Letter to the Editor: RTÉ’s new year sketch indefensible

A line was crossed.
Letter to the Editor: RTÉ’s new year sketch indefensible

What has happened to the editorial judgment that was once the coveted hallmark of RTÉ?

Whereas we live in a democracy, with freedom of opinion and speech, this must be countered by principles; by emotional intelligence; by a moral compass; by judicious awareness and empathy.

Whilst not always beyond reproach, the clergy have done their utmost for their congregations in a desperately difficult year, including celebrating online Mass for the beleaguered, and conducting heartbreaking, Covid-19-restricted funerals.

In the spirit of acknowledging that some things are sacrosanct, RTÉ’s New Year’s Eve sketch was unacceptable, inappropriate, and indefensible. A line was crossed.

Emer O’Shea

Dublin 18

Leaving Cert 2020 is a lesson for class of 2021

The Leaving Certificate class of 2020 endured a very uncertain wait until the cancellation of their examinations and the subsequent predicted-grades


We are now on the cusp of a similar situation for the class of 2021. We must not let uncertainty dictate. Britain has cancelled the A-levels and GCSE examinations. 

One option open to us is to modify the Leaving Certificate, so that there are fewer subjects per pupil this year.

This would be fair, given the amount of time lost in the latter stage of last year and the additional closures of schools now.

Moreover, this year’s pupils did not sit end-of-year exams last summer and will also miss the mocks this year.

This year’s pupils have suffered cyclical momentum change, which is very deleterious, educationally, and psychologically.

Modifying the structure of this year’s examination, in a predictable and deliverable fashion, will allow certainty, ease the pressure on pupils and teachers, and ensure less-packed examination halls and a fairer result.

The psychological pressure on pupils and families would be halved. The “density” of the examination would be diluted.

The precedent for smaller numbers of subjects exists.

Typical A-level pupils, in the UK, do three subjects. The points system here can be modified and the examinations can go ahead in a less-pressurised, safer, socially distanced, and efficient way.

Our pupils need certainty: This, I believe, is a way of providing it.

Professor Carl Vaughan

Sunday’s Well Road

Cork City

Do our duty and schools will open

Instead of asking, “Why are these schools closed?”, we need to ask, “What do we need to do to get these schools open?” If the Government put it that way, they would mobilise an awful lot of people.

My father was disabled for much of his life. He worked to improve the lot of the disabled, especially disabled children, for as long as he could. Growing up in Bandon, I saw how Irish people are willing to accommodate those who need help, especially children.

I think we were too lax at Christmas. But that is not the fault of the Government. A chorus, a large contingent of the public, demanded that we be allowed to celebrate it. Many of those same people have since conveniently forgotten and you can’t remind them.

Do what has to be done. The politics will take care of itself.

Michael Deasy


Co Donegal

Christmas antics put lives at risk

Did it take a pandemic to confirm that we are a nation of hypocrites? 2020 was the year that became synonymous with Covid-19 and, as a consequence, frontline and healthcare workers became heroes.

Until the middle of December, we, as a society, exercised solidarity with the health workers by following the guidelines to curtail the virus.

We did it so well that Ireland had one of the lowest levels of Covid-19 per head of population of any country in Europe.

Unfortunately, as Christmas arrived, all that changed, because the gift given most often was the deadly virus.

Our complacent behaviour was confirmation that the praise bestowed on health workers earlier on in the year was patronising, even insincere, though they put their lives at risk every time they enter their workplace.

Is it too much to contemplate that much of the threat now facing workers on the frontline could have been avoided if we had all had a responsible attitude during the season of goodwill?

Tadhg O’Donovan



Co Cork

Masks should not be mandatory

I’m just writing to show my support for the man who was arrested by Enniscorthy gardaí on Sunday for not wearing a mask ( Irish Examiner, January 11).

I don’t think wearing masks should be mandatory.

And while I don’t agree with his reasoning for not wearing one, I don’t think he should’ve been arrested for it.

Robbie Rowe

Co Wexford

It was Martin who criticised sketch

Your columnist Terry Prone should get her facts right (Invader Cat has me feline fraught as I prepare for Percy Pig shortage’, Irish Examiner, January 11).

It was Eamonn Martin, who is the archbishop of Armagh, and not the archbishop of Dublin, who criticised the sketch on RTÉ’s New Year’s Eve countdown show.

Helena Lordan


Co Cork

Buffalo is back to winning ways

The piece about the Buffalo Bills American football team made me smile (‘Colin Sheridan, Irish Examiner, January 11).

We do love our sports teams in New York. The article does a splendid job of capturing the dedication and dogged determination of the team’s fans. We are a resilient lot, forever full of cheer, forgiveness, and good humour. Lord knows, we have had to be.

The 1970s and 1980s were unkind to Buffalo.

It rings true that the decayed remains of a once-proud economy, founded on the might of coal and steel, left deep stains on the plumbing as they flushed out.

While the people of Buffalo could have resigned themselves to a series of embarrassing relegations and allowed their community to slide down the scoring table into obscurity, they did not.

The crashed industrial economy of the 1970s and 1980s left much to clean up. To their credit, Buffalonians rolled up their sleeves, put their heads down, and went back to work. And why wouldn’t they? While being generally good-natured, people from Buffalo are also a stubborn folk.

Thankfully, the decrepit urban landscape described in your article is no longer an accurate portrayal of Buffalo.

The stains of the city’s past misfortune have been cleansed through the hard work of its people. While still a work in progress, Buffalo is rebounding with vigour.

The city is full of remarkable architecture, gardens, museums, and world-class restaurants. The fun-loving spirit of its people is contagious.

We encourage you to see, first-hand, one of the best post-industrial success stories in the world

Timothy Bemisderfer



Capitol protests: Only in America

Can you imagine a group in Russia marching into the Duma to challenge Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian control?

It wouldn’t happen.

Can you imagine a crowd bursting into the central headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party government buildings in Beijing to demand freedom? 

China and Russia should be concerned that their own citizens will be envious of the liberal democracy in the US that can bear such a stress test. 

The 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 

The congressmen and congresswomen must do something now about the threat in their midst.

Alison Hackett

Dun Laoghaire

Co Dublin

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