Wednesday 13 November 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'No place for prejudice'

'There should have been better communication - but what I and many others saw in that village was some people masking their prejudice in fake concern for the many genuine difficulties that exist around Direct Provision'. Stock Image: PA
'There should have been better communication - but what I and many others saw in that village was some people masking their prejudice in fake concern for the many genuine difficulties that exist around Direct Provision'. Stock Image: PA
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Sir - I'm writing in response to some letters about Direct Provision in last week's Sunday Independent.

One letter writer argued the protests by a "small community" like Oughterard were "fully justified", pointing to the lack of consultation with the locals and inadequate infrastructure to house the asylum seekers.

Indeed, there should have been better communication - but what I and many others saw in that village was some people masking their prejudice in fake concern for the many genuine difficulties that exist around Direct Provision.

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The celebrations by some locals following news of the cancellation of the centre made for disturbing viewing. They were also an insult to the many Irish emigrants who sought refuge outside Ireland during many periods of hardship.

One letter writer suggested: "Japan and some Eastern European countries restrict immigrant numbers on the grounds of the possible adverse effects on their culture". Those comments are a shocking indictment of the prejudice that exists.

We have so much to learn from the diverse and intriguing nature of our cultures. Interaction is paramount and the key to building a successful and sustainable peaceful lifestyle for us all. Prejudice has no place in modern society.

Declan Monaghan,

Tullamore, Co Offaly


OAPs left behind but we won't forget

Sir - So the pensioners were left behind in the Budget. These are the same people who got up early in the morning all their lives to go to work to support their families, pay taxes and support the building of  the country.

Now in the twilight of their lives, promises and commitments made by Government in confidence and supply in recent years in its pension strategy, to peg the value of the State pension at 34pc to 35pc of the average wage have been shafted on the Brexit excuse. This is the elephant in the Budget room.

But the grey vote has one last card to play as election day looms in spring 2020. Remember, Leo, elephants never forget.

Tom Towey,

Cloonacool, Co Sligo


We've been hit by Pension Extinction

I also get up early every morning like the people Leo Varadkar refers to when he's feeling superior.

As a pensioner, I have worked and paid taxes all of my life in a time when to be young was to have some degree of respect.

Today I get as up early as 6am, being of an age when duty calls from the little room along my landing. Leo and his cohorts certainly did not have all early risers in mind for this budget. It is becoming trendy to tell older folk to sit and be quiet and get out of the way. Pension Extinction.

Robert Sullivan,

Bantry, Co Cork


Budget measures are anti-marriage

Sir - Contrary to reports in some newspapers that a married couple of pensionable age will gain €7 from the Government's 2020 Budget, the opposite is the case.

When you take into account both the cost of living increases over the past year and the imposition of the carbon tax, married couples have in effect lost the modest gains of the past two years. Effectively this Budget is an attack on married pensioners.

It sends out the message to married people that although they have done their best to raise one generation and may be helping to raise another, and have paid their taxes over hard- working years, this Government does not believe in supporting their need to offset increases in the cost of living when they are most in need. And that they will be punished with carbon taxes.

The State pension is an extremely modest €248.30 per week and we all know that TDs and ministers do far better than this, sometimes 10 times better when they retire.

And yet this Government cannot see its way to even give married pensioners a miserly €5 more each in line with previous increases.

In fact, what they should be doing is making sure they have a far more decent State pension than this.

It is an absolute disgrace and clearly an anti-marriage policy.

Fintan J Power,



They don't care about less well-off

Sir - The people on social welfare and old age pensions had no increase in the Budget this year. This proves that our Taoiseach and Government in Dublin care nothing for the poor and the weak members of our society. Shame on them. Have they no honour or respect for the less well-off?

The only politician that spoke for the OAPs and the unemployed was Willie O'Dea. Even though I am not an FF supporter, it is my hope he will be the next leader of his party.

God bless him for speaking up for us in our hour of need.

Martin Ford,



That's it - I will not be voting again

Sir - As an 85-year-old pensioner who once gave the Government a tax cheque for more than €540,000, I have strong feelings - not only for myself, but for all OAPs, at this Government's inaction regarding the pension.

Shame on them. I shall not be voting in the next election and would advise all of like mind not to vote either.

To all those who feel they must vote one way or the other, I would remind them that the Government forgot us OAPs and it will not be too far off the mark if they do not vote.

All governments are the same. No matter who one votes for, once they enter the bandwagon Dail, they award themselves year-on-year pay rises.

Sorry, no vote from me.

Name and address with editor


Moore Street area must be respected

Media reports on the plight of the Moore Street traders and the failure of the authorities to cater for their needs is nothing new. The late Tony Gregory was on this case many years ago and little has changed in the intervening period. What has changed is that this historic area was declared a national monument by a High Court judge after hearing evidence from all interested parties. This led directly to the creation of the advisory group to Culture Minister Josepha Madigan.

That group has now, after long deliberation, issued two reports. Both support the development of this area as an intact 1916 cultural and historic quarter, including the urgent rejuvenation of the street market. This can begin immediately with the support of all interested parties. But what must be borne in mind is that the surrounding streets and laneways that bore witness to history in 1916 must be treated with respect and developed according to that status, and not be lost forever in the commercial interest of private property developers.

We have seen all too recently where this has led us in the past.

James Connolly Heron,

C/0 Pearse Family Home, Dublin


Do DUP bodies lie on this 'pathway'?

Sir - One cannot help wondering if the "pathway'' that Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar see is surfaced with the bodies of the DUP, in much the same way that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Liam Power

Blackrock, Co Louth


Irish answer to an English question

Sir - Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney and the Irish negotiating team have gained much respect in England for how they have maintained an unruffled line in the face of much opposition.

As a Remainer, I am hoping that the Johnson deal will be put to the British electorate, alongside an option to Remain. Not since the turmoil of the 1640s has an issue so deeply divided the peoples of England, Scotland, Wales - and Ireland. But for Ireland to be the catalyst that finally answers this English question is an irony rich in imponderables.

If the settlement being mooted results in the DUP being shaken out of its paranoid clutching-at-historical-straws routines and working more skilfully with the grain of the island it lives on, so much the better, for all of us.

Thank you, Leo. Thank you, Simon.

Paddy McEvoy,

Cambridgeshire, England


This backstop is a sideways move

Sir - It seems the backstop is to be replaced by a sidestep.

Joseph Mackey,

Athlone, Co Westmeath


How I could relate to Eugene

Sir - I just loved the story last week by Eugene O'Brien 'How I ran away from my rugby school - with the Wild Bunch by my side'. How I could relate to it and wished I had done the same.

Just like Eugene, my cowboy imagination helped me survive boarding school in the 1960s. I was the Lone Ranger and spoke to Tonto, but unlike Eugene, I never found the courage to run away.

But, of course, I think maybe John Wayne in True Grit had more courage than the Lone Ranger. "Fill your hands, you son of a b***h" sounds more courageous than "Hi ho Silver away". Write on, Eugene.

Brian McDevitt,

Glenties, Co Donegal


Thanks for great memories, Ulick

"Turn up Ulick", my grandfather used to gleefully say whenever Ireland's embodiment of Renaissance multi-tasking brightened up our Late Late Show screens in the 1970s and 1980s.

Pugilist, poet, pole-vaulter, soccer and rugby player, barrister, playwright, diarist, biographer, literary critic, political agitator, social commentator, TV chat-show panellist. Thank you, Ulick, for the many memories. Ni bheidh do leitheid aris ann.

Chris Fitzpatrick,

Terenure, Dublin 6


Let airlines source fuel from abroad

Sir - I recall hearing on RTE that atmospheric CO2 production is deemed as being generated within the State, where carbon fuel has been bought, rather than from where the fuel is burned.

In one of his recent post-Budget interviews, the Finance Minister was asked why he had not considered imposing a 'carbon tax' on aviation fuel, in his recent Irish Budget.

Paschal Donohoe reasoned that airline operators (who need to purchase aviation fuel at Irish airports) might go elsewhere (to fill their jets with fuel, if he had established such a new tax).

Would forcing airlines flying out of Ireland to have to source their fuel in another jurisdiction not be a good outcome for Ireland, considering that down-the-line carbon 'fines' will have to be paid by the Irish taxpayer on any aviation fuel bought here, but which produces its CO2 across the airspace of other countries?

Tom Baldwin,

Midleton, Co Cork


Bring on well-run rugby Six Nations

Sir - I am looking forward to seeing a fair, honest and well-run rugby tournament. Roll on the Six Nations.

Pat O'Mahony,

Dalkey, Co Dublin


Cattle rustling is costing us millions

Sir - Are people aware of the scale of cattle rustling from Border counties since the Good Friday Agreement and the abolition of customs checks at the Border?

According to the North of Ireland department of agriculture rustling, has amounted to 11,000 head of cattle over three years - or 3,500 head per year. At an average price of €700 per head this amounts to €49m since the elimination of Border checks. And according to the North of Ireland Farmers' Association, these losses do not include stolen farm and other machinery.

Police on both sides of the Border are investigating the thefts but I have yet to see reports of cattle rustlers being caught.

Since the possibility of reintroducing the Border between the North and the South there are continuous rumours of renewed violence at the Border. These rumours are possibly emanating from the criminal elements who would be substantial losers if the Border was re-established.

Hugh Duffy,

Cleggan Co Galway


Shameful backing for this cruel sport

Sir - Earlier this year an RTE programme exposed the cruel and inhumane treatment of Irish greyhounds. This has been going on for years and was mostly ignored by both the industry and governments.

The reality is greyhound racing is a business that generates money based on speed. On an annual basis thousands of dogs start their racing careers, the converse being similar numbers also finish their racing days. End of racing for the majority of dogs dictates end of life.

Over the past 10 years about €100m of taxpayers' money has been used to prop up greyhound racing. More than 300,000 people have signed petitions urging the Government to ban greyhound racing and to stop using taxpayers' money to fund cruelty. A number of companies made the ethical decision to cancel their sponsorship and countless protests continue to be organised.

In allocating €16.8m to the Irish Greyhound Board in last week's Budget the Government sends a clear message of its disregard for public opinion and its unwavering support for this shameful industry.

Mary Fitzpatrick,

Bishopstown, Cork


Lecturer's wish comes to nothing

Sir - Reading Padraic Neary's letter in last week's Sunday Independent reminded of 1993 when I was studying at UCC. Richard Douthwaite's book The Growth Illusion was part of my course and I remember our lecturer saying it should be compulsory reading for politicians. It is obvious he did not get his wish.

Kay Donnelly,

Youghal, Co Cork


Weather experts right to be cautious

Sir - Brendan O'Connor's view 'Nothing wrong with a bit of a storm, once nobody gets hurt' (Sunday Independent, October 6) was so apt and, thank God, in this instance true!

Evelyn Cusack, Gerry Murphy and Co got lambasted for being over-cautious. They would then get lambasted again if it became a red alert for not predicting correctly!

Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

Mike Holland,

Parteen, Co Clare

Sunday Independent

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