27 March 2008 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
We recently heard how Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair came together to pay tributes to Ian Paisley on his pending resignation. Bertie says his new friend is “honourable and courteous” and that only for him there would be no St Andrews Agreement.
However, from as far back as the civil rights movement, the Reverend had filled the youth with hatred and sectarian speeches from platform to platform. He has to be held responsible for prolonging the conflict with his murdering loyalist gangs.
Now that he is on his way, he is going back to his good old days and has come out recently bragging that he has smashed republicanism.
It makes me wonder how our Taoiseach can call this man “honourable and courteous”. Either he wanted to distract from the Mahon Tribunal or he’s been promised a house in Tigers bay.
Child mortality is preventable
TENS of thousands of children die each day, many because they have no access to simple medical treatments, say the authors of a new study released from the United Nations.
The report, entitled, State of the World’s Children 2008, points out that each day at least 26,000 children under the age of five die from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. More than one third of them die during their first month, either due to lack of nutrition or lack of proper medical treatment, according to researchers at the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) who prepared the report. The 154-page study is based on a global household survey and statistical information taken from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The report’s findings suggest that most of the kids who died last year before the age of five could have lived if their parents had unhindered access to proper medical care.
While data reveals the news that in 2006, the total number of deaths of children under the age of five fell below 10 million, to 9.7 million, which represents a 60-percent drop in the rate of child mortality since 1960, the governments of our world must hold themselves in shame as such figures are unacceptable, especially when many of these deaths are preventable.
The UNICEF research shows that a vast majority of children who die before the age of five are born in poor households. The report identifies about 60 countries with extremely high rates of child mortality.
This unnecessary mortality of children continues to happen while the governments of the world continue to spend so much on warfare. Their continued use of warfare in turn creates more poverty for the people of the war zones were they operate. It should also be noted that most of this child mortality exists in countries that have been ravaged by other countries; they are mostly from Europe who stole the wealth from these countries and now refuse to acknowledge the fact of their savagery and the plundering of the natural resources of the countries.
Castlebar, County Mayo
THIS week we will listen to a lot of hot air from the Teachers Unions on the subject to overcrowding in Schools classrooms. They will demand action on the subject and rightly so. For 15 years our local Irish language School Gaelscoil Na Camóige in Clondalkin has had serious overcrowding and disgraceful conditions for both Children and Teachers. Not once have I heard the Unions calling or doing anything about this disgrace, They have happily worked along with various governments and yet one of most important aspects of life the Education of our Children has been ignored by the Unions, I call on the Unions to use their Ultimate tool at their their disposal the STRIKE to ensure that their members and our children have properly look after in the Education Sector.
Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Solar, not nuclear
We hear that Nicholas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown plan to export nuclear power plants around the world. But there is a very good alternative to this dirty, dangerous and expensive technology.
I refer to ‘concentrating solar power’ (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and currently provides power for about 100,000 Californian homes. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.
Using CSP, less than 1% of the world’s hot deserts could generate all the electricity that the world is using. It is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity for 3000 km or more using highly-efficient ‘HVDC’ transmission lines. It has been calculated that 90% of the world’s population lives within 2700 km of a hot desert and could be supplied with clean electricity from there.
In the ‘TRANS-CSP’ report from the German Aerospace Centre, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. That report shows in great detail how Europe can meet all its needs for electricity from a variety of clean sources including CSP, and phase out nuclear power at the same time.
DR GERRY WOLFF,
Co-ordinator of TREC-UK