Friday 21 June 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Preserve our precious park'

Michael and Danny Healy-Rae
Michael and Danny Healy-Rae
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Sir - I read this past week, with the greatest of dismay, some of the proposals for the Phoenix Park - such as the Office of Public Works' suggestion of a lodge change of use for holiday lettings, and other proposals for increased car parking and retail outlets of some sort.

The Phoenix Park - as far as I know - belongs to the people of Ireland and should not be turned into a car park or rental accommodation park or retail outlet in any form, be it small or large.

I have never been involved in any manner with groups or bodies of people objecting to anything in this wonderful country of ours - but, on the face of it, this really is a step too far.

Have we not learned anything from the children who have been standing on the streets of capitals over the last few months calling for change to protect our environment?

Do we really want to turn the Phoenix Park into a car park and private letting accommodation area?

This may be my first foray into revolution - but I hope sense prevails.

Patrick Kelly,
Dublin 15

Dubs go dotty, country is dotless

Sir — When the Healy-Raes were first elected to the Dail, they celebrated by playing a melodeon on the roof of a car outside Leinster House. I felt at the time that I had nothing in common with them.

The past few weeks, however, have made me realise that the Healy-Raes are right. Our Government has entirely lost touch with the rest of Ireland.

I did a simple exercise. I took a blank map of Ireland and put dots in where ministers are located. There are a lot of dots in Dublin and south Dublin. The rest of the country is dotless.

Our Government seems populated with people who lack emotional intelligence. They lack selflessness and empathy. They have more spin than an industrial washing machine.

Flippant remarks about homelessness, bizarre obsessions with Kylie Minogue and recommendations that young people ask their parents for deposits to buy houses serve to amplify my concerns.

So, I never thought that when I saw the Healy-Raes standing on that car roof with their melodeon that I would one day be in their corner.

It is time to take the country back from south Dublin.

Xavier McCullough,
Mount Green, Limerick

Mary Lou needs to have another bash

Sir — The reason why Sinn Fein did not do as well as expected in the local elections and indeed the European elections also is, in my opinion, very evident.

Mary Lou is a great orator and she can hold her own with anyone in Leinster House.

However, talking about issues “around this and around that” will not get it done for the real Shinner.

He or she needs more than that.

There has to be Brit bashing, and Free State politics bashing and Come Out Ye Black and Tans and a few other old tunes... coupled with the housing problems, and the state of the Dept of Health, and Simon Harris bashing, and Eoghan Murphy bashing.

Now you’re talking, Mary Lou...

Get with the programme, a chailin.

Pat Burke Walsh,
Ballymoney, Co Wexford

Recount a waste of time and money

Sir — How utterly appalled I was to read of the recount requested by Liadh Ni Riada in the European election in the Ireland South constituency.

This recount will take three weeks at a rough cost of €1m. This is despite the fact that the recheck last Thursday of 200,000 papers resulted in Ms Ni Riada picking up ONE solitary vote.

So now the results will be delayed by a further four weeks with considerable resources and money involved.

When we see homelessness growing, special needs children unable to gain access to suitable education, and cutbacks in home help, how can this be justified?

Surely common sense should have prevailed and Sinn Fein’s need to have full confidence in the outcome should have been overruled. There is no way the results are going to be changed in any significant manner.

What a monumental waste of time, energy and money that could have been used so much more wisely.

Mary Quinn,
Johnstown Road, Dun Laoghaire

Is it only me who thinks like this?

Sir — The wisest one, Socrates, said we should always ask tough questions. So here goes:

1. Why is Ireland, and other countries, getting more MEPs, following Brexit, when the EU will be smaller, and have millions of inhabitants fewer?

2. Are we not already adequately represented in the European Parliament?

3. Is this not just a lot of expensive nonsense?

4. Am I the only person raising this issue?

Sean Quinn,
Blackrock, Co Dublin

Colm speaks sense on Green matters

Sir — In the wake of the recent electoral ‘Green Awakening’, Colm McCarthy’s supreme salience and assiduous attention to the realities of all things climatic bodes poorly for those who are seriously motivated. His commentary last week (Sunday Independent, May 26) should be compulsory reading and demands an urgent statutory response.

“It is all very well for Dail Eireann to declare a climate emergency, but there are serious policy issues which have not been addressed,” concludes McCarthy. He’s right. Speaking out of both sides of the mouth seems de rigueur in terms of climate action. Power-station vagaries apart, Ireland is fooling itself in its drive for electric vehicles, since the current grant incentives cannot last if uptake soars, and further demands on the national grid ignite.

Whatever happened to the ‘Reduce-movement’ of yester-year?

The over-obsession with welcoming electricity-greedy data centres will blow demand out of the water — “25pc of European capacity for data centres looks suspiciously high”.

All this could scupper the efforts of even the most well-intentioned green folk, given the universal lassitude of governments to seriously approach climate issues.

They do so with aspirational zest, rather than a practical commitment to action. What is immediately required is a dynamic crusade of outspoken querying and harrying of all major developments in this country and abroad. We may be minor culprits in the global league, but we must collectively strive to do our own utmost best.

Ireland enjoys an enhanced influence in several zones of international kudos. So while we must embrace the climate charge with sustained vigour ourselves, we must also embark on a relentless exhortation to all and sundry elsewhere.

We have only just begun. We can now make a renewed, vibrant start by acquainting ourselves fully with the realities and ramifications identified by Colm McCarthy. Keeping these in mind at all times, will not allow our sensibilities dwindle. Time and truth are of the essence.

Jim Cosgrove,
Lismore, Co Waterford

Our soldiers need a good rise in pay

Sir — I was listening on the radio last week about the pay Irish soldiers receive.

It’s less than minimum pay guidelines, less than the living wage. This is unacceptable.

In the interest of natural justice and pay equality, this has to be rectified. Our Army, our soldiers, should be valued.

No procrastination, please.

Margaret Walshe,
Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Moral case lies in boost to Defence

Sir — Commandant Cathal Berry, now retired, is to be commended for his stance in highlighting the persistent difficulties and challenges facing the Defence Forces and its members and the disingenuous attitude of the Department of Defence, An Taoiseach and the Government. In particular, I admire his moral courage in addressing the issues of pay and of civilian management — moral courage which, in my experience, is less valued and appreciated than ‘gung-ho’ demonstrations of physical courage in the defence community.

It’s time now for the Taoiseach and his Government — knowing that the Defence Forces cannot, by tradition and statute, exert the more ‘physical’ industrial relations methods available to nurses, teachers and other public servants — to show a comparative level of moral courage and decency and promptly address the embarrassing state of our Defence Forces.

Michael Gannon,
(retired colonel), Kilkenny

Journalists keep society accountable

Sir — Adrian Weckler’s excellent column (Sunday Independent Business section, May 26) on the future of the media, asks many questions on the relevance of news in modern society.

In the not-too-distant past, news and information were sought after and had a monetary value.

Along with daily and weekly newspapers, many households also had subscriptions to Time magazine or Reader’s Digest. Door-to-door salesmen sold Encyclopedia Britannica and the World Book.

But the availability of free information online has now destroyed that business model — just as internet shopping has led to the closure of many shops and businesses throughout the country.

When the National Broadband Plan is delivered and every home in Ireland has fibre broadband, further casualties are likely.

Ireland’s journalists provide an important service to the population, uncovering many stories of national importance and investigating scandals, with the late Veronica Guerin giving her life for the cause.

Our journalists keep society accountable for their actions.

We cannot afford to lose them in the vast abyss of the internet.

James Harnett,
Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick

How to handle Trump’s big ego

Sir — Like many, I hope Donald Trump declines (as he would see it) to grace us with a visit.

However, I don’t think it would be wise for political and economic reasons if there were public demonstrations opposing his visit.

Given his large adolescent ego, it would make him feel stumped if he were ignored by most of the citizens of our republic.

Tony Moriarty,
Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6

Roots of a solution to city’s tree debate

Sir — Two items in the Sunday Independent of May 26 have combined to prompt me to air a view I’ve held for quite some time and it is in regard to trees.

Your correspondent on the Letters page, David Hennessey, advocates the retention of urban trees in addition to the planting of new ones to enhance “the beauty of the city”. And on the other hand, Zozimus (aka Liam Collins) would be in favour of the removal of the trees on Merrion Road to accommodate a bus corridor. Both David Hennessey and Zozimus make good points to my mind.

I’m not familiar with Merrion Road nor of course the trees; my concern is that there seems to be no policy by the civic authorities to monitor the age of the city’s trees by removing and replanting. I have a personal interest in this matter for there are trees — London Plane, I believe — on my road, probably planted when the houses were built and that’s more than 100 years ago! As Zozimus says: “Roots are destroying large sections of pathways.” The trunks on our trees take up one half of the footpath, creating a difficulty for pedestrians and people with children in buggies.

The lack of moisture means that autumn comes on our road in June with the fall of the leaf-clogging roof gutters and street drains.

An old tree is a hazard. I have occasion to remember a tree falling on Waterloo Road some years ago, for I drove up that road at approximately 3pm and two hours later a large tree fell, unfortunately resulting in a fatality.

Briefly, to sum up, for Dublin’s trees, retain and plant — remove if they impede road transport, if old, remove and replant.

Patrick Fleming,
Glasnevin, Dublin 9

Coombe Hospital offers terminations

Sir — It was unfortunate that Sarah Caden’s article, ‘In a situation of ‘no hope’ was there just one choice?, (Sunday Independent, May 26) contained a significant inaccuracy about services being provided at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital.

The article claimed that only two of the Dublin Maternity Hospitals are offering medical terminations and stated that the Coombe Hospital is not offering the [medical termination] service.

This is inaccurate and wholly misleading as medical terminations are offered in the Coombe.

I should be grateful if you would draw your readers’ attention to this.

Dr Sharon Sheehan,

Master, Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital,
Dublin

Proud record of hidden warriors

Sir — Were the Irish at Waterloo? Yes, indeed. We had the top man there — a Dub — plus maybe 10,000 Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Were the Irish at Rorke’s Drift? Yes, indeed. Surgeon Reynolds from Kingstown and Castleknock won a VC there.

Did any Irishmen turn up at D-Day? What a silly question. Dan Harvey has just written a timely book on the Irish at D-Day — to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

You don’t have to look too far to find a list of the 111 Trinity College War Dead in 1939-1945 — however, don’t look in Trinity, as the college is still without a memorial to them in the place that they loved and honoured.

We are still campaigning for a memorial for them.

We owe an enormous debt to Dan Harvey in telling the world how much we have to be proud of here in Ireland and how much has been hidden from view in our long and tragic history.

Gerald Morgan,
Dublin 4

Sunday Independent

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