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Top 10 readers' comments of the week

Here’s our round-up of the wittiest, most thought-provoking and original comments you lot made this week. Did you make it in?

Image: PAUL SHARP/SHARPPIX

EVERY WEEK, we here at TheJournal.ie like to take a look at the best comments that have been made by you, our lovely readers.

As always, there’s been a load of funny, intelligent, and lively debates and discussions about a whole host of topics. This week, you’ve been talking a lot about what’s going to happen with the National Children’s Hosptial, homophobia, the visit by Xi Jinping, selling off state assets, Syria, Paul Gogarty, Mary O’Rourke, evictions, gender identity disorder, jobs, and a lot, lot more.

So without further ado and in no particular order, here’s our picks for our favourite comments of the week.

It’s almost Eurovision time again so that can only mean one thing – it’s time to decide which act will have the glory/shame of representing Ireland this year. The winning act was picked on the Late Late Show last night - but Jonathan White had this suggestion for why Ireland cares so much about the Eurovision:

Watching Eurovision combines some of our favourite pursuits: being pass-remarkable about people’s appearances, being pass-remarkable about other countries and televised vote-counting. What’s not to like?

One of the most commented-upon pieces of the week was the Read Me by Rory Geraghty about homophobic language and bullying which led to a heated discussion among commenters. This comment by Conor Kirwan gave his perspective on whether certain words can be considered homophobic:

As a gay man I agree with the sentiment of what you are saying Rory. It can be upsetting to hear people use language inappropriately and make gay jokes, lesbian jokes and so-on without understanding what is being them. We have all heard and dealt with these disgusting witticisms about dropping soap, checked shirts, turning lesbians straight and so-on.

However, language does evolve, and for example, I would have less of a problem with someone referring to say an unfortunate event, or bad weather or something to that effect as ‘gay’, as I believe the word is being used in a different context, much the same way that the word ‘bastard’ can refer to someone born outside of marriage or to a person one dislikes.

When used in a certain context as a term of mild vexation, the word ‘gay’ has no connection with being a homosexual. Obviously I would rather the English language had not evolved in this manner in this instance, but that is the reality unfortunately and I can’t spend my life being offended by otherwise supportive straight friends and allies when they use the word ‘gay’ as a term of mild frustration not remotely related to LGBT people.

The €130 billion bailout for Greece was finally agreed at the start of the week after much political manoeuvring. Kerry Blake had this prediction for what’s going to happen next:

@ Neil. Ho you honestly think this austerity program will work for Greece?

My take on it is this will prove the tipping point for Greece. With an unemployment rate of 21% and 48% of those under 25 unemployed this program will throw another 150.000 into that number. GDP has contracted by over 13% in the last 4 years by 7% in the last quarter of 2011. Do you not think more austerity is not just pooring petrol on the fire? All I can see is this program causing huge social unrest and suffering. Greece should default exit the Euro. Aslong as Greece is tied to the Euro it will never become competitive meaning the vicious circle will continue and Greece will require yet another bail out in a couple of years time . The Trioka’s facts and figures just do not stand up. They are expecting Greece to return to economic growth next year how?

A new plan by the government to make employers pay for some sick pay of their employees kicked off a good discussion about whether the government or businesses should be responsible for paying. Cormac Ginty had this insight into what it’s like from an employer point of view:

Good post. I too am an employer, but I don’t pay for sick days. Absenteeism is not a problem. If someone is sick then someone else gets the hours. If I have to pay for sick time, it means I have to pay double time to cover the hours. I would need proof that the employee was sick if I am expected to pay for it (even for one day). So GPs may be signing a lot more sick certs …. it a wonder she doesn’t want the employer to pay for sick certs too.

What will happen in practice in small firms is that when someone is absent due to sickness, it will be frowned on. As employees won’t want to get in the bad books, they will be less likely to take sick leave, even when genuinely unfit to work.

On Wednesday came the story about a gun found inside a piano in a nursing home in the US. Hmm. Steve McNally had this theory:

Daring escape plot foiled

There was bad news for the new National Children’s Hospital this week with the news on Thursday that the planning application for the Mater site has been turned down. With a long delay inevitable, Patrick Dervan had this suggestion for what to do in the meantime:

The City West hotel which is in Receivership has 1400 bedrooms, already built and going to waste. The Children’s hospital is looking for about 400 single wards, the Reception rooms could be converted to Operating theatres etc, kitchens etc are already there, the number of wards could be increased as required and a new adult hospital could be achieved by cconverting some or all of the remaining rooms.
The cost must be minimal compared to a new build, the hospital could easily be ready in one year and all would be happy.
This must be a no brainer
Regards
Paddy Dervan

This week’s Burning Question about whether self service checkouts in supermarkets are genius or just plain evil sparked off a surprisingly heated debate. This short but sweet one by Stephen McB made us laugh (and lots of other readers too, judging by the 205 thumbs up it received)

“Unexpected item in comment area”

The government announced its Pathways to Work plan on Thursday which aims to get unemployed people back into jobs. Here, Fiona O’Sullivan explains why she thinks there are flaws with the plan:

Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with the initiative to get people back to work, the fact of the matter is there are just no jobs out there. There are 26 people for every 1 vacancy in this country at the minute. The 350,000 people who lost their jobs (through no fault of their own let’s remember) are not now living the life of riley on the dole, refusing to work. These people want to work. The people who are refusing to work are a minority. Target them. It can’t be that hard for the department to know who is long-term and refusing to work. Stop putting all social welfare recipients into this category as is it false. It is very demoralising and unfair to be labelled like this. Some of these people have lost everything in the recession and now are being targeted by the Government. Start creating jobs for people to apply for. An initiative like this will not work until there are jobs.

A report commissioned by Iarnród Éireann and published during the week looked at the future for the country’s rail network and had some suggestions for how to improve it. Here, Aarum had his own suggestion for what needs to change:

They need to review the prices for commuter towns like Kilcock and Enfield and price it similar to Maynooth that way I’d leave the car at home! It’s not worth it with returns costing, the difference of €10 between two stops is too much!

Want to know what the photograph at the top of the page is all about? Bookmaker Bookmaker Paddy Power this week announced that it would sponsor Ireland’s amputee football team. The photograph shows Paddy Power holding er, two prosthetic legs. Good way to get publicity or just tasteless? Readers were divided – but Donal Bligh, who plays for the football team, responded to another reader’s criticisms of it:

Peter, I play for this team and am in the picture above and I understand you are not fully aware about our team but i’m going to inform you we are not a charity of any kind and I would like for you to tell me what gave you that impression.. this is a sponsorship which helps promote the sport we are trying to develop nationwide and are clearly delighted that paddy power has come on board.

Spot a comment which you think should be on the list next week? Mail it to christine@thejournal.ie

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