Letters to the Editor

Are border powers really about protecting north from Russia?

Newton Emerson in his column ‘Nothing new in border buffer-zone proposal’ (August 16) dismisses the concerns of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) and others about the new proposed stop and question powers in a mile-long strip along the land border, and goes as far as to suggest its irresponsible to link them to Brexit.

Newton points to the new powers extending existing Terrorism Act 2000 border control powers to include the grounds of a ‘hostile act’ by a foreign state, but appears to overlook the second element of the proposals, a ‘pre-cursor’ power with all the elements of an airport passport check to stop, search, question and detain any person without any reason merely to ascertain whether they are crossing the land border into Northern Ireland.
This provision also covers the Enterprise train, not the Eurostar as Newton asserts.

While Newton has also clearly bought the Home Office line that such powers need to be rushed through before Brexit to protect the back roads in Fermanagh from an imminent incursion of Russian spies, it does seem more than a coincidence that the British government having promised the Brexiteers ‘tough border controls’ and the rest of us a ‘seamless’ continuation of the Common Travel Area  (CTA) is now pushing through a power under the guise of ‘border security’ that will allow it to do the land border checks the CTA law does not provide for.

Even if this happened to be a ‘coincidence’ experience shows that such broad powers brought in for one purpose end up being used for another. The new powers cannot be divorced from the context of the Brexiteer plan to end EU freedom
of movement.
NIO figures show the existing port and border control powers Newton refers to have been used 12,479 times over a recent three-year period in NI without one single detention for a terrorism act offence, meaning they appear to already be being misused for routine CTA control. Such powers are always ineffective and fuel alienation in the ‘suspect communities’ they are targeted at – as Newton alludes to it is particularly objectionable when powers are exercised on the basis of racial profiling.
This is precisely our concern about these new powers, that we are urging Westminster to throw out.

DANIEL HOLDER
Deputy Director, CAJ, Belfast

 

No one Church has a monopoly of God and His truth

Archbishop Eamon Martin contends that the people distrust the Church’s message. Not so.
The people distrust the men who under a mask of elaborate godliness concealed hearts in which the most godless feelings of emotion and lust held sway to steal the innocence of children.

As the Church, described as the Body of Christ, has been implicit in covering up this tragic catastrophe Archbishop Martin can go to the confessional on its behalf and following confession maybe have certain things to say about the abuse and sectarianism which disfigure Christianity, and tell the people, I speak as a Christian. God is my Father. The Church is my Mother. Catholic is my surname. Catholic because we belong to nothing less than Church Universal so we do not need any other name.
Why add Anglican, Episcopalian, Protestant, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Congregational and so on, these terms are divisive and sectarian.

It was not to God that the Pharisees sought to lead the people, it was to their own sect of Pharisism.
That in fact was their sin, and is that sin even now gone from the Church when it would still be insisted in some places that a man or woman must leave one church before they can be allowed to receive the Body of Christ or a place at the Table of The Lord. The greatest of all heresies is the sinful conviction that any one church has a monopoly of God or His truth. An Archbishop Martin-led mini reformation can once again restore the trust of the people.

WILSON BURGESS
Derry City

 

False use of etymology

ANTÁN Ó Dála An Rí  – ‘Attacks on Corbyn are being fuelled by pro-Israeli sentiment’ (August 17) – writes that “Palestinians are Semites. One cannot be pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic – excluding Arabic people from the term anti-Semitic is discriminatory.”

This untenable claim is based on the false use of etymology. In fact, the term was popularised by Wilhelm Marr, who used it to replace the traditional German term Judenhass [hatred of Jews] with one with more PC ‘scientific’ overtones. It was never meant to apply to Arabs and, in fact, the Nazis considered them, like the Japanese, to be ‘honorary Aryans’.

This is highlighted by Hitler’s warm relationship with Haj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian Muslims, who spent the war years in Berlin from where he broadcast pro-Nazi propaganda to the Middle East and helped raise SS divisions from among Balkan Muslims.

Claims that “the attacks on Corbyn are being fuelled by pro-Israeli sentiment dressed up as legitimate concern for the rights of Jews” and characterising the IHRA’s inclusion in the manifestations of anti-Semitism “the targeting of the state of Israel ... [as] sinister, granting de facto immunity from criticism to the Zionist state” is prima facie evidence of anti-Semitic thinking.

MARTIN STERN
Salford, England

 

Inappropriate political behaviour

As expected there are those who will continue to support Ian Paisley  in the coming ‘re-call’ election that will help decide his political future, if any.

Those who continue supporting him by doing so are directly/indirectly condoning his inappropriate political behaviour that the general public rightly condemn.

Surely the first action Ian Paisley should have taken was to resign from the DUP, which would to some extent at least have protected the party’s credibility.

HARRY STEPHENSON
Kircubbin, Co Down

 

Republic should join UK 

Over the last few months the Irish government has called for a realignment of the Irish/British border down the Irish Sea thus creating an all- Ireland economy which in my view would be a ‘united Ireland’ in all but name because of Brexit.

Has anyone in government, either in Dublin or London or even the Democratic Unionist Party, sat down and worked out the economic impact of an all-Ireland economic structure if Northern Ireland was absorbed into what would amount to a ‘united Ireland’.
Could the Republic afford the £10bn or so a year it takes to run Northern Ireland without international aid from Britain, Europe or even America?

From a purely economic point of view would it not make more sense for the Republic of Ireland to rejoin the United Kingdom?

JAMES ANNETT
Popular Unionist, 
London

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