Saturday 21 September 2019

Time to praise our doctors and nurses

Sir - I take exception to the statement that doctors and nurses "should wear masks and gloves... They should tell their patients that they are not vaccinated and why, so patients can choose not to engage with them" (Sunday Independent, November 25).

That is discrimination on the highest level. One of the reasons why some health care workers don't get the vaccine is because it doesn't cover all strains of flu, and one can still get the flu despite getting vaccinated.

If this blanket approach is to be used, then surely everyone who comes into contact with people should wear masks and gloves, from tellers handling money in supermarkets to bank managers to policemen? Let's not forget the health care assistants, other allied health professionals, porters, cooks, anyone and everyone in the health care system.

This continuous "slagging" of doctors and nurses is becoming tiresome. How about praising us a bit for all the hard work we do by staying in Ireland where working conditions are really tough? If no good word can be said, rather say nothing.

SF Buckley,


Why is Brendan so surprised by this?

Sir - What has happened to Brendan O'Connor who gives us the weekly humorous and entertaining front-page pieces?

He has gone all dismayed with the shock of discovering that our government leader and his senior ministers have been bulls***ing us all along (Sunday Independent, November 25).

What a discovery after seven years of total neglect by Government of its primary functions - provision of shelter, food, healthcare and safety of body and possessions of its citizens.

Brendan is annoyed at the Government's view of fathers. He allies with John Walters in advocating for the true role of fathers. He writes: "The evidence shows that when fathers take a more significant and meaningful share in parenting of their children, the individual family benefits, and so does society" -an earth-shattering discovery, as he might say himself.

Brendan also acknowledges the joint and complementary role of the father and mother. He says: "Working fathers in those early days… cram in work and everything else to support the primary carer and the new baby." But "we all know there is something broken here, when parents are queuing outside the creche at seven in the morning to drop the kids off, and back in the evening, both parent and child exhausted".

He adds: "We know that we and they are missing out on precious time, and that it will be all gone in the blink of an eye."

The government solution is a First5 launch with colourful photo op. But I think Brendan might put a spanner in the works of its obsession with liberal ideology. Perhaps then urgent matters for society will be addressed - sounds familiar.

Sean Farrell,


Co Leitrim

Just do something

Sir - I could feel the absolute frustration in Brendan's piece on fathers (Sunday Independent, November 25). I always enjoy Brendan's pieces. I don't always agree, but he is so spot on regarding all the bull***t. I am so sick of these photo ops. As you say Brendan... DO something.

Mary O'Rourke,

Co Meath

Calling them out

Sir - As a lifetime reader of the Sunday Independent, I congratulate your correspondents for always calling out Sinn Fein. God knows others don't do it, certainly not RTE. Young people need to be educated about that party and its endeavours to re-write history.

While I do admire Eoghan Harris in this respect, is he looking to become director of elections for Fianna Fail in the next election or is it just the Taoiseach or Fine Gael in general he hates so much?

Eugene Roche,


Co Cork

Housing problems

Sir - The biggest problem with living in Dublin at this time is the price of accomodation. It is really hard to find affordable accomodation, especially for people who just moved to Ireland, like me.

I moved to Ireland a year ago, at start I was living in house with eight people for one month, after that I was almost forced to go back to my country, because I couldn't find accomodation. It is impossible to live alone or just with parents in the house if you work at low paid job.

Ivan Medved

Dublin 15

My Milky solution

Sir - Dan White's article (Business, Sunday Independent, November 25) regarding the value of Irish shares due to Brexit uncertainty was brilliant.

Brexit is a disaster for business and another two years of uncertainty while the terms of the divorce are finalised is likely to further erode confidence in the UK. The impact on Irish shares can only be imagined.

The only way out of this mess is to bring the attention of Mr & Mrs Average Brit to the subjects closest their hearts - football and Milky Way Stars. One only has to look on the back of a pack of Milky Way Stars to learn that the product is not for sale outside of the EU. Arghh! If only they had known this before the referendum.

Timothy J Funnel,



Top Marx on value of a good book

Sir - Groucho Marx said: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." While a dog is a faithful companion, with a book in your hand you're also in good company. Groucho was already a keen reader when poverty forced him to quit school at 12. He overcame his lack of formal education by becoming well read.

Recent reading literacy studies confirm that young Irish people are also keen readers.

Great credit for Ireland's love affair with books must go to the authors, who make a huge contribution to the 'Writers in School' scheme. Since Bryan MacMahon first visited the Mercy School in Limerick in 1977, the year Groucho died, a million young people in 4,000 schools have reaped the benefits. These talented authors have inspired young people to read not only for information but also for pleasure. Social media is all pervasive, but it's hard to beat a good book. Reading exposes one to adventure, excitement, anticipation and knowledge.

It stirs the imagination, arouses curiosity and inspires creativity. Digital media and literature can co-exist but young people should be encouraged to read a good book and, in the words of author Tom McCaughren, "discover the magic between its covers".

Book shops throughout the country have an eclectic supply of books to suit all tastes. What more appropriate Christmas present can be given to a child than an introduction to the joy of reading with the gift of a book?

There is also an excellent public library service throughout the country where books to suit all tastes can be borrowed. Membership of the local library makes an ideal stocking filler and introduces the recipient to a lifelong love of reading.

Although Groucho insisted that he would "never join any organisation that was willing to accept him as a member", he regularly borrowed books from his local library, albeit incognito under his real name, Julius Henry Marx.

Billy Ryle,


Co Kerry

Democratic ways

Sir - Commentators always rail against "political populism" which might see election canditates not to their liking voted into office by those they have to prevent themselves from calling the "lower classes".

This language is now commonplace and denotes voters of their own own "higher calling" ought only be eligible to cast "a sensibile vote for sensible candidates". That's the thing with democracy, you see. Everyone gets to make their mark.

Robert Sullivan,


Co Cork

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