Monday 29 August 2016

Poolbeg for Cork?

Published 03/08/2014 | 02:30

A woman walks her dogs along Sandymount beach yesterday
A woman walks her dogs along Sandymount beach yesterday

Madam --Two Cork men singing the praises of Dublin's Poolbeg chimneys? Why does that make me suspicious?

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Brendan O'Connor writes: "What may once have been seen to be ugly has acquired a grace and a warmth and a personality simply by virtue of hanging in there." Brendan says he loves walking the South Wall, but methinks he's more at home with the bull.

Brendan, ugly is ugly.

Eoghan Harris says the chimneys are "a constant visual reminder of the working Dublin that Joyce loved and lauded in his A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man."

Eoghan, the bloody things only went up in 1971. They weren't there to mar the skyline of Joyce's Dublin.

Listen lads, if you like the defunct monstrosities so much, ye can have them.

I'm guessing that the cost of carefully dismantling the chimneys brick by brick and shipping them down to Cork would be considerably less than the cost of maintaining them for the next century. Or was it two centuries you had in mind?

They could be re-erected at the mouth of the Lee to stand forever as a gigantic double digit gesture of Dub generosity.

For goodness sake, they're already painted in the Cork colours !

Brian Brennan,

Portmarnock, Co Dublin

Bureaucrats were not ones to blame

Madam - Your editorial (Sunday Independent, July 27) quotes the moral philosopher Jeremy Bentham's belief that the central objective of all public policy should be to achieve the greatest happiness for the greatest number of a state's citizens.

The editorial also raises a very important question as to why 'the powers that be' did not have 'the chutzpah' to 'sort out the mess' that saw the cancellation of the Garth Brooks concerts.

That mess, your editorial proclaims, affected 'mostly rural and working class citizens' and was caused by 'the tepid domination of unaccountable bureaucrats'.

The question as to why 'the powers that be' did not 'sort out the mess' could, with even more relevance, be applied to what John Paul McCarthy, writing on the opposite page to your editorial, called the 'economic implosion'.

That economic implosion affected many more, if not all, of the state's citizens and necessitated a bail out of this country by the international community.

That economic implosion was not, however, caused by the tepid domination of unaccountable bureaucrats. It was caused by the decisions of a small number of very powerful people who were in charge of our most powerful institutions during the boom.

They certainly did not lack chutzpah and were the real powers that be that caused the mess.

Contrary to your editorial opinion, therefore, Irish governance did make it possible for such powerful people to survive during the boom.

It was they and not the tepid bureaucrats that failed Jeremy Bentham's famous objective of public policy achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number.

A Leavy,


Dublin 13

ACP is not for all of the clergy

Madam - In her article in the Sunday Independent (20 July 2014) Joanna Kiernan begins by saying: "The organisation representing Catholic priests in Ireland... the Association of Catholic Priests".

Can I point out that I am a Catholic priest in Ireland and would like to make you aware that this organisation does not represent me in any way.

I would be grateful if you could ensure this is made clear in any future articles by your journalists.

Rev Fr Michael Toomey,

Holy Cross Church,


Co Waterford

Brendan has the knack for laughter

Madam - I laughed and laughed at Brendan O' Connor's article "Oh how we love to be overheated" (Sunday Independent, July 27). It was so funny and true to life. I know he was writing about what we all talk about endlessly - the weather - but it was funny and intelligently written.

Brendan has a great knack and sense of humour and his writings are the main reason why I buy the Sunday Indo. He would never let you down.

There are so many misery- guts of journalists with their dire writings and news that's its simply a pleasure to read and get a few laughs out of Brendan's writings.

I'm not surprised that Brendan is on the front page because that's where he should be.

Terry Healy,


Co Kildare

Knock down one, keep the other

Madam - As in all intractable disputes like the status of the two Poolbeg chimneys, compromise is the only answer: knock down one and maintain the other as a permanent finger/phallic sign to the rest of us from the bankers, developers, political class and the insiders who destroyed the Irish economy and society.

John Leahy,


We should all now follow Shane Ross

Madam - Shane Ross is doing a great, worthwhile, and vital job exposing incompetence, greed, corruption, brazen arrogance, cronyism and general 'brassneckary'.

Somehow we must penetrate that complacency which seems to be embedded in the Irish psyche so that all of the people of Ireland, when they realize how we are being manipulated and ripped off, will 'get off the fence' and do their bit.

Joe Brennan,


Co Cork

We get to make the choice of President

Madam - I write in relation to the comments by Frank Flannery, the former Fine Gael Election strategist, on their poor presidential election results after the party polled seven per cent of the national vote some months after getting 36 per cent of the vote in a general election.

Might I point out that presidential candidates are viewed by the Irish people as just that - people who desire to be given the position of President of this country, and are not chosen by virtue of their party political backers.

I am more than surprised that Mr Flannery does not give us, the people, the credit for knowing who we think can and will represent us as Head of State.

Adrian Bourke,

Dublin 16

Democracy is not for everbody

Madam - One of the unfortunate (but entirely necessary) side effects of free speech is that people can use your pages to spout diatribe, such as Vincent Lavery did in your always excellent Letters page recently (Sunday Independent, July 20).

His fatuity peaks towards the end of his missive when he laments the fact that "we are being led, for the most part, by duly elected officials, and a silent majority."

Democracy isn't for everybody it seems.

Simon O'Connor,


Dublin 12

Let's have more balanced reporting

Madam - Why is it that whenever the Irish media report on the court appearances of Ivor Callelly, he is almost always referred to as a former Fianna Fail junior minister?

I wonder, beacuse whenever we read about a court application at Clonmel Circuit court to have the trial involving Michael Lowry, who is accused of filing incorrect tax returns, moved to Dublin, there is no reference to the fact that Michael Lowry is a former Fine Gael Minister.

Whatever happened to the idea of balanced reporting?

JJ Coughlan,


Co Cork

Praise for Liam's Letter of the Week

Madam - May I congratulate Liam Cooke on his excellent letter (Sunday Independent, July 27) headed: 'Leave it out, Angela'.

It certainly deserved to be Letter of the Week.

I am an 80-year old volunteer with a charity - and there are many more like me around the country. But Liam put into words what we are all thinking.

Maith an fear.

Maire Bean Ui Corcorain


Co Cork

Beware the thieves, but praise the folk

Madam - Recently on a trip to Dublin, while waiting for the return bus to Limerick, I left down my handbag for two minutes. In the twinkle of an eye it was stolen, and my cards tried at an ATM within 15 minutes.

I would like to thank publicly a couple, Mr and Mrs Tynan, who gave me their phone to use in the immediate aftermath. 
 There was also a nice blonde girl travelling to Portlaoise on the bus and she allowed me to stay in touch with home by lending me her phone too. 
 I also want to thank Eddie who gave me a lift home once I had reached Birdhill.

In spite of my personal loss, I still think Ireland is a great place to live - judging by all of those good people who helped me after I had been robbed.

I also want to thank the gardai who were very nice to me once I had reported the crime.

But a word to the wise: beware of those who steal. They are really good at what they do.

Betty Duggan,

Birdhill, Co Tipperary

Let's be clear on all types of terror

Madam - "Hamas is to terrorism what Basil Fawlty is to hospitality."  Thus wrote Gene Kerrigan in a bid to convince us that Hamas is like a slightly bonkers neighbour setting off harmless if noisy fireworks in his own back garden. 

In the last four weeks Hamas have launched over 2,000 of these rockets plus mortars into Israel (a country fighting for its very existence) and only the Israeli defence systems have prevented catastrophic casualties which Kerrigan and others, seem to think is somewhat unfair.

Hamas have also constructed dozens of underground tunnels into Israel in further bids to commit mass murder on Israeli farms and villages bordering Gaza. Basil Fawlty indeed.

Inside Gaza, as Carol Hunt in her brilliant article pointed out, Hamas have introduced Sharia Law which, for the wretched women of Gaza, means a hell on earth existence from the cradle to the grave.

Why no articles by Kerrigan condemning other Islamists groupings from Nigeria to northern Iraq who are happily slaughtering innocent men, women and children because they are either not Muslims or belong to the wrong shade of Islam.

For the last three years Russia has been arming the Assad regime in Syria which to date has directly and indirectly killed thousands of children including Palestinian youngsters with conventional and chemical weapons.

Let's be clear: the images coming out of Gaza are atrocious and obscene - but no more obscene than what's been coming out of Syria and other Islamist horror sites for the last couple of years without comment from Kerrigan.

Eddie Naughton,

The Coombe,

Dublin 8

Politicans must act on Middle East

Madam - I must commend Carol Hunt's balanced piece "Killing children is always wrong, so why do we blame Israel more? (Sunday Independent, July 27).

Like many who have visited Israel and the Holy Land, I think it is both a beautiful place, and historically inspirational. But what could be a tourist economic gold mine for all is, a number of bankrupt fortified enclaves, dependent on overseas aid with a stubborn refusal of political leaders to engage meaningfully in finding a solution to the conflict through peace negotiations.

Frank Browne,


Dublin 16

Carol's article was 'refreshing'

Madam - It was refreshing to read Carol Hunt's unbiased article on the Hamas/Israeli conflict after the endless anti-Israeli crap from the politically correct crowd in RTE.

WA Murray,


Leave crime fight to the gardai

Madam - John Fitzgerald (Sunday Independent, 20 July 2014) seems very gung-ho about the public's patriotic duty against the criminals while overlooking the risk that comes with acting in such a manner.

He tells us to "forget the informer stigma. Snitching on a drug dealer is a life enhancing patriotic act and the duty of every honest citizen."

Hmm. Some words of caution: once it becomes known on the street someone has been "snitching" on a dealer, the informer becomes a target of the dealer who will do whatever it takes to eliminate the threat to their livelihood.

And even if somebody does exactly what John is suggesting, they face the prospect of having to leave the life, family and circle of friends they know and build a new one from scratch.

The breaking up of the Dundon criminal gang in Limerick by the Garda has shown the kind of progress law enforcement can make if they are given the resources it needs to embark on a long haul against a criminal gang - but the State and the Government needs to reassess its own role in the so-called war on drugs and this should be followed by a debate on whether to legalise the narcotics criminals sell illegally.

Robert Byrne,

Malahide, Dublin 13

Let's learn from the kids

Madam - Having spent yet another sleepless night tossing and turning as a result of worrying about secondary school placements for two of my sons, my faith was somewhat restored in the few teachers who show extraordinary commitment to children with different needs.

Mary Mitchell-O'Connor's article (Sunday Independent, 27 July 2014) was refreshingly honest, when, as a former school principal, she recollected her encounter with one particular pupil and her mum.

As a parent of a number of children with an impairment that means they have different abilities to their peers, I have been the "problem parent" the "troublemaker" to various school principals and teachers alike.

I had the audacity to advocate for my children and push for inclusive education in their own community. We have met proactive and enlightened educators, the gems of the system - but sadly we have also met others who find endless reasons why my sons should look elsewhere.

My two sons require an augmented curriculum and teachers with FETAC qualification to get their qualifications. To get that they will have to travel up to 20km away from home.

The alternative is to have them baby sat in a special class for the next five years.

One of my sons has been educated in a mainstream environment all through primary school, simply because management and some staff at the school differentiated his academics but involved him fully in all practical, community, and project work as well as class team projects, sports, class shows, and class tours (with very minimal SNA input). The 28 children that have been with him during his primary education never defined him by his impairment.

In my view they are a most welcoming group of compassionate young individuals that the community should be proud of. These children are our future and this ability to embrace diverse needs will stand to them in the future. These children have an innate understanding of inclusion But my son cannot now join them.

Let us take our lesson from those 28 schoolmates and take ownership in our own attitudes towards disability.

Name and address with Editor

Sunday Independent

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