Letters to the Editor

Chided for holding to guiding compass of republican credo

New Sinn Féin’s (NSF’s) chief Derry cheerleader Manus McDaid’s recent reply to my earlier letter (April 30) urging me “to take note” for “being strong on looking back” was akin to the political comparison of “being savaged by a dead sheep”. He attempts to chide me, for not only being fully aware of, and holding to, the history and guiding compass of the republican credo, by quoting some of the cardinal points from the core enlightened thinking of the 1798 rebellion. Aside from the obvious contradiction, Manus fails to grasp that Tone and the other leaders of the United Irishmen had settled on the absolute necessity of breaking the political link with Britain. Their conception of equality between Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter was predicated entirely on the forging of a common national citizenship discarding rather than embracing religious differences which have “been carefully fostered by an alien government”.

NSF are strong on many things. Tolerating free thinking or ‘inclusivity’ of dissent within that Stalinist group think is, however, absolutely not on.
Ann and Francie Brolly, or NSF’s presently suspended Carol Nolan, could no doubt enlighten Manus a little on that if he allowed himself a little elasticity of mind. In their race to copy and outdo their
‘stickie cousins’ NSF have adopted many of their tactics and practices while continually trying to lower the bar and dilute the essential elements of what constitutes Irish republicanism.

Perhaps then the easiest analogy for Manus to understand, for all its shortcomings, is the American model. One nation of many ethnicities and religions united as a single Republic under the motto of ‘E pluribus unum – out of many one’.
Those who have reduced themselves to carelessly trying to auction the title deeds of the Irish Republic in some political futures market for short-term personal positions of ‘power’ have long since relinquished the right to attempt to lecture the many who will always hold firm to Tone, Emmet, Clarke and Hughes’s cherished noble dream.

Galbally, Co Tyrone             


Disparity in Mr Shaw’s account of attacks in Gaza

Andrew J Shaw (May 2) describes the murder and maiming of Palestinian prisoners in Gaza as a defence against Israel being overrun by thousands of unarmed men, women and children who want nothing more than to be able to return to the homes, villages and lands from which they were driven by Jewish settlers from Europe in 1948.

My earliest cinema memory was a Pathe News programme in 1948 showing endless lines of hapless refugees being driven into what appeared to be a desert and which I subsequently learned  was Gaza. The film also showed United Nations workers setting up tents to shelter those unfortunate people. Only many years later did I understand that this was the beginning of the slow genocide of the Palestinian people but this news item was burned into my brain.

The UK prime minister David Cameron in 2010 described Gaza as an open prison. “Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp”. He went on to say: “People in Gaza are living under constant attacks and pressure in an open-air prison.” Since that speech we have all seen the murderous attacks against the inhabitants of Gaza with the use of war planes, tanks, warships and white phosphorus bombs and shells – all this against a virtually unarmed civilian population with nowhere to hide. 

To add to this barbarity we now have on a weekly basis the pictures of unarmed protesters being shot down by snipers, brought to the fence surrounding David Cameron’s open prison by the Israeli Defence Force and provided with explosive bullets also known as “butterfly” rounds which, on impact with limbs destroys bones, nerves and ligaments often resulting in amputation.

Is all this necessary to control unarmed demonstrators? 

Last week saw the number of deaths of protesters reach nearly 50 with hundreds maimed for life. How many Israeli casualties from Mr Shaw’s ‘conflict’? Nil. Could Mr Shaw explain this disparity?

Belfast BT9


Harry needs to open his eyes and ears

Harry Hutchinson, Labour NI, needs to open his eyes and ears if he believes ‘you would be hard pressed to find anyone anti-Semitic in the Labour party’ (May 3). May I draw his attention to direct quotations from his party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“We must face the uncomfortable fact that a number of our members and supporters hold anti-Semitic views and attitudes which need to be confronted and dealt with more rapidly and effectively. We are taking action. In the past fortnight more than 20 individuals have been suspended from party membership and more are being investigated. (In fact more than 200 cases according to Diane Abbott).

But we have not done enough to get to grips with the problem.”

As regards Israel and anti-Semitism, Mr Corbyn says: “Individuals on the fringe of solidarity with the Palestinian people can stray into anti-Semitic views. When criticism or opposition to the Israeli government uses anti-Semitic views attributing its injustices to Jewish identity, demanding the Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct, or compare Israel to the Nazis, then a line must be drawn.

Anti-Zionism is in itself not anti-Semitic. But there are some who are drawn to the Palestinian question because it affords an opportunity to express open hostility to the Jewish people.

When members of the Jewish community express genuine anxieties we must recognise them as we would any other community. Their concerns are not smears.”

As regards Mr Corbyn’s association with Islamic terrorist organisations, Holocaust deniers, and known anti-Semites, it is of little surprise the Labour Party has attracted such individuals.

Co Down


Schengen is the way to go

There is a way to avoid a hard border in Ireland as well as avoiding a hard border in the Irish Sea. Schengen incorporates all countries in the European Economic Area and the European Free Trade Association without incorporating Britain and Ireland. If the EU can make an exception for immigration then why not trade and customs? A customs and trade Schengen is the way to go in relation to Brexit. The only alternative is the EU alienating another financial and economic net contributor in order to punish Britain. If EU intransigence  does not allow this then Éireamach should follow Brexit. 

Belfast BT11


Passport conundrum

I have a valid passport by virtue that it is not expired, nor has it been revoked, invalidated, nor cancelled. I am unsure, however, as to what a full and valid passport actually is.

When I applied for mine there was no full option available. Neither was there an option to apply for a valid passport, as opposed to one that was not valid. There was a question, however, about the number of pages and the options were ‘standard’ or ‘jumbo’ – there was certainly no ‘full’ option. 

Is a full and valid passport one which has been copiously stamped to capacity?  I would appreciate  readers’ elucidation to this conundrum.

Belfast BT14

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