THE PEOPLE’S LETTERS PAGEPadraig Conlon 23 Jun 2022
I read with interest your article about the successes for pupils of St. Peter’s N.S. Phibsborough, in their artistic endeavours.
By a coincidence I walked past this school during the previous week, for the first time in many decades.
Many memories were evoked as I looked through the entrance doorway.
I was tempted to try to gain access.
As I continued walking, I realized that I had commenced school there circa. 1939/40 and was a pupil there during WW2 years until I did my Primary Certificate examination, after which I enrolled in St.Vincent’s C.B.S. in Glasnevin where I continued to my Leaving Certificate.
If I remember, only a handful of my classmates proceeded into Secondary school.
Most got jobs or became apprentices as soon as they reached 14 years of age.
It then struck me that, now approaching my 87th.birthday, I must surely be among the oldest surviving former pupils of St.Peter’s!
The school at the time was a hotbed of soccer.
Classmates played with clubs such as Home Farm and Stella Maris.
Some went on to play professionally in the U.K.
I had the pleasure of sharing a classroom desk with the inimitable Liam Whelan who tragically lost his life with his Manchester United clubmates in the Munich air disaster.
How could St. Peters not be a soccer hotbed, with its’ playground backing onto the boundary of Dalymount Park.
From my own classroom windows, you could see games being played on match days.
As kids we would congregate at the St.Peter’s Road gates and be hoisted over the turnstiles by burly soccer fans.
Those of us who showed aptitude were encouraged to strive for the best education available to us.
Hence attending St.Vincents’ and subsequently the College of Commerce, Rathmines and then Trinity College, Dublin.
I had the benefit of a great teacher, James (Jimmy) Walsh.
I fondly remember taking part in a school production of “Maritana” in the School Hall, the same place where we got out daily bottle of milk and cheese or prawn sandwiches.
On 3rd June 2022 a petition signed by 88 Senior Counsel and 182 Junior Counsel was hand-delivered to the Department of Justice alerting the Minister to the unacceptable state of the criminal justice system in District Courts throughout the State.
A legal system designed to fail not only offends the Rule of Law but also the rule of common sense. A State that wants a functioning criminal justice system for the price of a haircut or a perm is deluding itself.
The following rates are currently paid to barristers for District Court defence work – €25.20 for a remand, €50.40 for a plea in mitigation and €67.50 for a full trial hearing. These fees are truly pitiful. No profession can accept these low rates for such critical work. No citizen of any European Member State accused of a criminal offence could be expected to have confidence in a service given for such low remuneration.
The Criminal Bar should be there for all entrants, not just those who can afford to be there for €25.20. Rich and poor alike can have ability and both deserve their chances.
In any profession, all must begin at the beginning. When the starting point becomes the finishing line for many, changes must be made. The State must provide a fair and level playing field for all new entrants to the Bar.
The past informs the present that ability is nothing without equal opportunity and fair play.
We live in a democracy. The right to a fair trial was hard fought for. We need to be careful.
Darren Lalor. BL
I see that eco-protesters outside the recent biodiversity conference in Dublin dubbed the event a “talking shop” and accused the government of not doing enough to protect our precious flora and fauna.
I hate to say this but as a campaigner against blood sports I wish that successive Irish governments had confined their handling of wildlife issues to a harmless if indefensible, “talking shop.”
Unfortunately governments are made up of politicians who in turn are motivated more by where their votes are coming from than by any concerns about the conservationist or welfare status of birds, bees or assorted furry critters.
The late Tommy Makem sung that “all God’s creatures have a place in the choir.” They might well have, but they don’t appear to have a place in the hearts of cynical-vote conscious TDs, or Senators intent on winning Dail seats.
I have attended coursing fixtures to keep tabs on what is happening to an ostensibly protected mammal, the Irish Hare, a sub-species of the Mountain Hare that is unique to Ireland. It has been in decline for the past half century, mainly due to habitat loss resulting from urbanization and the unintended effects of modern agriculture, and for the past three years has been under additional pressure from the arrival of the deadly RHD2 virus in the countryside.
This highly transmissible disease is fatal to hares and rabbits and can be spread by the use of nets to capture hares for coursing and their subsequent confinement in paddocks or compounds.
But these challenges to an iconic species which has been on this island since at least the last Ice Age of 10,000 years ago and may have been around for over 60,000 years before that; seemingly mean nothing to the string of governments that have presided for decades over this democracy.
At the coursing events I attended I have watched hares being hounded in all weathers: twisting, turning and dodging on muddy fields, in torrential rain, or wind storms, or with snow falling on the so-called sporting venues.
I have seen them being mauled, and flung skyward by the dogs as grown men laughed and marked their betting cards.
I have listened to the child-like sobbing of hares that were struck forcibly in the chase or had their bones crushed.
I have campaigned, with others, for years against this obscenity, but still it continues.
And I ask: Should anyone be surprised that a government that allows THIS treatment of a “protected species” is less than committed to saving what remains of our imperiled biodiversity?
Fine Gael, in an act of sheer political opportunism, are fluttering their political eyelashes at Ireland’s rural community.
The party has set up a ‘National Agricultural, Food and Rural Development Forum’ to provide a platform for discussion and policy formation on matters pertaining to rural affairs.
The appointment of pro-hunting ex-IFA president Eddie Downey as chairman sets the tone for the establishment of yet another echo chamber for farming and bloodsports interests.
Rural Ireland is devoid of local and national politicians who can articulate the views of those of us, not in the maw of the farming industry or pro-hunting lobby groups, who live in the countryside and who understand and engage with modern thinking.
The Irish countryside does not rely solely on farming and hunting interests aided by performing to the gallery politicians to function.
These ruddy-complexioned citizens of the soil with a low world horizon who believe they are owed a living and need outlets to bash wildlife for fun.
For any political party to believe that environmental vandals and animal abusers are their vehicle to power is delusional thinking.
Political subscribers to this dogma will receive its answer via the ballot box.
Association of Hunt Saboteurs