Letters to the Editor

People should use amendment vote to protect the unborn

May 25 is the date set in the Republic for yet another referendum on the issue of abortion. After many years of campaigning, pro-abortionist groups finally persuaded the government to set out their stall calling for changes to the Eighth Amendment. This amendment known as Article 40.3.3 was built into the constitution of Ireland to protect the life of the unborn, the most vulnerable of all human beings. It would seem that most, if not all of the parties in government are backing a repeal of the amendment, calling and persuading voters to vote yes in this referendum. A yes vote would inevitably lead to a free for all demand for an abortion up to 12 weeks. At 12-weeks-old a baby is completely formed for life, and after that it continues to grow in what should be the safety of its mother’s womb. Any person, man or woman who hasn’t yet read how these abortions are carried out should read it now before they sign their name to what can only be referred to and described as a barbaric act. 

This referendum has nothing to do with religion, it makes no difference if you’re a Catholic or a Protestant, whether you’re black or white or whatever, but it has everything to do with a total respect for human life. 

The people of Ireland should familiarise themselves totally with what is happening at the moment.

The future of Ireland will be decided in the next week or so. This referendum will determine what the present generation want for their children, will it be total respect for human life or will it be to dispose of, at liberty, the very condition that most people enjoy for what ever number of years? This is probably the most important referendum to happen for a long time and while we here in the north have no say in the matter we can still make our voices heard. 

We ask people to turn out in force, to make their voice heard; to retain and preserve the Eight Amendment and use their vote to protect the unborn children of Ireland.

Banbridge, Co Down


SDLP’s historic role changed face of Irish politics

Jack Duffin, a serial critic of the SDLP in The Irish News letters page, posed the question (May 11) what will the SDLP tell their grandchildren about their role in politics?
Let me tell him what I would say to my grandchildren. I would tell them that the SDLP was unique to Irish politics and that its historic role has not only changed the face of politics here in the north, but also in the rest of Ireland. That the SDLP’s historic mission has been to achieve reconciliation among the people of Ireland and until that is fully  achieved, its role will never be at an end.

Since its foundation in 1970 the SDLP has steered the history of the north and the island itself. It been the most successful party in the history of Ireland since partition in transforming the politics of this island. Its success was due in rejecting the failed traditional versions of nationalism and republicanism, in particular the futile and counter productive use of violence. 

Jack Duffin, in an uncharacteristic break from his usual hostility to the SDLP, has quite rightly recognised that SDLP representatives at every level, have never been better, or more credible. And I agree wholeheartedly with Jack’s  shrewd assessment.

But their work today  still remains to  reconcile and unite the people of this country and that work will continue until that is  achieved, (as it will be some day), so that our grandchildren can enjoy the peaceful unity of the people of Ireland, envisaged long ago by John Hume and Seamus Mallon and their heroic colleagues.

Belfast BT15


Massacre a crime against humanity

The massacre that was perpetrated on Monday by the Israelis against Palestinians is a crime against humanity, one that the west has too often excused.
Some western powers have tried to defend this Israeli barbarism by claiming that Israel has a right to defend itself but far too often Israel has used lethal force where none was directed at it.  Those who oppose the ethnic cleansing of Arabs by Israel are accused of anti-Semitism but if it is anti-Semitic to oppose the war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians, then we should all be anti-Semitic. 

The responsibility for Monday’s slaughter, however, rests with Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. His departure from previous US policy could only have one objective, to incense Palestinians and draw them into further conflict with Israel, knowing full well that with Israel’s military strength, largely underwritten by the US that the outcome would be to the detriment of the Palestinians.

Donald Trump is a coward, a bully, who has no redeeming qualities. How he ever was elected to such a prominent role in the world is incomprehensible to many in Ireland and further afield. 
I would call on people now to put pressure on the free state government to withdraw the invitation extended by Leo Varadkar to have him visit Ireland.

Belfast BT11


Repeal Eighth Amendment

It is actually puzzling to read that some of those in favour of the ‘No’ campaign in the forthcoming referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment are actually trying to re-frame their argument to present the misconception that this debate has a republican dynamic, and that proof of this can be found in the cherish the children of our nation equally principle to be found in the proclamation.

The history and the momentum that did provide a dynamic for this referendum doesn’t have its roots in any institution or laws designed to provide a pre requisite for equality, but rather in a carefully constructed notion that society adheres to one set of ideal of what constitutes a family and that behaviour presumed to deviate from this model was/is to be criminalised and stigmatised.

The outcome of these laws and ‘moral’ institutions which were and are inherently unequal and patriarchal to their core, was to cause thousands of women and their children untold suffering in this country, and unless we get a repeal of this Amendment they will continue to do so for many years more. 

Belfast BT13


Basic tenant of Catholicism

Is the irony of Fr Ted writer and actor Graham Linehen and Ardal O’Hanlon saying vote ‘Yes’ to abortion in the forthcoming referendum (May 5) not lost on them? In the Fr Ted episode where Dougal was falsely accused of stealing the whistle Fr Ted admonishes Dougal by reminding him that a basic tenant of Catholicism is ‘Thou shalt not steal’. An even more important tenant of Catholicism and Christianity is ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and this is what they are asking us to do. You cannot say ‘I am a Catholic/Christian but..’ as the ‘but’ negates the ‘I am..’ 

Leitir Ceanainn, Co Dun na Gall 

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Letters to the Editor