Letters to the Editor: Sinn Féin impressive in ard fheis

Letters to the Editor: Sinn Féin impressive in ard fheis

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDoanald giving her leaders speech at the Sinn Féin ard fheis last weekend. Picture: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

I attended the Sinn Féin ard fheis in Athlone over the weekend as an invited guest. It was my very first time at this party’s gathering and not since the mid 1980s had I attended such an event, when I occasionally went to the Fianna Fáil ard fheis, back in its heyday, with formidable leaders such as Charlie Haughey at the podium.

As a retired middle class lawyer from south Dublin, I approached the location with some apprehension. Would I know anybody, would I have anything remotely in common with other attendees? To my great surprise I found myself sitting beside a UCD medical consultant, an IT entrepreneur, and a teacher in a Protestant school, all from the same south Dublin area. So much for the hitherto perceived and often reported media spin that all Sinn Féin supporters are rabid Provo sympathisers from working class areas of Dublin and Belfast, wearing jeans and hoodies, and festooned with tattoos.

Then to sit with maybe 3,000 supporters and hear some of the best speakers I have heard since the great Dáil orators of yore was really impressive. Mary Lou McDonald is the equal of James Dillon; Pearse Doherty, Matt Carty, and John Finucane surpass the best of de Valera, Conor Cruise O’Brien, or Michael D Higgins in the sophistication of their content, the competence of their articulation, and the sheer passion of their delivery.

I cannot think of one such speaker to equal them in the current Coalition, which seems entirely composed of repeaters of tired clichés and safe and banal iterations of the same outdated tropes.

The sheer scale and sophistication of this party’s evident organisational ability on full view in the Athlone venue, and as personified in Eoin Ó Broin, has convinced me that they — and no other party in Ireland — can solve the housing crisis while improving our economic position in a fair way for all citizens, can unite Ireland, retain our country’s neutrality, extend our small but hugely influential diplomatic influence, and keep us from becoming a mere cat’s paw in the ambitions of Ursula von der Leyen’s stated ambition of creating a European military to further embroil the world in endless wars. All is indeed changed utterly and after 100 years, another terrible beauty is born.

Maurice O’Callaghan, Stillorgan, Co Dublin

Party’s lack of moral authority

A main theme of Sinn Féin’s ard fheis was its response to the military actions of Israel which has resulted in thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians being killed. In their debates and subsequent interviews on this issue, leading Sinn Féin figures have cynically and hypocritically exploited their suffering and loss to score political points at the expense of the Government parties.

I totally support the unambivalent public stances of both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste in condemning the huge loss of innocent life that has occurred. They are not only reflecting what I believe to be the views of Irish citizens but they also have the moral authority to do so given both their consistent stances on issues such as this.

In marked contrast, Sinn Féin have no such moral authority. They supported the three-decade long campaign of the IRA and they continue to glorify and justify the IRA campaign of terror which was responsible for the murder of the majority of victims of the Troubles, including many innocent civilians.

John Cushnahan, Former Leader of Alliance Party and former Fine Gael MEP, Limerick

An ode to Oriel

The end of the League Of Ireland season marks 35 years of my son Rory accompanying me to Oriel park, in support of Dundalk FC. 

I have personally clocked up some 60 years going to Oriel, and am pleased to have “converted” Rory. We have had some wonderful, and indeed not so wonderful, days and nights at the games, but as Rory says, it’s when a team is going through a roughish patch, that’s the time it needs a “shout”. Here’s please God, for better or worse next season, and — as Bruce Springsteen sang — some ‘Glory Days’. C’mon the Town.

Tom Gilsenan, Dublin 9

Monkstown’s merit

For the citizens of Cork who are in the latter half of their life, Monkstown is indeed a jewel, a place with scenic but flat walks, nice for people like myself who like to exercise without the strain of hills.

Monkstown, with its good share of charming architecture, has ships sailing to and fro, interesting activity going on at Verolme dockyard, sailing craft, a view of Ringaskiddy docks which is deprived to people of that village all hidden with shuttering and access curtailed. Seems like a short few years when all that land was for public use.

As people are living longer, some of us cannot walk as far as our nearest bus stop, so the car is our wheelchair. It was nice to go down to the Marina, or Blackrock, but so much parking has been stolen from us, plenty of room for the walkers, but where are all the walkers? Below Blackrock Castle is a nice car park and walk but in a pretty bland setting.

So is beautiful Monkstown worth fighting for? All they have to do is nothing and it’s perfect.

Noel Browne, Pouladuff, Cork

Roadway rubbish

Once again, after roadside hedge cutting takes place, rubbish of all sorts, but mainly plastic-based is left for the naked eye to see. Why is this rubbish spectacle not being taken with the seriousness that it deserves by county councils?

Not only is it a blight on the countryside, but it exposes the complete lack of care and damage to the environment caused by mindless people when they throw rubbish out of car windows while driving along our roadways. Add to that the dumping of black bags of household rubbish taken from boots of cars and thrown into the nearest ditch by ignorant offenders. How do you get the message across to people that what they are doing will pose a momentous health risk to humans and animals in the years to come; never mind the adverse effect on tourism.

In the meantime, it is up to councils to create a taskforce of vehicles and people to routinely travel the roads lifting all the rubbish strewn on the sides of our roadways.

It’s unseen while driving, but walking or cycling will open your eyes to the extent of litter that blocks drains and lines roadways. It is always concerned citizens on their own or as members of voluntary groups that are left to make an effort to try and clean up other people’s disregard for our streets and countryside, but it is an unsurmountable mountain to climb without help from the rightful authorities.

James Woods, Gort an Choirce, Dún na nGal

Remembering Lynn

Regarding Clodagh Finn’s column — ‘Lynn diaries reveal private life of a very public woman’ (Irish Examiner, November 11) — I was a client of Dr Lynn in Belgrave Rd, during the 1940s.

We lived in Dundrum and I recall she came to see either me or my sister, travelling in a taxi, with her bicycle on the roof of the taxi for the return trip to Belgrave Rd.

I clearly remember she wore pince nez glasses, which were very unusual, as you might imagine. The othe thing I remember was whenever we visited her rooms, she would check our height, by a tick in the wall. How she knew who was who is a mystery, the wall was covered in pencil marks, but she picked out the one she needed.

My mother was a lifetime republican, which was presumably why she chose Dr Lynn.

Barry Mahon, Sherkin Island

Lifesaving skills

There’s a lot of talk and discussion, on what should and what should not be taught in schools and colleges, and at home.

One vital skill that should be taught in primary, secondary, and third level — and practised regularly at home — is lifesaving: CPR and dealing with choking.

Then parents at home could, and should, routinely carry out the practice of performing these skills.

Margaret Walshe, Clonsilla Rd, Dublin 15

Time for exercise

Outdoor exercise is one of the great joys in life for people of all ages. It also helps prevent Ill health. Putting the clock back prevents outdoor exercise for most of us for four to five months each year.

This is an issue that affects us all — our quality of life and our health.

It is too important an issue to be decided by politicians alone . It may be an inconvenience to have two time zones on the island, however many countries in Europe straddle time zones with no ill effect.

This matter should be decided by the people. I don’t know anybody who wishes to continue to put the clocks back.

Orlaith O’Connor, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny

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