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Open state bodies up to all

Sir -- I refer to Emer O'Kelly's article of April 17 -- 'Arts boards in danger of becoming mere parasites'.

I was stunned by the tone and content of Ms O'Kelly's article when she launched an outrageous attack on Government policy and the people of Ireland in relation to 'ordinary' members of the public being eligible for membership of boards of directors of state companies and bodies.

Clearly Ms O'Kelly feels that the 'ordinary or proletariat' do not bring the required levels of sophistry, education, understanding, appreciation and downright ascendancy that befits this great and august profession -- board members -- especially of the arts.

After all, it must be remembered that art is not for the masses but for the sophisticated few who can appreciate and interpret it on behalf of the ordinary person!

What rot -- has Ms O'Kelly failed to understand what is going on in Irish society today?

We want rid of the self-serving attitudes, the innate snobbishness of the 'educated' classes protecting their cosy little clubs funded by those same ordinary taxpaying people -- her comments smack of complacency and are an outright insult to the readers of the paper, let alone a shot across the bows of our new Government.

Wake up Ms O'Kelly -- the world is changing -- the old-world way of doing things has damaged our country beyond belief, with so much of the damage caused by those same protected classes that you would like to see populating state boards -- the status quo. Well, it failed -- it failed spectacularly -- and we need to change the way we run our nation and its bodies.

Perhaps now is the time for the 'ordinary Irish' to apply to show new direction, new moral courage and standards on state boards that has been singularly lacking over the past 10 years. Bring on the peasant and the proletariat and get rid of the Marie-Antoinettes -- and this from a Gonzaga boy.

Maurice Bergin,

Rochestown, Cork

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