There's nothing surprising in Alex's observation on ‘Norn-Irons'
Dervla Murphy, esteemed Waterford writer, has for sure a sharpish eye and ear for cultural nuance and social dynamic – globally, no less. Her salient observations on many and various societies across the human spectrum of races and lands, are usually ‘spot-on’. But it’s strangely revelatory to see her quoted copiously by none other than Alex Kane, to underpin his somewhat obvious take on socio-political dynamics extant in the ‘wee north’ (July 20). The concept of pervasive, though mutual, ‘apartheid’ would seem to be ‘de-rigeur’ within the island’s north-eastern counties, where the unspoken patency of ‘mistrust and bitterness still flourish’. The camouflage is thin, the veneer brittle.
Applying ‘Murphy’s law’ to the regular complexion of NI discourse as per “there are so many hidden tensions that one can never speak altogether freely, without fear of being misinterpreted”, Kane merely concurs with Dervla’s 40-year-old observation, claiming for the ‘Norn-Irons’ that “we don’t, generally speaking, trust each other”.
Not much new or surprising there, given the statelet’s chequered and fractured history which a rough thumb-nail sketch can identify thus: Contrived plantations of ‘imported’ populace by colonial overlords (17th century) accompanied by royal conflicts and seminal ‘bloody’ battles across the land; contrived dissection of six provincial counties compressed into a pseudo-state to suit an ascendancy-seeking cohort under self-perceived siege (1920); 50 years of ingrained discriminatory social and political dispensation to sustain that self-same ruling elite (1920-1970); 25 years of brutal sectarian conflict and savage terrorism from all sides, including state-sponsored variety (1970-1995); contrived GFA to placate the political ‘warring factions, replete with inbuilt instability and veto in an assembly of stuttering validity and constant entropic flux.
Perhaps Alex Kane cares not to consider too many of these pertinent historical ‘trends and taboos’ spawning the status-quo of a ‘Maginot-lined’ society where a no-go zone of repressed opinions, buried regrets and raw resentments operate with stealth unbecoming.
Alex would appear to wonder as to why the place cannot settle down to a comfort-zone of wholesome tolerance and authentic candour.
Maybe the most recent three centuries of fractious foment and innate instability might well have something to do with the socio-political stagnation and dedicated ‘dissemblage’ prevailing.
At least he proffers Dervla Murphy’s astute appraisal from all those years back, quoting her thus: “No political initiatives or embedded legislation or constitutional juggling can bring true peace to Northern Ireland, until its people have changed within themselves.”
She considered the place ‘a diseased society’ enduring the ‘painful purge of the troubles as a prelude to a happier era..’
What actually pertains nowadays is a perennially uneasy society, riddled with shallow enmities and selfish fixities. Alex Kane reckons that on the ‘key question -- the constitutional future -- we remain unreconciled and irreconcilable’. Sad or what?
Creativity beckons -- the outside-the-box variety, generously laced with honest, respectful realism of histories past, present and future.
Dervla could then rest her case.
Lismore, Co Waterford
Following Lord’s message will lead to better world
For months past The Irish News has been publishing letters from numerous denominations of (Religion) all quotes from the bible etc. Let me state I am a sinner doing my best to repent for my past sins.
What I would say to one and all is that Our lord’s message was simple. I shall refer to a few:
1. Love thy neighbour as thyself. Particularly in Northern Ireland we need to put this into practice. We need to rid ourselves of our hatred and bigotry.
2. On His way to His death He told the women who wept for Him “weep not for Me but for yourselves and your children”. How true these words have come to be. Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald and deputy Michelle O’Neill should take note with their aim to take us into the ‘modern world’.
Let the people who claim to be Christian remind themselves of Our Lord’s words, forget about point scoring and live in accordance to his teachings.
What a world we would have if all abided by his word.
Finally, congratulations to Alban Maginness (June 22) for confirming his stance against abortion.
Congratulations also to Mairead McKeown – ‘Undermining of dedicated, undervalued priest’ (July 9) – for setting the record straight that the Consecration is the central part of the Mass and without it no Mass is celebrated.
Cookstown, Co Tyrone
SDLP’s misplaced confidence
Daniel McCrossan’s misplaced confidence that the seven Sinn Féin MPs could sort out the disaster that is Brexit by simply attending Westminster is flattering but more than a little naive.
The unfortunate reality is that there is no quick-fix or easy answer to Brexit and if there is any solution it will be found in Brussels and in Dublin and not in the Westminster Parliament.
Westminster gave us partition and the Orange state. Westminster supported the British war machine in Ireland and brought us internment, torture, collusion, Bloody Sunday, British state murder and on-going cover-up.
Most recently and against our democratically expressed wishes, Westminster brought us the disaster that is Brexit.
The SDLP were absent or ignored at Westminster through all of this. And they persist, against all the evidence, in their unfounded belief that Westminster can provide the solution to Brexit when, in reality, Westminster is the source of our Brexit problem.
So, while I appreciate Daniel’s confidence in the Sinn Féin team, we will not, as he suggests, break our promise to the electorate.
The British government and the British parliament is on one side of the negotiating table. The Irish government and the European parliament is on the other side. Sinn Féin MPs, MEPs, TDs and MLAs will concentrate our energy where it counts – not in Westminster but in Dublin and Brussels.
Westminster does not act in the interests of the Irish people and never has. That is why the nationalist people turned their back on Westminster. The SDLP just haven’t caught up.
ÓRFHLAITH BEGLEY MP
Sinn Féin, West Tyrone
Poor track record
I fully expect Ian Paisley will eventually be forced to resign his seat but whether or not he stands again will depend on how robust the DUP ‘investigation’ is. Their track record in this area is not good. Most reasonable people will see Mr Paisley guilty of serious misconduct – a sackable offence for many employers. He and his brass neck will therefore return to Westminster.
Son of a preacher man
When the Rev Ian Paisley was at the height of his powers, preaching about God or possibly Mammon, where was his son Ian?
Junior doesn’t seem to have absorbed many of his father’s biblical outpourings down through the years.
It reminds me of the famous line from the ‘parable of the sower’ – ‘and some fell upon stony ground etc’. You’d expect better from the son of a preacher man wouldn’t you?
Cookstown, Co Tyrone