Letters to the Editor

Unionists really do struggle with saying yes to anything

After some 13 months it appears that Sinn Féin blinked first and decided to do a deal with the DUP and wiped out a few red lines in the process. 

Mary Lou, (like teetering Theresa, now done over twice by Arlene), has learned that unionists really do struggle with saying yes to anything. 

A bigger challenge could be around the corner. The Brexit tectonic plates are starting to move – Corbyn seems to be starting to work out a credible policy. A window of opportunity might open and suddenly. Will Sinn Féin be ready, willing and able to take it?

In the south,  Sinn Féin guff about doctrine and dogma, (such as not showing up in Westminster, to neuter the DUP), might go down well in Belfast, but will be a very hard sell for a party with aspirations to be taken seriously in the Irish Republic. 

BTW for those Sinn Féin interested in researching history, I suggest revisiting the career of  republican hero De Valera. In 1916, Dev was well ahead of recent fashion for two passports, he caused a civil war, conveniently got rid of his rivals, and then a few years later had no problem with the “empty gesture” of an oath. 

In the real world if you have options you use them. It is called leadership. In the sick counties sound bite politics might impress but, as Leo has noted previously, and will no doubt continue to do, especially in the heat of an election campaign, such behaviour will not cut it in the Republic. If Irish jobs and growth are on the line, doing nothing and spouting some mystical republican claptrap will be a tough sell on the doorstep. 

Perhaps the Sinn Féin are strategising right now, when and how they plan to trip through the Westminster voting lobbies, or maybe not? 

If I was a serious party leader, with ambitions for power in the Irish Republic I suggest it would be crazy not to rethink such meaningless dogma. According to Mary Lou “Brexit is an imminent threat to the economic, social and political functioning of Ireland in its totality” as the Americans say  – go figure.

Hopefully they have already.

FRANK HENNESSEY
Belfast BT9

 

Ideology is always a deflection from the facts

I am once again prompted to respond to Ms Bailey’s recent letter (February 14) on the Eighth Amendment.

Ms Bailey is speaking from ideology, which is always a deflection from the facts. The truth must always be spoken. I feel that the negative comment, on men not being involved in crisis pregnancies, is both untrue and hurtful. Each of us, as a vulnerable unborn child, completed the journey from conception to birth. Today’s modern technology, ultrasounds and scientific research prove many facts about pregnancy. The heart, as an essential bodily organ (no heart no life) starts beating at 21 days. At six weeks the baby’s eyes and eye lids, nose, mouth and tongue have formed.

Electrical brain activity can be detected at six to seven weeks and by the end of the eighth week all of the baby’s organs are developing. By 10 weeks the child can make bodily movements.

At 12 weeks the baby can be seen sucking its thumb and wiggling in the womb. The ultrasound technology illuminates the truth that the unborn child is a human being.

If, as a society, we arbitrarily decide to pick and choose which human lives are worthy or unworthy of protection in law, we diminish respect for all human life, born and unborn. We must live in the truth with honest facts and not ideology which will never bring joy or happiness. An active conscience cannot permit abortion because an active conscience wants only goodness. Unfortunately, life and life decisions have become affected by secularism.

Abortion should never be advocated or legislated at any time, as all of us from every faith and none deserve the right to life, and there is nobody should remove that right. We must never try to justify any wrongdoing. 

The Eighth Amendment must be protected.

SÉAMUS BODEN
Newcastle, Co Down

 

Protection for unborn

The UN’s committee on the elimination of discrimination against women has stated that the lack of provision for abortion in Northern Ireland is a form of “violence against women” amounting to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. Les Allamby, the chief commissioner for human rights for Northern Ireland, also states that the current situation violates the human rights of women (February 24).

The UN committee and Mr Allamby should look at the UN General Assembly’s declaration on the rights of the child of December 1959 which states that universal declaration of human rights recognises the rights of the unborn child, including the right to life. As the Australian scholar Rita Joseph writes in her Human Rights and the Unborn Child, international human rights law is not – contrary to some polemicists – “‘silent’ on our obligation to protect children at risk of abortion”. 

CDC ARMSTRONG
Belfast BT12

 

Release legacy funds

The collapse of the talks process should not mean the needs of victims should be allowed to be sidelined.

In recent weeks, I have met with Willie Frazer’s Family Research and Policy Unit group, attended the La Mon bombing commemoration and also walked alongside the families of the Ballymurphy and McGurk’s victims calling for justice. 

No matter which part of the community victims and survivors are from, they are continuing to suffer from the delay in holding inquests into their cases. My colleague David Ford MLA attempted to access treasury funding for legacy inquests while justice minister but unfortunately the then First Minister was opposed to the move.

But there is no reason to delay any longer. The secretary of state can release the funding for legacy inquests immediately and bring some measure of comfort to victims, who have waited far too long for justice.

TREVOR LUNN MLA
Alliance Party, Lagan Valley

 

Matter of conscience

I must congratulate Francie Brolly. His decision to resign from the party over the abortion issue was the only path open to him. This long-term republican disagreed with Sinn Féin’s  stance on abortion and in particular with the party’s decision not to allow a conscience vote on the issue. Whether representatives are pro-life or not, on such an important issue as this, a person’s conscience is his greatest asset. How can a representative vote for a measure that he believes will result in the taking of an innocent life? I would beg all Sinn Féin representatives: Don’t put the party before your own personal beliefs. The decisions you make over the next few months could save thousands of lives.

VINCENT MAGUIRE
Fintona, Co Tyrone

 

Think before you vote

There are 82 days left until the referendum on the Eighth Amendment. Now, we call on the men of Ireland to support our efforts to repeal this terrible law.  We cannot win without you. Whether you have direct experience of the effects of the Eighth on a woman, or whether you can only imagine it happening to your sister, or your wife.

Please consider the fact that though you may feel it “has nothing to do with me”, or “it will never affect me”, it has something to do with you I urge all men to think carefully about how they will vote.

KIM GUERIN
Gort, Co Galway

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