Ireland was united before the BritishYou recently (Sept...


September 08, 1997

Ireland was united before the British

You recently (Sept. 1) printed a letter from Richard C. Patterson in which he states that ''Ireland was only united under the British.'' I hope that Mr. Patterson will take the time to read a legitimate history of England's occupation of Ireland before he next comments publicly on the subject.

For hundreds of years before England's 12th-century invasion of Ireland, the Irish were ruled by a single High King, who in turn ruled over four major subordinate kingdoms. High Kings, and the kings of the subordinate kingdoms, did not inherit their positions but were elected.

In 1014, one of the more recent (and probably the most famous) of these High Kings was Brian Boru. In that year, he led a united Irish army that decisively defeated a Viking force at Clontarf, thereby ridding the Irish of their first foreign invader 150 years before the pope ''gave the island to the British,'' according to Mr. Patterson.

He neglects to point out that the pope in question (who had taken the name Adrian IV) was himself an Englishman named Nicholas Breakspear.

In the 800 years since the invasion of Ireland in 1169 by a Norman army representing the English throne, Ireland has faced every possible military and political atrocity.

Mr. Patterson would have us believe that these atrocities occurred during a period of ''unity'' under British rule. Yet the Irish never surrendered their cultural and national identities, both of which existed long before the warring tribes of Angles and Saxons finally managed a semblance of unity on their own island in 1016.

Contrary to Mr. Patterson's assertion, putting back the ''re'' in ''a reunited Ireland'' is indeed a legitimate semantic -- and political -- aim of Sinn Fein today, just as it has been for over 800 years.

Patrick M. Mc Nelis

Ellicott City

Media control in Bosnia, elsewhere

The Sun (Aug. 30) reported that in Bosnia, state-controlled radio and television that whip up violent, stone-throwing mobs will be met by NATO force, including blowing up of transmitters, removing broadcasting equipment, etc.

While NATO is at it, perhaps it could swing around to the Middle East, where Palestinian media, controlled by peace negotiator Yasser Arafat, ceaselessly foment violence with vicious anti-Israel propaganda, in scornful disregard of the Oslo accord.

Rea Knisbacher


Hiring children to manage funds?

The Aug. 25 Sun carried an AP article headlined, ''Retarded man blows $40,945 benefit check,'' a sad tale to be sure, particularly the part regarding ''payees.''

I quote, ''One in 10 people getting Social Security have payees, mostly minor children.''

Now either Social Security is flagrantly disregarding child labor laws or someone on your staff is dangling modifiers.

It is far harder to reform a government system than to reform a modifier dangler, in operation for several decades.

Robin J. Breitenecker


Kane didn't tell typical teacher's story

Close to 7,000 individuals taught 108,000 students on the first day of school in Baltimore City. Some of these teachers have been in this school system for close to 30 years; others are just starting their careers.

With thousands of inspiring people to choose from, I wonder why Gregory Kane chose to tell the story of Sally Brown, a disgruntled first-year teacher who opted out of teaching our city's children.

As the executive director of Teach for America, a non-profit group which brings a crop of new teachers to Baltimore City each year, I know how challenging the first year of teaching can be.

Most first-year teachers will tell you, though, that the same students who misbehave in their classrooms do what they're supposed to in more experienced teachers' rooms. I would be willing to bet the same was true for Ms. Brown's students.

Unlike Ms. Brown, most first-year teachers recognize that their own inexperience is more of the problem than their students' behavior. Unlike Ms. Brown, most first-year teachers ask themselves what they need to do differently to ensure their students' success.

Fortunately for this city's children, most first-year teachers do not perpetuate the already low expectations people hold for our students.

Roger B. Schulman


Olympics funds could keep libraries open

How interesting it is to see that the city has $200,000 to spend on trying to get the Olympics to come here -- which, if successful, will cost millions -- but does not have the money to keep two Enoch Pratt Free Library branches open.

Think how long these two branches could remain open with an additional $200,000 in their budget.

Wayne Spangler


Residents need St. Paul library

The Sun's coverage of the Pratt's efforts to close two neighborhood libraries has omitted a few important facts.

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