It seems rather sad to me that Tom McElligott has such a patronising view of his mother’s generation (‘In unkinder times, we looked up to Margaret Thatcher’, Irish Independent, Letters, February 16).
He feels they were “deluded”, had “blind faith”, “did not have to think” and “knew their place”. Apparently they also didn’t look kindly on unmarried mothers.
Maybe this was the experience of Mr McElligott. Thankfully, none of those descriptions would readily fit my encounters of mothers from that generation.
As for work, many of that generation of women worked in local factories and worked after marriage. I’m not over-familiar with it, but I understand the civil service rule was to enable young single women take up employment and in fact did not apply to teachers. So thousands of married women continued in that profession.
As for his take on their religious naivety – for example, their reaction to the Bishop Casey scandal – very few of that generation were unduly bothered. My mother’s reaction was “so what?”.
Deluded and blind faith? I don’t think so.
Navan, Co Meath
In an otherwise interesting and informative article, Sarah Carey says Ireland is geographically positioned to become an energy-exporting nation (‘Wind can be to Ireland what oil is to the Saudis, so we must not blow this chance’, Irish Independent, February 18).
This oft-mentioned claim that Ireland will be the Saudi Arabia of wind doesn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. The notion that European countries will in future be dependent on Ireland’s export of wind-generated electricity is as fanciful as it is fallacious.
Some statistics will help explain the true situation. Currently, Ireland’s installed wind capacity is 4.309MW, compared to over 220GW in the EU. The Government’s target for 2030 is to increase the capacity significantly, to allow for greater home consumption. Many in the industry have their doubts over the Government’s ability to achieve this, due to difficulties with planning, bureaucracy, the supply chain and engineering.
In contrast, a number of EU countries, such as Denmark, Germany and Portugal, already regularly achieve over 100pc of their demand through wind generation, according to WindEurope.com. Irrespective of Ireland’s future installed capacity, wind is notoriously unreliable, and most EU countries have already installed back-up facilities such as nuclear, hydro, geothermal and natural gas, as well as coal. Few if any EU countries will be waiting for us to get our act together.
Wilton Road, Cork
In 1956, US president Dwight D Eisenhower picked up the phone to British prime minister Anthony Eden and warned him to stop British meddling in the Suez Crisis. Eden withdrew and Britain ceased to be a world power at that moment in history.
Rishi Sunak, the current British prime minister, has an 80-seat majority in parliament. The majority of Northern Irish people voted to remain in the EU. The majority of MLAs voted to accept the protocol deal. However, a minority of DUP members are playing hard ball.
Sunak has the numbers to accept the deal but not the power.
In essence, Northern Ireland is held hostage by hidebound politics more suited to 1922. Dublin has the cards to call this out for what it is. It needs to get off the fence or let Sinn Féin speak for the rest of the island.
Dunboyne, Co Meath
Boris Johnson’s decision to make life difficult for Rishi Sunak by weighing in over the Northern Ireland Protocol is typical of someone whose ego has been seriously dented by his enforced resignation.
That Sammy Wilson and his DUP colleagues are creating unnecessary obstacles along the way, even though they supported Johnson’s original deal with the EU, leaves one wondering about their endgame. Do they intend never to enter Stormont as second best to Sinn Féin, while using the union and sovereignty as an excuse?
Allowing the rump of the Conservative party – the European Research Group – to dictate policy and stir up discontent shows a party in total disarray. Their use of sovereignty as a cudgel to beat anti-Brexiteers with underlines this view.
That one small province could be such a thorn in everyone’s side, while holding on to its last vestiges of Britishness, has given many a politician and negotiator sleepless nights. Will the EU give more ground to finalise a deal or will they stand tough on red-line issues like the European Court of Justice and checks on goods? Time will tell.
Letterkenny, Co Donegal