Opportunity to redefine and redesign society for future generations
It is now more than 600 days since the Northern Ireland Executive was collapsed by the actions of Sinn Féin and the DUP and with a sitting assembly. The purpose of this letter is not to explore the success or lack of that assembly in progressing cultural, social and economic development in Northern Ireland. Suffice it to say that there is considerable doubt about its effectiveness and little clear evidence of success.
That is not to say that the principles for power sharing established by the Good Friday Agreement were not sound. Those principles were a hugely important contribution to bringing about the relative peace that the youth of today grew up in. However, that peace has not been built on. There is a strong argument to suggest that the political infrastructures created by the 1998 agreement where transitionary, a means to and rather than an end in itself. In many ways, to create space to have open discussions about future political infrastructures and relationships, not only in Northern Ireland but across the British Isles – and to have those discussions in a peaceful climate without fear of retribution.
During these last 600 days what discussion that has taken place, and it has mostly been for the optics, has been about bringing the executive back, rather than the lack of effectiveness referred to earlier. The media has by and large bought into that position. It is likely to be at least the same length of time before there is any realistic prospect of regional government returning to Northern Ireland. We, civic society in Northern Ireland, should use that space not to lament the absence of an assembly, but to create a new debate about what we as a society want our political structures and systems of governance to look like. We need the voice of all sectors of society – health, the arts, education, the legal professions, the third sector and so on to call strongly for an end to the sectarian politics that we are all so tired of. To call for new and fresher options for robust and pro-active, transformational governance here. This is the time to create a seismic shift in what we expect from those who serve us in political and public office.
It is the time because there is a lacuna and there is a wider context created by the ‘Brexit’ vote and general disquiet in UK regions.
Let us not miss this opportunity to redefine and redesign our society for future generations.
Let us not be silent and passively accept many more decades of sectarian and divisive politics here.
Garvagh, Co Derry
Where is the empathy for injustices to Palestinians?
Teresa Trainor’s response (October 18) to my letter once again gives the rewritten Zionist history that she extolled previously.
In fact her recent letter is so unbelievable that I wonder where she gets her facts from. She states that the majority of Palestinians fled voluntarily, which flies in the face of an historical record. She should read David Ben Gurion’s memoirs in which he states the objective was to drive the Palestinians from their land, all of them.
“We must do everything to ensure the Palestinians never return. The old will die and the young will forget”. He further stated “there is a map of Palestine but our map will be from the Nile to the Euphrates”, thus giving a clear picture of Zionist ideology even today.
Has Ms Trainor heard of the massacres of Deir al Yasim in 1948? I have already mentioned a response to what she describes as the 1929 massacre of Jews but she forgets that it was an inter communal incident fermented by Zionist land grab and many Palestinians died as well. Why is the UN obsessed with Israel? she asks. I only wish it was. Israel has broken more UN resolutions than any other country in the world. Like most Zionists she trawls history to excuse the injustices against the Palestinians. If this lady can feel so much for injustices to Jews in the past where is her empathy for the current and much greater injustices to the Palestinians. Does she approve of ethnic cleansing and the murder of unarmed civilians? She lets the cat out of the bag when she says one only has to have one single grandparent to be Jewish and automatically become Semitic to gain entry while native Palestinians can only look at their homes through a fence and do not have such a right of return.
Great news for Derry
The diggers, demolition crews and steam rollers will soon quit the massive 15 acre Fort George site on Derry’s river front after levelling to leave it ready for building. This former army base must now be ring fenced for an overseas health products manufacturing plant. Derry, fourth largest city in Ireland, has no health product manufacturing jobs unlike Belfast, Dublin and Cork. Between them they are blessed with around 20,000 properly paid health product manufacturing jobs.
Sinn Féin must therefore persuade Fort George’s owners to ring fence this river front site for an overseas health product manufacturing plant.
Because Elisha McCallion MP pledged during the last Westminster elections she would work to bring properly paid jobs to Derry, she should also tell the Department for the Communities (DfC) – who have asked for expressions of interest – that the last thing Derry folk want on Fort George is yet another supermarket or hotel.
We want properly paid jobs, manufacturing jobs generated by overseas multinationals.
Society needs principled people
Listening to The Nolan Show (October 22) and the discussion about the unprincipled civil servants. The discussion ran around in circles and failed to identify the real problem, the ‘command and control structures’. It does not matter how many principled people you have within the Civil Service these people are generally targeted and driven out. People with principle and who are prepared to tell the truth in public and not welcome.
The whistle blower is the most genuine person in the system. They put their career on the line, which tells you something about their flawless character. You need heroes like them in the Civil Service, Health Service and old people’s homes to protect the vulnerable, sick and dying.
What have the politicians and the unions done for the heroes of our society?
Draperstown, Co Derry
To use an Ulster idiom, no harm to you taoiseach but when you suggest that terrorism will be the natural consequence to an unsatisfactory cross-border agreement it sounds like an open invitation to those who would carry out such an atrocity. No doubt this will coincide with another of your nebulous utterances like banning UK airlines from Irish air space. The beholden diplomacy which you exhibit to EU negotiating ministers is cringe worthy and no doubt they will reward you by making Ireland a province of Europe. When Ireland’s taoiseach succeeds in portraying DUP members Sammy Wilson and Gregory Campbell as dyed in the wool liberals it really is time for the last person out of here to switch off the lights.