Asterisks and strong language in newspapers


Sir, – The Rev Patrick G Burke (August 28th) wonders if we have reached the point where the “f-word” is found to be acceptable for the pages of The Irish Times, then perhaps a campaign is required to stamp out its use in the public arena.

He has his work cut out for him, for its use in the public arena as a noun, adjective, adverb and verb is widespread. I hear it used on a daily basis in shops, streets, offices, pubs, restaurants and buses.

I am far more concerned by the homophobic loudmouth on the terrace with the megaphone singing abuse at the courageous Dónal Óg Cusack. – Yours, etc,


Shandon Crescent,


Dublin 7.

Sir, – The asterisks in “f**k” do not mitigate the obscenity. They merely substitute an unclean thought in a reader’s mind for an unclean word in print.

To deal with difficulties of this nature, I am establishing a Campaign for Clean Thoughts. – Yours, etc,


Sitric Place,

Stoneybatter, Dublin 7.