7 September 2006 Edition
Joe doesn't represent me
In Daily Ireland on Tuesday, I read with disgust comments from Joe Brolly regarding his participation in a GAA football match with the PSNI.
Joe, himself an insignificant figure, should take a look at his opposition on the football field.
Members of the RUC and later the PSNI took pride in stopping and harassing people on their way to GAA matches. Many were held on the roadsides endlessly, some suffered beatings, others weren't so lucky. Such names as Aidan McAnespie and Sean Browne jump to mind.
The PSNI should not be given a propagandist platform from which to look more acceptable - which certainly is not the case. No GAA football team should play their propaganda game.
Joe Brolly doesn't represent the GAA in the North, he certainly doesn't represent me. And he states that the people of Ireland didn't have a problem with the Guards playing the PSNI. Where did Joe get his mandate to speak on behalf of the people of Ireland?
In closing, as a member of the GAA I would like to distance myself from the comments and actions of Joe Brolly in regard to this matter. I am absolutely certain I am not the only member of the GAA to do this.
Sinn Féin and the Seanad
At a recent meeting of the newly constituted Cúige Connacht I was informed of an Ard Chomhairle decision regarding our party's approach to Seanad Éireann, aka the Senate.
Essentially, the new 'policy' is as follows:
a) Sinn Féin where possible to contest Senate elections
b) Where Sinn Féin has no candidate our councillors are to vote for candidates who publicly support our policies
For the record, allow me to give my views of the Senate.
The Senate is nothing more than a 'talking shop' predominated by old men. A place where failed establishment TDs sit or sleep in limbo, seeking out the crumbs of publicity until they gain redemption at the next election.
The Senate agenda is dictated by the latest phone-in to the Joe Duffy or Marian Finucane radio shows. Standard issue for a Senator, brave enough to make a speech, is the early edition of the Irish Independent (or The Times for those of a more liberal bent). The Senate, indeed, has come a long way from its initial purpose as the legislative body of the Oireachtas.
And please spare me those well meaning comments that Sinn Féin can reform the Senate from within. The best way, in my opinion, to reform the Senate is to scrap it, and save the taxpayer some hard earned money. The cost of Oireachtas envelopes alone would probably fund a district hospital - not to mention the salaries and other expenses!
While on the subject of healthcare. The only redeeming feature of the Senate I can see is that it just might be the miracle cure for insomniacs. Its 'highlights' are broadcast on the telly after midnight, and I challenge anybody to watch it and not fall asleep after 10 minutes.
If - God forbid - I was to fall on hard times, politically speaking, please don't ever offer me a Senate nomination, instead, do the decent thing and hit me over the head with a hammer!
Cllr. Dave Keating,
Westport Town Council.
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
9 University Street
Belfast BT11 9QF.
Israeli war crimes in Palestine
The Israeli army continues to commit war crimes in the occupied Palestinian Territories while the international community 'averts its eyes'.
At 2.30am on Saturday 2 September in the town of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 53-year-old man, Mohammed Ismail Abu Odeh, who had stepped outside his house upon hearing a commotion in the neighbourhood. They then shot and killed his 27-year-old son Ismail who, hearing shots, went to look for his father. They then shot and wounded the teenage daughters of Abu Odeh who went to help their father and brother. The family got the two girls back into the house from where they were dragged by Israeli soldiers and thrown into a tank. They were left bleeding there for 2 hours before Palestinian medics were allowed to treat them. Their condition is said to be 'grave'. Mr Abu Odeh's house was then destroyed.
This is one incident among many which the international community chooses to ignore. Appeals to the signatories of the Geneva Convention by Palestinian human rights organisations fall on deaf ears.
The backcloth against which the above incident took place is a picture of horror. The Israelis have continued unceasingly bombing the Gaza Strip; hundreds of Palestinians - men, women, children, the disabled - are killed or wounded by the Israeli army with impunity. Houses are raided and destroyed. There are many arrests, including children and elected representatives; the Israelis control the skies, the border crossings and the sea. Fishermen cannot fish; there are serious shortages of food, water, medical supplies and electricity. Malnutrition and poverty resulting from Israeli aggression and internationally-imposed sanctions are leading to social breakdown.
This situation is an affront to any principle of humanity or civilisation we claim to support.
Caitlin ni Chonaill
Scandal of Irish health service
My father, who is 77 years of age, was admitted to casualty at Letterkenny General Hospital on Saturday, 26 August at 11am with severe abdominal pains and spent all day sitting on a chair (I assume all beds were occupied). During this time, he spent 20 minutes attached to a drip and was given two painkillers which left him very disoriented. My mother, who was with him the whole time, was given a prescription for painkillers in case there was a recurrence, before being discharged at 5.50pm without being diagnosed.
He had to be taken in by ambulance again at around 3.30am and was again discharged on Friday 1 September without a diagnosis. Is this deemed to be normal practise in a country seemingly flowing with cash? I am not pointing fingers at members of staff who are doing an excellent job but I am pointing the fingers of blame at Mary Harney of the PDs, the so-called Minister for Health (don't laugh), and her Fianna Fáil-led partners in government for not putting the proper financial investment in place to utilise the facilities that are already there. The €100,000 or more spent on the latest game of roundabout gimmicks in Letterkenny are a distraction from real issues, oh don't know what it is? But I've got a bigger thingamajig on my roundabout than yours, seems to be what's keeping our political leaders happy while patients trying to catch up on a bit of sleep on hospital window ledges, or uncomfortable bookshelves, and then fall off and go home with more injuries than they had when they went in, God help us, for Bertie and Mary won't; they are too busy having a laugh about the fun they had with the shady builders and speculators in the Fianna Fáil tent at the Galway races, while sipping cocktails and munching Brazilian beef burgers in the Members' Bar at Leinster House.
Gort a Choirce,
Dún na nGall.