Letters: South-east’s hurling demise is big worry, but more must be done to preserve the sport

Wexford vs Westmeath last weekend. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Letters to the Editor

Colm Keys comments on Wexford’s shock loss to Westmeath and the rapid decline of Waterford’s senior hurling team in the last couple of years should set alarm bells ringing, not just in Croke Park but with all lovers of the small-ball game (‘Dark clouds over south-east heartlands are a major concern’, Irish Independent, Sport, May 22).

Hurling in Dublin and elsewhere around the country is in serious decline.

The last time Dublin won the Senior Hurling Championship was in 1938 when Joe Louis was world heavyweight champion, Adolf Hitler had just marched into Austria and Dr Douglas Hyde was elected unopposed as the first President of Ireland.

It was 1961 when Dublin last played in an All-Ireland hurling final, when they were beaten by Tipperary by a point.

With a population of over 1.2 million and some wonderful hurlers and hurling clubs around the county, Dublin should be able to mount a serious challenge. Perhaps the appointment of a national hurling development manager should be revisited.

Hurling is effectively dead in the nine counties of Ulster. Even a traditional hurling county such as Antrim cannot muster a serious challenge any more.

Connacht and Leinster fare little better. Only Galway and Kilkenny are serious contenders.

Munster still has about five counties capable of lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

This generation does not own the GAA. We are just the current custodians of an organisation whose sporting and cultural assets are worth guarding zealously.

For generations, the GAA in rural townlands, villages and cities in Ireland and abroad and exclusively on the premise of volunteer participation turned the GAA into one of the world’s most successful amateur organisations.

We have a collective duty to future generations to pass on our heritage as it was passed on to us.

Tom Cooper, Dublin 6

Credit unions have lost their community focus

Credit unions are financial cooperatives formed to allow members, under a common bond, to save and lend to each other at fair and reasonable rates of interest.

They are not-for-profit organisations, with a community focus and volunteer ethos.

Unlike banks, credit union loans are funded from the savings of members and the interest rates charged are not affected by movements in the European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate. Credit unions cover their costs with the margin between interest received on loans and interest paid on member savings.

According to a survey by chartered accountants RBK (‘Half of credit unions consider merging as their costs shoot up’, Irish Independent, May 23), the number of credit unions in Ireland continues to fall, merging because of increasing costs, including wage costs, depriving communities of the services they were formed to provide.

But it seems credit unions have lost their community focus and volunteer ethos and are following the path of the three main banks by increasing diverse product offerings, creating high costs and closing offices.

Is it not time that credit unions got back to their true core community purpose of saving and lending, and that the Central Bank changed the mortgage rules to allow credit unions to issue mortgages up to €500,000 and other loans up to €100,000?

More than ever, there is a need for credible alternatives to profit-seeking banks.

Hugh McDermott, Dromahair, Co Leitrim

Something has got to give if RTÉ is to stay afloat

There has been much comment of late about the difficulties RTÉ has been facing, with fundamental problems on a number of fronts.

Its difficulties in filling the vacant Late Late Show seat are evidence of the challenges.

Recently, the idea of using the Revenue Commissioners to collect the RTÉ licence fee has been raised.

I see this as farcical, and it illustrates once more that the real headache for the broadcaster is that its cost structures are out of control.

The payments to its stars may have been acceptable when those people were attracting huge audiences, but trends change, and there are a number of competing channels as the state broadcaster failed to react quickly enough. A harder focus on RTÉ’s income and the salaries it pays is now inevitable.

Advertisers have multiple competing outlets to choose from. Competing stations have captured RTÉ audiences. RTÉ’s programming is shedding viewers and radical redevelopment of the station is now necessary.

When RTÉ was founded (including radio, an orchestra and TV), the total budget was £2m – the equivalent of €44m today.

Hugh Duffy, Cleggan, Co Galway

Offaly have returned as hurling heroes again

Offaly hurling is back to its 1980s heyday. The county has won its first Leinster title in 23 years.

Let the good times keep rolling. “A Rover I have been, and a rover I will stay. But to that faithful county I will return some day.”

Offaly have returned. The wheel has turned and they are on the rise again. There is a huge attitude and change to Offaly hurling.

Fearless Offaly overcame Wexford in the Leinster U20s Hurling Championship final.

The Faithful County will now face Cork in the All-Ireland hurling final.

Business people are behind them, and there is a great vibe in the county. ​

Offaly won with 14 men against Wexford and overcame so many obstacles.

Skilful as they are, Offaly work like dogs, and nothing can beat that.

Best of luck to the U20 Offaly team who will be playing Cork on Sunday, June 4, in Thurles.

Claire Mulrooney, address with the editor

A spirited reminder on alcohol drinks to patrons

Further to Ian O’Doherty’s article on health labels on alcohol (‘Why can’t the nanny state just leave the Irish public alone to enjoy a pint in peace?’, Irish Independent, May 24), a suggested warning for alcohol products might be: “You were due home 20 minutes ago.”

Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont, Dublin 9

Rewetting plan is bogged down in anger and chaos

The proposed “Nature Restoration Act” (if passed in its current wording) will enforce farmers by law to rewet their peatlands in the coming years.

There appears to be a lot of anger and confusion relating to this act among the farming community in recent times, as the Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue is quoted as having said in recent days that any farm rewetting envisaged under the Act will be on a voluntary basis.

The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Pat McCormack, contradicted the minister when he said: “With all due respect, he has made an already confused situation become even more muddled and obscure.”

The act, as published and as explained, stated clearly there is nothing voluntary about the Nature Restoration Act. The State will be able to apply the law and tell farmers that certain portions of their land must be rewetted in accordance with this law.

If this act is passed into law in its current wording, farmers will not be able to reject the suggested course of action, as the law does not allow a voluntary option.

This goes against the grain of all progressive farmers who have drained and invested heavily in their peatlands to enhance their holdings over many years of hard graft.

And now it appears that all the years of blood, sweat and tears have been a wasted effort as they may be forced to reverse the gains made and just let the reclaimed peatlands return to growing heather and wild flowers again.

But this is not a done deal yet, as the powers that be appear to have got themselves “bogged down” in confusion as the waters become more and more muddied around the Nature Restoration Act.

One has to wonder where these farming policies originated – was it Dublin, Brussels, Paris or Berlin?

It appears there is a plan at European level to turn rural Ireland – from Donegal to Kerry and across the midlands – into nothing more than a forest park and a playground for the elite of Ireland and the aristocrats of the European Union.

Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo

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