Cronin's joyful, poetic voice
Sir - How do you say goodbye to someone whom you have never known yet who has been very much part of your life? Every Sunday morning it has been an essential part of my enjoyment of reading the Sunday Independent, to check what poet and poem Anthony Cronin was having us consider for the day; for the week.
Who was this person to me? He has been a consistently refreshing voice floating upon the breezes.
When things have seemed to be going very much out of kilter here on our lovely green desert isle, or even in the wider world, his timely, poetic voice and orientation have given me the feeling that there are still some things worth considering which could make me feel grateful, joyful and hopeful.
May it be so then that he is now fully enjoying the blessed company of all those poets who he so lovingly and succinctly brought to our attention.
Thank you, Anthony, for being a somebody to this nobody.
Richard Mc Sweeney,
Tallow, Co Waterford
Admiration for ‘new’ Ivan Yates
Sir — Two writers (Letters, Sunday Independent, January 1) criticise Ivan Yates, who had been interviewed the previous week about his 100-day holiday in America. However, their feelings towards Mr Yates are misplaced in my opinion.
Ivan Yates spent 21 years as a politician, being first elected in 1981 at the age of 21. He retired from politics and set up Celtic Bookmakers which at its height had 64 shops providing thousands of jobs. When his business collapsed, he became a broadcaster and newspaper columnist. Rather than being criticised, he should be admired.
In another article in the paper, Niamh Horan mentions “bouncebackability”, the term first used by former Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie.
Ivan Yates certainly possesses this trait. Too often in life we see people who are broken by the trials and tribulations that are thrown at them. It’s refreshing to see people like Ivan Yates continually reinvent themselves. They give hope to the rest of us who battle with life.
Keep up the good work, Ivan, and please “don’t get off the stage”. I look forward to reading about your next holiday and the next chapter in your life.
Stop talking and act on hospital crisis
Sir - As the crisis in Ireland's emergency departments worsened each day last week, Health Minister Simon Harris made a pathetic attempt to calm the situation in his interview on RTE News. He seemed to think the recent increase in cases of flu were to blame.
This was just one week. The other 51 are not that much better.
I was in UH Limerick in May and October and on both of these occasions the trolleys were packed so close it was like being in bed with a stranger. The staff were doing an excellent job in near-impossible circumstances.
Entering A&E is like going into a parallel world. During night-time hours it is akin to being in a shelter for the homeless and sick at the same time.
This is not a third world country; we are living in the western world in 2017. It is totally unacceptable for patients to have to endure these conditions and equally wrong to expect medical staff to work in them.
TDs of all affiliations with their substantial salaries and generous expense accounts are only there because we voted for them. Perhaps they can now stop talking and start taking some action.
Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary
Depression is a thought process
Sir - Depression is not a physical entity in the form of a disease. It is a thought process that reacts to the negative and positive images we feed into it. If one is constantly brooding about unsavoury happenings in their lives rather than the happy ones, then they themselves are fertilising the seeds of unhappiness in their minds. Unhappiness which is commercially labelled "depression".
I vouch for self-help and my motto is: "We are the products of our own thoughts." Therefore, we can control our own moods and depression. The raising of one's own self-esteem and the recognition and elimination of one's self-pity will open the doors to step out of the darkness and into the bright sunshine of stability and happiness.
Many moons ago I was in that dark tunnel and came out into the light and it has been bright sunshine all the way over the years since, and many others have shared my happiness.
If self-help was its main agenda, the Government would find itself getting change from its investment and startling change in the health of the nation. People are made stronger upon realising that the helping hand they need is at the end of their own arm.
Simple truth, depression disappears with positive thinking.
Glenageary, Co Dublin
Be courteous and save lives on roads
Sir - At the beginning of a new year, why not make a resolution to be more considerate to other road users?
I write in particular regarding the lack of courtesy by so many drivers, who fail to give way to an approaching driver indicating their intention to turn right.
On numerous occasions I have witnessed this lack of courtesy. Sometimes it may be a lone approaching vehicle indicating, but on other occasions I have witnessed a vehicle clearly indicating its intention and holding up a line of vehicles behind it being ignored by vehicle after vehicle in the approaching lane.
It only means giving up one car length in one's journey but it is a regular happening, either through lack of courtesy or lack of concentration.
Turning right on a road can often result in being rear-ended by a following driver who is not concentrating. Your courtesy could save you and another unfortunate person becoming one more insurance claimant, or a serious injury or loss-of-life statistic.
Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
Putting 'society offenders' on list
Sir - It was with some joy I read Ruth Dudley Edwards (Soapbox, Sunday Independent, January 1). It took me back almost 70 years when, as little boys did, I was in the girls' chorus in our college production of The Mikado and, in particular, to Ko-Ko's I've Got A Little List. Could we start a 2017 version of "Society offenders who might well be underground... and who never would be missed"?
My first nominations would be newsreaders and their reporters and correspondents whose most popular words are "er" and "eh", weather forecasters who warn of "scahhered showers on Saherday", and their correspondents (and EU officials) who talk of "euros". (My wife is fed-up with me correcting our TV set).
Turners Cross, Cork City
Ruth's uncommon common sense
Sir - I could not believe what I was reading. I thought I was the only person who held such views and opinions. Ruth Dudley Edwards (Soapbox, Sunday Independent, January 1) will be fired if she repeats a similar article of uncommon common sense.
Ruth is a dangerous species - keep it up. This lady made my New Year's Day.
Looking for that human interaction
Sir - Tim Wu has written about the negative effects of modern technology in his book titled Driven to Distraction.
The theories of this American academic are extremely interesting when examined in terms of the pronouncements of earlier writers who commented on the perils of using simpler communication appliances. For instance, in 1988 Carolyn Marvin wrote about people's apprehension, in the late 19th Century, about the impact of using a telephone. Around the same time, the editor of an American newspaper alerted his readers to the possibility of catching diseases by speaking to an ill person over the phone.
These individuals could hardly have foreseen the manner in which technological advancements have affected and complicated our lives.
One has to ask, 'where will it all end?' Is there anything more frustrating than trying to contact a large corporation or service provider by telephone in the hope of being put through to a human being?
We find that digital facilities are being over-utilised to transfer more and more responsibility on to the customer. How comforting it once was to know the name of the firm or the location of the service provider's premises.
One could at least count on getting through to a flesh-and-blood operator who would pass the relevant query to head office if they could not process it themselves.
Big companies are distancing themselves ever more from their clients. Most corporate websites are cleverly designed to hide telephone numbers or addresses. In other instances, these details are not included at all. When a telephone number is sourced, one needs a lot of time and patience to reach a human voice.
When contacting most big companies one is told to have one's account details ready. More often than not, this marks the start of a long and tedious process. You must listen carefully to the menu. It is then necessary to weave your way through a maze of different options, many of which are not fit for purpose.
On reaching a dead end, you realise you picked the incorrect option earlier, so you hang up and begin the whole ordeal afresh. In other instances, the line may go dead once or twice during the process.
Encountering a human being is quite an achievement although that person may be located on the other side of the world and not fluent in English.
It is a waste of time and money to write a letter.
Our overdependence on technological devices and recorded messages should be curbed so customers' needs are met. Marketing experts maintain that "the customer is king". If so, why not treat him/her in a royal manner?
Dr Margaret Humphreys,
Blarney, Co Cork
Fresh air after PC suffocation
Sir — The articles by Eilis O’Hanlon and Brendan O’Connor (Sunday Independent, January 1) were a welcome breath of fresh air after the suffocation of political correctness and promotion of trivial issues.
With emphasis on diversity and inclusiveness, it is somewhat contradictory to see the censorship of any views not considered PC by the elite, mainly those in the media. It is so misleading to hear calls for debate when that is the last thing possible in Ireland on practically any issue, but especially those considered as non-PC.
As Brendan O’Connor stated, victimhood is rife with the result that facts are distorted in an effort to ensure that no one is offended. Of course, the exception to this is the Catholic Church and woe betide those who make any effort to explain its teaching and not just that presented in the media.
Could we please have articles by journalists who present both sides of the argument and allow us to make up our own minds?
It would be refreshing to have balanced and factual reporting rather than campaigning for certain PC causes and, maybe even actually have proper debates.
Is this really too much to hope for?
Mary Stewart (Mrs),
Alan Kelly and his government record
Sir — In relation to your front-page story (Sunday Independent, January 1 ) and Alan Kelly’s whining about abuse his family received, it is noted he didn’t mention the abuse visited on Irish families by him and his smug Labour colleagues with their jackboot austerity. Some 2,000-plus Irish children are now homeless and living in hotel squats with no chimney for Santa to come down on Christmas morning.
When in power, Kelly said the Constitution prohibited him from doing anything about the housing crisis, a convenience he and Labour hid behind on other issues. We all deplore the abuse of children, but when a former government minister prioritises his own over the plight he helped create for other children, the air reeks with the stench of hypocrisy, smugness and condescension.
Claims of a man ‘more focused’
Sir — Alan Kelly (Sunday Independent, January 1) tells us of alleged abuse suffered by him, and also by his family and staff, during his short term in power (which he loves, he says) in the preceding shambles of a government, when his Labour party was in office.
Pinch of salt territory, because at the time all of this was supposed to be happening, we would have been blue in the face listening to his self-pitying ramblings on the subject.
Alan is adamant thathe speaks for the “working class” and those who cope with poverty and the “four-letter word” for sewage flowing down their streets, and which he desperately wants to do something about — but did not have enough time to do so when he was environment minister in the last government, is his inference. I’m confident those he claims to represent never saw any benefit to alleviation of their existinghardship.
We remember when he scraped in as a trailing TD at the last general election on a tiny vote which happened after everyone else had gone home — and his subsequent jumping about with such victorious glee — it was all I could do not to imagine he had performed some type of Castro-inspired coup d’etat over the rest. It was both comical and arrogant, and he continues into 2017 in the same frame of mind — that of a legend in his own sitting room who has serious fish to fry.
I do not think many of us are listening to his claims of being a “stronger and more focused man”, but, of course, he assured us that over the holiday period, in the great tradition of Dail and Senate stalwarts, that getting out for “the few pints” was on his list of things to do. I have seen a goodly number of TDs who go for “the few pints” as if it were one of their most important parts of their duties, and not just at Christmas, and seldom does it stop at a few pints.
Bantry, Co Cork
Bring some joy into the year
Sir — I refer to the front page (Sunday Independent, January 1). Ending a marriage, weight loss, bucket-list adventures as in things to do before you die. Is this what we can expect for 2017? Happy New Year indeed!
Ballincollig, Co Cork
You’re perfect just the way you are
Sir — Andrea Smith, in her New Year article (Sunday Independent, January 1), — “Resolutions should be focused on feeding the soul, not weight loss” — gives ussome wonderful and simple resolutions which help to nourish the soul, mind and heart, by doing things that enhances our levels of happiness. As follows:
1. Engage your mind with things that stimulate you.
2. Book a weekend away.
3. Have a regular date night with your partner.
4. Read books.
5. Do some volunteer work.
6. Go for a good walk and breathe in the sweet sights and sounds of nature.
7. And, above all, stop punishing yourself by trying to measure up to someone else’s standards, and start embracing the fact that you’re perfect just as you are.
Glenties, Co Donegal