Letters to the Editor

‘Rights-based' approach to north's future fundamentally flawed

A open letter signed by 200 representatives of nationalist civic society was addressed to Leo Varadkar. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s response to the open letter in The Irish News (December 4) highlights the fundamental flaw in  simply pursuing an internal ‘rights-based’ approach to the future of the six counties. In stating that the Belfast/Good Friday (dis)Agreement (B/GFA) is the Dublin administration’s ‘guiding light’ he pledges to uphold “...the provisions of the B/GFA with regard to the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent.” In simple terms he commits his government’s continued support for the unionist veto and for the ongoing denial of Ireland’s sovereign right to national self-determination.

The B/GFA was a master stroke on the part of imperial Britain, allowing them to move the Irish question from a geographical one with clear parameters (excluding Rockall perhaps) as defined in articles 2 & 3 of de Valera’s 1937 Constitution. Our constitutional future is now vested solely in the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as defined by the relevant legislation being the Northern Ireland Act 1998. After almost another 20 years of nationalists sitting at the back of the political bus it is time for real change.

The ancient Fianna’s motto ‘Beart de réir ár mbriathar – actions to match our words’ comes to mind considering the sterling work of some of the signatories to the letter. Worryingly though, at least one of them is on record as saying that even if the 50 per cent plus one figure is reached in a British plebiscite in the six counties that would not be sufficient to rid us of the British imposed border in Ireland. Regardless of its visibility, texture, or whether it is garlanded in orange, green, red white and blue or rainbow-coloured ribbons, the continued presence of that border denies our basic right to determine our national sovereignty free from external impediment and remains the core political issue for this generation to address
and correct.

Language rights matter too of course. No-one should accept the language of the oppressor which speaks of “agreements between Ireland and Northern Ireland”. No sporting star would ever show their children and grandchildren precious spoils of victory and lie to them with high zest that it was ‘an All-Island medal’.
In the spirit of the women and men of 1916 it is time once again to rid ourselves of political subservience and to again grasp the notion that ‘England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’.

By all means cherish and build on the rights enunciated in the Proclamation of Irish Freedom and subsequently developed in various fora far from Stormont. Britain’s exit from the EU provides an opportunity not simply for regulatory alignment but for an end to their centuries old denial of our right to establish the Irish Republic. That will take much more than an open letter to Leo, a fan of Margaret Thatcher. Anything less would merely represent another failed uprising elongating the long winter of nationalist discontent.

Galbally, Co Tyrone 


US administrations have never been neutral over Israel

The recent announcement, by Donald Trump that Jerusalem is now officially recognised by the US as capital of the Zionist state of Israel raises a number of interesting questions regarding the role of the US in supposed mediation between Palestine and the rogue Israeli state. There are also further complications for the US in how the rest of the world is reacting to Trump’s unfortunate edict.

For any observers of the crisis in Palestine, it will be seen that successive US administrations have never been neutral in their role there. The second most powerful lobby group in the US is American Israel Public Affairs Committee. This fiercely collaboration is a major player in US politics.
AIPAC stands accused by many of dictating US foreign policy, such are their financial, political and media influences.

Even Barack Obama, derided by hard-line Zionists as somehow too soft on Palestinians, signed off on a $38bn gift package to Israel in 2016 to be spent on military hardware. Trump is merely the latest in a long line of US presidents who are tripping over themselves to appease the Zionist regime.

As for the global reaction, we can see how unpopular Trump’s announcement is. The sympathies of the world are with the beleageured people of Palestine.
Anger is now being directed at not only Trump but also the US and Israel, in what many believe was a premeditated attempt by Trump to sow greater discord across the globe leading to an increase in armed conflict and subsequent further profits for the US and Israeli military-Industrial complexes who are inextricably linked.

But what Trump has failed to understand, and what should be realised by everyone, is that neither Trump nor any US administration have the authority to decide upon the status of Jerusalem.
It is a sad indictment of growing US global hegemony that an ill-conceived announcement can be misinterpreted as globally binding. 

Trump can make all the declarations he likes, he will never change the fact that Jerusalem has been the capital of Palestine for more than
2,000 years and will continue to be the capital of Palestine long after Trump and Netanyahu are little more than sorry footnotes in Middle Eastern history.

Newry, Co Down


TDs have disgraced themselves once again

The low point for me during the life of the Oireachtas during 2017, was not the ridiculous comment from Gerry Adams after the death of former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, that he was a “divisive” figure in Irish politics. This comment could only have meant that Mr Cosgrave (Cosgrove as Adams called him) was valiant and steadfast in his opposition to IRA terrorism.

Rather it was the behaviour of TDs from the ‘respectable’ parties during the debate who mocked and heckled the independent TD, Richard Boyd-Barrett, when he stood to pay appropriate respect to the deceased and began to relate how his family in times past debated the politics of the times and their association and indeed interaction with politicians of that era.

They have disgraced themselves and the citizens once again, by their ignorance and misrepresentation of their purpose for being there.

Bantry, Co Cork


Nrn Irn’s lucky farmers

So the geniuses in the Nrn Irn Civil Service made the small error of overpaying our poor farmers £5m. Apparently they took expert advice. This ‘advice’ was that it would cost £5m to reclaim it, so better all round to let these much pressed farmers have the money that they were not entitled to keep. The BBC reported that one unnamed farmer got £10,000 another lucky one more than £77,000.

Why do we have these consultants/ advisers? Surely that is what we pay the civil service for? For the soon to arrive Universal Credit system is one to take it the same approach will be taken? If not why not? Are farmers some privileged elite? Since our hard working MPs and MLAs seem to have a bit of free time on their hands would at least one of them not think and even say something about this?

If I owned a market stall and one of my assistants was as efficient as Sir Humphrey and co I think questions might be asked.

Does Stormont have a staff appraisal system and  in the absence of our hard-working politicians, (especially those without farms), who appraises these genius Sir Humphreys?

Newry, Co Down

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