Heartening to see that right to life transcends all our differences
On October 6 in Derry’s Guildhall Square people from across the north, from diverse religious and political backgrounds and none, stood together, proudly celebrating the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, and asserting that without the right to life, all other rights are meaningless.
The organisers of the first march 50 years ago were drawn from all sections of society and came together to demand social justice and a better future for all our people. The struggle in the north in 1968, along with other progressive political movements in Europe and the US, are today recognised as pivotal events which shaped our modern world.
Our history in the intervening years has been often painful and contested, but it was heartening to see that the right to life transcends all of our differences and is a force for unity and solidarity. We stood on the steps of the Guildhall, with our placards and T-shirts and we draped our banners from the city’s wall, proclaiming that civil rights are for all.
‘Cherish all the Children’ is a republican group, campaigning for human rights and dignity. We take our inspiration from the Proclamation of the Republic, posted on the GPO in Dublin in 1916, which asserted that the nation and all of its resources belongs to the people of Ireland, regardless of age, ability, state of health, wantedness, or any other attribute. We have rights simply because we exist.
It seems bizarre that many who walked the streets of Derry in 1968, and over the intervening years, demanding social and political change are now espousing the theory that the most vulnerable and defenceless members of our human family have no rights whatsoever. The child in the womb, where we all started our life’s journey, is expendable.
As a lifelong republican, feminist leftie, I’m astonished at the almost unopposed narrative among my erstwhile political allies that a pro-life stance is regressive and anti-woman. It is an analysis which pits women’s freedom and progress against her maternity, and her children. It erroneously, or deceptively, conflates her health and well being with her ‘choice’ to destroy her child. It ignores the wealth of medical literature which shows that abortion, far from being healthcare, harms women, mentally and physically.
The so-called left haven’t even tried to produce a class-based analysis of the pro-life position. The fact that abortion disproportionately affects the poor, those from ethnic minorities, females and the disabled is not mentioned. The militant feminists, the political class (with some honourable exceptions) and many erstwhile human rights bodies have climbed the high moral mountain and proclaimed ‘choice’ as the only endorsement required to justify our actions, even when they harm others. They scream abuse at anyone who dares question the basis of this thesis.
Many pro-life people recognise that social justice is central to caring for women and families, but they do not have the power to change the structural inequalities that exist.
Only free people thought slavery was a good idea, and only those who have already been born advocate for abortion.
ANNE McCLOSKEY MB
Cherish Uladh, Doire
Nice to see shoe on the other foot for a change
Brexit and talk of soft and hard Brexits are giving people something to think about, especially if you’re involved in business.
Everyone should be aware at this stage that it’s down to the little Englander mentality, who felt that they were being colonised by an EU parliament whose laws were beginning to take precedence over theirs. An uncomfortable feeling it may be but isn’t it nice to see the shoe on the other foot for a change. It should give them a better understanding of how our ancestors felt when they were deprived of their properties by her majesty’s forces, but the side effect is clearly that they don’t.
English xenophobia is an abhorrence to those who suffered because of it, and it is this blinkered hankering to the past which is threatening to dismantle what’s left of the Union without the likes of enthusiastic Brexiteers, Boris Johnson or Arlene Foster even realising it.
The recent Conservative Party conference was a self-righteous affair of unbridled Euro bashing, comparing the Euro zone to Russia which was an idiotic insult to people like Donald Tusk, president of the European Council who lived under oppressive soviet communism in his native Poland. Aside from the distasteful attributes of English nationalist Brexiteers, they have no road map, no plan, no clue as to the extent of the mess they have got themselves into, and unfortunately, we are going to suffer because of their folly. Britain exports more foodstuff to Ireland than to India, China and Brazil. The problem for us is that all the big discount stores like Lidl, Aldi Tesco etc have their main distribution centres based in Britain, meaning tariffs will be applied and if so price hikes on all foodstuffs are a certainty.
Arlene Foster who has spoken of blood-red lines being drawn that the DUP will not cross, but if crunch comes to crunch, she will find out that Portadown is not as British as Finchley.
Gort an Choirce, Dun na nGall
Sinn Féin being wilfully disingenuous
I have found the recent Sinn Féin posters which have been put up across Belfast highly amusing. These posters suggest that People Before Profit have brought about Brexit alongside the Tories, the DUP and the UUP. Either Sinn Féin, out of ignorance, cannot grasp a left-wing view on the EU or they are being wilfully disingenuous for other reasons. If it is the former then a self-proclaimed left-wing party really should have some understanding of left-wing politics or perhaps it is the latter and they are being wilfully disingenuous due to People Before Profit’s progress in Sinn Féin’s supposedly safe seats.
Paul Maskey’s retort of ‘Gerry Carroll’s People Before Profit’ is not dissimilar to Theresa May’s recent, ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party,’ so perhaps the DUP are not the only ones taking the lead from the Tories. If Sinn Féin are taking PR lessons from the Tories then they may as well take their seats in Westminster for any Brexit votes. If they were so concerned about Brexit they should intervene. Or perhaps they are again being wilfully disingenuous about their fear of Brexit also.
Newry, Co Down
A deserving presidential candidate
What, in God’s name, can any president of Ireland achieve in a second term that could not have been achieved in a single seven years term?
Seven years ago I favoured Michael D as being the most deserving candidate from a poor field.
As it turned out the incumbent office-holder, a perceived socialist, instead of exhausting all alternative options, including refusing and resigning, he signed the ‘water bill’. An earlier president resigned, on principle, for a matter less deserving than the wishes of the tens of thousands of water tax objectors who protested in the cities and towns across Ireland.
On gaining independence from Britain the people of Ireland set about replicating the institutions of a nation running an empire, Áras an Uachtaráin being an example, the ‘Irish Buckingham Palace’. Wouldn’t you have thought that a prudent ‘socialist’ president would have initiated the trimming down of the costly aspects of running the presidency. On this upcoming election, I judge Joan Freeman as being the most deserving candidate, a person who has served and rescued the most vulnerable in society through her Pieta House organisation, a person who will lift the spirits of the disadvantaged and who has the ability and resolve to engage in the many duties of state.
Blarney, Co Cork