Letters to the Editor: EU only ‘got’ what Britain allowed it in Brexit deal

Letters to the Editor: EU only ‘got’ what Britain allowed it in Brexit deal

Simon Coveney says he is hopeful the Government can now enter a new era of trade and economic co-operation with Britain, post-Brexit.

Yes, indeed, but there was so much negativity from our Dáil towards Westminster for more than a year that we are lucky, as is the EU, to have received concessions from Britain (it is not kowtowing to European demands).

Simon et al may call it what they wish, but it is Britain, through the political skills of Boris Johnson, which has made the EU accept a more disappointing outcome than the resounding victory that it fooled itself into thinking for so long was in its gift to attain. The EU only ‘got’ what Britain allowed.

Robert Sullivan


Co Cork

Britain learns what Gandhi meant

It is ironic that the sentiment which sustained Britain in its struggle to wrest sovereignty from the EU is that which Gandhi eloquently expounded as he led the struggle to wrest Indian sovereignty from British control. 

When ridiculed for suggesting it was time the British vacated his country, Gandhi suggested they would learn the lesson that “no people on Earth would not prefer their own bad government to the good government of an alien power”.

Britain learned Gandhi’s lesson. Brexit was always about sovereignty, as European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, belatedly admitted. 

Now, with that sovereignty, Britain is unlikely to diverge from EU regulation; what is vitally important, however, is that it has freedom to do so, if its people democratically decide that’s what they want. That is freedom; that is democracy.

Ireland, regardless of how loudly it proclaims its 800-year struggle to secure sovereignty, learned nothing. 

It is probably just as well that centenary celebrations are muted, insofar as it spares the humiliation of commemorating that sacred trust, which, seduced by wealth and fooled by stealth, Irish politicians willingly and enthusiastically conceded, so that our subjection is now more established than it was 100 years ago.

Padraic Neary


Co Sligo

Government shows lack of faith

In implementing its latest round of Covid-19 social-distancing restrictions, the Government has shown not only its preferences, but also its prejudices. It shut down public worship from December 26 without any consultation with faith communities.

No evidence has been presented that churches were spreading the virus and everything suggested they were safe and controlled environments with a strong public health record.

Whole swathes of society can continue, from schools to golf clubs to non-essential retail, but attending religious services is a step too far for Nphet and the Government.

Only an administration that has lost all empathy for, and connection with, the 33% and more of the population who regularly attend religious services could make so harsh and unjust a decision. Its reversal is an urgent requirement in any free and fair society.

Maurice O’Brien

Blackrock Road

Cork City

Alone at Christmas, but not lonely

I spent Christmas Day on my own. Shock, horror: Someone is admitting they spent the 25th day of the 12th month on their own. Not only that, but I was quite happy.

I could have spent it in someone else’s house, like I normally do, but because of Covid-19, I decided that being on my own was best.

Furthermore, I was curious how it would work out for me.

I am a single man and spend a lot of time on my own, anyway. Surely, I could manage this day? Yes, there were a couple of times when I was more aware of being alone. These are feelings I can experience on other days, too, so I dealt with them.

Covid-19 has forced many of us to evaluate aspects of our lives. For me, it has been my relationship with Christmas. 

Why should I feel pressurised into spending the 25th day of the 12th month with other people, when I’m quite content to spend many other days during the year on my own?

Tommy Roddy


Co Galway

Why is the Cabinet not isolating?

I am at a loss as to why Cabinet members are not isolating for 14 days after Charlie McConalogue, the agriculture minister, tested positive for Covid-19 on December 22.

There have been many public sightings since of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, and ministers. Maybe Dr Tony Holohan might ask them to stay at home, in line with his teacher-pupil approach to the rest of us?

Tom Mulcahy

Dublin 12

No trace of staff for contact-tracing

As a retired civil servant, in March/April I applied for a HSE coronavirus contact-tracing position.

I received an acknowledgement, but no further response.

In June/July, when Crete was on a blacklist for UK tourists, some UK citizens flew to Dublin, stayed overnight beside Dublin Airport, and then flew to Crete.

Also, those individuals, having completed contact-tracing forms, could find nobody at Dublin Airport who would accept the forms from them. 

That’s a disgraceful response filled with disingenuous HSE promises about its competency.

Has the HSE conducted any audit of the effectiveness of its tracing?

Jerry O’Connell

Seafield Road


Co Louth

Writer Clifford also has a ‘radio voice’

I am slow to embrace social media. My daughter is coding and designing her own video games. It is all Greek to me.

I got into podcasts via Eamon Dunphy. But the Mick Clifford Podcast is superb. 

If you don’t mind my saying so, Michael, you seem tentative. But you have a radio voice. Few people have it.

I think your podcast will go from strength to strength.

Michael, you have serious talent.

Michael Deasy


Co Donegal

Martin happy to only offer hope

Following on from his pledge to “look at” introducing a living wage to tackle income inequality, Taoiseach Micheál Martin is promising to build houses to provide roofs over the heads of the less-well-off. (Martin: We’re ‘not where we want to be on housing delivery’, Irish Examiner, December 29.)

The persistent failure to draw up a plan to mobilise the resources of the State to ensure that every citizen has secure housing reinforces the perception that these promises are no more than notional confetti-throwing to sate an increasingly disaffected part of the electorate and to deflect criticism.

It also lends credence to the view that Mr Martin is one of those political leaders who believes it is sufficient to offer hope (rather than substance), which he tiresomely doles out whenever the need arises.

Jim O’Sullivan


Co Sligo

Keeping McCarthy may be own goal

Ronan McCarthy stays on as Cork football manager after the humiliation against Tipperary.


Michael O’Sullivan


Co Cork

‘Culchie’ rhymes. Here’s the reason

In a recent RTÉ radio show, Des Cahill said, “We couldn’t get a word to rhyme with ‘culchie’.”

It is obvious that he did not consult Slanguage, by Bernard Share, or any reputable rhyming dictionary.

Had he done so, he would have found the word “mulchie”, the definition of which is “A person from urban, rather than rural, background”.

Mattie Lennon


Co Wicklow

Journalists should not work in fear

As one of the most difficult of years draws to a finish in Ireland with many acts of generosity and with communities uniting, we see the opposite in China, with the imprisonment of civilian journalist, Zhang Zhan.

She is one of a number of journalists who reported, accurately, on the Wuhan virus as it spread worldwide to become the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of journalists face charges or have gone “missing”.

Zhang was convicted of the unusual crime of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. If this were a crime everywhere, then many couples locked in their homes for months would be heading for prison.

This is yet another example of a repressive government interfering with the work of journalists and thus preventing the honest, unbiased reporting of news. 

Journalists should be able to do their work without fear.

Dennis Fitzgerald



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