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Oireachtas Golf Society debacle called for cool heads – not cries of ‘off with their heads!’

Letters to the Editor


Trouble: Phil Hogan (left) and Seamus Woulfe were both at the ‘golfgate’ dinner. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Trouble: Phil Hogan (left) and Seamus Woulfe were both at the ‘golfgate’ dinner. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Trouble: Phil Hogan (left) and Seamus Woulfe were both at the ‘golfgate’ dinner. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

It really seems time to ask who is in charge of this country?

Have we now got mob rule and trial by media?

Talk about an 'own goal' in the forced resignation of Phil Hogan as EU commissioner.

Personally, I hold no brief for Mr Hogan but he had a high-profile job, the loss of which is likely to lead to even greater difficulty in light of Brexit.

What exactly was the point in forcing his resignation?

He hardly emerged in a positive light from the row over the Oireachtas Golf Society event, but I can certainly think of actions by many of our politicians which were more deserving of their resignation, such as those involved in the HSE, which is failing so many of our people, in my opinion.

The situation called for cool heads and considered action, not listening to calls for 'off with their heads' - particularly when some of those affected could have proved productive in their roles.

So, I ask: who is in charge in our country?

When can we expect a demonstration of courage and competence and an appreciation of the important issues that affect ordinary people?

Most of all, when can we expect a competent health service, one which would lead to a quicker return to normality?

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After all, we are told that with winter approaching, there is worse to come.

It amazes me that there is less outrage over this than over the non-observance of imposed restrictions.

Mary Stewart

Donegal town, Co Donegal


No covering up the power of wearing a face mask

The protesters who won't wear a mask remind me of the story of two men and a priest in a little row boat.

The boat sprang a leak. They hurriedly rowed back towards the nearest shore.

One, panicking, said, "Father, will I say a prayer?"

The priest said, "Do, but keep rowing."

Protest all you want but wear a mask.

John Williams

Clonmel, Co Tipperary


Hysteria surrounding Clifden affair disgusting

I refer to an article on your website Independent.ie that has the headline, 'McGuinness, Fitzgerald, Coveney… or Varadkar? Who will take vital seat in Brussels', as if it were a given that whoever replaces Phil Hogan will get the European Commission's trade portfolio.

I am as unimpressed by the Clifden shindig as anyone, but the hysterical and "lynch them" reaction is disgusting.

The country cannot continue to be run in semi-lockdown. Things have to normalise. Life is riskier: people are going to have to accept that and get out there and enjoy themselves and live with that knowledge. I am sick of the hand-wringing and the constant "whine-line" that RTÉ has become.

All across the globe people contend with many serious infectious diseases on a daily basis and in much worse living conditions than we enjoy. It is time for people to cop on and get a grip.

People will wear a mask and observe hand hygiene - but after six months of negativity that's the height of compliance they will give.

Mary Matthews

Address with editor


A discreet word could have gone a long way

Over the wooden entrance to a shrine at Nikko, north of Tokyo, there are carved the famous three wise monkey: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

I find it hard to imagine that Messrs Martin, Varadkar and Ryan did not know, or no one close to them - no private secretary, no official, no minder, no adviser, no party whip, no political ally - knew of the Oireachtas Golf Society event in high pandemic.

And no Fine Gael former Taoiseach and no Labour former Tánaiste accepting invitations and playing at the daytime golf event, but not attending the dinner, thought to have a word, with the national interest in mind? So, not seeing, not hearing… but what about speaking?

Why send loud messages over the airwaves to Mr Hogan when they could have asked to speak privately with him and explain the serious situation to him in person, with an expert present to explain guidelines and answer questions? And, since he was in the very important EU Commission trade post at a critical time for Ireland, and had already shown a shrewdness in weighing in on Northern Ireland, not unappreciated by Northern unionists, why not help him and them out of their local difficulty? Three unwise monkeys?

Declan O'Donovan

Former Ambassador to Japan

Dalkey, Co Dublin


Why talk of a second lockdown is out of step

While Spain and other countries, such as Sweden, are still seeing many new coronavirus cases, the associated deaths are dropping towards zero. A similar pattern is observed in Ireland and the UK. Thus it is outrageous for Stephen Donnelly and the Nphet to be scare-mongering about another lockdown, when the worst of this situation, in terms of deaths, has clearly passed.

Another lockdown will prove once and for all that this entire situation has been engineered to foment some type of global reset or economic collapse, and our foolish politicians are going along with it.

A Rogers



Is it possible to imagine Donald pulling it off?

Ivanka Trump said at the Republican National Convention, that her father "isn't deterred by defeatist thinkers. The word 'impossible', well, it only motivates him". I wish that her father would be motivated to do the impossible: sow harmony between people no matter their colour, politics or circumstance; address the chasm between wealthy and poor by supporting progressive taxation; face up to the dangers of global warning; consider the air Americans breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, the healthcare and education their state provides, and how those things could help them live long healthy lives.

Could he do the impossible? Could he steer America to become a nation that honours the collective good ahead of individual greed? I doubt it.

But I suspect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris could give it a try.

Alison Hackett

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin


An industry where many have reaped the benefits

I wish to address the socio-economic and environmental impact of mining. The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment recently published an assessment of the Galmoy mine, in Co Kilkenny, and Lisheen mine, in Co Tipperary, in this context.

The intention was to provide information on how a rural community might be affected.

The mines produced about seven million tonnes of zinc and lead concentrate between 1997 and 2015. They also gave jobs to over 550 people, 75pc of whom lived within 30km of the operations. They supported nearly 800 other jobs in the wider economy.

This contributed over €300m to the national exchequer, adding €1.6bn to our economy.

Yet while there has been much emphasis on the metals required for a low-carbon future, such as lithium for electrical vehicles, it is often forgotten that there will also be increased requirements for 'traditional' metals, like, zinc, copper and lead.

For the past 60 years, our country has been a significant supplier of zinc and lead to European industry. Over the years infrastructural development - necessary for the operations - led to direct benefits for locals.

These included road improvements and telecommunications and power upgrades. All of these developments supported the establishment of other businesses - during operations and post-closure - including a 30-turbine wind farm at Lisheen, which supplies power to 14,200 homes.

As with any industrial development there were too some unavoidable impacts. Depression of the local groundwater table during operations was mitigated by replacement water supply schemes.

As an industry with the potential for fatalities and serious injuries, mines must operate under strict health and safety standards.

While no fatality or accident is acceptable, their record bears comparison with those in agriculture and construction.

Eamonn Grennan

Co Sligo

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