10 January 2008 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

Bertie Ahern’s record

A chara,
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is concerned that his confidential personal information is being leaked to the media by the Mahon Tribunal and/or by the Revenue Commissioners.
It’s a pity An Taoiseach wasn’t so concerned when his former Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, and gardaí were leaking files on republicans like confetti to his new best friends in the Irish Independent.
Dublin 4

Government has failed to build knowledge economy

A chara,
 Given the downturn in the construction and financial sector and the 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.
It is really alarming, therefore, to learn from the INTO that not a cent of the €252 million set aside in the National Development Plan for computer technology has been spent.
In the latest relevant OECD report, Ireland is propping up the table of investment in education. In fact, government investment in this crucial infrastructure has fallen from 5.2 per cent of GDP in 1995 to a very low 4.6pc last year. The OECD average is 6.2pc while the Scandinavian countries spend over 7pc. It is no accident that they have the most advanced economies and the highest quality of life in the world, while we are stuck with the largest class sizes and the poorest IT provision.
Three years ago, the Enterprise Strategy Group and the HEA 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 government failed to harness the wealth needed to do this but, took the populist route of promising more tax cuts, particularly for the very wealthy, including the property speculators who have contributed to the disruptive boom & 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 our need to build a Knowledge Economy.


GAA grants controversy

A chara,
There is much hypocrisy involved in the current controversy over grant aid for GAA county players.  People are incorrect in comparing the training and preparation of club players to that of county players.
Elsewhere other amateur sportspeople, such as swimmers and runners, receive grant aid to assist with the expenditure associated with  training and preparations for the olympics etc. The grant aid being offered by the government to inter county footballers is welcome and can in no way be regarded as pay for play.
Given that the rules state that in no way should any payment be made, if one was to follow this line to it’s logical conclusion,
there wouldn’t be any holidays for any teams and most managers would be expelled by Central Council.
The rule needs to be changed or amended. Let’s stop being hypocritical. The GAA already has people in paid roles. How many unpaid coaches of first teams are there in many clubs? I would be confident that such people are in the minority in club football in Tir Eoghain.
Let’s stop pretending and let’s face into this issue with some honesty so that players don’t face criticism or attacks should the payments go through when they lose an important contest on the playing field itself.
Loughrey Terrace,
Droim Caoin,
Tír Eoghain.

Black and amber of Crossmaglen

A chara,
Matt Treacy is indeed correct (An Phoblacht, 22 November 2007) about the date of Crossmaglen’s black and amber jersies. They have been worn by Cross since the club (under the present name) was founded in the Autumn of 1909.
The reason that they chose the black and amber was to copy Dundalk Rangers who were then Louth Champions and had been wearing the balck and amber before this.
Armagh county teams wore the balck and amber until about 1930 when they were given a set of orange jersies by the nuns in Omeath. Cross Rangers came into being after the previous Parish Clubs, Red Hands and Creggan had dissolved over the Parnell issue, even 18 years after the events.
County Armagh.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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