Letters to the Editor

When chips are down we'll see who DUP's enemy really is

They say that attack is the best form of defence, and there are no better exponents of the strategic offensive principle of war than the DUP.  Local news on (May 14) was once again dominated by the faux indignation of the renowned military strategist general Sammy Wilson and his illustrious lieutenant Diane Dodds. And, once again, their target was that contemptuous country-wrecker Simon Coveney.  Their acclaimed martial minds were in synchronised mode with a head-on attack from Sammy and a cunning flank manoeuvre from Diane. General Sam launched a broadside by accusing Coveney of behaving with ostrich-like tendencies over the border issue and of being ‘belligerent, interfering and Brit bashing’. For her bit part, Diane waded in with accusing the mortal enemy of ‘outrageous interference’ in the internal affairs of the UK by daring to hold the British to their word on the backstop guarantee. Thank goodness we have the DUP to defend us against such a monstrous attack on the constitutional integrity of the UK, and an outright scandalous threat to the future economic prosperity of ‘our wee country’.

All very well, you might say, except this is not a war of Coveney’s making.  As the DUP incessantly point out, it was the UK ‘as a whole’ that voted to leave the EU – not Ireland’s fault.

If you listen to the tánaiste’s interview on The Andrew Marr Show (May 13) – without the use of ear plugs and blinkers – you will hear a very calm, coherent defence of Irish interests by his reasonable insistence that the UK stick to their word on no hard border and no related infrastructure on the island of Ireland. The EU’s position – and therefore Ireland’s position – on this has not changed one iota in six months. So then, what has changed that the DUP are yet again in such a state of distemper?

The answer, I suspect, is that the clock is fast running down and the UK still have no answer to the border question. The DUP of course know there is no answer as long as the UK insists on leaving the customs union and single market and because they know this the panic is setting in that Wobbly May and Co will in the end do the dirty on them. The absurd spectacle of the British government squabbling over whether they should plump for a customs partnership approach, or a ‘Max Fac’ approach, is adding to the sense of panic because everyone knows that neither of these ‘solutions’ will fly because they are, after all, just broomsticks without the witch.

Were it not for the sake of present political expediency of course, the Tories would dump the DUP in a heartbeat. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer still is good advice – when the chips are down, we’ll soon see who the DUP’s enemy really is. I wouldn’t be baiting the Irish government if I were them. 

Omagh, Co Tyrone


Derry and Londonderry should be accommodated on new signage

Northern Ireland, the Six Counties, Occupied Six Counties, Ulster or whatever you want to call it is a funny old place where extra-ordinary measures are taken to differentiate it from the remainder of this island referred to as the Republic, Eire, Hibernia, Twenty-six Counties or again whatever you want to call it.

The most recent casualty of this is the very modest request by Mark H Durkan to use the dual version of Derry/Londonderry when signposting the new A6 to the Maiden City,  Stroke City, Legend City or, at the risk of repeating myself, whatever you want to call it and I wonder when, if ever, there will be a level of tolerance and respect for diversity and an acceptance of difference.

On the positive side we have choice on our number plates which can be displayed with or without the letters ‘GB’ and I do have the right to an

Irish Passport and again I am over the moon about that. I keep my mouth shut about the ‘Royal’ in Royal Mail and I don’t take exception of those shops that have newspaper racks with the News Letter but not The Irish News. I can live with that but wish they would show a little appreciation for the custom of those who have nationalist tendencies.

However, I find it amazing that in this period of a suspended assembly civil servants had no trouble refusing a request for a simple modification to road signs on the A6 and wonder under what legislation they made this decision in the absence of a minister.

But we can’t be negative all the time and I am thankful Translink uses not just Derry and Londonderry but Doire on their cross-border express buses and trains.

I need to be mindful too that when as a much younger person and just married to a Donegal girl she couldn’t vote for me when I stood for election. That’s changed and I can even write ‘Irish’ to describe my nationality on government forms. I can even choose to have my name on the electoral register in Irish and again that’s progress.

Perhaps I should be grateful for what I have got, stop complaining about two currencies on this small island and a postal service which can deliver a letter to Cornwall twice as fast as it can to Muff a few miles away.

Nevertheless, I don’t understand why the term Derry and Londonderry cannot be accommodated in new signage. Come to think of it I don’t understand why bilingual signage ends at the border just like the Wild Atlantic Way, speeds in kilometres but there I go again failing to appreciate the few rights I have in this place called whatever you want to call it.

SDLP, East Derry


Familiar scenario

FIONNUALA O Connor’s article ‘As Rudd resigns, might Foster follow?’ (May 1) highlights the resignation of Amber Rudd from the British Cabinet. It flags up Ms Rudd’s governance of her department specifically to do with ‘targeting’ numbers, of immigrants. Now who instigated these policies? None other than prime minister Theresa May.

Ms Rudd took the bullet.  
She has been the bullet proof jacket. Mrs May has had to deflect blame from herself.

But, what does Ms Rudd do? She blames her department, blames the civil servants for not telling her things and not flagging up e-mails. At the end of the day it wasn’t her fault. Ms Rudd resigned basically because she mislead the House of Commons – but it wasn’t her fault.

Well readers, if this scenario sounds  familiar it ought to. Mrs Foster had been in charge of the RHI scheme.  A scandal costing taxpayers’ a phenomenal amount of money. The scandal demanded an inquiry. Mrs Foster refused to step aside and the rest is history.

When questioned at the inquiry she repeatedly said she couldn’t remember; the civil servants didn’t really let her know.

To me as an ex-minor manager of people the buck stops at the manager’s desk. Alleged failures by staff is no excuse for a manager’s failures. Is she an asset or handicap?

Derry City


Expression of gratitude

I am an avid reader of The Irish News and write in the hope that you would consider publishing the following letter. It is really an acknowledgement of the kindness of one family throughout a very difficult time for me and my family, following the death of my beloved wife Frances Brennan.
For the most part it seems when we read or listen to the news all we hear is about discord and disharmony across the world. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a good news story and to recognise the kindness and goodness of my close neighbours Kevin and Angie McGuinness.  

It is really an acknowledgement of the kindness of one family throughout a very difficult time for me and my family, following the death of my beloved wife.

I and my family suffered the tragic loss of a beautiful wife, mother and grandmother in December 2017. At that time we experienced much support and sympathy from many people for which we are truly grateful. However, Kevin and Angie have consistently demonstrated such kindness and care towards all of us, which is way beyond any reasonable expectations. In a world where people appear to have little time for each other they stand out as prime examples of true friends.

My family and I are so lucky to have them as best friends and neighbours.

Belfast BT10

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