Sinn Féin has never been more irrelevant as a political party as it has shown itself to be over the last few years. In Westminster’s indicative voting on Monday night, Kenneth Clarke’s proposal for a customs union with the EU, meaning a soft Border, was defeated by just three votes. Sinn Féin’s seven votes, if it had chosen to support such a motion, would have ensured this motion was carried.
I believe the people of this country are fed up with Sinn Féin’s antics. Its leader, Mary Lou McDonald, has apologised for walking behind a banner in the New York St Patrick’s Day parade which read “England get out of Ireland”. In the latest ‘Sunday Business Post’ opinion poll, Sinn Féin’s support has dropped five points to 13pc. I hope the voters in this country deliver a message to Sinn Féin in the upcoming local elections, just as they did in the presidential election.
Salthill, Co Galway
You really can’t please all of the people, all of the time
Now that we are recovering from the trauma of getting up an hour earlier – so traumatic that nobody mentions it after two days – we are being told the biannual clock change is to end in 2021. Whether we will have the extra hour of brightness in the morning or evening has yet to be decided, but either way a lot of people are going to be very unhappy with the decision. So why not strike yet another EU compromise and split the difference, and for the last time put the clocks back half an hour in October 2020? There will be more people upset, but much less so.
Bray, Co Wicklow
We must blow the whistle on those who abuse referees
I just read your article on the young referee who was abused over the weekend (“‘All hell broke loose’ – schoolboy soccer ref tells of ‘toxic’ abuse”, Irish Independent, April 2). I was born in Ireland and have refereed football for many years here in the United States, I’m also a referee instructor and had the pleasure of working a couple of matches as an assistant referee with Howard Webb this past summer here in New York.
Far too many referees are either operating in fear and giving up the game, or ending up in hospital. The case in Ireland, where referee Daniel Sweeney was savagely beaten by three thugs, shows just how bad it can get.
The €500 fine for the club involved, Mullingar Town, is an absolute joke. This type of behaviour seems to be part of a growing trend, also reflected in abuse from coaches and parents. Those who can’t play in a fair manner and allow the referees to do their job without verbally or physically attacking them should not have a place in the game.
Here in New York, if anybody puts a hand on a referee or threatens them they are advised to terminate the match and call the police. The FAI should follow suit.
College Point, New York
Councils have to be held to account over housing crisis
Evelyn Harte (Letters, Irish Independent, April 2) is among the increasing number of Irish people who cannot fathom the housing crisis. Without doubt, Eoghan Murphy is a decent man, with good intentions. Alas, what has happened is politicians have been encouraged by the property developers “to leave the housing decisions” to them. Sadly with the bank collapse, the situation was aided and abetted by the pair of fools posing as geniuses: Kenny and Noonan. As Oliver Hardy said to Stan Laurel: “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”
There is only one way out of this disgraceful homelessness mess, and that is a Cabinet capable of making tough and hard decisions by directing councils to start building housing now. Since 2011, there have been innumerable lame excuses from council executives as to why they cannot build new homes, or take over ‘ghost estates’, and no one is called to account by the Government. Fine Gael has become the new ‘Church’ where the leader is infallible. Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin will be no different.
Nothing odd about bowling along on a road of nostalgia
The colourful phrase ‘a bowl of odds’ has nothing to do with either being odd or bowls of flowers: rather it is, as columnist John Daly explains in the Irish Independent of April Fool’s Day, an arcane term of measuring a score of road bowling, practised from time immemorial on the winding roads of west Cork: the roads of grace. “Oh, to be back there,” as the song ‘Carrickfergus’ might echo, far from the madding hordes of industrial conurbations like Dublin, to quiet provincial towns like Cork or Waterford and other far-flung places, to paraphrase Patrick Kavanagh.
Stillorgan, Co Dublin