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Stop quibbling over drivers and run the country

Letters to the Editor


'Our public representatives should get stuck in or resign.' (stock image)

'Our public representatives should get stuck in or resign.' (stock image)

'Our public representatives should get stuck in or resign.' (stock image)

I am on the floor. I would be wailing at the crane house wall in Clonbur but for the public embarrassment of it.

Not wailing in empathy with those who didn’t get extra lolly and status in the divvy givvy, but at what we as a country are facing in the midst of an unprecedented economic upheaval.

Our public representatives should get stuck in or resign. The day of ‘look at me and my garda driver’ is well gone.

My God, we have to be nervous about it. If it were our children being belligerent on the Saturday playing pitch, we might be prompted to say, “Is there any possibility that you might grow up?”

Noel Mannion

Clonbur, Co Galway


Having a gas? No – I’m a professional screen belcher

The Great Creator was kind to me even if I wasn’t given Billy Keane’s second gift. (My powers of observation don’t include the ability to spot when a member of the fairer sex has just visited the hair salon.)

I am, however, up there with your columnist as far as the ability to burp at will is concerned. Believe it or not, I was engaged to do the voice of what is known in Kerry as a “Luder” in an animated film. The character needed to belch.

To say that the director was mesmerised by my ability, in that field, would be an understatement.

Keep your eye on forthcoming lists of Oscar nominations in the Animated Film category.

Mattie Lennon

Blessington, Co Wicklow


Cowen’s driving licence and cynical interpretation of law

I was disappointed to hear the “brouhaha” over the banning of Barry Cowen over a “drink driving” conviction, leading to a driving ban of three months. This must have been where the alcohol level is not much over 35mg/100ml.

Then I read he was a 48-year-old man, driving on a provisional licence (they did

not state which one), reportedly driving a friend home (and then driving to his own home without a fully licensed driver present?).

This is not an attack on Barry Cowen, but on the selective or cynical “interpretation” of the State’s own laws.

Frank Quinn

Ranelagh, Dublin 6


Should a lawbreaker really be a Government minister?

It is acceptable that our lawmakers are not lawbreakers and are exemplars for others in society.

Surely, if they callously break the law, then they have no right to hold high office in government. Not only was the new minister found to be “drink-driving” but was driving unaccompanied “on a learner’s permit”, (‘Martin in dark over Cowen drink-driving ban’, July 4, 2020). Is Cowen a suitable person to hold a ministerial position and does our Taoiseach, now that he knows, and Government condone his lawbreaking?

Name and address with editor


Student grants system won’t reflect true hardships of 2020

The priority closing date for 2020 college grant application is July 9. Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) assesses gross family income from all sources in the previous calendar year, 2019, to determine student grant eligibility.

Because of Covid-19, many families will earn much less income in 2020 than in 2019. Therefore, assessing grant eligibility on last year’s income could deprive many deserving applicants of a college grant. All 2020 grant applications should be assessed against

The current financial hardship caused by Covid-19.

Students who are ineligible for grants need about €12,000 annually to maintain themselves. These students must also pay an annual student contribution of €3,000.

Many college students have to do up to 15 hours’ part-time work weekly and/or depend on their parents to make ends meet.

Part-time work and parental financial support won’t be as readily available this year as the country is reeling from the economic havoc wreaked by Covid-19.

 The Government must show compassion by easing the financial burden on hard-pressed families. It must waive the unjustifiable €3,000 student fee contribution as many families are struggling financially. The standard rate maintenance grant must be increased from €3,025 to €5,000, and all other grants on a pro rata basis.

 The annual income level for standard rate grant eligibility must be calculated on the 2020 virus-reduced family income rather than the 2019 income.

Covid-19 must not be allowed to deny young people their right to further and higher education. They have lost out on more than enough already this year.

Billy Ryle

Tralee, Co Kerry

Irish Independent