24 January 2014 Tip
I go all the way around the park listening to the Navy Lark. Our heroes are in trouble, again. A spy has been planted on Troutbridge to see if any of the crew are suitable to join Intelligence Priceless.
Go to the Tip, M&S, Post Office no boxes no Thermabloc
Scrabble today no-one wins  game collapses ha;f way thrpugh  Perhaps I will win tomorrow.


Halet Çambel, who has died aged 97, was an Olympic fencer and the first Muslim woman to compete in the Games; while she failed to take home a medal from the Berlin Olympics in 1936 she won international acclaim by refusing to meet Hitler. Post-war, she became a renowned archaeologist.
The 20-year-old Halet Çambel represented Turkey in the women’s individual foil event. She already held reservations about attending the Nazi-run Games, and an introduction to the Führer was a compromise too far. “Our assigned German official asked us to meet Hitler. We actually would not have come to Germany at all if it were down to us, as we did not approve of Hitler’s regime,” she recalled late in life. “We firmly rejected her offer.”
Halet Çambel was born on August 27 1916 in Berlin, the granddaughter of Ibrahim Hakki Pasha, the Ottoman Ambassador to Germany. Her father, Hasan Cemil Çambel, was the embassy’s military attaché and a close associate of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic.
As she grew up in Berlin with her three siblings, her parents became concerned by her frailty (she suffered with typhoid and hepatitis). “They always looked at me as if my days were numbered,” she remembered. “They would dress me up in layers of jumpers and woolly socks. As I was not happy with this, without my family knowing, I removed these heavy clothes at school and decided to increase my strength. And I also began to exercise. The German books I read contained stories about knights. I was very impressed by them, this is why I took up fencing.”
In the mid-1920s the family resettled in Istanbul, where, prior to the founding of the Republic, Halet Çambel was “shocked by the black shrouded women who came and visited us at home”. Part of Ataturk’s legacy was to expand the rights and possibilities of women. Participation in sport contributed to this emancipation.
Related Articles
Kinmont Hoitsma
03 Jan 2014
Professor Mick Aston
25 Jun 2013
Viktor Sarianidi
10 Jan 2014
Carla Grissmann
08 Apr 2011
Bill Hoskyns
18 Aug 2013
She acknowledged the amateurism of her country’s Olympic bid. “We did not prepare,” she said. “Everybody would train in their own spare time.” After an unhelpful spell with a Hungarian coach in Budapest, she arrived in Berlin. She was present when a furious Hitler stormed out of the Olympic Stadium after America’s black athlete Jesse Owens won the 100m sprint.
On her return from the Games she met Nail Çakırhan, a Communist poet and later a celebrated architect. As her family were unimpressed by Çakırhan’s Marxist beliefs, the couple wed in secret. She went on to read Archaeology (along with the Hittite, Assyrian, and Hebrew languages) at the Sorbonne in Paris before gaining a doctorate at the University of Istanbul in 1940. In the immediate wake of the Second World War she studied with the German professor Helmuth Bossert, and in 1947 assisted on his excavation of the 8th-century Hittite fortress city of Karatepe in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey.
Karatepe was to be her life’s work: for more than five decades she spent six months each year at the site. It was there that she helped to develop a greater understanding of Hittite hieroglyphics, the indigenous logographic script native to central Anatolia, and build ties between Turkish academics and the German archaeological community (Çambel was to become a member of the German Archaeology Institute).
A good-looking woman, she maintained a no-nonsense approach on her pioneering digs in south-east Anatolia. “Halet was always respected by the farmers,” said the Danish-German ethnologist Ulla Johansen. “She wore practical trousers and simple, high-buttoned blouses, completely covering her upper arms and a man’s cap on her short cut hair.”
In 1960 Halet Çambel became professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Istanbul University, where she later founded a chair dedicated to the field. In 2004 she received the Prince Claus Award, the Dutch prize in recognition of a progressive approach to culture .
Her husband died in October 2008.
Halet Çambel, born August 27 1916, died January 12 2014


Conor Ryan neither addresses the fundamental unfairness in the status quo nor shows that the teaching in private schools is better than that in the state sector (Letters, 21 January).
First, he ignores the evidence that the disproportionate success of privately educated children in obtaining both university places and a foot on the ladder of prestigious careers is due to universities not being very good at assessing potential – slightly changing the make-up of the group who “benefit” from this situation would not give us more equality of opportunity. Second, and in common with Anthony Seldon, he concerns himself only with the most able children in the state sector. Even if it were the case that there is a small supply of superior education available, why should that resource go to these children rather than others, particularly since there is no explanation of how the children left behind would benefit? Third, he fails to state how he would bring about fairer access to oversubscribed state schools: this could be achieved very simply by determining admission to them through a lottery.
Anyone who sets foot in state schools regularly knows that inspirational and heroic work is happening in them every day. It is not state schools which are the obstacle to equality of opportunity, but the lack of political will to remove the unfair advantages enjoyed by the children of the privileged.
Jane Duffield-Bish
• It was disappointing to read such negative views about the links between independent and state schools (What can the independent sector teach the state sector?, 20 January). I attended recently an inspiring conference organised by the Department for Education and the Sutton Trust for state and independent school leaders to celebrate the impact on pupils’ learning made by so many of our cross sector partnerships. The examples of effective co-operation between our two education sectors are legion; take just three from around the country. The Southwark Schools Learning Partnership, the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership and the City of York Independent State Schools Partnership bring together each year hundreds of pupils and teachers. In schools across the UK we share everything from the study of languages, mathematics and science to the experience of community music, playing sport and the organising of joint school trips. Such opportunities open up young minds and dissolve differences of wealth and background.
John Harris would have been wiser if he had considered what independent and maintained schools can teach each other; investigating that challenge is proving to be fascinating, often humbling and, not least, great fun.
Julian Thould
Head, King Edward VI School, Southampton
• In this area, the local authority recently closed a successful comprehensive school because of concern about falling secondary school rolls. This week, two local independent day schools have each announced an application for free school status with active encouragement from the New Schools Network. The latest, announcing its move from “fee to free” makes much of widening accessibility but says 96% of current parents would keep their children at the school. It seems this may be less about opening access, as advocated by the Sutton Trust, and more about propping up a struggling business model. It would be interesting to hear from Mr Gove and the New Schools Network how much this local example is reflected in applications for free school status from other parts of the country.
John Murphy
Crosby, Merseyside

The shocking accounts of torture and killings this week are depressingly similar to earlier reports compiled by Amnesty International (Evidence of killings in Syria could be ‘tip of the iceberg’, 22 January). Overall, a grim picture is emerging of the Syrian security forces – and their proxies – committing crimes against humanity on a staggering scale. There is little doubt that various forces opposed to the Damascus government have also kidnapped, tortured and killed detainees on their own side.
The Geneva II talks must prioritise the alleviation of grievous suffering among Syria’s civilians, but they must not ignore the mounting evidence of systematic crimes. It should be made clear to all parties that there will be no “immunity from prosecution” at some later date. Syria’s human rights abusers must be put on notice that they will be held to account for their terrible crimes.
Kristyan Benedict
Syria campaign manager, Amnesty International

It is good news indicators are starting to show improvement in the economy (Report, 23 January), though it’s difficult to see which of the current government policies is driving this. Am I the only one reminded that, for hundreds of years, doctors prescribed bleeding as a treatment for many diseases and were also quick to accept responsibility for recoveries?
Michael Baron
• The Cambridge City Foodbank has launched a pilot scheme to put up to £60 on the fuel cards of people sent to us through the CAB. The scheme is funded by local pensioners who donate winter fuel allowances which they feel they can live without. We are fortunate in that the city has probably more than the average number of well-off pensioners but the idea could be applied elsewhere.
Evvy Edwards
Cambridge City Foodbank
• The apparently mystery women (Letters, 21 January) on the Labour benches of 1976 is, of course, the very smart Judith Hart, minister for overseas development. Now, what did I have for breakfast… ?
Stephen Rafferty
Buckland Brewer, Devon
• I wonder what Emma Dally’s grandfather would have made of the Irish policeman I met just outside Wicklow when my bicycle had punctured (Letters, 21 January). “Are you in hardship there?” he enquired. “And do you have the necessary implements?”
Keith Graham
• They escape from the Benedictines only to end up with the Dominicans (Runaway school pupils found at hotel, 21 January).
Tom Scanlon
Little Neston, Wirral
• For some of us, our back gardens keep us sane (Letters, 23 January); it is the news about Syria, banking, poverty and child abuse that numbs our minds.
Jen Fitton
Oban, Argyll
• Surely brief letters are as welcome as the news that a female bullfinch is picking at blackthorn buds in Oxen Wood (Country diary, 23 January).
John Bailey
St Albans, Hertfordshire

24 January is is the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, a day when lawyers in Britain should take a moment to consider some of the dangerous environments fellow advocates are working in across the world. This is the third year this international day of awareness has been organised so that we can reflect on the physical threats and persecution colleagues face. This year the spotlight will shine on Colombia, a country where 1,440 incidents have been recorded of lawyers being threatened, injured or otherwise put at risk. Most alarming is that 400 lawyers have been killed since 1991 for the legitimate work they carry out.
On 24 January, as a representative for the Law Society and its support for endangered lawyers, I will be discussing the perilous situations Colombian lawyers work under with Rommel Durán Castellanos, a human rights and environmental rights lawyer and lecturer. Only last month he was shot at while working with vulnerable clients in the Pitalito region of south-east Colombia.
The risks are all too familiar to Rommel, who since 2007 has been defending marginalised communities and victims of human rights abuses and conducting grassroots training workshops on human rights and protection mechanisms. In particular, he represents victims of extrajudicial executions in the north-east of Colombia and other regions of the country, and victims of crimes such as enforced disappearance, torture and killings, perpetrated by state agents and paramilitary groups. For his efforts he has been subjected to a campaign of threats, attacks and stigma. Rommel’s experiences can put into sharp relief the cases most lawyers are presented with.
The Day of the Endangered Lawyer does not stand to present a point of comparison but rather to spur the international legal community into a refreshed state of awareness and action.
Professor Sara Chandler
Chair of the Law Society Human Rights Committee

The problem with the battle against climate change is not that “extremists” in the UK oppose fracking, or even that the government supports it (‘Far-left extremists’ accused of harming global warming fight, 21 January). The problem is that global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.
As Caroline Lucas MP points out in your report, “up to 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we are to have any hope of avoiding dangerous levels of climate change.” But the reality is that they are not going to do so. The world’s governments talk about cutting emissions, but in fact they continue to seek economic growth at all costs.
We have to accept that the battle to cut greenhouse gas emissions by enough to prevent runaway climate change has been lost. Therefore, the strategy now has to be to deal with the emissions by investing in carbon scrubbing, geoengineering and reforestation. This could be funded by the tens of billions of pounds per year that would be raised if the major nations, including the UK, could agree on a financial transactions tax. Otherwise, we face disaster.
Richard Mountford
Tonbridge, Kent
• Lord Deben’s plea for a rational debate on tackling climate change isn’t particularly helped by his labelling of opponents of fracking as extremists and “close to Trotskyism”. Following hard on the heels of David Cameron calling opponents irrational and “religious in their opposition”, it seems that there is an orchestrated campaign to pillory anyone who questions the desperate push to expand fracking.
The climate change case against greater long-term use of gas is simple. The Committee on Climate Change has set a target for the average emissions from electricity generation to be 50 grammes of CO2 per kilowatt hour by 2030. Gas (from whatever source) produces nearly 10 times that amount.
The government and Lord Deben could also listen to those it normally trusts. BP reports that shale gas expansion will not stop a major rise in greenhouse gas emissions and Brewin Dolphin says shale gas will not reduce gas prices (Report, 16 January). So why is the government so obsessed about promoting fracking while simultaneously blocking the setting of a binding EU-wide renewables target which would provide a clear focus for decarbonisation? Is it too much to ask for a grown-up debate, without the brickbats?
John Rigby
• The appointment of Lord Deben, fracking champion, as chair of the Committee on Climate Change is one in a long line of cynical appointments to ensure that action is given low priority. Climate change sceptic Peter Lilley, vice-chair of an oil and gas company, was appointed in October 2012 to the select committee, following the appointment of Owen Paterson, another climate sceptic, as environment secretary, and John Hayes, who opposes wind farms, as energy minister. Richard Benyon and Lord de Mauley, neither with impressive environmental credentials, to the Department for the Environment. And there are more.
This lengthening line of such appointments points up Cameron’s lie that his is “the greenest government ever”.
David Murray
Wallington, Surrey
• Your article (Big Six energy provider RWE halves investment in renewables, 17 January) paints a distorted picture of investment in the UK. While individual companies may make commercial decisions to reduce their involvement, other companies are lining up to take their place, competing for contracts and helping to renew our energy infrastructure.
Since 2010 we have seen record levels of investment: £31bn from private sector companies in UK renewable projects – the most resilient such market in Europe. Over the same period we have nearly doubled the amount of electricity generated from that source. Our Energy Act provides the certainty and political commitment that investors need, which is why Ernst & Young ranks the UK as the fourth best place in the world to invest in renewable energy – and the first for offshore wind.
Edward Davey
Secretary of state for energy and climate change
• According to BP (Report, 16 January), the expected rise in greenhouse gases over the next two decades will put “hopes of curtailing dangerous climate change beyond reach”, despite any move from coal to gas. There are two dangers: a temperature rise this century sufficient to ensure widespread crop failures and famine; and ocean acidification so severe as to disrupt the whole marine food chain.
So, what can we do to avoid such catastrophes? There is a growing realisation among scientists that the only way is to lower the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in a report recently leaked to Reuters and the New York Times, recognises the possible necessity of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on a very large scale, tantamount to geoengineering. Fortunately, nature has provided excellent means to do this, using trees, plants and algae. Forests can be managed such that the carbon in the wood is not returned to the atmosphere. Plants can be heated pyrolytically to produce “biochar”, a special type of charcoal suitable for soil improvement. And photosynthesising algae can absorb carbon dioxide, purify water and become part of an aquatic food chain. Thus, while we reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere we can be growing more food.
This is a win-win situation. Yet the government has done nothing to promote CDR. The debate over shale gas pales into insignificance.
John Nissen
• Did John Gummer really say “All of us who are environmentalists … who are sensible” or are you having a laugh?
Marion Worth
Newport, Gwent


As Syrian diplomats squabble in Geneva this week, those trapped inside Syria and at the borders are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance and protection.
In the refugee settlements I visited last week in the Middle East, a largely hidden and seemingly unrelenting cycle of violence has taken hold. In the camps in Lebanon and Jordan, scores of women and girls are beaten and humiliated as a direct result of the stress and despair of displacement.
Teenage girls there are vulnerable to sexual harassment and, in an attempt to protect them, they can be pushed into marriage, often to much older men, consigning them to the extreme risks posed by pregnancy in bodies so young. As one doctor asked me, how can it ever be OK for a 13-year-old to miscarry, and then to fall pregnant again?
They cannot wait any longer for the political settlement needed to end the unacceptable, shocking cycle of violence that has gripped their homeland. For the sake of all Syrians we hope talking in Geneva brings relief, if not peace.
Leigh Daynes, Executive Director, Doctors of the World UK, London E14
Outside Liverpool Street station in London is a statue reminding us of the Kindertransport scheme which rescued thousands of mainly Jewish children from Nazi-occupied areas of Europe on the eve of the Second World War.
Ten thousand were resettled in the UK. Surely something like that could be arranged for the most needy of the Syrian refugee children, especially those who have been orphaned. The people want to help.
Elizabeth Morley, Aberystwyth
Behind the fall in unemployment
When hearing Mssrs Cameron, Osborne et al trumpeting a record fall in the unemployment rate to 7.1 per cent, let’s remember there are still 2.3 million unemployed, struggling to make ends meet, even on the official figures.
And, lest we forget, many so-called “employed” are in fact under-employed, being trapped in zero-hour jobs or self-employed with a very small, erratic income. And, of course, some people, so discouraged, appear in no official figures at all.
Mind you, there are the lucky few who are unemployed, with no need to work, having got something for nothing – no, I don’t mean those on benefits, but those who have benefited from inherited wealth.
Peter Cave, London W1
So we have just seen the second biggest drop in unemployment on record. I blame all these EU immigrants, coming here and taking our jobs and … Oh, hang on a minute …
Francis Kirkham, Crediton, Devon
Rennard: time to make peace
Chris Rennard should realise that what to him may have been a gesture of friendship could have been deeply unpleasant to the recipient. He should not allow his intransigence to damage the future of the party he has done so much to build.
Representatives of the parties concerned should get round a table with a neutral mediator to thrash out an acceptable form of words with which Chris could apologise without prejudicing his position in any possible (but unlikely) legal proceedings.
Andrew Sturgis, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
Dear Lord Rennard,
As a fellow liberal, and fellow bloke in his mid-50s, I would like to offer another view to help staunch the hurtful and misleading bile that has been flooding on to our newspaper pages recently.
We all have our way of expressing understanding and comradeship. Yours is allegedly of the more tactile variety. No doubt you make no distinction between old and young, male and female, attractive and plain; there will therefore no doubt be a number of older women and male colleagues able to vouch for your tendency to place a compassionate hand on the leg, or run a caring hand up the back from time to time.
Any unpleasant rumours that you are a philandering and lecherous slimeball would then be scotched once and for all.
David Scott, Horsham, West Sussex
Having worked in mixed offices for many years, starting in the Sixties, I know that some men don’t know how to behave.
One man in particular was a real pest until I elbowed him sharply in the ribs after he’d crept up behind me and flipped my bra strap. How was I to know he was nursing two broken ribs following a car accident? He never did it again to me or anyone else.
Sue Thomas, Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria
Children in a toxic world
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that young people’s lives and mental health are being substantially compromised because of the demands of modern life (“Mental health risk to children trapped in ‘toxic climate’ of dieting, pornography and school stress”, 20 January).
Sue Palmer and I composed two open press letters on this issue back in 2006 and 2007, signed by several hundred expert authorities from across the globe. But still, after all our campaigning, articles and books – still, hardly anything has changed. This is an appalling indictment of the toxic world that we adults are creating for our children. Effort must be focused upon those areas where we can make a difference.
Most notably, if the will is there, governments have the ability to rein back the noxious “audit and accountability culture” that has engulfed our schools since the 1990s, in which we are examining and testing our children to death – and in some tragic cases, quite literally.
Parents also need to view themselves as the proactive creators of modern culture, and not its hapless victims, especially in relation to the rampant technologisation of human communication, which should have absolutely no place in early and middle childhood.
The Save Childhood movement and its “Too Much Too Soon” campaign are just two examples of emerging cultural initiatives which are challenging these trends, and which all concerned citizens can throw their weight behind, if we’re really serious about genuine grassroots change on this vital question.
Dr Richard House, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, University of Winchester
What’s so special about dolphins?
I read your piece on the 200 dolphins trapped in a bay to be killed by Japanese hunters (21 January) and agree that this is a shocking practice. But why do we mostly focus on the cute and the dramatic, such as dolphin culls and racehorse injury, when far worse and much more routine suffering is commonplace in many areas of our consumer society?
For example industrial-scale fishing decimates stocks and nets all kinds of species besides the target fish, with those animals sometimes spending hours (or days) in nets before they finally die.
Next there is the rubbish and the toxins that our throw-away, industrialised society emits to the sea, with us now discovering that microscopic, indestructible particles of plastic have spread throughout the whole of the oceans.
And then the rearing of animals to supply us with cheap meat normally involves them spending their short lives tethered in cubicles, being given feed from dubious sources (such as rainforests felled to allow industrial cattle-feed production) and being filled with antibiotics to ensure that they survive in this inhumane and unhealthy environment.
So, yes, the treatment of these dolphins is brutal but spare a thought for the life of that cow or that pig next time you head for the discounted meat department in your supermarket.
Alan Mitcham, Cologne, Germany
They are still watching you
I can sympathise with Bob Gilmurray’s desire (letter, 21 January) to have the occasional day free from the prying eyes and ears of various national spying agencies. However he is sadly mistaken in his belief that by simply switching off his phone he can avoid their glare.
Most modern mobile phones continue to relay signals to the telecom providers allowing the spy agencies to detect the location of the phone even when the device is turned off. One way to avoid this unwanted intrusion is to remove the battery and sim when travelling, or better still bin the phone altogether.
Cían Carlin, London N8
Enter Lloyd-Pack, stage left
Way back in 1986 we saw Roger Lloyd-Pack (Obituary, 17 January) as Mandelstam, with Jack Shepherd as Gumilyov, in Dusty Hughes’ Futurists. As good an example of TV stars doing serious and challenging theatre work as you could wish to see.
But we were overjoyed to find that the tickets we’d bought for the National’s Cottesloe theatre were categorised “unrestricted left”. Sounds like something Roger would have appreciated.
Mary Pimm and Nik Wood, London E9


‘Where it is difficult for the mentally and physically healthy to find work, it is nigh on impossible for the long-term mentally ill’
Sir, It was revealing to read Caitlin Moran on Benefits Street and then Dr Mark Porter on bias over mental health (Times2, Jan 21). I am a retired GP with a lower middle-class upbringing but my wife comes from a working-class background tainted by mental issues affecting her mother. She overcame this to become a teacher. We lived in north Nottinghamshire, where I worked for 30 years. I witnessed the effects on the area and people caused by pit closures and industrial decline.
There are many people living on benefits in the area and the causes are complex, but having the rug pulled out from under working communities means they have to find a new identity as non-working ones. This is compounded by mental health issues, resulting from being unable to find work, and poor physical health, partly as a result of previous employment.
Where it is difficult for the mentally and physically healthy to find work, it is nigh on impossible for the long-term mentally ill. One of my sons has a long-term mental illness and finds this so. He comes from a relatively advantaged background but has been pulled down by his illness.
I welcome Caitlin Moran’s and Mark Porter’s articles and commend Nick Clegg’s proposals in this area. I would wish that certain journalists and politicians would be humble enough to acknowledge that most of them really have no idea how the other half lives.
Derek Hughes
Kibworth, Leics
Sir, Over the past 40 years the UK has led the way in the development of specialist mental health services for older people. Mental illness affects about 10 per cent of older people and we are concerned that the UK is beginning to dismantle these services and move the care of older people with mental illness into “ageless” (or age-inclusive or age-blind) services, where an 18-year-old and 80-year-old may be treated in the same service. A recent survey found that around 10 per cent of respondents had already undergone significant merger into ageless adult services and a similar number reported this was imminent.
The reasons for this change are unclear — it may simply be an attempt to save money — but there is no evidence to support the move to age inclusive mental health services. In fact a recent survey showed ageless services are detrimental to patient care.
Old-age mental health services are not just about managing dementia — around 40 per cent of patients in older adults services have illnesses other than dementia (such as depression, schizophrenia or anxiety). We therefore believe that specialism of old-age psychiatry — with a specifically trained, skilled workforce for older people with mental illness — should be the vehicle for the provision of age-appropriate non-discriminatory services to all our older population.
We call upon health providers in the UK to halt to the development of “ageless” mental health services, and ensure old-age services are protected.
Dr James Warner, Royal College of Psychiatrists; Dr Nori Graham, Alzheimer’s Disease International; Professor Carlos Augusto de Mendonça Lima, European Association of Psychiatry ; Professor Henry Brodaty, International Psychogeriatric Association; Professor Gabriela Stoppe, Chair of the Section of Old Age Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association, Switzerland; Professor Luis Agüera-Ortiz, President of the Spanish Association of Psychogeriatrics, Spain; Professor Dame Sue Bailey, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK; Professor R.C. Baldwin, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist & Honorary Professor of Psychiatry, UK; Professor Yoram Barak, Director of Abarbanel Mental Health Centre, Israel; Professor Vincent Camus, Past president, Section of Old Age Psychiatry, World Psychiatric Association, France; Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, UK; Dr Jane Casey, Bi-national Chair, Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age Psychiatry, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Australia; Professor Helen Chiu, President, Hong Kong Psychogeriatric Association, Hong Kong; Professor Edmond Chiu, University of Melbourne, Australia; Professor Knut Engedal, University of Oslo, Norway; Professor Lia Fernandes MD, PhD, APG Past President, Portugal; Professor Horacio Firmino, President of European Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, Portugal; Professor Vinod Gangolli, Dean of Academics, Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai, India; Dr George Grossberg, Past-President, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, Past-President, International Psychogeriatric Association, US; Lars Gustafson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geriatric Psychiatry, Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Professor Dr Hans Gutzmann, President of The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gerontopsychiatrie und –Psychotherapie (DGGPP), Germany; Dr Cécile Hanon, Chair of the Committee of Education European Psychiatric Association, France; Professor Reinhard Heun, Professor of Psychiatry, UK; Professor Ralf Ihl, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Duesseldorf, Germany; Professor Aleksandra Milićević Kalašić, Co-Chair Old Age Psychiatry Section, World Psychiatric Association, Serbia; Professsor Paul Knight, President, British Geriatric Society, London, UK; Professor Vladimirs Kuznecovs, Head of LPA Geriatric Section, Latvia; Professor Jerzey Leszek, Founder President of Polish Geriatric Psychiatry Association, Poland; Professor Gabriel Ivbijaro, President Elect World Federation for Mental Health, UK; Dr Manuel Martin-Carrasco, Coordinator, Working Group on Dementia, Spanish Society of Psychiatry, Spain; Professor Antonio Palha; Past President of Portuguese Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Portugal; Dr Carmelle Peisah, University of New South Wales, Australia; Dr Felix CV Potocnik, Head of Special Interest Group in Old Age Psychiatry, South African Society of Psychiatrists, South Africa; Dr Joel Sadavoy, Founding President of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry, Canada; Dr Duarte dos Santos Falcao, President, Portuguese Gerontopsychoiatry Association, Portugal; Dr Nicoleta Tataru, President of Romanian Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, Romania; Marco Trabucchi, President, Associazione Italiana di Psicogeriatria, Italy; Professor Catalina Tudose, President of Romanian Alzheimer’s Society, Romania; Professor Franz Verrey , Maastricht University Medical Center, The Netherlands; Professor Armin von Gunten, Vice-President, Swiss Society for Old-Age Psychiatry, Switzerland

Sir, Andrew Dow (letter, Jan 21) says that Richard L. Edgeworth invented carriage springs in 1768. He did have letters about carriage improvements published as early as 1764, when he was 20, but his essay on springs was not published by the Royal Irish Academy until 1788.
We should also be thankful for Obadiah Elliot’s 1804 patent for mounting carriages on to elliptical springs fixed to the axle. Back in Judge Jeffreys’ time, carriages were suspended on leather braces attached to extensions of the curved frame timbers under the bodies. The resulting motion would probably have aggravated gout even more than the iron-shod wheels on potholes.
Patrick F. Wallace
Director Emeritus, National Museum of Ireland, Dublin

‘The proposal is to shorten the period for the dioceses to respond from six months to just over three months, not cut it out altogether’
Sir, The legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England will need to be approved by a majority of the 44 diocesan synods before proceeding to final approval stage in the General Synod. Your report (Jan 18) says that “Synod members are to be asked to vote for a move that would cut out [diocesan] approval”, but the proposal is to shorten the period for the dioceses to respond from six months to just over three months, not cut it out altogether. My concern is that such a truncated period would make proper consideration of the revised proposals difficult, if not impossible.
David Lamming
Boxford, Suffolk

Keeping the many war graves in tip-top condition is a huge job and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission should be applauded
Sir, The Commonwealth War Graves (CWG) cemetery at Brookwood is not neglected (letter, Jan 21). It is cared for in the same way as all CWG cemeteries worldwide. The cemetery on the other side of the road that runs through the centre is a disgrace but not the military one. I have visited many CWG sites in France and Belgium, and they are places of beauty. Keeping them in good condition is a huge job, and the CWG should be commended.
Brian Dugan
Hazlemere, Bucks
Sir, My cousin, a Hurricane pilot, was shot down in France in May 1940, and it took me 68 years to find his grave. It was in a village, Chuffilly-Roche, in the Ardennes. As he crashed near by, the village refused to have him moved to a large CWG cemetery. Within days of our visit the Commission had cleaned “la tombe”. The Mayor said, “He fought for us.”
J. M. Carder
Sqn Ldr (ret’d)
Anstruther, Fife

Sir, Your military types (letters, Jan 18-23) got off lightly — their titles may have been mangled but their gender was unaffected.
Aged 12 and arriving for a piano examination I was greeted with “Oh, I was expecting a girl!”
Nicholas Eleanor
Oulston, N Yorks
Sir, Those Service chaps are lucky. When I was a patient in a military hospital, the name above my bed was not mine. I was known as “W/O”, (ie, wife of) and then my husband’s rank and name.
Sue Rigg
W/O Wg Cdr (Ret’d)
Porlock, Somerset
Sir, In the 1950s and 1960s my parents used to let caravans in Great Yarmouth in the summer and my father advertised in newspapers in the North of England. He frequently received letters addressed to:
Mr S. A. E. Please, Seaside Caravans.
Marilyn Healy
Sir, When I was a primary school teacher with a responsibility for environmental studies I received a letter addressed to “The Teacher with Responsibility for Saving the Planet”.
Elizabeth Simms
Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
Sir, Further to “The academic who wants to autocorrect our sense of humour” (Jan 22), if I am not careful with predictive text, my signature comes out as Alien Template.
Aline Templeton


SIR – Much more funding is needed to support museums and galleries across Britain, but we should recognise the important role already being played by some of the larger institutions in support of the smaller. The British Museum, Tate, V&A and the National Gallery no longer see themselves as carers solely of their own collections. Frequent loans of works of art and the sharing of curatorial expertise are now commonplace, and some spectacular exhibition initiatives are spreading the cultural wealth to all quarters of Britain.
Artist Rooms, for example – a sequence of touring exhibitions drawing on the important collection of post-war and contemporary art part-gifted by Anthony d’Offay to the Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland – is now in its sixth year, so far having reached 2.4 million visitors in more than 60 museums outside the national capitals. The launch last week of Jeremy Deller’s English Magic exhibition at the William Morris Gallery (pictured) is the start of the first-ever national tour of a show originally commissioned by the British Council for the Venice Biennale.
Stephen Deuchar
Director, Art Fund
London SW7
SIR – We need a reappraisal of the funding available to support medium and small museums; the flight from local authority control to trust status merely moved the funding problem from A to B.
My trust, which opened the Museum of Carpet in 2012, the only museum devoted to the carpet trade in England, faces a black hole in 2015, and we are not alone.
Charles E Talbot
Chairman, Carpet Museum Trust
Kidderminster, Worcestershire

SIR – You report not only that patients are not receiving drugs that have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), but also that many of those patients have not been informed that they should have received them.
The first duty of a doctor is to give his true opinion on diagnosis and the best treatment, taking into account the features of the individual patient. If he is constrained in giving that opinion by pressures or bans on the prescription he advocates, then he is surely negligent, unless he informs the patient of his true opinion and explains why he is unable to prescribe.
Patients do not necessarily trust the NHS. Where a doctor is prevented from giving the correct treatment by his trust, he should be required to inform a body remote from both the trust and the patient.
This principle should apply not only to drugs, but also to other treatments approved by Nice (such as surgical procedures). All that is needed is an edict from the Department of Health, and NHS trusts would soon fall into line or suffer the financial effects of being sued. This would be expensive, but at least it would be moral.
John Weston Underwood FRCS
Tregoose, Cornwall

Motorway drinking
SIR – The decision to let Wetherspoon’s sell alcohol at motorway service stations is insane. After drinking too much at a pub, you can walk home or take a taxi; you have no such choice on a motorway, where you have no choice of driving slowly either.
Drinkers won’t drink “responsibly”, especially if young and macho. When tired from driving, alcohol is a great solace and temptation. This decision will open the floodgates for other motorway outlets to secure this lucrative trade.
Wendy Buonaventura
Roosevelt no racist
SIR – Tim Stanley writes that Theodore Roosevelt was a racist. But, famously, he was the first president to invite a black man, Booker T Washington, to dine alone with him and his young family at the White House, at huge political risk – hardly the actions of a racist in 1904.
William J Mitchell
London SW11
Watery extremes
SIR – While many parts of the South East remain under floodwater, I have just had a water meter compulsorily fitted under the Government’s water shortage measures.
Lovat Timbrell
Brighton, East Sussex
A happy electorate
SIR – Dave is looking after the toffs and the bankers, Ed is looking after the middle class, and George is looking after the low-paid. Eureka!
If we elect a Tory/Labour Coalition, we will all be better off.
John Trott
Penperlleni, Monmouthshire
Dangerous driving
SIR – Yesterday I narrowly missed a pothole in a speed bump. Is this a first?
Peter Scott
New Milton, Hampshire
Impact of migrants
SIR – It is heartening to see any politician being brave enough to speak out against the political anti-migrant consensus. There are legitimate debates to be had about the social impact of migrants, but the overall debate is distorted in Britain.
The public overestimates the number of migrants (at up to a third of the population, rather than the reality of 13 per cent), ignores the advantages they bring (cheaper products, smaller deficit and national debt, delicious food), and overestimates their costs (they don’t cause unemployment and cut wages only very slightly).
Ben Southwood
Head of Macroeconomic Policy
Adam Smith Institute
London SW1
Running away in style
SIR – I was mightily relieved to hear that the two Stonyhurst runaways had been found safely. I ran away from Stonyhurst 40 years ago, and still feel uneasy at the raw terror my parents must have suffered in the two hours before I arrived at their front door.
These recent escapees seem to have rather more panache than I could summon. They paid for their journey by credit card, whereas mine was financed by cashing in my £5 Christmas savings. They flew to the Dominican Republic, whereas I took a train to Northampton.
David Hargreaves
London SW1
Shampoo-free house
SIR – My husband has not used shampoo or any products on his full head of hair for 15 years. Apart from on my visits to the hairdresser every six weeks, neither have I. We both have normal, naturally clean and manageable hair and less clutter in the bathroom.
Jenny O’Donnell
Penwortham, Lancashire
Ferocious socks
SIR – Now that manufacturers have perfected the production of seamless shorts – witness the shudder-inducing Lycra garments worn by cyclists everywhere – could they please turn their attention to designing seamless socks? Mine saw away at my feet ferociously.
Hugh Bebb
Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex
Archaeological value of ancient woodland
SIR – Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, has proposed to “offset” the loss of ancient woodland to development by planting more trees elsewhere. The Woodland Trust rightly highlights the unique ecosystems and rare species found in such rich woodland habitats which, once lost, can never be replaced.
As archaeologists, we are concerned about the potential loss to our heritage should such proposals be entertained. Ancient woodlands, dating back to well before the use of deep ploughing, are not only an important indicator of past land use and economies, but also preserve a wealth of archaeological remains lying undisturbed beneath their protective cover.
Such immensely valuable environmental and educational resources should not be squandered in the manner suggested by the Environment Secretary.
Jo Caruth
Secretary, Rescue: The British Archaeological Trust

SIR – Joan Bakewell says that it was “just what men did in my day” in relation to the Lord Rennard scandal. That may have been the case in the world of television, where celebrities accused of inappropriate behaviour with women were employed. It was not how men behaved in productive, responsible and well-managed industries.
I was a manager for 50 years, in both the public and private sectors; only once did I come across improper behaviour. The perpetrator was reported and dismissed under prevailing employment rules.
Brian J Singleton
Baslow, Derbyshire
SIR – Joan Bakewell suggests that women of my generation, who were working in the Sixties, were tolerant of groping because it was “just what men did”. That is not true.
Related Articles
Banned cures: the drugs you can’t get on the NHS
23 Jan 2014
London museums build a national art network
23 Jan 2014
If ever a man fondled me in the workplace, I would protest loudly to his face. I found such behaviour lacking in respect, demeaning and stressful. My friends and I knew which men were gropers, and we avoided them.
Sue Davies
Farnham, Hampshire
SIR – I agreed with every word that Joan Bakewell wrote until she invited us to think about reversing the roles of men and women: how a man would react if a woman forced her attentions on him and touched him inappropriately. I fear he would return the touching with interest.
Andrew Papworth
Billericay, Essex
SIR – Whatever the rights and wrongs regarding Lord Rennard’s case, as men and women are equal members of society, surely all men should ensure that their conduct does not cause distress to women.
They should take care to do nothing that could be interpreted as invasion of a woman’s personal space.
Valerie Crews
Beckenham, Kent
SIR – Dan Hodges (Comment, January 22) makes an excellent case for concluding that the Lib Dems are not a credible political organisation. Irrespective of the details of the Lord Rennard case, the endless fence-sitting by the party, and total absence of decisive action by Nick Clegg, all point to dithering on a grand scale. While this may be viewed as part and parcel of the democratic process, to many it just seems incompetent.
Frankie Heywood
Brentwood, Essex
SIR – Nick Clegg has failed to show leadership over the recent crisis. David Cameron does not display a better example with his excuses over welfare issues, immigration and Europe.
Compare this with Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader. There is no confusion over what he stands for. Like it or not, he shows leadership, and many respond well to this.
Philip Congdon
La Bastide d’Engras, Gard, France

Irish Times:

Sir, – Good to see that Eamon Gilmore has parsed Evangelii Gaudium with a gimlet eye and concluded that Pope Francis’s challenge to global capitalism means that even a modest embassy to the Holy See will now make a miraculously economic return.
I trust that on his next visit to Freetown to upgrade the Irish Aid office to embassy status, Mr Gilmore will remember to pack at least five dozen copies of Francis’s Exhortation for the enlightenment of all Sierra Leone’s government ministers. Time, after all, for Ireland to pick on a country her own size and with similar inequities. – Yours, etc,
Wightman Road,
London, England.
Sir, – Perhaps your correspondent, A Jones, (January 22nd) has a point when arguing for the establishment of embassies on the grounds of fairness in other holy cities. However, diplomatic relations between Ireland and the Vatican have surely a pre-eminent claim, as it is almost 400 years (1618) since Luke Wadding OFM, of Waterford, arrived in Rome via Lisbon and Madrid and represented the Irish cause so well in Rome that he was considered by many to be Ireland’s first ambassador to the Holy See. No doubt, Eamon Gilmore was acutely aware of the proximity of this centenary when he took the enlightened decision to re-open the Vatican embassy. – Yours, etc,
Leinster Park,
Maynooth, Co Kildare.
Sir, – Water is a good beverage when taken in the right spirit. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan is a must for the vacant post in the reopened Vatican embassy because he has almost performed the miracle of “walking” on water and those of us who drink it. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – It appears that the Government has moved quickly to create a new role for the outspoken Fr Tony Flannery by deciding to reopen the Irish Embassy to the Vatican. You report that the new embassy will be staffed by one diplomat and will be based in a “modest” office. Fr Flannery, who is already well versed in the ways of the Vatican, is clearly suitably qualified for the job. – Yours, etc,
Luttrellstown Road,

Sir, – PD Doyle’s letter (January 21st) on the case of Margaretta D’Arcy in general comprises fair comment. The sole lapse is a gratuitous swipe at “her peacenik and artistic pals”. Why the ad hominem allusion?
Your correspondent moreover may erroneously envisage no further published letters from Ms D’Arcy herself. The latter leads from the front.
A final reflection. Winston Churchill pointed to courage as the first of human qualities because it guarantees all the others. – Yours, etc,
St Patrick’s Road, Dublin 9.
Sir, – I am dismayed by the jailing of cancer sufferer Margaretta D’Arcy, but further dismayed by the response by the artistic community. It must be remembered that she was jailed not because she is an artist, and therefore her being one is unimportant to the issue at hand. But this response strikes a deeper note. It smacks of tribalism and an implicit message that artists have special rights. And it is these same two ideas – tribalism and a special right – that must be present in the minds of those who carry out human rights abuse, many having passed through Shannon Airport on their way to Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo Bay. – Yours, etc,
Synge Street, Dublin 8.
Sir, – My admiration for Margaretta D’Arcy for putting principle first and for Sabina Higgins for putting friendship first. – Yours, etc,
Balbriggan, Co Dublin.
Sir, – The incarceration of Margaretta D’Arcy is a further stain on Ireland’s shameful abandonment of our neutrality. While US war planes transit through Shannon to commit war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, they remain uninspected and facilitated by the Irish State. Meanwhile a 79-year-old peace activist is imprisoned for protesting this. I have stood on the roundabout at Shannon airport many Sundays with Ms D’Arcy and others demonstrating against the use of a supposed civilian airport to wage war, and while we are surrounded by gardaí there, the US military is allowed to act with impunity. Indeed it is astonishing that Margaretta D’Arcy’s actions are deemed illegal while wheelbarrows of evidence of human rights violations linked to aircraft at Shannon Airport and provided to the Garda by Shannonwatch have been ignored. – Yours, etc,
Dooradoyle Park,
Sir, – I respectfully have to disagree with Michael Anderson (January 23rd). I think the President should visit people in prison, including people who are not his friends. That would be to act “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will towards any man” or, as he adds, woman. It would also embody the ethos of the by-implication Christian God that he asks in his oath of office to “direct and sustain” him. – Yours, etc,
Inchicore Terrace North,
Dublin 8.
Sir, – I am very concerned with aspects of the Public Accounts Committee inquiry relating to the CRC. The inquiry is, supposedly, independent to produce a fair and reliable (as to the truth) outcome, its procedures and the conduct of its members must reflect those aims. PAC’s job is to conduct the investigation in a quasi-judicial manner.
Yet, and alarmingly, PAC’s members are being interviewed on a daily basis by journalists and are widely quoted on TV and in newspapers. They freely express both personal and committee views, concerns and conclusions, generally laced with allegations of wrong doing against individuals called to appear before them, and long before their investigations are complete.
Is it any wonder that the notion of our TDs and Senators being capable of conducting an independent and fair inquiry has been rubbished by the courts (the Abbeylara case), and, more tellingly, by the public (the unsuccessful referendum). – Yours, etc,
Co Kildare.

Sir, – The announcement that the Government is going ahead with the long overdue appointment of a regulator of charities is to be welcomed. It will be interesting to see if the position will be openly advertised, or, as in the case of the recent appointment of a new Ombudsman, will recruitment be via “expressions of interest”. – Yours, etc,
Vernon Rise,
Clontarf, Dublin 3.

Sir, – In response to Robert Manson (January 22nd), the moment Tony Blair told Dr Ian Paisley that he was converting to Romanism, Blair was no longer his brother and so Dr Paisley was not out of order to refer to him as “fool”. – Yours, etc,
Cois Carraig,
Clarina Village,
Co Limerick.

Sir, – It dismays me that our shepherds have been so silent for the many years when the sins of greed and corruption have been so obvious and prevalent in our society and country.  Greed and corruption have brought about misery and suffering for great numbers of people.  Oh for Jeremiah or Isaiah to cry out and speak for the God of justice! Thank God for Pope Francis. – Yours, etc,
Sacred Heart Residence,
Sybil Hill Road,
Dublin 5.

Sir, – Garry Hynes has interesting points to make about the Arts Council’s funding of theatre in Ireland (Arts & Ideas, January 23rd). However, her specific comments on our National Theatre under the stewardship of Fiach Mac Conghail seem curiously lacking in internal logic. On the one hand, he is complimented for having brought a “measure of financial stability” to the theatre, during a period of severe cutbacks in State funding. She then goes on to criticise the effective closing of the Peacock stage and the absence of any regular national tours or performances at international venues and festivals. She also suggests that an artistic director should be appointed, in tandem with the current executive-producer position held by Mac Conghail. Meeting her criticisms would self-obviously cost a lot more money. I’m at a loss (and presumably so would be the Abbey). – Yours, etc,
Green Road,
Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Regarding Una Mullally’s suggestion to setup a “homophobia watchdog”, (Opinion, January 20th) it would be interesting to know if she perhaps envisages a panel of self-appointed moral guardians who will be tasked with asking public figures questions along the lines of “Are you now, or have you ever been an opponent of same-sex marriage?”. – Yours, etc,
Beechwood Road,
Dublin 6.

Sir, – I was moved and saddened by Helga Faiers’s letter (January 20th). The church of the past has a lot to answer for. It was a time when relations between the churches were at an all-time low. Resulting from the legacy of the reformation, the churches had gone their antagonistic and separate ways.
Now, however, when inter-church relations are warmer the practices around mixed marriage are much more positive. First, the question of the baptism of any children to a mixed marriage is much more nuanced. The rights and preferences of each party must be taken into account in the context of the overall good of the marriage.
Second, it is not uncommon for the minister for the non-Catholic party to be the sole officiator in his/her church with the full blessing of the Catholic authorities.
We have come a long way since the bad old days, circa 1953. – Yours, etc,
The Presbytery,
Valleymount, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I was intrigued by the Revenue Commissioners’ benign attitude towards those holding Vodafone shares (Business, January 21st). However, one can only sympathise with the former Eircom shareholders and wish them all the best.
Contrast this with the tremendous life-changing losses suffered by many pensioners. On the advice of the great and the good, including all governments, young adults were advised to be prudent and invest in pensions to provide for their own self-sufficiency.
Many pensioners have suffered the loss of at least two-thirds of their expected retirement nest egg. In many cases this has amounted to a small mortgage. However, these unfortunates are still taxed to the hilt on the paltry remains of their expected pensions and they have no time left to recover.
This type of attitude is hardly an encouragement to the younger generation to invest in pensions in order to be self-sufficient and look forward to a retirement without relying on the State.
Government and the pension industry need to start talking to each other and arrive at some sort of agreement that provides a little more security for investors in pensions. – Yours, etc,
Upper Outrath, Kilkenny.

Sir, – Barbara Ennis, principal of the all-girls (and fee-paying) Alexandra College, advocates single sex education (Education, January 21st).
Part of her justification for this segregation is her view that Irish-produced television dramas, such as Love/Hate, do not include strong female characters and we “have to look beyond our own screens to Scandinavia and New Zealand” to see women who are represented as equal to men.
Perhaps the fact that schools in Scandinavia (and perhaps New Zealand too) tend to be co-educational (and non-fee paying) is a help in this regard? – Yours, etc,
Palmerston Road,

Sir, – Surely there is a simple solution to the current controversy over pylons? Let us redesign them to make them less intrusive in the countryside. Surely it is not beyond the imagination of our engineers, architects and industrial designers to come up with a more elegant solution. We would still have the cables but it is the pylons which are ugly. Perhaps The Irish Times should run a competition? – Yours, etc,
Oakley Park,
Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – I cannot believe that when talking in the Dáil about his engineer acquaintance, Enda Kenny recognised that “travel and subsistence” in the public service is de facto an income. (Miriam Lord, January 22nd). It is not even meant to cover one’s living costs as in “all found”. If diligently set by the management and an honest return is made by the claimant then no profit or loss should occur. I’m afraid that Mr Kenny just touched on another little irregularity built into our public service. Another little “perk”. – Yours, etc,
Beach Drive, Dublin 4.

Sir, – You are in a queue. Your call will be answered shortly. – Yours, etc,
Priest’s Road,
Tramore, Co Waterford.
Sir, – Will we get a receipt? Will we f**k.
A lot done more to do. – Yours, etc,
Pine Valley Grove, Dublin 16.
Sir, – I nominate “From the get-go”. – Yours, etc,
Circular Road,
Ennis, Co Clare
Sir, – Another infuriating phrase is “Your loved ones” applied to family. It seems to suggest only your family are to be “loved”. Sometimes this is clearly not the case.
Also “You know”, used frequently during interviews. – Yours, etc,
Westport, Co Mayo.
Sir, – Now that we know what phrases we should avoid, perhaps language will be “restored to its former glory”? – Yours, etc,
Beechfield Haven,
Shankill, Co Dublin.
Sir, – Callers to radio talk shows: “As I was telling your researcher . . .” – Yours, etc,
Burgage Manor,
Blessington, Co Wicklow.
Sir, – In fairness, in the changing economic landscape it is very difficult to step up to the plate, put all the ducks in a row, read from the same hymnsheet and build a bridge to get over. – Yours, etc,
Hampton Cove,
Balbriggan, Co Dublin.
Sir, – I do feel this particular correspondence has gone on quite long enough. “You know yourself”. – Yours, etc,
Merville Road,

Sir, – May I suggest Barney Curley (“Bookies take hit in ‘weapons grade coup’ on race track” World News, January 23rd) to run the Rehab Lottery Company? – Yours, etc,
Mill Street,
Westport, Co Mayo.

Irish Independent:

* I sometimes wonder how it was that I was born, raised and educated in Ireland, yet have acquired a completely different mentality, in all issues of ethics and transparency, to those people all across the public service to whom we pander by facilitating their denial over the fact that the public has the right to know every single detail about their salaries, their pensions, their expenses and all the finer financial points of their organisations’ accounts, be it a government department, a quango, a hospital or a charity.
Also in this section
Greatest crime is the betrayal of trust
CRC pay scandal endemic of way country is run
Letters to the Editor
These organisations wouldn’t exist without the funding they receive from the Irish public and should be answerable to them.
It simply beggars belief that nearly three years after the democratic ‘revolution’ Enda Kenny and his government keep talking about, he can maintain a straight face and claim to be ‘shocked’ at recent revelations.
Can it really be true that he still hasn’t asked his officials to get a breakdown of the salary, expenses and pensions of every single charity, hospital, semi-state and quango? Every time a further revelation is made is he going to claim to be shocked?
But the real elephant in the room is that the ethos which the head of Rehab uses to justify her refusal to reveal her full remuneration stems from the top down, where the President and Taoiseach themselves refuse to verify the expenses they claim.
* A supposedly modern country surely adheres to the concept of the ‘free market’, where those invisible scales set a price the market can bear.
However, when that delicate balance is interfered with by those with vested interests who have the ear of the relevant ministers, we have distortion.
We now find that that overburdened ass, the tax serf, has been subsidising various other lotteries which supposedly lost out to the National Lottery.
In addition, at Rehab the State pumped in €126m between 2010 and 2012 but the CEO refuses to divulge the salary and expenses she receives.
We permit private companies to toll our roads, then make up the difference if they fail to hit the mother lode of gold. Similarly, Irish Water is guaranteed a gold flow in order to cover profits and bonuses.
Hopefully, Madam Merkel at head office and our supreme Dail in the Bundestag will call in the merchants and tell them to stop acting the clown and try and adhere to even the basics of what a free market actually entails.
* I’m thinking of setting up a new political party for the forthcoming European and local elections. It will be called GAP (Grab All Party).
We’re going to guarantee all bondholders, property developers, exorbitant bank debts, pensions, bonuses, top-ups and consultant fees.
We’re going to build a wind turbine outside Leinster House to catch that blast of wind and hot air that emanates from that national treasure.
Please wish us well in our new venture (mind the gap).
* Although I agree with Ian Doherty on a number of points he makes pertaining to the First Lady of Ireland visiting an activist friend in Limerick jail, I feel his black and white argument avoids the uncomfortable grey matter in the middle.
I think we need to ask ourselves what do we believe in? I don’t have to agree with Ms D’Arcy’s activity to respect her willingness to go to prison for her beliefs.
The recent history of Ireland has seen large chunks of public money being given to the already wealthy and the Irish people are left feeling helpless and powerless in the face of this abomination.
Where we once had empathy and an inherent knowledge of right and wrong, we now have legal documents and contracts. Is it any wonder so many people in the country are suffering with mental problems?
* My letter, ‘Charities in witch-hunt’ (Irish Independent, January 20), has been heavily criticised in your letters section, largely due to my use of the term ‘respectable wage’ when discussing the salaries demanded by those in the non-profit sector.
My use of the term ‘respectable’, was, in my opinion, justified, when one considers that there are over 25,000 individuals in Ireland currently earning over €2,000 per week, most of whom, I imagine, are doing work of much less societal benefit then the CEOs of non-profit organisations.
I was by no means saying that all salaries in the non-profit sector are justified. But to attract the best and brightest to an industry that is in desperate need of innovation, a monetary incentive must by offered.
* Politics has always been subject to being trapped in a time-warp of power and money first and people and fairness last.
If we assume that before money was invented bartering was the human form of trade. it’s quite clear that some must have had more sheep and cattle than others, with which to influence the local political druid.
Thus if we fast track 6,000 years to present-day politics, what has changed? Nothing. Politicians pretend to be the voice of the people, especially at elections.
And the sheeple continue to give away more of their rights, as they continue to be treated like cattle fodder, by voting for the same genetic, political druids that have been in place ever since the dawn of man.
* Why do people who are already reasonably well paid also expect a bonus as a further reward? One would expect that any person doing any job would perform it to the best of their ability – this way lies job satisfaction and a degree of happiness.
However, international research has shown that when the focus of the worker is centred on the reward – which tends to happen if a bonus is on offer – rather than on the work itself, then the quality of the work actually deteriorates.
Not only that, but short-term goals come to be preferred while the greater good of the business suffers. Witness the recent bank debacles.
It is then with some dismay that I learned of recent proposals by the Government to introduce bonuses to civil servants, teachers and nurses.
Those already doing their best cannot improve, but their work may suffer if their focus shifts to the reward rather than the work, while less dedicated ones will certainly disimprove as they become even more disgruntled.
* Eamon Gilmore tells us that reopening the Irish embassy to the Vatican is in “response to the new papacy”.
This unmistakably implies that the closing of the embassy only a couple of years ago had somehow to do with the “old papacy”, with a perceived character of the church under that leadership.
But that is precisely what was – with pathetically obvious disingenuousness – persistently denied by Mr Gilmore and others as a motive for closing the embassy at the time, when supposed economic considerations were substituted for the true motivation.
Irish Independent


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: