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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (2/12/16)

Your letters, your views...

Dublin’s new employees will need a place to live

While I am delighted to read about potential new jobs for the city (Voxpro, LinkedIn, etc) I wonder where the new employees will be able to locate suitable accommodation at an affordable price in our capital.

A short few months ago, Paypal asked existing staff to offer a room to new employees in Blanchardstown and Dundalk.

Perhaps the new jobs will offer such attractive salaries that the cost of accomodation will not be an issue.

Peggy Lee

Mac Uilliam Close

Citywest

Dublin 24

Media compounds a victim’s distress

If one accepts sexual abuse to be a heinous crime involving intimate personal invasion, does the media have to compound the gross wrong done to the victim? “Of course not” — I hear your indignant righteous reply.

Why then if a victim waives his/her right to anonymity do the fourth estate treat this as an invitation to print not alone his or her name but to wholly unnecessarily publish his/her photograph in a report of the case? ‘Jail for stepfather who raped girl over 3 years’ (Irish Examiner, November 29).

A very traumatic event should not be utilised to boost your greasy till. Shame on you and all media outlets including our national broadcaster for engaging in this most horrible practice I dare you to print this criticism and will applaud you if you do.

Plunkett Taaffe

Laurel Walk

Bandon

Co Cork

Editor’s footnote: It is rare for a victim to ask in court for the anonymity which normally surrounds such cases to be waived and, unless their reasons are provided in an impact statement or subsequent interview, this will normally remain a personal decision. It is the policy of the Irish Examiner to accurately and fairly report details which are presented in open court.

Community work ruined by reforms

The ongoing reform of local government nationally has undermined the very fabric of community development in Ireland.

The community sector now has its back to the wall as it struggles for survival. The alignment process currently underway has unravelled the multi-faceted gains in social capital which has been achieved by the long standing existing model of a “bottom up approach” to community development in Ireland.

The partnership companies and a whole cohort of community groups have had their funding slashed.

The community sector is now effectively under the control of the local authorities who have discretion to pick and choose what budget is available and who will deliver the community development initiatives.

Furthermore, long-established terms and conditions, job specification, pay scales, and increments for community workers which were formerly linked to public sector scales have been totally wiped out.

Job security for community workers has also been stripped away due to the introduction of a public procurement process, whereby workers in long term sustainable jobs now have to enter a tendering process to retain their jobs.

Already a number of community workers have become victims of this process and lost their jobs on statutory redundancy terms.

They were victims of a highly questionable reform of local government process. Siptu trade union used the formal institution of the state and secured a judgement from Kevin Duffy, then Labour Court chairperson, who stated “the concerns of community workers are real and substantial”.

It is totally unacceptable to community workers that this Government can arbitrarily decide to cherry pick which Labour Court decision it will acknowledge and implement.

The Government now effectively controls the community development initiatives and also totally controls the budget for salaries and programme implementation. By extension, therefore, it has a duty of care and responsibility for community workers per se.

The jobs of existing community workers could be dispensed with if future contracts from local authorities are awarded to the private companies who are now lining up to tender for the contracts.

This Government perceives the community sector as dispensable.

The concept of distributive justice is evidently alien to this Government as it is certainly not part of a government framework that should rightly see a fair allocation of pay restoration to all workers in every sector of Irish society.

Donie O’Leary

Community worker

Cork City Partnership

Ashdale

Rathpeacon

Mallow Rd

Cork

Gender equality in Dáil Éireann

The defeat of Hillary Clinton in her US presidential election campaign is a major blow to womens’ efforts to achieve gender equality.

The talents, interests, and perspectives of the female population are likely to continue to be marginalised in what are supposed to be representative democracies.

The fact that more than 50% of the white women in the US voted for a misogynistic Donald Trump really highlights how unfocused women are on the basic issue which is the under-representation of the female population in what is supposed to be a representative democracy.

For example a lot of the discussion compares women to minorities trying to achieve equality.

There was a meeting in University College Cork recently about the under-representation of women in politics, and about how successful the introduction of the quota, specifying a minimum proportion of the candidates be women, was in achieving its objective.

The answer to the latter question is that the quota had limited success. It Increased the proportion of women in the Dáil but they still account for less than 25% of TDs.

The discussion in UCC, however, raised many issues and was symptomatic of the absence of focus on the real issue involved which [repeat] is the under-representation of women in what is supposed to be a representative democracy.

One female commentator from a UK university expressed an opinion that this is not a zero-sum game. That is certainly not the case, since men, who have dominated the positions of power for centuries, are going to lose out the more gender equality improves.

Another woman, an Irish politician from the Anti-Austerity Alliance political party, actually supported and justified the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the US election, and by implication the victory of Trump, because Clinton was the wrong class.

The most dramatic presentations came from quota women themselves who described being attacked within their own parties because they were upsetting the power structures at local level.

Women do not have to teach men anything about how power operates in society.

In a country in which very few women TDs were elected to the Dáil since independence, men know that already. Women themselves, however, need to learn the importance of the fact that although they account for more than 50% of the population, they are grossly under-represented in the Dáil.

That is where decisions are made about how resources are allocated and laws which govern our society are framed.

As equal citizens, therefore, all women have to do is use a blunt pencil once every five years or so to elect enough women to ensure that the powerful decision-making forum (the Dáil) is representative of the fact that women are a majority in the electorate.

That way the talents, interests and perspectives of the majority of the population are less likely to be marginalised. That way society might be closer to achieving gender equality.

A Leavy

Shielmartin Drive

Sutton

Dublin 13

Huff and puff of political pygmies

When there are no more misfortunates waiting on hospital trollies, when Irish citizens are housed, and the obscene inequality in this society is eliminated, perhaps then we can listen to the political pygmies who huff with new-found righteousness.

Eugene Egan

Glasheen

Cork

Higgins wrong to lament Fidel Castro

In the regime presided over by Fidel Castro only one political party was tolerated — the Communist Party. Freedom of expression and of speech was, in effect, non-existent.

Persons who were not members of the Communist Party found themselves under surveillance by the secret police. Journalists and writers were subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.

The situation has not substantially changed under Fidel Castro’s successor.

President Michael D Higgins has on occasion — rightly and forcibly — condemned the abuse of human rights by autocratic regimes of the right but the abuse of these same rights by regimes of the left are to be equally deplored.

Hence the well-nigh universal disappointment at the president’s intervention on the death of the Cuban dictator.

J Anthony Gaughan

President, Irish Pen

Newtownpark Avenue

Blackrock

Co Dublin


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