Letters to the Editor

Appeal for riot-trained officers could be a repeat of history

No-one in this world wants to see a repeat of history in relation to policing. Only the few want to see the police used to deliver by force any imposed political decision which is divisive and contributes nothing to the need for our communities to build trust and respect for each other.

I am genuinely worried that the much publicised appeal by the PSNI for riot-trained officers from England ahead of Brexit could turn out to be a repeat of history when unionists, 50 years ago, banned civil rights marches and then used the police to baton people off the streets. Surely not.

The PSNI has my support and will continue to have it for as long as it sticks to its core principles which is to provide a community-styled police service to everyone in a manner which commands the highest level of respect. If there is any indication that there is slippage back into a situation where police officers are used as a bulwark and begins talking again in the language of military-style policing I shall worry a lot that history could repeat itself. 
Delivering a police service in a divided society is a very difficult challenge but the rewards are great. Appealing to police forces in Britain for recruits to plan for riots is somehow out of kilter with the concept of a community police service in such a divided society and I worry about that.

There are still people who would murder police officers and have done so. They must not be given any opportunity to weaken the hard-earned trust between our police service and the community.
It has taken enormous effort to build that trust, to create confidence and indeed to encourage young people from all communities to join that service. I don’t want to see that destroyed by the emergence of riot police firing tear gas or plastic bullets in support of Brexit. That would be awful.

Yes, I know the chief constable will say he has to prepare for any eventuality but if I was in his position I would be making it clear that the police service would be a reluctant pawn in a dreadful decision supported only by a minority of people and increasingly shown to be a monumental mistake.
These same people in the past used the former police force to uphold their narrow sectarian policies and they showed little sympathy when 301 of them lost their lives.

Sending out e-mails to English shires for riot police is not the best use and deployment of senior officers’ time and it is counter-productive. Developing relationships with An Garda Síochána, as was intended under Patten, would be a much more intelligent practice and one that would be most likely to keep the PSNI away from the quagmire of divisive political decisions imposed by a minority of people against their will and without their support.

JOHN DALLAT
SDLP, East Derry

 

Confusion over ‘kingdom’ traceable to 1801 definition

Alan Day  – ‘Room for UK-wide unionist party which espouses devolution/federalism’ (January 9) – is confused about unionism and devolution/federalism. This confusion is traceable back to the confused 1801 definition – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. If at that time the kingdom had been defined as the United Kingdom of the British Isles the kingdom would have been defined as well and truly united. That was not done because such a definition would not have been acceptable to Henry Grattan’s Patriot party. In the compromise definition the words ‘and Ireland’ fractures the kingdom into two distinct regions so for any straight thinking politician this definition defines the kingdom as quasi-federal.

This is clear to Professor Bogdanor of Oxford, an authority on British constitution. He maintains that in a unified state if power is devolved to a region of the state it ceases to be unified but becomes quasi-federal. John Anderson another scholar and former president of the Forum of Federations sees devolution in exactly the same way.

For a 21st century federalist the relationship between England and Ireland is too complex to be contained in a simple sentence. A 21st century federalist suggests the following complex definition of the kingdom.  The Federal Kingdom of Ireland which includes the four historic autonomous provinces of Ireland with a reformed crown as head of state in all Ireland, the Federal Kingdom of Ireland being within the Confederation of the Isles of the North Atlantic.
This definition is meaningful in the 21st century.  The definition – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is constitutional rubbish and was done to appease nationalists
in 1921.

MICHAEL GILLESPIE
Kilfennan, Co Derry

 

Now much longer will RQIA’s delay be allowed to last?

Nichola Mallon MLA has said that she has had to chase various bodies for information regarding  the suspended neurologist Michael Watt (January 5). 

I can understand her sense of frustration. You reported last year (May 8) on my late mother’s case. I said then that I was planning to raise her case with the RQIA.
I saw the chief executive and the medical director of the RQIA on June 11 last year and was told that the review of the cases of deceased neurology patients would start in September. Since then nothing has been done.

The most recent letter I have received from the RQIA  (sent last month ) states that no date has been set for the review of the cases of deceased patients and that no remit has been established as yet. 

The Independent Neurology Inquiry is already established and taking evidence from witnesses. But the RQIA to date appears to have done nothing. How much longer can the RQIA’s delay be allowed to last? 

CDC ARMSTRONG
Belfast BT12

 

Brexit or Bremain?

For 40 years Britain has been a member of the European Community, major contributor and solid partner in a free, united, powerful and democratic Europe. The great European project is as noble, valid, and necessary as ever.
It is absolutely essential to peace and goodwill in Europe, across the globe, and to saving our planet’s seriously threatened eco-system. The European Union was a safe home for eastern European countries escaping the jackboot clutches of the Soviet Union.

There are those who want to create and exploit division in Europe, in the UK, and see in Brexit a form of Wrexit. They set at nought heroic sacrifices, sad death and injury of many millions in previous generations from catastrophic conflict and convulsion.

Back in 2016, people voted by, not a regional, but a small overall margin to explore the idea of Brexit. That has been done, finished.

Now in 2019, things are so different. Crunch time approaches. People now know so much more about the European Union, personalities involved, and the United Kingdom’s important place and leadership role in it.

The recent upheaval has paradoxically created new bonds, understandings and friendships between the UK and its European partners. It tested Europe’s unity and mettle but found it to be strong. Now the UK has to continue to explore a Brexit, or can instead choose to explore Bremain (Brefriend and Brenew).

In this phase, the British government and parliament has a clear duty, an urgent obligation, to put to all the people, now far, far better informed, a vital question.
Do we run with the Brexit deal or choose to Bremain? The choice is Brexit or Brenew.

JOHN J WARING
Castleknock, Dublin 15

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