Thursday, 9 Apr 2020

Letters to the Editor: 'B&B owners show that if you take the bull by the horns, you’re able to put any problem to bed'

The letters page is mainly for serious national and international issues, but there is usually room for the light-hearted story – and this is a true one.

Francis Brennan, co-owner of the beautiful Park Hotel Kenmare, with many Cork guests over the years, wrote in his lovely book, ‘It’s the Little Things’, of an unreal experience he heard happen at a family-owned B&B years ago.

Their father had just died. They had received a booking from a couple who planned to arrive the same day as the funeral. The family decided not to cancel it and to lay to rest their much-loved head of the family the same day.

The B&B had been extended to the bottom of a very tall cliff or bank of high ground behind the property. There was a bull that regularly grazed at the top. On the morning of the funeral a huge bang was heard in the B&B and, to the family’s shock, the animal had stumbled through the cliff-edge fence, crashed down through part of the roof extension and was now trapped in a bedroom. The animal was physically fine and had no injuries. It was probably shocked and not happy. The indignity of the situation must have made a big impact on him. He was too wide to get out the door.

The family collapsed into hysterics of laughter while grieving at the same time.

There was no time to organise removing the animal and the family laid to rest their much-loved father. Later that evening they put the couple in the only empty bedroom in the B&B. They had a vet sedate the animal, a carpenter take off the door and the sleeping animal carried out.

The moral of the story is to be prepared for anything and to keep calm whatever happens.

Mary Sullivan

College Road, Cork

We must build our own way out of housing crisis

Charlie Weston’s article that Beverly Hills-based Kennedy Wilson has told its shareholders ‘billions’ of dollars are poised to be invested in apartment projects in this country (‘Workers priced out of housing market by cash-rich investors’, Irish Independent, March 7) is utterly sickening.Our Government can set up committees for multiple causes, but not for this one.

We have unrivalled finance experts in this country, professors of accounting, CEOs of banks who knew how to make “errors” with tracker interest rates, brilliant young, and not so young, entrepreneurs, and yet we can’t or won’t raise the funds for these apartment complexes ourselves.

Our young people are being sold down the river, doomed to lining the pockets of Beverly Hills instead of owning their own homes.

The Taoiseach must call an abrupt halt to this plunder of Irish people, and set up a committee immediately, to source funding in Europe or America to build these complexes ourselves.

Margaret Docherty

Terenure, Dublin

Bradley’s comments show a dangerous ignorance

Martin Luther King said: “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Karen Bradley’s comments in the House of Commons on the acts of the security forces during the Troubles were ignorant and shocking.

To say that all the killings at the hands of the military and police were not crimes is disrespectful to those innocent people who died.

To say then that these forces acted in a “dignified” way is hollow.

Her comments leave distaste, but the timing of her comments prior to the verdict of the Bloody Sunday investigation next week is dreadful.

In the climate of Brexit, this only causes anguish, and is simply incomprehensible.

Yet again, one sees why it is imperative for people to know their history.

Let alone if you are the Northern Ireland Secretary.

Seamús Ó Raghallaigh

Mount Merrion, Co Dublin

We can’t allow Brexit to threaten hard-won peace

The discovery of a number of letter bombs in London in recent days is a throwback in time to the bad old days of the Troubles that we thought were long behind us.

Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 by both the Irish and British governments, relative peace and harmony has become the norm for more than 20 years on both these islands.

Let us hope that this continues long into the future.

And that we never again see the day that bombs explode in London, Birmingham, Coventry, Dublin, Belfast, Omagh, Enniskillen or Derry, causing death and destruction on such a huge scale.

All right-thinking people in positions of power must be encouraged to ensure that no rash decisions are made around the Brexit negotiations.

That might threaten the peace that has allowed the free movement of goods and people smoothly across an invisible Border and between Ireland and the UK, to the benefit of all, both North and South, for many years past.

The Northern Ireland Assembly should also be re-established as a matter of great urgency, to ensure that a political vacuum is not allowed to continue to develop, which might threaten the hard-won peace.

Let us hope that the decisions made in the coming weeks and months allow our two countries, which have so much in common, to continue to prosper in a spirit of peace and harmony, for many years to come.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

Coverage has some ready to dance to different tune

Is it just me, or are we getting a little bit too much coverage of ‘Dancing With The Stars’?

Two hours on Sunday evenings.

Then on Monday morning, as I travelled to work, the same being discussed on three radio stations, RTÉ1, RTÉ2 and Lyric FM. And all at the same time. I kid you not.

A little OTT. Would you not agree?

Personally, I love Sunday evenings at the same time on BBC1, as follows: ‘Countryfile’, ‘Antiques Roadshow’, and ‘Call the Midwife’.

But still.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

May needs to keep it short even if it’s not very sweet

As the UK prepares to write the longest suicide note in history, Theresa May should consider some practical and memorable templates.

The Magna Carta runs to 3,600 words; the length of the American declaration is only a third of this, at 1,322 words.

Sitting on Mount Sinai, Moses crafted the 10 Commandments in 297 words.

One of the most famous and most quoted speeches in history – Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address – was delivered in 272 words.

The Lord’s Prayer is composed of only 66 words.

What odds will Paddy Power give that Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal document will be less than 20,000 words?

Brendan Dunleavy

Snakiel, Killeshandra, Co Cavan

Possible get-out clause to deal with the backstop

It is a mathematical certainty that any codicils, statements, appendices, etc, attached to the Withdrawal Agreement and political statement as a result of the latest Brexit discussions will tend to vitiate the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Why be reactive? If the UK wishes to regard the agreement compromise as a working document with room for vitiation of one protocol only, why not be proactive and present a non-vitiation clause? This is in line with the view that the agreement is not up for renegotiation.

Such clauses are commonly used in construction-related contracts to uphold the validity of insurance policies, and the backstop is commonly regarded as an insurance policy, whose effect should be maintained.

Any department lawyer worth his/her salary could easily adapt the common insurance template to the current discussions.

The UK representatives will say to the EU that their texts are a sop to the ultras, and then if agreed, say to their own supporters and the right-wing UK media that the backstop is now devoid of meaning.

Non-vitiation is the answer.

Robert O’Mahony

London, England

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