Letters to the Editor

Mr McNarry attempts to dismiss 50 years of unionist misrule

Irish News readers were recently awarded the privilege of ‘an alternative unionist perspective’ to the current political uncertainty affecting the north of Ireland. In his sermon ‘Unionism still in shock’ David McNarry asserts the only proper way to resolve the impasse is to hold a plebiscite focused on freedom of choice incorporating the reform of the dysfunctional system that once paraded as government along the corridors of Stormont, this idea however appears overly simplistic and utterly naïve. He is overlooking one fundamental premise of the statutory agenda – is it not the responsibility of those elected by democratic vote to make decisions for the people? Tossing tough decisions out to referenda suggests those same elected representatives are incapable of fulfilling their roles, a recurring theme in the auspices of unionism.

He disingenuously labels his opponents as ‘extreme republicans’ who have undermined unionist confidence thereby colouring all nationalist voters with the same paint. He goes further with his disparaging remarks and insists on introducing a new term into the vocabulary of the north. Not content on having dual citizenship enshrined in the GFA, where one’s identity is designated as British, Irish, northern Irish or others, he advocates a further distinction ‘Northern Irelanders’.

And while Mr McNarry attempts to portray himself as the ultimate appeaser with a truly moderate approach, the tone and character of his diatribe suggests otherwise as he without fear of ridicule insults and mocks half of the electorate with his pious sentiments.
In his impish self-aggrandising he attests to the altruistic notion ‘unionists believe constitutional nationalists should be accommodated’. He is further bewildered at the conundrum of why there was a switch in allegiances from ‘SDLP to Sinn Féin – UUP to DUP’ which has left unionism dumbfounded.
This suggests he is ignoring the obvious and attempting to dismiss the 50 years of unionist misrule and sectarian practices from 1921 to 1971 – chief among the main protagonists was the Orange Order. During this period unionism sought to garner and feather their own nests promoting/imposing a narcissistic ideology which proved to be unfit for purpose. Equally with the scandalous RHI investigation laying unionism bare the present incumbents of the cause are also proving unfit for purpose.
Perhaps Mr McNarry should cease with the endless and tired old rhetoric and focus his energies on preserving the dwindling credibility of ‘modern unionism’.

Belfast BT1


Disturbed group of people can’t get enough of Brexit

I’m making an appeal on behalf of a very sad and possibly disturbed group of people who can’t get enough of Brexit. We eat it as our breakfast serial – Brexit crunch. Devour it with the lunchtime news, digest it in depth with our daily read and snack on it via social media throughout the day. Normal folk  shun us, avoiding any mention of the new ‘B’ word in case they are trapped into a conversation on whether Jean Claude Juncker’s choice of tie suggests a hardening or a softening of his attitude to Theresa May’s latest reheated fudge. Train spotters make jokes about us, beer mat collectors feel they can bully us and geeks turn up their pimpled noses when they’ve hacked our browser history. 

We peruse the internet for inaction figures of the main players in a reality show that makes Big Brother contestants seem interesting (I have two extra Arlenes if anyone wants to swap for a Rees-Mogg). We draw lines on Google Maps, our faces clammy with the perverse as we try to make a border that can be in two places at once and still not exist in either of them. String theorists have taken an interest since our efforts have strayed into the realm of quantum physics. We gather in dimly lit places such as the Back Stop bar, where we feel safe to debate the intricacies of just in time supply and chlorinated urinals. Emotions run high with outbursts of re-moaning and Brexit-tears as the latest news from Brussels and London is dissected with masochistic relish. A hundred years ago we’d have been in the front seats at the gallows. Now we watch as two countries drop, oh so slowly, through the hatch, their executioners insisting that they will hit the ground before the rope tightens. We need help – just keep voting these people in.

Belfast BT11


Dissenting opinions

Lyn Julius (October 15) writes that “the Arabs...begrudge the existence of the single Jewish State”. The Arab League doesn’t just begrudge, but rejects that it has to accept the concept of Israel as a ‘Jewish state’. A look at international and internal dissenting opinion in response to Israel’s Nation-State law would confirm that this view is not unique to the Arab League. As for the existence of Israel per se, in 2017 the Arab League declared its reaffirmation to the Arab peace initiative, proposals that would result in the signing of a peace treaty with Israel and the normalisation of relations, subject to the withdrawal of occupied territories, a just settlement for refugees and the acceptance of an independent Palestinian state.

Lurgan, Co Armagh


Abstaining on Brexit

I see that Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey has singled out People Before Profit, one of the smallest parties in Northern Ireland, for abstaining on an assembly motion calling for special status. 

While that abstention was certainly damaging, what Paul Maskey has carefully avoided mentioning is that when the SDLP proposed this special status motion, two Sinn Féin MLAs also failed to cast their vote – Alex Maskey and Chris Hazzard. As the motion fell by a single vote had these Sinn Féin MLAs turned up the result would have been quite different and the assembly would have clearly called for special status for Northern Ireland.

This act of abstention was in itself just as damaging as the one Paul Maskey has chosen to attack. More broadly it is because the assembly is silent and that seven Westminster seats sit empty that the DUP have a disproportionate influence on the Brexit talks. Sinn Féin’s inaction is amplifying their voice. 

SDLP, Balmoral


Dangerous utterances

Leo Varadker legitimises the IRA/UVF murderers by saying Brexit will cause the same dangers if the EU introduces a ‘hard border’ thereby giving open, unbelievable understanding for violence to erupt if he does not get his way.
Such an utterance is the most dangerous thing said by a taoiseach in 30 years. Britain could be blamed,easily, if his ‘warning’ is taken seriously, yet it is the EU’s action which is likely to turn our island into a convenient war zone, not Britain.

Does Leo know or care enough about this country?

Bantry, Co Cork


Chance for SF to earn Brownie points

Sinn Féin can out DUP the DUP by going into the House of Commons and outvoting them on Brexit issue. If Sinn Féin want to earn some Brownie points with Irish people they would do so. 
Just say its a special case. 

Dublin 14

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