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Letters to the Editor

British media should stop talking about Irish border

Traffic crosses the border between the Republic and the north at the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association

I wish the British press would stop referring to the border through our country as the Irish border. Headlines like ‘Irish border could derail Brexit’ or ‘Irish border is being used to frustrate democracy and the will of the British voter’.

I think it should be called the British border across Ireland because it was constructed and maintained by Britain against the vast majority of Irish voters in 1922 and now almost 100 years later it is again being reimposed by Britain again against the vast majority of Irish voters.

Where’s the great ‘respecting of democracy’ proclaimed by the British press?   

Newry,  Co Down


How long before society makes changes to its wasteful existence?

Our society has an addiction to single-use plastic. It is an integral part of our daily life, from making our cup of coffee in the morning, to having a sandwich at lunch, to our takeaway for dinner. Using plastic makes our lives easier and goods cheaper. Between 1964 and 2014 global plastic production increased 20-fold from 15 million tonnes to 311 million tonnes.

However, plastic significantly contributes to the amount we waste, with plastic pollution consistently increasing in the last 20 years. We have all seen news articles recently about the use of plastic and the effects it has on the environment, be it plastic bags inside the stomach of a whale in Norway, micro beads being swallowed by fish or a straw being removed from the nostril of a sea turtle. It is therefore with great disappointment that I read the recent findings of Wieczorek et al’s research into plastic pollution in the Atlantic.

The study, conducted by researchers in NUI Galway, found that more than 70 per cent of deep sea fish had ingested plastic and the plastics identified closely overlapped with those sampled from the surface water. 

Not only is this worrying for the health of the fish ingesting plastics, which has been shown to have an adverse impact on feeding habits and organ function, but also the effects that ingesting plastics will have on the entire ecosystem. The fish that were studied inhabit intermediate depths of the sea, usually between 200 and 1000 metres below sea level, and are an important food source for predators such as dolphins, seals, and tuna as well as sea birds.

Some of these species are commercially exploited fish and thus the transfer of micro-plastics and toxins may also pose a threat to human health.

These fish have an important role in the carbon and nutrient cycles, transferring organic material to deeper levels of the sea and other environments. It has been found that they may aid in the downward transport of micro-plastics with the potential harm to organisms in this habitat, further increasing the levels of plastic infiltration in the ecosystem.

How many more studies need to be conducted before we wake up to the reality that is floating around us? How many more Blue Planets do we need to watch before the ‘Attenborough Effect’ takes hold?
How many photos and news articles do we need to look at and read before we realise the effects of our wasteful existence and how long before we actively make a change?  

Green Party Bangor West, Co Down


Time for listeners to stop being insulted by Nolan

It would appear that The Nolan Show on both radio and television has reached a new low after the
blatantly one-sided programme on Wednesday (March 7).
The panel comprised of five unionists, four of which were vigorously opposed to any form of Irish language act and one Linda Ervine who supported rights for Irish speakers and is an Irish speaker herself.

Nolan, who on his radio programme recently repeated the derogatory words of Gregory Campbell ‘curry my yogurt, can coke cola’ with a sneering undertone, introduced the subject saying that he wanted a different debate from what had already been given air time. This appeared obvious, given the ‘guests’, which included Jamie Bryson. As the debate proceeded those opposing any movement in the direction of change to the status of the Irish language were allowed to shout down Linda Ervine who was trying to make her point that the Irish language was no threat to unionism, as a result her message was lost.

Two members of the audience who were brave enough to express support for a recognition of Irish language in such a hostile environment were dismissed out of hand by quickly moving on to the next speaker.

Are the nationalist people expected to pay £150 annually to the BBC so they can produce and broadcast this kind of anti-Irish propaganda which is an insult to all the Irish population.

It is time to boycott Nolan.

Clogher, Co Tyrone


Rehabilitating Redmond

Tom Kelly (March 12) tries to rehabilitate John Redmond, claiming that history might prove Redmond right. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Contrary to Tom’s assertion that Redmond was opposed to violence, he was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Great Imperialist War that saw 50,000 Irish men slaughtered and thousands of others crippled and broken mentally.

He was of course an opponent of republican violence but had no such qualms when it came to the industrial slaughter of the First World War that resulted in over 18,000,000 deaths. 

Had James Connolly’s advice been heeded in Ireland and indeed across Europe, we might have avoided the millions of pointless deaths.

‘Should the working class of Europe rather than slaughter each other for the benefit of kings and financiers, proceed tomorrow to elect barricades all over Europe, to break up bridges and destroy the transport service, that war might be abolished, we should be perfectly justified in following such a glorious example and contributing our aid to the final dethronement of the vulture classes that rule and rob the world.’

The nationalist cheer leaders in all countries who sent millions to their doom in an imperialist conflict should forever stand condemned, including Redmond, Carson and Devlin. 

Lurgan, Co Armagh


Petition of concern

I believe the petition of concern should be reformed and only able to be used with some form of cross-party support. At the minute this part of Ireland is run by two big parties who can or won’t do a deal. 

The Irish language act should be part of the normal political process here but any bill brought forward by republicanism is usually defeated through this mechanism and similarly for bills brought by unionism.

If the Petition of Concern was reformed so that it could only be operated with the backing of two of the smaller parties (one of which must come from the other side of the sectarian divide or be non-aligned) then we might get some semblance of real politics. It would also mean that the smaller parties have real power and in theory no one party or broad political grouping could hold back progress. 

On another issue I also think the City of Derry should be officially renamed Derry but with a name which also includes the Historic City of Londonderry so both traditions and history is respected and there is no sense of dominance by either of the communities. I think our society needs to find ways of settling these issues once and for all, rather than allowing open wounds to fester.

Derry City

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