Letters to the Editor

DUP display ineptitude at making decisions for the good of all

The DUP casually sauntered into Downing street, last week, where the two main protagonists – Arlene Foster and second-in-command Nigel Dodds – indicated to the various media outlets that they were intent on demanding from the British prime minister that she quickly becomes involved in the political process for the purpose of ‘good governance and decision making’ in the north. Theresa May, who is strangled by the Brexit negotiations and from dissenters in her own party, must surely have been grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of meeting these visionaries of doom who, in repeatedly running to their Tory masters constantly seeking reassurance, are clearly expressing their ineptitude at making decisions for the good of all the people in the north.

The question then has to be asked what is their perception of good governance? Presumably it was their use of scare tactics, after a democratic vote, during the ill-fated flag protest where they complained of an erosion of Britishness, then dismissed all culpability at the outcome. Maybe they highlighted how the government, under
their watch, dealt wih Red Sky. Or perhaps they expressed their regret over their handling of the scandalous RHI scheme and were pleading for Mrs May to settle the debt.
After Arlene Foster’s appearance at a gathering of the brethren at Cowdenbeath in Scotland where she called for a land bridge to be constructed between the two, perhaps she was imploring Mrs May to fund this as well, purely to reinforce and maintain the union of course.

The British prime minister has on numerous occasions repeated that decisions on the north fall under the remit of the Stormont regime, included in these are the issues most unsavoury to the DUP. These same issues are central to a fully legitimate equality agenda where equal rights for all are essential for good governance.
A perfect example being Mrs May who has been under increasing pressure from within to treat all women in the north as those in the rest of the British mainland. It appears, however, the DUP have abdicated from the responsibilities given to them by the electorate and are now advocating the introduction and imposition of such legislation abandoning the democratic process in total.

Belfast BT1


Contaminated Bloods Inquiry must bring final closure

I am heartened to learn that the independent inquiry into the Contaminated Bloods Inquiry will begin evidence sessions in September this year - some 14 months after the inquiry was initially launched. It was announced on June 2 in a House of Commons statement by the Cabinet Office Minister that the terms of reference had been agreed with the chair, the government and the devolved administrations.

This was one of the biggest scandals of the National Health Service in the 1970s and 1980s when many people were infected with contaminated blood products  Some of these people lived in Northern Ireland and sadly many have died. In this context it is important that this inquiry brings closure for many victims and their families; that it shines a light on what and why it happened; what actions will be recommended for government action and implementation to ensure that such a scandal never happens again; that the government provides a fulsome apology and accepts responsibility for what happened (if that is found to be the case) and that compensation is provided to all those affected and their families.

I am also pleased that the inquiry will investigate any potential cover-ups.
It is important that this does happen as this inquiry must bring final closure for all victims and their families.

I would urge all those victims and their families in Northern Ireland to participate in the evidence sessions.   This inquiry covers Northern Ireland and Britain. I look forward to the outcomes and a final resolution for all the victims and their families.

Former MP for South Down, Downpatrick



Craft your own life story

Are you 16 or 17 or do you have memories of life at this often challenging age? If so, you may be interested in entering a creative writing competition being run by The Children’s Society as part of our charity’s Seriously Awkward campaign.

The campaign aims to improve life for vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds by securing more sustained help for them as they move into adulthood with issues like mental health, housing and access to employment.

For the competition – run in partnership with Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House – we are looking for fictional stories by unpublished writers of up to 2,000 words about this awkward age, with categories for both young people aged 16 to 25 and adults aged 26 and over.

Whether you are an aspiring writer or have never before written, why not think about what life can be like for 16 and 17-year-olds and craft your own story?

Your story can be in any fiction genre and be written from any perspective.

So if you’re feeling inspired, please visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/writing to find out more and enter by August 31.   

Chief Executive, The Children’s Society


Making an exception of abortion

In his criticism of Irish News columnist Jim Gibney on the subject of abortion,  Fr Patrick McCafferty (June 27) refers, implicitly, to a question asked by Niall Meehan (June 12). Mr Meehan asked if Fr McCafferty was extending his refusal of marriage to parishioners opposing their Church’s views on abortion, to those who opposed Church teaching on contraception, divorce and women priests.

Fr McCafferty wrote: “Whatever about contraception and divorce,” he was making an exception of abortion. Leaving aside his ignoring whether or not women should be allowed to be priests, this indicates that Fr McCafferty is just as much an ‘a la carte Catholic’ as those he berates incessantly on the subject of abortion.

Dublin 6


Russian collusion

With approval ratings now under 20 per cent the American news media’s credibility should be a lesson to all news broadcasters. I find if I have to watch news I go to the alternative news, and then RT and AL Jazeera etc to get a story from all angles
and then try to read between the lines. I watched BBC Spotlight on the  DUP dark money (June 26) but I couldn’t get my head around what they were claiming. There was much focus on the environment/recycling industries. There was much jetting around by the BBC  creating quite a carbon foot print themselves. But it was only when the trail moved to the Ukraine, that the penny finally dropped – Russian  collusion. Now I get it. If this BBC DUP/Russian collusion narrative follows the same path as the Trump/Russia probe expect a year of smoke and mirrors. Trying to apply any form of morality to  anything connected to the EU (even the campaign to leave it) is laughable.

Comber, Co Down

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