Letters to the Editor: Cork student housing needs to be addressed

Letters to the Editor: Cork student housing needs to be addressed

The campus at UCC. What has happened to residential properties within a 2km area around UCC is totally unplanned and unacceptable in a modern city, says the Magazine Road & Surrounding Areas Residents’ Association.

As a residents group living around UCC, we were very heartened by your editorial ‘Finding better way of student living’ ( Irish Examiner, February 15).

What has happened to residential properties within a 2km area around UCC is totally unplanned and unacceptable in a modern city.

What were beautiful family homes with elegant streetscapes are now owned by wealthy landlords, who show little respect for established neighbours or indeed Cork City itself.

Some areas in close proximity to UCC are like an area of serious deprivation. However, the opposite is true, with most of the rundown rented properties having the potential to bring in €1,000 per week.

Cork City Council’s latest figures for housing in the city is 58% owner-occupied and 24% privately rented properties. Two recent surveys found the area around UCC has just 30% owner-occupied and 70% houses of multi-occupancy (HMOs) properties.

Inaction and a step-backed approach by UCC, MTU, and Cork City Council has led to a creeping paralysis of change of use of residential homes to HMOs, resulting in the destruction and destabilising of mature communities.

It is in all our interests that this ad-hoc approach on how our city develops is urgently addressed.

Cork City Council is working on a city development plan 2022-2028 and states that one objective is ensuring each neighbourhood is an attractive place to live, work and interact. Its stated aim is a city of strong communities, with liveable neighbourhoods and an excellent quality of life, an attractive built environment at a human scale, a child-friendly and age-friendly environment, with a mix of household types and a safe neighbourhood enabling access for all. For this plan to succeed, it must, we believe, include a regeneration plan for this area with UCC, MTU, Cork City Council and residents working together to address the changing demographics of the area. The Cork City Development Plan 2015-2021, consisting of three volumes, had just one paragraph relating to student accommodation, despite a student population of almost 40,000.

This community has been built on the back of generations of families working together, who care about their neighbours and are committed to the area. We need to be supported to maintain a sustainable community. This is designated as an historical area of the city and is in dire need of support. We deserve better and our city deserves better.

Catherine Clancy and Aidan Cahill

Chairperson and Secretary

Magazine Road & Surrounding Areas
Residents’ Association

In appreciation of Coláiste Mhichíl

I am writing to express my gratitude to all the teaching and SNA staff in the primary and post-primary schools across the country that are working so diligently to ensure children from ages five to 19 continue to receive their education in these most difficult of times.

My own grandson completed his Leaving Certificate in Coláiste Mhichíl in Limerick in 2020. It was a very uncertain and turbulent year for him and his peers.

Amid all this uncertainty, one constant remained for my grandson and his fellow Leaving Cert students in Coláiste Mhichíl. This was the knowledge that a third-level scholarship programme established in 1997 would still take place for the class of 2020, but would not be awarded based on the Department of Education’s calculated grades scheme.

As an alternative, the staff of Coláiste Mhichíl organised an internal examination programme open to all Leaving Cert students in the school. At the end of this process, adjudicated by external examiners, my grandson and seven of his peers were the fortunate recipients of scholarships worth €27,000 each. To say the scholarship is life-changing for each winner and his family is an understatement.

On behalf of my grandson, my family and indeed all the 2020 scholarship winners, I would like to pay a wholesome tribute to the staff and board of management of Coláiste Mhichíl for organising such a well-run examination process for the class of 2020.

Laura Moore



Vaccine priority for school bus drivers

I drive a school bus (when schools are open) and surely we should be one of the groups who are given priority to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

I made a rough estimate of my chances of getting the virus: I’ve got 20 children on my bus going to three different schools, which have approximately 1,500 students. Multiply that by two (morning and evening)= 3,000.

That should give you the chances of me getting the virus.

I would ask every bus driver to contact their local public representative and make plenty of noise about it.

Claude McCarthy


Co Cork

Harsh criticism of Louise O’Neill

In a letter by Alanna Curtain (‘Louise O’Neill is totally out of touch’, Irish Examiner, February 17), Ms Curtain trashed Louise O’Neill for, among other things, stating: “I haven’t been on a flight since February 2020 and I am yearning for it” (February 13). The words and wishes expressed by Ms O’Neill reflect what many of us feel at this point. What’s wrong with that?

 Irish Examiner columnist Louise O'Neill.
Irish Examiner columnist Louise O'Neill.

What Ms Curtain did was to heap blame or scorn on Louise O’Neill for the problems created by humanity over hundreds of years. Her comment and tone were disproportionate.

Paul Meuse



Angelus still has a role to play

I refer to JP Daly’s letter ‘RTÉ Angelus Bells must be silenced’ ( Irish Examiner, Feb 13). Much has been written and said about the report on the mother and baby homes scandal and the inhumane treatment experienced. That both Pope Francis and the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Martin, have unreservedly apologised for the hurt and suffering caused should suffice. Apparently not for JP Daly. Many Catholics and Christians will distance themselves from his remarks.

Many people find great comfort and peace in the Angelus in an increasingly secular world, where respect for God’s word has become tainted by the actions of a minority, whose unchristian actions offends the majority of practising Catholic and Christian communities in Ireland.

God will be the sole judge of the actions of clergy; not journalists or JP Daly. Where excessive power is beholden on people, it is open to misuse, as in mother and baby homes, which is not to minimise the wrongdoing. Irish society as a whole has to share the blame, not just the church.

Bernard Buckley


Co Cork

Mary Robinson’s term as president

In the Irish Examiner on February 20, correspondent Ellie O’Byrne refers to Mary Robinson’s “historic two-term presidency”.

It is commonly known that Mrs Robinson served for one term only and actually left office before her seven-year term had expired to take up her new position.

Tom Heffernan

Riversfield, Midleton

Same problems, different coach

Reading Brendan O’Brien’s article on Andy Farrell was like Groundhog day (same ol’, same ol’).

If the Irish Examiner was to go back through its archives on interviewing Ireland’s rugby coaches, I would bet in every one of them the same platitudes were rolled out (ie rising to the challenge, not shirking from responsibility, very clear goals etc).

Under pressure: Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.
Under pressure: Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.

It’s obvious Andy Farrell is under pressure, not just because the team is losing, but because of the way they’re playing.

He and his coaching staff have this pool of players together for over two weeks before a match. There is a thing of too much time and trying to fill it. You end up over analysing and losing sight of a few basic, clear objectives.

As a supporter looking at Ireland play, particularly the backs, they’re like a fox caught in the headlights. Slow ponderous movement with no confidence to beat the opposing player.

We need to go back to the drawing board.

Seamus Martin

Lee Road


Give us the facts, not your prejudices

The editorial description of the individuals who sauntered through Capitol Hill on January 6 as an “ unhinged mob unloosed” is singularly unhelpful (‘Red line crossed’, Irish Examiner, February 20).

Such terminology demonises those whose actions we reject. It’s akin to Hillary Clinton’s peremptory dismissal of 50% of the American populace as “a basket of deplorables”. It does nothing to heal division, but further exacerbates people’s feelings of alienation.

Would the writer describe those who participated in the riots in Portland thus? If not , why not, considering that by June 2020 these riots had resulted in two deaths, 604 arrests and $500m in damage to property?

Report the facts without resorting to one’s prejudices. That’s the hallmark of top-quality journalism.

Aileen Hooper


Dublin 7

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