Wednesday 17 July 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Women waiting for a plinth'

'One I can think of is Mrs Doyle of Father Ted fame. She'd look great holding a cup of tea with her squinting eye - ah, the way she might look at you...'
'One I can think of is Mrs Doyle of Father Ted fame. She'd look great holding a cup of tea with her squinting eye - ah, the way she might look at you...'
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Sir - It probably has been said many times before now, but I'm going to say it again: there's an awful lack of statues of women in our country.

The whole country seems to be awash with men,from politicians to pop stars, from the sporting world and the entertainment world.

Nearly all are of Irishmen - with the exception of Charlie Chaplin, standing within a hurley's distance of Mick O'Dwyer in Waterville, Co Kerry.

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Every town in Ireland must have one or two statues. Mallow has two - one of Thomas Davis and one of John Fitzgerald. Besides the fictional Molly Malone, and Nano Nagle, how many other statues of notable women are there? I see Luke Kelly has two plinths to himself. Glad the sunglasses are gone, though.

I wonder what are the requisites for an inclusion into the great Hall of Fame selection process.

As of late, Ireland seems to be scraping the bottom of the barrel, in finding exemplary worthy people to mount the new vacant plinths. Surely be to God, there must be some women in our recent or distant past who would get the public clamouring for a statue.

One I can think of is Mrs Doyle of Father Ted fame. She'd look great holding a cup of tea with her squinting eye - ah, the way she might look at you...

Which reminds me - if we were really stuck, how about putting Sally O'Brien on a plinth?

Holly Barrett,

Mallow, Co Cork


If only Adams would go away for good

Sir - Gerry Adams, then the Sinn Fein president, speaking at a rally at Belfast City Hall in 1995 accused the British government of strangling the peace process and warned that the IRA "hadn't gone away".

Just last week Adams, delivering a graveside oration to a former chief of staff of the Provisionals, stated the IRA were right to stand up and fight against British rule in Northern Ireland, and as a consequence all that followed as a result of this conflict. It's a pity Adams wouldn't do us all a favour and go away for good.

Paschal Feeney,

Gen-Sec Garda Siochana Retired Members' Association


We should know the boys' names

Sir - When the age of criminal responsibility is 12 years, why is there so much jumping up and down for fear we might find out the name of a guilty party?

The name of any victim of serious crime is bandied about without sanction. So being named as a perpetrator ought to be part of a guilty verdict - regardless of age. Ana Kriegel is the only victim in this case. The hurt will live on in the hearts of those who cared for her.

The killers' redemption is not ours to grant. But not knowing their names won't hurry any process towards rehabilitation of their hearts and minds.

Robert Sullivan,

Bantry, Co Cork


Young don't know how lucky they are

Sir - We are so much better off now than previously, yet our younger generation is still not content. Never before have there been so many cars on the road. In my young days if one had a bicycle one was well off.

My father and mother rented a small house and had difficulty raising the rent of two shillings - less than €10 in today's money.

When radio appeared, there was only one family who could afford one and everybody went to their house to listen to the Sunday game. Now we have TVs and PCs and see things from all over the world.

Previously our toilets were outdoor and we ate indoors. Now we eat outside and our toilets are inside.

Really, we ought to be grateful for what we have.

Michael Kiely,

Ovens, Co Cork


How did we all turn out so selfish?

Sir - I cannot bear to see children dying as shown on the news, thousands of little ones in dire straits with hunger and starvation. Poor mothers and fathers unable to do anything.

Today there are millions of people experiencing starvation in Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and north east Nigeria. Millions of children will die of hunger.

Meanwhile in this part of the world, we talk about useless topics like Brexit and the weather until we're blue in the face. We have the craic, the music, the fun. We clap each other on the backs, we're a great little country.

I think we have too much. Too much food, too much money, too much material wealth - and we don't care about how the other half of the world lives. Are we not living in a cocoon?

I'd like to be able to think of a great wise answer to my questions but I can't. Can anyone explain how we grew so selfish?

Terry Healy, Kill, Co Kildare


State shouldn't back dog cruelty

Sir - What a shocker the RTE Investigates programme on the greyhound industry was. Thousands of Irish greyhounds culled due to over-breeding. Dogs shot for as little as €10 per animal. Greyhounds with their ears burned off by acid to avoid identification, greyhounds doped up to make them run faster.

And then we were reminded that cruel hare coursing, banned almost everywhere else, is part of our greyhound industry.

According to the programme, well-known coursing officials have attended "unregulated" coursing fixtures held on Whiddy Island, with footage showing a ferry packed with coursing fans and their greyhounds.

Coursing clubs claim to be concerned for the welfare of the hare. Yet we saw clear images of prominent coursing men, caught in the act of unregulated coursing.

And the Government and Fianna Fail politicians wringing their hands all voted against the 2016 Bill proposing a ban on hare coursing and in favour of State funding of the greyhound racing/hare baiting racket. This chamber of horrors should not receive a cent of taxpayers' money, let alone €16m.

John Fitzgerald,

Callan, Co Kilkenny


Norway's not as green as it seems

Sir - Geraldine Herbert ('Norse code can fuel green revolution', Sunday Independent June 23) paints a rose-coloured picture of the Norwegian capital. Norway also has the largest share of electric car use in the world and ranks third among rich countries for its low carbon-intensive economy.

But Norway is one of the world's largest exporters of oil and gas, making a big black stain on its green image. If you include emissions from its exported fossil fuels as part of Norway's carbon footprint - 500m tonnes of CO2 equivalents are emitted from Norway's oil and gas exports every year to the roughly 50m tonnes emitted by activities within its borders.

That would take it from third place on the OECD's list of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP to last place.

This has been compared to selling arms to a country that is at war and committing atrocities and not taking responsibility because you're not the one pulling the trigger.

Just counting emissions from within a country's borders does not make sense in a global economy where consumption is so interconnected

Norway likes to tell the world about its renewable energies, yet exploits our natural resources, seemingly without a second thought. Norway green launders its economy by exporting its huge ecological footprint.

Norway's greenhouse gas emissions may be low, but if you count all of the emissions it "exports" abroad in petroleum sales, it becomes the seventh largest emissions emitter in the world. The hypocrisy of Norwegian politics and economics means the population pretends it is a do-gooder, while capitalism and power games encourage investment in harmful resource extraction and destructive marine exploitation.

Norway better hope that other cities don't follow Oslo's example. Because if they do then the demand for fossil fuels will plummet.

As they say in the fjords, Vennlig hilsen og lykke til (Kind regards and happiness to you).

Paul Cleary, (14 years in Norway),

Castleknock, Dublin 15


Warming policy smacks of spin

Sir - I am frightened by the Government's proposals to combat global warming. Economics is the science of probability. Spin is the art of making the possible believable. But where are the arts and sciences building the batteries needed to power the tractors~ and lorries?

Government policy on beef and dairy would be a good one - if humans could eat grass.

They also have a plan to bring broadband to every rural house at an enormous cost. The income tax rates are 20pc and 40pc and the standard rate of VAT charged on what we buy is 23pc - making a grand total of 74pc.

Add in the house tax and the carbon tax (maybe even the pension levy) and we're already working for buttons.

Despite the recovery and the increase in the number of jobs, ordinary people cannot afford to buy a house and insulate and heat it. So something must break.

Stephen Fallon,

Barrington Street, Limerick


Trump leads us to unhappiness

Sir - Donald Trump, amid his threats to Iran, is pontificating on how Ireland will do "so very well" out of the ultimate outworking of the Tory leadership contest and the subsequent Brexit negotiations, or the lack thereof.

I find myself conflicted when I listen to Trump. This man is one of the richest people on the planet and yet he carries no health warning to that effect to those who give their allegiance, and often their lives too, to a man they call "the saviour of the world".

Have I missed something or are his supporters simply worshipping the god of money by implying that Trump is an acceptable leader in the world? I think it was Jesus who said that you cannot serve God and money - so where does that leave us?

This is a man who has revelled in using the vast wealth he inherited and amassed to manipulate all and sundry, it seems, to do his bidding. People who have no money are "losers". How can that ever be when Jesus had none too?

Or is there no ethical position from which to take on Trump? What about true happiness which can never involve wealth?

We need to ask the question, is Trump happy? Aren't all the things he does - manipulating people, amassing great wealth, and buying off friends and foes alike - indicative of an unhappy man?

Ireland could do worse at this tense time, with what appears likely to be a new more aggressive British prime minister and a very possible no-deal Brexit, than to recall the dream of former President Eamon de Valera of children dancing in the fields of Ireland. We're a long way from that now, and Trump wants to keep on that track as he leads us to an unhappy world.

John O'Connell,



Beware danger of these silent cars

Sir - I recently narrowly avoided being hit by an electric car in a public car park. I'm not by any means deaf but I walked in front of a car - which was thankfully going very slowly.

The vehicle made no sound.

So will we wait for someone to be killed before we insist that electric only cars be fitted with a sound effect?

Kevin O'Connor,


Co Kerry


Watch out, minister, judgement day nears

Sir - God bless my memory! I recall Paschal Donohoe, the Finance Minister, saying on the front page of the Sunday Independent in December, 2017: "Judge us on how we solve the housing crisis."

The next general election is the day of judgement.

George Murray,

Adare, Co Limerick


It's time RTE Sport lifted its game

Sir - I was appalled by the lack of coverage on the RTE Nine O'Clock News last Sunday of the Ironman competition in Youghal, Co Cork.

The lead story on the RTE sports section was that of Dublin's facile win over Meath. Surely the 2,500 field of global athletes deserved a minor mention at least?

It's possible that Ireland's Bryan McCrystal may be thinking the same after coming second to a double Olympic gold winner. Shame on RTE Sport, which will continually show GAA HQ as its home.

Sean Casey,

Killarney, Co Kerry

Dubs don't deserve unfair criticism

Sir - The GAA Championship season is barely at the halfway mark and already the Dubs are being subjected to much more 'close marking' off the field than on it.

Complaints that they have killed the Leinster Championship, that they are advantaged with Croke Park as the venue for the vast majority of their games and that they are granted a disproportionate amount of funding, are among the niggling and 'off the ball' tackles directed at them.

This isn't the first time that there has been a dominant team in Gaelic Games, the Kerry footballers of the 1970s and the Kilkenny hurlers come immediately to mind. Neither football, nor hurling, nor the championships in which these sides participated died because of these 'dynasties'.

The message is clear, therefore, to the football community: focus maximum energy, contrariness and guile on surpassing the standards set by this Dublin team.

For those who do so, the potential for their county and for the game of Gaelic football will be immense.

Michael Gannon,

Thomas Square, Kilkenny


The seven social sins of today

Sir - I've got a little list of today's social sins, and I'd love to share them with you:

Wealth without work

Pleasure without conscience

Knowledge without character

Commerce without morality

Science without humanity

Worship without sacrifice

Politics without principle

Pat O'Callaghan,

Mallow, Co Cork


Taking a wild dip does you wonders

Sir - As someone who has been swimming in the "wild Atlantic waves" for the past 40-odd years, I loved Billy Ryle's mythical story on your letters page last week ('Longest day and a dip in sea', Sunday Independent, June 23).

I'm not too sure about any of that youthful vigour floating around that Billy alludes to - but believe me, no matter what age, a refreshing dip in the sea does absolute wonders for one's mental health.

Brian McDevitt,

Glenties, Co Donegal

Sunday Independent

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