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Letters to the Editor: Micheál Martin’s attacks are misplaced

January 15th, 2022 3:10 PM

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EDITOR – I am surprised at Taoiseach Martin’s ill-advised attack on Sinn Fein with the allegation of having a ‘pro-Putin anti EU stance’ on Ukraine.

It is a poor reflection on him as our leader in encouraging confrontation with Russia and compromising our neutrality. Ukraine has 9m Russians and has close ties with that country. Ukraine is where the Russians smashed Hitler’s armies.

Now the US-Nato intends placing missiles etc in Ukraine aimed at Russia, as they did in Poland. Surely Mr Martin, a teacher qualified in political history, must remember what happened in 1955 when the US positioned missiles in Turkey aimed at the USSR and Russia reciprocated by placing missiles in Cuba? The world came close to nuclear war until, fortunately for us all, both sides sensibly removed their casus belli in 1962.

Mr Martin would be better advised to exhort his European colleagues of the need to unite in their influencing of both Mr Biden and Mr Putin in preventing Ukraine becoming another superpower pawn with the potential for a devastating war.

Unfortunately, the bellicose actions of US-Nato in causing death and destruction around the world allows little optimism for the possibility of the US administration backing down from its world military/political/economic plans.

The US arms trade is of course integral to its economy, as Mr Obama quipped at the signing of a $63bn contract with the Saudi crown prince that ‘war is good for business’.

Mr Martin says ‘this country has made a lot of progress’. Has he forgotten his part in a government which brought this country to its knees in 2008/09? The next government borrowed vast sums of money, at taxpayers’ expense, to bail out bondholders, empowering many of these to come back as vultures buying properties from the fiasco Nama, at some 70% discount with the promise of tax-free income on the earnings.

Mr Martin also obviously believes having foreign direct investment providing employment and returning a little company taxation – in some instances less than 1% – to the State is also ‘a lot of progress’.

Does he consider the closing of some 6,000 hospital beds in the public service and making tax breaks for investors to develop private hospital facilities, coupled with surrendering all housing development, again with tax incentives, to private investors, progress’?

The consequences of these ill-conceived decisions were disastrous for this country.

This failed two-party revolving government, tied as it is to past socio-economic failures, tries desperately to hold onto a disillusioned electorate.    

Don Teegan,

Monkstown Demesne,

Cork.

Escaping salmon pose threat to wild fish

EDITOR – Please allow me to reply to the recent letter in your paper by Dr Martin Jaffa, a spokesperson and apologist for the salmon farming industry for approximately 40 years.

Dr Jaffa mentions a new peer-reviewed study that he says demonstrated that the declines in wild salmon population numbers around Scotland’s west coast are not the result of impacts with salmon farming.

Dr Jaffa conveniently forgot to mention that he actually wrote the research paper himself. Dr Jaffa is quoted as saying that increasing numbers of grilse returning to Scotland’s rivers means that they cannot have succumbed to sea lice, as some claim.

Yes, Dr Jaffa, increasing numbers of grilse-sized salmon have been caught on Scotland’s west coast rivers in recent years, but with huge numbers of farmed salmon escaping from Scottish salmon farms annually, it is more than likely that the increased rod catches are as a result of these escapes.  I would also like to remind Dr Jaffa that it is not just ‘some anglers’ that say that sea lice and escapes from salmon farms have a detrimental effect on wild salmon populations, but the hundreds of peer-reviewed research papers on sea lice and escapes from salmon farms written by credible international marine scientists.

Is Dr Jaffa saying that these hundreds of credible and competent marine scientists are wrong and that he is the only one who is right?

While the status of wild salmon in Norway 2021 report was not peer-reviewed, the 13 competent scientists that compiled it had access to the most up-to-date peer-reviewed scientific papers on sea lice and farmed salmon escapes, such as the one written by Ingrid A Johnsen et al (August 2021) which concluded that ‘salmon lice-induced mortality has a negative effect on wild post-smolts, and is documented in areas of intensive salmon aquaculture’.

The research paper on escaped farmed salmon by Geir H Bolstad et al (December 2021) states that ‘at present, farmed escapees are evaluated as the greatest threat to wild salmon in Norway’.

Just because the Norwegian ‘science based’ report isn’t peer-reviewed doesn’t mean that it’s not true. I rest my case.

Billy Smyth,

Chairman,

Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages

Shantalla, 

Galway.

Unusual species not unusual

EDITOR – I read with interest the recent report regarding the unusual sighting of a dangerous Man o’ War washing up on Long Strand beach at Castlefreke.

In the report, Mr Slocum asserted that the sighting was unusual and they had come ashore due to climate change.

The weather and sea conditions in West Cork and the south coast of Ireland are affected by the warm flows of the gulf stream.

Over the last weeks we have seen a weather patten bringing warm weather up from the mid Atlantic, the warm conditions are not new to anyone living along the south west coast over the last centuries.

We often see unusual species washing up on our beaches throughout the year, and Portuguese Man o’ War often come ashore over the winter months.

We see varied weather patterns throughout the year and yes more extreme conditions are being influenced by climate change but warm, weather conditions and species washing up on our shores is nothing new to us, as during the winter months sea temperatures stay pretty warm.

People should always be careful when finding any unusual species when out walking on the beaches.

Rory Jackson,

Ocean Plastics Project CLG,

Skibbereen.

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