Letters to the Editor

No point fighting for united Ireland when only the elite will enjoy the spoils

There is no difference between being British or Irish when it comes to the social gap or economic divide on the island of Ireland. The Irish revolution against the British lord-system did not last too long. The Irish land and property lords have taken up where the British left off in putting people on the streets because they cannot pay soaring rents. What has really changed since the British left the 26 counties? One class system was replaced by another, which is just as stifling, just as repressive, just as exclusive. We have great masses of people out their marooned on welfare, socially excluded to an extreme degree and as a final insult they are brazenly criticised for being unemployed. No-one will argue for a second that the welfare bill is soaring. And let’s face it, if government put a fraction of the amount spent on welfare on quality job programmes we would hardly need a welfare system at all. You’re either rich or poor in this world – you are either in or you’re out, and buried on the dole, where others can get a good job as easy as turning on a light switch. Sinn Féin should de-prioritise their struggle to get the British out of Northern Ireland and continue to fight the fight which needs fighting, which is the cause of underclass, marginalised, and forgotten. This is where they get most of their support in any case. More and more people are spending what is an existence, not a life, in this world, who cannot buy an ivy league education ie buy a job.
There is no point in fighting or struggling for a united Ireland when only the elite will enjoy the spoils. If a 32-county state would be the same as the Republic more or less – the rich, the poor, the underprivileged, the middle-middle, the better-off working, the upper, the super rich, etcetera, then what is the point? Division, division, while the suffering goes on and on.
Is it right that someone has one glass of water to drink, while another has 10?
We live in a narrow-minded world where economic division is crass, unignorable and potent. The republican struggle is substantially thought of in terms of occupation, but we all know that freedom is relative and Ireland seems to be a place where the rich get richer and the poor get an apology with welfare. If the welfared become homeless, they will live in a cardboard box on the street and will be stigmatised and labelled as drunks and druggies and any other branding. The republican struggle began as a civil rights movement in the late 1960s, and ironically the same struggle is there today in economic terms.
For one reason or another depending on your caste, you are treated differently, in a society where welfare bills are as high as mountains; in an Ireland and a world reeking of division, caused by social engineering. Is there a shred of commonality left among people anymore which wealth and privilege has not destroyed? 

MAURICE FITZGERALD
Shanbally, Co Cork

 

North slavishly following Tory friends over parking charges

As we draw towards the end of 2018 with the various Brexit protagonists temporarily silenced – some of them may even be in Sri Lanka or The Maldives for the Christmas break – news headlines are focusing on more mundane issues like hospital parking charges.
There is an outcry, particularly in England where, unlike Scotland and Wales, charges have been dropped. The English hospitals, in classic Tory fashion, are pursuing the lucre and at the expense of sick people and their relatives not to mention their hard pressed staff. Guess what, Northern Ireland is slavishly following their Tory friends in England – we have exactly the same situation as the now indignant English public.
I, personally know a lot about this particular subject. In 2013, one year after the new parking charges were introduced at Antrim Area Hospital, I, as a then local councillor, took up the issue with the then chief of the Northern Trust. My questions included: How could the hospital parking charges be three times more expensive than in the centre of Antrim, where people came, by choice, to shop? This in sharp contrast to the staff and visitors at Antrim Area who did not have the luxury of that choice. I called it what I truly believed it to be – a tax on
the sick.
I got a response along the lines that the profit from the parking fees was being ploughed into front-line services. In other words the visitors to sick relatives plus the hard pressed staff of the hospital were supplementing the hospital running costs. All the happily healthy people of the borough were excluded because the hospital was unable to snare them in their net. I was livid then and seeing the same issues getting major air time five years later, reminds me that we live in a very clinical and uncaring society.
I noted in 2013, that apart from fellow councillors from my own party, I singularly failed to get cross-party support for an issue that was the most scandalous of my time in the council. The two big parties who continue to dominate northern Irish politics, were not interested in the issue and it died an untimely death. I wonder will our favourite followers of English fashion act in the event of a change of heart on this matter by their English masters. 

KIERAN McMULLAN
Randalstown, Co Antrim

 

Profound ignorance

The ongoing debate about Brexit is now getting ugly with the former Tory cabinet minister Priti Patel voicing her warped opinion.

After a leaked UK government report stated there could be food shortages in Ireland in case of a no deal Brexit, Patel commented that warnings should be used to force the Irish government to capitulate on the backstop. Her profound ignorance and insensitivity about our history is greatly insulting. Food shortages in Ireland during the Great Hunger saw the demise of two million people, while our brutal colonisers had an abundance. 

Thankfully, we are now one of the most secure food nations in the world.

Patel is a divisive individual and her time as international development secretary proved extremely controversial. She was responsible for freezing badly needed funding to the well deserving Palestinian people, while on the other hand taking time out to visit Israel and engage in arranging funding for projects in the occupied territories with the Netanyahu government without the approval of the foreign office. This irresponsible act, resulted in her resignation.

FRANK GLYNN
Cricklewood, London

 

Deceitful referendum

EU Referendum date was June 23 2016. We are almost daily informed by the local DUP exit crowd that 17.41 million voted to leave.  However, 15.19 million leave notes were cast in England.  That is 87 per cent.

Essentially an English departure problem as evidenced by the civil war in the Tory Party. A feeble PM is in power because of support from a flag-obsessed DUP.

The Labour Party is an insipid opposition. A no confidence motion should immediately be tabled and hopefully terminate May’s shambolic and useless government.

A deceitful referendum victory was based on fanciful tack of an invigorated and profitable Britain. The exact opposite is happening.

The imposed union acts will leave John Bull in splendid isolation can reflect on a past empire. The Celtic nations may plan without London interference.

BRIAN WILSON
Craigavon, Co Armagh

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