March 25, 2023

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Letters to the Editor
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Flowers on Lodge Bog in Co Kildare
Peat bog
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Sir — Irish bogs and the love of the sod run deep where I’m from; at every fireside, piles of black lay nestled side by side .
So many childhood memories are engraved in peat — hazy days spent turning turf, each line in towers and moats; our skin turned various shades of red and white; the insect bites like polka dots.
The bogs of my home are beautiful and innate; heather running alongside oak trees.
We once rejoiced at the sprawling solitude, but all the
quiet has been overtaken by man’s careless hands.
Many remark that our bogs are steeped in tradition, but there is no love in destroying without any conviction.  
People hide from the truth, they forget what they must endure; toiling and toiling, basket after basket through wind and rain. And who could forget the morning ritual of ashes and buckets?
There’s no magic button — or have they forgotten?
The rich flames finally take hold, the red running smoke blackening the air.
People burn turf for heat not for tradition; and even that isn’t a good enough reason.
What do I recall most about those summer evenings? Sore necks and blistering faces; endless mounds of ashes and affliction.
What about our bogs? How long will they endure? What will it take to see reason?
When will you listen? When it’s all too late? And there’s nothing left only despair?
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J Bennett, Laois
Sir — There should be no surprise about the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) proposal for “peak tariffs”, to in effect ration electricity, because the alternative is blackouts and rolling outages.
That we find ourselves in this ‘hole’ is because of an inept and incompetent Government. It is not like the warning bells have not been ringing. EirGrid warned of an energy deficit “when wind generation is low”. EirGrid even stated the cure: “New cleaner gas-fired plant will be part of the solution to manage future power system adequacy and security.” Those gas generators will not be with us until late 2023. The CRU has stated this additional generation will increase domestic bills by around €40 for the forthcoming tariff year, and €25 in the following years of operation.
“Peak tariffs” and extra charges on our bills. Could it get any worse? Watch this space.
Andy Hales, by email
Sir — It’s about time the Government grabbed the bull by the horns and started generating nuclear power. Stand up and be counted for once before it’s too late, and don’t be bullied by a noisy rent-a-crowd.
Nuclear power stations are getting smaller and safer all the time, but there is always an “expert” out there who will stir up opposition with twisted truths — as applies to any forward-thinking project in this country.
JP O’Neill,
Shannon, Co Clare
Sir — Each day now it seems there is a tragedy on our roads. The result of this is devastation for all of the families involved. While there is a multiplicity of reasons for these accidents, one of the main ones is speeding. For some reason, the speed limit is just not fast enough for some of the drivers out there.
We have the capacity and knowledge to control traffic speeds, but few seem to want this to happen. To leave the decision to the motorist would seem to be a waste of time and effort.
Would it not make sense to fit all vehicles with a speed limiter that would not allow a vehicle to surpass the limit in an area? This could be controlled from a central computer and updated whenever a change is made.
The growing number of road accidents happening each day make it imperative that action be taken sooner rather than later.
Michael O’Meara,
Killarney, Co Kerry
Sir — Recently we have commemorated the untimely deaths of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins. But by focusing on personalities we may have lost sight of the outstanding achievement of the time — the establishment of a successful, independent
democracy.
Their principles ensured Ireland had free democratic elections, equal franchise for men and women (before the UK), a free press, an independent judiciary, a professional civil service, an unarmed police force and a military that was subservient to the political will of the people and not the other way around.
So successful was the process of state-building that in 1932 power could be peacefully transferred between old civil war rivals. These achievements were not guaranteed and were not replicated by the vast majority of new states created in Europe at the time, 17 of which succumbed internally to totalitarianism or authoritarian dictatorship.
Our country may have been culturally conservative, but politically — under the leadership of Griffith and Collins, and their supporters Cosgrave, Mulcahy and O’Higgins — we established a successful, strong liberal state with a commitment to law and order rather than political violence. We need to do more to recognise, cherish and celebrate this achievement.
Cllr Jim O’Leary,
Dublin 16

Sir — As I read Brighid McLaughlin’s comments on bushy eyebrows on men of a certain vintage (People & Culture, August 21), I reflected that it takes the barber nearly as long
to trim mine as it does to cut my hair.
He goes at the brows now automatically, no need for a nod or, indeed, a wink.
Tom Gilsenan,
Beaumont, Dublin 9
Sir — The American Pioneers set out for the Wild West carrying all their possessions in wagons. Crossing the great rivers was in itself a monumental achievement. On reaching their destination, they built their own homes from scratch.
Apparently there are thousands of vacant properties in this country, so why not throw the keys to the those who need homes and tell them to start refurbishing?
They could hire as needed and the Government could honour reasonable expenses incurred, which would be infinitely less expensive than a local authority contract.
There exists an epidemiological phenomenon called ‘The Healthy Migrant Effect’ — the most resilient and inventive are the ones who migrate. I suspect that our overseas homeless, including the Ukrainian refugees, would jump at the opportunity and would be more than capable of fixing up these properties. Not so sure about the helpless Irish.
Dr Michael Foley,
Rathmines, Dublin 6
Sir — As many of your readers will know, it is proposed to make radical changes to the Junior Cycle curriculum for social, personal and health education (SPHE).
The new curriculum proposes to focus the attention of our 12- to 15-year-olds on such topics as: sexual identity, contraception, pornography and the interrogation and questioning of social norms of behaviour.
We have the opportunity of letting it be known if this is really what we want our idealistic young people to be immersed in.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has an online survey on the proposed changes, which will be open until mid-October. They will also accept written submissions from parents and other interested parties. Many parents strive to give their young adults a formation which is more generous and less self-centred.
Eamon Fitzpatrick,
Strandhill Road, Sligo
Sir — It’s time for politicians to stop regulating themselves.
The vast majority of professionals in Ireland such as doctors, solicitors, architects and so on are members of a recognised professional body or society.
In order to practise law in Ireland, a solicitor is required to be a member in good standing of the Law Society of Ireland. A GP is required to register with the Medical Council of Ireland. An architect is expected to be a member of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. It’s my contention we now need a professional body akin to the aforementioned bodies in order to regulate politicians.
I would like to see this professional body being given the imprimatur by the State in granting licences to all our politicians in order for them to practise.
This licence would be undergirded by a thorough background check of all politicians apropos their suitability to practise. This body would then be able to decide on ethical standards and duties expected of politicians.
It would issue a yearly permit to hold public office and have the ability to issue sanctions, up to and including withdrawal of a politician’s licence for serious transgressions of professional conduct.
John O’Brien,
Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Sir — The media pundits just don’t seem to get it. While you all bemoan the GAA having handed over the months of August and September to rival sports, thousands of supporters are attending club matches every weekend right across the country.
The weather has been decent, the pitches look great, the competition is fierce, the supporters are turning out, and the players are enjoying it.
So the national media can keep debating about how the GAA has got this so wrong — not for the first time it isn’t the GAA that is out of touch.
David Keane,
Sligo
Sir — Is it possible we have now reached the greediest period in modern times? We have enough in this world to feed and take care of people, but the greedy will never do it. Look at Vladimir Putin as he tries to destroy a whole nation with false claims, when in reality it’s about power and wealth.
Look at the billionaires and multinationals making vast profits for a small number of people, using the tax systems and increasing prices to make more profits.
Look at soccer, with mediocre players getting six-figure payouts a match, or the golfers who pulled out of the PGA system to get millions of dollars for playing in the LIV series, or the actors getting many millions for a movie. How much do these people want?
Millions of people are starving and struggling for their lives. The wealthy should look in a mirror and see themselves for what they are. They could save lives over the next few years, especially as global warming takes over. We will soon know in this flawed world if it will be about saving people or self-interest. Will greed win yet again? The answer is probably yes.
Stan McCormack,
Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath
Sir — I wish to commend Rosita Sweetman on her insightful article on the Iveagh Markets (Sunday Independent, August 14) in Dublin.
As a visitor to that part of the city recently, I walked the streets and lanes around the area and thought it was a delightful place. Then I came to the Iveagh Markets and was baffled as to what was happening to this landmark.
Little did I know of the dark clouds that hang over the place. To me, it seems that a mixture of greed, bureaucracy, and incompetence have taken hold, and what will be the outcome of that concoction? This building needs to be fully restored and returned to the people.
Michael Leahy, by email
Sir — Last week, Terry Healy Riordan wrote to your Letters page to say she is heartbroken following the death of her husband Peter, who was 90.
Terry tells us her “marriage was made in heaven” and Peter was a wonderful person in every regard. I felt so sad for her, but research tells us that in time Terry will get great consolation from remembering her very happy marriage and remembering Peter’s great qualities.
It will probably shock when I say I envy widows and widowers their happy memories and the open support they receive from society. A divorced person is totally ignored when the former spouse passes away.
The divorced person and innocent children may have suffered greatly at the hands of the deceased. At the time of their passing, old wounds are reopened and the past is relived all over again. There can be no healing and no good memories.
Name and address with editor
Sir — Continuously we hear about the importance of a healthy work/life balance for health and well-being.
But when the Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin lives a healthy life by doing her job and, when off work, enjoying dancing and socialising, then small-minded, petty begrudgers find fault.
These detractors should get a life. There’s too much sadness and trouble in the world. It’s lovely to hear a good, uplifting story of someone being happy and enjoying a healthy life.
Well done to Sanna Marin. Finland is fortunate to have you as a role model.
Margaret Walshe,
Dublin 15
Sir — I was glad to read Councillor Mannix Flynn’s views in ‘Wheels of change: all bikes and scooters need regulation’, (Sunday Independent, August 21).
At present, it’s like the Wild West for pedestrians; you have to keep checking behind in case a silent e-bike or scooter rider is bearing down on you, convinced they can guess your next step.
How many people have abandoned areas for much-needed walks because of this?
Rules of the Road, p199: “A cyclist should not ride on or across a footpath, other than where a cycle track is provided on the footpath” and “Do use your bell as a warning device only.”
The recent garda report on at least 1,373 “traffic incidents” involving e-scooters — including 440 collisions, two fatalities and 42 serious injuries since January 2020 — shows regulation is imperative.
Joan Reidy,
Malahide, Co Dublin
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