On speaking terms

 

Sir, – The letters on verbal tics (September 14th) prompted me to write about a journalistic tic all too prevalent in your illustrious paper. I refer to the term “watchdog”, which is applied to any public or civil service body which is supposed to be looking after the public’s interests.

All too often the watchdog in question has neither watched nor barked in a timely fashion. Some of our watchdogs even stayed in their kennels during critical phases of the lockdown, as became clear during appearances in front of the Dáil Covid committee and will become even more starkly clear during the public inquiry to come. So, please, no more “watchdogs”. – Yours, etc,

C CARROLL,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – I haven’t heard the Taoiseach say “cohort” yet. This singles him out as a great orator. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK KEENAN,

Portmarnock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – I write in support of Graeme Guthrie’s eloquent plea for the more discriminating use of “unprecedented” (Letters, September 14th).

But I think he goes too far in calling for the banning of its use in all future articles in The Irish Times. I hope on reflection he might allow it when his neighbours in Leitrim win the All-Ireland senior football championship or when my good neighbours in Carlow win the hurling. – Yours, etc,

PAT O’BRIEN,

Mooncoin,

Co Kilkenny.

Sir, – I notice that Mary Lou McDonald’s verbal tic of choice is to announce a statement in advance with, “Let me say this”.

A grand entrance! – Yours, etc,

OLIVER McGRANE,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – L Keane (Letters, September 14th) writes, “Let me be perfectly clear. We all have verbal tics.”

To which my response is, “Absolutely”. – Yours, etc,

FRANK E BANNISTER,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.