Sinn Féin can not simply hack a united Ireland out of strife
Sinn Féin need to build up enough gumption to go to unionists and begin formal talks for a united Ireland. They also need to be honest with them and tell them that they do not want devolution in the long run, and are none too happy with it in the short-term either.
Obviously these united Ireland talks would involve both governments and a schedule for a referendum in Northern Ireland. True too is the fact that Sinn Féin will need a blueprint or a set of them complete with crucial and critical details about how it is all going to come about. Many practicable problems will be found on the way to unity.
Will a smaller city like Dublin run a bigger city like Belfast? Hardly. Is it going to be dual federal and local governmental system or a system from Dublin or Belfast centrally? Sinn Féin in the past have mentioned regional authorities, so one might conclude there will be some sort of federal or national oversight system.
Sinn Féin cannot simply hack a united Ireland out of strife which is what they were doing before devolutionary talks and some republicans before that with extremist violence. But then there is the issue of cash. Can Northern Ireland survive in a united Ireland setup?
The Irish government will not have billions to throw away on Northern Ireland’s problems. Remember Britain is a super power and global player, the Republic is a fledgling country with limited resources sucking the kneecaps of the EU for structural funds and chronically dependent on foreign-direct investment.
The Central Bank in Dublin is hardly the Bank of England. How will unionists and loyalists feel about moving away from the motherland and casting off on uncertain waters where anything could happen? There would be no going back to direct rule presumably if things did not work out, so there would have to be safeguards by the truck load, just in case it all went horribly wrong. Perhaps a united Ireland may ironically divide people on this island even more in a new constitutional set up?
Why are Sinn Féin putting all their energy into a devolution when they should be putting it into a united Ireland which is what they really want. They will never be satisfied until they get that. However, it remains to be seen if the people in Northern Ireland and Republic will be happy with the master plan for changing the constitutional setup on this island and whether it will produce a more just society or perpetuate division. Sinn Féin need to stop fooling around with devolution and begin talks, if allowed by unionists, on a united Ireland. But they are sure to be told of their failure on devolution.
Sinn Féin have no right to look for a united Ireland until they figure out the nuts and bolts of it or tear down devolution in lieu of it.
Shanbally, Co Cork
There’s no excuse for wanton act of vandalism
I read with an increasing sense of disbelief the article by Allison Morris – ‘After cemetery attack, we shouldn’t write off all young people in the area’ (November 2).
The article focused on the act of vandalism at the Milltown Cemetery gates and the rationale and mindset behind such a wanton act of repugnant thuggery. She outlined the reaction of the local population from condemnation and outrage to taking direct action against the perpetrators.
Ms Morris, although sympathetic and understanding of such views, could not defend the sentiments of those seeking action on the delinquents responsible.
What was served up was yet another excuse for such behaviour and the default position of liberal apologists that socio-economic conditions made me do it.
The shift in emphasis from personal responsibility for your actions to becoming a helpless victim of circumstance and environment is an insult to the majority of people who live in so-called social deprivation and do not resort to outrageous and wilful acts of violence and brutality.
This analysis is the product of a middle-class doctrine that is patronising and puerile. It is as wrong as it is spurious to blame the lack of infrastructure and investment as an excuse, as a reason for deliberate acts designed to cause the maximum distress and dismay. These young people are not without their smart phones, a roof over their heads and food on the table. They are not without a plethora of organisations dedicated to their welfare. What they are without is parental control, a sense of right and wrong and decency.
Like St Bernadette sinners are not people who commit sin but those who love it, this applies not to those who commit acts of destruction but love to.
The practice by BBC Northern Ireland of insisting that their television broadcasters and presenters wear the poppy while at work must surely tarnish the image of impartiality which the BBC likes to portray of itself.
It is my understanding that following the signing of the Belfast Agreement a new code of ethics was agreed which included the banning of political emblems and flags in the workplace. Without question, the wearing of the poppy has overtly unionist overtones and indeed has the potential to offend as the money raised by the selling of the poppy is used to provide support for British ex-servicemen, some of whom would have served in the north during the Troubles, including those soldiers who were involved in Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972 and in the Ballymurphy Massacre in Belfast in 1971.
Following the introduction of the McBride Principles in 1989, which included the banning of provocative political emblems at places of work, all public bodies in Northern Ireland, including the British Broadcasting Corporation, voluntarily agreed to implement a ‘neutral workplace’ in attempts to end sectarianism which was endemic. Curiously, the BBC World Service bans their presenters from wearing the poppy in the workplace in case it might cause offence to people overseas. They should extend that policy to the north.
Far from satisfactory experience
From August I was a temporary wheelchair user for some weeks and would like to share my unsatisfactory experience in booking a wheelchair taxi with other wheelchair users.
On enquiry I was advised that wheelchair taxis should be booked in advance. So, on August 25 I contacted the company to book a wheelchair taxi for a medical appointment on the 29th.
We discussed the return journey and I suggested the taxi could wait for the duration of my consultation. However, I was told my return home would be booked for 55 minutes after the appointment time.
The taxi did not arrive at the agreed time on the 29th. But when l telephoned the company they said there was no record of my booking and had no taxi available. I had to make other arrangements.
I wonder if this was an isolated incident or have other wheelchair users had similar experiences?
Expression of thanks
I would like to say a huge thank you to all the Cliftonville and Linfield fans that very generously donated to our bucket collection on the Cliftonville Road prior to the match on September 30, when we were fundraising for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.
An amazing £446.91 was very kindly donated by the fans and every penny raised will help to provide vital support for children, teenagers and young adults living with cancer in Northern Ireland.
(Volunteer fundraiser for N.I. Cancer Fund for Children)
Tony Donnelly of Augher, Co Tyrone, former assistant manager of the senior Tyrone GAA team, has asked us to make clear he is not the author of the letter headlined ‘Disparity in behaviour’ which appeared on Friday November 3. He wishes to point out he has no knowledge of the events described nor does he wish to be associated with the comments contained in this letter which was written by a contributor of the same name.