Letters to the Editor

Plea to IFA to cancel Northern Ireland's friendly game with Israel

As Palestinians who made Northern Ireland our home, we call on the Irish Football Association to cancel the friendly match against Israel.
We would like to highlight that Israel was established in 1948 after ethnically cleansing Palestine of most of its population, destroyed more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages, massacred about 13,000 Palestinians and women were raped. More Palestinians were expelled when Israel occupied Gaza and the West Bank, including Jerusalem in 1967, where it subjects millions of Palestinian civilians to inhuman conditions and economic hardship with total disregard to the Geneva Convention. This is besides its discriminatory policies towards the Arab Palestinian population inside Israel.

Palestinian sports suffered from Israel oppression measures. Israel repeatedly prevented Palestinian footballers from travelling to play for their national team. An international Palestinian player was detained by Israel while travelling from Gaza to the West Bank for training and was jailed for three years without a charge or trial. Two Palestinian footballers were shot in their feet by Israeli soldiers after finishing their training. Furthermore, football teams of illegal Israeli settlements – built on confiscated Palestinian land against international law and considered by the international community as an obstacle to peace – are allowed to play in the Israeli league. Palestinian Olympic representatives were not allowed to travel to Rio Olympics. During the 2014 Israel war on Gaza, more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed including 30 athletes. The headquarters of the Palestinian Football Association, 20 sports clubs and 10 fields were targeted by Israeli air strikes.

Since March 30, more than 150 unarmed Palestinians were killed by Israeli snipers and 17,000 were wounded during peaceful protests including medics, journalists and children with Trump supporting Israel oppression. Due to the Israeli blockade on Gaza, cancer patients are dying due to lack of medications. Gaza also suffers power shortage and can only get electricity for two to eight hours a day. More than 90 per cent of Gaza water is undrinkable and 53 per cent of its population live below the poverty line. According to a UN report, Gaza will become uninhabitable by 2020.

We in the Palestinian Democratic Forum believe a long-lasting and just peace based on UN resolutions and international law could only be achieved if the international community pressurises Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian land.
We urge the IFA to cancel the match with Israel.

The Palestinian Democratic Forum in Northern Ireland


Google has become the watchdog for governments

There are so many older political  issues we experienced and took for granted, that in current times they appear like fleeting positive ‘experiences’ from ‘the good old days’.

Things seem so much worse now that false promises from those who rule over us are without any attempt at truth and reality, and they couldn’t care less now whether we believe them or not.

Time was when plausible hogwash was embraced by a gullible population as we waited for a few of those ‘certain’ changes to take place.

We were well satisfied in the past because the government told us that we were.

I long for those years when ‘mad cow disease’ and horse-meat supplement in our food were valiantly dealt with in their eradication by our government who took all credit for doing nothing while calling every failure something else. We were very trusting back then.

I well remember a news item on RTÉ  telling us that the department of health reported on the first day of its discovery that there was no danger from hepatitis C. We were suitably reassured.

Nowadays we don’t know what to believe when no trouble at all is taken to inform us of national neglect of the citizenry. Google appears to have become the watchdog on behalf of governments.

Leinster House is just a step away from referring us to the internet so that we can be sure of health diagnoses and home treatment ‘going forward’, which is another useful Dáil phrase when it’s felt we need to be pacified
and ignored.

Bantry, Co Cork


DUP attached to wagon of doom

It’s obvious that Brexit has become a nightmare for the Tories which, when fully realised, has the potential to destroy that party.

The DUP has naively attached itself to the Conservative wagon of doom and is heading in the same direction, off a cliff. When the many negative effects of Brexit start to bite, the DUP will scramble desperately for cover. But it will be too late. The people will know.

Stormont had become a place of refuge for the party of Paisley. They used it to confer pseudo-respectability upon a political grouping that has little to no political or business acumen.

Sinn Féin need only wait until Brexit strikes and they will reap the rewards of the DUP’s arrogance, intransigence and incompetence.

As for the devolved, colonial administration – it was always doomed to failure. Political unionism is not yet ready to embrace equality and, consequently, cannot play a full role in fairly stewarding the six-county gerrymander.

It will be seen that Stormont is like a two-legged racehorse. It looks good in profile, but only when propped up.

Newry, Co Down


Safeguarding children

When reading The Irish News (September 1) I came across two articles in relation to confidentiality in the Sacrament of Confession/Penance/Reconciliation.

In my view, a priest is a man chosen and called by God to administer God’s activity in all of the Sacraments and to proclaim the reign of God on earth. When a penitent comes to confession, that Penitent comes to engage in a deep and personal relationship with God. The priest through his specific vocation to priesthood facilitates the relationship. Through him, God listens to the penitent’s sins, grants God’s forgiveness and activates God’s absolution. The relationship between God and penitent is restored, enhanced and nurtured and remains a private matter between God and his penitent.
For a priest to disclose anything spoken of in this encounter would be gravely damaging to the God/Penitent relationship.
At the end of confessions the priest lets go of what he has heard and transferred into the hands of the Lord Himself.

The protection of a child is superbly catered for through the National Board for the Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland which gives guidance, support and procedures to every diocese, parish, religious orders, Catholic schools and institutions.

Downpatrick, Co Down


Political apathy

It is quite amusing to find he Labour Party  supporting protesters who will be opposing Donald Trump’s visit as when they were in government they never opposed anything. Sinn Féin, who want to be in government but have always opposed the visits of Republican US presidents, have said they want to have a chat with the esteemed visitor.

No wonder there is so much apathy in politics when you see the carry on of these two parties.

Clondalkin, Dublin

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