27 September 2007 Edition

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Mála Poist

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

Not answering Ireland’s Call

A chara,
Last Saturday morning, after watching the rugby the night before, I woke with the French national anthem still ringing in my ears. I envied the French - the pride and passion for their country, the united, strong voice in which they sang.
Compare this with the weak, feeble, apologetic, unpatriotic and disloyal rendition of Ireland’s Call by the so-called Irish team - no pride or loyalty to country, anthem or flag, no passion for the honour in representing their nation.
Our national anthem is not Ireland’s Call and our national flag is not the flag of the four provinces.
Unfortunately, the disease we see openly in rugby covertly infests our society as well. During the singing of Ireland’s Call the television panned around the crowd. It caught Bertie Ahern standing tall and to attention, singing with great gusto. I wondered to myself: To what would Bertie not stand to attention and sing? I could think of nothing.
I do know that it must have been very cold in Paris, as he had his hands in his own pockets.
Inishowen, County Donegal

A chara,
I am writing this letter in total disgust and disappointment after watching Ireland’s first game in the Rugby World Cup.
After seeing the pride and emotion shown by players from Argentina and other countries as they marched out behind their national flag and the singing of their national anthems, I looked forward to seeing the Irish team march out behind the Tricolour and to hearing Amhrán na bhFiann being played on an international stage. Instead we witnessed a flag with the symbols of the four provinces and the playing of Ireland’s Call.
Let me state at this stage that I don’t believe the players would have had any say in this. Decisions like this are made by the suits in the IRFU and they must be held responsible.
As we have seen, Ireland is the only team out of the 24 taking part in the competition not to use their national flag or national anthem. Though I never agreed with the playing of Ireland’s Call, I could understand the decision taken at the time, but after 10 years of peace in the North there is no reason for it still to be played.
May I suggest that until the suits at the IRFU reverse their decision that any public money earmarked for the development of Lansdowne Road be withheld.
Cashel, County Tipperary


Building a knowledge economy

A chara,
Given the downturn in the construction and financial sector and increased competition from China and India in the manufacturing sector, it is widely recognised that the best way forward for the Irish economy is via knowledge-intensive, high value-added activities.
However, the latest relevant OECD report shows Ireland propping up the table of investment in education. Government investment in this crucial infrastructure fell from 5.2 per cent of GDP in 1995 to 4.6 per cent last year. The OECD average is 6.2 per cent.
Three years ago, the Enterprise Strategy Group and the Higher Education Authority called for Ireland to “be at the forefront in generating and using new knowledge for economic and social progress” and to be in the top three countries in education and research. Unfortunately, the Fianna Fáil/PD Government failed to harness the wealth needed to do this but, along with Fine Gael and Labour, took the easy route of promising more tax cuts, particularly for the very wealthy, including the property speculators who have contributed to the disruptive ‘boom and bust’ in property prices.
Along with the disastrous consequences of the privatisation of Eircom - the worst and most expensive broadband in the EU - this bodes badly for building a knowledge economy.
Finglas, Dublin 

Opposing PFI

A chara,
I agree with Eoin Ó Broin (An Phoblacht, 13 September) in urging opposition to privatisation in all its forms.
Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) are wrong and more costly in the long run.  Private investors do not invest unless they see a profit from a resource that is the property of the people.
After years of struggle to create the potential for a free Ireland, why throw it away by selling off our own roads, hospitals, schools, airlines, natural resources, heritage site centres, etc?
Around the world the ugly face of PFIs are proving untrustworthy. Just look at the privatisation of schools and hospitals in New Orleans following the flooding to the ‘Pepsi-sponsored schools’ of other US states. Look at England’s transport system with increased fares, unprofitable routes cut, jobs lost, wages and conditions reduced, etc, in comparison to well-funded public transport systems in Zurich, Paris and Tokyo.
What belongs to the people must remain with the people.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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