Letters to the Editor: Counter productive approach to pandemic

Letters to the Editor: Counter productive approach to pandemic

New breweries and distilleries are popping up all over the country, driven in no small part by government tax incentives and grants, says reader John Fitzpatrick.

Government policies for combatting the pandemic could be likened to government campaigns to discourage alcohol consumption in Ireland over the past decade.

In failing to properly secure our borders and airports, they have allowed every strain of the virus to reach our shores.

All the while, locking down the whole country to try and stay safe.

Over the past 10 years, various governments have spent millions on campaigns to highlight the damage done by alcohol to mental and physical health.

They have brought in new laws prohibiting sports organisations from partnering with drinks companies, which cost those organisations hundreds of millions in lost revenue. They also introduced laws mandating retailers to conceal alcohol from shoppers, banned all advertising of alcoholic products and reduced the hours during which alcohol can be sold.

Now all of this might appear like a meaningful effort to curb alcohol consumption, until you take into account the fact that new breweries and distilleries are popping up all over the country, driven in no small part by government tax incentives and grants.

As a result, new brands of alcohol are created which can be freely advertised and promoted.

The Irish government’s approach to tackling both the pandemic and alcohol abuse can thus be described:

“Let every strain of the virus into the country but try and hide from it. Promote and support the mass production of alcohol, but just don’t drink it.”

Jack Fitzpatrick


Co Kerry

Give us vaccine passport now

“It’s too soon to consider a vaccine passport“ is the default response from our health experts when the ideal time would be now, while the vaccine is being rolled out.

Sure, there will be fraud, but most reasonable people like myself would like an assurance, in as far as possible, that fellow passages carry a vaccine passport before boarding a plane.

I still have my yellow smallpox vaccination card which I needed for entry into the USA in 1970 and as a Covid passport will probably be introduced for the USA, well then have fun getting past Homeland Security in Dublin or Shannon without it.

Dr Michael Foley


Dublin 6

We can bank on An Post delivering

Banks are interested in making money and have little interest in the ordinary Joe Soap. So it’s not that surprising that band of Ireland have chosen to shut up shop in over 100 branches, as its current customer care is practically non existent, and trying to make contact by phone is not easy. Lets hope An Post can do better and restore some confidence with the ordinary folk.

Paddy McCarthy


Co Dublin

Colleagues, spare a thought for workers

Over the last two weeks I have heard the CEOs of Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland being interviewed on RTE’s Morning Ireland radio programme.

In both cases, they referred to the staff of their respective banks who are to be made redundant as a result of their decisions to close down branch networks as “colleagues”.

The Ulster Bank branch on Patrick Street, Cork.
The Ulster Bank branch on Patrick Street, Cork.

The word “colleague” of course denotes parity of esteem and parity of income. You work alongside colleagues. You work for a CEO surely. Increasingly within the corporate world the language used by senior management to describe workers belies the increasing levels of income inequality and power disparity which exists within the world of work.

It is the case that in the time of “worker” and “manager” income disparity between the CEO and average worker was a lot closer than in the era of “co-worker” and “colleague”.

A survey by the Economic Policy Institute in 2019 found that CEOs earn on average 278 times more than the typical worker in their company compared to a 20:1 ratio in 1965. Regrettably, this use of Newspeak goes unchallenged by our national broadcaster.

As we are forced headlong into the total atomisation of work and society by the compelling logic of digital capital spare a thought for the workers and the communities who will have to live with the decisions of this current crop of bank CEOs who like their “colleagues” before them sold us the equally compelling logic of the soft-landing.

Adrian Kane

Old Blackrock Road


Society is complicit with smaller scams

I read the articles on the former solicitors’ bank scam, along with the editorial — ‘Irish Examiner view: Fraud gardaí are under-resourced’ (February 26) — and listened to the podcast.

The editorial notes the under-resourced gardaí and the complicity factor of people.

On the latter, does not society “allow” scams, because we think them “small”, “our side” or done oneself.

How often do we overclaim for subsidies/allowances? How often do we support a team/side where a player feigns a foul, etc?

Thus is the issue wider than just funding An Garda Síochána? Is it recalibrating how much as a society we expect people to bend the rules before we think, no that is not bending that is breaking?

Lastly, you state the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau has 37 detectives but needs up to 50 more. It will not just be 50 people, they will need the attendant resources — computer, software, etc, whistleblowers — in order to discover, and deter most people from breaking the rules.

Peter Ostle


South Yorkshire


Provide dignity for these DP women

My name is Méabh Cusack. I am a Leaving Cert student, activist and
a volunteer with Abolish Direct Provision Ireland. I am one of the organisers of our recent petition in support of providing women in direct provision with free menstrual products, which has been signed by 200 elected representatives (MEPs, TDs, Senators and councillors) from each party in the Republic of Ireland, the SDLP in NI. It continues to grow and has sparked a conversation in our society.

I have seen first hand, the indignity these women face. As you may be aware, the average yearly cost of menstrual products to an Irish woman is around €132, or €11 per month. Given the low stipend of €38 weekly provided to a woman in direct provision, this is a lot of money on a product which cannot be done without. It is basic dignity to ensure that feminine intimate hygiene is respected and catered to.

Most people in direct provision are women. Only 18% are men. From testimonials, women have to ask for toilet paper or they have to buy it at a high price in the in-house shops attached to many direct provision centres.

Period products are overpriced, some are bad quality and not suitable for women with health issues. Not every centre offers them for free. Nappies are expensive and range from €15-€18, and take up a lot of the €38 a week that asylum seekers get. This is why it is important that period products, toilet paper, and nappies are provided for free in all direct provision centres.

I have attached the link to the growing petition which calls on Minister O’Gorman to commit to providing these essential products to those living in direct provision, as was promised by the previous government back in 2018. Dignity is the least we can provide women living in these less than ideal conditions. Link to petition: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B3WPqNBII2PXqQh3XinzYJnw5KA4_5jt/view?usp=sharing

Méabh Cusack


Co Monaghan

Horse racing industry in trouble

Mick Fitzgerald’s piece notes that Gordon Elliott must “learn his lesson” (Mick Fitzgerald: ‘Gordon Elliott picture made me sick to my stomach. He must learn from his mistake’, Irish Examiner, March 3).

If trainer Gordon Elliott has to learn to treat horses in his care, whether in life and death, in the appropriate manner, then racing is in trouble, writes reader Peter Ostle.
If trainer Gordon Elliott has to learn to treat horses in his care, whether in life and death, in the appropriate manner, then racing is in trouble, writes reader Peter Ostle.

If Mr Elliott, a top trainer, has to learn to treat horses in his care, whether in life and death, in the appropriate manner, then I think racing is in trouble.

Mr Fitzgerald notes that “racing has enemies everywhere” — well I think this incident shows that racing, in part, is its own worst enemy.

The racing industry projects itself as a responsible industry that values and cares for the people, animals and land. The incident with Elliott, along with Rob James’ video, tears the curtain down on that projection to reveal an industry that does not adhere to its stated values. Elliott is a central figure in the continuing dominance of Irish-trained horses in Europe. If the Elliott incident has a lesson it is that the race industry in Ireland needs to practice what it preaches, otherwise its own failings will lead to its demise.

Peter Ostle


South Yorkshire

Horse racing: Odds on it’s the latter?

A question for the horse racing industry. Is it the horses you love or the money they generate?

Eve Parnell

James Street,

Dublin 8

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