Sunday 15 September 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Our leaders could learn from May’s determination to represent the voters'

Hapless: British PM Theresa May has battled furiously amid splits in her own part. Photo: PA
Hapless: British PM Theresa May has battled furiously amid splits in her own part. Photo: PA
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

While the Irish seem to have very long memories, particularly when it comes to our historical grievances and grudges, we have rather short memories when it comes to collective decisions for which we feel a tacit shame.

Quite apart from our understandable anxiety over the associated economic fallout expected from Brexit, down through our media (including 'social') there is a rather vindictive glee over the dilemma upon whose horns Theresa May sits uncomfortably, but a swift look in the mirror ought perhaps to put manners on our smugness.

At least the British prime minister, however hapless her efforts and absurd her position (a remainer suing for separation), has battled furiously amidst splits in her own party and government against an unforgiving wall of European adversity.

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What did our representatives do in 2002 and 2008? Lacking Mrs May's spine and like frustrated babysitters they condescended to not accept our democratic decisions over Nice and Lisbon respectively and herded us back into the booths, recognising our inherent docility, and instructed us 'no, no, no, now do it again until you get it right'.

We ought to take note of this, but we won't. Our rulers, for that's what they are, know us too well.

Martin Kelleher

Athlone, Co Westmeath


RTÉ punches below its weight on Taylor's success

Throughout Sunday, December 16, RTÉ Television broadcast a number of sports reports. These reports followed the RTÉ primetime news bulletins at 6pm and 9pm.

The lead sports items covered were soccer reports from the English and Scottish Premier Leagues. The third sporting item covered by RTÉ was a report on Bray boxer Katie Taylor's successful defence of her IBF and WBA world lightweight titles, having beaten Eva Wahlstrom by unanimous decision at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York.

If it was the case that a male Irish boxer had matched the spectacular achievement of Katie Taylor in retaining two world titles, would the sports department in RTÉ regard the result as more worthy of headline sports news? Regrettably, I believe it would.

Despite commemorating the centenary of women's suffrage in the December 1918 election, it seems that Irish women in sport have yet to be afforded the recognition that men apparently enjoy from the national broadcaster.

RTÉ has managed to deliver a knockout blow to Katie Taylor's fighting achievements outside the ring, something no one has managed to do inside the ring.

Tom Cooper

Templeogue, Dublin


We must give our children memories they'll treasure

At a certain point we realise our youth has started to fade and it's not just the creaky knees or the occasional forgotten name, but more the passing names from TV shows gone from the memories of youth that cements it.

The latest lost name is Ken Berry - Captain Parmenter from 'F Troop'. He, Gilligan and Maxwell Smart were all there providing a laugh after a day at school when there were few other laughs. The shows were of their time and probably wouldn't make it today, especially 'F Troop' and its racism.

TV has many role models, from Tony Soprano to Dick Van Dyke, the good, bad and ugly of the world. Children of the 60s had their role models, from the heroes like Batman, the historical like Daniel Boone, or the future like Captain Kirk, but what of the present children? Who will they remember fondly in their dotage - some Instagrammer, a Facebook social influencer, a wrestling promoter turned president?

We need to create a worthwhile present for our children to vaguely remember fondly in their old age, as what we have now may not be worth remembering.

Dennis Fitzgerald

Box Hill, Melbourne, Australia


Homing in on the reasons for our housing crisis

Evelyn Harte writes: "Thanks to market forces, the powers-that-be have stopped pushing upon the idea of renting for life" (Irish Independent, Letters, December 17).

This is akin to saying that thanks to market forces more and more people in Dublin swap Dublin Bus for cycling - rather than "thanks" to the fact that the greedy bus monopoly extorts the world's most expensive fares (even in Venice the residents pay only €1.50 for a trip of a few kilometres, as opposed to a €3 cash fare here, not to mention that London's monthly bus and tram pass costs only half of Dublin's, while delivering a far better service).

High rents in Dublin can be attributed to many factors (past and present), among them height restrictions, near-zero interest rates set by central banks (and these are not run by market forces) which fuel property speculation, or the fact that many planning permissions are refused even though within the M50, 47pc of Dublin's total space is green grass (not to be confused with gardens).

Ms Harte notices that people "can't get on the property ladder and are now paying extortionate rents" - what she fails to notice is that the reason why people can't get on the property ladder is not because too high a percentage of Ireland's property market is rental but rather because the rental market is too small.

Ireland's home-ownership rate, though the lowest since 1971, is still higher than in the US or England, and more than 50pc higher than in richer Switzerland.

In other words, not too many people rent in Ireland but too few (incidentally, there are more empty council house bedrooms in Dublin than homeless).

I agree that, ideally, everyone should own their house.

In reality though, for young Irish graduates, the alternative to renting is not home ownership but living with their parents or moving to cheaper destinations.

Grzegorz Kolodziej

Bray, Co Wicklow


Santa could be facing a battle over elf and safety

Untactful suggestion: what next...a tachograph on Santa's sleigh?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, D9

Irish Independent

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