Letters: Will our love of Guinness survive this latest pri…
Imposing it in the peak summer tourist season leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Publicans will certainly pass on this increase due to their own tight profit margins.
The average price of a pint of Guinness will be close to €7 from next month — €20 will hardly cover a round of drinks for a man and his two mates. Will the regulars grin and bear the increase or reduce their consumption of our national beverage?
The price increase reminded me of one of the many stories my late father told about the customers of the family pub.
Danny arrived at the pub every evening. He drank three pints of Guinness. He enjoyed the company of his fellow drinkers, discussing football, greyhounds, horse racing and the news of the day. He then returned home where he lived alone.
There came a time when the price of the pint was increased. Dad reluctantly broke the bad news to his customers, placing the blame firmly at the door of the Guinness brewery.
Transferral of blame to the powers-that-be above in Dublin was an essential exercise in damage limitation. Despite the bad news, the porter continued to flow.
Making his way to Danny, who was contentedly playing cards by the glowing fire, Dad asked: “Will you still follow the pint at the new price, Danny?”
“My dear man,” replied Danny, “I’ll follow it to hell. Drinking the juice of the barley in such pleasant company is priceless.”
Billy Ryle, Tralee, Co Kerry
Diageo calling time on Irish pub culture
Sir — Diageo has announced another price increase, the second this year. Why are the Licensed Vintners Association and the Vintners’ Association of Ireland not standing up to Diageo?
Pub chains like JD Wetherspoon can operate very successfully without stocking Diageo’s brands and sell drink much cheaper. Something has to be done before the Irish pub, so important as a social outlet for thousands of our people and the tourist trade, is consigned to history.
Brian Lube, Co Meath
Children recruited as social change agents
Sir — David Quinn’s article (‘Radicalisation of children in schools going under the radar’, July 16) reminded me of the James Stuart Mill dictum: “A general state education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another.”
At the heart of Quinn’s article is the legitimate question about the role, nature and purpose of education. What is proposed around allyship skills, gender and gender identity goes beyond education and into the realm of children acting as agents of social change. Is education about social activism?
More fundamentally, as we are talking about social education and learning for children, shouldn’t the focus be on concepts such as hate, love, respect and diversity, to name a few ideas and values?
Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) has put the cart in front of the horse. Education should be about a specific group in the context of exploring and learning about concepts and principles.
What about the experience of other marginalised people, such as single mums or the disabled, to name a couple of disadvantaged groups who are not mentioned as a learning outcome? Why?
Andy Hales, Kenmare, Co Kerry
Further responses to David Quinn column
Sir — David Quinn bemoans “a deeply ideological agenda”, which, he says, has been “smuggled in” to the proposed new specification for SPHE aimed at Leaving Certificate students. He takes issue with the very idea of children being taught to aim for “justice and equity”.
Notwithstanding the fact the vast majority of our schools at both primary and secondary level remain under the control of the Roman Catholic Church, which has its own very clear ideological agenda, these principles should surely underpin everything we teach our young people.
Bernie Linnane, Dromahair, Co Leitrim
Sir — David Quinn’s prescient article on the radicalisation of children in our schools should send a chill down our spines. That the issue is given little space in the legacy media is even more concerning.
The Trojan Horse is at the gate. Let’s not invite it in.
Joe Dutton, Greystones, Co Wicklow
Sir — David Quinn mocks the idea that students would believe in “gender identity” or gender non-binary, and tells us it is “extremely doubtful” that Irish people believe this stuff. I teach religion in school and I can tell him that, in fact, most students don’t believe in Jesus’s resurrection or in transubstantiation.
Just like SPHE, is he also in favour of scrapping that section of the curriculum?
Name and address with editor
Sir — I must confess to being disturbed on reading David Quinn’s column on the proposed teaching programme on gender education for schoolchildren.
I wonder if parents — who, according to the Constitution, are the primary educators — are fully aware of the nuances of the programme referred to by Quinn.
Patricia Spillane, Dublin 18
Let’s keep pressure on the dairy industry
Sir — It is understandable that Caroline Rowley from Ethical Farming Ireland is pessimistic about any lasting improvements concerning the horrific treatment of calves by the dairy industry (Fiona O’Connell, ‘Lay of the Land’, July 16).
An RTÉ investigation into the greyhound industry in 2019 resulted in a lot of noise for a while too. The public were outraged by the export of retired dogs to China, where they were raced to death or boiled alive. After such barbarism was exposed, you would think in a civilised society that those responsible would be defunded.
Instead, the greyhound industry continues to receive millions of euro each year while taxpayers struggle with the housing and cost of living crisis.
We can only hope the significant part the dairy industry plays in the escalating climate crisis and Ireland’s failure to reach emission targets will finally bring positive change for the suffering animals and future generations of humans inhabiting the planet.
Mary Jo Gibbons, Kilmessan, Co Meath
Sir — Unfortunate timing caused the scandal of the live export of dairy calves to be shoved out of the headlines by the RTÉ debacle. Thank goodness for columnists like Fiona O’Connell for highlighting the scandal, as she has done on countless occasions.
Sara Milne, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
A happy 99th to our devoted letter writer
Sir — One of your letter writers, Kathleen Corrigan, had her 99th birthday recently.
She has been lucky to have had hundreds of her letters printed in the Sunday Independent. She says she might write one more letter to you before she retires altogether, but she will still enjoy reading all the wonderful letters you print every week.
Regina Clarke, Cootehill, Co Cavan
Hurlers given some stick by GAA chiefs
Sir — The last inter-county hurling match of the year takes place this afternoon, and July with a week yet to run.
The attitude to hurling by the powers that be is nauseating, and far more upsetting than I’ll feel if John Kiely’s men beat us again today. And that in itself will be fairly harrowing.
Michael Gannon, St Thomas Square, Kilkenny
Real heroes toiling behind the scenes
Sir —Eilis O’Hanlon says it’s none of RTÉ education correspondent Emma O’Kelly’s business, or indeed any of the staff of the public broadcaster, to say how they “feel” about Ryan Tubridy and whether he should be allowed back or not (July 16).
Really? In a cluster bomb of an article worthy of Queen Maeve high up in Knocknarea, your opinion writer even invokes The Kerryman, a privately owned regional newspaper and part of the Mediahuis group, as somehow comparable to an organisation that is part-funded by everyone with a television set.
It is said that news is only the first rough draft of history. However, for it to be made sense of and completed, it will always involve the hard work and drudgery of workers behind the scenes, sometimes in deplorable working conditions compared with their superiors. No one is indispensable — not even Queen Maeve.
Tom McElligott, Listowel, Co Kerry
Staff a driving factor after Renault hustle
Sir — Eilis O’Hanlon accepts that the most logical interpretation of the RTÉ/Tubridy affair is that the side deal with Renault was to compensate him for the publicly reported reduction in his earnings (July 16).
In those circumstances, why does the main thrust of her piece seem to suggest that the feelings of RTÉ staff, who hadn’t the benefit of compensating side agreements, should have no bearing on a decision as to whether Tubridy should return or not?
Paul G Shevlin, Belfast BT9
Broadcaster on brink of a total meltdown
Sir — People are voting on the RTÉ scandal with the non-payment of the licence fee. The fact the Government is now planning to shell out €16m in interim payments to keep the lights on at Montrose will further anger the public. RTÉ has to come clean, quickly, to save what is left of the broadcaster or face meltdown and closure.
Maurice Fitzgerald, Shanbally, Co Cork
‘Soldier’s Song’ shot down by IRFU heads
Sir — Leo Gormley rightly asks that GAA players stand to attention for our national anthem (Letters, July 16).
At least the GAA respects the anthem, unlike its counterparts in the IRFU who continue to belittle and trivialise it by playing it only at home matches.
James Connolly Heron, Ranelagh, Dublin 6
Sir — By all means, the utmost respect for the national anthem must be shown by all, players and fans alike. However, players are athletes and movement, at all times, is in their DNA. I’m sure no disrespect is intended.
Bertha O’Brien, Tallaght, Dublin 24
Public scared to be on streets of Dublin city
Sir — I am regularly in Dublin while attending different functions. I find myself walking in the central city at night, including O’Connell Street, and it frightens me.
Always — yes, always — I encounter drug dealers openly flaunting their wares; addicts either wandering aimlessly or lying prostrate on the pavement. I also saw a couple engaging publicly in sexual intercourse outside the Bank of Ireland branch. When I notified a number of gardaí they just shrugged, as though this was nothing unusual.
There are always small groups of dangerous-looking young thugs. I have met similar types often before, and from experience I know I have to keep them at a good distance, if possible. Unfortunately, it is not always possible in a crowded street.
Am I surprised at the savage assaults recently reported?
No. These feral youths (and they are not always so young) exist in a violent environment and they get their kicks from gratuitous violence.
As Irish society does not seem to want to tackle this problem I fear it will only get worse. I read recently of an offender who had more than 500 convictions but had not yet spent one night in jail. Why should he stop? A court appearance to him is only an inconvenience.
I consider this a national scandal here.
Anthony Hanrahan, Renvyle, Co Galway
Readers respond to Willie O’Dea column
Sir — The article last Sunday by Willie O’Dea TD called on the Minister for Justice to focus on tackling crime rather than engaging in avant-garde or “woke” social issues. While the response to this column in the past week seems to have been overwhelmingly positive, there have been criticisms of O’Dea’s point of view. These critiques tend to centre on the view that he is pitting one set of victims of crime against another.
The reason for the popularity of O’Dea’s piece lays in the point that he was articulating a widely held opinion that rarely finds expression in the public domain. Namely, that the Department of Justice must concentrate on solving the practical aspects of law and order before legislating for the abstract. It is to Ireland’s detriment that more of his colleagues in Government do not share his outlook.
Eoin Waters, Rosslare, Co Wexford
Sir — Minister McEntee is doing the right thing by introducing a bill that will strengthen garda powers and lead to less open discriminatory language both online and offline.
Willie O’Dea also thinks gardaí should be free from legal consequences when pursuing those who break the law. He fails to recognise that even gardaí are equal before the law.
Although I don’t agree with Minister McEntee’s politics, she is doing one thing right by criminalising those who would like to divide society by preaching hate.
Liam Doran, Clondalkin, Dublin 22
Sir — Willie O’Dea’s piece was spot-on. With the news this week of another violent assault, this time on a US tourist, surely it is time for zero tolerance. Far too often the revolving door operates and sentences are just too short to make a difference.
Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
Sir — I find it most interesting that Willie O’Dea believes these problems have arisen out of a culture of impunity rather than social deprivation. This notion is certainly at odds with the answer I received on live TV from his party colleague Lisa Chambers on the Upfront With Katie Hannon show last February.
This is typical of the manner in which we have dealt with this problem in recent times. Joined-up thinking is required.
Cllr Liam Galvin, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick
Sir — Willie O’Dea was rather harsh in his assessment of Minister McEntee. It’s not about having one policy and ignoring the other. I would remind Mr O’Dea that hate crime legislation in Ireland is long overdue. As a nation we have been out of kilter with other countries.
John O’Brien, Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Exodus of landlords must be stemmed
Sir — The latest ESRI report reveals both bad news and good news for Ireland’s housing market. This report should inform housing policy among political parties, but still there is no move by any party to slow down the mass exodus of small private landlords from the rental market. Severe rental market undersupply continues — driven by excessive regulation, punitive taxation and continued negative rhetoric against landlords.
Many thousands of private property owners continue to exit the rental market this year. Accounting bodies, estate agents, surveyors, landlord groups and other commentators have raised these rental market issues and encouraged a new policy approach to the market with the objective of stemming the exodus. This should be a vital policy objective of all political parties.
But still the pressure continues from the left-wing political parties, leftist academics and lobbyists — demanding more regulations designed to pile additional pressure on landlords. In advance of the next general election, with Sinn Féin potentially in a position to lead a leftist coalition, we can anticipate a very troubled future for the Irish private rental sector.