Letters: Nato has protected us for years, so it’s time we joined
I would like to commend John Downing for his recent article on the reality of Irish neutrality (Irish Independent, April 18).
We must be honest and decide that whatever decision is made, we have a basic capacity to defend ourselves from military and cyber attacks.
The viewpoint that neutrality has always worked for us can no longer be espoused by those who have their heads buried in the sand.
Comparing us with other neutral countries such as Sweden and Finland (before they applied to join Nato) is disingenuous as they have the military capability to defend their neutrality.
The reality in Ireland is that our location, along with the support and protection of the US and the UK/EU, has always protected us, not our neutrality.
The US, Netherlands, Belgium and Poland were all neutral countries before World War II, but that did not stop them being attacked by totalitarian regimes. Ukraine is also a neutral country, and we know how Russia respected that.
A lot of our left-wing politicians who are opposed to Ireland being a member of any military alliance like to portray Nato as some kind of bogeyman that forces countries to join, when the reality is that Nato is a defensive organisation where countries apply to join in a common defence alliance.
Iceland does not have a military, yet enjoys the complete protection of being a Nato member. Not one Icelandic citizen has died as a result of Iceland joining Nato in 1949.
We are dependent on Nato to bail us out and protect us should we ever find ourselves under attack, so it stands to reason that the next logical step in our future military strategy is to join those that have effectively been protecting us since 1949.
Eoin Ó Dubh, Delgany, Co Wicklow
Radical action needed to halt the demise of Gaelic football
The once great game of Gaelic football is in its death throes. It has been a long time coming with the obsession of holding possession, lateral passing and hundreds of hand passes.
Even more worrying is the demise of great counties like Meath and Laois. No amount of tinkering with formats and seeding teams is going to work.
All counties harbour the dream of winning the Sam Maguire, so it’s clear that radical measures are needed. No competition can rule out at least 25 counties before that competition begins.
I propose a transfer system be introduced. Imagine five players were allowed to transfer to each county. If David Clifford, Con O’Callaghan, Sean Kelly, Matthew Ruane and Conn Kilpatrick were ‘bought’ by Leitrim for €100,000 per season, the current uneven playing field would soon be levelled up.
I can hear the purists screaming: “But then the game is no longer amateur!” It’s time to stop the pretence. Everyone knows Dublin footballers and Limerick hurlers are bankrolled to the hilt, but it’s disguised and called training expenses.
I would also allow the transfer of players in hurling, perhaps two or three. Limerick’s Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane would probably take Waterford over the line for their first All-Ireland since 1959.
Joseph Kiely, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Shocked into going out and finally mowing the grass
On Tuesday morning I was (lazily) looking at the grass out the back and trying to come up with an excuse not to mow it for another day or two.
Then I switched to Oliver Callan on RTÉ Radio 1, and he was discussing the possible timing regarding the end of the world, with one theory suggesting it might happen on a Tuesday. Within the hour, I cut the grass.
Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont, Dublin 9
How many SMEs and shops will survive energy prices?
Martin Heneghan is so right on electricity prices (Letters, April 25). It is actually Eamon Ryan, though, who has responsibility for energy, and he seems to have given cover recently to the wholesale sector by saying retail prices are unlikely to change much in the short term.
If this happened in the private sector, where a company’s purchasing managers hedged the prices of their raw materials for 12 to 18 months at the peak of the market, only for prices to collapse midway through the contract, they would be sacked.
There is no real competition in this country with regard to the wholesale purchase of electricity generation, and the Commission for Energy Regulation is toothless.
As we enter the busy summer season for shops and small businesses, it will be interesting to see how many survive in the face of prohibitively expensive energy.
Tom McElligott, Listowel, Co Kerry