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Provincial rugby must stand up for the Ulstermen if it wants to keep hold of top talent like Pienaar

As a fan of Ulster rugby for 60 years (40 of those latterly from British Columbia, Canada), I am writing to record my extreme disappointment regarding the impending departure next spring of the rugby icon, Ruan Pienaar.

The superb half-back partnership of Jackson-Pienaar is being prematurely dismantled due to the wishes of a few individuals, who, sometimes, have a different agenda from the success of Ulster. This is no way to treat the fans and, in particular, Ruan Pienaar.

As all Ulster rugby fans know, Pienaar's contribution in Ulster has been nothing short of monumental - both on and off the field. He doesn't want to leave, nor do the fans want him to go. He is leaving, essentially, because of wishes of David Nucifora (IRFU performance director), who, in my opinion, has seriously misread the situation.

I fully understand that Nucifora's job is to promote and develop indigenous talent - and there have been many articles written about this recently, many saying that keeping Pienaar for a few more years, weighing all sides of the equation, would be beneficial to Ulster rugby and the development of new players, not detrimental.

On the human side, why disrupt Pienaar's life - and that of his family - when his career is in the twilight stages? I hope that he can be lured back to Ulster in some capacity or other in a few years' time. He is a quality gentleman and really doesn't deserve such treatment. I would love to be at the Kingspan when Ruan pulls on the Ulster shirt for the last time. "Stand up for the Ulsterman" is going to sound a little hollow.

Now, what can be done to prevent a situation like this from happening again?

First of all, provincial rugby must have a greater say. For the first decade of the Heineken Cup, the Irish provinces were dominant. Not so anymore.

Of course, money is important. But, also, the right decisions must be made - and I am talking about avoiding bad decisions, like having Pienaar leave Ulster. The IRFU should also ensure there is an appropriate appeal process to deal with difficult decisions. The provinces should be able to turn to an independent council for both sides to plead their case. If such a vehicle was in place, everyone would accept the conclusions.


Victoria, BC, Canada

A false representation of Christ's sacrifice

Michael O Cathail is correct (Write Back, October 14) in saying that the Roman Catholic Church needs forgiven.

Conscientious Protestants should never attend the sacrilegious, idolatrous ceremony called the Mass because it denies the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Christ more than 2,000 years ago, clearly spelled out as a once-and-for-all sacrifice in Hebrews 10 (verses 10, 12 and 14).

That one atoning event is sufficient to save and take to heaven all God's elect people and never needs repeated, much less believing the elements are turned into His body and blood seeing He was bodily present when He instituted the Lord's Supper and is bodily in Heaven right now, from whence He will come again.

The Mass belittles Christ, makes an idol of the wafer and wine and plainly contradicts the word of God. Avoid it like the plague. Repent and be converted, if you still foolishly attend and think your "good works" relating to the Roman Catholic Church will merit for you. They won't.

Grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, scripture alone.


Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

Ballymena, Co Antrim

BBC's Crawley just too left-wing for majority

I find William Crawley on BBC NI's Talkback very Left-wing in his thinking about religion, politics and other issues.

He is, of course, very much in tune with the Left-wing BBC. However, he is most certainly not in tune with many in Northern Ireland. Indeed, I would say out of tune with the majority from both the unionist and nationalist communities.

The Left-wing BBC, as portrayed by presenters like Mr Crawley, has annoyed so many people that there is a petition on the UK Parliament website asking for the abolition of the BBC Charter. So far, more than 5,000 people have signed it - including myself.

I have every sympathy with "Hannah", the caller to Talkback. Many in the Presbyterian Church do not appreciate his views, either.


By email

ADHD is nothing but opinion posing as fact

The efforts to popularise and diagnose so-called "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD) know no boundaries. For those who are aware of the unscientific foundation of this psychiatric label, those efforts are tantamount to a brazen enterprise by psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies designed to generate profits at the expense of young minds.

For anyone considering the legitimacy of ADHD for the first time, the diagnostic criteria are the giveaway. October is 'ADHD Awareness Month', a time when vested interests do whatever they can to convince people they have the pseudoscientific label and to promote their pharmaceutical products.

Whether in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, the psychiatric spin doctors have attempted to redefine behaviour to convince the population that such behaviour is a symptom of a mental illness. The following demonstrates the perverse skill of those spin doctors.

An ADHD child could be described as follows, "often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in, tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork, or homework".

This is descriptive of a normal child, in a normal school, or a normal home, on a normal day, but psychiatrists would have us think otherwise.

At the end of the day, we have to recognise the whole charade as a commercial enterprise, generating dividends for drug company shareholders.

In 2015, in England alone, ADHD drugs were sold at a cost to the NHS of just under £57m. Good business, but bad medicine.


Citizens Commission on Human Rights

Ferry funding must be open to more scrutiny

Stephen Agnew (Write Back, October 4) is quite correct to point the finger at Arlene Foster to answer why the Renewable Heat Scheme she set up went out of control, resulting in a massive £30m deficit to the Stormont block grant.

Recently, I made an FOI request to Transport NI for the accounts for the Strangford Ferry. Oddly, they replied saying there were no accounts available.

I gather, from other data, that it costs around £1.5m to run the ferry service.

My son, a senior engineer, tells me a pre-fabricated suspension bridge would cost about the same - and his firm could obtain an EU subsidy to build it.


By email

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