Letters to the Editor

SDLP used and abandoned long-suffering nationalist community

When Michael Davitt ended his parliamentary career he stood outside Westminster and declared – ‘No worthy cause can proceed here unless backed by massive agitation’.

And throughout those years of demoralisation and human rights abuses we had picket lines, protests, boycotts, civil rights marches, sit-down protests, hunger strikes. And all that endeavour, self-sacrifice and unbroken spirit, all those people hurt, maimed, imprisoned and killed has created a momentum for freedom which is unstoppable.

And from the cracked and crumbling sandstone monuments on our patriot graves, the green shoots of freedom are already beginning to emerge in the spring air.

We are heading towards a final showdown between 21st century political modernity and the dwindling ranks of 17th century Anglo Scottish Covenanters, and there can only be one winner. (And need we remind these guys about what happened to them the last time they dared face this great nation on Derrycreevy hill near Benburb)?

Partition will be demolished and we will soon be reunited, independent and free. But the unionists will not suffer another Benburb and the ghost of Owen Roe will not return to torment them. They can claim their rightful place in this great nation on equal terms with all the rest of us, or they can follow Arlene back to Scotland.

It will be a straight choice. They can be equal and valued citizens of Ireland or grovelling ‘subjects’ of the hereditary wasters who wear the trappings of royalty, in a country where they are despised.

But when they return to the ‘mainland’, they will not be able to chain the children’s swings up on Sundays. And they won’t be allowed to march bowler-hatted geriatrics through unconsenting communities who do not share their 17th century perspective of the modern world.

But where was the SDLP in all of this – and what will they tell their grandchildren? They once had the lion’s share of the nationalist vote without opposition.

It is an irony that will not escape them that this dying political party has never had better leadership than it has today. In fairness to them, at every level in their ranks their councillors, leaders and spokespersons have never been better or more credible.
They should have listened to Michael Davitt. They confused constitutional politics with parliamentary politics, (and they still do). Instead they used and abandoned the long suffering nationalist community who trusted them and now it is too late and they are paying the price. They are finished, and not a day too soon.

JACK DUFFIN
Belfast BT11

 

DUP leader appears to be living in absolute denial

An astonishing spectacle occurred at Stormont after the latest fumbling attempt by the British secretary of state to broker/restart negotiations aimed at getting some work done at the halls of greatness. The leader of the DUP appeared, flanked as usual by her trusted deputies, and exclaimed loudly to the assembled media and press who stood agog at the performance, that ‘the behaviour of her opponents was unlike anything she had ever experienced before’... and further indicated ‘the building of trust is going to take a long time and that action is required’.  

This was an assertion of reprehensible proportions from a political leader who it appears is living in absolute denial. It is almost as if her recent evidence given at the RHI inquiry as the then minister never happened.

The selective amnesia is incredibly unwholesome. There is no recognition of the broken promises espoused by previous DUP ministers – the Maze sports stadium, the Narrow Water Bridge project and their huge employment potential. This reasoning is flawed as it suggests the trust – so readily taken at face value by opponents – was a one-way street. That privately they had no intention of fulfilling their obligations.    

The DUP’s attempts to portray themselves as paradigms of decency and righteousness has taken a massive blow. The scandal surrounding the British home secretary with her obvious misleading of answers to a select committee and her subsequent resignation in order to restore a smidgen of credibility to a hopeless crew is a clear indication of how transgression in public office should be handled.

KEVIN McCANN
Belfast BT1

 

Destroying foundations for prosperity

The solution to reconciling Northern Ireland’s differing political aspirations and allegiances is well known. In 1973 the SDLP tabled a comprehensive peace process, accepted as the Sunningdale Agreement.

Within a few months that fledgling, devolved, power-sharing government was destroyed – shouted down by Ian Paisley and shot down by the IRA. In the face of outright rejection by Sinn Féin and DUP, backed up by IRA violence and loyalist illegality, a weak British government abandoned the democrats and surrendered to the bully boys.

In 1998, that SDLP peace plan was redrafted and copper-fastened by referendum. The DUP claimed ministerial posts in a Stormont power-sharing government, but absurdly refused to join its executive. Though declining to sign the agreement, or campaign for a referendum ‘Yes’ vote, Sinn Féin took up its full quota of Stormont posts while refusing to cooperate with police.

No wonder the assembly worked for only 18 months in its first eight years. Presently there are few signs of willingness, either by DUP or Sinn Féin, to fully implement any inclusive power sharing, devolved government. Instead both continue to abuse and destroy the foundations for prosperity and consensus politics, so carefully and painstakingly built into the GFA.

BRIAN ROONEY
Downpatrick, Co Down

 

Leading the way again

Again and again The Irish News leads the way in helping to get the British government to make a U-turn on its so-called border force recruitment policy of no Irish passports  need apply policy.

Northern Irish/nationalist passport holders have only one thing to say to the British  government – there will be no more  imposed borders on this island, hard or soft. The only policy left to the British government is the one they engaged in Hong Kong when they handed their own British subjects over to Red China in the 1990s. The time has also came now for an end to British sovereignty on this its first and last colonial outpost of a long, dead and forgotten empire.

I hope The Irish News will also be instrumental in promoting this as well.

MICHEÁL SINGH
Derry City

 

Choice is not a criteria to end life

I was very disappointed to read that Alex Kane  suggests ‘Government must offer choices not make them’, ( May 4)  advocating that government should give people the ‘choice’ of abortion.  

Choice is which flavour of ice cream shall I have. Choice is not a criteria to end a life. 

What is being asked of the Irish government by some, is the legal right to do what ever they want.  Governments cannot give this ‘choice’ to anyone  if there is the possibility of harming themselves or others. 

Everyone already has the choice to do anything they want but they don’t have the legal right to do some things and it is the purpose of government to make the distinction.

CATHERINE GALLAGHER
Crumlin, Co Antrim 

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