Wednesday 26 October 2016

Letters: RTE making 'towst'

Published 12/04/2015 | 02:30

Brendan O'Connor
Brendan O'Connor

Sir - Declan Lynch, in his usual very witty and oft times ironic style, did not appear to understand why, with the ratings for the show going up, the people who matter in RTE decided to end Brendan O'Connor's Saturday Night Show.

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Well, it's because Brendan says 'O'. He says 'phone'; he says 'coast'. Is he an eejit or what?

He must learn the RTE vocabulary where the vowel 'o' is out. He must learn to say 'Fown' (rhyming with 'town'). not 'phone'! The 'coast' is 'the cowst'.

He should take lessons from Miriam who would say to him 'Wolcom to the prow-gram' and Keelin who knows the RTE vocab as well.

Brendan needs to realise too that the vowel 'u' is now dodgy as well. Sondra Herley could give Brendan lessons. Such eejits as Daithi and, say, journalists like Mick Clifford, must cop themselves on and, 'Get with the prow-gram'.

We used to have, 'Ooh Ah Paul McGrath'. Now we have, 'O to Ow, Say it Now'. It's hord to see these fine ortists getting the chop, but in to-dies werld of RTE if they don't get the message they are sherly 'towst', yeh now?

Joe Heffernan,


Co Cork


Next election is our chance

Sir - With 10 grand children to find their future here, I say on their behalf that politics is controlled by the attitude, enterprise, skill and energy of the Irish people and the ability of our TDs to create the environment in which these attitudes and energies get results for us all.

Ireland must now recognise its failure, demonstrated by unnatural emigration rates, massive unemployment, high living costs, screaming failures in our public health and justice systems, drive by shootings, uncontrolled burglary and massive national debt.

Politicians, senior civil servants, semi state directors, advisers, political people on State Boards and even the judiciary, have got to face the consequences of their failure. They must have their conditions of employment reviewed.

The prime requirement of any senior state appointment should be that the successful candidate has a desire to work for Ireland with a renewed concept of civil service.

Pay and conditions should be secondary in their motivation, and party membership never be a factor.

TDs have only a five year contract maximum, so that's all any State employee should have. State jobs should be open to all qualified people. Canvassing must automatically disqualify. No one should draw more than €175,000 from the State in any year in salary and pension.

Expenses should be no more than what they would spend if it was their own money. Bonuses should never be paid and there should never be severance pay other than statutory redundancy. Appointments to EU positions should require the surrender of any benefits in excess of €175,000. Anyone who doesn't want to work in the public service on that basis should leave and get a job in the private sector. We have plenty of talented emigrants who would be happy to come home to take their place.

If we can make these fundamental changes to the system and the people who operate it, then maybe we can expect a different approach to the job by our politicians and public servants.

At the next election we will have a chance to save Ireland for our children and grandchildren if we can find enough game changers who believe in this vision. If not, the stupidity just goes on. All it takes for this evil to continue is for good men and women to do nothing

Martin Dunn,


Co Dublin


Why our teachers are so amazing

Sir - In reply to Eilis O Hanlon's scathing article on teachers (Sunday Independent, 5 April)  as a parent, a former teacher and a parent of teachers, it would seem that the only thing Ms O'Hanlon  can see are the holidays.

She feels that teachers will not do in service training during the holidays. Would she give of her free time willingly to take on training days in her job? And surely it is not the responsibility of teachers to provide childcare. It's not the fault of teachers that childcare is very expensive. Yes, teachers get paid for their holidays, but doesn't everyone in employment.

A high percentage of teachers give of their time willingly to train teams after school and take children to matches with, very often, not as much as a thank you from anyone. This is in addition to the hours and hours of correction work done at night and other preparation.

If teaching is such a handy job why did Ms O Hanlon not consider it herself? Perhaps the starting salary of a mere €28,000 or so a year was an influence.

Teachers are amazing.

Annette Billings,


Co Dublin


Eilis on teachers was inspired

Sir - Every week I look forward to reading Eilis O'Hanlon's articles. Last week's article about Irish teachers stood out.

Her comment about watching a video in school when they should be taught at school was inspired. Keep up the good work.

Anne Creaven,

Tuam, Co Galway


Spend a week shadowing teacher

Sir - I am appalled at the attack Eilis O'Hanlon made on the teaching profession (Sunday Independent, 5 April).

I am a teacher of many years and a Guidance Counsellor in a second level school in Dundalk. It's a great pity that Ms. O'Hanlon was not in my school during the Easter Holidays to see teachers giving their free time to supervise study for more than 120 students who are sitting the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert In June.

During the normal school week students have the option to use evening study right up to seven in the evening, Monday to Friday. They can also study on a Saturday in the school from nine am to two pm, supervised by dedicated teachers free of charge.

I am also very angry to hear Eilis O'Hanlon claim there is a concentration of highly skilled and motivated people at the top in education and a not-as-small-as-it-should-be group of incompetent useless messers at the bottom, with the vast majority bumbling along at the middle. I know teachers from across the country who are highly motivated, competent, intelligent people, very committed to their students and who give their time unselfishly.

If Eilis were to spend a week shadowing a teacher, she might learn what the job is really all about.

Gerry Malone

Dundalk, Co Louth


Incompetents in all professions

Sir - It's easy to say teachers are a pack of "mollycoddled" incompetents who show videos all day every day, (Eilis O'Hanlon, Sunday Independent, 5 April) when the reality is most second level teachers do their best to educate on average 30 students per class for eight or nine classes a day.

As a teacher I don't feel one bit bad about having ample holidays - because I doubt journalists or most other professions have to deal with individuals in such a direct manner. However, I love my job, not because of the holidays, but the satisfaction of seeing my students learn.

And it's not through video by the way. It usually happens through extensive planning and engagement with teaching and learning strategies, differentiation methods for mixed ability classes, and visual and peer learning - which is facilitated and directed by the likes of me.

And on the question of the new Junior Cycle, the majority of parents and students support teachers' objections to teachers assessing their own students. I will assess other teachers' students, but not my own. This is just a cost-saving measure from the Department of Education, and you'd be a fool to think it was anything else.

Yes, there are teachers that are chronically bad at their jobs. But I'm sure there are incompetent people in every profession, even in journalism.

Ailish Egan,

Templemore, Co Tipperary


Why I love teaching so much

Sir - I spent eight years working in the private sector, so I understand about "real life" as Eilis O'Hanlon put it.

But a couple of years ago I left to pursue my dream of being a teacher who could kindle the fires of young minds. On Mondays I arrive at the staffroom at 8am to begin my photocopying and printing for my day ahead, having spent at least six hours over the weekend lesson planning, resource hunting and correcting homework.

Throughout my day 210 students will meet me in my tiny, prefab classroom where my only teaching aid is a whiteboard and some markers. I spend my spare time developing interactive activities that keep the students interested and engaged in the absence of projector screens, WiFi and YouTube. I spend my evenings uploading interesting videos, articles and images to an education blog so that the students don't feel they're missing out.

But I still love my job.

I have to be aware of the needs, abilities, thoughts, feelings, fears and goals of each individual. I know the students who will do a victory dance if they get a 'C' and those that will be devastated by it. I have to be mindful of the students suffering from depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

But I still love my job.

I have spent a Friday night with a few dedicated sixth years painting my classroom with paint we chose and bought ourselves, in an effort to cheer up our classroom.

But I still love my job.

What most people don't realise is that teaching is solitary. Nobody tells you you are doing the job right, though all will be quick to tell you you're doing it wrong. The exception was one of my second years who left a post-it on my desk before leaving the class for holidays saying "Thanks for everything Miss".

It's why I wake up every morning with a smile on my face.

Emma Clair Kelly,

Bray, Co Wicklow


Teachers have reason to grumble

Sir - Eilis O'Hanlon has failed to consider that if all teachers switched off during the two week Easter 'holiday' then the results of both Leaving and Junior certs would be starkly poorer.

Ask any student who benefited from extra tuition days, study clubs, opportunities to complete project work before the April deadlines and on-line feedback to e-assignments

It's simply not accurate to suggest that all in-service and up-skilling takes place during class time. As a teacher I studied by night and on summers through the Open University to gain an MA in education (Behaviour Management). Further to this, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) responsible for in-career development run a large amount of their courses by night and on weekends.

The reason teachers grumble over the additional eight minutes a day added by the 33 hours of the Croke Park Agreement, is because they are unique in the public sector for fulfilling annual programmes of extra curricular activities like all codes of sport, chess, concerts and trips overnight, to name a small few.

Keith O'Rahilly,

Newcastle West, Co Limerick


Hope of teaching gone for some

Sir - Teachers live in the real world. There has been considerable casualisation of teaching in the past decade and Eilis O'Hanlon seems to champion the race to the bottom for this sector of workers who are on short hours and short contracts or no contracts at all.

Many question why they spent five years training for a job that pays little more than the dole. I am on a contract of eight hours and 40 minutes per week over five days, which means I'm in school for the full 22 hours. That pays €240 gross - little more than a CE scheme for three days work and only €52 more than Jobseekers' Allowance - and I am taxed.

I am lucky to have hours. I know many who given up on ever finding a teaching job.

Paul MacCormaic,

Dublin 5


Why do people vote for this?

Sir - Eyes hard as pebbles behind those glasses, he dismisses the family destroyed by the disappearance of their tortured, murdered mother as just a fact of war. The murder of two young off-duty soldiers he describes as "counterproductive".

Columba McVeigh, at 19, left a mother grieving till death, asking only where her tortured son's body had been dumped, and why? There are so many more, including kids blown to death while shopping for Mother's Day cards in Warrington. He washes his hands of all such savagery.

But here's the thing : People vote for him! Is there anyone who can explain? Can the world be so twisted? Or am I on another planet? "Lord what fools these mortals be!"

Rose McNeive,

Tramore, Co Waterford


Let's solve another murder mystery

Sir - That poor man who was hanged in the wrong, 1940 has at last had the truth made known to his family.

But why can't they now solve Fr Molloy's awful death, which happened much more recently?

Kathleen Corrigan,

Cootehill, Co Cavan


Fine sentiments - from abroad

Sir - I have no difficulty whatsoever with Sean Barrow's romantic view of Ireland or his intention to return to Dublin next Easter to celebrate "our patriot dead and to thank them for creating our country". (Sunday Independent, 5 April).

Still, it is interesting to note from where he is expressing these sentiments - England. Perhaps this explains why unionists feel better off as part of the United Kingdom.

A Thompson,



We cater for all shades of opinion

Sir - The Sunday Independent lives up weekly to the 'Independent' part with all shades of opinion in the country usually represented. Last Sunday's edition (5 April) was full of articles on a wide range of views, like Waterford TD John Deasy's hopes that all those who were killed during the 1916 Rising will be remembered next year at its 100th anniversary.

And then there was the award winning journalist, Fergal Keane, urging students to adopt reason as their guiding principle.

The Travel page brought us to Ethiopia and to the intriguing "Stelae Field" and there was a lovely letter in Sport on the superb skills of hurling.

Thanks for bringing all this to us every Sunday.

Mary Sullivan,



George is still controversial

Sir - Allow me respond to contents of the George Byrne obituary penned by Declan Lynch in last week's Sunday Independent.

Lynch availed of the opportunity to have yet another swipe at Gaelic games, quoting with obvious relish his late friend's description of football and hurling as 'bogball' and 'stick-fighting', as if such terminology represented some kind of subtle wit.

It is clearly with delight that he insults hundreds of thousands of GAA followers, oblivious to the fact that in failing to recognise hurling artistry, for instance, he only demonstrates his own analytical limitations.

No doubt if similar contempt was directed at a cohort of foreigners he would be first in the queue levelling accusations of racism - but he seems to regard GAA supporters, probably because of their basic modesty and decency, as fair game.

Mind you, it is probably understandable that an Athlone Town fan would be madly jealous of big crowds revelling in the excitement and entertainment provided by hurling and football matches throughout the country every weekend.

But, gifted columnist that he is, he should bottle the little green monster instead of providing written evidence that talent and class don't necessarily go together.

Tom Young,


Sunday Independent

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