In the aftermath of the Notre Dame fire


Sir, – In light of the tragic fire that has significantly damaged Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, I wonder what fire contingency plans are specifically in place for buildings such as Christ Church Cathedral, St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Bank of Ireland building on College Green, the GPO, and the Four Courts in Dublin? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.

Sir, – So many letters to this paper seem to be written in anger that vast amounts of money is been channelled to rebuild Notre Dame cathedral, it beggars belief that the authors of these letters are serious.

It goes to show how far we have fallen from our cultural heritage, that we now live in a world where the past is irrelevant and all that matters is the here and now.

The people who built Notre Dame built it for the glory of God, and the people who began construction of this wonderful building knew they would never see it completed in their lifetime. This building was for future generations to appreciate and maintain, and its burning is an apt metaphor for the decline of Christianity in Europe.

Christianity is the architect of European culture, it has been the source for incredible works of art and architectural beauty, as well as our values.

Modern society does not construct buildings like Notre Dame any more, and as Christianity has declined it has given rise to the most awful, hideous architecture.

The people who stood along the River Seine and cried as they watched Notre Dame burn cried not just because this wonderful building was been destroyed, but also because this burning symbolised the hollowing of the soul of France.

How could France allow this to happen? The author Douglas Murray wrote, “For my own part, I cannot help feeling that much of the future of Europe will be decided on what our attitude is towards the church buildings and other great cultural buildings of our heritage standing in our midst.”

Judging by many of the opinions shared in this paper, the future of Europe will have no connection to its past at all. – Yours, etc,


Causeway Bay,

Hong Kong.

Sir, – I doubt anyone would disagree with The Irish Times Editorial on the tragic fire at Notre Dame (April 17th), but I did notice a curious omission.

While it is true the cathedral is a wonder that belongs to everyone and truer still that it belongs to the people of France, it is still a religious building and it is strange to avoid any mention of religion in the Editorial.

We should not forget, as President Emmanuel Macron has pointed out, that this is a disaster that strikes those of the Catholic faith, beyond the destruction of a fine building. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Many people seem to be queueing up to condemn the philanthropists of France over their donations for the Notre Dame rebuilding fund. 

Perhaps we ought not to make assumptions about  how they choose to spend their money; we do not know that they might also be contributing to charities generally; they are under no obligation to tell us.

There is, besides, something unsettling (if not arrogant) about directing the residents of other countries where and how to spend their money.

 I wonder if we ought to look and see where our own money goes, much of which could instead be directed by ourselves to charitable causes, whether for world hunger, the Yemen crisis, or otherwise.

For example, according to Alcohol Ireland, €6.8 billion was spent on alcohol in Ireland in 2016.

Take a look at the night-time shenanigans this brings to our city centres, and the hospital beds occupied by those with severe health problems caused by drink, to say nothing of the domestic violence and unhappy homes that result in many cases from alcohol and its misuse; and then we could ask ourselves if we might not choose to do better with our own cash before telling the French what to do with theirs.

This is before we look at the billions apparently being flushed away on the national epidemic of gambling.

  It might do no harm to look in the mirror before we start condemning the generosity of those overseas. – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.