Tuesday 25 October 2016

Cruise ships will do irreparable damage to a beautiful town

Published 28/08/2015 | 02:30

Dún Laoghaire Pier - ‘cruise ships can quickly erode a small town’s local colour and culture’
Dún Laoghaire Pier - ‘cruise ships can quickly erode a small town’s local colour and culture’

As an Irish American who has visited Dún Laoghaire, I feel compelled to write to you about the proposal to bring cruise ships into the harbour.

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I hope the town’s citizens and officials stop this from happening. I am pro-business but I think bringing in these ships will do irreparable damage to this beautiful town.

It has been several years since my visit but I can vividly recall the small, wonderful shops at the harbour, full of fresh fish, meats, vegetables and flowers, but I especially remember the people.

I recall looking a bit lost while walking on a quiet street and being pleasantly surprised by a young woman who sensed my confusion and stopped to help me – I’m not sure that has ever happened to me here in the USA.

Perhaps I am biased; I am fervent about my ancestry and Dún Laoghaire Harbour struck me as a piece of heaven on earth. 

Like many of you, I have been on several large cruise ship vacations. And while they are wonderful for conveying rested people to new places, their size and lowest-common-denominator approach can pave over a small town’s local colour and culture as fast as the USA can pave a new interstate highway. 

The more discerning tourists will find their way to Dún Laoghaire’s beautiful town and harbour, and they won’t be looking for cheap jewellery; they will want to see it as I did, just the way it is – an Irish town where the first stone of the harbour was laid in 1815, 200 years ago.

Please keep Dún Laoghaire Harbour the beautiful place it is, a place that you, your children and their future generations will remember.

Timothy John Fitzpatrick Gabriel

Durham, North Carolina, USA


Eircode a white elephant?

Six weeks after the launch of the Eircode project, which represents a taxpayer investment of €27m, only 13 of the nation’s 31 local authorities have included an Eircode on their website’s ‘Contact Us’ information. Two county councils who provide an Eircode, Wexford and Offaly, also provide GPS details of the location of their various offices’. At least one major state body has also ignored Eircode, notwithstanding  a declared mandate and so-called action plans to revive the vitality and prosperity of rural Ireland.

Surprisingly, given the recent launch of a White Paper on the strategic development of the Defence Forces, neither the military, the Department of Defence or even the Commander-and-Chief of the Defence Forces have included an Eircode on their websites. If the public is to be inspired by the ambition of the White Paper that the military intend to “play a meaningful role on the world stage” and given its presumed expertise in logistics, surely the first step to earning public satisfaction is for the generals to demonstrate their capacity to take care of very basic housekeeping details – like providing a proper mailing address. A missing Eircode implies low and sloppy standards.

It is also odd that several government departments, including the supposedly pro-active Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, are so slow in adopting Eircode.

If there is no evident leadership by public bodies in embracing such an expensive new taxpayer-funded consumer technology, could this be interpreted as a symptom of a much deeper malaise – a flawed customer culture caused by unfocused, ineffective leadership and systemic indifference, or just the beginning of yet another costly ‘white elephant’, like public sector decentralisation or electronic voting?

Myles Duffy

Glenageary, Co Dublin


De Valera and WWII neutrality

Most of the countries that Hitler invaded were neutral – it was the UK and US forces that saved us in World War II. Eamon de Valera was neutral against the greatest evil that ever existed.

Malta was in a more precarious position than Ireland and subject to more bombing than London and yet it survived.

Northern Ireland prospered during World War II, despite the bombing.

Ireland could have played a very positive in defending human rights. What’s more, we would have benefited from employment, a technology transfer and keeping pace in the hi-tech race. 

We were isolated and faced economic depression in the 1950s, with subsequent mass emigration.  We did not get Marshall Plan aid; the German economy did, and surpassed us in terms of GDP in 1955. 

We share residual responsibility for the holocaust by Edmund Burke’s dictum “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

James Mathers



None of your correspondents has mentioned the obvious reason for our wartime non-belligerence (1939-45).

Ireland had no enemies. “A small nation stood alone”: Eamon de Valera.

Séan Bearnabhail

Dublin 9


We must curb overproduction

Throughout history, supply always chased demand creating a necessity to always produce more, to “grow” economies further.

In the 21st century conditions are reversed; supply always exceeds demand, eliminating the need for growth and creating chaos in production and markets.

China is a prime example: with modern technology China can produce more of the consumer goods it specialises in than the world can consume. In such a situation, growth as we know it is impossible.

We need planned restraint on production of goods and services, which is contrary to all historic economic thinking but the only way to deal with the unprecedented ability to overproduce which technology has bestowed on us.

Something similar to the milk quota which was foolishly abandoned earlier in the year and is already creating chaotic oversupply and collapse of prices.

But we must restrain overproduction, which together with work elimination, are realities of modern technology.

They are here to stay and if we refuse to recognise or adapt, world economics will enter an extremely difficult phase which could put coherent society and civilisation itself in great jeopardy.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry, Co Sligo


Style over substance?

I read that RTÉ spent €425,000  in 2014 keeping its on-screen talent in shoes, clothes and ‘accessories’. 

This suggests to me that despite rumours of extraordinary salaries being earned by some of its staff, the perception could be taken that many of them, from personal resources, may not be able to afford a decent pair of shoes or, indeed, a suit.

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

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