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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (07/11/16)

Your letters, your views...

Airline deal is about rights of employees

In recent weeks there has been some debate about attempts by Norwegian Airlines to secure the appropriate regulatory clearances so it can operate services from Irish Airports to the United States. Some people have been critical of the US authorities for the delay in granting the necessary permits. However a more detailed analysis of events reveals that there may be good reasons for adopting a cautious approach.

Norwegian Airlines could begin services from Ireland to US destinations immediately as they already possess all necessary permits to fly from Ireland to any city in the US, including Boston, New York, and Miami. However, Norwegian Airlines have created an Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International, and it is this company that has sought a permit to fly services from Ireland to the US.

In these circumstances it is entirely appropriate for the US Authorities to be careful to ensure that there is not another reason for the approach been pursued by Norwegian Airlines and its Irish subsidiary Norwegian Air International.

Congress suspects that the strategy adopted by Norwegian Airlines, and the creation of an Irish subsidiary, could be designed to allow the company to avoid Norwegian employment law and drive down pay and working conditions in the aviation sector. It is for these reasons that our colleague unions in the US and elsewhere in Europe have strongly opposed the granting of the permit to Norwegian Air International.

Our colleagues rightly point out that if this was allowed to happen it would give Norwegian Air International a competitive advantage over other employers in the sector, who recognise the right of workers to collectively bargain and who recognise the importance of providing workers with a certain standard of living.

Congress has joined with our colleagues in Europe to foster fair competition in the transport sector in an effort to stop the race to the bottom.

Congress is keen to see the expansion of services from all of Ireland’s airports. We are pleased that there is interest in growing services out of Ireland. However if Norwegian is to be given the required authorisation it must provide assurances to the US, European and Irish authorities.

Liam Berney

Irish Congress of Trade Unions

32 Parnell Square, Dublin 1

Rook is right choice for national bird

There has recently been discussion about choosing a national bird and I think the choice is obvious: The rook. These birds, which we normally and erroneously call crows, would be perfect. They are intelligent, hardy and resourceful animals. They hang around in gangs, are raucous and argumentative and will eat absolutely anything.

If their homes are threatened by a predator, they will gang up to mob the attacker and drive it away. They live in colonies, all occupying the same trees, where a strict hierarchy operates, the senior birds getting the highest roosts whilst those lower down in the pecking order get the lower branches with easily imagined and inevitable results.

Fergus O’Leary

Ardmore Estate

Passage West, Co Cork

Government let us down — again

Whatever way Brexit may affect us in this country; it ought to be considered somewhat extraordinary that the Government and Fianna Fáil appear to be so critical of the democratic decision of the British people to exit the EU.

The Government plan to engage with the EU for a special deal for the island of Ireland because they claim that Ireland is in a unique position and deserves to be treated as a special case when Brexit occurs.

Yet, it was amazing that Fianna Fáil, and later Fine Gael, did not feel the need to engage with the EU with the same vigour during the banking bailout process and demand a special deal for Ireland.

At the time, Fianna Fáil agreed to undemocratically impose a €64 billion banking debt on the Irish people in the middle of the night without discussion, when most of their TDs were tucked under their duvets. It is incredible to think that Ireland, a country with only 1% of the EU population were landed with 42% of the European banking debt. We were a special case then but we did not get special treatment as we were badly let down by our politicians on that occasion.

Last month our government were not looking out for Irish interests when they agreed to the European CETA deal with Canada which will have major repercussions for this country, especially for Irish farm produce, as now we are open to be flooded with Canadian produce which does not undergo the same quality procedures and regulations as our producers have to abide by. They did this behind closed doors without consulting the Irish people through a referendum.

Recently our Taoiseach even backed the EU in calling for tougher sanctions against Russia. Instead of adopting that position, maybe it would have been more prudent of him to try open up further trade with Russia, as present retaliatory sanctions by Russia are costing Irish farm exports in the region of €100 million annually. In the present climate, we can ill afford that position to continue with the government costing us an export market.

This all shows how poorly our politicians are representing our interests and it does not augur well for them to get any special deal in the Brexit negotiations, as their negotiating skills and foresight leave a lot to be desired.

Christy Kelly

Templeglantine, Co Limerick

Urgent need for Catholic reform

Last year there was an overwhelming vote in favour of same sex marriage. We are now about to lose the abortion debate. This will soon be followed by a debate on end of life issues. Here in the archdiocese of Dublin for the first time in many years we have no candidate beginning to study for the priesthood, nor will we have an ordination to the priesthood this year.

The majority of people who voted in last year’s referendum and will face the upcoming abortion debate have spent all their primary and secondary school years in the Catholic education system. Yet we have failed to effectively impart even the core teaching of the church. In this huge diocese not one man sees us as relevant, never mind attractive enough to try priesthood as a way of life.

Whilst it is important to remain hopeful I fear that the upcoming World Meeting of Families could be a missed opportunity to proclaim God’s merciful love in an inclusive and relevant way.

I am appealling to Pope Francis to consider the concept of episcopal P45s or at least fixed short terms for Bishops. We continue to deprive the church of oxygen in our treatment of women. We are in serious need of reform. Career clerics abound. Many priests, whilst well intentioned are tired and burnt out. This is compounded by the fact that many do not have a spiritual director, no longer read, and rarely if ever make a silent retreat.

It is no wonder that the standard of preaching is so poor, with priests reading to their congregation, at times inaudibly and often in an utterly uninspiring matter. Reform is imperative and might just lead to renewal. Soon though or it will be too late.

Fr Joe Mc Donald

St Matthew’s

Ballyfermot, Dublin

Communities are getting wound up

I am furious at the way we are being treated in our community in Co Cork with regards to wind turbines and so-called planning laws.

Our community had to go to court to get results from An Bord Pleanála. (Irish Examiner, November 1, ‘Bord Pleanála agrees to quashing of windfarm planning permission’).

It seems they are allowed to make mistakes, but not anybody else.

What kind of country have we, or what kind or service are we being given?

They need to look at where they want to erect these turbines and have a bit of cop on.

Residents have a right to peace and quiet. Greedy wind weasels have enough of the land grabbed.

Government, get your act together.

Máire Ní Lionsaigh

Macroom, Co Cork

Tobacco proposals go up in smoke

If Robert Carty’s proposal to make it illegal to sell tobacco to anyone born this millennium was adopted retailers would find themselves in the bizarre position, in 2035 for example, of being permitted to sell tobacco to someone aged 35 but not if they are a year younger (Irish Examiner, Letters, November 4). Does Mr Carty really believe such a policy is enforceable? This desperate suggestion is not only unworkable, it ignores the fact that once people are adults they must be free to make informed choices about eating, drinking and smoking.

For many adults smoking tobacco is as pleasurable as drinking alcohol. We all know what happened when the authorities tried to prohibit alcohol in the United States.

It was a failure that benefitted only the criminal gangs and bootleggers.

John Mallon

Forest Éireann

PO Box 322

North City Delivery Service Unit

Churchfield, Cork

Health failings

This new national children’s hospital saga has demonstrated the worst in medical, public and corporate circles.

Self-promotion and naked self-interest has undermined this crucial development from the outset.

Jim Cosgrove

Chapel Street

Lismore, Co Waterford


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