Sunday 25 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Love is in the air for all ages'

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Sir - Having read Eleanor Goggin's very disturbing article on the prospect of a Love Island for 'more mature' contestants, I should like to remind her that some of us who did actually experience the historic 'Summer of Love' in 1967 may not have suffered the horrific physical decay she so graphically describes.

So perhaps, like Mick Jagger, with a cardiac consultant on-site and an ample supply of hearing aid batteries, we might conceivably qualify for her proposed 'Mature Love Island' - unless, of course, our adult children and grandchildren were to raise serious objections on the grounds of family humiliation and general embarrassment.

However, the €50k prize money guaranteed in a bequest to them could well change their 'Snowflake' minds.

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Declan Collinge,
Templeogue, Dublin

GAA unfair to season ticket OAPs

Sir — It was disappointing to note the ticket costs at the Senior Hurling quarter-finals played at Croke Park, specifically for old age pensioners who are season ticket-holders.

The ‘normal’ cost of admission to the Cusack Stand for the games was €40. A season ticket holder got a discount of €5. The cost of the same admission for an OAP was €30 (€40 initially for the ticket and a €10 cash refund on entry at the stiles) — whereas the cost to an OAP season ticket-holder remained at €35 with no refund benefit on entry.

So for an OAP, there is no benefit in being a season ticket-holder. Quite the contrary. Perhaps the GAA would like to re-read its own motto: “Give respect, get respect.”

Michael Gannon,
Kilkenny

Ending anthem ‘strangulation’

Sir — Writing about a major GAA Championship game (Sunday Independent, July 7), Joe Brolly referred to the “ritual strangulation of the (National) Anthem”.

How right he is. Is it too much to ask that where the anthem is being sung, the singer should get the lyrics right?

GAA authorities, be it at national, provincial or county level, should get their act together and ensure this most basic requirement is met. And even if this is not possible, a good quality recorded version is a perfectly adequate alternative, with the advantage also that it allows spectator participation.

Get it sorted, Croke Park — what is happening is a disgrace and should not be allowed to continue. 

Ben Wrynn,
Leixlip, Co Kildare

We need to control the menace cyclists

Sir — I’ve seen cyclists jumping red lights, going around red lights, nearly causing accidents and generally ignoring the rules of the road.

If a cyclist has an accident of their own creation, the law is quick to blame and demonise the motorist, even if the motorist had the right of way. Cyclists are truly a menace and we need to control them.

Michael Keating,
Blackrock, Co Dublin

Brendan Grace gave us so much laughter

Sir — In the early 1970s, the singer Roy Orbison came to Ireland to perform in the old Carlton cinema. I bought tickets to see him as I was a fan.

I brought my mother along. I don’t think she knew of him. It was just a night out.

The first act to come out was a young Brendan Grace. He was only 22 years of age. My mother thought he was great. She wanted to go home when Roy Orbison came on.

Brendan, I thank you for the laughter you gave my mother and the rest of Ireland. May you rest in peace.

Veronica Kane,
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15

Fine Gael begging bowl spoils Mass

Sir — Given the witless remark recently made by the Taoiseach with regard to Catholic clergy, one might expect a degree of understanding and sensitivity from members of his party where politics interact with religion.

Well, you can forget that.

Last weekend, on leaving Mass with the words of our priest “go in peace” ringing in my ears, I emerged from my local Catholic cathedral to be met by a Fine Gael “National Collection” — plonked in the church grounds, inside the church gates.

There it was. Table, sign and begging bowl, accompanied by foot soldiers and public representative.

To my shame, the words that escaped my lips were neither peaceful nor prayerful. Though I wasn’t alone in that.

Kevin Caulfield
Ballina, Co Mayo

Hybrid car reduced my insurance costs

In reply to James JJ Heslin’s letter, “Government backs insurance rip-offs” (Sunday Independent, July 14), I traded in my diesel car for a hybrid model with a stronger engine. I paid insurance on my diesel car in February and renewed it in July when I got the hybrid.

The only difference to Mr Heslin’s case was that I wasn’t “taken to the cleaners”.

The insurance company I was dealing with gave me a refund of €30.

When I queried this, they said the car I was driving had a lot of safety features and was good for the environment.

Gerry Dunne,
Balbriggan, Co Dublin

HSE is costing us a packet on ‘paint’

Sir — The HSE is a house with a massive hole in the roof doing terminal damage to the whole building. The Government is using ever more taxpayers’ money on redecoration!

Gerard Barrett,
Sandyford, Dublin 16

Miriam’s writing was a lunar marvel

Sir — I would like to acknowledge some of the most evocative writing I have ever read.

I’m talking, of course, about Miriam O’Callaghan’s piece in last week’s Sunday Independent headlined “For those of us who still look up at the Moon”.

 The broad range of topics drawn on in this article, with such knowledge, sensitivity and understanding, certainly places the focus on that magical event 50 years ago, which has held us all in awe ever since.

With articles such as that in your paper, nostalgia has been redefined as an art form.

Pat Maher,
Greystones, Co Wicklow

Diaspora vote will open a dark door

Sir — Dr Ciara Kelly gives sound reasons for not giving the diaspora a vote in presidential elections (Sunday Independent, July 14). But there is one area she has not addressed.

Word from my friends up North says that Provisional Sinn Fein (as they are often referred to up there) is grooming Gerry Adams for a run at the presidency next time around. Of course, if he campaigned in the South he would be dogged every step of the way by various histories — those of  Jean McConville, Robert McCartney, Mairia Cahill, Brian Stack, Paudie McGahon, etc — and would have almost no chance of winning.

Except, of course, if the diaspora and Irish citizens in Northern Ireland get the vote.

The biggest diaspora, which sees Ireland through leprechaun-coloured glasses and regards Adams as a hero, is in the United States. There would certainly be no problem with money or organisation and lining up the dewy-eyed and deluded Irish-American “republicans”, of the kind that accompanied Mary Lou McDonald behind the ‘England get out of Ireland’ banner earlier this year in New York.

One would have to assume the majority of Northern nationalists would vote for a Sinn Fein candidate. In a tight election, the votes of the diaspora for a Sinn Fein candidate could be decisive.

At present, no Provisional Sinn Fein candidate would have any realistic chance of becoming President of Ireland. But if we  want to take that risk, then we should give the diaspora a vote.

Anthony O’Leary,
Portmarnock, Co Dublin

How Paul changed my mind on golf

Sir — I don’t do golf, I swim, cycle a little, that’s why I tend to always read Paul Kimmage. I do think golf is a cashmere sort of sport — or I did until I read Paul’s article . I’m sorry now I didn’t go down the road to look at Lahinch.

Brilliant writing as usual.

Mike Holland,
Parteen, Co Clare

Brexiteers play a futile blame game

Sir — Because they will not implement an agreement made with the EU on Brexit withdrawal, the Brexiteers in the UK have torn up the Good Friday Agreement and declared economic war on the rest of Europe, and especially on this democratic republic and former colony.

As Colm McCarthy and in more detail Wayne O’Connor said in your paper on July 14, that is going to have an economic cost to the people of this country and a re-imposition of the Border on this island.

Colm McCarthy also reminds us the Brexiteer narrative is that all of this is Paddy’s fault. That Brexiteer narrative also says that Ireland should not try to defend the terms of the Good Friday Agreement through the backstop.

The solution put forward by Eoghan Harris, Dan O’Brien and in the letters page Niall Ginty is that, because all of this is Paddy’s fault, as Niall Ginty puts it “we must do whatever it takes to save our bacon”.

In other words we should go to London and grovel.

We have been grovelling in London for centuries for all the good it did for us.

Grovelling to the extreme anti-EU and anti-Irish position adopted by Brexiteers is not going to achieve anything.

Anyway, blaming Paddy for the results of Brexit is indefensible.

A Leavy,
Sutton, Dublin 13

Your print paper beats media in US

Sir — I am in the habit of bringing home, to North Carolina, USA, six or seven copies of print newspapers after my summers which I spend here in Co Kerry.  My local public library holds them for weeks for the desired use by its library visitors. 

Yes, Americans still do read print newspapers.  And, many readers on our side of the pond are frustrated by the shallowness — and bias — of the news coverage of Brexit by all forms of US media. With few exceptions, print media originating in the US doesn’t acknowledge it as newsworthy.

The Sunday Independent of July 14 carried a particularly good reason why Americans find your papers so interesting — the broader and more complete coverage of the potential effects of Brexit.  Samantha McCaughren’s column did a brilliant job on that subject in just a few paragraphs.

The paragraph in McCaughren’s column relating to potential issues with cross-border service calls was of particular interest and something that most of my fellow citizens could relate to — once it was brought to their attention. 

Not being able to have the uninhibited services of an excellent plumber one has used for years because he/she was located one or 100 metres across a border seems ludicrous on its face — but it is one possible effect. I truly hope and pray it does not come to that.

Seamus Stanton,
Kenmare, Co Kerry
(also Atlantic Beach, NC USA)

Land policies prove early Dail played fair

Sir — I note with regret and concern that Eoghan Harris has again alleged the Irish republican movement, under the administration of Dail Eireann from January 1919, engaged in sectarian acts against members of the Protestant community.

However, it is highly significant that Dail Eireann placed members of the Protestant faith in charge of land reform. Robert Barton, a British officer in charge of Irish prisoners during the 1916 Rising, was not only elected a TD for Wicklow in 1918 but also acted as minister for agriculture from August 1919. In that capacity he created a National Land Bank in December 1919 with the aim of helping Irish people acquire land and to improve their farms. Erskine Childers and Lionel Smith Gordon, both of the Protestant faith, were appointed directors of the bank.

Far from driving Protestants from the land, Irish republicans selected Protestants to be in charge of land reform.

I accept this toleration did not survive the Civil War: Protestants, who in the main supported the Treaty, were targeted by those who opposed it. They were discriminated against, however, not because of religion but politics. In the same way those Protestants who opposed the Treaty were confronted by the State. For example, when Erskine Childers was executed, in 1922, he was shot not as a Protestant but as an opponent of the Treaty.

Dr Brian P Murphy OSB,
Glenstal Abbey, Murroe,
Co Limerick

Licence to take away my money

Sir — I turned 70 and though I had several years to go on my driving licence, I was informed I needed to renew it. But never mind, this one would be free.

So I made an appointment at the surgery — a 60km round trip. Though I was the doctor’s first patient, I had a 30-minute wait. Then the doctor signed my application and told me to get it stamped at the desk.

After my form was stamped, I was asked for a payment of €60. That is a quarter of my weekly widow’s pension. But wait! A regular licence costs just €55. So much for my free licence.

Maura Hogan,
Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Loose lips will stop the water drips

Sir — There are a few things we avoid talking about with people who have a short fuse or who do not listen. Politics and religion top this list — now we have to add water.

The latest drip feed in the water saga are the charges and fines by Irish Water on people who waste or use more than their quota. Ten per cent of the population is using 40pc of our water — whether through necessity or wastage we don’t know, and that’s why we avoid it in our neighbourly conversations.

Water is a precious commodity which we must learn to respect. If we do not we must pay for our violation — conversational taboo notwithstanding.

Ken Maher,
Kilcoole, Co Wicklow

We inhaled — and lived to tell tale

Sir — The letter writer of July 14 complaining about smoky coal took me back to being a child in Bantry when we all sat around the No 8 Stanley Range in the kitchen or in the bedrooms in front of the open fires, smoking Woodbines and eagerly awaiting the chimney down draught which caused blowback when we would lean forward to inhale the lovely cloud of this smokiest stuff. A great addition to the fags.

We were never told this was bad for us and we’re all still alive now. Some of us at least.

Robert Sullivan,
Bantry, Co Cork

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