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An old friend retreats – Bewley’s was more than a café or coffee shop, it was our place

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End of an era: Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street, Dublin. Photo: Collins

End of an era: Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street, Dublin. Photo: Collins

End of an era: Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street, Dublin. Photo: Collins

Bewley's

An old friend retreats,

A shadow in the mist,

Dublin has lost so much,

and now this.

More than a place,

kind of membership only,

Without application,

just permanent approval.

With our notes and our folders

to prove our exclusion

from everyday life,

We had tacit inclusion.

On the road to such wisdom

no one could surpass,

the world was our oyster

Or so we all thought.

The clinking of cups and

the scraping of chairs,

The smell of the coffee and

running upstairs to tell of the

latest event in our lives,

So very important, of course,

in our eyes.

Students in the 70s, our

whole world was there,

Not a café, not a coffee shop,

Our place, extraordinaire.

Margaret Docherty

Terenure, Dublin 6W

Bail out ordinary people and the workers this time

The Taoiseach has stated that Covid-19 supports cannot continue unabated, describing them as "unaffordable" and "unsustainable".

It's time for ordinary people and workers to be bailed out this time. This is an unprecedented crisis and so the tried, tested and tired formulae applied to crises in the past, such as the 2008 financial crisis, cannot be applied this time.

That approach of austerity did not work then and it won't work now. Bail out the people, stimulate real demand in the real economy and revive society.

It is time to reimagine and rediscover, to recover and regrow in a sustainable manner from the bottom up. The pandemic has taught us who and what is essential and these lessons should not be forgotten as we chart our way forward.

Killian Brennan

Malahide Road, Dublin 17

Facts and evidence to help us deal with pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic represents an intersection between politics, economics, sociology, medicine, science, law, legal systems, human rights, philosophy, the press and media, allegations of fake news, religion, spirituality, the meaning of life and other existential issues.

I would like to analyse this with readers but the letter would be far too long for any newspaper to publish.

The contents of such a letter are best represented in a document available online titled 'Important Scientific, Medical, Legal and Economic Facts and Evidence by Top Scientists, Medical Doctors, Researchers, Epidemiologists, and Economists in Relation to the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020' which deals with this issue, and is downloadable at www.healingcentres.org/corona-issues.doc.

I would encourage readers to read it and publicly debate its finer points.

M Duignan

Address with editor

Favouring online retail is a glimpse of the future

It seems our economy has plunged into recession. What this has shown us is that the high-tech sector - online shopping, Zoom and so on - cannot sustain the economy and, in fact, some high-tech shares have also plunged.

The Government's restrictions on high-street shops but more lenient stance on online retail appear greatly unfair and have not helped either the health of the nation - with delivery men out and about - or the economy.

In fairness, the online retailers are selling non-essential items. This is surely unreasonable and it would be unwise to assume there is no agenda behind these unequal restrictions.

This emergency and recession are giving us a glimpse of a possible digital future, one of automation, more unemployment and empty high streets, which surely wouldn't enjoy popular support.

I think it is a prime time to begin a debate on the ethics of how, and how much, high-tech is used, I think that debate needs to begin now.

Alex Endrizzi

Kilpedder, Co Wicklow

Soviet role in ending World War II ignored

The coverage by the Irish Independent of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II is, to put it mildly, questionable.

In its editorial 'History highlights errors that must not be repeated', as well as in the article by Michael Drummond from London, 'Two-minute silence as UK remembers wartime sacrifices amid lockdown' (Irish Independent, May 8), the paper fails to mention even once the country which really did the job and made possible the defeat of Nazism - the Soviet Union.

In reality it was the Red Army and the Soviet people who broke the spine of the Third Reich, demolishing four-fifths of the Nazi armed forces. It was the Red Army which liberated Europe, ending the war in Berlin.

That was recognised at the moment by the Allied leaders. British prime minister Winston Churchill wrote to Stalin on September 27, 1944: "It is the Russian Army that tore the guts out of the German military machine and is at the present moment holding by far the larger portion of the enemy on its front."

US president Franklin Roosevelt echoed the idea in his message to General MacArthur, saying that "from the strategic point of view… it is hard to avoid an obvious fact, that Russian armies destroy more personnel and armaments of the enemy than all other 25 states of the United Nations taken together".

The photo of General Alfred Jodl signing the surrender was made in the city of Rheims in France on May 7, 1945, far away from Berlin.

That was a hastily organised event without due representation from the Soviet and other Allied command. To ignore the decisive role of the Soviet Union in the defeat of fascism and the sacrifice of 26 million of its people in the war against Hitler is a shameful act in itself.

Yuriy Filatov

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ireland

We must improve our record on child welfare

The appointment of a Minister for Children is most welcome. We do not, as a country, have a good record in the protection and welfare of our children and that is as true today as in the past.

Among many well-documented failures, we have saddled our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, with environmental and climate problems of almost unmanageable dimensions.

Compounding and adding to this issue is the fact every baby born every day in this State will be burdened with crippling national debt.

They have had no say or voice in this until now and hopefully the new minister will vigorously defend their interests.

Will the minister, for instance, have input into negotiations between public servants and the powerful public sector unions on pay for public servants and, consequently, politicians? Will journalists question populist politicians who propose spending and other policies which will further burden the nation's children?

Surely many trade union leaders and public servants have children and grandchildren who deserve more consideration?

Those who work in the exposed private sector and the self-employed also deserve consideration in all of this.

Pat O'Mahony

Dalkey, Co Dublin

Not the right time to be spending this money

If, as Micheál Martin was reported as saying (Irish Independent, May 7) "Ireland does not yet really know the scale of the recovery challenge we face", what sense does it make, as we prepare to repay the historic €500bn EU aid package, that Leo Varadkar has actually handed out the guts of €100m of our money to organisations such as the WHO, the UN and Gavi?

I would not call giving money away at a time when we both need it and have to borrow heavily the "sensible thing for Ireland to do", as Simon Coveney remarked on giving €10m to the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan in early April.

I think it's a case of the virus not respecting borders and the Government not respecting taxpayers.

Helena Byrne

Bunclody, Co Wexford

Irish Independent