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Having a strong affinity to Ballybranigan Strand for more than 70 years, apart from one period of two and a half years when I lived in Asia, I am a constant visitor.
I am lucky to have come into this world within a mile of this beautiful natural public amenity. My grandfather collected oarweed from its foreshore, transported it in a horse drawn cart to his farm for use as fertilizer prior to the availability of granulated commercial products. Ballybranigan is where my mother learnt to swim. The “Strand” is where with my siblings, “we sported and played”, my children also and now my grandchildren.
Years before the era of package foreign holidays, I remember counting the number of cars parked on the side of the road from the gap to the late Pats Cashman’s cottage a half mile away. For decades during summers my wife and children holidayed in rented accommodation within earshot of the amenity and for 10 years we stayed in the late Paddy Walsh’s farm house next to the Strand.
The golden age of the amenity was in the 1960s through to the ’80s when Cork County Council purchased land next to the gap and developed it into a tar and chippings surface car park, installed bench seating and tables and provided refuse bins for picnickers which were regularly emptied. In the meantime the public facility has gone into disrepair.
The seating and benches no longer exist, refuse bins are not provided, the perimeter fencing is falling down, and due to lack of maintenance, and it being used by mechanical machines as a loading bay, the tar and chippings surface no longer exists. The concrete ramp leading to the strand from the gap is broken up.
Whilst public funding is available for other purposes, including the provision and maintenance of expensive pontoons in yachting locations dotted around the country, Ballybranigan is ignored.
On February 14 I sent an email to Cork County Council reporting that a wall at the bottom of the gap was dangerously leaning over at the entrance of the strand. I requested that in the interest of public safety it should be immediately fenced off. When I got a series of negative responses, I pursued the matter with candidates for the general election.
After seven weeks, the Council closed off the entrance to the car park and roadway leading to the strand. The offending dangerous leaning wall is still not fenced off.
What’s to be done now? I propose that a public meeting or meetings be held where public representatives, council civil servants and the general public would collectively trash out a resolution, media invited. Let local democracy work on this occasion.
Once and for all, can we now stop with the pretence that Turkey is a democracy. It is an oligarchy run by an autocrat just like Russia. It has some of the trappings of a modern State but only at surface level.
What are the chances that having failed at the ballot box to implement a range of repressive laws that push Turkey towards becoming an Islamic State akin to Pakistan there just happened to be a coup, so inept, but just successful enough it gave Erdogan the excuse to send his vigilantes onto the street to beat up 17- and 18-year-boy soldiers and how efficient he was able to provide a prepared list of thousands of judges and officials to be arrested and purged.
It’s a wonder Erdogan was able to get it together so quickly after being ‘stunned with surprise’ at the coup to already know what laws and democratic protections he wants to revoke. It’s almost as if he was expecting the coup given the oldest trick in a failing politicians book is to create a diversion. What better diversion than a fake coup where as a bonus you get to randomly kill some of your perceived enemies and arrest the others. The truth is generally stranger than fiction.
The only good thing to come out of this for Europe is we can end any pretence that Turkey was ever remotely fit to join the EU.
Why France? That nation has for decades has been more inclusive, more tolerant, and more open to all nationalities than many in Western Europe. They have an outstanding reputation for acceptance going back to the jazz era and beyond.
Dr Al Qadri is telling us we must do more for our minorities in order to prevent radicalisation of Muslims. As if it is our fault that this happens.
Wait a minute. Maybe it is time for the Muslims to integrate and assimilate to Western values.
For example, it is time for them to honour equal rights for women. It is time for them to advertise their values for tolerance of all faiths and respect for the rule of democracy even in so far as the acceptance of inter-faith marriage.
When it comes to integration, each side must accommodate but each side must start with themselves. Perhaps Dr Al Qadri could educate us in the Koran that teaches the principles of democracy, equality, and fraternity instead of asking us to accommodate and blame ourselves for Muslim radicalisation. It would seem that lesson is needed in the Muslim community.
It is a given that anyone living in the Western world is advantaged. If you want to live with us then learn our ways and live them. Do not, for example, ask us to abridge (or censor) the right of free speech when Muslims scholars come to our universities. This was one of Al Qadri’s recent remedies to prevent radicalisation. Free speech is a right fought for in many countries. It is a fundamental value of Western civilization. It is time that love of democracy not theocracy becomes the dominant value shared by all of us.
Shaykh Umar al Qadri has demonstrated he is a “reasonable” minded person who is ready to condemn violence. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for other well known leaders of the Islamic faith.
Some not only have continuously refused to condemn the atrocities committed by so called Islamic State but have attempted to justify those atrocities.
Shaykh Umar al Qadri organised a rally of Irish Muslims to condemn Islamic State atrocities. Very few of the other leaders supported the rally.
Individuals such as Shaykh Umar al Qadri, who portray the voice of reason, should and must be supported.
Michael A Moriarty
A very pleasant two hours into the night ‘A Summer’s Evening on the Quad’ concert at UCC was held last Saturday (July 16) with a large and packed audience entertained by Rebecca Storm, and Michael McCarthy originally from Cork city, Keith Hanley from Charleville, the fab Band of An Garda Síochána and great young support singers also. The band will be at the Rose of Tralee and are great ambassadors for music.
The people of France were remembered in the aftermath of the attack in their south coastal city of Nice. We were asked to stand for a minute’s silence followed by the French national anthem.
€500,000 has been raised by the concerts for local and regional charities. The first Quad concert in UCC was held in 2006 with actor and comedian, Niall Tobín its lead performer and one of its first supporters. Well known solicitor Gerald Kean was a great MC and, hopefully, he will be there again next year.
As an example of how removed most senior officials are from reality, a remark on the news that “no public money was wasted in the downfall of Console” has to be one of the best.
The salaries of every government official who has been looking into the crisis come from public money and, secondly, that every single contribution to Console came from members of the public. Is it possible that the term ‘public money’ has now come to mean all the money that government employees manage to scrounge from the banks and that such money is believed to have nothing to do with the taxpaying public?
Boris Johnson is derided for saying the West should work with Russia and Assad to destroy Isis in Syria. On this occasion Boris Johnson is right. Isis cannot be defeated except by working with Assad (this does not mean ‘befriending’ him as many imply) or by waging all out war against Assad and Isis, the consequences of which are incalculable. If Western leaders have serious concerns about human rights in Syria they can work for internationally observed elections. If Assad wins they can ensure human rights are respected in the aftermath. If Assad regains power with peace in Syria it does not look likely that he would jeopardise that wonderful state of affairs. Syria under his rule before the war was a comparative Paradise.
33 Arundel Gardens
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