First-time buyers can revitalize rural Ireland
Sir – I am writing to you about my daughter and son-in-law looking to buy a family home.
they are both first-time buyers but are not interested in buying a new home. They want to buy a second-hand home in a town somewhere in the Midlands of Ireland – but will be exempt from applying for a first-time homebuyer grant.
Why, as we try to keep rural Ireland alive, can’t they ask for something they could do once in a lifetime?
Rural Ireland is dying standing and we should be encouraging young and old to buy old buildings to renovate and not let them all fall into disrepair and become those vacant homes that we see all over the country.
Indeed, they should be encouraged to buy them to regenerate towns and villages across Ireland. This would then perhaps encourage businesses to reopen which have all had to close in recent years. It would also provide jobs for the local construction industry.
I invite the government, the Minister of Housing and the Minister of the Environment to take this opportunity to address this issue and include it in the discussions underway for first-time buyers.
Callan, Co Kilkenny
Reasonable rents would also alleviate the problem
Sir – How come so many people think the ideal solution to this need is to buy a house? Do we really need a home to ourselves?
Wouldn’t most of us be happy to have a home of our own, whether it be that we own or that of the council, state or co-op, individual owners or even businesses? ‘investment? The big question is how to pay the rent.
If lawmakers introduced a strong rule to keep rents affordable, would I be happy?
The many advantages of leasing are certainly that maintenance does not add an additional burden to each of us.
With more densely populated areas, it would be up to the residents to form a community, to look after each other and to share spaces where young and old can meet. Am I talking about utopia?
Ennis, Co Clare
We are already paying to drive on our roads
Sir – Every Sunday I turn to Colm McCarthy’s column in the Independent Sundaybecause I consider him to be a strong, level-headed commentator, and his approach appeals to a non-partisan person like me.
However, I disagree with his article last Sunday titled “We Must Consider Paying To Drive On Our Urban Roads”.
As I read this, I am looking out the window at our car’s tax record – for which we have had to pay a heavy price to our local authorities who maintain our roads.
We also pay property tax and have to pay a private company to collect our waste. Now we are being asked to pay for water.
Why? To understand this, go back to 1977, when, in a quest for popularity and power, Fianna Fáil abolished domestic tariffs. Everyone saw this as a great relief (Oh, innocence), not realizing what the consequences would be.
In all innocence, I ask: “Would it be possible to bring back the domestic tariffs?”
Send Turkey to swallow Eurovision
Sir – After watching the pure trash claiming to be qualified music for last night’s Eurovision Song Contest, should we either ignore it in the future – or send Dustin back to Turkey next year? to show exactly what we think?
Cleveragh, Listowel, Co Kerry
Fulham Lilywhites and the relegation blues
Sir – Your contributor Professor James McDermott in last week’s Sport section said that Fulham FC have never won a trophy in their 142 year history.
Wait a moment, Prof.
Fulham has won the Second Division and Third Division titles twice. They were also two-time Southern League champions, were one of three Inter Toto Cup winners in 2002 – and for the first 50 years of the last century they won the London Challenge Cup, not one, not two, but three times.
Overall, shocking omissions from Mr McDermott – and himself a Fulham subscriber and college professor.
Each of us is linked by a collective past
Sir – I want to pay tribute to the poignant play written last Sunday by Roslyn Dee.
Shamefully, I haven’t been back to my beloved South Derry in quite some time.
I also have the damaged Beresford book on my shelf. I, too, clearly remember the black flags, the burnt Ulster buses and the rest.
I still proudly claim to be from Heaney and Hughes country. But now recognize that JT McCracken is an integral part of this land, of our collective past, and that he too should never be forgotten. May they rest in peace.
Knocking on heaven’s door in the pub
Sir – I very much appreciated Declan Lynch’s heartfelt tribute to Bob Dylan in last Sunday’s newspaper.
I was fortunate to receive a particularly Irish Dylan education.
My uncle was a Dylan fanatic and we listened to Dylan’s records from the 1960s and 1970s on his old record player.
But from about 1986 our common upbringing acquired a more ‘live’ feel, thanks to the legendary Fleadh Cowboys’ residence in the Kenny pub. Every Tuesday night, Pete Cummins (co-founder of the Fleadh Cowboys with Johnny Moynihan) gave his own unique rendition of at least two songs from Dylan’s back catalog.
Asked about his musical influences, Pete (who has toured with the Minnesota minstrel before) gave his simple philosophy: “Dylan, Dylan and f ** king Dylan”.
Kilmainham, Dublin 8
A name change that simply protects the elite
Sir – Minister Simon Harris takes the late Gay Byrne “the one for everyone in a udience ”to the extreme by awarding the title of Technological University to almost all Institute of Technology in the countryside.
Much like when many regional technical colleges were upgraded to information technology in the 1990s, this “ old wine in new bottles ” trick keeps exactly that in the academic elite. – elite.
Since this last artificial elevation, Waterford IT has always operated to university standards – recognized as the leading institute in Ireland this millennium. His reward? Instead of promotion to first rank, Waterford is consigned to a third-lev level. and mediocrity.
Full university status aims to bridge the socio-economic gap between the haves and have-nots. The minister does not spread the wealth so much as the distribution of the crumbs.
Handing out ‘tech’ headlines like confetti devalues a designation that, in truth, is far less than the real thing – this being the undiluted university status enjoyed by every Irish city except Waterford.
It smacks of political patronage and parochial pompism in its most cynical and damaging form.
Dunmore East, County Waterford