Letters to the Editor: Convene a Citizens’ Assembly on unification

Letters to the Editor: Convene a Citizens’ Assembly on unification

Road Sign at the Northern Ireland border.

A United Ireland. Could we? Should we? And can we afford it?

Those are the questions that people have been asking themselves over the last year and the answer is: Yes, we can — and the Good Friday Agreement prepares the way for this.

Some people don’t need to be convinced, others will never be convinced, but more still (North and South) are giving it consideration and have yet to make up their minds.

As a United Ireland within Europe, we will not be doubling up on services, two healthcare systems, two tax systems, two civil services, but we will be able to attract more foreign direct investment to the whole island, increase tourism to the whole island, and benefit from being in the EU.

David McWilliams in his book Renaissance Nation stated: ‘In short, in pure budgetary terms, there is little doubt that the Republic’s economy could absorb the North, even before the commercial dynamism of unification kicks in.’ So, to answer the question, should we? We should of course. Everybody on the island North and South will benefit, and we will benefit for generations.

But this will require planning and preparation. Putting our heads in the sand is not going to work. We need to convene a Citizens’ Assembly and have ordinary people from all walks of life give their views and opinions.

Shane Neville


Co Cork

Cows’ milk gives proven nutrition to all of our bodies.
Cows’ milk gives proven nutrition to all of our bodies.

Animal husbandry comes under attack

Cows serve a very important part of all our children’s daily lives. The milk they produce during their lives gives proven nutrition to all of our bodies.

Environmental groups are too busy bashing animal husbandry and should be asked to show a way forward on how to feed people a proven, balanced diet before they get rid of the most proven food sources obtained from animals for generations.

Vegan products fall very far short of what our bodies need. One of the selling points of vegan products is that they taste the same, however, they fall very short when it comes to nutrition. The many mouth-watering nutritional delicious products we get from dairy, beef, poultry, mutton, and pigs that our farmers produce every day — and which sustain life itself — are under attack.

Michael Flynn


Co Waterford

League tables are a bad measure for schools

It is good to see that even amidst uncertain times courtesy of the ongoing pandemic, the media obsession with ranking schools and league tables shows no signs of abating — ‘Munster feeder school rankings reveals dominance of fee-paying schools in Cork’ (Irish Examiner, January 7). The measure of a school is much more than how many of its students ‘progress’ to further education of any kind. Your publication over the years has highlighted what is often described as college ‘drop out’ rates. Therefore, we should educate our post-primary students not with university or further education in mind but rather we must endeavour to instil a desire for lifelong learning, encouraging all students to flourish. A broad holistic education that appeals to our students’ hearts, as well as their minds, can never be adequately captured in a league table.

Stephen O’Hara, school chaplain



Will minimum pricing on alcohol deter drinking? Picture: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie
Will minimum pricing on alcohol deter drinking? Picture: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

Price no deterrent for some drinkers

The Government’s introduction of minimum alcohol pricing is a progressive step if it encourages people to drink a little less. It reminds me of one of the many stories my late father told me about the customers of the family pub. The stories were embellished with each telling but we're all the better for it.

John arrived at the pub around 8pm every evening. He drank three pints of Guinness before closing time. He enjoyed the company of his fellow customers discussing Austin Stacks football, greyhounds, horse racing, and the news of the day. He then walked home where he lived alone. John was a typical social drinker — good company and a refreshing pint were a perfect match.

When the price of the pint was increased by 10%, the regular drinkers humorously called down every misfortune on the powers that be above in Dublin, but the porter continued to flow regardless. Making his way to John, who was sitting contentedly by the fire, Dad asked: “Will you still follow the pint at the new price, John?” “My dear man,” replied John. “I’ll follow it to Hell. Drinking the juice of the barley in such pleasant company is priceless.”

John has long since gone to his eternal rest. On the evening of John’s removal, Dad filled a pint glass with draught Guinness, funnelled it into a bottle, corked the bottle and wrapped it in an Austin Stacks GAA black and amber sock. He placed the ‘pint in a bottle’ alongside John’s remains, to quench his thirst on the final journey.

Billy Ryle


Co Kerry

Affluent drinkers

Despite the rise in drink prices, I am still coming across discarded beer cans on my daily stroll. I must live in an affluent area.

Tom Gilsenan


Dublin 9

Using wind energy to create green hydrogen for energy storage would cut our dependence on foreign gas production.
Using wind energy to create green hydrogen for energy storage would cut our dependence on foreign gas production.

Hydrogen fuel technology needed

We really need to start looking at how we can store wind energy so we aren’t left reliant on natural gas imports to produce electricity. At low demand times wind turbines are turned off if they are producing too much electricity and I really see that as a horrible waste. Ideally, the government should be getting the ball rolling faster on green hydrogen storage which we can burn at high demand times to produce electricity when the wind isn’t blowing. Natural gas isn’t as ‘clean’ as some government sources and companies like to call it either. Comparing it to coal or peat isn’t a high bar to be setting for ranking something as clean. Not only will the development of green hydrogen technology ensure energy security it allows us to heat houses and power transport which is extremely important if we are to cut emissions and have energy independence.

Sam O’Shea


Co Dublin

One way to mark St Brigid’s Day

There are many who will be left wondering about Leo Varadkar’s proposal that St Brigid’s Day be made a new bank holiday.

I will always remember her feast day being marked by the TV news clips of a man being wrestled to the ground by gardaí at a shrine to her because it was deemed he was breaking Covid rules by being there.

He was taken away in a paddy wagon. Come back, St Brigid, if you dare, all is not forgiven for some.

Robert Sullivan


Co Cork

Leave fine dining for charity dinners

There are some differences between what was available in the hotel where Novak Djokovic was staying — the accommodation centre with long term refugees and photos of mouldy bread — and where he might be playing —the Melbourne Tennis centre where a special ‘table’ of 16 costs AUS$12,479 (€7,950) although that meal is created by a top chef and restaurant.

Obviously, people can pay for anything they can afford but what about considering those less fortunate. A donation of this size would feed a large number of people including the option of non-mouldy food. The karma and positive publicity, from such a donation would last much longer than a full stomach.

There are so many people that need food even just the basics. People should consider a charitable donation instead of high priced dining, the tennis will be just as exciting.

Dennis Fitzgerald



More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

Execution Time: 0.265 s