Letters to the Editor

100 years on and we are being asked to fall into same trap

When people entered the ballot box at the last Westminster election and put their X against Sinn Féin candidates they swept Durkan, Ritchie and McDonald from the benches in the House of Commons. I am sure their first thought was not, ‘this candidate can best represent me by not representing me if my vote helps them get elected’ – certainly a strange kind of way for a voter to be asked to exercise their franchise, but that is exactly what has happened. Since the last election, having deprived MPs who would speak for the majority in the north, they left only the siren voices of the DUP, who claim to speak for all the people, obviously the English are totally confused by the whole border issue which. If this is the only voice they hear, of course they will believe that the people of Northern Ireland do not want the backstop and are prepared to take the word of the DUP and their Conservative allies on the border question. Well our forefathers took their word in 1922 and now almost 100 years later we’re being asked to fall into the same trap. 

Nigel Dodds, Arlene Foster, Sammy Wilson and certainly Ian Paisley do not speak for me nor do they speak for an increasing majority in the north who do not want anything to do with their Brexit. 

It is a shame and a disgrace that Sinn Féin do not fulfil their mandate having, as I said silenced the voices who did fight for us on the floor of Westminster.  

Sinn Féin maintain that the people who vote for them have given them the mandate to abstain. 

I have never seen a Sinn Féin poster telling people that “if you vote for us to represent you we will not represent you”. I have stood outside polling stations on many occasions and I have never heard that information given to voters when Sinn Féin activists are thrusting their literature in the faces of bewildered people who just want to cast their ballot without hindrance. It is definitely a strange way for a politician to represent their constituents and a tactic this time which is giving the floor to the DUP. Of course SF did this before, a century ago which helped bring about the border in the first place after once again they had supplanted the moderate Irish voice. 

It is a strange irony that the only MP who is representing my point of view and that of the vast majority of people (including SF supporters) in the north on Brexit is former Ulster Unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon – widow of a former RUC commander.
Fair play to her doing her best, in a very lonely position.

Newry, Co Down


Purveyors of revisionist republic should follow president’s lead

It is no surprise to see the president of the 26 Counties (not Ireland) has refused an invite to an event to mark the Soloheadbeg ambush, which is seen as the event which sparked the War of Independence immediately after the first sitting of the first Dáil in the Mansion House following Sinn Féin’s rampant win in the 1918 General Election across the island on a purely republican mandate.

As a republican, I’d like to welcome his decision and hope other purveyors of the revisionists republic (26 county state) will follow suit – they have no place there and any other event commemorating the progressive economic and social principles adopted by the first Dáil (the Democratic Programme). The first Dáil that Tipperary 3rd Brigade IRA defended that day in launching an attack on the RIC, did so in defence of the 32-county parliament in the Mansion House, which bears no resemblance to the plutocratic 26 county state we see today, which is a British construct, whose soil aim, from its inception, was to subvert the democratic wishes of the Irish people to placate the demands of an irrational, undemocratic and violent minority in the north of the island. 

Laughably, those today, sitting in Leinster House have erected a mural board commemorating the 100th anniversary of the All-Ireland Dáil, including an image of Cathal Brugha, who was murdered by revisionist Republic forces for defending the same Dáil they claim to be commemorating.
Brugha and others refused to accept the partition of the island and to being a dominion of the British Empire, taking an oath that he would be “faithful to HM King George V in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence of and membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations”.That is the legacy and foundation on which the state, which Michael D Higgins is the titular head of, is built.
So it I would hope other modern-day Free Staters and others  “who have brought on us nothing but shame” will follow suit and not be muddying the waters on what the first Dáil and the democratic programme represented, and desist from associating themselves with the process of its commemoration and celebration.

Clondalkin, Dublin 22


Border checks unavoidable

Nobody in the UK seems capable of cutting through the hubris with regards Brexit. You cannot run with the hares and hunt with the hounds simultaneously. If you have different customs, and different standards in place between the EU and the UK there will have to be checks  to protect the integrity of their respective customs and standards. As for the movement of people, if there is no border check between Republic and Northern Ireland and no border check between the island of Ireland and the island of Great Britain, what’s to stop someone from coming from any part of the EU to the ROI, then on to NI and then on to any part of the UK – and vice versa with UK citizens to the EU. There will have to be checks either somewhere between the Republic and Northern Ireland or somewhere between the island of Ireland and the United Kingdom, otherwise why Brexit?
Ireland was divided against the wishes of the majority of the Irish people, resulting in a civil war.
Is Ireland to be further divided by Brexit and at what cost to the Irish?
It is with much sadness I write the above. When Anglo/Irish relations were at an all time high, along came Brexit. It may surprise many that on a pro rata population basis there is a higher percentage of UK-born citizens living in the Republic than vice versa. 

Athlone, Co Westmeath 


Take action on street clutter

I am writing to highlight the issue of street clutter and how clearing it away could help get more people active.

Things like poorly-placed or redundant street furniture, such as defunct phone boxes or excessive poles for road signs, can seem harmless. However street clutter contributes to a less attractive walking environment and decreases everyone’s ability to get around safely. 

This clutter is creating unnecessary obstructions which are inconvenient for everyone and particularly problematic for people with wheelchairs, buggies, or those living with sight loss.

I agree with Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, when it says that by getting rid of unnecessary signs, railings, and advertising hoardings our streets can be made tidier and less confusing. Reducing street clutter and making attractive, interesting and beautiful public spaces is a major part of how we can create an area that is fit for walking and more pleasant to spend time in. 

Lurgan, Co Armagh

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