Letters to the Editor

Fionnuala should remove the chip and develop better sense of balance

Columnists by definition have particular opinions. Some feel so strongly about some subjects that they could be said to have a chip on their shoulder. In the case of Fionnuala O Connor (October 2) the chip is best described as a fish supper. Her attack on Brett Kavanaugh, the American judge accused of sexual assault, had Fionnula’s usual slant, loosely packaged with her blind spots religion, politics, and even ancestry. She describes Dr Christine Blasey Ford, judge Kavanaugh’s accuser, as giving a statement that was ‘dignified’ when others might have observed a woman who appeared calculating and rehearsed. The judge was said to be ‘angry, emotional and harshly partisan’.  Fionnuala likes her chips with extra vinegar.
Any man or woman, especially if they were in such a respected position, would be entitled to break down, even more so if the allegation was false. Brett Kavanaugh will know that he is forever smeared whether he is guilty or not. This case has become one person’s word against another, but in the bitter, dirty world of American politics truth is often a casualty of the endless war between Republicans and Democrats. Judge Kavanaugh’s once likely elevation to the Supreme Court would have shifted that body’s balance to the right for a generation. Dr Blasey Ford is a registered Democrat, President Trump hater, who waited 36 years to make her allegation. Perhaps we will discover her reason for the delay in any future book, should she be persuaded to write one.
Fionnuala, apparently without any sense of irony, criticised a selection of  Donald Trump’s retinue ‘effectively’ for having Irish sounding names. I hope that Fionnuala is never on a jury that is judging me (I don’t have an Irish sounding name).
She moved on to even more tenuous territory when attempting to link religion to the whole conflicted affair simply because the judge’s family are church going. 
Contrarily  she expects higher standards from those who worship God. Fionnuala should remove the shoulder chip and develop a better sense of balance. The Democrats as a group and as individuals have said and done things that would make a Nazi blush. One small, connected, example is a paper that published a mocking cartoon of Brett Kavanaugh’s 10 year-old daughter praying for Christine Blasey Ford. For those trying to destroy Brett Kavanaugh nothing is too petty. 

GERARD HERDMAN
Belfast BT11

 

British forces can’t accurately be described as innocent

Jeffrey Donaldson recently denied British state collusion with loyalist murder gangs on Talkback. He should read Killing For Britain by John Black, Lethal Allies British Collusion in Ireland by Anne Cadwallader and The Dirty War by Martin Dillon.
He also described members of the British military and RUC as innocent. This is offensive in the extreme. The Conflict Archive on the internet, which can be read on the University of Ulster’s website, shows that such people killed 187 innocent civilians. This means 51.5 per cent of British security force victims were innocent. Innocent people don’t target other innocent people over half of the time. A caller to the show also described prison officers as innocent. Incarcerating and routinely assaulting between 20,000 and 25,000 republican prisoners is an active role in a military conflict. Active participants in military conflicts are called belligerents for a reason. Belligerent is synonymous with truculent. Calling such people innocent is ridiculous. Given that the aforementioned publications show that the British state actively assisted forces who killed 878 civilians, which accounted for 85.4 per cent of loyalists’ victims according to the Conflict Archive, shows that British state forces cannot accurately be described as innocent. The Conflict Archive shows that republicans killed 1,080 members and former members of British state forces which accounted for 52 per cent of republicans’ victims.
It shows that republicans killed 57 members of armed loyalist organisations which accounted for 2.7 per cent of republicans’ victims and it shows that republicans killed 11 members of Free State security forces which accounted for 0.5 per cent of republicans’ victims. This means no less than 55.2 per cent of those killed by republicans were military targets nota bene neither British state forces nor armed loyalist organisations killed military targets over half of the time that they were operating. This cannot be emphasised enough.

ÉAMONN MacGRIANNA
Belfast, BT11

 

What will Lilliputian politicians of Ireland do now?

Now that the mellowing mood music being played by Messrs Juncker and Barnier from Brussels is indicating that a deal can be reached on Brexit, whatever will the Lilliputian politicians from Ireland do, now that their 15 minutes of fame are almost up? Maybe get real. With Arlene Foster’s ‘red line is blood red’ and Leo Varadkar’s ‘the EU will look after Ireland’s interests’, we, the electorate, will have nothing to irritate us any more.

The UK and EU negotiators will work the agreement out to their mutual satisfaction and Ireland and its border, with less than 1 per cent of Europe’s population, will not be a significant factor. Lip service will be paid to Arlene Foster for her party’s 10 votes which keep the Tory Party propped up at Westminster and to Leo Varadkar for the millions of euros paid out on an €85bn ‘bail-out’ loan which the EU ‘bounced’ the Republic into on November 2010 when presumably they forgot all about looking after Ireland’s interests. 

Maybe this emotive pair will now address problems more parochial, like the absurd political duopoly at Stormont and the scandal of thousands of homeless families and children in the Republic.

WILSON BURGESS
Derry City

 

Language Arlene, please

Isn’t it written down somewhere that politicians should appear implacable and use calm and measured language (at least in public) during times of national crisis, their job to appear statesmanlike and reassuring?

Well, I would suggest that if there isn’t such guidance then there should be, because in the past 10 days we’ve had the leader of the DUP and irst Minister guldering about ‘blood red lines’ – offensive enough rhetoric in a country without our violent past and most definitely sounding like a threat – and now this week she’s whipping up frenzy yet again, citing any possible border between GB and Northern Ireland as ‘catastrophic’.

Do the words responsible, steady leadership mean nothing to her? This is at the very least offensive rhetoric, and some might even say dangerous, and I have no doubt that it will have caused stress in more than one citizen here.

You’re supposed to be a First Minister, Mrs Foster, so try behaving like one.

RUTH SCOTT
Belfast BT9

 

Famine was avoidable

I have evidence of the truth behind the Irish famine from a book published last year by Terry Mulvihill. In it he names ships that sailed to England and their cargo. This information proves we wouldn’t have had a famine had the food shipped to England been made available. Not one person would have died from hunger.

CAHAL McGUIGAN
Limavady, Co Derry

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