4 October 2007 Edition
Cuireann An Phoblacht fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla, 200 focal ar a méid. Déantar giorrú ar litreachta más gá. Cuir do litir chuig [email protected]
An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected] No attachments please
Rugby, pride and anthems
Allow me the chance to express my disgust with the content of the letter (An Phoblacht, 27 September) in which Peter Mullan from Inishowen accused the members of the Irish rugby team of having “no pride or loyalty to country, anthem or flag, no passion for the honour in representing their nation”.
Whatever Mr Mullan’s opinion on the decision by the IRFU to play Ireland’s Call as opposed to Amhràn na bhFiann and to use a flag incorporating the provincial symbols as opposed to the Tricolour he has no right to question the pride or patriotism of the players themselves.
I can’t say I know all the players but over the years, as an avid rugby supporter, I have met a few and more importantly I know the effect that one player in particular has had in the rural community from where he hails and the esteem in which he is held in the local club where he first learnt his game.
A paid professional with Munster who when he gets the chance turns up at the weekly Cashel rugby club training session and without any fanfare trains with and passes on what he’s learnt to his former club-mates. I remember the pride of the people of the tiny Tipperary village of Dualla when he got his international call up and their delight when as part of victorious Munster team he returned to Tipperary with the European cup, arguably the pinnacle of club rugby.
I won’t name this one man as I’m sure that there are fourteen similar stories for each man who lined out that night for Ireland and fifteen more for the remainder of the squad.
I would invite Mr Mullan to watch again the footage of the players when they lined out in Croke park against France and England, I suggest that he look at the players faces as Amhràn na bhFiann was sang and revisit his views on the pride and passion of these players.
The fact that the IRFU have made a decision not to use Amhràn na bhFiann and the tricolour for away international matches and matches in the North (both are used during home internationals in the South) is a decision that infuriates many inside and outside of the rugby fraternity but it is a completely separate issue to that of the patriotism of the players.
It is my personal preference that Amhràn na bhFiann be sung at all Irish internationals while the tricolour is flown over the stadium but I have some sympathy for the IRFU.
The Irish rugby team has representation from across Ireland and from both of the major traditions on our island, this means the flag and anthem of one tradition is unlikely to be well received by members of the other. The decision to use a song and flag that are neutral is the IRFU’s attempt to be inclusive and in fairness to them any decision they make on the matter will draw criticism from some quarter. Perhaps that criticism is warranted, perhaps not. By all means have the debate, but leave the players out of it.
Belfast Dock Strike Lunchtime Lectures
I thought it might be of interest to your readers to know that Dublin City Libraries and SIPTU are running a series of free lunchtime lectures in Dublin City Hall in October entitled: Jim Larkin and 1907: The Centenary of the Belfast Dock Strike Lunchtime Lectures in Dublin City Hall.
2 Oct: City in Revolt: Jim Larkin and the Belfast Dockers’ and Carters’ Strike 1907 by John Gray, Linenhall Library Belfast
9 Oct: Women workers and Belfast, 1907 by Theresa Moriarty, Irish Labour History Society
16 Oct: The RIC and the Belfast Strike by Hugh Forrester, Curator, Police Museum, Belfast
23 Oct: Belfast 1907: Context and Consequences by Henry Patterson, University of Ulster
30 Oct: Belfast 1907: Foundation stone of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union by Francis Devine, SIPTU College
More information is available from 01 2222204 or 01 6744996.
Seosaimh Ó Tuathail,
Baile Átha Cliath 3.
Sean McCaughey website
I recently constructed a new website dedicated to Oglach. Sean McCaughey (1916-1946) who died on Hunger-Strike in Portlaoise.
Given it’s still in the developing stages, I would welcome any comments or suggestions from your readership.
The website can be found at: www.seanmccaugheyhistoricalsociety.moonfruit.com
Mairtin Og Meehan