Tidy UP

23 February 2014 Tidy up
I go all the way around the park listening to the Navy Lark. Our heroes are in trouble, again. Troutbridge has to  Take the Todd Hunter Browns at a far away exotic island, but can they find it/ Priceless
Very tired tidied upstairs. 2 books sold
Scrabble today  Mary wins but gets over 400, Perhaps I will win tomorrow.


Fanni Gyarmati, who has died aged 101, was best known in her native Hungary as the wife and muse of Miklós Radnóti, whom many consider to be one of the country’s greatest poets.
Radnóti, who lost his life in the Holocaust, dedicated much of his best-known love poetry to Fanni, and the fact that their relationship was never plain-sailing made his verse — and their devotion to one another — all the more powerful.
Miklós Radnóti was 17 years old when he met the strikingly beautiful and erudite 14-year-old “Fifi” Gyarmati in a house in Budapest where they took extra lessons in mathematics with the same tutors. The young Radnóti, an assimilated Jew, exchanged his pencil for hers so that he would have a pretext to talk to her. In order to impress her, he claimed that he was 18. Soon afterwards he began writing her love poems.
Yet after a year or so Radnóti, at his guardian’s insistence, enrolled at a textile college in Czechoslovakia where he met Klementine “Tini” Tschiedel, a Czech-German typist with whom he embarked on his first real affair. The young poet wrote love poems to both girls, but it was to Fanni that he showed his work, even seeking her views on poems written to her rival. Within a year, Radnóti had returned to Budapest and Tini had been forgotten.
Miklós and Fanni became inseparable, and it was she who, in 1931, proposed marriage — on a snow-covered bench in Budapest’s City Park. His guardian and her parents refused to sanction the match until he had completed his studies. They married in August 1935 shortly after Miklós had taken a PhD from Ferencz József University in Szeged.
After a short honeymoon on Lake Balaton, they moved into a rented one-room flat on Pozsonyi Street, Budapest, where Fanni taught shorthand at a school founded by her father, while Miklós established a growing reputation as a poet and translator.
But in 1941, after six years of marriage, Radnóti began an affair with the painter Judit Beck, an old friend of Fanni’s. He addressed his poems Zápor (Rain) and Harmadik ecloga (Third Eclogue) to Judit, but he never kept the affair secret from Fanni. Although it caused her much pain, she somehow managed to remain friends with Judit, who even painted her portrait for her husband. “If it pleases Miklós, so let him be pleased,” she wrote in her diary.
By the time Miklós began the affair, Hungary had entered the Second World War on Germany’s side and introduced a forced labour system that mainly affected the Jewish population. In late 1940 Miklós had been called up for three months’ forced labour service.
By the time he was called up for his second period of forced labour in 1942, the affair with Judit had ended. From his camp he wrote a letter to Fanni, assuring her: “I love you! It is you that I love! And everything but you is just a game!” — and he enclosed a poem, Októbervégi hexameterek (Late October Hexameters), by way of an “apology” for the Third Eclogue. “Mik sent me a poem,” Fanni recorded in her diary. “It is beautiful. He did manage to do it after all, and what a poem! … And him there! To think that he has to abort so many things! In that animal-like existence, in haste, and yet he could write it.”
During his first period of forced labour Miklós had not worn any special marking, but by his second, Hungarian anti-Semitism had become more virulent. He was forced to wear a yellow armband, had his books confiscated and was humiliated and tortured on several occasions, while his poetry was subjected to anti-Semitic attacks in the Hungarian press.
Some days after his discharge Miklós converted to Roman Catholicism, but it did him no good: in May 1944 he was sent to a labour camp in the mining town of Bor in eastern Serbia. There, in August 1944, he wrote Fanni a postcard: “I wrote in my last card that I would be very much with you on our wedding anniversary, and it was indeed so, and thank you Sweetheart for the nine years we spent together. I miss you very much my Sweet and Only One.”
The same month, as Titoist Partisans began to get the upper hand, fleeing fascist troops attempted to force-march Miklós’s group of 3,200 Hungarian Jews back to central Hungary. Most died on the way, including Miklós, who, according to witnesses, was severely beaten in November 1944 by a drunken soldier who had been tormenting him for “scribbling”. Too weak to continue, he was shot dead along with 22 companions and thrown into a mass grave near the village of Abda in north-west Hungary.
After her husband’s death Fanni Gyarmati continued to live in their apartment on Pozsonyi Street, where the sign on the door still reads “Dr Miklós Radnóti”, and set about protecting and promoting her husband’s literary legacy. A posthumous volume of poems, Tajtékos ég (Foamy Sky, 1946), which she compiled, was later hailed by Edward Hirsch as “one of the pinnacles of Central European poetry this century”.
Eighteen months after Miklós’s death, the mass grave at Abda was exhumed. In the front pocket of the poet’s overcoat a small notebook was found, containing some of his most powerful poems, many of them contrasting dreams of bliss with Fanni with the terrible reality he was having to endure. In Hetedik ecloga (The 7th Eclogue), for example, he describes himself (in Thomas Land’s translation) as “Lying on boards … a captive beast among vermin”, but finishes with the lines: “Alone I sit up awake with the lingering taste of a cigarette butt in my mouth instead of your kiss, and I get no merciful sleep, for neither can I live nor die without you, my love, any longer.”
Fanni refused to go to see his corpse. But the complete poems of the notebook, published for the first time in The Collected poems of Miklós Radnóti in 1948, are seen as some of the most important works of literature of the Holocaust.
In 1989 their relationship was depicted in Forced March – a “film within a film” feature drama, directed by Rick King, with Chris Sarandon playing Miklós Radnóti, and Renée Soutendijk as his long-suffering wife.
Fanni Gyarmati was born in Budapest on September 8 1912 into a Hungarian bourgeois family and was later described by friends as a stunningly pretty and intelligent girl who loved travelling and poetry.
After the Second World War and her husband’s death, she took a degree in French and Russian and later became a French and verse-speaking teacher at a theatre arts college.
Fanni Gyarmati won several prizes and received many awards for her work in the fields of literature and education, including the Hungarian Order of Merit.
Fanni Gyarmati, born September 8 1912, died February 15 2014


I agree with Kevin McKenna (“Memo to George: England’s bullying of Scots will drive us into the Yes camp”, Comment) that George Osborne’s statement rejecting a currency union is likely to alienate Scots further. But this has more to do with his manner and choice of language than with the substance of what he said. We Scots should be under no illusion that there will be any chance whatsoever that the rest of the UK will agree to share a currency with an independent Scotland.
McKenna asks with incredulity: “Does he [George Osborne] think English company bosses will accept the millions of pounds that tariffs would entail?” Assuming Scotland remains in the EU, there will be no tariffs. What there will be is currency conversion transaction costs – the same costs English company bosses have had to thole, that is, bear, by not being part of the eurozone.
Half of the rest of the UK’s trade is with the eurozone, while something less than 10% is with Scotland.
The question that should be asked with incredulity is – do Kevin McKenna or Alex Salmond really believe that the rest of the UK will agree effectively to underwrite the sovereign debt of a foreign country, in order to avoid these transaction costs on 10% of its trade?
Richard Sloan
Kevin McKenna avoids addressing, as do Salmond and the SNP, the core arguments concerning a currency union. That is, in brief, for such a union to work it would also require a fiscal and banking union and, most importantly, political union. This has been conclusively demonstrated by the eurozone crisis.
I hold no brief for the execrable Osborne and his party but he is certainly justified, as are the Lib-Dem and Labour party leaders, in pointing out the inherent weaknesses, not to say contradictions, in Salmond’s project. As it is, the rest of the UK is essentially being asked to underwrite Scotland’s independence, potentially much more damaging to the UK economy than the comparatively minor transaction costs that McKenna mentions (again, rather slavishly echoing Salmond).
Ian Grant Seton
New Malden
It seems to have passed Kevin McKenna by that all three major political parties (yes, including the main representative of those trade union households whose shared values Kevin rightly holds so dear) are not prepared to underwrite a Scottish bailout in the more than theoretical possibility that Scotland is unable to pay its way in the not too distant future. Working-class solidarity is one thing but a wholesale charity bailout is quite another.
There are many who already think that Scotland gets a pretty good deal out of the Barnett formula. A median-income, middle-aged Geordie may well look across the border with some envy when obliged to fund his children’s university education and his parents’ care home fees while paying for his own prescriptions. It is pie in the sky to expect any regional devolvement that would deliver the same advantages to those parts of England currently enjoyed north of the border, as McKenna seems to think. If Scotland really wants to ride the high wire alone, let it do so without the safety net.
Guthrie McGruer
Why does Kevin McKenna express his sympathy for the potential plight of the 400,000 or so expat English living in Scotland, but take no account of the equally significant number of expat Scots living in the UK? At least the Scottish-based English will be able to vote in the referendum. We Scots now living in England are being denied that privilege. Salmond’s wish to lead Scotland into darkness will affect us no less if granted, and I strongly believe our voice should be heard. There’s still time to set the necessary machinery in place if the will is there.
Gordon Robbie

How depressingly predictable: the rail link to Cornwall is severed, so some local MPs (and others elsewhere in the south with their own axes to grind) immediately demand that investment be switched away from HS2 to upgrade the network in the West Country (“Divert HS2 billions to rebuild railways in ‘poor relation’ south-west, MPs demand”, News.) Why seek to make this an either/or choice, especially when we are assured that “money is no object”?
HS2 would at least begin to address the gross disparity between the lavish ongoing infrastructure investment in London and the south-east and the notable absence of anything comparable elsewhere.
It may be understandable that regions that have had so little for so long should feel driven to compete against each other for crumbs from the London table, but it is hardly an edifying spectacle. It would make far more sense for them to band together to demand a moratorium on further investment in the capital until per capita investment across the country more fairly approximates that in London.
Chris Haslam
Threshield North Yorks
Men learn the wrong lessons
The wonderful Helen Mirren has only commented on part of the story (“Now Mirren hits out at TV’s body count: ‘Most of these victims are young women”, News).
Yes, many young women are perceived as victims and this is constantly reinforced by both TV drama and news. But she does not comment upon the fact that while many young women are socialised into a passive role, the perpetrators of these crimes are invariably young men who are socialised into an aggressive, competitive and drink-laden culture.
They grow up believing that women “ask for it”.
So before Dame Helen reinforces the cultural notion that women are there to be victims, she needs to look at the ways in which men are socialised.
MJ Tuckwell
Shilbottle Northumberland
The housing market paradox
Rosemary Shewry and I were plainly in different countries in the 1960s and 1970s (“Rent controls led to house boom”, Letters).
She claims that controls dried up private rents in that era. How strange. I was living in a small flat in north London at a quarter of my disposable income (it would cost me a half in today’s equivalents).
And all my young friends were similarly housed, generally with reasonable landlords. The Thatcher house-buying bubble didn’t kick in properly until the 1980s, so where were all the other renters living up until then? And recent flooding must surely have given people second thoughts on building more houses on the natural sponge which is our countryside.
The long-term way forward is to make better, and fairer, use of the existing housing space – by a geographically-based, steeply progressive system of land value taxation. Political dynamite but unavoidable.
And a basic point about capitalism. The more we spend on our housing, the less we have to spend in the high street. What a bizarre paradox that Mrs Thatcher’s idea strikes at the very heart of consumer capitalism.
David Redhaw
Gravesend Kent
My link to the World Service
I feel very strongly that the BBC World Service must survive (“Should UK licence-fee payers still fund the World Service?” Editorial). Previous governments correctly “deemed its excellence, expertise and independence a gift worth beaming round the globe”.
It should in fact be funded (at arm’s length) by the Foreign Office as it was until very recently. I am currently writing about my father, Noel Newsome, director of the BBC European Service 1940-45.
The huge number of letters to him from grateful listeners, national as well as international, testify to the paramount importance of the service in keeping hope alive and to the belief that Britain would triumph.
The BBC should continue to maintain Britain’s voice and place in world affairs. Let us hope there will be no more periods as dire as 1939-45, but who but the BBC can at any time be relied upon for impartial, truthful reporting of news and views?
Penelope Newsome
Two votes for equality
Isn’t it time that politicians claiming to want to see equal numbers of women and men in parliament stopped tinkering around with “shortlists for seats split between the genders”, “all-women shortlists” or “the A list”, and adopted the obvious solution?
If we all had two-member constituencies, with each of us having one vote, we could give one to our male representative and one to our female representative, the objective would be achieved at a stroke (“Labour to hit record for women MPs”, News,).
The fact that this suggestion hardly ever gets even considered is a pretty clear indication that it’s just a matter of lip service and not a genuine ambition.
Kevin McGrath
Harlow Essex


I read with dismay the article “Mothers priced out of the UK workforce by high childcare costs” (16 February). There are countless reasons why mothers of small children do not return to paid employment, not least their desire to be the primary carer of their own children.
Government research published in January “Childcare & early years survey of parents 2012-2013” shows that parents who have not used childcare in the past year would rather look after their children themselves (71 per cent) while the cost of childcare was cited by 13 per cent as the main reason for being at home.
A fairer taxation policy would allow families better choice with regards to how to care for their children. Tax relief would allow parents flexibility to spend on registered childcare or to supplement a single salary in cases where a second income has been sacrificed.
Instead of comparing Britain unfavourably on maternal employment rates, we could be standing up proudly to announce that British parents put the needs of the next generation before their own for the relatively short time they are young children.
Imogen Thompson
Stockport, Lancashire
The wanton destruction of wild animals (particularly for their ivory) is abhorrent (“Prince William wants ‘all royal ivory destroyed’,” 16 February). But the wanton destruction of any works of art that already exist is equally abhorrent.
Indeed, the wanton destruction of any thing of beauty, be it animal, art or artefact, is abhorrent to civilised people. This “culture” must confront the criminal “economy” of the illegal trade. Only when it becomes financially “unattractive” to the criminals will the poaching of animals and trading in ivory cease.
Malcolm Morrison
via email
The credibility of the Duke of Cambridge might save an elephant or two if he and his trigger-happy brother crushed their own weapons and stopped slaughtering other wildlife. A life is a life, with or without tusks.
EJ Cooper
Barnes, London
I loved the story of hope and recovery (“New start for the homeless that saves lives – and money” 16 February). Fair play to all those involved. We in Edinburgh have Leap (Lothian Edinburgh Abstinence Programme) and it provides a similar service for those once considered hopeless and/or helpless. When you consider that the families and loved ones of addicts and alcoholics may, upon seeing recovery work, finally get some peace of mind, the societal benefits are far-reaching.
Andrew shaw
I was surprised to note that “children and dogs” were described as being welcome at the holiday rental home reviewed last week (16 February). Perhaps this couplet speaks volumes about British attitudes to childhood?
Nick Frost
Professor of social work (childhood, children and families), Leeds Metropolitan University
I agree with Rob Edwards (Letters, 16 February). I was born in 1952. In my lifetime the world’s population has tripled. A high proportion of global (and local) issues are a direct consequence. Yet population is rarely treated as critical by government or individual. Why do so few acknowledge the herd in the room?
Pete Butchers
Meldreth, Cambridgeshire
A big issue with the NHS data-sharing scheme, now delayed for six months, has been flaws in the communications campaign. There appears to be a question mark over whether the information in a leaflet enabled people to make an “informed decision”. And, of greater concern, is the fact that many patients claimed not to have received this information.
Much has been made of the fact that the data will be anonymised but it remained very unclear how this would work. One way to address these concerns would be to carry out a managed trial, before rolling out the plans across the entire NHS.
Dr Martyn thomas
Institute of Engineering and Technology
London WC2


IN THE Somerset Levels we have been on the receiving end of a lot of ignorant remarks about us being stupid to live on a flood plain (Storm Special, News, and “‘The government made us all wet’ and other myths of the flood”, Comment, last week).
The Levels have been managed for 800 years. People have a natural expectation that the waterways will be managed by the state in return for which individuals build businesses (by no means all of them in agriculture), provide employment and pay taxes.
However, the Environment Agency took a unilateral decision to stop looking after the rivers — without consulting people in the Levels, or even informing them that it had been taken. Only with the recent flooding (which we have had for two years in succession) has that decision been brought to light. The people had a reasonable expectation that the contract in existence for eight centuries would continue.
Andrew Lee, Stop the Floods Campaign
There will be flood
It must be heartbreaking to see your home and possessions inundated by floodwater but living in some areas carries a very high risk of this happening, and always has.
David Maguire, Starnberg, Germany
Channelling Aid
Your survey “What the people think” revealed that 72% believe funds for overseas aid should be switched to flood prevention in this country, with only 17% against. Perhaps David Cameron and other politicians are more altruistic than the general population. Or is their insistence that the aid bill of £11bn a year is sacrosanct a longing for the lost glories of empire?
Douglas Kedge, Reading, Berkshire
Building a new Britain
The devastation caused by the biblically savage weather has given the country a perfect opportunity to reinvent itself. Cease the puerile political blame game, scrap HS2 and use the funds to modernise, rationalise and future-proof our infrastructure and communication networks.
Thea Taylor, Alderley Edge, Cheshire
The need to change
Charles Clover listed as one of the myths “that we should not bother planning for the increased rainfall predicted by climate scientists. Lord Lawson, a climate change sceptic, may be right. The odds are that he isn’t.” For more than five years I have been urging governments of both parties to concentrate on adapting to possible climate change, including improved flood defences, rather than impoverishing us by promoting useless wind farms and other costly forms of decarbonisation.
It is a pity he did not take the trouble to read my book An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming, and in particular chapter three, “The importance of adaptation”.
Nigel Lawson, House of Lords

Protect police from unfounded claims
I WAS surprised by Shami Chakrabarti’s column “A policeman’s lot must include being called a liar” (Comment, last week). It is absolutely right where there is evidence of criminality or misdeeds that police officers should be prosecuted and/or sacked. It is also,unfortunately, the case that every day honourable police officers have to tolerate abuse, accusations of lying and of corruption “as part of the job”. But there are occasions when officers should be protected.
In the Plebgate case there has been extensive, continuing media coverage, stoked up by senior politicians who have no more knowledge of what happened in Downing Street than I do.
However, despite a zealous investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and consideration by the director of public prosecutions, no evidence has been found upon which to base a prosecution or disciplinary proceedings against the officer at the centre of the case. He must have been, and continues to be, subjected to significant stress with his integrity being widely impugned.
In these unusual circumstances, he must be entitled to challenge a widespread perception that he has done wrong. Equally, he is right to seek the support of his trade union. After all, his legal protection is probably the only reason he pays his subscriptions.
Of greater concern to Chakrabarti’s Liberty organisation should be the future of the jury system. Media coverage of police officers being prosecuted for criminal activity is right but its extrapolation to the thousands of other officers undermines support for them.
Sir Edward Crew, Chief Constable, West Midlands Police (1996-2002)

Salmond’s yes argument is a no-no
ALEX SALMOND’S wishes are contradictory (“There’s a £60bn reason the Gang of Three won’t cow us”, Comment, last week). EU membership would dilute Scotland’s independence, while a sterling zone would put its fiscal policy in the hands of the Bank of England and by extension the potentially incompatible fiscal requirements of Westminster.
In any event, an application by Scotland to join the EU but not the eurozone seems highly unlikely to be palatable to Brussels. The statements by the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso can hardly be encouraging.
Meanwhile, Salmond continues on his merry way, fooling a sizeable proportion of the voters with bluster, appealing to their nationalistic hearts rather than their pragmatic brains.
Brian Leigh, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Another country
Salmond does not speak for the majority of Scottish people. He has hoodwinked many into believing that a pig in a poke is a good thing, and that we can leave our friends and allies by looking to Scandinavia as a panacea for all our ills when we have far more in common with the rest of the UK.
Then there is the irony of the Scots domiciled elsewhere who cannot vote when someone in Scotland from Senegal or Boston can have a say in its future and as a result the rest of UK. Salmond may have fooled some into believing independence would enable us to keep our currency. In so doing he has inadvertently made the best argument for us to remain in the UK. It is madness to create a foreign country within a small island with the same seas.
Jane Ball, Kelso, Scottish Borders
Independent means
Barroso warns that an independent Scotland will not be allowed to join the EU. May England be issued with a similar warning, please?
Don Roberts, Birkenhead, Cheshire

Classical civilisation passes EBacc test
CLASSICS cannot, and should not, be studied in isolation, says Professor Christopher Pelling and that “the language and the culture go together” (“Giving the gift of ancient tongues”, News Review, February 9). We support Pelling. Classical civilisation opens young people’s minds to the glories of the ancient world and we feel a GCSE in the subject should be included in the English baccalaureate (EBacc) from September this year.
Michael Gove said in an interview last year that the “ principal goal of education is enlightenment; the introduction of a new generation to human creativity and the glories of civilisation in all their richness”.
GCSEs in classical civilisation play an unrivalled role in doing this. Of the 35 GCSE-level humanities courses accepted for the EBacc, only one is dedicated to the study of the ancient world. We urge the education secretary to make classical civilisation part of the baccalaureate.
Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek Culture, Cambridge University, Edith Hall, Professor of Classics, King’s College London, Dr Lorna Robinson, Director of the Iris Project and East Oxford Community Classics Centre, Dr Bettany Hughes, Author and Broadcaster, Adrian Murdoch, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Robert Parker, Professor of Ancient History, Oxford University, Ken Pickering, Head of History and Classical Civilisation, Skerton Community High School, Lancashire
Full list of 133 signatories at bottom of page

Saluting Hillary the peacemaker
Andrew Sullivan (“What has Hillary Clinton actually achieved?”, Focus, last week) failed to recognise the role Hillary Clinton played in bringing peace to Northern Ireland. I often despaired that we would reach a Balkans situation and we nearly did when the Clintons brought new hope, new confidence and a determination to rid this place of the influence of paramilitaries who killed more people than the police and army combined.
In 1995 President Bill Clinton addressed a mixed audience, including many young people in Belfast. Hillary Clinton waded in with a plan that empowered women to speak out. Hardly a day went by that she wasn’t on the phone to find out what progress was made. This was replicated in many parts of the world in her capacity as secretary of state when she racked up more air miles than any of her predecessors.
John Dallat MLA, Deputy Speaker, Northern Ireland Assembly, Belfast

FGM guilt
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a horrible crime but how on earth do the police think they are going to be able to prosecute travel agents, taxi drivers, money lenders and other abetters (“Police to target FGM abetters”, News, last week) when they are unable to prosecute the parents? What is needed is a change in the law whereby if a girl found to have been subjected to FGM the parents should be presumed guilty and have to prove their innocence, thus avoiding the need for a child to testify against their parents.
Alistair Nicoll, Sheffield
Doing time
I found much to agree with in Camilla Cavendish’s column (“Chasing Savile’s ghost threatens to leave today’s victims behind”, Comment, last week). However, I am confused when she questions whether “it is right for the taxpayer to pay to keep geriatrics in jail when many are not thought to have committed crimes for decades”. What is the right punishment then? Is she suggesting that after a certain time no penalty is necessary?
William Wright, Waltham Abbey, Essex
Banking on Labour
You assert that Ed Miliband is “facing dissent from his own party over his attacks on banks” (“Labour candidates tell Miliband to ‘hug a banker’”, News, last week). There is no contradiction between being a Labour supporter and working in the UK’s world-class financial services sector. For the past two years Labour in the City has existed to prove that point. Launched in 2012 with the shadow business and City ministers alongside the national financial services officer for Unite, we have grown rapidly to be a vibrant voluntary social organisation where Labour-supporting bankers discuss how best to ensure our important financial sector can best serve the needs of the UK’s grassroots communities. We haven’t yet tried hugging as a strategy, but thanks to your article we will consider it at our next meeting.
Kitty Ussher, Former City Minister and Chairwoman, Labour in the City
Community service
If “returning jihadis” pose such a serious risk to British society (“250 jihadis spark UK terror alert”, News, last week) should we not look to the mosques that serve the overwhelmingly peaceful Muslim community for a condemnation of the possibility of “Mumbai-style” attacks here?
George Barnes, Liverpool

Corrections and clarifications
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Gareth Barry, footballer, 33; Emily Blunt, actress, 31; Bernard Cornwell, author, 70; Peter Fonda, actor, 74; Tamsin Greig, actress, 48; Howard Jones, singer, 59; Kelly Macdonald, actress, 38; David Sylvian, singer, 56; Viktor Yushchenko, former president of Ukraine, 60

1821 death of John Keats, poet; 1945 American flag raised on Iwo Jima; 1958 Cuban rebels kidnap the five-time Formula One champion Juan Manuel Fangio; 1972 Palestinian hijackers of Lufthansa jet surrender in Yemen; 1997 fire breaks out aboard the Mir space station
Full list of signatories to “Classical civilisation passes EBacc test”
Prof. Sylvia Barnard, Associate Professor Emerita, University at Albany, USA
Prof. Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek Culture, Cambridge University
Prof. Kate Cooper, Professor of Ancient History, University of Manchester
Prof. Robert Fowler, Professor of Greek, University of Bristol
Prof. Barbara Goff, Professor of Classics, University of Reading
Prof. Edith Hall, Professor of Classics, King’s College, London
Prof. Lorna Hardwick, Emeritus Professor of Classical Studies, Open University
Prof. Stephen Hodkinson, Professor of Ancient History, University of Nottingham
Prof. Doug Lee, Professor of Ancient History, University of Nottingham
Prof. Peter Meineck, Honorary Professor of Classics, University of Nottingham
Prof. Neville Morley, Professor of Ancient History, University of Bristol
Prof. Judith Mossman, Professor of Classics, University of Nottingham
Prof. Robert Parker, Professor of Ancient History, Oxford University
Prof. P.J. Rhodes, Emeritus Professor of Ancient History, University of Durham
Prof. Juan Aguilar Ruiz, Professor of Latin, Junta de Andalucia, Spain
Prof. Shipley, Professor of Ancient History, University of Leicester
Prof. Alan Sommerstein, Emeritus Professor of Greek, University of Nottingham
Prof. Maurizio Sonnino, Professor of Greek Language and Literature, Sapienza University of Rome
Prof. Catherine Steel, Professor of Classics, University of Glasgow
Prof. Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Ancient Literatures, Oxford University
Dr. Emmanuela Bakola, Department of Classics, King’s College, London
Dr. Anastasia Bakogianni, Lecturer in Classical studies, Open University
Dr. Elton Barker, Reader in Classical Studies, Open University
Dr. Mark Bradley, Associate Professor in Ancient History, University of Nottingham
Dr. Emma Bridges, Research Affiliate, Open University
Dr. Catherine Draycott, Honorary Fellow, University of Liverpool
Dr. Jane Draycott, Lecturer in Classics, University of Wales Trinity St David
Dr. Esther Eidinow, Lecturer in Ancient Greek History, University of Nottingham
Dr. Lynn Fotheringham, Lecturer in Classics, University of Nottingham
Dr. Liz Gloyn, Lecturer in Classics, Royal Holloway, University of London
Dr. Emma-Jayne Graham, Lecturer in Classical Studies, Open University
Dr. Lucy Grig, Lecturer in Classics, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Bettany Hughes, Author and Broadcaster
Dr. Peter Jones MBE, Co-Founder of Friends of Classics, Newcastle
Dr. Maria Kouroumali, Independent Scholar in Byzantine Studies, Athens
Dr. Andreas Kropp, Lecturer in Classical Art, University of Nottingham
Dr. Alex Long, Lecturer in Classics, University of St Andrews
Dr. Fiona Macintosh, Lecturer in the Reception of Greek and Latin Literature, Oxford University
Dr. Regine May, Lecturer in Latin Literature, University of Leeds
Dr. Roberta Mazza, Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History, University of Manchester
Dr. Janett Morgan, Lecturer in Ancient History, University of Cardiff
Dr. Llewelyn Morgan, Lecturer in Classical Languages and Literature, Oxford University
Dr. Joanna Paul, Lecturer in Classical Studies, Open University
Dr. Richard Rawles, Teaching Associate in Classics, University of Nottingham
Dr. Lorna Robinson, Director of The Iris Project and East Oxford Community Classics Centre
Dr. James Robson, Head of Classical Studies, Open University
Dr. Ursula Rothe, Lecturer in Classical Studies, Open University
Dr. Kim Shahabudin, Lecturer in Classics, University of Reading
Dr. Henry Stead, Research Associate, King’s College, London
Dr. James Thorne, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Manchester
Dr. Betine van Zyl Smit, Associate Professor in Classics, University of Nottingham
Dr. Kostas Vlassopoulos, Associate Professor in Greek History, University of Nottingham
Dr. Amanda Wrigley, Research Fellow, University of Westminster
Dr. Rosie Wyles, Lecturer in Greek Language and Literature, King’s College, London
John Bulwer, Consultant, Euroclassica
Adrian Murdoch, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
Luke Richardson, Executive Officer of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers
Abi Buglass, PhD Student of Classical Languages and Literature, Oxford University
Thomas Derrick, PhD Student of Classics, University of Leicester
Sam Hayes, PhD Student of Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter
Margaret Hilditch, PhD Student of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester
Matthew Lloyd, PhD Student of Archaeology, Oxford University
Claire Millington, PhD Student of Classics, King’s College, London
Manolis Pagkalos, PhD Student of Classics, University of Leicester
Charlotte Parkyn, PhD Student of Classics, King’s College, London
Lucy Pollard, PhD in Classics, Birkbeck, University of London
Guendalina Taietti, PhD Student of Classics, University of Liverpool
David Allsop, Postgraduate Student of Classical Studies, University of Wales Trinity St David
Feona Bowey, Postgraduate Student of Ancient History, University of Leicester
Sheila Brown, Postgraduate Student of Classical Studies, Open University
A Pearson, Postgraduate Student of Ancient History, University of Wales Trinity St David
Gemma Ball, Teacher of Classical Civilisation and Latin
Philip Canning, Head of Classics
Stephen Dobson, Head of Classics
Julia Duffy, Teacher of Classical Civilisation
Paul Found, Teacher of Classical Civilisation
Carole Fox, Teacher and Archaeologist
Catherine Gardner, Teacher of Classics
Andrew Harrop, Head of Classics
Karen Hon, Teacher of Classics
Paul Jack, Teacher of Classical Civilisation and History
Sam Kenchington, Teacher of Classical Civilisation and Latin
Stephen Jenkin, Teacher of Classics
Andy Keen, Head of Classics
Joanna Lashley, Head of Classics
Rob Marshall, Teacher of Ancient History and Modern History
James Miller, Teacher of Classical Civilisation
Victoria Osborne, College Lecturer
Ken Pickering, Head of History and Classical Civilisation
George Pounder, Teacher of Classics
Amy Quinn, Teacher of Classics and Latin
Maria Romana, Teaching Assistant, Boston, USA
Frances Shaw, Teacher of Classical Civilisation, Latin and Greek
Juliana Veysey, Teacher of Classics
Rhiannon Litterick, PGCE Student in Classics, University of Cambridge
Henry Lee, PGCE Student in Classics, King’s College, London
Clare Wightman, PGCE Student in Classics, King’s College, London
Lee Baker, MA in Classics and English Literature, University of Glasgow
Cheryl Barker, MA in Classical Studies, Open University
Emily Bowden, MA in Classics, King’s College, London
Margaret Powell, MA in Classical Studies, Open University
Jackie Unitt, MA in Classical Studies, Open University
Gemma Allen, BA in Classical Studies, University of Reading
Glyn Davies, BA in Philosophy, Politics and Ethics, Oxford University
James Greenwood, BA in Classics and IT, University of Wales Trinity St David
Adam Jones, BA in Ancient World Studies, University College, London
Sue Jones, BA in Humanities with Classical Studies, Open University
Michael McFarland, BA in Humanities with Classical Studies, Open University
Kelly O’Hara, BA in Classics
Elizabeth Shrubsole, BA in Humanities with Classical Studies, Open University
Ben Street, BA in Ancient History, University of Exeter
Faye Witcher, BA in Ancient World Studies, University College London
Edmund Wise, BA in Ancient History, Bristol University
Jo Berry, Undergraduate in Classical Civilisation, University of Exeter
India Collins-Davies, Undergraduate in Classics and English, Oxford University
Sky Emery, Undergraduate in Classical Studies, University of Manchester
Cheryl Gupta, Undergraduate in Humanities, Open University
Matt Ingham, Undergraduate in Ancient History, University of Manchester
Eleanor Jesson, Undergraduate in Classical Studies, University of Exeter
Kath O’Donovan, Undergraduate in Classics, Open University
Dr. W. Plummer, Undergraduate in Humanities with Classical Studies, Open University
Sam Riley, Undergraduate in Classics, Royal Holloway, University of London
Louise Wilson, Undergraduate in Humanities with Classical Studies
Lucy Binns, Chris Brown, James Dove, Byron Edens, Lydia Kilbey, Hugh MacPhail, Andrew Orrow, Margaret Powell, Charlie Rose, Andrea Welsbey


SIR – The twice-delayed NHS care.data project is now said to be “vital” for improving the country’s poor cancer survival record.
One of the biggest reasons for poor survival in cancer is late presentation to a health professional. Men are less likely to come early to their GP, particularly when their symptoms are perceived as embarrassing.
If care.data remains as envisaged – unconsented, irreversible, with identifiable information and with personal data being sold to third parties – then people will be increasingly reluctant to attend their GP with such symptoms, through well-founded concerns that details of their consultation will be transferred to a vast government database to their detriment.
NHS England needs to rethink this ill-fated scheme completely, otherwise health outcomes in England may well worsen instead of improve.
Dr Neil Bhatia
Yateley, Hampshire
Silt guilt
SIR – In the blame-game over the flooding on the Somerset Levels, Baroness Young of Old Scone (chief executive of the Environment Agency, 2000-2008) and Lord Smith of Finsbury, her successor, conveniently fill the roles of Witch and Warlock.
They must indeed bear joint responsibility for overseeing policies that led to the accumulation of silt so well illustrated by the time-lapse photographs of the River Parrett at Burrowbridge (report, February 18).
However, most of this silt will have come from cultivated fields upstream, where soil structures may have been affected adversely by years of arable cropping. When heavy winter rains cannot penetrate the compacted field surfaces, storm-water has to run off, carrying with it silt and clay from the soil into drainage channels.
For a long-term solution to this kind of flooding, a return is needed to the practice of alternate husbandry, where fields are cropped for three or four years before being sown out to grass, then grazed or cut for hay and silage for a period. This was normal practice historically and allowed the desirable crumb-like, spongy, porous soil structure to recover.
It is not only the quango bosses who are to blame for creating the current problem. Farmers have a role to play.
John Phillips
Dunblane, Perthshire
Pleased by teasels
SIR – A simple way to attract goldfinches into your garden (Letters, February 20) is to grow some teasels. They come from seed very easily, and the birds love to feed from the dry seed-heads. When the birds have had their fill, the dried plants make lovely interior decorations.
James Logan
Portstewart, Co Londonderry
SIR – On the matter of Scottish independence, there should be mention of Quebec’s one-time flirtation with independence from Canada. I remember well the flight of many company head offices from Montreal to the settled safety of Toronto.
R S Eades
Maidenhead, Berkshire
SIR – If Scotland does become independent, will it disappear from the BBC weather map?
Trevor Neilsen
London W6
Not forgotten
SIR – Joe Shute’s feature, highlighting the work of Bruce Blanche over 30 years to commemorate his uncle, Flying Officer Jim Lyon (who steered a stricken Wellington away from Quainton, Buckinghamshire), brought before the public the fact that so many air crew of Bomber Command lost their lives without going to war. Not all of them are forgotten.
On June 2 1943 the crew of a Whitley bomber, flying out of Honeybourne and on their last training flight before going operational, crashed and died near Broadway Tower in Worcestershire. A Cotswold stone memorial bearing a plaque with the crew’s names was erected, and each year on the anniversary of the event, the local branch of the RAF Association holds a memorial service.
Over the years the stone had crumbled, but the RAF Association raised the funds to replace it with a new one.
Cyril Burton
Abbots Morton, Worcestershire
SIR – RAF Westcott, from which Jim Lyon flew, was used by 11 Operational Training Unit. This unit lost 145 aircraft, all but three of them various marks of Wellington. From this considerable total, 16 failed to return or crashed during operational flights.
William R Chorley
Sixpenny Handley, Wiltshire
Steam tomorrow
SIR – I overheard a woman who had been persuaded by her family to visit the National Railway Museum in York. Not being overly interested in railways, she had been unimpressed by the exhibits, until she saw Mallard. “So futuristic,” she said.
Alex Dow
Cowdenbeath, Fife
Real corkers
SIR – Alex (February 21) can’t identify his wine because a flooded cellar soaked the labels from the bottles. It seems he has been sold a pup. All good claret has the vintage and chateau on the cork.
Charles B de B Madden
London W1
Time and tied
SIR – Will self-tying shoelaces (Letters, February 21) need untying before the shoes can be put on?
Richard Shaw
Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Merrily we roll along
SIR – Christmas wouldn’t be the same in our house without Christmas-themed toilet rolls (Letters, February 21).
These are removed from their holders at the same time as the Christmas decorations, and any unused paper stored for next year.
Kevin Leece
Gravesend, Kent
SIR – We married in 1955 and I had an uncle who worked in the printing trade. When my husband and I returned from honeymoon we were astonished to find the entire house decorated with copies of one particularly lovely wedding photograph.
I even discovered that the roll of crispy paper in the loo had been printed on each sheet with the same picture.
Wendy Gordon
Henfield, West Sussex
SIR – My father returned from a visit to Switzerland in the Thirties with a decorative loo-roll holder which, when a piece of paper was pulled, played the national anthem. As we were a patriotic family, this caused a dilemma: to stand or not to stand.
Cilla Hall
Bicknoller, Somerset

SIR – The decision by the Church Commissioners (Letters, February 12) to spend a lot of money on a house that the Church has already sold off, for the Bishop of Bath and Wells, who already had accommodation in a palace built for the purpose, is obviously absurd.
The statement by Sir Tony Baldry, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, that these decisions were made on grounds of “suitability” gives the game away. At Save Our Parsonages, we are familiar with the term “unsuitable”. This is the term the dioceses always use to justify selling off fine rectories and vicarages for short-term gain, as though a building can suddenly become unsuitable when it has been suitable for hundreds of years.
The Commissioners have said of the house allocated for the bishop: “The property was formerly owned by the Diocese.” We have pointed out more times than we care to recall that dioceses do not, and never have, owned parsonages. They are owned by the incumbent. The dioceses have power to sell them off in an interregnum, but that is different.
The Diocese of Bath and Wells says that “the Church Commissioners have failed to undertake effective consultation at a local level”. But this is just how diocesan officials treat their own parishes, selling off parsonages without local consultation.
Anthony Jennings
Director, Save Our Parsonages
London WC1

SIR – I would support the Most Rev Vincent Nichols when he says that welfare reforms are causing misery (report, February 15).
Working as a volunteer at a Citizens Advice Bureau, I found out about food banks. I decided to help out at one once a month. One man who had heart problems couldn’t afford to heat a room, so his only way to keep warm was to stay in bed. What hope is David Cameron offering this very poorly man?
A young woman with twins under 18 months, who was also looking after a relative’s autistic child, was forced to visit the food bank to feed the family. Citizens Advice was trying to help her, but there had been a mix-up over what she was entitled to, and so she was desperate. What hope does Mr Cameron give these people?
And we call this modern Britain, and are told we are all in it together!
Joan Hall
Hayfield, Derbyshire
Related Articles
Dioceses sell off parsonages for short-term gain
22 Feb 2014
SIR – Perhaps Archbishop Nichols was referring to the people whose benefits had been suspended owing to their having refused job offers, not turning up to Jobcentre appointments or not doing enough to find work – 818,000 incidents since October 2012 (report, February 20).
Dr Leslie Dobson JP
Whitby, North Yorkshire
SIR – The problem with hierarchies is that the elevated members feel the need to make statements, which people believe to be the Christian position.
So we have Archbishop Nichols sounding off about welfare economics even though he is no economist and should perhaps run his ideas past those of us who are.
Priests working in parishes know the safety net is still in place and that the reforms of Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, are part of a moral crusade to help the very poorest in society.
Overall, austerity has brought sanity to Britain’s finances. Challenging the benefits culture is playing its part in drawing people back into work and out of the slough of welfarism.
Rev Dr John Cameron
St Andrews, Fife
SIR – Nobody disputes that the welfare system needed reform. Nobody disputes that there is a small number of people who exploit it to the point of committing fraud. The question, however, is: “What price should be paid to solve these problems?”
By inference, the Prime Minister’s view is “any price”, and this is where he loses the debate.
With crime generally, we accept that the risks of an incorrect decision do not have equal consequences – convicting someone wrongly is somewhat more serious than letting a guilty person go free. This is a sign of a civilised society. So why should it be different with the approach to improving welfare?
The Archbishop is absolutely right.
John Newman
Hinckley, Leicestershire

Irish Times:
Irish Independent:

Madam – Well done to ESB workers who got the country back in the light, back on its feet.
Also in this section
Ireland’s blind nationalism
AIB rugby fat cats
Letters: Syria’s civil war is an affront to humanity
In the country’s hour of need, they did, and are doing, Trojan work, a great job.
They can walk tall.
They have done themselves proud.
They deserve a standing ovation.
And all emergency workers, paid and voluntary, who helped in flood areas, and every place they were needed, did wonderful necessary work.
They all showed a true Irish spirit. And they showed what Irish men and women are capable of and willing to do.
With people like them, our country is in good hands. True, genuine patriotism.
And they didn’t demand bonuses or golden handshakes.
Credit where credit is due.
Margaret Walshe,
Clonsilla Road, Dublin 15
Madam – Though Ruth Dudley Edwards’s article (‘Suicide rates reveal true legacy of Provo violence’, Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014) is challenging, it is nonetheless salutary to remember that one must make a distinction between correlation and “causation” regarding the heartrending phenomenon of suicide. It would also be helpful to resist the temptation to introduce the idea of “another order of suffering” into this sad narrative – an idea which effectively denies, or at least diminishes, another narrative of suffering on this island.
Ms Edwards might care to reflect upon some hard realities which bring home the intensity and ferocity of violence imposed upon our progenitors, inclusive of the police, general security forces and others, by those whom the Irish State has the arrant impertinence to venerate as heroes and patriots within the environs of Leinster House. This order of suffering from 1916 to 1923 does not deserve to be effectively omitted from the scales of human suffering – however unintentionally.
Ms Edwards is fully aware that all three phases of violence – 1916, 1919-21, and 1922-23 – were instigated by Fenian nationalists who threw acid into the face of liberal democracy. Within four years of activity (inclusive of 1916), over 2,500 people had been killed, and 6,000 people wounded. This scale of human suffering must not be divorced from the nightmare of the 30 years of Provo war, for to do so is to give succour to the dastardly violent foundation myths of this unethically founded State and its glorification of sanitised murderers.
I would respectfully request that Ms Edwards should withdraw the phrase “another order of suffering”. Citing the length of the timeframe regarding Provo violence as justification for including the phrase simply flounders when tested logically and analytically. Both orders of human suffering on this island were the same, and reveal the same abhorrent nature of Fenian nationalist fascism.
Pierce Martin,
Celbridge, Co Kildare
Madam – Well done to Tony Fagan on his letter (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014) ‘Hollow words from Sinn Fein’. He speaks such truth. Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and Co, are so focused on trying to rewrite history that they miss the main point – we are not stupid people, we are quite aware of their agenda.
In Tony Fagan’s letter, he brings to mind the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe. Never forget how Ann, his widow, tries to sleep, thinking of her pain and loss.
In relation to Mary Lou, I get the impression she is in total denial regarding the crimes of Sinn Fein/IRA. Let’s ask about the theft of millions of euro by the IRA or the murder of PSNI officer Ronan Kerr.
Ask Gerry Adams why he visits Margaretta D’Arcy in Limerick prison. He says she’s not a criminal. I don’t think he understands the word.
Of course, Mr Adams knows all about the law – he makes his own rules.
Una Heaton,
Madam – We shouldn’t be bullied by those who use half truths to associate supporters of legalised and safe sex work with serious crime. It may be in the interest of the rescue industry to conflate trafficking or soliciting a minor with sex work but it is doing a disservice to everyone else, including victims.
Their judgmental stance towards a person with a disability who may visit an escort for a chat is not unlike homophobia, and they dismiss the views of sex workers who operate willingly.
The UN and Amnesty International have condemned Sweden’s law criminalising buyers of sexual services as dangerous and a health hazard.
It also infantalises women by telling us that we can’t make decisions for ourselves and has broader implications for personal freedoms – the inevitable consequences of a law based on wishful thinking.
Name and address with Editor
Madam – It is a measure of Eoghan Harris’s antipathy to this Government that in condemning it and Alan Shatter, he actually lauds Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Fein (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014).
One normally expects to find Mr Harris backing a member of Cabinet whom anti-Israeli agitators love to demonise, and backing Garda Commissioner Callinan. But no, the temptation to have a crack at the Government was too strong.
He also rails about some media outlets not being more vocal in the GSOC affair. Might I suggest that the Section 31 mentality which Mr Harris rightly lauded at the time still permeates some media organs. Conor Cruise O’Brien and some like-minded folk from that era must be turning in their graves!
Brendan Cafferty
Ballina, Co Mayo
Madam – One has to smile at William Barrett’s strenuous efforts to undermine the Irish people and its Republic and his underlying arrogance and determination by trying to convince us that we would have been virtually superior beings by staying part of the UK, or being British, and would like us to finally accept this on his behalf (Sunday Independent, Letters, February 9, 2014). I sense an air of bitterness at the loss of his fantasy empire.
He refers to Eoghan Harris’s personal opinion that before 1916, Irish people were content with symbols of the British empire, such as the Union flag and the monarchy, and referred to the British navy as ‘our navy’, while in reality an entire century (and before) was marked by an intense resistance against British rule which culminated in series of revolutionary movements and also outright rebellions.
There was the uprising of 1798, Robert Emmet’s rebellion (1803), Daniel O’Connell (1820s), the Young Ireland Movement (1840s), the 1848 Rebellion, Irish expatriates supporting rebellion at home in the Irish Brigade during the American Civil War (1840s), the Fenian Uprising (1866), the Charles Parnell era (1870s), the Land War (1879), Civil War (1922-23).
The Famine was the final nail in the coffin, where Queen Victoria was openly mocked as the ‘Famine Queen’, in her propaganda-driven visit to Ireland of 1849.
Mr Barrett’s personal fantasies of trying to impose an image of the British empire in ‘glowing terms’ is sadly his own.
Mairead Mitten,
Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
Madam –I refer to article by Eilis O’Hanlon (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014), headed ‘Mortgage sell-off is an act of pure financial treason’.
It is an absolute national scandal to say the least that our Government is willing to allow 13,000 Irish families be thrown to the mercy of vultures – vultures who are invited to buy ex-Irish Nationwide mortgages at crazily low rates.
Oh yes, there is definitely something very rotten in the state of Ireland – especially when the Taoiseach dismisses the genuine pleas of the people who deserve respect, including journalist Eilis O’Hanlon.
I fully agree with Ms O’Hanlon when she says: ‘I don’t know why being confronted with the fact these people don’t give a rat’s ass about us should still be surprising, but it is.’
It is more than clear that An Taoiseach and the current Government don’t give a rat’s ass about the people of this country who have suffered greatly since they used us, the taxpayers, to bail out the bankers and keep them in their overpaid jobs.
Derry-Ann Morgan,
Naul, Co Dublin
Madam – The latest news from Moore Street is very sad (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014).
The Paris Bakery, which represents all that is good in commercial development, preservation and restoration, job creation and a loyal customer base, has been told that its lease will not be renewed by Chartered Land, the same party that has allowed the National Monument to deteriorate.
The contrast was obvious when I visited Moore Street last October and had a delicious lunch at the Paris Bakery. The developer which now seeks to close the bakery has failed to preserve the buildings where the brave men of 1916 spent their last hours as free men, whereas the owners of the Paris Bakery have painstakingly restored the historic building and created a business that brings visitors and tourists to this historic street.
Restoration, not destruction, should be the goal in this historic quarter of Dublin.
A museum developed by commercial interests and dwarfed by a shopping mall will not honour Ireland’s history or properly tell the story of 1916. The National Monument must be restored and the derelict condition remedied. Restoration of the individual buildings and the creation and support of small businesses like the Paris Bakery would support the creation of a heritage quarter and provide context and appropriate surroundings for the restored and preserved National Monument.
Robin Mary Heaney,
Madam – One doesn’t need a masters in psychology to guess the reaction of the organisers of the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York if members of the gay community did not participate in the event, irrespective of whether or not they marched without banners proclaiming their sexual orientation.
However, in the past, the organisers of the parade were delighted to have as Grand Marshal a former ‘Chief of Staff’ of the Provisional IRA – a terrorist gang that murdered men, women and children in an attempt to achieve a ‘United Ireland’ by force.
Tony Moriarty,
Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6W
Madam – I wish to express my concerns about Brendan O’Connor’s article on the Vatican (Sunday Independent, February 2, 2014).
It shows a total ignorance of the great work the Catholic Church has done. We all feel great shame about what has happened in our church. But there is shame in all our lives about the things we do to other people. Many paedophiles hid behind the collar. Christ got us to examine ourselves when He said: “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”
You seem to have some atheistic agenda to forget about the 90 per cent-plus good that Catholics did and continue to do.
John Stack,
Co Clare
Madam – As the country recovers from the latest storm, I can’t help wondering if anyone else has recognised a cruel irony. As we are all aware the ESB group of unions, including members working for ESB Networks, held the country to ransom with threats of power outages over Christmas to protect their generous pensions. They were vilified by many as being over-paid, greedy and pampered. With each storm tens of thousands lost power, many of whom would no doubt have shared these anti-ESB worker views. How fitting it is that they have had to rely on those self-same “pampered” workers to restore their power supply.
Marcus Pull,
Kilmacud, Co Dublin
Madam – I refer to an article by Fiona O’Connell (Sunday Independent, February 16, 2014).
I feel the comment re our rivers ie “that with all the toxic fertiliser and animal waste we keep pumping into them” is grossly unfair to one of our most important industries.
She might look at Ear to the Ground of February 13 on RTE Player and the very impressive O’Dwyers Butchers from Cashel.
I’m sure she would agree that they represent all that is best in Irish food production.
Donal Dilworth,
Glanmire, Co Cork

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