Letters to the Editor

More to headlong rush to a hard Brexit than meets the eye

Well, wasn’t that an interesting election? We now appear to have a Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force (UCUNF) government at Westminster led by Theresa May, albeit with the DUP usurping the UUP’s role.

I think political commentators must by now realise that there is more to this continued headlong rush to a hard Brexit than first meets the eye.

As I observed in ‘the man from MENSA’ - 1 of the 600. Volume 2. Politics 1990-1995, a hereditary constitutional monarchy is arguably incompatible with a federal republican European Union (EU) mirroring the constitution of the US and arguably monarchists are leading the Brexit charge out of the EU.

Having said that a post-Brexit UK has several interesting options open to it and I briefly examine a few in that book.

Why? Well, MENSA was founded in post-WWII Oxford with the aim of providing a panel of 600 of the brightest minds as scientifically measured by an IQ test for the British government to consult on matters of government, albeit the society has evolved through time.

Related to this constitutional wrangle is Gerry Rice’s observation ‘Surely, the Good Friday Agreement was a border poll?’ (June 6).

When the Republic and UK both joined the EU (EEC) during 1973 both claimed jurisdiction over Northern Ireland and the state also had its own legislature that was/is capable of emulating the Oireachtas to become a sovereign parliament of an independent (member) state.

In 1998 the Good Friday Agreement recognised, firstly, that there are/were arguably at least five competing legal claims to govern all or part of the Republic and Northern Ireland:

EU (Brussels-Strasbourg); House of Commons of Northern Ireland (Belfast); Oireachtas (Dublin); House of Commons at Westminster (London); Irish Republican Army Council. Also, as I argued during 1993-4 and in ‘the man from MENSA’, these are competing legal or constitutional claims and not a military matter, because all five shared a common EU legal and constitutional framework.

The GFA reconciled these competing claims by giving the people of NI the right to freely choose their own status through a referendum and established the interdependent arrangements referred to by Gerry.

In the aftermath of the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership in which NI voted to break with Great Britain and remain in the EU it could be argued that it is now incumbent upon the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to recognise that referendum decision and call a constitutional convention to negotiate NI’s future inside the EU.

BERNARD J MULHOLLAND
Belfast BT9

 

Let readers judge if SDLP is ‘more unionist than republican’

Eamonn MacGrianna (June 5) must be a graduate of the Donald Trump University of Alternative Facts. He makes a number of astonishing statements, amidst a number of irrelevancies about US history, such as that Abraham Lincoln was a slave owner. There is absolutely no historical evidence to back up such a claim. Quite simply, it is complete nonsense.

It is true that Abraham Lincoln fought the American civil war mainly to preserve the Union, but the Confederacy fought it to preserve their ‘peculiar institution’, which was slavery. Of course both sides recruited black soldiers, particularly in the latter stages as they ran short of manpower.

Neither is there a scintilla of evidence that Daniel O’Connell “perpetrated horrific violence against the Society of United Irishmen and the Irish people as a whole”. Daniel O’Connell was a man of peace, who killed one person (in a duel) in his life, which he bitterly regretted ever after.

I am willing to debate the United Irishmen with him at any time, for I am a co-founder and was first chair of the United Irishmen Commemoration Society (UICS), along with people like John Gray (Linenhall Library) –  a world authority – and I honour the memory of the United Irishmen.

I will leave it to readers to judge Eamonn’s claim that the SDLP and presumably people like John Hume and Seamus Mallon are ‘more unionist than they are republican’. The SDLP’s true republicanism, which is not to be confused with physical force Irish nationalism, means among other things rejecting the killing of our fellow Irishmen who just happened to be unionists by an accident of birth.

Yes, Thatcher said “Out, out, out” at the time of the publication of the New Ireland Forum Report but, through statecraft and the hard work of many people, within a short time she was signing the Anglo-Irish Agreement which removed the veto of unionism on political progress, and paved the way for the Good Friday Agreement.

EAMON HANNA
Belfast BT9

 

Democratic principles

Gerry Rice (June 6) makes the argument, poorly, that the GFA referendum was the so-called border poll. In any poll or referendum there should be two opposing options for the public to make a decision on. That alternative naturally would have been an all-Ireland republic. This wasn’t on offer. Fundamentally, the options were partition and more partition.

Just as in at the time of partition, the island was split in two ignoring the will of the majority of the people here for Britain to cut off the small section of Ireland that happened to be the most prosperous part of the island with it being responsible for 75 per cent of the economic output at the time and dressed it up as an act of benevolence towards their unionist brothers and sisters across the water – it wasn’t, it was done purely in of Britain’s self-interest.  

Gerry cites the overwhelming majority in the 26 counties who voted for the GFA. They didn’t actually vote on the GFA itself – they voted on repealing Articles 2 & 3 of their constitution but neglecting that, he ignores the huge support for unity in the 26 counties with poll after poll showing approximately two-thirds support for Irish unity on a consistent basis, with that increasing when you exclude the ‘don’t knows’.
Surely all those who hold democratic principles would be calling for an all-Ireland singular referendum to finally put the different options to the Irish people as has never been done in the past?

PATRICK DONOHOE
Clondalkin, Dublin 22

 

Any port in a storm for May

So it is any port in a storm for the Conservative Party.
Just as we thought Arlene Foster and Democratic Unionist Party had reached their political nadir by their Renewed Heat shenanigans along comes a deferential political failure Theresa May, in the guise of prime minister hoping that the DUP will save her political skin.

Despite the fact that Arlene Foster’s antics and arrogance failed to bring stability to Stormont, the DUP issued a statement about ‘Arlene Foster’s commitment to explore how we might bring stability to the nation at this time, a great challenge’.
I know you could not make it up. When Teresa May reads this she should begin to write her resignation letter as she listens to the public outrage in England about linking arms with this outmoded party.

WILSON BURGESS
Derry City

 

Solution to problem of illegal parking

Concerning the on going problem with illegal parking in disability bays and double parking and blocking of drive ways etc, in the interest of goodwill all car owners should display their mobile phone number on their windscreen so they can be contacted immediately if they are parking in a disabled area or double parking. This would prevent them from being clamped and save the authority’s from being called. 

ERIC CUTHBERT
Dundalk, Co Louth

 

 

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