Letters to the Editor

United Kingdom needs immigrants now more than ever

In a time when many people seem to be asking if we really want immigrants, I would argue that we need them now more than ever. Immigrants are the ultimate flattery for any society.
I am a UK citizen who is married to a Taiwanese woman. We have lived in Taiwan for 12 years and are emigrating to the UK this week.
We are immigrants. I am a UK citizen who has paid income tax for 24 years, but to bring my wife to my home country, I must waive my rights to public funds for five years and must meet stringent financial requirements that don’t apply to other UK citizens. The visa to allow my wife to live in the UK will cost the better part of £5,500 and will involve five years of stress. So why are we so keen to pay such a high financial and emotional price to live in the UK?
Brexit, economic instability and a marked increase in racist incidents are hardly the stuff of dreams. The answer is simple. We have an eight-year-old son whom we wish to educate. My wife and I have experience of 50 different countries and few are more attractive to the parents of young children than the UK. We admire the social values of a society that measures success in terms of satisfaction and not money, which has a police force and a legal system that are honed to protect citizens and not to exploit them and which has an education system that encourages thought, inquisition and analysis and not rote memorising, a mistrust of curiosity and blind acceptance. Despite the current drawbacks of living in the UK, we still think that it is our best option.
Our view is based not on the baseless rumours that feed racism but on hard-won experience of the world. In a time when it is fashionable to be cynical, we are bright-eyed and hopeful that we can make a new start. We will have no welcoming committee at the airport when we arrive. We ask for no charity. We only ask for the chance to work and for our son to be happy. We admire your society so much that we are willing to pay a small fortune and transplant our lives a third of the way around the planet to be a part of it.
Would you pay this price for your current life? Who is more deserving of the chance of a good life and a decent education for their children – those who would struggle for it or those to whom it is gifted as a right and who view admirers as enemies? I would say that we are both equally worthy. I just wish to return home with my family, work hard and give my son a decent education – one that will imbue him with qualities that I know will be admired in the far-flung corners of the globe that I have visited. Ask yourself how anyone who flatters your choices with such faithful imitation can be an enemy.

Zhonghe City Taipei County 235 Taiwan


Don’t scold Irish on issue of ‘race and diversity’

Not even The Rose Of Tralee competition is exempt from admonishing us that the country needs to “embrace diversity”.

The post victory morning interviews of the winner, the lovely Ms Waterford, Kirsten Mate Maher, concentrated her words on how there is no ‘typically Irish woman’, referring to her own African heritage and being of mixed ethnicity.

Why does it follow that we need a lecture on how to behave nationally on such a joyous occasion for Kirsten – by Kirsten?

Could it be that she does not see herself as ‘fully accepted’ even though we are not aware of anyone else saying so?

I certainly do not, and I feel I speak for an overwhelming majority. 

The issue of ‘race and diversity’ is becoming a tired issue, because the question of ‘explain what you mean please’ appropo a perceived slight, is automatically on shaky ground just for the asking.

I am on record as writing that Ireland ought treat refugees and immigrants from Europe – and indeed afar – with a civilised and indeed humanitarian standpoint of equality. There are as many names from former overseas residents on my ‘contacts’ phone list as there are ‘local’.

Not many women in Ireland are so honoured as Kirsten in her current recognition and success, but it takes from it when she feels the unfair need to tell us to ‘be careful’.

Have a wonderful year Kirsten, just go easy on implications that we might not be overly welcoming in Ireland.

Bantry, Co Cork


No-one should ‘fear to speak of ’98’

Who fears to speak of ’98 used to be an old mantra, referring to the 1798 Rebellion but today on reading reports in your newspaper and others about the Omagh bombing on the August 15 1998, I think it now has a modern context.

It would appear the authorities do not wish the truth of that dreadful day to come out, when Nuala O’Loan, who as ombudsman was privy to more information than any of us will ever see, calls for a public inquiry people should listen.

Instead she is attacked from all sides for showing insensitivity to the victims. That could not be further from the truth because of her personal integrity and the position she was in. Who better to call for a inquiry?  Especially, to look into why the police acted or did not act in the way they did and more importantly to make people accountable, not only for the dreadful bombing itself, but for what appears to be a cover-up afterwards when vital evidence such as the ‘Threat Book’ goes missing from Omagh RUC Station – a book which had important information and intelligence about the threat to Omagh on that fateful day. Where has it gone? What was in it that someone decided O’Loan’s investigators should not get their hands on it ?

Everyone affected should support the call for the truth which may help them in their recovery.

Newry, Co Down


Trump-esque fake news

Alderman Chris McGimpsey has recently been making the media rounds to criticise the pro-IRA chanting and flags at the West Belfast Féile and rightly so – Alliance has also been vocal in our condemnation.

However, where Cllr McGimpsey has let himself down is to refer in several media appearances to Alliance allegedly supporting extra money for the festival, when it is in black and white in easily searchable council records that the parties which supported it were the DUP, Sinn Féin and the PUP.

Perhaps Cllr McGimpsey missed the extensive press coverage at the beginning of the summer with Alliance raising concerns about the city hall carve-up over extra funding for Féile and other events. It’s understandable, as the UUP decided not to meet the Ombudsman’s office to raise concerns alongside Alliance. But it’s certainly not acceptable to continue to peddle the Trump-esque fake news and I ask he acknowledges his error and apologises for his mistake immediately.

Alliance, Belfast


‘Benefit in kind’ should be taxed

Following the recent disclosures about the luxury holidays enjoyed by Mr Ian Paisley MP who then lobbied on behalf of the Sri Lankan government, I consulted two reputable accountancy companies in Belfast. These companies both confirmed that what Mr Ian Paisley MP received was a ‘benefit in kind’ and income tax should be paid to HMRC on the value of these perks. Perhaps a fine should also be levied for non-disclosure in the appropriate tax year.

 Jordanstown, Co Antrim

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