Sir - I was very annoyed to read and see the article in your paper last week (Sunday Independent, July 26) - "Welcome to Carrick-on-Shannon."
Having recently moved back to Carrick after years of moving around, now age 57, I only see Carrick as a busy, clean and lovely place to now live in. A great business town, lovely tourist town and lots of employment.
I go to have a few drinks up the town every Saturday night. Myself and my husband walk to the last pub on the Main Street around 10pm and walk home around 1am. We never experience any hassle or abuse. Yes, we meet lots of well intoxicated young people who don't bother us. The town is well policed with lots of door bouncers, and the excellent Tidy Towns committee work all hours to keep the town clean.
I don't make any money from, or run a business involved in, the hen and stag weekends, but I dread to think of how quiet the town would become if those hundreds of people didn't come every weekend.
The businesses that do profit are hairdressers, supermarkets and restaurants, and this is money that stays in our town. So I say, keep them coming.
Carrick is not a "Magaluf-type" of place - and for the Sunday Independent to suggest it is risks giving the town a bad name. Perhaps Claire Gorman and Gerry Mooney could return to Carrick next week and do a people story on the town, chat to the tourists, to the fishermen, to the bus tourists who love their weekend breaks here or to the wedding parties.
Please give Carrick the story it truly deserves.
Stags and hens are welcome
Sir - I cannot understand why one of your journalists would compare our lovely riverside town of Carrick-on-Shannon to that bane of the Spanish authorities - Magaluf.
The only comparison it might have could be the amount of English accents to be heard. The difference is our English visitors are here with their families for the fine and warm hospitality of our town and the beauty of County Leitrim.
Yes, indeed we have stags and hens at the weekend and they are by their nature noisy and boisterous. I can remember a time when the Deutschmark was king and the euro but a dream and the German boating visitors thronged Carrick-on-Shannon in search of music and laughter, which they got in abundance from this exceptionally open and hospitable town.
There were times, it seemed, all of Europe was here with the babble of languages spoken in the hotels, bars, guesthouses and restaurants. A Saturday night in a cosmopolitan area like Carrick-on-Shannon is sometimes not for the faint-hearted but it is always safe, welcoming, watchful and concerned.
I feel your article did great injustice to our town - and especially so with that awful Magaluf comparison!
Most young people are decent
Sir - I refer to Claire Gorman's article (Sunday Independent, July 26) depicting Carrick-on-Shannon as something of a party zone which has little to offer but boozed up hens and stags at the weekends.
It saddens me that the town has been shown in this light - when the truth is that it has so much more to offer.
I am a proud Leitrim man living now in Co Kerry. There is not a town in Ireland that has not had a stag or hen party at some stage. Killarney - a tourist mecca - is a prime example.
I agree a small percentage are messy, but the majority are normal, decent guys or girls and enjoy their night out.
For those who have read this article and perhaps decided Carrick-on-Shannon is not for them, my advice would be, go there and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. There is something for all ages.
Fading light of economic recovery
Sir - The late, great Dermot Morgan used to say: "We need less Bob and more Hope!"
But it still seems that every new move means more Bob for the top people and less Hope for the underdogs. I fear the light of economic recovery is fading, not brightening. I hope I'm wrong.
Taxpayers' money should buy Irish
Sir - Having read the most informative piece by Allison Bray (Sunday Independent, July 26) - 'TDs fork out €12,000 on fine porcelain imports from United Arab Emirates' - I was wondering, when they were spending almost €20,000 between crockery and cutlery subsidised by the taxpayers, why the tender was not awarded to one of our own native Irish manufacturers - of which there are many who would very much appreciate the custom.
The decision-makers in the Government know that displaying our own traditional skills with our attractive emblems in the very heart of our land would encourage a great interest in our wonderful Irish- made products.
Shop local they tell us, which begs the question: why did they use taxpayers' money to import crockery? Yes, the food was locally sourced and so it should certainly be. But so should the crockery, cutlery and all else.
Taking taxpayers' money and spending it elsewhere is a total insult to each and every taxpayer and Irish citizen.
Something is radically wrong.
Marty is just not heavy enough
Sir - In her column (Sunday Independent, July 26), Eilis O'Hanlon makes reference to Lyric FM and particularly to its programme Marty in the Morning.
And no, Ms O'Hanlon, it isn't you. On this programme there is far too much of a leaning to popular music, which is odd considering that Lyric FM promotes itself as a "classical station". But in that regard, it plays only snippets from concerti, symphonies, operas, etc and as such is a joke; one has to wait until 8pm to be able to hear classical music played in its entirety as intended by the composer.
Many moons ago, Darragh McManus wrote that Marty Whelan's programme is unsuited totally to a so-called "classical station" with which sentiment I agree wholeheartedly.
Consequently, Lyric FM is switched on in our household for the 7.30am news - and then on again at 10am.
LIFE is certainly not gender biased
Sir - It was with a growing sense of dismay that I read your correspondent Carol Murphy's outburst of annoyance at Joy Orpen's piece in LIFE (Sunday Independent, July 19) on Dr Emma Stokes.
She stated that "when Dr Stokes walks into a crowded room, heads turn, They do so, not just because she is a strikingly good-looking woman, but because she also has the admirable quality of self assurance, and she has it in spades" (Sunday Independent, Letters page, July 26).
Carol Murphy also makes the point that she can't recall reading articles about Enda Kenny or Leo Varadkar's appearance entering a room recently and advises the media not to reinforce biased gender stereotypes.
Your LIFE publication is a comical, whimsical, quirky and light-hearted supplement which is a joy to read every Sunday.
Fashion, food, love and romance and interior design account for 90pc plus of its content. In other words it is - mainly - targeted at women, although, personally, I find Shutterbug an absolute hoot.
In this context it is absolutely and totally acceptable to comment on any successful female's appearance, style or confidence if her profile is being published in LIFE because this is precisely what your female readers want to know.
To interpret it as biased, gender stereotyping is just nonsense.
Education is not ‘a waste of time’
Sir - We can only hope that Karl Deeter's dystopian vision of education (Sunday Independent, July 26) - "For many children, college is a waste of time" - never comes to pass.
Education for the sake of it is far from pointless. If futurist Thomas Frey is right, and 60pc of jobs just 10 years from now haven't even been invented yet, there's little point in pouring investment exclusively into skills-based education that's often just too late for the needs of the market-place.
Rather, the demand is for graduates with the adaptability, creativity and power of inquiry that are often encouraged by a liberal arts education.
Maybe if the Irish financial services industry had appointed some capable critical thinkers to positions of authority 15 years ago, those in our banks and building societies might not have saddled the rest of us with an unmanageable debt burden for the next 40 years.
Bankers disgrace themselves again
Sir - As the Banking Inquiry continues and politicians and others are grilled by the Oireachtas committee, we are learning that the arrogance, stupidity and callous disregard for customers that characterised the behaviour of financial institutions a few years back hasn't quite gone away.
Again, it will be the innocent Irish people who will end up paying the price of incompetence and mismanagement in the shocking case of mortgage overcharging that has come to light in recent days.
The people who lost their homes as a consequence of this scandal have been offered a pittance by Permanent TSB for their ordeal. Do financiers not understand what it is like to be evicted and to lose the roof from over your head?
The financial institutions would probably appreciate this mantra: 'Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give him a bank and he can rob the world.'
John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co Kilkenny
Keep railways in public ownership
Sir - Have we forgotten why our railways are a state monopoly?
When they were created in the 1800s, they were all private initiatives - run hither and thither for purely commercial reasons, with standards set at the owners' whims.
Perhaps now that the busy-bodies in the EU's burgeoning bureaucracy have directed us to put our national network up for tender, we should reflect on our forebears' experience of a railway network devoid of a public interest which became a State-run network - which was not perfect, but was respected.
We're not clamouring for a solely profit-driven monopoly. But there are public policy goals attached to our railway system and there may be more in future, such as regard for conservation of the built environment of towns, reducing air pollution, and energy security.
By all means, consider joint-ventures with private investors, and let the private sector loose on marginal routes that lie moribund - but not on the substantial railway system.
Leo should respect religious tradition
Sir - Leo Varadkar, was pushing it a bit at the MacGill Summer School when he made reference to the Mother and Child episode and pointedly ignored the contribution of the female religious nursing orders for over 170 years.
Instead, the Minister referred to "the power of vested interests from professional groups, to religious and other bodies that cloaked themselves in the language of morality and tradition and frustrated even the most tepid patient-centred reforms."
The record should be put right, if only to vindicate the enormous contribution to Irish healthcare made by very remarkable Irish women, members of Catholic religious nursing orders.
Professor Ray Kinsella,
Ashford, Co Wicklow
Don’t ‘stray’ kittens
Sir - As I turn the corner I see our neighbour from across the road. She says that there is a cat stuck in the ditch and it might be one of ours.
We hear a meow, so I know immediately that it is not one of ours as they hardly meow at all. Anyway, it was a young kitten that had been dropped off at the side of the road.
I lifted it up and it started to purr. This was not a wild cat - what a terrible thing to do to one so young. Had it been able to get out of the high grass it would surely have been killed by the traffic.
For the next half an hour we ring about to see if any of our friends want a kitten but we are out of luck. So we contact Kennedys Pet Farm but they have plenty of cats. We try the cat and dog home but there was no one there at the time.
Then a lady from Sneem says she can collect the kitten if we leave it in the Ark Animal Centre in Killarney.
Later on, however, I hear that another kitten was also left along the roadside further on. It wandered out on to the road and got killed. Whoever is doing this, please stop.
Michael O Meara, Killarney, Co Kerry
Not buying ‘foul’ water
Sir - For as long as they've been making them, I buy a five-litre container of still water from the supermarket, every two days.
The reason for this is because the water which comes out of my tap is vile and undrinkable. Even boiling it cannot kill the foul taste. It has always been so in Bantry, going back to my long distant childhood.
Now, I got my second bill yesterday from Irish Water (as they call themselves) for uisce I've already used since buying it in the shop - so they can just go whistle Dixie if they think I am going to pay for "their" water which sits in ambush somewhere along their broken lead pipes, waiting to kill me. I'll wait and see what transpires, despite being a law-abiding citizen.
This is a bridge too far over troubled waters.
Bantry, Co Cork
Where have all the butterflies gone?
Sir - I live in an area where the buddleia shrub is plentiful. It is also known as the butterfly bush and used to be festooned with thousands of butterflies. This year there are none.
Frogs too used to be numerous but not now. The corncrake has disappeared together with the cuckoo. The crickets that used to chirp around the fireplace have gone. Even the flies of all shapes and sizes appear to have largely vanished. The bee population has gone into serious decline.
Because there are no butterflies, there are no caterpillars, which means the birds are missing a vital source of food for their young.
I fear all of this is the result of human interference, something which also has negative consequences for ourselves.
Ovens, Co Cork
How Lady's Mantle got its name
Sir - Lady's Mantle would be an ornament to any garden, and Gerry Daly's praise for this pretty plant (Sunday Independent, July 12) is well deserved.
However, I doubt that its veil-like sprays of tiny flowers gave the plant its name. To my eye, the most distinctive feature of Lady's Mantle is its rounded, undulating, leaves that always remind me of the cloaks that fashionable ladies would have thrown around their shoulders in former days.