Letters to the Editor

DUP's intense dislike of all things Irish preventing any Brexit compromise

Nationalists, even the middle class who were in slumberland for the past 20 years, must at last realise how they are regarded by some unionists, especially the DUP variety.

The DUP continue to pour out vitriol and hatred on the Irish government and oppositions and refuse to listen to good advice from any quarter, even from an excellent team of political commentators in The Irish News who showed unionists and nationalists the benefits of staying in the EU – of free trade with the Republic and England. There were no extra constitutional ties with the Republic except those already agreed in the Good Friday Agreement.
For the DUP, however, their policy of intense dislike and hatred of all things Irish, even the language, prevented any compromise on Brexit as they rush headlong into oblivion with Theresa May.

The SDLP, from the beginning, had a noble policy of power-sharing, reconciliation and peace eventually leading to Irish unity. These ideals were to be achieved in an assembly at Stormont and our leaders  and the rest of us spent a lifetime trying to implement them and unite ‘Protestant, Catholic & Dissenter’ for the benefit of the whole community. What we got for a few years was a reasonable effort to make it work by Trimble and Mallon – later by McGuinness and Paisley. After Paisley was removed the rot set in with each side doing their own thing with little or no consultation or agreement with the other side. The assembly and the executive became a charade – the best example of that is the ‘Ash for Cash’ where all the spade work was done by Spads instead of ministers.  There was no cabinet responsibility and no financial restraints and very few minutes of meetings taken.  The late Martin McGuinness knew this and when the DUP refused to recognise the Irish language he pulled the curtain down on a political situation that had lost all credibility. Recently Protestant sources have said to me that it is time the mess was cleared, and that can only be done, in their opinion, if Fianna Fáil came north because they believed “they would get a fair and just settlement from Micheál Martin”.

Today, in Northern Ireland, the people are more polarised and divided than ever.
The north has become politically incestuous, a cesspit of hate that has become ungovernable. What really and truly annoys me as well as all right-thinking Catholics and Protestants, is the so-called good advice from TDs and ministers in the Republic telling us to get back into Stormont as if they were herding donkeys.  These politicians are ignorant of Northern Ireland politics and of the 100 years of alienation and hurt suffered by so many. Their only aim is to keep Northern Ireland politics out of Dublin, pretend everything is great here, talk platitudes and pretend to care. If there is any party concerned in the Republic, let them come up here and help us offer real solutions to real problems.

Former Assembly member, Councillor and Elected delegate to the NI Peace Talks, Newry, Co Down


Seanad address indicative of changing dynamics of Irish politics

TOMORROW Seanad Éireann will make history when we receive an address from the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Deirdre Hargey. 

Cllr Hargey’s presence in the Seanad Chamber is indicative of the changing dynamics of politics in Ireland. It is unprecedented and would have been unimaginable just a few years ago –  but Ireland is changing. 

At a time of such significant political and societal shift, sustaining established and building additional links across Ireland is essential to the future well being of our people and our economy. 

I have no doubt that the mayor will bring with her a message of a changed Belfast, but a Belfast that is, much like many other cities, towns and villages throughout the country, worried and concerned about a tempestuous and uncertain future as a consequence of an unwanted Brexit being forced upon us against our will. 

In recent years our city has become a shining beacon for what  peace can deliver; granted we still have much more to do to make Belfast the city it can truly become; much to do in order to improve the quality of life and opportunities for our citizens, more to do to ensure linguistic, racial, cultural and ethnic diversity is protected, respected and celebrated – but today’s historic visit proves that building for the future and engaging the potential of the economic corridor between Belfast and Dublin is in the interest of all. With a particular focus on rights and equality, a just society, during her term in office, I hope the mayor also takes the opportunity to respectfully remind Dublin-based legislators of the need to ensure prosperity is shared and economic growth is felt right across society.

Now is the time for a greater focus on all-Ireland cooperation from local government structures, as well as the trade union movement, civic society, our business leaders and everyone else in between.
The mayor’s visit is an example of positive action and logical steps in the right direction. I encourage others to follow suit and will work to facilitate their opportunities to do precisely that in Leinster House.

I look forward to welcoming Mayor Hargey to the Seanad tomorrow and seeing this little piece of history made alongside my colleagues across the chamber. 

An Seanadóir, East Belfast


No justification for British sovereignty

Trevor Ringland (November 1) posed the question: “When the army arrived in Northern Ireland, why was peace and stability not restored? After all, they were welcomed initially by all reasonable people but particularly by the vast majority of the nationalist part of our community.”

There’s no mystery when you identify who’s who. The army referred to is the British army and the nationalist community are Irish people. British soldiers policing Irish people spells trouble. Imagine Irish soldiers policing unionists on the Shankill Road or Sandy Road. Incidentally, what’s reasonable about partition?

I agree that there was no justification for the republican campaign of violence/armed struggle. And there is no justification for British sovereignty over Irish people.

Unionists will soon be celebrating 100 years of separate statehood and self-determination. That’s the real divide. But the border marks a bogus north-south divide. It should at least be in the right place.

Belfast BT15


SF is worst party ever

I read in The Irish News that Mary Lou McDonald has said that Theresa May will go down in history as the worst prime minister ever. Does she not know that her Sinn Féin party will go down in history as the worst party ever in God’s eyes. To bring abortion and same-sex marriage to the island of Ireland is an insult to the Christian people of our land.

Co Armagh


Voicing concerns

Paddy Barnes co-signed a letter urging Leo Varadkar to protect nationalist rights in the north after Brexit. Paddy is a member of the British empire and should voice his concerns to London not Dublin.

Belfast BT11


Action Cancer says thanks

Action Cancer would like to thank everyone who contributed to its street collection in East Belfast on October 6. A total of £210.70 was raised.


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