Letters to the Editor: Alcohol is not a ‘cultural offering’ minister

'This country and its people are pathologically obsessed with alcohol, and the minister’s definition of it confirms this belief'
Letters to the Editor: Alcohol is not a ‘cultural offering’ minister

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee defined alcohol as a ‘cultural offering’. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

I was absolutely gobsmacked and totally horrified on Monday morning last, (February 22), when, in the course of an interview with Gavin Jennings (RTÉ, Morning Ireland), Justice Minister Helen McEntee defined alcohol as a “cultural offering” in itself. Ms McEntee repeated this assertion at least three times in the course of this interview, which was mainly devoted to the proposed extension of pub opening hours.

Personally, I have long suspected that this country and its people are pathologically obsessed with alcohol, and the minister’s definition of it as a distinct “cultural offering” in itself, finally confirms this belief. Defining alcohol in this way puts it on a par with, for example, Bloom’s Day, the Cork Film Festival, the Dublin Theatre Festival, literature festivals, and all the other marvellous cultural events that normally go on year-round in our country. This is woefully inappropriate.

Alcohol-related illnesses and injuries are at record levels in this country. The briefest of glimpses at any local newspaper, on any given day of the week will tell you that a large number of our criminal court cases have the abuse of alcohol as a substantial contributor to the events that led to these court cases. (This is especially true in cases held in the district courts).

The failure to close off-licences during the pandemic is yet another symptom of political failure and political cowardice, in the face of our national obsession with alcohol.

Like most other people, I would like to see the pubs re-open and get back to normal, but Helen McEntee’s assertion that alcohol is a “cultural offering” in itself is woefully misguided and she needs to seriously reflect on her belief, in this regard.

Having reflected on it, she should then retract the remarks she made on Morning Ireland.

Tim Buckley

Cork city

Shifting sands on Covid thinking

First they said Covid wasn’t airborne; now it’s the main means of transmission.

First they said not to worry, viruses mutate all the time with minor effect; now mutations are the primary source of danger and death.

They said closing the border and mandatory isolation wasn’t necessary and now it’s absolutely necessary.

This is just the latest three card kick Nphet has given the country. Time to kick Nphet out and replace it with the Independent Scientific Group.

Kevin T Finn


Co Cork

Let the grass be greener at home

With the help of a positive vaccine rollout and on completion of its booster shot we will hopefully be able once again enjoy a very well-deserved holiday break.

Before we go mad and booking our flights to go abroad to spend our money, we should seriously stop and think of supporting our own country first.

It was this country that supported us when our hour of need came, and it’s our country who has to pay back the money that was borrowed to support us throughout the pandemic.

So please stop and look at what this country has to offer the holidaymaker, let’s get to know this wonderful country of ours or let me ask how well do you know it?

Let’s take a journey around Ireland first.

Michael O’Sullivan


West Cork

Lack of political will, rather political won’t

It’s not the lack of political will that is causing the Covid inertia but the presence of political won’t.

John Williams


Are we the crew of ‘Endurance’?

The most frequent comparison of living through a pandemic to plague our media on a regular basis is that of a war, mentions of “frontlines” and “the invisible enemy”. I would like to offer a new perspective.

Much like the early Arctic explorers, we have suffered through isolation and uncertainty, living mostly off hope in the face of a cold and harsh reality. In the past year we have ventured into the unknown. Bravely and without question we have followed orders from our commanders whatever the cost.

As we stare into the great white void of more restrictions, I wonder which polar sea captain our government will be most comparable to. Are we the crew of Endurance, Ernest Shackleton’s ship, stranded in a frozen sea though graced with resilience, bound to return bedraggled, but most importantly in one piece?

Or are we sailing on Terror, Francis Crozier’s doomed voyage in search of the Northwest Passage, cursed from the beginning, bubbling with mutiny and bad decisions?

One thing is for sure, the thaw is on its way. The ice is beginning to crack.

Elliot McCarthy



Driving licences: Time for amnesty

Before the national outrage at my suggestion takes hold, let me outline the common sense nature of my bold initiative.

It is long past the time when another driving licence amnesty is granted to us long-suffering hostages to the learner permit.

A patriotic decree giving all the long-term holders of that permit of a lesser god would be most welcome.

And wouldn’t it be a little fillip to the peace of mind of the waiting hordes in all manner of places in these tough times of general deprivation, that some could get luck. Even once.

Yerra go on.

Robert Sullivan


Co Cork

Fact: Ireland’s oldest male living twins

I read with interest your article on the passing of Limerick hurler, Jack Quaid, and in particular your reference to him and his brother having been
Ireland’s oldest living twins at the
age of 89 (‘Former Limerick hurler Jack Quaid, grandfather of All-Star Nickie, passes away’ Irish Examiner, February 23).

In my own family situation, since my dad and his twin brother turned 92 on January 13, I have been trying to establish whether they might, in fact, be Ireland’s oldest living male twins — given your article, it would seem my quest is over unless some of your readers can prove me wrong.

Interestingly, although neither my dad nor his brother were any way sporty, their mother’s first cousins were the famous O’Gorman twins (Jamesy and Thady) who played for Kerry in the early 1900s.

Thady captained Kerry to win the All-Ireland in 1903, the first time Kerry won the title.

Elizabeth Hanlon


Co Dublin

Fatal victims of an unhealthy mess

In 1996 the village of Crolly in Donegal said a final goodbye to a mother who was in the throes of a battle with hepatitis C, a result of contamination of blood she received. She was Brigid McCole.

Last week in Dingle another mother dies while in the throes of another battle with the arms of the State as a result of errors/mistakes/inaccuracies in the readings of lab tests for cervical cancer. She was Joan Lucey.

We were promised that this type of nightmare would never be visited on another woman.

Agnes Keane


Dublin 16

Taking on legal, insurance cartels

Margaret Humphrey (Irish Examiner, Letters, Feb 23) compliments Michael Clifford’s excellent analysis of the legal and insurance industry cartels.

He traces the many promises of legal reform over the years and I think we now finally know how this is going to end, which is why this is my last of many letters on the topic.

This will leave more space for women scribes which hopefully will please my namesake Nick Folley (Letters, February 20). Have the government got the cohones to press on with a referendum, the solution proposed by one of your own Cork ministers, or is the risk of separation of powers of State too great a risk with the imminent threat of a Sinn Féin government?

Michael Foley


Dublin 6

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