Controversy over Kevin Myers’s article

 

Sir, – As a former chairman of the Labour Court I believe that Kevin Myers should have been afforded an opportunity to defend himself before being hastily dismissed by his employer. As a former founding member of the Press Council of Ireland (not the former Ombudsman) I believe that the current chairman should not have prejudged the case on RTÉ Radio News at One on Monday July 31st.

I would hope now that the Sunday Times will give Kevin Myers the right to reply to his critics and that the chairman of the Press Council will recuse himself from any involvement in any complaint or appeal. – Yours, etc,

JOHN HORGAN,

Clarecastle, Co Clare.

Sir, – Well done to Patsy McGarry (“Journalist more than the sum of his errors”, Home News; August 1st) for providing some balance to the outburst of smug demonisation of Kevin Myers arising from his Sunday Times column, which, admittedly, contained offensive and very regrettable references to Jews and to women.

Attempts to brand Myers as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier were rightly repudiated by the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland. (Jewish Council comes to Myers’s defence). As founding chairperson of the Holocaust Memorial Day Committee, I fully support the JRCI when it states that branding Myers as anti-Semite is “an absolute distortion of the facts”. – Yours, etc,

OLIVER DONOHOE,

Kimmage, Dublin 12.

Sir, – Principle 8 of the code of practice published by the Press Council of Ireland states:

“The press shall not publish material intended or likely to cause grave offence or stir up hatred against an individual or group on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, colour, ethnic origin, membership of the travelling community, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, illness or age”.

The most perfunctory glance through Kevin Myers’s back catalogue reveals a narrative that habitually reviled people based on many of the above characteristics. His overtly prejudiced opinions have been continually distributed unchecked and in frank disregard of the above principle. It should not have taken the publication of anti-Semitic comments, with subsequent scrutiny and embarrassment at an international level, for someone to decide to draw a line.

Mr Myers has memorably espoused that female doctors such as myself should not be allowed in the business, due to our collective enthusiasm for taking career breaks. I certainly hope Mr Myers enjoys his. Well deserved. – Yours, etc,

Dr SOPHIE

PRENDERGAST,

Dublin 4.

Sir, – I, for one, do not see any problem with what was written by Kevin Myers in the Sunday Times (Home News, July 31st). At the very least, he may simply be describing, in purely factual terms, an observed association between being Jewish and being well-paid by the BBC. So what?

He has always been a reporter and journalist of the highest integrity, and always tells it like it is. Indeed, he may now be the natural successor to Vincent Browne, in terms of being the people’s champion at asking the direct awkward question of whomsoever.

I will follow him to whichever journal he writes for next, as will many others. – Yours, etc,

AVA HENDON,

Woodstown, Co Waterford.

Sir, – Kevin Myers, when he wrote for your newspaper, was one of the first to argue (and he is unsurpassed as an arguer) that deaths on Irish roads were not just an inevitable consequence of motoring but were a result of internal attitudes that could be changed –they were not just accidents that happened but had causes. And in column after column, often in upsetting detail, he changed those attitudes.

He saved lives. Not many journalists or politicians, including those gleefully kicking Myers now, can say that. – Yours, etc,

AIDAN WALSH,

Rathgar Road,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – Can anyone remember the last time a journalist got fired for making a reference to the reputed tight-fistedness of the Scots or the reputed drunkenness of the Irish? – Yours, etc,

PADDY CORLEY,

Ennis,

Co Clare.

Sir, – Now that he is available please bring Kevin Myers back “home” to The Irish Times. Some of your long-suffering readers need a counterbalance to the opinions of Fintan O’Toole, Una Mullally, etc. – Yours, etc,

JOHN KENNY

Monkstown Valley,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – I agree with your letter writer’s comment that Kevin Myers’s words were at best extraordinarily unhelpful to the discussion.

I would have to disagree, however, with Laura Daly’s dismissal of his article as “flagrant misogyny” (August 1st). There has recently been a great deal of flagrant misandry in the media on the subject of equality, and Kevin Myers, for all his faults, was virtually a sole voice; failing as he did to toe the politically correct line made him stand out.

There would be no need for commentators such as him if media coverage of equality issues was more balanced. – Yours, etc,

WILLIAM MONGEY,

Waterford.

Sir, – Kevin Myers’s article has been mistakenly discussed in terms of free speech rather than the free market; he was contracted to provide a product, which was found to be defective and was withdrawn. – Yours, etc,

Dr RICHARD SCRIVEN,

Ballinlough, Cork.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole (Opinion, August 1st) criticises Kevin Myers for his non-PC comments. I would like to draw Fintan O’Toole’s notice to his own comments. While berating Kevin Myers on his “mothers of bastards” comment he goes on to describe that comment as “a gratuitous kick at the weak” and an example of Kevin Myers “using his formidable talents to afflict the afflicted”.

As a single mother of three children with many friends who are also single mothers, I take offence at these throwaway remarks. Because single mothers may not always jump up to shout about non-PC rhetoric about themselves does not mean they are weak. It may mean that they have better things to be doing than reading rubbish in newspapers written by people who have no idea what is going on in the real world.

In my limited experience of single parenthood and observing my friends for many years neither would I think they would see themselves as being afflicted, but rather that we have been blessed with children.

People from every walk of life, poor, rich, single, married, etc, have their trials but that is no reason to label them. The richest, whitest, most educated, settled can be as weak and afflicted as the poorest, blackest, uneducated, Traveller.

Stop trying to squash people into boxes. Its downright lazy journalism. It is a poor reflection on print media that it is resorting to using entire pages of the paper for first Kevin Myers’s drivel and then for critiques on such drivel.

Perhaps best not to waste any more print space on this. I do recognise the irony of my reply. – Yours, etc,

JANE JACKSON,

Greystones,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Patsy McGarry’s wonderfully humane piece on Kevin Myers (“Journalist more than the sum of his errors”, Home News, August 1st) sums up the qualities of the man while also addressing his flaws. Sadly others appear to be happy to kick the man when he is down.

What should concern us all is that Myers has been vilified as a “Holocaust denier” on the basis of a headline he didn’t write. Thanks to Twitter, the toxic playground of the liberal left elite, this lie has now gone global. – Yours, etc,

KARL MARTIN,

Bayside, Dublin 13.

Sir, – With regard to the recent controversy, I am reminded that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Perhaps the price of free speech is eternal noise. – Yours, etc,

JAMES KINSELLA,

Arklow,

Co Wicklow.