Letters to the Editor

Brexit a major threat to every citizen in north not just farmers

As a Sinn Féin representative for a rural area I requested a special council meeting in relation to Brexit to be held in September 2018. I also requested that we look into the possibility of establishing a full council Brexit committee to meet at least once per month. Brexit is the biggest issue to hit our council area in decades and is a major threat to every citizen living here. The consequences of Brexit to our businesses, farming communities, voluntary sector and border communities could quite possibly be devastating.

As someone from a farming background I fear for anyone involved in farming in the future. As it stands farmers in the north of Ireland are in line for a 70 per cent cut in their Single Farm Payments even if the British government fund agriculture with the same amount as the EU has in the past. What people don’t understand yet is that the EU gives northern farmers a much bigger subsidy because it’s deemed a disadvantaged region. The British government will have to use the Barnett formula the same as they do for health and all other funding. This will mean that the northern farmer will get a cut of 70 per cent. 

This 70 per cent cut won’t just affect farmers but the entire community because this money is used by farmers in local hardware stores, quarries and shops as well as employing building contractors and agricultural contractors to name but a few. 
Let’s put this cut to agriculture in context. The RHI fiasco will cost the north £20m per year. The 70 per cent cut in farm subsidies after Brexit will cost northern farmers £250m per year. Family farms will be a thing of the past and we will see English-style farming here where big land owners will own and farm all the land and employ a few workers.

Some farmers voted for Brexit in the misguided idea that it would lead to less bureaucracy and red tape.
This will never happen because the EU will insist that any products the UK sell will have to have at least the same high standards as products produced in the EU, this will add an extra layer of bureaucracy rather than less.   

Let’s also remember that even before Brexit the DUP agriculture minister cut the LFA/ANC payment for farmers in hill areas which was worth £20m (coincidentally the same amount the DUP sent up in smoke with the RHI scandal) to them annually. Compare this to how farmers are treated in the Republic were the LFA payment to hill farmers went up from £180 to £220m and their SFP is worth more than £500m per year. How can this madness be allowed to continue?

Sinn Féin, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council


Unionists don’t have right to stop change happening

I was laughing at the recent unionist hysteria and outrage at the Féile Festival in the Falls Park and the music by the Wolfe Tones and the fact that public money was given towards this concert. Do the unionists and the Orange Order not get public money for flags, bunting, bonfires and arches etc and have their Orange Parades policed by the PSNI. As a Nationalist I do not consider that inclusive.

How much does it cost to police an Orange Parade? As far as I am concerned the Orange Order should not be allowed to march anywhere where it causes offence to other citizens.

It would not be allowed to happen in any other part of the UK.
I remember my late father saying that the Orange Order did not have Orange parades during the Second World War because they did not want the British government  to see tens of thousands of able bodied Orangemen marching up and down the roads of the six counties in case the British forced conscription in the six counties. 

The unionist/Orange citizens have to change. Their time is coming to an end and they will have to learn to share and work with the nationalist/republican Catholic citizens of Ireland. They do not have the right to stop change from happening. They are only delaying the inevitable.

The nationalist/republican community have been accommodating in reaching out to unionists in recent times but the unionists are not as forthcoming – thinking that they hold the moral high ground and that the British will support them regardless. Times are a changing.

Cushendall, Co Antrim


Statements in English not acceptable to any Muslim

Peter McEvoy (August 16) has made a hilarious statement concerning Jewish males wearing Kippas and Sikhs wearing turbans. You can see the faces of those people unlike those women or males who wear a Burka. Boris Johnson’s point is if you cannot see the face, then you cannot know who or what the person is. There is no Islamic law which states that the Burka must be worn. It is an old tribal custom from some Nomadic tribes.

Mr McEvoy seems very concerned with the plight of the residents of Gaza, which is commendable. We are all concerned but if he can tell me and I do ask him to relate to us all, when did any Palestinian Arab leader ever say in Arabic that they are willing to live in peace with all Israelis, be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Circassian or Druze? Statements in English are not acceptable to any Muslim.

When Arafat signed the Camp David accords, he flew to South Africa and in a speech to the attendees in the Grand Mosque in Johannesburg, he laughed and told the audience that he has no intention of having tea with Mr Sadat in Paradise just yet. In other words, he never had any intention of keeping to any accord or agreement.

Mr McEvoy, what is your suggestion for real peace between Muslim Arabs and the Jewish people?

Kfar Vradim, Western Galilee


Timely leadership

Pope Francis’s decision to change Catholic Church teaching on capital punishment is to be welcomed (August 3). 

The rationale for this spiritual and moral shift is that capital punishment or the death penalty attacks the “inherent dignity of all people”. I must admit I was not aware that the Church favoured the death penalty in certain circumstances in terms of protecting or defending human lives ‘against the unjust aggressor’. This previous position afforded weight and support to those who believe that the death penalty should be used for terrorist-related offences – an argument all too familiar to us in this part of the world. 

Notwithstanding, the Pope’s leadership is timely given that the death penalty is part of a populist drive to have it reinstated. This should be resisted and states should follow the leadership of the Pope and promote state morality and with it, human dignity.

Derry City 


Politically detached

Daniel McCrossan’s letter (August 13) shows how far the SDLP is politically detached from the voting public.

In June 2017, the public in increased numbers and supporting Sinn Féin’s abstentionist policy, elected  seven MPs, thus, Mr McCrossan’s pathetic attack on my party’s electoral success is an attack on the public who voted for our candidates and our policies.

On the assembly, can I remind him that the late Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister over the scandal surrounding the RHI scheme, therefore bringing the assembly to an end.
What did a certain SDLP MLA do? Called for the deadline to be extended. Why?

So, in conclusion, Mr McCrossan your letter shows a complete lack of any political maturity and is also a cowardly attack on the thousands of people who have placed their trust in Sinn Féin to represent them at all levels of politics.

Sinn Féin, East Antrim

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