Reality is there is too much at stake not to vote for SDLP
I feel confident most readers will see the letter from Pat Fahy (17 May) for what it is worth – a cheap bit of propaganda for Sinn Féin which, when disseminated has neither rhyme nor reason.
In addressing ‘decent’ supporters of the SDLP (how offensive) Mr Fahy appeals to them not to vote SDLP in constituencies where, according to his assessment they have no chance of winning yet makes no mention of the fact that his beloved party is going all out to unseat SDLP sitting MPs in South Belfast, South Down and Foyle.
Mr Fahy conveniently forgets that our party leader Colum Eastwood went out of his way to ensure that all constituencies had candidates opposing Brexit but Sinn Féin weren’t interested.
This is precisely the kind of gibberish that unionists are delighted with because their greatest wish has to be that the issue of the north is not raised in Westminster in the articulate way that it has been by Mark Durkan, Margaret Ritchie and Alasdair McDonnell.
Now, more than ever, we need a voice that will alert all the political parties at Westminster and constantly remind them that withdrawal from the European Union is the most serious challenge facing us following the dark days of prolonged violence and bloodshed from all quarters. Borders created by political failure of the past are not part of a modern Ireland racing ahead and in harmony with the most progressive of the countries making up the EU.
The SDLP at its outset established principles that are as honourable and relevant today as they were in 1970 and among those is the unification of Ireland by persuasion and agreement and a rejection of any means which demands the life of even one person.
John Hume, Seamus Mallon and many others championed the EU when Sinn Féin was opposed to it and he and others leave a proud legacy which is carried on today by Colum Eastwood and a new generation of Irish men and women who can hold their heads high. They have every right to do so and without the disparaging remarks of anyone propagating a political party which failed to deliver a united Ireland in the past and with no prospect of achieving this honourable goal in the future despite recent promises that it would come about in 2016.
Rather than claim there is too much at stake to vote SDLP the reality is that there is too much at stake not to vote SDLP.
JOHN DALLAT MLA
Kilrea, Co Derry
Leverage for Irish forelock tuggers just a myth
It was hard not to agree with Tom Kelly’s assertion that nationalists must take their seats at Westminster to have influence on the English parliament (May 22). He said it with such conviction. Still, to be sure I thought I’d fact check his list of corroborating examples of Irish influence in the wicked stepmother of parliaments. Daniel Ó Connell – didn’t have the right to have a seat in parliament until after emancipation. Home rule was not passed until after Parnell’s death. Fitt became a traitor to the civil rights movement when he became an enthusiastic poodle to the English establishment. John Hume’s real influence lay with Europe and the US and it was they who influenced Westminster without holding a single seat. Tom would be better off pointing out to the SDLP that they are on the road to no Westminster seats, while Sinn Féin are only likely to increase theirs. Tom needs to remind them that they should be a nationalist party first and that they must persuade the electorate that they are working toward unity, first and foremost. Swearing loyalty to a sectarian crown is bad enough,but to do so without political gain for the nationalist cause is unforgivable.
The SDLP must change its stance to one of abstentionism before they have no seats to take. When people like Tom peddle the myth of Westminster leverage for Irish forelock tuggers they only achieve the erosion of nationalist resolve. Given the partitionist tone of Tom’s column over the years perhaps that is his aim.
Leaders lacking in foresight
While the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin act like the grand old Duke of York and march the electorate up to the top of the hill and march them down again, the state heads for the lime pit.
Dire warnings delivered by men and women committed to the responsibility of children’s health, education and welfare are ignored while the leaders of these two parties are embroiled in a spat about blonde hair and a game of hide-and-seek regarding money donated by some off-the-wall group. Their antics have more in common with the school playground than the serious responsibility of governing this state.
Since the election these two parties have acted in an imbecile fashion and people are crying out for a leader who could feel the power of a principle, put it onto action and have faith in it. The DUP and Sinn Féin have faith in nothing but expediency. What principles of government can they have when from the signing of the Belfast Agreement and a vote of confidence from the Ulster people, they have recanted their political opinions and dare to threaten this visionary innovation at the huzzah of the mob, or at the prospect of an election defeat.
Their leaders ineptitude and lack of foresight must not be allowed to stand in the way of inevitable peace and the progress of our children.
I note that senior political spokespersons north and south have been making pronouncements on Britain’s exit from the EU inimitable to the folk they purport to represent. One wonders if being several biscuits short of a packet is an essential criteria for pronouncing on EU matters.
UUP and DUP spokespersons are opposing ‘special status’ for NI which would protect the NI economy and make the increasing attractiveness of a united Ireland less obvious.
Meanwhile Irish minister Charlie Flanagan informs us that he is ‘at one’ with UK PM Theresa May. He has been touring the country with Michel Barnier without ever once suggesting that NI could remain in the Common Market, even if it leaves the EU – despite this option being one of those highlighted in the official negotiating position document of the EU Parliament. He is effectively canvassing for Sinn Féin by displaying his embarrassing ineptitude. Throwing away a promising start to the Brexit negotiations arising from the EU’s confirmation that a successful boarder poll would see NI seamlessly joining the EU.
Cllr CADOGAN ENRIGHT
D MacSeiridh makes interesting suggestion (May 18) for a ‘continued EU membership for NI’. Such a suggestion is interesting in that it might avoid copper fastening two Irelands, if eight new autonomous regions were added making nine in total. There are already nine Court Circuits for the whole of Ireland of which the ‘Northern Ireland Circuit’ is but one. ‘Nine bean rows’ (Yeats) come to mind. Nine regions of Ireland could be recognised in some way by the EU. None need counter future debate by EU, or Ireland, re say – universal welfare, or a complementary world order to nations. Just think of it – each region with autonomy in education, or housing and the lot with a consensus input to the EU.
Killybegs, Co Donegal