THE Australian mateship test for prospective immigrants just goes toshow how ludicrous this whole argument about integration really is.
Quite apart from the fact most people would consider the terms Australian andculture oxy-moronic, the reality is that Australians are a diverse bunch ofIrish rebels, English convicts and Italian, Serb and Croat economic migrants,none of whom has been in the country a wet day.
They have nothing in common except boorishness and the fact they all live in aFifties time warp.
They made no effort to integrate with aboriginal culture when they arrived but,instead, stole the land from its rightful owners and subjugated them.
Mind you, I am sure most Irish people would fail a test that included suchquestions as: Who was Irelands first prime minister?
MICHAEL McDONNELL, Navan, Co. Meath.
We must branch out
INSTEAD of opposing decentrali-sation at every turn, Siptu should be drawing upits own plans to move to the provinces.
There is no reason in this day and age, with modern telecommunications, whytrade unions should have their headquarters in Dublin, so adding to the dailycommuting misery of their staff and members.
There is no doubt that the plan to scatter 10,000 civil servants and Statesector workers across the country is ill-conceivedbut thats because it was hijacked by back-bench Fianna Fail TDs, who wanted tobe able to announce the acquisition of 50 or 100 for their constituency.
However, the central idea is still a good one, if it was handled correctly.
Instead of simply setting its face against the plan, Siptu should be trying tonegotiate a more workable version that would result in civil servants beingrelocated to a dozen gateway towns and cities instead of being scattered toevery bog and ditch.
Not only would that have a much more profound effect in terms of theGovernments spatial strategy, but it would remove all of the possibleobjections, such as lack of facilities.
DENIS HORGAN, Togher, Cork.
A familiar taste
EAMON GILMORES five-point menu to revitalise Labour is just five more coursesof the same unpalatable fareRabbitte soup, Rabbitte pie, Rabbitte stew, roast Rabbitte and Rabbittepudding.
There are the usual platitudes about affirming Labours core values, of coursefollowed by an immediate exhortation to ditch them and, instead, relate theparty to the realities of modern life. …