Letters to the Editor: Restricting the use of cash is a violation of our rights

One reader says the National Driver Licence Service should not have gone cashless, while others consider issues including conflict in the Middle East and the new garda recruitment age
Letters to the Editor: Restricting the use of cash is a violation of our rights

Some retailers are trying to switch over to cashless card-only payments, but now Ireland's National Driver Licence Service has joined them. Stock picture

I needed to renew my driver’s licence this week and now the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) forces drivers to use cards because they don’t accept cash as a form of payment, two years after the end of the pandemic. I find it unacceptable that a public body restricts the ability of using cash which, last time I checked, remains legal tender in this country.

Restricting cash should be a violation of shoppers’ rights. Card companies are making billions in profits from transaction fees and I personally choose to pay cash to businesses that accept it while refusing to engage with those that don’t. 

But in this case I have no other option but to give my card into this public body where it will be liable to a data breach and/or hacking as it has already happened with the HSE. It also means that should someone decide not to have a bank account they have no way to pay with their own money.

I did mention this to a member of staff at the NDLS Cork office, who responded that not having cash in the office means the money is safer.

I don’t believe this explanation: Every member of the public attending their offices needs to pre-register online for an appointment so if someone was to steal money their identity is already well known. If anything, it just shows complete mistrust of their own employees.

Victor Forja, Youghal, Co Cork

Garda recruitment

Having read the letter by Christy Galligan — ‘Raising the garda recruitment age is an act of desperation’ (Irish Examiner, Letters, October 16), I was somewhat happy to read that he is retired from An Garda Síochána. It is that narrow-mindedness in this country that does not allow it to move forward.

Perhaps Mr Galligan, instead of focusing on the negatives, maybe he should look at the positives. More personnel would:  

  • Allow members of An Garda Síochána not to walk the streets without backup;
  • Hopefully allow for a quicker response time when called upon;
  • Allow members of the public to fulfil a dream of being a member of An Garda Síochána, a second chance if you will.

I can only speak for myself but I have wanted to be a member of An Garda Síochána since I was a teenager. 

I became a father at 18 and at the time I could not attend Templemore because of financial constraints. I had two more children after that and after my three children were grown and with the upper age limit being 35, my one regret in life was that I could not fulfil my dream.

Now that I am 40 years of age and fitter than most 18- to 25-year-olds, I am relishing the chance to join.

This is just my story. I would almost guarantee there are many similar. Age is just a number; mindset, positive attitude, and a willingness to do everything you can to help the people of Ireland feel safe — that’s what matters.

Eric Pepper, Cavan

Minister’s PR spin

An Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin is reported as saying that schemes on a ‘scale we haven’t seen before’ are required after the Midleton flooding

In a similar vein recently, as Minister for Defence, he acknowledged that ‘fresh thinking’ was needed in dealing with the contentious Naval Service sea-going allowance. I think his predecessor, Simon Coveney, held the same opinion and likewise his predecessor, Leo Varadkar. 

Between the three of them what has happened? Nothing, and the budget has come and gone. I hope that the affected citizens of Midleton take note and treat political promises for what they are, primarily a PR reaction to a given situation and the hope that, like the floods, they will recede in the public mind.

Frank Russell, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare

Availability of water

I wish to express my opinion on the lack of drinking water facilities in Clonakilty.

During last summer on a really hot day, I drank all my water and wished to refill the bottle but realised there were no working drinking water fountains in the town.

There is only one water fountain in Clonakilty and at the time, it was broken. I began to wonder how this impacts other people living in the town. Imagine all the homeless and less fortunate not having a free water resource available to them. This is a major issue. Luckily, I had money on me and was able to buy a bottle, but imagine if I had not.

By purchasing the bottle, I had also contributed to the amount of plastic waste in the town and if there were more water fountains, this could have been prevented.

Former mayor of County Cork Christopher O’Sullivan said: “There is already a culture of refilling in Clonakilty and this reinforces the message that we really need to get away from plastic packaging altogether. Ireland creates more plastic waste per-capita than anywhere else is Europe and the council should be leading the way and leading by example.”

The council should install more drinking water fountains around the town. This would help us go forward in our climate action and could solve the waste of single use plastic bottles. I would hope to see by next summer that I can refill my bottle on a hot day, instead of having to purchase one.

Ayla O’Connell, Dunmanway, Co Cork

Is Paul Mescal the new Brando? 

Having just seen Paul Mescal in Garth Davis’s new dystopian sci-fi thriller, Foe, that is currently showing in cinemas, I can’t help but wonder if this extremely talented and good-looking Irish man is the new Marlon Brando.

He broods and mesmerises as Junior on this parched and barren farmstead in 2065 alongside Saoirse Ronan as Hen, his dutiful wife in this rather convoluted but human story. The film is deserving of the four-star ratings it has received.

The 27-year-old Kildare man who first came to our attention as Connell in the TV series Normal People before he hit the international spotlight with his well-deserved Oscar nomination for Aftersun, is definitely not sitting on his honkers. He will light up the big screen again when his latest movie, Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, will have its Irish premiere at the upcoming Cork International Film Festival. Literally can’t wait.

Tom McElligott, Listowel, Co Kerry

Gaza migration

The historic irony about David Murphy’s letter — ‘Why Gaza Strip is densely populated’ (Irish Examiner Letters, October 23) — on the Arab refugees from Palestine in 1948 is that the Gaza Strip population is one third surnamed “al Masri” or its variants. Egypt was, and is, the biggest source origin of intra-Arab migration.

This toponym translates as “the Egyptian” and denotes families that were economic migrants from Egypt to Palestine; both the Zionists and the British military had each invested £100m in between the wars or during the the Second World War respectively.

Come the 1948 war — at Arab promise and instigation —the civilians like civilians everywhere tried to flee the battlefield and the Al Masris were exercising their rights to return home in Egypt but when the ceasefire and armistice occurred King Farouk — “the Crook” as the Tommies knew him — ordered the frontier to be closed so as to cause a problem. Ever since the Arab World has caused and stoked the Gaza problem by restricting emigration from Gaza.

Frank Adam, Prestwich, England


Palestine support

Some letter writers seem to desire that people solely criticise and condemn Hamas’s action on October 7, despite Israel killing four times as many people since that time, brutally destroying lives and livelihoods. Imagine the burning of Cork carried out every day for the last three weeks. How can people ever recover from that savagery?

One letter writer mentioned “it’s a slander on men like Tom Barry”. Tom Barry spent time in Palestine in Britain’s occupying army. He would definitely have supported Palestine’s right to self-determination. He wrote about a weak mindset in some Irish people stemming from colonisation, cowed people afraid to stick up their heads. Lucky are we that some did act and not stand by.

In Tom Barry’s time, the media did slander him, and made up false allegations, including about the Crossbarry ambush. Anyone with knowledge of history would be wary of similar oppressor propaganda.

In Tom Barry’s own words:

“They said I was ruthless, daring, savage, blood thirsty, even heartless. The clergy called me and my comrades murderers; but the British were met with their own weapons. They had gone in the mire to destroy us and our nation and down after them we had to go.”

Fachtna O’Raftery, Clonakilty, Co Cork


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