Letters to the Editor

George Hook should have stood his ground on blame issue

The blame game is a funny old game someone once said. How right they were.

George Hook comes across as a grumpy old man and in reality he probably is. However, that doesn’t mean that he should be ridiculed by all and sundry for asking a very pertinent question – ‘is there no blame now to the person who puts themselves in danger?’ This is the wording contained in Mr Hook’s query, during a radio discussion on the subject of a specific rape case.

We have all put ourselves and others in danger at some point or another, whether its overreaching on a ladder while cleaning the guttering, using the phone while driving or worse again drinking and driving. So in that respect we must assume responsibility for our actions.

I have worked as a doorman for many years in various nightclubs in Donegal and London and I can say within reason that I’ve seen it all.

On numerous occasions I have persuaded reluctant taxi drivers to take home both male and females who couldn’t stand on their own two feet and others who could barely string two words together. 

I think that Mr Hook was right to pose the question, although in some contexts it may be uncomfortable to do so, but at the same time creates hysteria for all the wrong reasons.

We have to be grown up enough to discuss and debate circumstances that lead to situations where rape occurs in order to prevent a recurrence of this nightmare for any victim.

It is not beneficial for anyone to be controlled by the thought police, or only allowed to listen to approved politically correct commentary at all times.
Although not a fan of George Hook by any means, he says things that other people agree with, but would be afraid of their lives to say  themselves.

My opinion, rightly or wrongly I’m entitled too, is that he should have stood his ground on the blame issue, rather than apologising for drawing attention to behavioural attitudes that in some instances lead to dire consequences which foresight could have helped to prevent.

Gort an Choirce, Dun na nGall


Still a mental reservation about equal status in north

Lord Kilclooney accuses me of misrepresenting his views about equality (Sept 13). He states that “in the Belfast Agreement all parties approved an executive at Stormont which would not have equal representation but would be pro-rata the political support of each participating party”.

I was not referring to equality of representation but equality in the much broader sense of equality before the law. This kind of equality never existed under the unionist government for 50 years and it is still problematic – especially since the Brexit vote. When John Taylor challenges the idea of equality it shows there is still a mental reservation about allowing nationalists/republicans equal status in the north. There is still a residual distrust of nationalists and so they cannot be regarded as equals as long as they are in a minority in the six counties. This distrust of nationalists/republicans goes to the heart of our problem. Lord Kilclooney has, on many occasions, shown an unwillingness to accept nationalist claims that during the unionist regime they were treated as second-class citizens. When will he accept that any new political dispensation as envisaged in the Belfast Agreement must be based on equality without any qualifications? Equality means equality but then Lord Kilclooney has not been used to that notion during his long years as a unionist representative.

Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh


Language learning

To state that the Irish language was used to exclude Protestants and non-nationals from state jobs and to reward extreme nationalists in the Republic is complete nonsense.

Irish, English and maths are core subjects both in primary and secondary school and are studied by everyone here. This has always been the case since the foundation of the state. Irish as a subject includes language and literature and is studied for academic, linguistic and cultural reasons. There are many immigrants who arrive here who do not know either Irish or English. They would hardly be qualified to take jobs where either of these languages are required. I learned Irish and French as second languages in the education system and found language learning to be highly enjoyable which develops the mind and opens many windows to other cultures but requires dedication, discipline, attention and hard work.

Unlike the north, everyone lives freely in mixed communities here and we do not have any sectarian divisions such as Protestant and Catholics areas, much less sectarianism in language learning.

Dublin 6


Society has lost its own ‘common sense’

Whatever happened to the concept of ‘common sense’ which I used to hear so much about when I was growing up in the 1970s?
Young women cannot assume that PC norms and expectations about appropriate behaviour with unknown males is all the knowledge they need or justification for not showing common sense.

I have a daughter of 21 and I would be absolutely appalled to think that I hadn’t taught her to have enough ‘common sense’ to never accept such an invitation with a man she had just met. The outcry against George Hook’s comments are also a symptom of how society has lost its own common sense in the quest for PC purity.

Don’t drink and drive is common sense, in the same way as ladies don’t accompany an unknown suitor to a hotel bedroom having just met them is page one basic common sense.

The consequences of both can be traumatic indeed. 

To pretend that such realities about female personal safety belong to an age of rigid theocracies and out of date generations as Claire Simpson (September 18) suggests, is definitely lacking in common sense.

Strabane, Co Tyrone


Making silk purse out of sow’s ear

Amidst all the hyperbole over the Irish language act, one has to wonder do we really need a statute of law to promote our indigenous culture? There is enough interest in the Irish language across Northern Ireland as it is. Cookstown has a flourishing Irish Language class and west Belfast has its own Culturlann. Did we need a statute of law to promote them? It’s just a classic case of Sinn Féin making silk purses out of sows’ ears.

Ardboe, Co Tyrone

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