On speaking terms


Sir, – Geraldine Aherne (Letters, September 12th) wonders if Micheál Martin can complete a solitary sentence without uttering the phrase “in terms of”. Perhaps the Taoiseach will take note of this criticism,“going forward”? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – My letter to the editor (May 29th) pleaded for the elimination of the word “unprecedented” from your prestigious columns.

You will appreciate therefore that I feel somewhat aggrieved that you allow the Minister for Finance the unprecedented use of the word unprecedented two times in an opening paragraph (Business, September 12th) where the Minister calls for “unprecedented European solutions that match the unprecedented challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic”. To add insult to injury, the headline to the column adds a third unprecedented.

I suspect that this repetitive use of the word unprecedented may in fact be unprecedented. To placate at least one of your readers, please take the unprecedented step of banning the use of the word unprecedented from all future articles. – Yours, etc,




Co Mayo.

Sir, – I seem to recall that Dick Spring, the former Labour leader and minister for foreign affairs, liked to preface many of his remarks in televised interviews with “Obviously, quite frankly”.

I met him once, after he had retired from politics, and found him polite, courteous and amusing. And he didn’t say “Obviously, quite frankly” even once. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Let me be perfectly clear. We all have verbal tics. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 14.