Letters to the Editor

Time for new policies which demand respect for Irish national rights and advocates

David McNarry’s exasperation with those thinking Ireland should have its say about Brexit, reminded me of Leon Uris’s fictional Unionist MP, Hamilton Walby, in the novel Trinity.
Walby pompously extols British rule to croppy constituents, unaware that his speech reminds them of being oppressed. 

Mr McNarry pompously says “butt out and let go of the border”, unaware he reminds us of what we have been saying to Westminster since partition. 

Mr McNarry makes no distinction between Dáil political parties, scolding Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, and presumably others in between. They are all ‘bitter’, ‘arrogant’, ‘relentless in causing division’, allied with ‘Brussels bully boys’ in ‘a war of anti-British, anti-unionist agitation’.
Why try persuasion and miss a chance to insult nationalists?

Cutting through the name-calling, Mr McNarry thinks it is ridiculous to see the Irish take the border “which never figured in the referendum debate” and “plank it centre stage as a blocking mechanism”.
McNarry is correct that Ireland was given little say and less thought in the referendum by little Englanders who imagined Brexit heralding a return to Empire glory.

Millions in the 26 counties had no vote. Enda Kenny was reduced to appeals to the Irish residing in Britain.

The six counties, like Scotland, rejected Brexit. These majorities were dismissed. Arlene Foster lectured that no region within a country can veto the wishes of the majority of the whole country. Foster was then first minister of a six county region within Ireland whose founding principle is that a British-backed unionist minority vetoed the all-Ireland democratic vote whose centenary we celebrated last month and can forever veto any all-Ireland vote.

There was no shortage of voices arguing that Britain’s exit from the European Union threatened untold economic consequences for Ireland north and south. Irish advocates highlighted disastrous trade and travel restrictions, potential losses of EU funding and recourse to European Courts.

They ‘never figured’ in the Brexit debates only because they were ignored. Why should disastrous consequences for Ireland be allowed to get in the way of imagined Empire glory? 

Mr McNarry resorts to childish name-calling because those advocating Irish interests about Brexit can no longer be ignored. How dare Ireland ‘plank’ its own national and economic interests in the path of British interests? How dare Ireland join ‘Brussels bully boys’ in negotiations, instead of being bullied by Britain? 

If Mr McNarry’s dismissive name-calling represents the broader unionist perspective, after decades of outreach policies, it is  time for new policies which demand respect for Irish national rights and advocates.    

MARTIN GALVIN
New York

 

We all would’ve been better off without partition

With the centenary of the 1918 election just passed and the centenary of the first Dáil almost upon us, it is long overdue to explain that partition was not necessary and that we all would have been better off without it. A basic examination of the arguments for the 1921 treaty shows that they do not stand up to scrutiny. It was said an immediate terrible war and a civil war would occur without implementing the treaty. The civil war happened immediately after as a direct result of the treaty. When the Troubles are considered that is two terrible wars as opposed to the one that Lloyd George threatened plenipotentiaries with. An argument for the treaty was that it would bring peace. That is ludicrous given the aforementioned wars yet people made the same inane assertions about Sunningdale and the Good Friday Agreement.
There are numerous commentators, who are given an excessively superfluous media volume, who make the same point advocating for the St Andrew’s Agreement while ignoring that there isn’t an absence of political violence at present, with state actors responsible for much of said violence. All of this was unnecessary and avoidable. As T Ryle Dwyer’s biography of Éamon De Valera noted, De Valera was negotiating with James Craig prior to the treaty. This is significant as we all now know that James Craig became the first Ulster Unionist premier. De Valera and Craig were negotiating a federal Ireland with an autonomous Ulster province. If these negotiations had been persevered with, we would have something akin to Republican Sinn Féin’s policy of Éire Nua and such an outcome would have rendered the treaty negotiations moot and redundant. Republicans have to be strong at emphatically articulating these facts, especially in the present times.

ÉAMONN MacGRIANNA
Belfast BT11

 

Compliance politics

Fianna Fáil, permanent junior partner to a Fine Gael government, are in the process of hatching another ‘confidence-and-supply-deal’ with them.Another rotten egg in the minds of voters who think for themselves.

To say FF and Micheál Martin are being utterly useless towards its responsibilities to constituents while this kowtowing continues as if part of government, is beyond embarrassing and utterly undemocratic when pretending to be the main opposition alternative to Fine Gael in government.

Mr Martin will claim the nonsense is to avoid ‘economic chaos’ – or something much less important...like habitual FF laziness.

When did Mr Martin decide that cosying up to the Varadkar rule of novelty politics takes precedence over the priority of those who voted Fianna Fáil?

Where is the progress seen as a result of this capitulation? Nowhere.

The problems faced by the citizens have not reduced one iota, so for Micheál to continue down the lengthy path of compliance only leads to the once safe-ish belief that FF worked on behalf of supporters and the hopeful, is not now worth the paper the ‘pact’ is written on.

ROBERT SULLIVAN
Bantry, Co Cork

 

Factually incorrect

Steven Jaffe (December 24) needs to get some facts right. He states Yitchak Rabin was the first Israeli-born prime minister. Amazing stuff giving he was born in 1922.
The fact is he was born in Palestine long before the land was stolen from the Palestinians by the Zionists. 

LIAM McCONWAY
Co Derry 

 

Christmas tree not a pagan symbol

Regarding the significance of the Christmas tree for Christians (Colin Nevin, December 19) I believe when St Boniface left Ireland in the eighth century, to go and preach in Germany, he had difficulty in explaining the Holy Trinity to his congregation. He indicated a pine tree saying the top of the tree pointed to Heaven and God, the two bottom pointed ends symbolised Jesus and The Holy Spirit  and the rooting system was the Earth. Hence the star at the top eventually  represented the Heavens as time wore on. I do not think there was anything pagan involved.

JOHN McCARTNEY
Derry City

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