Dear Declan,

It is a long time (about 42 years) since we met in Stillorgan Park.
The sisters were good looking indeed. Anyway, I have read oceans of
prose written by you over the years and have been informed and
entertained by much of it. Sometimes I have been annoyed when you have
wellied someone I support.

Reading broadsheet newspapers has been a love of my life. Writers have
informed and challenged and annoyed me in equal measure. I love
iconoclasts and the op-ed pages of the main Irish papers have been
great value over the years. Lots of conservative orthodoxy like
Desmond Rushe and John Healy contrasting with the Donal Foley –
man-bites-dog – genre. I’m sure you, like me, read Vincent Hanna,
James Reston, Max Hastings, Hugo Young, Matthew Parris, (Oh! Not Polly
Toynbee), Anthony Howard, William Rees-Mogg, Brian Feeney and as
editor the brilliant Harold Evans in London and Douglas Gageby in
Dublin. I miss Ivan Yates in the Examiner on a thursday. Opiniosn,
opinions opinions. Great stuff.

The pecking order in Ireland has changed over time. The Irish Times
undoubtedly tops the quality and breath list. Second in the Irish
Examiner. Next is probably New Internationals Sunday Times – Irish
Edition followed until recently by the Irish Independent, now gone
tabloid. At least they did not select the Berliner style used by the
Guardian. The most island wide focused small paper is the Irish News
from Belfast and I buy it often now.

I hope you have an interesting life post Irish Times and thanks for
your work over the years.

Yours sincerely