Tag Archives: Irish Times letters page

Kevin Myers

Now that he is available please bring Kevin Myers back “home” to The Irish Times. Some of your long-suffering readers need a counterbalance to the opinions of Fintan O’Toole, Una Mullally, etc.

John Kenny,
Monkstown Valley,
Co Dublin.



This morning.

Emma Barnett of BBC 5 Live interviews Kevin Myers about his sacking.

Controversy over Kevin Myers’ article (Irish Times letters page)

Previously: ‘I’m Sorry This Has Happened’

Thanks Judith


Currently the situation at RTÉ is causing widespread disquiet.

The NUJ and many women are angry that male presenters are paid considerably more than their female counterparts, the head of the company is concerned that it is losing money while the general public is worried about a possible increase in the price of the TV licence.

I have a suggestion that could solve all these problems at once: reduce the salaries of the men until they match those of the women.

There! Everyone is happy!

Dave Robbie,
Co Dublin.

Gender pay differences at RTE (Irish Times)


Last night…

Breakingnews.ie reported:

RTÉ bosses have been accused of gagging staff who want to talk publicly about the gender pay gap controversy.

During a meeting of RTÉ National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members on Thursday it was claimed that management had refused to give permission to some of its stars to engage with the media about the ongoing debate over pay.

One presenter told the meeting she had been approached by a number of newspapers and asked to comment on the issue but when she asked for authorisation from RTE it was denied.

Related: Running Out Of Mileage

Goodbye, RTE

Friends, Colleagues, Freelancers, Cover Your Mouths

Previously: Six One, Half A Dozen Of The Other

I write as a homeless citizen in my late 30s. My father had a house, a car and three children when he was my age.

The Irish capitalist system has failed my generation when it comes to housing rights. The laissez-faire housing strategy has failed us.

I call for a bailout of the sizeable homeless population of Ireland and the urgent utilisation of State power to act as social entrepreneur in resolving inequality of conditions as far as housing is concerned.

Only the bypass of market forces can resolve the situation. We cannot wait any longer for social justice.

Gavin Bushe,
Dublin 22.

A bailout for Ireland’s homeless (The Irish Times letters page)


Noel Whelan 

Noel Whelan’s article “Far left’s high profile contrasts sharply with modest electoral reach” describes the Solidarity-PBP grouping as minnows.

The Labour Party has seven seats to Solidarity-PBP’s six. If we combine, as Mr Whelan does in his article, Solidarity-PBP’s seats with those of the Independents 4 Change grouping and other left-wing TDs, the left comfortably outnumbers Labour.

Yet Noel Whelan does not call Labour small fish or “fringe deputies”.

The thuddingly dull comparison between Donald Trump and the left, as constant in your newspaper as the Angelus, on the basis of criticism of the mainstream media, is fatuous.

It should not need to be said that the basis and method of the left’s critique of certain sections of the media differs ever so slightly from Mr Trump’s lying, egomaniacal Twitter outbursts against CNN.

Your columnist manages class snobbery and reverse class snobbery in the one paragraph, suggesting that the kind of people who vote left are not natural Irish Times readers and, heaven forbid, that some left-wing TDs have the temerity to have been born to middle-class backgrounds.

I can assure him that many supporters of the left of all classes read this newspaper, either as its de facto status as the paper of record or as a means to keep abreast of the latest fashionable delusions of the bourgeois hive-mind, of which Noel Whelan is such a stalwart proponent.

Jill Bryson,


The Irish left and fringe deputies (The Irish Times letters page)

Related: Far left’s high profile contrasts sharply with modest electoral reach (Noel Whelan, Irish Times, July, 2017)


Natasha Browne is right when she says that the decision of the British think tank Policy Exchange to advise Ireland to follow the UK out of the EU demonstrates “the British superiority complex” in feeling they can determine the fate of this country.

The think tank advises that Ireland should consider leaving the EU. It is not quoted as saying we should rejoin the UK but the implication is clear.

After centuries of colonial exploitation, we still have to put up with the neighbouring former imperial power telling us what to do – or else.

It wants us to follow it in tearing up the agreement it signed with its fellow European citizens to join the EU.

The EU represents the cooperation of nearly 30 European democracies in matters of mutual interest. It replaces centuries of imperial and totalitarian conflict in Europe and is the most advanced example of such cooperation in the world.

All Ireland can say to the UK in reply is no, we will not tear up that agreement. But we should also respectfully suggest that the UK should reverse what the UK’s own think tank defines as the “massively damaging” decision to tear it up.

A Leavy,
Dublin 13.


Europe, Brexit, Ireland (Irish Times letters page)

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 11.53.07Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 12.01.50

A table in Monday’s Irish Times; Minister for Housing Simon Coveney

You may recall how, last Sunday morning, Dublin Institute of Technology lecturer Lorcan Sirr tweeted that only 2,076 new houses were built in 2016 compared to the official figure of 14,932.

He also tweeted a table detailing the number of new house completions, excluding one-off houses, built in each county last year based on figures confirmed by the Building Control Management System. These state just 848 such properties were built as opposed to the Department of Housing’s figure of 8,729.

An article with the same figure, and more, obtained under Freedom of Information, appeared in The Irish Times on Monday. This article also had a table with the same information as Mr Sirr’s table.

The claims followed similar concerns about the department’s housing figures previously raised by architect Maoilíosa Reynolds in an article in The Sunday Business Post two Sundays ago.

Further to this…

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has written the following letter to The Irish Times

The article on homes built in 2016 demonstrates the dangers of obtaining and interpreting data without proper context or testing its validity.

The table accompanying the article is inaccurate; the published figure of 848 units presented as the total output of estate houses and apartments built in 2016 is in fact the number of Certificates of Compliance on Completion submitted to the Building Control Management System (BCMS) for all works, not just residential construction, in the first quarter of 2017.

I have said repeatedly that the Building Control Management System was designed for compliance for building control purposes. It was not designed for gathering statistics and the published article is a perfect example of how statistics can be misrepresented and inaccurately presented.

There are several reasons why the BCMS data does not currently record and reflect housing completions, although the Department Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government is actively exploring its potential in this regard. Some of these reasons include the fact that Certificates of Compliance on Completion are required for certain works that submitted a commencement notice on or after March 1st, 2014. Developments commenced before that date, including many developments started but not finished during the downturn may still be under construction.

Certificates of Compliance on Completion are not required for one-off houses that have chosen to opt out of the statutory certification process since September 1st, 2015.

A single Certificates of Compliance on Completion may cover multiple buildings or works, this is in order to reduce the administrative burden and cost for industry, so simply counting certificates can underestimate total units constructed.

The requirement for these Certificates of Compliance on Completion is relatively new, at a time when construction activity has been relatively low, with the result that the process and issuing of Certificates of Compliance on Completion is only becoming established.

The recording and reporting of statistics on housing completions is a complex area. We have several different statistics from various reputable sources that measures different issues as well as many different views in relation to which statistics we should use.

We have, however, used ESB connections as an overall proxy for housing completions and have done so since the 1970s, so it is, and will continue to be, an important long-term comparator, and an important indicator of trends in the number of new homes being made available. It is important to note that the ESB figures are by no means the only dataset we use.

We have, for example, detailed information on residential construction activity from local authorities – at the end of 2016, the four Dublin local authorities reported 144 active construction sites, encompassing the construction of some 5,200 new dwellings.

Suggestions that I am trying to mask the completion figures are nonsense. Everything my department does is open and transparent and the one thing that is apparent from all key statistical sources (eg planning permissions, commencements, completions) is that housing supply activity is increasing, underpinning that Rebuilding Ireland, and its core objective of increasing housing supply, is beginning to have a positive impact.

It has been a slow and complex process to realise the upswing in housing supply and the Government will continue to focus on actions and initiatives to increase supply across all tenures during 2017 and beyond.

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Housing,
Planning, Community & Local Government,
Custom House,
Dublin 1.


How many new homes were built last year? (Irish Times letters page)

Previously: ‘When Gardaí manipulate figures, there are inquiries’

‘If You Want To Solve A Problem…’

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 12.53.27

The transmission of Angelus bongs on the television without text subtitles for the hard of hearing is in violation of accessibility commitments to the entire RTÉ audience. At the very least, a priest holding a series of placards with the word “Bong!” on them should be shown.

I have no idea how the hard of hearing might be accommodated in an equivalent way by the radio broadcast of the Angelus, however, other than by not broadcasting the Angelus to any of us in the first place. Indeed, this seems like an optimal course of action across all media.

Ultan Ó Broin,

In fairness.

Broadcasting the Angelus (Irish Times letters page)

Previously: For Whom The Bells Toll

Pic: RTE


Rhododendron take about 13 years to reach reproductive maturity. It beggars belief that our National Parks Service cannot manage to remove new saplings once per decade and at least prevent the expansion of this pernicious plant. Having said that, it is time to get more ambitious and eradicate this plant once and for all.

Prof Eugene O’Brien
School of Civil Engineering,
University College Dublin,
Dublin 4.


Operation Rhododendron (Irish Times letters page)


Late Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy interviews contestants in RTE’s Dancing with The Stars on RTE One’s Late Late Show last Friday

On the The Late Late Show last Friday, the first item consisted of an interview with participants (including RTÉ employees) in an upcoming RTÉ show, followed by an interview with another RTÉ employee.

These were followed by an interview with the presenter of another upcoming RTÉ show, and this in turn was followed by an interview with an actress in yet another RTÉ programme.

Not to be outdone, the following evening the Ray D’Arcy Show featured an interview with participants in further RTÉ programme, followed by a piece featuring another RTÉ personality.

Is public-service broadcasting now defined as RTÉ people interviewing each other ad nauseam?

David FitzGerald,
Dublin 14.


RTE chat shows (The Irish Times letters page)

Previously: Selling Ireland By The Pound


A mock-up of a two-way cycle route along Dublin’s north quays proposed by Dublin City Council last year

About this time last year I was taken to hospital following a cycling accident. It was assumed that I had been hit by a motor vehicle.

After emergency surgery, my ankle was put back together as well as could be expected given the injury I sustained.

Unfortunately, I require further surgery in the hope of keeping arthritis at bay, followed by the inevitable complete replacement of the ankle joint in the years to come.

All of which means I experience daily discomfort and impaired movement. The cause of this accident was another cyclist.

My commute to work is a relatively simple 40-minute cycle, consisting of a short meander through suburban roads, then the rest on a dedicated cycle path. My bike is old and sturdy and I am adorned in day-glo and of course wear a helmet.

After the collision, my helmet was split open, my bike battered, and laptop bent! And I realised I was unable to walk. As I stood, leaning on my bike, a lycra-clad cyclist proceeded to shout at me and made to move off. Despite my protestations that I could not walk, he left the scene.

In my moment of need, a member of the fire brigade, caught in the morning traffic, came to my aid.

Due to the severity of my injury, I reported the incident to the Garda. Despite following up with local traffic cameras and the on-board cameras on Dublin Bus, no evidence was forthcoming to identify the cyclist. This is key, as one cannot then pursue any form of compensation.

If I had the misfortune of being hit by a motor vehicle, then at least there is a fund (managed by the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland) that could be availed of.

I, however, am left with no recompense for any and all future implications of the accident.

Are cyclists inherently unsafe, uninsurable, unethical and uncared for?

David Jennings,
Co Dublin.

Cyclists and insurance (Irish Times letters page)

Pic: Cycle Dublin