Letters to the Editor

EU talking over heads of majority of people in Northern Ireland

The European Parliament resolution on the state of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom is flawed. For example, we have the statement – whereas the people of Northern Ireland who have exercised, or may exercise, their entitlement to Irish citizenship will enjoy EU citizenship and no obstacles or impediments should be put in place preventing them from fully exercising their rights in accordance with the Treaties.

The population of Northern Ireland are all currently citizens of the European Union and they should not have to first apply for Irish citizenship to receive the EU citizenship rights to which they are entitled. There are many who would not wish to take up Irish citizenship for a variety of reasons but who would wish to exercise their rights to remain citizens of the EU. There appears to be an underlying sectarian assumption that all those in Northern Ireland who do not take up Irish citizenship are not entitled to be EU citizens, which relegates them to second class status as untermensch.

Neither the European Union nor the European Parliament have consulted directly with citizens in Northern Ireland to ascertain whether they wish to retain their EU citizenship, whether they want a EU passport as tangible evidence of that citizenship, and arguably this would be a first step to take before the European Union’s Brexit negotiation team can progress talks on the future of Northern Ireland, surely? The European Commission, parliament and Brexit negotiators must first collect evidence to inform their decisions and so write to each person in Northern Ireland to ask what they want. After all – we have rights as EU citizens.

I would argue that the EU must take steps to issue EU passports to all those in Northern Ireland who want to remain EU citizens and they require the exact same protection proffered by the European Court of Justice as provided for the other citizens of the remaining 27 member states (EU-27) resident in the United Kingdom  on the basis of rights they enjoy under European Union law and on the understanding that they would continue to enjoy those rights throughout their lives.

At the moment it seems as if the European Parliament, European Commission and the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier are talking over our heads without actually asking us what we want, and this despite the overwhelming majority in Northern Ireland voting to remain in the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

BERNARD J  MULHOLLAND
Belfast BT9

 

Truth is the north is Protestant, British and elitist

As a federalist I ask – why all the brouhaha about Michelle O’Neill’s claim that she is Irish? With the GFA Michelle can travel on a British or Irish passport so I assume she travels on an Irish one. By the same token Arlene Foster can travel on an Irish or British passport so I assume she travels on a British one. So why all the fuss?

But Arlene stated in reply that Northern Ireland is British. The full statement should be that the statelet of Northern Ireland is constitutionally Protestant British and elitist. This is evident in the Coronation Oath which asks:-

‘Will you to the utmost of your powers maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?’

This aspect of the Coronation Oath constitutes the kingdom and Northern Ireland as Protestant and elitist and makes them a cold house for Irish Catholics. The oath should be reworded as – ‘Will you to the utmost of your powers maintain in the United Kingdom the Christian Religion established by law?’

The Act of Settlement 1701 states that only a Protestant can occupy the throne of England or Ireland. This act needs to be repealed and replaced with the statement that only a Christian can occupy the English or Irish throne. This would take the heat out of the steamy relationship that exists between Michelle and Arlene over identity.

A federalist stands by the principle that the constitution of the kingdom needs radical reform of the nature indicated. Northern Ireland needs a new political party to do that. If these reforms were enacted at Westminster relationships between Protestants and Catholics and between Britain and Ireland would be transformed.

MICHAEL GILLESPIE
Kilfennan, Co Derry

 

Early morning waffle

It has been my view for sometime now that the BBC’s standard of journalism is on the wane. However, I must also add that UTV is also suffering the same downward trend. The BBC’s Good Morning Ulster radio programme is a good example that is worth expanding on. Presenters trade one liners with each other that they deem to be humorous but one by one they go down like lead balloons with their listeners. What is especially irritating at this unholy hour of the morning is the forced laughter by the hosts. Furthermore anyone who puts themselves forward for ‘Thought for the Day’ should be a candidate to enter the BBC’s Room 101. This is outdated. What bearing has it on the listener?

Now what can I say that would compliment the folks in UTV’s Havelock House. Not a lot. They could start by becoming more politically even handed. Some of their presenters have been involved in questionable displays. May I proffer a wee bit of information to the great and the good out there of a few home truths. An ever growing nationalist/republican community don’t regard a foreign army as ‘our troops’. Could I maybe suggest that ‘some’ journalists, whether it is on TV or radio, take up an offer to go on a refresher course just to remind them of how to address the public in a fair and even-handed way to both communities. 

LAURENCE McDERMOTT
Belfast BT11

 

Ineffectual leadership

If we learned one thing from the tetchy meeting in Manchester of the leaders of our two main political parties – Arlene Foster and Michelle O Neill – it is that they do not have the political nous to work together. They are incompatible and an embarrassment outside of their own environs. Neither of them have the political gumption to learn that the most important thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency. They offer nothing but the same old sound bites to a politically punch-drunk electorate. The time has come when Conor Murphy (how was he overlooked by Sinn Fein?) and Simon Hamilton forego their loyalty and have a word with people in high places about replacing the two ineffectual leaders.

WILSON BURGESS
Derry City

 

Sense of dread for the unborn

Saturday September 30 was certainly not a day to be proud of for the city of Dublin. We watched as a crowd marched through the city demanding the right to abort their own child as and whenever they choose.
In broad daylight they showed no embarrassment, or indeed no shame. 

With a referendum due next summer and with Varadkar’s apparent “change of stance” on abortion, you have a sense of dread for those yet to be born. Unless the people in the Republic shake off the apathy and laziness they showed in the gay marriage controversy, they will bring the ultimate disgrace on this island. These people must always be asked the one question they cannot answer – what gives you the right to take the life of another human being?

J DIAMOND
Coleraine, Co Derry 

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