Letters to the Editor

‘Nationalists' still silent on inalienable right to self-determination

The self-congratulatory tone of Niall Murphy [Irish News July 7], one of the 198 signatories to the ‘Letter to Leo’ from the so-called ‘leaders of civic nationalism’, brought to mind a memorable wedding speech by the father of a groom in Sligo many years ago. The main body of his delivery consisted entirely of the following: ‘A wise old man once told me; a man should never praise his own spuds.’ Most of the guests were in awe of his brevity yet completeness. Others are still wondering.

One hundred years on from Redmond and his brand of civic nationalism, far from sleepwalking into a constitutional crisis, we are still in the midst of the nightmare of partition gifted to us by those who were afraid and unwilling to remain true to the Irish Republic. As then, “nationalists” remain silent on the Irish nation’s inalienable right to self-determination as anti-social media platforms are hardly set alight with enlightenment thinking. Brian Feeney’s excellent piece a few days later ‘Northerners cast adrift once again’ (July 11) sums up what political effect December 8th’s pleading missive had. None.  Brian’s much more incisive political analysis is hardly surprising given the many years he ploughed the stony ground in what passed for politics.

What is much more perplexing and difficult to comprehend is the flawed legal reasoning at the core of Niall’s article published on Eamon Mallie’s website. The Taoiseach is being lobbied to bring ‘sovereign’ pressure to bear on London as only they can ensure compliance with The European Convention on Human Rights. That is entirely at odds with both the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and The Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2007 which are both explicit in saying that such compliance is ‘a transferred matter’ and therefore within the jurisdiction of the ‘puppet parliament’ at Stormont

The Dublin administration stood squarely to attention when previously called on by Europe’s bureaucrats and surpassed themselves as the ‘Poster Boys of Austerity’ to ensure the wealth of the faceless banking elite who gambled away the hopes of an entire generation of Ireland scattering them to the four corners of the globe. Should they be commanded, the current crew will have no hesitation in becoming the ‘Poster Girls of Security’ and eagerly enforce whatever dictates emanate from the Franco-German axis.
The old British concept of ruling by fooling will have made it into yet another century as once more a native cohort man the modern day ‘Black Pig’s Dyke’ in order to ‘Protect the State’.

If and when this comes to pass, who will the purveyors of ‘An Agreed Ireland’, ‘a United Ireland’ (no better than the one which gave us an Gorta Mor, the RIC and the Black and Tans) or ‘a Fifth Home Rule Bill’ write to? Even though it will be well past springtime Santa Claus will still be recuperating from his winter exertions and will be in no position to assist.

Galbally, Co Tyrone


Don’t let amazing achievement go unrecognised

Social media is buzzing with gratitude to an anonymous Derry taxi driver who, together with the PSNI, helped a woman with dementia get to her daughter for Sunday dinner.
The officer’s Facebook picture of his Dementia Friend badge and accompanying comment has been shared hundreds of times after he thanked the taxi driver.   

We don’t know if that Derry taxi driver is one of the 2.5 million Dementia Friends worldwide, including almost 20,000 in Northern Ireland, who are helping to create Dementia Friendly Communities. But we do know he’s one of many unsung heroes in our communities across the country, whose small and large acts are making Northern Ireland a more understanding and inclusive society for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s Society wants them to be noticed.

Alzheimer’s Society’s 2018 Dementia Friendly Awards will once again celebrate and promote the inspirational achievements of those uniting to making a real difference to people living with dementia. There are so many golden nuggets of good practice and individual stars out there –  and we are asking, do you know any?

This year’s awards will celebrate individuals, organisations and communities leading and inspiring a change that will transform the lives of people with dementia forever, challenging misunderstandings, changing attitudes and taking action.

But for any wonderful person or organisation to win, someone has to take the trouble to nominate. It’s easy to nominate yourself or someone else, visit alzheimers.org.uk/dementiafriendlyawards. Nominations close on Monday August 20.

Don’t let an amazing achievement go unrecognised – nominate someone today.

Director, Alzheimer’s Society


Antithesis of ancestor’s noble campaign

Dr Pankhurst (July16) may have may have the genes of a famous advocate of women’s rights –  however, she seems not to hold to their view that abortion was and remains wrong.

From its earliest advocacy in the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft in the 1780s to its the maturity in the thoughts of Alice Paul, Elizabeth Blackwell and Elizabeth Staunton in the US during the 1860s show that the right to life and their exasperation with abortion was always high in the priorities of those arguing that abortion was an assault on women’s maternal nature by male patriarchy.

So for those who dressed up as suffragettes in Belfast last June to state that somehow abortion is a ‘right’ they showed ignorance; an ignorance which sadly also with which Helen Pankhurst identifies with and which would be the antithesis of her ancestor’s noble campaign.

Clonoe, Co Tyrone


Nothing short of a miracle

It is usually bad news or sad news we get on TV screens each evening but on July 10 it was different.  The reports coming in from Northern Thailand that all the boys and their coach had been safely rescued from the cave was nothing short of a miracle.

The monumental work that went into this operation was the biggest since the rescue of the Chilean miners in 2010. Great praise must go to the Thai authorities and all the skilled divers from England, Denmark, Spain, Australia and other countries. A very special mention to the Thai diver who lost his life.  This man was retired but came to do what he could. He died a hero.

A lesson should be learned from all of this that adults should never take children to places that put them in terrible danger.  Miracles are indeed a rare phenomenon.

Cullyhanna, Co Armagh


Significant move against bonfire culture

It seems the extremists and provocateurs of the bonfire culture have finally succeeded in provoking whoever it is that rules the six counties to move against them. This limited and belated effort by the authorities must surely be welcomed and can only be criticised on the ground that it should have been done years ago.

There is a limit to the amount of anarchy and lawlessness that can be tolerated if reason, sanity and public order are to prevail.
The anarchists have been allowed to get away with so much for so long. I am surprised that a spoke has finally been put in their wheel.

This decision by the authorities to confront the law-breakers rather than turn a blind eye to their activities obviously constitutes a significant change in law-enforcement policy. Will it prove to be a precedent, or an aberration?

Adare Village, Limerick

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