For the very first time in my life I will not be watching or reading anything about the World Cup.
For football fans the World Cup has always been the pinnacle of the sport with the very best players of their generation going toe to toe for a glorious month every four years.
This years incarnation however does not elicit the same feelings in me.
I cannot, with any conscience, engage in any way with a World Cup as blood soaked as this event being held in Qatar.
I’m sure most football fans are now aware that since 2010, when Qatar was awarded the World Cup, it is estimated that more than 6,500 migrant workers lost their lives during the construction of the stadiums.
These workers came from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to be used as slaves so Qatar could host the World Cup.
The stats reveal that an average of 12 migrant workers from these five countries died every week since that night in December 2010 when Qatar were awarded this year’s tournament.
Qatar’s failure to protect its migrant workforce, or even investigate the causes of the apparently high rate of death among the largely young workers, is a human rights catastrophe.
In 2014 a report from the Qatar government’s own lawyers recommended that it commission a study into the deaths of migrant workers from cardiac arrest, and amend the law to “allow for autopsies, in all cases of unexpected or sudden death”.
The Qatar government has done neither.
Then in 2016, Amnesty International accused Qatari companies of using forced labour.
It said many workers lived in squalid accommodation, were forced to pay huge recruitment fees and had wages withheld and their passports confiscated.
Qatari companies used to operate a system called “kafala”, under which they sponsored foreign workers to come to the country but then prevented them from leaving their jobs.
Under pressure from human rights groups, Qatar’s government abolished the practice, but Amnesty International says companies still put pressure on labourers to stop them switching employers.
Food for thought for anyone choosing to watch this blood soaked World Cup.
I welcome TD Neasa Hourigan’s Bill to end the procedure whereby the greyhound industry receives state funding annually by default, irrespective of its viability or the quality of the business model it presents.
If passed, the Bill will make the industry more accountable. I can’t understand the knee-jerk reaction of some rural TDs to the proposal, given that it will merely oblige greyhound racing in Ireland to justify the financial aid allocated to it: A perfectly reasonable requirement.
If anything, the Bill doesn’t go far enough. I believe that it is the industry’s abysmal record on animal welfare that ought to occupy centre stage of any debate on its future: a litany of scandals involving dog- doping, disposal of unwanted or under-performing greyhounds, the unexplained “disappearance” of thousands of greyhounds every year, exporting of dogs to jurisdictions with little or no animal protection.
As if these clouds hanging over the beleaguered, loss-making industry weren’t bad enough, there’s hare coursing too, which necessitates the capture of supposedly “protected” hares from the wild for use as live bait. Ireland is of the few nations on earth to permit this obscenity.
Deputy Hourigan’s Bill won’t address any of these pressing issues that go to the heart of what is wrong with the greyhound industry, but it will at least make it more transparent, so that TDs and Senators can assess its financial viability and funding-worthiness… regardless of how they feel about subjecting dogs to a veritable hell-on-earth.
The Chamber of Horrors will be open to the public!
The black heart of hunting with hounds is about to be impaled on the insurance stake.
Hunting packs owners are finding it difficult to obtain insurance for their animal killing activity.
This creates a vista of hunt followers, both mounted and on foot, on your land without the legal financial safety net should an accident occur.
Bloodsports in their myriad of cruel guises would be impossible to engage in if insurance was not part of the hunt’s killing apparatus.
This PIP, pervert insurance policy, gives protection to Ireland’s animal abusers. Hunters know that if anything should befall them in the course of dishing out cruelty and death to wildlife their insurance will take care of the mess.
In pursuit of profit is any insurance company willing to market its products to the sweepings and refuse of society that gel as Ireland’s bloodsports community.
In their desire for premiums this insurance company would abdicate all sense of social responsibility and adherence to a moral compass to provide insurance for the continuation of animal abuse.
In response, those who care about animals and their welfare would have to take the economic route and place their insurance business elsewhere.
It is business lesson that companies that go touting for business in the animal abusers community should heed.
In the pursuit of profit be mindful to avoid those that cast a shadow on decent society.
Association of Hunt Saboteurs
PO Box 4734
How interesting to see that the only twice-impeached, disgraced former President Donald Trump, the man who led a terrorist attack to try to overthrow the government, has announced he is running for president from the crime scene where he allegedly stole and hid the USA’s top secret documents.
Let’s hope his decision to run for President in 2024 won’t protect him from the criminal investigations he is set to face as a citizen and that he is both legally and politically exposed for what he really is.
Whatever that is.