Letters to the Editor: 'There is another world out there in our country, and it’s one that I salute'
I'm on the 11 o'clock train, from Galway back to Dublin, on Sunday morning. I was there in September too. I hadn't been there since we were all sent to the Gaeltacht, bean an tí, etc, to come back with the Gaeilge.
It's not another part of the country. It IS another country.
No one blasts you out of it if you cross the road in Eyre Square at the wrong place. I did it accidentally, and then tested the theory, not once but twice. I kind of walked out slowly to see what would happen. Twice, the motorists stopped and waved me across. I'm not a meek little individual, by any means, they didn't seem to be charitable, just, well, sort of decent.
On the four train journeys, I didn't hear the F-word once.
I overheard some conversations, very normal young people, chatting, and I heard two guys, in suits, about 40, talking about saving for their kids' college.
No cider flagons, no one saying did you hear the f...ing latest, no intimidation of any kind.
On the return train, young people pushed bikes onto the train, student-looking people in their 20s, not one of them aggressive, or drinking, etc.
In the Galway shops, the young workers are relaxed. They smile and say thank you. When I bought the papers, one young guy in his 20s actually said "Thank you, God bless", and, no, I wasn't hearing things.
I stared at him, just to check reality, and he definitely wasn't, as is said up here, taking the p***.
I'll be in Heuston shortly. Thank you, God bless.
Terenure, Dublin 6w
We must remember that China relies on the West
Sean O'Grady writes about President Trump's trade war with China that he "cannot accept the fundamental truth about China: it makes things very cheaply because it has a vast low-wage workforce and has invested in manufacturing. It is as simple as that" ('Any war with China - trade or armed - will be hard to win', Irish Independent, November 1). I don't think it is as simple as that.
First of all, China no longer makes things very cheaply: the average wage in Beijing and Shanghai is more than $1,400 (€1,230) a month, while in Bangladesh it is $60 a month, hence China is now outsourcing its labour-intensive manufacturing to cheaper countries. A similar thing happened to Ireland: in the 1990s, companies like Sennheiser were outsourcing to Ireland because the Irish average wage was 30pc below the average OECD wage, and while this may not seem that much, Ireland also had access to the single market, and it had low taxes. This was then replaced by the credit-driven "If I have it, I'll spend it" mentality, and a similar thing happened to China, which became a country not as much of ghost estates as of entire ghost metropolises.
Secondly, it's far from obvious that "any kind of war with China would be difficult to win". Remember the panic in China when President Trump issued an order banning ZTE from US operations? It nearly bankrupted the Chinese telecom giant. The truth is that Chinese companies still depend on Western technology transfers.
Yes, China can dispose of its $1.2trillion worth of US government bonds - but then what? It's China that relies on and benefits from exports to the US, not the other way round.
Last but not least, the Ceann Comhairle's warning to TDs and senators that contacts with Taiwan will offend the Chinese government was very misguided. What if the US officially recognises Taiwan? Will Ireland sacrifice its biggest export market (the US) for the market to which Ireland exports less than it does to Switzerland?
Bray, Co Wicklow
When it comes to blame, better the devil you know
In response to Harry Charalambou's letter (Irish Independent, November 3) quoting Helen Gately, who in turn quotes Professor Richard Geraghty's claims that the Devil is ruling the world: I submit the Devil is not doing a very good job and should be sacked.
Clonmel, Co Tipperary
TDs should be ashamed of latest move on abortion
For too long, Irish politicians relied on abortion services in Britain to provide 'an Irish solution to an Irish problem' for women with crisis pregnancies.
As part of the abortion legislation now going through the Oireachtas, a small group of TDs is trying to introduce a new criminal offence for a woman not to have a burial or a cremation after an abortion, irrespective of when or where the medical procedure takes place.
This is a naked attempt to import a 'solution' from the American anti-abortion lobby to what these TDs clearly see as the problem of the Irish electorate having voted by a landslide for provision to be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies in Ireland.
How do they propose to enforce this amendment? Will the guards be asked to make house calls on women who have taken GP-prescribed abortion pills at home, to inspect the outcome and ensure the forced funeral law is upheld?
What will be the criminal sanctions imposed on the women and doctors paraded through the courts for non-compliance?
The referendum result in May this year signalled an end to the decades of shaming and stigmatising people who need access to abortion services.
The TDs attempting to bring in this law should be ashamed of themselves.
London (formerly of Kerry, Limerick and Dublin)
The perilous cost of spending a penny
I don't know if you've realised this yourself, but you should never sit on the toilet if you've left your smart phone in the back pocket of your jeans... without first taking it out.
Bantry, Co Cork