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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (09/08/16)

Your letters, your views...

White’s rant undeserved

In response to Victoria White (Opinion, August 4), it is never pleasant to see Irish language courses in the Gaeltacht being vilified in print. How strange that it is done by Irish people who can call it “cash cow”, “childcare”, “artificial zone” ...parents’ weekend visits to the children are described as purely for “funnelling money into the area”. I suppose racism only applies to negative commentary about “other” countries.

This month, hundreds of students, young and older, are descending on Corca Dhuibhne and other Gaeltachtaí, optimistically, to partake of life as Gaeilge. Tremendous preparation and energy is put into this annual exodus from towns and cities, by Comharchumann Chorca Dhuibhne and other organisations. Mná and fir a’ tí provide four meals a day, comfort and care, and Irish conversation, to students at a fraction of the “going rate”. They all deserve better than the very long rant in your paper.

The Irish language is a very precious resource, handed down to us by generations from pagan times. It needs more constructive ways to impart it to all Irish people.

I wonder if people should be fined for using hateful expressions towards their own language...I have never heard a child coming up with such nonsense. Some adults can be a barrier to children’s spontaneity.

A wise auld sage once said “An bhó leis an eireaball salach a labhrann I gcónaí”.

Máre Úna Ní Bheagaloich

7D Aonach

Mhargadh na Feirme


Were tracksuits the best we could do?

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was inspiring as it was reassuring. It was reassuring to see that even in the world’s current turmoil, the world can still come together in our shared humanity. The message was one of our interdependence to mind our planet for future generations. Team Refugee is an awesome idea giving recognition and acknowledgement to so many displaced people in our world. Despite these soul-searching messages, the ceremony was joyous. It was wonderful to see the athletes come out dressed so smartly, putting their best forward, and then we had Team Ireland in green and blue tracksuits...

Really, there are no words. I really felt for our athletes who have already done us proud. They deserved better and, with Ireland being a nation enriched with great design talent, they should have been better kitted out.

In these uncertain times, Ireland needs to be shown in the best possible light when gracing the world stage. I’ll leave that there save to wish Team Ireland the best in the Games.

Killian Brennan

Clare Village

Malahide Road

Dublin 17

If you’re serious, stop this forest sale

Our Irish-language group would like to add our voices to those who oppose the sale of native woodland for private development. As a group who have planted native Irish trees for many years, we are shocked and disappointed at the nightmare scenario of publicly-owned mature woods at Coill an Chaisleáin Nua, An Longfort — Newcastle Woods — being sold to a private company for private profit.

We are also disappointed at the silence of the environmental lobby, the Green Party, the Socialist Workers (who campaigned for Avondale Forest) and all the woodland organisations on the destruction of this valuable public asset. Mature native woodland is so rare in Ireland today, surely every effort should be made to preserve any that remain.

The state has run many events commemorating 1916 this year, and how can we honour those who fought for the Irish people’s right to control all our natural resources if we do not oppose this sale. How can Coillte, the State body charged with preserving and renewing our woods and forests (if any still remain) justify selling Newcastle Wood, owned by the Irish people, to a private company, in order to build a luxury holiday complex in Co Longford.

The woodland will, of course, no longer be available to the public, and indeed the natural habitat of native animals will be lost also.

Have we become so obsessed with short-term gain that we can ignore the important issues of native natural habitat for our wildlife? Perhaps some of those people who are so anxious for local work could be employed in forestry work, as a plan of reforestation for the State has just been launched, the trees to mature in 40 years’ time.

We ask all those who are serious about preserving our natural resources to oppose this sale of Newcastle Wood before it is lost to the nation.

Proinsias Ní Mhurchú

Ionad Buail Isteach

43 Sraid Essex Thoir

BÁC 2 (Dublin 2)

Scourge of devices

Congratulations to Gerard Howlin on his recent article regarding the negative social effects of over dependence on electronic devices such as smart phones. There can be no doubt but that our submission to the tyranny of digital technology is leading to the degeneration of human faculties. People’s brains are become sluggish and written modes of expression are deteriorating. This is regrettable when considered in terms of the dedicated work of lexicographers who have devoted their energies to the careful preparation of dictionaries since the advent of literacy.

One is regarded as an old-fashioned technophobe if one uses appropriate syntax and spelling when sending a text nowadays.

These smart phones are having a negative impact on face-to–face verbal interaction as well. They can be intrusive and bothersome. Devices are often monitored and messaged continuously due to the owner’s leech-like dependence on the enticing screens. It seems that one cannot afford to miss a photograph of a virtual friend’s breakfast menu or their family dog. This exchange of insignificant nonsense has to take place in ‘real time’ of course. Interruptions such as these disregard the courtesy of verbal interaction and tend to upset the rhythm of meaningful conversations...

It is also a matter of concern that an over-dependence on devices such as ‘apps’ may lead to deterioration of other human traits such as self-discipline and restraint.

Matt Rudd has outlined his recent experience with a wristband type module called ‘Pavlok’ which can be activated by his smart phone. This appliance zaps a 340volt shock to his system if he sips a gin and tonic while commuting. One is not surprised to learn that he found the electric sensation “downright nasty”.

Online searches for partners are also facilitated by a plethora of ‘discrete’ dating sites or apps which present images and fanciful social profiles tailored to entice. One wonders how a selection process based on a series of swipes could replace human encounters where chemistry, eye contact and face-to-face verbal interaction stimulates attraction.

The post-modern custom of ‘ghosting’ (discontinuing all forms of contact) is often then used to terminate such liaisons. The heartbreak or distress of the other party is not considered.

What next? Over use of technology in social situations has grown from a miniscule source into a monster that may eventually enslave us all. Perhaps it is time that ‘someone shouted stop’. While we do not wish to return to the ‘smoke signal’ or carrier pigeon era, why not use a small mobile phone for calls and ban mini-computers to the business environment.

Margaret Humphreys



Bell tolls for Church

Let not the Irish Church ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for her. The seminary council within Maynooth cannot properly comment on the present raft of allegations, as their first duty is to the formation of those in their charge. This binds them in a number of significant ways. Those who should be talking, will not. Silence and the ostrich position seem to have become their default. I am praying for an outbreak of prophetic leadership, not I hasten to add in Maynooth, but within the Trustees, the Bishops. The prayer will continue but I will not hold my breath.

Fr Joe McDonald

Blackditch Rd


Dublin 10

We must value unborn life

In the Irish Examiner on 27th July 2016 there there were a number of horrific reports. The innocent Rev Fr. Jacques Hamel had his throat cut. In Japan, a man stabbed to death 19 innocent disabled people and called for euthanasia to be legalised to terminate the existence of the disabled.

What is the difference between these and the attitude of the Irish politicians and others in advocating the killing of unborn human beings in their mother’s womb, simply because they are unwanted, disabled, or may have a short life expectancy? This is mentioned also in the same paper. What are such children guilty of in this country? Why do abortionists want to do this? Think about it and value all human life — the unborn, the young, the disabled, the old. Let’s Love Life.

Dr Olive Pierse, GP

Robert Pierse, LLB

Lios Dun

Dromin Upper


Co Kerry.

We ain’t so bad...

At the time of the general election earlier this year, I looked at the prospective candidates for the highest political office in the country (Taoiseach) and thought to myself ‘surely in a country of four million people we can do better than that’. I am now looking across the Atlantic at the two candidates for the presidency of the USA, a country with a population of 324 million, and realise that we are not so bad after all.

Michael Stephens




John’s chairs will last a lifetime, but he is also passing on his knowledge to a new generation, writes Ellie O’Byrne.Made in Munster: The ancient art of súgán-making is woven into Irish family history

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