A chara, I WAS most surprised to see that Councillor Ronan Sheehan took exception to my raising the issue of serious anti-social behaviour in Dáil Eireann.
I would just like to clarify a few points in relation to this. I was not in any way criticising the good work that Cork County Council is doing. My concerns - and the reason I raised the issue in the Dáil with Minister Jan O'Sullivan - centre around the powers that local authorities have to tackle this issue.
In fact, what I was suggesting was that we strengthen the powers of the council by the establishment of a housing assessment board.
In my speech to the Dáil, I was quite clear in stating that antisocial behaviour is not the sole domain of any particular societal group. I was very disappointed to subsequently read that one councillor tried to make cheap political gain out of the hardship of many people who live in intolerable conditions, not just on local authority housing estates, but also on private estates.
However, the reality is that the government has both the means and the responsibility to address the problem on estates that are funded by the government.
I fail to understand the motivation behind the statement from Councillor Sheehan that 'plenty of people were offended by the suggestion that this kind of thing only happens in a council estate". At no point did I suggest that it did.
The transcript of what I said in the Dáil is freely available. I would also like to add that plenty of people have been in touch with me from throughout the constituency - and from both private and local authority estates - commending the decision to raise this issue.
Of course this happens on private estates as well, but the reality is that the government and the local authorities of the country don't have the same authority or responsibilities on private estates.
Is this opinion just Councillor Sheehan's, or does it reflect Labour's thinking in Cork East?
When cheap political shots like this are fired, the focus shifts from the real issue and one would have to support Minister Hogan's local government reform when important issues that are under the remit of the local authorities are being used to play politics rather than being addressed in a coherent and practical fashion. Tom Barry TD, 156 Main Street, Mallow. firstname.lastname@example.org
For so long I just didn't get it. I would see people slipping and sliding their fingers over tinted screens, caught in a twilight zone, swapping their reality for cyberspace, exchanging conversation for catchphrases and putting profiles ahead of people. These were people without manners, slaves to technology and saps for gadgetry. Or so I thought. To my ignorant mind, a phone was a phone. And didn't I have a pink PC for all the other stuff?
To be more technically correct it is a laptop I own but that is not important. What is important is the connection between us. You see, time has seen my pink PC and me develop a cosy partnership and a religious ritual. It would commence with us perfecting our physical alignment to each other, ensuring the most comfortable of starting points. Once achieved it would then be up to me to make the first move. Always. I didn't mind. It made sense, when you think about it. So, I would press the 'on' button on the top left hand corner and a small smile would play at the corner of my mouth as the computer purred to my touch, indicating its awareness of my presence. We were a well suited pair and were indulgent of each other's tendencies. Before we really got down to business, my pink PC would like to tease and seduce me with flashing images of all its potential. It was a dance that only every lasted a minute but when anticipation is part of the equation, well then it can seem like hours. But my moment would come. We both knew this. The purr would gradually ease, the icons would find a home and with fingers strategically placed, we had finally come to the brink of engagement. Fulfilling, gratifying and exclusive – my pink PC and me.
Until I discovered the IPhone. Now everything has changed. My eyes have been opened. My button pressed. The beauty of the IPhone is that it gets straight to the point. The laptop and its penchant for foreplay is all very well but sometimes, that is just not what you want. Are you with me? With the IPhone, I can hop from my phone to my email to my Facebook. A ménage-a-trois if you like, verging on promiscuity. Just as my relationship with my laptop was a balanced one, the connection with my IPhone is all about me. Which suits just fine.
I will always have a soft spot for my pink pc. I revisit it frequently and enjoy it still. But my needs have changed. And although 24/7 availability and easy access can occasionally prove anticlimactic, the IPhone is a keeper and as I say – the best decision ever!"
'An Inconvenient Year' by Yvonne Joye can be purchased online from www.easons.com and in any good bookshop