Letters to the Editor

Chance to express concerns about government's proposals

The government has recently launched a consultation on its proposals for a redress or compensation scheme for victims of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.

As survivors of abuse in children’s homes ourselves and as representatives of local victim and survivor groups, we know that no financial redress will ever be able to compensate for the cruel suffering which we and thousands of others experienced as children in supposed ‘care’ homes across Northern Ireland.

But redress is one way in which the government, and the other institutions which were responsible for running these homes, can demonstrate true remorse and fulfil their responsibilities for the consequences of their past failures.

We know, from talking to large numbers of victims and survivors of such abuse, that many have deep concerns about the government’s proposals – in terms of low levels of recommended compensation, how the scheme will be run and the way in which eligibility will be decided.

The consultation provides an opportunity to express the views and concerns of victims and survivors about the proposals. We encourage all survivors to take part in the consultation and make their voices heard.

To assist victims and survivors (and others who may wish to respond to the public consultation in support of victims), we have created a simple online form and website at www.hiainfo.org. It contains some recommended answers based on the consultation work we have already conducted with abuse survivors, with the support of Ulster University and Amnesty International.

The online form only takes a couple of minutes to fill in. You can edit all responses to give your own view and, once you complete the form, you can automatically send it to the government as your consultation response. Note that you do not need to have participated in the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry in order to be potentially eligible for redress or to respond to this consultation.

The consultation closes on Sunday February 10 2019. The online form and useful background information are available at www.hiainfo.org.

Survivors North West

The Rosetta Trust Survivors Group


Britain couldn’t run an ice cream parlour in Bognor

I cannot call him sir, as only men from Derry address other men as sir.
Jeffrey Donaldson when asked on The Nolan Show how he planned to control immigration into Northern Ireland his answer was that the Republic would be taking care of that.
My question to him is how would that operate as both he and all DUP members state publicly that they do not advocate or want a return of a hard or manned border across Ireland. As we already know any member of the EU countries can enter the Republic legally. 

What is to hinder workers from crossing the British imposed border into Northern Ireland? It would be nice to know what the southern border control will tell these travellers when they get of the plane. Will it be that they can’t travel up to the north or into Ulster but must stay in the south?
Obviously they will have to quantify this by telling them they will be legally allowed to live, work and travel in three counties of Ulster – Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal. 

So please Jeffrey, or any Brexiteer, explain how do you plan to deal with the above scenario?

The answer will make very interesting reading as your stated reason for Brexit is to take back control of your borders immigration and money.
Finally, it is not one bit of wonder
that the world’s media are flocking here in bewilderment at how we run our affairs. How sad and to think Britain once run an empire so large Churchill said the sun never sat on it and now they couldn’t run an ice cream parlour in Bognor.

Banbridge, Co Down


Food for thought at Christmas

I notice more and more Churches advertising Christmas Tree Festivals or exhibitions with a range of decorated trees on display in their sanctuaries. What is the significance of the trees that they are displaying in relation to the doctrine of their faith as I note that non-Christians, commercial businesses and even atheists also follow the same custom of putting up decorated trees? 

The only verse I could find in the Bible concerning decorated trees was a section in Jeremiah 10:2-5 where God denounces the practice as futile: “Thus saith the Lord ‘Do not follow the way of the Gentiles (pagans)... for the customs of the people are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails so that it will not topple.” 

This bears a very close resemblance to the current practice of decorating trees for Christmas, but here we can see that such practices are very clearly pre-Christian and furthermore condemned by God. How can the Churches reconcile this practice in their buildings today which many call the House of God?  
Just food for thought for the Christmas Day conversation.

Bangor, Co Down 


Fixation with Knock apparition

As a long time daily reader, I’ve noted that the letters you receive and put into print are on a varied and interesting range of topics. Many appear to come from regular contributors and quite often provoke a reaction in some shape or form.
One such person (Jack Duffin) though, has had five letters printed in the past year, each displaying his apparent fixation with one subject – the apparition at Knock. He is no doubt a sceptic; to the extent that he has suggested that the Church had both the motive and the means in the late 19th century to purposely deceive its people. More than a mere handful of whom, have been recorded as having been witness to this miraculous event. 

Could I just say to Mr Duffin, respectfully – ‘to those who believe, no explanation is necessary and to those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible’. 

Belfast BT12 


Sickened by racism in sport

As  someone who is sickened by the constant racism shown to all players at sport fixtures may I suggest, that as a show of solidarity, that whenever this disgusting feature is allowed to vent itself, that all sports people involved in that fixture being played, no matter what sport, just simply walk off the field.  You can be guaranteed that it won’t be long before the general public turn on these racists for good.

Clondalkin, Dublin 22

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