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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (25/08/16)

Your letters, your views...

€1m of ‘No’ money given to ‘Yes’ side              

It is recently reported that Mr Soros of the US Open Society Foundation has given €200,000 to two Irish abortion advocate organisations, plus an unspecified sum to a third.        

These donations appear to be chicken-feed.

If American interests are serious about influencing Irish opinion, they will have to donate far more than what appears to be the case now.

In the case of the recent same-sex marriage referendum, GLEN, the main group supporting the proposal, received €3.6m (yes, million) from Atlantic Philanthropies over the 10-year period concerned. This sum very substantially exceeded the sum now understood to be given for far more serious change in the Irish Constitution.

In addition, GLEN received €2.4m from the Irish Government over the same period. As the Government has no money of its own, this has had to come from taxation.

Applying the voting figures to this sum, it means that Government gave almost €1m out of the pockets of No voters, to Yes advocates, in order to defeat the No side.

In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled that changes to the Irish Constitution were a matter for the Irish people, and the Irish people alone.

So, here we had foreign financial interference, compounded by Government interference, in a referendum of the people.

It looks as if we will have more of the same, regardless of the Constitution or Supreme Court, when it comes to the legalisation of the deliberate taking of human (unborn) life.

The Irish vote, considering its impact as a supposedly Catholic country, is cheap at the price.

Donal O’Driscoll
Dargle Rd
Blackrock
Co Dublin

 

Don’t miss this TV show

The 2015 TV documentary A Doctor’s Sword on young RAF doctor Aidan MacCarthy’s experience as a POW in WWII premiered in Dublin last year and shown in cinemas in Cork and Bantry. It will be, for the first time,

shown on RTÉ One tonight at 10.10pm and is an opportunity for anyone who missed it on TV3. It will be for a time on RTÉ Player and is on DVD.

His story has been told many times, but in 2015, the TV documentary makers visited Japan to interview a relative of the Japanese POW camp commander, Isao Kusuno, who gave his samurai sword in thanks to Dr MacCarthy for saving his life from some, understandably, vengeful prisoners when the war was over.

It also has excerpts from a radio interview he gave. He stayed in the RAF after the war and retired as Air Commodore.

His daughters run the popular ‘MacCarthy’s Bar’ in Castletownbere, in the family for generations.

He emigrated to London and joined the RAF when war began.

He survived the evacuation of the British army from Dunkirk and as a prisoner of war of Japan.

He was a POW in Java and shipped to Nagasaki when their over-crowded ship was attacked and sunk.

He was one of 82 men saved by a Japanese fishing boat.

When the atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki in 1945, he was digging a mass grave intended for him and other prisoners.

The siren sounded and most ran to the bomb shelter.

One of the POWs went out to see what the booming sound was and was vaporised.

Aidan stayed inside and survived the blast.

He tended to the wounds of the local people. He was still rounded up with other POWs and sent to the final POW camp.

He wrote in his memoir A Doctor’s War (1979) of the camaraderie of the POWs and of when they saw a man buried to his neck to slowly die in the intense heat. They tried to give him water, but were stopped by the guards.

A Doctor’s War, republished in 2006, is his personal account of his time in WWII.

I recommend tuning in tonight; the story has humorous moments too.

Mary Sullivan
College Road
Cork

 

Making news

Because I pressed a wrong button (or two) last night, I switched to Al Jazeera English language news instead of RTÉ news.

After a few seconds, I stayed glued to it.

It really makes RTÉ 6.01 look like the self-serving government-approved entertainment that I have long suspected it was.

Richard Barton
Tinahely
Co Wicklow

 

Tradition is not trivial

In TP O’Mahony’s article concerning the Catholic Church (Irish Examiner, August 18) we are told that ‘tradition’ is the only real basis for women not being part of the ministerial priesthood as if ‘tradition’ were a trivial matter.

In fact ‘tradition’, ie the lived experience of the followers of Christ, is the only thing we have to go on in the Church.

It’s called public revelation; the alternative would find us making things up to conform to the fashion of the day.

Indeed the Scriptures themselves arose out of a perceived need to set down on paper something of the ‘tradition’ which has been handed on to its authors (cf. Luke 1:1; John 21:30; and Paul in 1st Corinthians 11:23).

It is revealing that TP O’Mahony should refer to Protestantism as he advances his argument. Unlike the Catholic Church which encourages reflection upon the Scriptures to aid greater intimacy with Christ, Protestantism has often used it to bolster a particular interpretation.

In its determination to do so, it not only dispensed with some Old Testament books but for a time, early Lutheranism even dismissed one of the New Testament books because it did not support its particular line of argument.

The Catholic Church has always aimed to pass on complete and intact to the next generation; precisely that which it has been handed down to us, even if we do not fully understand nor appreciate its content.

The famous American writer Mark Twain once said that what troubled him about the Bible were not the parts he didn’t understand, but those parts he did understand. And it is the same for all who genuinely try to live it.

The parts of ‘tradition’ we initially do not understand either fall into place or their importance to us recedes, because the life of Christ takes root in us.

Gearóid Duffy
Lee Road
Cork

 

Heavy sliotar

The modern hurling ball weighs about four ounces.

The sliotar nowadays is noticeably lighter than it was 60 years ago.

Today’s match ball is less easy to control.

It is more difficult to catch cleanly. It can hop all over the place.

Too many unsightly scrimmages develop between packs of players as they poke around for possession. Inevitably, the referee will intervene with a throw-ball.

We could well do without those irritating breaks in the flow of the game.

Puck-outs often land on the opponents’ 45-metre line, bypassing the midfielders.

They are often the best players on a team.

Spectators would enjoy our national game more if the GAA redrafted its regulations to re-introduce the old-style heavier ball.

It would still be possible to score a point from the 65-metre line.

The modern hurling helmet would protect players from the heavier ball.

The new rules governing penalties would also offer considerable protection.

Accurate short passing and quick combination play throughout the field would become essential once again.

Those basic tactics are at the heart of good hurling.

They are a delight to see.

I look forward to a bright future for the glorious game of hurling.

Michael Mernagh
Raheens
Carrigaline, Co Cork

 

Child denied Ireland trip

Gaza Action Ireland recently brought football players (aged 10-14) from Al Helal Football Academy, Gaza, Palestine to Ireland for a 10-day trip (Gaza Kids to Ireland).

The project was made possible by the work, support and solidarity of people all over the country.

Concerts, auctions, quiz nights, tea parties, and cake sales are some of the ways funds were raised.

The children’s visit was a real success and they were met with incredible welcomes and warmth here.

They played, and won, matches against Ballybrack FC, Kinvara United, Nenagh AFC and Celtic and Pike Rovers and thrilled onlookers with their skills and pace.

The Al Helal players were also guests at the Galway United v Dundalk match at Deacy Park, where they were the guard of honour as the teams entered the pitch, and played at halftime to very enthusiastic home support.

They even met the President there!

While the trip was very positive and raised much awareness about Palestinian life, sport and culture, it also served to highlight the brutality of Israel’s siege on Gaza.

When the group’s permits to leave Gaza were finally issued – late – by the Israeli authorities, one child, 13 year old Karam Zedan and five adults were prevented from travelling.

The cruelty of denying one child – who had been injured by the Israeli attack of 2009 – the chance to travel with his friends, as well as preventing five adults from being with the group, while low down on the list of Israel’s crimes against Palestinian children, is terrible.

This total control over the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially those living in Gaza, by an occupying state is wrong.

These wonderful, talented, lovely children deserve the right to grow up in freedom, with justice, and without fear of military attack. The siege of Gaza must be lifted and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people upheld.

Zoe Lawlor
Coordinator, Gaza Action Ireland
Limerick


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