A recent report by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (Digi) showing that 1,829 pubs closed their doors between 2005 and 2021 is devastating news for the country and rural Ireland in particular (“Strong figures show a fifth of pubs have closed their doors since 2005′, Irish Independent, 5 August).
Across the country – from Malin Head to Mizen Head in 15 boroughs – the number of pubs has fallen by 20 to 30 per cent, particularly since Covid.
The real threat to this industry is that home has become the new bar, with unlimited hours and self-service.
There are obvious health issues – both mental and physical – for those who drink at home.
Research has shown that people drink less in controlled pubs.
During the pandemic, a joke made the rounds that if bars didn’t open soon, “we’d all be alcoholics.”
Going out for a pint with friends at the weekend was always a treat when the hustle, banter and banter of buddies after a hard week’s work was always a welcome and entertaining touch.
In rural Ireland, other services such as Garda stations, banks, retail outlets and post offices have been in decline for years. The rural pub served as a social center in the community and offered many different activities, be they sporting, cultural or domestic.
The loss of the ‘native’ in every small rural town, village or community is another nail in the coffin of this area.
It is always an attraction for our tourists when they come to visit.
The government must step in to help the hospitality industry recover through grants so it can survive for years to come.
In the words of Billy Keane, son of playwright John B, “A good host is better than any government official when it comes to keeping our small communities alive”.
Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo
Anti-teacher flak must stop – we all have rights
I am writing in reply to Séamus Hanratty’s letter (“Teachers threaten strike is now a certainty in Irish life”, Letters, 12 August). Those who often complain the most about teachers would also be the ones who couldn’t be a teacher.
As primary school teachers, we rarely went on strike, which contradicts the fact that we always go on strike. And I personally don’t think there will be any strikes anyway. We don’t take it lightly. We had unequal pay, changes in the pension system (all public servants) and Covid, and we didn’t go on strike.
Nurses have been on strike more often than teachers lately and are always receiving public support – and rightly so; You are doing tremendous work.
But what I really want to speak out about is the public hatred of teachers.
Every time teachers’ unions raise an issue, we’re bombarded with, “Oh, teachers and their holidays.” This is an ongoing phenomenon and I believe teachers are in one of the most hated professions in the country, but we are educating the future generation. I’m not sure what that says about us as a society.
Every union should fight for a viable wage for its workers. It doesn’t matter if we are teachers, nurses, bus drivers or salespeople. I think we all need to support each other and stop the hate.
Name and address of the publisher
Varadkar should reconsider his unjust priorities
Someone once said that budgets are moral documents and should reflect people’s values and priorities.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar promises a “very significant” income tax cut in the upcoming budget. Doing this in the current circumstances is a clear expression of priorities – but whose priorities?
Would we prefer, as Mr Varadkar seems certain, to reduce our income tax debt at the expense of solving the many social ills, such as the housing crisis or the delay in creating a one-tier healthcare system?
And what about the many thousands of children who live in poverty?
Given all of this, does he really think prioritizing income tax cuts at this point is a reflection of who we are?
Jim O’Sullivan, Rathedmond, Co. Sligo
A creeping silence in our country as electric cars spread
The sound of silence is steadily spreading throughout our towns and villages with the ever increasing number of electric vehicles and hybrids being seen if not heard. They move quietly on an almost unfamiliar but for that acoustic sci-fi sound they emit to warn pedestrians. Perhaps “vroom vroom” will soon be a distant sound in our quest for a healthier environment.
Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18
The British need a revolution to oust the privileged in power
My thoughts are with you, my friends in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. When I read the news from your country every morning, I cry.
How did you end up in a parliament run by a network of the privileged? Living in a society ruled by class and entitlement must be awful.
Did you know that the debate society, the Oxford Union, is the training ground for your politicians? Guess how many of the 15 Prime Ministers since World War II have been Oxford graduates?
Don’t be shocked to hear that Labor politicians are choosing the same route to power.
My advice to you, the electorate, is to get rid of this corrupt Eton/Oxford/Bullingdon style of governance. Have your revolution.
The French abolished their aristocracy and monarchy in 1789. It’s not too late for you to do the same in 2022. Storm Westminster and Buckingham Palace.
To understand how you got here, read the fact thriller Chums: How a tiny caste of Tories took over Britain by Simon Kuper (profile books).
Alison Hackett, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Griffith was a statesman with patriotic vision
Her excellent editorial (“Griffith deserves greater credit for his pivotal role,” Irish Independent12 August) says much about Arthur Griffith’s critics – even to this day – who have distorted the facts of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.
A week after my arrival in Melbourne in 1987, a staunch Anglo-Australian Loyalist told me very emphatically: “Ireland should never have been allowed to leave the Union [UK]“.
Griffith et al. did well to accept the final treaty. They were far-sighted statesmen who saw the future of the Free State with its own elected government in Dublin, free from the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ in London.
Unfortunately, Griffith is not the only member of the delegation to have been ignored: I daresay if Michael Collins had not died he too would have been whitewashed from Irish history.
Declan Foley, Melbourne, Australia
The letter from Sabina Higgins contained a valid subtext
Sabina Higgins’ recent call for an end to the terrible war in Ukraine has been condemned, and the President’s wife has even been accused of supporting Vladimir Putin.
That a call for peace should be viewed in this way is astounding and appalling. The Russian invasion of Ukraine should of course be condemned, but prolonging the conflict indefinitely, which the Western powers – particularly the US – appear to intend to do is a grave mistake that will lead to many more deaths and further destabilize the world becomes.
When war broke out in February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tried to make peace by pledging not to join NATO.
French President Emmanuel Macron tried to include Russia in peace talks. But as fighting continued, calls for peace quickly faded.
The anti-war position was wiped out almost immediately – in Russia by Putin’s brutal authoritarian tactics; in the West by a media and political consensus that continuing the fighting, regardless of the cost, is somehow the only valid option. This consensus must be opposed and criticized.
This is the subtext of Ms Higgins’ contribution.
Many, not only in Russia, benefit from this war. Profits of Western energy and defense companies are rising, as are corporate profits across the board, as ordinary people in many countries suffer from a cost of living crisis.
Ireland’s media and leaders should have the courage to raise the call for peace.
Ted Tynan, Mayfield, Cork
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/letters/why-the-closure-of-pubs-sounds-the-death-knell-for-a-vital-part-of-life-in-rural-ireland-41908869.html Why closing pubs is the death knell for an important part of life in rural Ireland