Saturday 1 October 2016

Letters: Clerys' shock closure shows that recovery is in doubt

Published 15/06/2015 | 02:30

Clerys on O'Connell Street, Dublin, which closed its doors on Friday
Clerys on O'Connell Street, Dublin, which closed its doors on Friday

The shock closure of Clerys and the loss of over 400 jobs proves that the country's recovery is in doubt.

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There are clear contradictions showing up in the economy to reprove any soothsayers who would say that Ireland is out of financial trouble.

The sudden collapse of one of the country's most famous retail landmark stores will undoubtedly send a shiver up the spine of the retail sector across the board. The store was the Irish equivalent of Harrods in London and should have been bought out long before it got to a desperate situation.

As usual, nothing was done until it was too late, leaving a big mess to clean up and workers stranded.

It indicates serious trouble in the economy when one of the most high-profile merchants can go down the tubes in what is supposed to be a recovery era. It appears that the country is losing as many jobs as it is creating and claims of a recovery can only be a zero-sum game.

The fallout from the Celtic Tiger is still ongoing. People are watching their money very carefully as the bills pour through the letterbox for rent, food, and utilities, so it's little wonder if they fail to splash out in the shops.

The shock announcement of Clerys' sudden closure should put a sock in the mouth of the country's recovery town-criers, ringing the bell of what could be a very false dawn.

Maurice Fitzgerald

Shanbally, Co Cork The rich get richer

Thomas Molloy's column supported by your editorial (Irish Independent June 11) was the soundest bit of reading for a while because both pieces were honest in confronting the kernel of all our problems.

Everybody is happy when the economy is riding the crest of a wave. Then comes low tide with a recession and we foolishly rely on the State to guide us through.

That is the time when all kinds of deals are hammered out, with the rich and most powerful always fairing best. The banks operate on similar principles to the big bookmakers - the hard luck of the struggling majority pays for the winnings of the rich and successful.

And if the banks go bust as a result of their mismanaged gambling, they come crawling back to the taxpayers to restore their prosperity.

A strong government, with a real commitment to reform, could change everything!

James Gleeson, Thurles, Co Tipperary

The immortal Christopher Lee

Apparently Christopher Lee, famous for his brilliant film portrayals of Dracula, has died - but hey, can they be sure?

Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont, Dublin 2

Separation of church and state

I know former US President John F Kennedy's private life had contradictions, but there were some views he sincerely held. In light of the referendum when 62.1pc of Irish people voted in favour of same-sex marriage, and with a good number of these Catholic voters, it is interesting to look at a 1960 speech JFK gave to a group of concerned Protestant pastors, pledging that if he was elected as a president who happened to be a Catholic, the separation of church and state in America would continue.

It was a recurring issue in the election. His speech was greeted with impressed applause.

This is some of what he said to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in Texas in September 1960; "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell a president (should he be a Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote...

"I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant or Jewish - where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source - where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public act of its officials - and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all."

Irish society began to learn this view of a separation of church and state which Kennedy spoke of 55 years ago by the 1990s. It took Ireland much longer to get there, with all the challenges this presents.

Mary Sullivan, Cork

Stand up to social media mob

It is a pleasure to commend two of your columnists, both of whom homed in on a tendency to control or even stifle the way we speak on certain matters.

Ian O'Doherty (Irish Independent, June 10) wrote about the manner in which Clint Eastwood's dismissive reference at an awards event to the transsexual Caitlyn Jenner drew a storm of protest and caused the television station to apologise and demands that Eastwood himself apologise.

As Mr O'Doherty stated, Jenner had assiduously courted media attention during his transition but the only apparently allowable comments were unstinting praise.

Mr O'Doherty ended with an apt remark on the suffocating instincts of those very illiberal liberals who want to control the way we speak.

Meanwhile, Liz Kearney (Irish Independent, June 13) wrote about two men who were forced out of their positions during the week because of remarks about women which offended feminists.

The first was Nobel laureate Tim Hunt, who offered his opinion about working with women to a group of female scientists during a speech.

The less than complimentary and somewhat foolish remarks were greeted with mass feminist outrage. Although he apologised, he was forced to resign.

The second was the sports journalist John Inverdale who lost his job as Wimbledon presenter with the BBC. This was apparently related to the comment that a female tennis player "was never going to be a looker" two years ago.

The craven capitulation to the mob, particularly by University College London in the case of Hunt, is a sorry reflection on the lack of backbone in many of our prominent institutions today.

David Walsh, Maynooth, Co Kildare

Irish Independent

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