Letters to the Editor

SF has criminalised republican armed struggle

Ian Paisley jnr took the opportunity recently to remind secretary of state Karen Bradley of the terms of the ‘Supply and Confidence’ arrangement between the DUP and Tory government with a specific reference to ex-British service personnel applying for jobs as border guards. 
The proposal was that military experience should be a criterion in selecting people for these posts. 
That, of course, would practically ensure that all of the posts were allocated to British ex-service personnel. That was traditionally used to appoint personnel to security roles and the prison service here and probably would still favour applicants to those roles.

Now take the traditional republican view that during the conflict here the only legitimate combatants were armed republicans. This was the view taken by Sinn Féin before the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).

However, Sinn Féin has now accepted that former republican combatants (at least those convicted in British courts) cannot be special advisers at Stormont, nor be accepted into the civil service, to the law and to many other areas.  Additionally in the Stormont House Agreement, Sinn Féin has accepted that former republican activists can be pursued and prosecuted. 
This means that Sinn Féin has accepted those forces that unionism regarded as legitimate as legitimate and those forces unionism did not regard as legitimate as illegitimate.
In other words, Sinn Féin has criminalised the republican armed struggle.

Belfast BT11


Ban on mesh implants should become permanent

Away back in 2015/2016 I was approached by female residents in south Down regarding the pain and discomfort they had and were continuing to suffer as a result of the insertion of mesh implants to correct urinary incontinence.
Such was their persistent pain and agony that I tabled a motion in Parliament which gained cross-party support urging an end to the use of mesh implants.

This campaign to end such implants gained momentum last year when campaigning groups were formed and MPs continued to lobby for an end to their use. The women also had medical support for their campaign from a consultant in London.

Eventually, the NHS in England issued a statement two weeks ago banning their use followed by a Statement from the Department of Health in Belfast imposing a ban on their use in Northern Ireland. I would hope that the temporary ban on the use of mesh implants could become permanent.

Tribute must be paid to the women in Northern Ireland who while enduring ongoing piercing pain continued with their worthwhile campaign.
I salute those women for their fortitude and hope that the ban on the use of vaginal mesh implants becomes permanent and that other measures are investigated and implemented to correct urinary incontinence which will not cause the same level of pain and discomfort.

Former MP for South Down, Downpatrick


Need for more robust laws to protect women’s rights

It was with great distress that I read of the anguish felt by Ms Faulkner in the maternity/unfair dismissal case published in The Irish News (June 19).

In spite of her winning her case against Intern Europe Ltd for the hurt and injury on her for gender-related discriminative employment malpractice the company failed to accept liability [or it seems] to take responsibility for its unscrupulous actions.

One would question how the paltry settlement ‘fine’ of £25,000 awarded against the company on her behalf could represent justice and fairness, bearing in mind that she lost her job as well.

The unsatisfactory outcome of this case highlights the need for more robust regulatory laws to protect women’s maternity employment rights.

Ballinasloe, Co Galway


Electoral stunt by DUP

I see the DUP’s attempts to win over anti-abortion Catholics, such as myself, as an electoral stunt aimed at winning back the Fermanagh/South Tyrone seat from Sinn Féin, as well as fending off Traditional Unionist Voice in North Antrim.

There are other anti-abortion options in Northern Ireland besides the DUP; who are increasingly becoming like New Labour in terms of PR savvy and photogenic opportunism. It’s just that those other options aren’t receiving the oxygen of publicity that the DUP receive.

Ardboe, Co Tyrone


Playing the blame game

We live in a world where no-one takes responsibility for their actions anymore, no matter how despicable they may be.
On June 11 we had Danny Treacy, claim that the Church was to blame for the recent referendum outcome. What cowardly and pathetic rubbish. If we are going to play the blame game, then let’s put the blame on the heads of those who marched to the polls and voted for abortion – the worst kind of child abuse imaginable, bar none. They knew full well what they were doing.
Joseph Kennedy (June 21)it seems doesn’t like the stance taken by Bishop Doran regarding those who voted Yes on Friday May 25. May I suggest, if he and others don’t like the rules of the Church then why don’t you just leave?
There are plenty of seats out there that will accommodate your pick and chose brand of Christianity. 

Coleraine, Co Derry 


Eradicating sectarianism

According to Michelle O’Neill (June 14)  ‘We, in Sinn Féin, are absolutely committed to tackling and eradicating sectarianism across Irish society.’

Why are they not absolutely committed to achieving freedom, to asserting the right of Irish people in Northern Ireland to national freedom? Freedom for Irish people should eradicate sectarianism.

Belfast BT15


Legacy issues

Mr Devlin (July 6) states among other issues, he could not care less about legacy ‘cases’. He is entitled to his opinion. There are, however, many who do care about legacy issues, not least the relatives of the deceased who live in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.

Derry City

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