If housework is one of the few hassles in life, you’re winning

Give children chores so they know how look after themselves when they grow up. Picture posed

Letters to the Editor

Sir — Keeping a clean house is a very honourable thing, but when does it become too much? When do you go from just the average person cleaning to the obsessive cleaning person?

When cleaning causes too much stress in your house for your children and husband, wife or partner, you may have a problem known as obsessive cleaning.

When two people have different standards of cleanliness they have to try to compromise. Which means meet each other half way.

So, talk about the cleaning problem with your partner and keep the communication open in your relationship.

Be honest and communicate. Encourage your partner to become more involved. Make a list. Don’t compare your house to the neighbours or the relations.

Also, letting your children get a free ticket and not giving them any jobs in the house is setting them up for problems when they go to college and have to share a house.

All children need to learn to clean and tidy up after themselves. This will cause you and your partner less stress.

Your children will grow up and move on. The one thing that will always be there in the house is the housework.

We all deal with problems. No one gets a free ticket; if the housework is your only strain, you got the lucky ticket in life.

Claire Mulrooney, Birr, Co Offaly

Defence Forces must grab chance to reform

Sir — This has been a shocking week for the Defence Forces, very possibly the worst since its foundation, and certainly the worst week in the 50-plus years since I signed up.

I have silently railed as a serving member — and since I retired over a decade ago, in letters to editors — about how successive ministers and governments allowed the forces to rot, bleed capability, and jettison its sense of usefulness.

I watched it haemorrhage its brightest and best over the decades. Every so often along the way, when the pressure threatened politically, the sop of a review group was thrown out for appeasement’s sake.

Such political cynicism was again in evidence last week, as some politicians took the opportunity to make strong statements on law and order in the Defence Forces, as a prelude to discussing votes of confidence and the imminent eviction disaster.

Be that as it may, let there be no question but that the revelations of the Independent Review Group (IRG) last week represent a self-inflicted mutilation. As Lieutenant General Seán Clancy, Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, has said, it left him ashamed.

In saying this, he is echoing the shame and devastation of those who currently serve, and those who have in the past served with honour and dignity. They are now tarred with the same brush as the small percentile who wreaked criminal destruction on fellow members.

There is no doubt that a toxic macho subculture existed, and was there long before women enlisted.

This was fostered by some as the mark of a “real soldier” and was rarely confronted. When women joined, this culture gained a new and more intoxicating seam to exploit.

Many of my generation tried to change this culture but the time, and effort, and the resolve to garner a collective will against it failed. We failed.

And now we are where we are.

Morale in the Defence Forces is low and the organisation itself is at the point of collapse. Any new statutory inquiry must not get bogged down, as happened in previous inquiries.

Secondly, the “good men and good women”, as Lt Gen Clancy referred to them, need to rally behind their chief — who has clearly made it known that he is not afraid of the report, but that it is an opportunity to reform.

Michael Gannon (Colonel, ret), St Thomas’ Square, Kilkenny

​Is there any civility left among troops?

Sir — I was absolutely horrified, and as the parent of three daughters, angry too, when I read the report about the horrendous behaviour towards the women and in some cases the men in the Defence Forces.

If our Defence Forces cannot look after their own in a civilised manner, one shudders to think what would be the outcome should they ever be called to arms, to protect the populace on the streets.

Tom Butler, Stillorgan, Co Dublin

​Rush to recruit will only store up trouble

Sir — The rush to recruit gardaí has given rise to a very serious and fundamental problem: are we getting the right people for the job?

That a large number of recruits currently in Templemore have not yet been vetted is an accident waiting to happen.

Online aptitude tests, interviews and fitness tests will not make up for the face-to-face interviews and background knowledge required to get the best-qualified candidates for the job.

Christy Galligan (Garda Sergeant, ret), Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Depressing series just wasn’t my tipple

Sir — Watching those depressing episodes of The Dry nearly drove me to drink.

Tom Gilsenan, Beaumont, Dublin 9

Does getting an email count as lobbying?

Sir — In his article headlined “Darragh O’Brien may face ‘ethics row’ over defying planners” last week, Hugh O’Connell advised readers that I was lobbied by the applicant (Cairn Homes).

The lobbying in my case amounted to answering a phone call and receiving an email, to which I offered no response.

One function of the development plan is to meet the demand for housing and ensure sufficient lands are zoned to deliver on increased housing targets. It is our role as councillors to challenge the robustness and adequacy of the strategy presented in the draft plan, and amend the plan if we see fit.

The decision to designate the land in question as residential was approved by 14 of the 18 members of Galway City Council.

I despair for my unnamed colleague who said that while they themselves voted to zone the land residential, they found the minister’s decision to agree with them “highly unusual”.

I look forward to the outcome of the complaint to Sipo regarding Minister O’Brien’s decision receiving similar coverage in a future edition of your paper.

Cllr John Connolly, Rahoon, Galway

​They didn’t need 1916 to make them hostile

Sir — Sam McBride’s piece reflecting on the unionist dominance of the nascent Northern Ireland state (“Northern Ireland is becoming more Irish as the grip of unionism fades”) suggests that such dominance was down to lethargy and electoral grandeur.

That’s not the way it seemed in nationalist areas of the North and in much of the south. Northern nationalists did not require knowledge of what happened in 1916 to sustain hostility to the Northern Ireland state. Their lived experience was justification enough.

Tom Cooper, Templeogue, Dublin 6W

​Gene had to look for a brand new fall guy

Sir — Reading Gene Kerrigan’s article last week (“Still cleaning up a 39-year-old mess”), it is hard to believe the twists and turns of a story which happened in a very different Ireland.

I kept waiting for your columnist to blame the current Government for the mess, but — for a change — even he was unable to pin this one on them.

Tom Mannix, Clonakilty, Co Cork

​Let’s hear it for coach Stuart Lancaster

Sir — As the dust settles following Ireland’s fantastic Grand Slam win, it seems one person who deserves great credit has not had his massive contribution recognised.

With a few notable exceptions, the players who have delivered these truly brilliant results in the last few years are all being coached by Stuart Lancaster at Leinster.

Maybe it’s time we acknowledged what he has done for this Irish team before he heads off to France?

Mike Meaney, Co Tipperary

Pollution ends fun on banks of the Liffey

Sir — Well done to Ballymore Eustace anglers for highlighting in last week’s letters page the anglers’ concerns for the future of angling and recreational sport on the Liffey.

As a former resident of Ballymore Eustace village, I spent many a day swimming and spending time around the river. Those were happy times and my fear is future generations growing up in the village will never get to experience any of this, due to the high pollution levels in the River Liffey.

Paula Nugent, Newbridge, Co Kildare

​Water purity leaves much to be desired

Sir — If your readers in the Dublin and North Kildare area knew what sewage and dosing chemicals are in their drinking water, they might think twice about drinking it.

Peter Doherty, Rathcoffey, Naas, Co Kildare

​Defamation laws in need of an overhaul

Sir — While Isme welcomed the publication of proposals to amend the Defamation Act 2009, we fear they will not go far enough to redress the serious deficiencies of that act.

We welcome the proposal to enact anti-SLAPP provisions, which should protect journalists, civil society bodies, and private citizens from vexatious lawsuits.

However, the failures to reform the statutory definition of defamation, or to consider a cap on damages, or consider a “serious damage” test, or adequately reform the statutory defences, will undermine the efficacy of the reforms.

Neil McDonnell, Isme CEO, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

​Government enjoys fudge on neutrality

Sir — Is it possible that those loudly calling for clarity about Irish neutrality know our position, but simply don’t like it?

Ukraine’s invasion is an opportunity for Irish hawks to subvert our neutrality and look like humanitarians. Fine Gael’s Redmondite wing may still fondly recall that halcyon era when Erin was a loyal member of the Commonwealth — but most of us remain disgusted that 30,000 Irishmen were sacrificed.

If the Government truly sought clarity on neutrality, it would call a referendum.

It won’t, because it doesn’t.

Aidan Harte, Blessington, Co Wicklow

​Thanks for tackling the massive turbines

Sir — Fiona O’Connell’s article last week on the effects of living near industrial wind turbines gave a voice to the voiceless. The damage they do to the environment, to biodiversity and ecosystems doesn’t seem to matter.

Well done for covering these extremely important issues.

Francis Prendergast, Dungarvan, Co Kilkenny

For tenants’ sake, give the landlords a break

Sir — How refreshing to read Ciara Kelly’s article on the housing crisis (Life, March 26). She was 100pc correct in her analysis. It may not be a popular thing to say, but any small-time landlord renting out a property does so, just like any other business, to cover costs and, if possible, make a profit.

When Leo Varadkar stated that one person’s rent is another person’s income, he was vilified by the left for speaking a simple fact of truth. This goes to the whole heart of why so many rental-property owners are selling up.

In the real world, small-time landlords provide an indispensable service within the community. I personally would like to stay in the market and continue to rent out my property to the family living there, but the constant bureaucratic changes which are retrospectively applied to my contract with my tenant, along with the punitive 52pc rate of tax I pay on my income, means that it is simply just not viable for me to continue to do so.

The whole rental issue and landlords leaving the market could be solved in the morning if the Government introduced a 10pc rate of tax for all landlords who sign up to rent their properties for 10 years — and if they stop introducing legislation that only ever favours the tenant.

Eoin O’Dubh, Delgany, Co Wicklow

​Who today can equal Michael Davitt?

Sir — That any politician would even countenance evicting a person shows how remote they have become from our nation’s history. Along the west of Ireland one would have expected at least one politician to stand up. Michael Davitt has no modern equal.

We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Shame on you cowardly backbenchers and Independents.

Tony O’Gorman, Clonmackin, Co Limerick

​Well-meaning words won’t house people

Sir — Watching those parades of protest in the various cities of late I couldn’t help wondering just what was meant by the slogan “Housing for all”. Who are “all”? All in Ireland? All in Ukraine? All in Africa?

It’s very easy for well-meaning marchers to make emotional appeals on the streets that most people can in principle agree with, but a blanket “all” can’t possibly be housed. The mathematics don’t make sense, as most people know, but our politically correct times don’t allow them to say so.

Eddie Lenihan, Crusheen, Ennis, Co Clare

​Spring has sprung but we’re snowed in

Sir —Billy Ryle’s letter in last week’s Sunday Independent brought me great joy — and envy. He waxed lyrical about the bees buzzing, the birds singing and nest-building, and the trees sweetly blooming.

I smiled while reading it, then looked out my window at the mounds of snow still piled up from our never-ending winter. There’s not a bud in sight on any trees; we will be lucky to have leaves on our trees in May. Our hares change colour with the seasons and the poor things are still pure white.

This too shall pass. Spring will arrive sometime so, like the man with the wheelbarrow, we have it in front of us.

Eileen Bourassa, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

​Leave conservatism back in the 1980s

Sir — “Society in the 1980s was very different to our society today. People were more judgmental. There was a lot of shame and fear and moral judgment.” These were the words of the Cahersiveen priest in Maeve Sheehan’s fascinating story last week on the Kerry Babies case.

Those same words of “shame” and “judgment” were also to appear in David Quinn’s piece on sexual education, and they hark back to the period that Fr Larry Kelly was talking about.

Mr Quinn and his colleagues at the Iona Institute are a modern version of all that was wrong with our society in the 1980s. They have campaigned against all the referendums that have liberalised our society in the intervening 40 years and will look to do the same this November when constitutional amendments on gender and a woman’s place in the home are expected to come before the people.

Their version of Catholic conservatism has done us enough harm to last a least a lifetime. I wish they would go away.

Tom McElligott, Listowel, Co Kerry

​Who will speak for the non-religious?

Sir — David Quinn tells us that schools teaching about consent may be “teaching children something that is contrary to parental wishes”.

I never wished for my child to be taught the religion which controls 90pc of our primary schools. An increasing number of parents do not wish for their children to be taught according to Mr Quinn’s beliefs.

Will he campaign to vindicate their rights?

Bernie Linnane, Dromahair, Co Leitrim

​A friend indeed to our dogs in need

Sir — It was so sad to hear of the death of Paul O’Grady, such a gentle human being and a marvellous advocate for abused and abandoned animals. He had charisma, generosity and, most of all, compassion.

Mike Burke, Sixmilebridge, Co Clare