Letters to the Editor

It's time people in six counties had say on a united Ireland

The decision to appoint Drew Harris as the new Garda Commissioner is typical of the lack of sensitivity that the Free State government has to Irish citizens living in the six counties.  While legally they have the status of citizens, they have no rights as citizens.  An example of this was in the well documented and publicised return of citizens from abroad to vote on the abortion referendum while citizens in the six counties had no voting rights whatsoever.

The truth of the matter is that administrations in the 26 counties have over the decades adopted a management approach to problems in the six counties that would cause the least disruption to the stability of the 26 counties, which has included collusion with Britain that has been detrimental to the interests of Irish citizens in the six counties. This culminated in the Good Friday Agreement which removed Irish citizens in the six counties from part of the national territory of Ireland as per the constitution. Instead, along with Britain, and with support from the US, a dysfunctional, power sharing British administration was set up as a means of containing opposition to British rule. Unfortunately former republicans collaborated in this abandonment of Irish citizens on similar grounds to Michael Collins’s stepping stone theory which has failed to materialise almost 100 years later.

Meanwhile, since the GFA people in the six counties have been subjected to 20 years of stagnant and crisis-led devolved British administration. Yet Sinn Féin, which has no strategy to promote a united Ireland and is unable to provide equality in the six counties continues to argue that this power sharing model is the best way forward.

Powerful forces, in Britain and Ireland are opposed to a united Ireland agenda.  It is time people in the six counties had their say. Let the GFA deliver what it promised and allow the people of the six counties to vote on a united Ireland.

SEAN O'FIACH
Belfast BT11

 

Residents completely opposed to gold mining

I wish to take issue with the article in Business Insight ‘Gold mine project could have lifespan beyond 25 years’ (August 28). 

Dalradian’s planned site is on the side of Crockanboy hill, overlooking Greencastle village in Co Tyrone, in the Sperrins area of outstanding natural beauty, less than a mile from the local primary school, playgroup, community centre, playing fields and church, close to two rivers which are designated SACs (due to the presence of freshwater pearl mussels, salmon & otters), ASSIs, a RAMSAR site, numerous archaeological sites & many other sites of cultural heritage importance. 

The majority of local people are completely opposed to gold mining anywhere in our country because of the associated health and environmental risks. The toxic discharge into the local rivers includes acid water (sulphuric acid), mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, zinc, copper, arsenic, lead, nickel, etc. The area is high in radon and Dalradian acknowledges the increased risk of radioactivity damaging people’s health.
Dalradian extols the short-term economic benefits of their project but no objective analysis has been done. Lots of sustainable jobs in farming, fishing and tourism would be lost if this mine is allowed to proceed. 

FIDELMA O'KANE
Omagh, Co Tyrone

 

Let children of Palestine live in peace

As a result of the anger generated by the IFA’s decision to play a football match with Israel, they have made a statement by way of assuaging this palpable disgust at their decision that they will ‘do something [unspecified] to help Palestinian children’?

As someone who has been in Gaza and the occupied West Bank and has raised funds for scholarships at the Islamic University Gaza; has helped raise funds for solar panels at the Al Amal orphanage in Gaza; stood shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians when they protested in Jerusalem on May 14 2018 opposing the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem, perhaps I could offer some advice to Patrick and the IFA?

As a director of Palestine Aid Belfast I would inform the IFA that the best way to help ‘Palestinian children’ is to demand Israel stop murdering them in Gaza in their hundreds; allow fuel, medicine and building materials to help rebuild their destroyed infrastructure and economy; give them access to medical clinics in the West Bank to avail of cancer treatments and to end the inhuman mediaeval siege on Gaza; desist from destroying schools, villages, homes, workplaces in the West Bank and end the illegal military occupation.
Let the children of Palestine have a childhood free from bombs and sanctions. Let them live in peace.

FRA HUGHES
Belfast BT14

 

Managing diabetes

Diabetes UK has launched a free and easy-to-use learning tool for people with diabetes. Learning Zone is a new digital platform to help people understand more about their condition and how to
manage it.

On average people with diabetes spend just three hours a year with a healthcare professional, and for the remaining 8,757 hours they manage their condition alone. Having access to trustworthy information is important, but it can be hard to find.

Learning Zone offers clinically accurate advice in plain language, and is constantly updated in line with best practice. Created by healthcare professionals together with people with diabetes, it combines medical knowledge with the real experience of people living with the condition.

Videos, games and everyday tips on a range of topics are tailored to the individual needs of each user, taking into consideration things like what type of diabetes they have and the treatment they’re on.

If you are living with diabetes you can try Learning zone by visiting: www.diabetes.org.uk/zone

JILLIAN PATCHETT
National Director, Diabetes UK Northern Ireland

 

Smothering a beautiful sight

Surely one of the most redeeming qualities of driving northbound on the Sydenham Bypass after a day at work has always been the mesmerising view of the Belfast Hills and, when we’re fortunate to get it, the sunset behind them? Perhaps this is just my idealism, but is it not sad that huge boring blocks of new buildings are now beginning to smother this beautiful sight?
Of course, it is great to see investment being made in Belfast and new opportunities come our way, but do we really need to make it look like every other city in the world and shroud its unique selling points?

A MULHOLLAND
Belfast BT1

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