Spanish prime minister’s cultured view should be celebrated

Over 65s in Spain can avail of a €2 cinema offer every Tuesday© Getty Images

Letters to the Editor

In a novel initiative, the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, has announced a scheme that will allow over-65s to go to the cinema every Tuesday for the modest sum of €2, less than two weeks before the country heads to the polls for important regional and municipal elections.

“Culture needs to be a political commitment for each and every one of the regions, for every town and, of course, for the Spanish government,” Sanchez is reported to have said.

To this writer’s knowledge, this is the first time mainstream cinema has been viewed as a form of culture by a major government instead of just what many see it as – entertainment.

The subsidised cinema scheme is expected to benefit around nine million people and cost about €10m.

With the Government here sitting on a reported war chest of €65bn but seemingly bereft of new ideas, one can only dream of something similar happening here.

And of course the intangible benefits of getting older people out of the house in large numbers is immeasurable.

Tom McElligott

Listowel, Co Kerry

​Canada could help make this country future-proof

Perusing reports in the Irish Independentand Sunday Independent of the Government setting aside a few billion euro for “a future fund”, one wonders what daft idea will be accepted.

The best “future fund” Ireland has ever had has been in place since the late 1960s when Donogh O’Malley made secondary school education free.

A serious government would look at proven examples that guarantee a better future for the entire population – good education, at a reasonable cost, and preventive medicine, at a reasonable cost.

Canada has a preventive medicine programme – the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Care. No Irish minister, let alone a task force, need fly to Canada, as the entire programme is available online.

Declan Foley

Melbourne, Australia

TDs supporting hate speech bill should be wary of voters

I refer to the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022, currently passing through the Oireachtas (which was recently passed by the Dáil and is currently being debated in the Seanad).

Given that this controversial, draconian and Orwellian legislation regarding our democratic right to free speech was supported by all of the main political parties (a mere 14 TDs in the Dáil voted against it – Independents, PBP-S and Aontú), have our TDs finally and summarily displayed their contempt for our constitutional rights and for the electorate?

Or, is it that they are so incapable of tackling the real bread-and-butter issues of our day (rising cost of living, housing, and healthcare crises, to mention but a few) they are trying to distract the electorate from their own incompetence with, what are commonly called the “culture wars”, namely, conflicting and controversial issues and ideologies, which can still be openly discussed on social media at present?

Should they succeed in passing this legislation, will that herald the end of “Letters to the Editor”, phone calls and debates on local and national radio shows, discussion on social media, etc, for fear of prosecution for a hate offence, wherein someone “might perceive” or take offence, when no offence was ever intended?

Whichever of the above it is, those TDs and senators who would legislatively strip citizens of their voice and actively seek to curtail the inalienable right of freedom of speech, would do well to remember that the voice of the silent majority, expressed through the ballot box – while not verbalising their opinion – is nonetheless a more powerful voice.

Ciaran M Tracey

Co Leitrim

Energy companies must pass on savings to customers

Open letter to Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar: I am writing to express my deep concern about the current state of energy pricing in Ireland. I am deeply troubled by the fact that energy companies seem to be taking advantage of their customers, particularly with regards to the recent drop in wholesale electricity prices.

Wholesale electricity prices in Ireland have dropped from a peak of over €300/MWh to just €34/MWh. This is a significant reduction, and one that should be reflected in the prices that consumers are being charged. However, many energy companies have not passed on these savings to their customers, instead continuing to charge high prices that are simply unjustified.

This is simply unacceptable.

Elizabeth Moran

Address with Editor

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