We must shine light on those elements who put us in this dire situation
A talented young writer and journalist, Lyra McKee, now lies in her grave; a shameful, pointless and harrowing death that will further the aims of those who were responsible not one iota. Could the perpetrators now tell us all, particularly the wider nationalist community, if they think Irish unity is any closer because of this? Changing demographics, political shifts on polar scales within these islands, Brexit and a disintegrating Union have ensured that Irish reunification is no longer an ideal or dream but an actual reality within our grasp. Consequently is it not ironic, self-defeating and the height of total stupidity to believe that killing Lyra McKee or even the intended PSNI targets, will bring about this any quicker? Do these people not have the wit or intellectual capacity to understand that Irish unity has moved far closer in the past couple of years that it has in the past 50? Why don’t they put themselves in front of the people and explain their actions, ‘strategy’ and plans?
In a wider context Fr Martin Magill was fully entitled to challenge political leaders and demand they stand up and reach agreement but again we must be honest and truthful in this conversation. It is no good to take a broad brush and comfortably lambaste everyone. We must shine the light on those elements who have put us in this dire situation. It is no secret that in February/March 2018 Sinn Féin and the DUP had come to an agreement that was about to be signed off by both but some journalists revealed that hard liners within the DUP, Orange Order and loyalism vetoed it. Why did the wider media not investigate this or challenge the DUP on it at the time? Did it not suit their own agenda? Surely Fr Magill would agree that we should call out those who specifically deny language, equality and minority rights?
We currently have the most biased, one-sided British government ever in office that is totally dependent on 10 DUP votes to remain in power. London is in no way an honest broker as it is easily swayed by unionism on a daily basis. Add in to the mix Brexit and self-serving, 19th century colonial, Victorian fantasists within the Tory party who use and play the DUP like a violin at every turn.
To quote the great John Hume “There is not a snowball’s chance in hell” of a political solution within this context.
So, yes, let’s condemn those who foolishly and disgracefully still use violence for their agenda but at the same time let’s introduce honesty, facts and the truth about why the political institutions have fallen. It is not good enough to hide behind the lazy, stereotypical political and media narrative of ‘They are all as bad as each other’ that always acts as a cover and pathetic excuse for unionist intransigence, sectarianism and bigotry and allows the anti-Irish bigots and racists within the British establishment off the hook. Many of us want a political agreement based on equality and partnership but not one which, like the preceding Stormont farce, let’s the DUP treat it as their own intolerant fiefdom. Those days are gone forever.
A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content
I wish to use the medium of the letter’s column to inform Belfast City Council that in holding the marathon on the Lord’s day they are robbing God of his day and the people of their need of a stress free Sunday.
God created routine for the best use of our precious time. We need routine in our homes for our children, our work and every facet of life. Routine is not boring buts gives us foundation and certainty. Six days labour and one day rest is God’s routine. He hallowed that day (he made it holy) this is followed by God’s commandment in Exodus 20 Holy Bible to keep it holy.
Belfast City Council must remember and learn if need be that’s God’s commandments and people’s spiritual and physical welfare are never ever in conflict. Belfast City Council has a duty of care to employers and potential employers to provide them and ensure them that they have a well rested workforce not only for Monday morning but for the whole week. Have the run on Saturday, Sunday rest, and Monday work leaving Sunday free to enjoy Church as a family morning and evening, enjoy visiting the sick and the elderly also those in care. Enjoy Sunday meal’s together at home, then the workforce will enjoy getting up for work on Monday morning. The children will enjoy getting up for school and overall productivity will increase to the enjoyment of all employers.
I close with the old adage a Sabbath well spent brings a week of content. Belfast City Council should urgently reconsider your decision to hold the marathon on the Lord’s day.
Ballinamallard, Co Fermanagh
The address by Fr Martin Magill at the funeral service for Lyra McKee in St Anne’s Cathedral was, by any standards, superb, and was rightly given huge coverage both locally and nationally.
What was almost totally ignored was his explicit statement that his address was framed in an unashamedly Christian context. He was not speaking as an aspiring politician or media commentator, but as someone who, in his own words, was doing so ‘in the name of the Living God’. He was very careful, as a Christian thinker, to give full credit where credit is due, and to call out evil for what it is. In those memorable moments which electrified the congregation, we saw the power of an ‘ordinary’ member of the clergy applying Biblical teaching to our contemporary nightmare. He spoke ‘truth’ to ‘power’, as someone who had, on the face of it, very little power himself.
From time to time, a healthy society produces people of stature who not only have something important to say, but find the opportunities and the courage to say it. Lyra McKee was one such person. I suggest that Fr Martin is another. He must be heard.
NORMAN HAMILTON (Rev Dr)
Ballymena, Co Antrim
The murder of Lyra McKee has been viewed as the much-needed catalyst for the ending of violence here, once and for all. A premise which all decent people would uphold.
Nevertheless, many are also voicing a view that only the adoption of so-called progressive social norms, such as abortion, would be a fitting memorial to the journalist.
How can the condemnation of murder of one innocent person be immortalised with the condoning of even more reprehensible violence towards others, such as the unborn?
If such a mindset is allowed to materialise then it’s the legacy of the gunman and not Lyra McKee that has been immortalised.
Clonoe, Co Tyrone
The politicians are not showing their popular bases that the politics of the word is working – democracy – and have left space for the politics of violent deeds by dissidents. Political inaction and poor policing decisions provided the targets for rioting and shooting and contributed to reporter Lyra McKee’s death.
If the PSNI had not entered the Creggan, the event would have passed off peacefully.
Draperstown, Co Derry