Letters to the Editor: Protection necessary for our aviation industries

Letters to the Editor: Protection necessary for our aviation industries

A traveller walking through Dublin Airport with their luggage. If the aviation industry is to emerge intact from this pandemic a serious level of government supports needs to be made available to the sector, writes one correspondent.

The news that the Government is to introduce quarantining and impose further travel restrictions may well have merits from an epidemiological viewpoint. However, it should be clearly noted that only a very small number of cases emanate from travel.

It all seems to be too little, too late, smacks of virtue signalling and deflection of other shortcomings. The fact remains that it was community transmission whilst everybody was enjoying Micheál Martin’s “meaningful Christmas” that lead to the third wave.

The travel industry was the first to be affected and will be the last one to emerge from the devastating effects of this pandemic. It needs to be borne in mind that travel is essential for supply chain purposes, not least of which includes the carrying of consignments of vaccine in the bellies of passenger aircraft. Commentators also need to be mindful that 140,000 jobs are directly supported by the aviation industry in Ireland.

If the aviation industry is to emerge intact from this pandemic a serious level of government supports needs to be made available to the sector. If the Government is going for a suppression strategy it needs to push strongly for the island of Ireland to be treated as one epidemiological unit. The only border is a political one and therefore it behoves politicians to find solutions — and quickly.

It is pointless to take measures south of the border and decimate the aviation industry if Northern Ireland can still be used as a back-door. It is also pointless to consider “bubbling up” with Britain with a two-island strategy. As bad as the handling of certain elements of the pandemic have been by the Government it has been much worse, fragmented and disjointed by Boris Johnson and his government with coronavirus deaths surpassing 100,000 on Tuesday. That is a landing zone that needs to be particularly avoided. Our aviation industry and wider economy depends the correct (flight) path being taken now.

Killian Brennan

Malahide Road

Dublin 17

Parallels of virus with the far-right

There are a number of parallels between the deadly Covid-19 virus and the far-right. Both are unpredictable, harmful, rapidly propagating at an alarming rate, maintain ambiguous origins, pose a threat to national stability, and are unlikely to be eradicated in the near future.

Sarah Conroy

New Ross

Co Wexford

Quality of life values in environment too

I am writing in reference to Michael Clifford’s — ‘Is inequality improving or worsening in Ireland?’ (Irish Examiner, online, January 25).

Michael’s article relates to the fact that under the Human Development Index (HDI), Ireland is the second best place in the world to live. His enlightening article highlights the dangers of accepting statistics at face value without some form of interrogation into their validity Already it is becoming clear that the claim that “Ireland is the second best place in the world to live in”, is on shaky ground.

Recently, David Attenborough, the renowned environmentalist, stated that we need to move away from the production-driven GDP system which we currently use to evaluate success in our economies, and change to a greener, more sustainable model. I wonder where would Ireland be positioned on the HDI ranking if environmental criteria were included in the assessment process when one considers recent reports which highlighted the very poor air quality in some of our cities, particularly Cork and parts of Dublin. This, allied to the fact that only about 10% of our rivers are of very high quality, would surely affect our standing greatly. So while the HDI and its sister indices have advanced the criteria we use to evaluate or quality of life we must increasingly include environmental factors in our calculations. This is very doable and in no way does it mean that we have to bankrupt our economy in the process. In fact it is far more likely that in the long run the opposite will be the case.

Michael Henchion

Ballincollig

Cork

State provision of social housing

Darragh O’Brien’s defence of government failure to properly address the housing crisis was depressing — ‘Ambitious aims and imaginative solutions can solve housing woes’ (Irish Examiner, online, January 25).

The provision of houses, their quality, size and cost, will continue to be dictated by developers.
The provision of houses, their quality, size and cost, will continue to be dictated by developers.

The hope that many clung on to, that the promises made when the Government was formed to tackle the housing crisis were genuine and would be acted upon, has now dissipated.

The provision of houses, their quality, size and cost, will continue to be dictated by developers.

The only genuine way to address the crisis is by direct State provision of social housing. That is how the housing demand was met until Mr O’Brien’s party privatised and outsourced the provision of social housing. That policy is a dog’s dinner with nearly 300 private housing associations now operating in the State.

This lack of quality social housing is creating huge pressure which in turn is forcing up rents and costs making the crisis worse and long lasting.

It is clear to those familiar with the issue that what we are seeing is a government desperately trying to rescue a failed housing policy based on privatisation and outsourcing. What we need is a “compassionate government” focusing on providing access to secure social housing with rent linked to income and local wage levels. When such supply is adequate to meet demand, the rest of the equation — the options of buying a home or private renting — will look after themselves

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond

Sligo

Challenging costs of Dublin housing

In your editorial — ‘Property market has become a loaded dice’ (Irish Examiner, online, January 27) you write that “it is more than difficult to dismiss” Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin’s analysis on the difference in construction costs for the private-sector construction costs charged by developers to Dublin City Council to build public housing, constitutes “price gouging”.

It is not, in fact, difficult to dismiss this analysis. In arriving at this conclusion, Mr Ó Broin is comparing the average cost of construction of 9,454 two-bedroom apartments — 78.5sq m in size — in the private sector, versus the average construction cost tendered of 112 apartments by Dublin City Council that were up to 89sq m.

The figures he is comparing are from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) who write in their report the “continued debate and confusion over the costs of new home delivery from public sector-led construction” is a “concerning discussion”.

Public procurement adds cost. Red tape and inflexibility within procurement adds cost. Lack of competition from contractors wanting to even bid for a public tender, is also a signficant factor. Each of these issues need reform and improvement. We need a commission on housing costs.

Quality also adds cost, however. The 112 apartments that were used in Sinn Féin’s analysis were built to A2 rating versus A3 rating requirements in the private sector. This is because Dublin City Council take a life cycle view of their new housing stock. Unlike a private developer who will be selling their homes on, the local authority will own them forever for social and affordable or cost rental housing.

Contrary to what is suggested in the editorial, there is political consensus across all parties that the state will be the driving force in delivering new social, affordable purchase and rental homes, particularily in our capital city.

Sinn Féin is entitled to its own opinion on how to help achieve this, but it is not entitled to its own facts.

Cllr James Geoghegan

City Hall, Dublin 2

Rejecting Catholicism

I read ‘The journey from Catholicism to a more peaceful way of life’ (Irish Examiner, online, January 26) and was curious as to why all stories were about the rejection of Catholicism. 

Are there no stories of people who find peace in Catholic teaching, or converts to Catholicism from other faiths and philosophies? 

I was very curious about the strong bias against Catholicism as someone new to your paper. Of course, there have been many problems with the practice, the scandals, etc, but there seems to be a wholesale rejection and I am honestly curious as to why.

Mary McBrien

New Jersey, USA

Editor’s note: Part one of this special report, ‘Not all who wander are lost: Choosing our own religion in modern Ireland’, included the story of a man who converted from Buddhism to Catholicism.

Statue to honour Mick O’Connell

There are many statues that have been erected of sports men and women around the country. We’ve the great Christy Ring in Cloyne and in Cork Airport, and Paul O’Connell in Shannon Airport. Now my next point might sound strange coming from a Cork supporter: I wonder why Kerry never erected a statue or sculpture of the great Mick O’Connell in Kerry airport. He must have been as near as possible to the complete athlete as well as his great ability as a footballer. He was admired by opponents as well as colleagues alike.

Daniel Dineen

Bantry

Co Cork

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