Letters to the Editor

Abysmal attempt by NIO to conceal murder of Irish children

One of the most bitter and divisive issues that keeps the political and sectarian pot boiling here in the six counties was highlighted in an article The Irish News (April 19).

The Pat Finucane Centre describes how two children were killed in Belfast and Derry. Julie Livingstone (14) hit by a plastic bullet fired from a British army vehicle (May 12, 1981) on Stewartstown Road, Belfast and Paul Whitters (15), struck by another plastic bullet fired by the RUC in Derry (April 25,1981).

The emotional fabric of many families has been ripped apart when they have lost loved ones and close family members to the violence inspired by British involvement in Ireland. The British government and their conduit the NIO, have closed the national archives file on Julie Livingstone for a further 45 years, another 40 years being added to Paul Whitters’s file. They have extended the general file on plastic bullets also by 40 years until 2071. What are the real reasons for doing this?

The hope for resolution that these families might have had is destroyed by these decisions.

However, this callously crass and pathetic approach at preventing closure for the families by the British should be challenged.

Representatives of the government crow on a daily basis for the return of a fully functioning assembly at Stormont.

No political assembly on these islands, gathered in the name of democracy, should act in the way the British government has acted in their abysmal attempts at concealing the murder of Irish children on the streets of Belfast and Derry.

Many political commentators have questioned the astuteness of different secretaries of state over the years and their ability to understand the dynamic of why Britain attempted, historically, to colonise and subjugate Ireland and how those attempts played out on the lives of Irish people.

Do they not realise that sitting in a Belfast or Derry house where children have been killed with plastic bullets is every bit as anguished and vexed for family and loved ones as sitting in a house in an English City where bombs have killed innocent people.

Should the killing of children by plastic baton rounds have happened in Finchley would files on the killings have been closed for 40 years?

Closing these files because of ‘health and safety’ reasons and ‘personal information’ demonstrates the absolute and utter contempt the British security force apparatus along with the NIO have for the deceased’s families and the Irish people.

V McCULLAGH
Derry City

 

God can use suffering to bring positive results

If God is all powerful and all knowing why is human suffering permitted? Would a holy and sovereign God allow the chaos and pain we see? William Scholes (Opinion, May 11) is to be commended for a fascinating exploration of this difficult topic.
GK Chesterton advised a great English writer not to complain about the problem of suffering. If there is no God, there is no-one listening, and the matter is barely worth ruminating on. This defensive parry, like almost everything from the pen of Chesterton, may be more subtle than it at first appears. The cross reminds us that God can use suffering to bring immensely positive results, and that God is not immune or blind to human suffering. God is no abusive parent, malevolently playing with humanity as rats in a maze (‘The Moriarty Hypothesis’).
The ending sentence of William’s excellent article was very thought provoking: ‘this counter-intuitive proposition at the heart of Christianity is troubling and contentious for many...’. Until relatively recently many Irish people may have been indoctrinated to accept the rational basis for the tenets of the Creeds, but to keep their doubts largely to themselves. It sometimes feels as if there is an inversion of the traditional position when speaking to younger people today.
Do some younger people innately suspect or hope, that the survival of the odd sounding spiritual message of the Church, might possibly be explained by it being true? In contrast to earlier generations, they seem confident to express scepticism, but maybe less well grounded in the abundant positive evidences for our Lord’s birth-death-resurrection.

THOMAS HARDY
Belfast BT5

 

Polemical unionist viewpoint

Fionnuala O Connor (May 14) quotes Brice Dickson’s recent comment, that ‘government’ is a much more basis right than same-sex marriage or an Irish language act, and that his gay and Irish language friends resent being used as part of a wider political game.
Fionnuala’s only observation is that ‘it was an odd offering from an academic, polemic infused with personal testimony’.
To describe Dickson’s comments as ‘odd’ comes nowhere near doing it justice. As a distinguished academic lawyer Mr Dickson is a person whose views should normally deserve a considered hearing. But this is one occasion where a most cursory examination of what he says exposes both its absolute nonsense, and, arguably, a polemical unionist viewpoint on the current issue of people’s rights in the North of Ireland. How can any sensible commentator lump together all forms of ‘government’ as constituting a basic right? Given the world history of totalitarian ‘governments’ and the harm wrought by them on human rights over the centuries, such a proposition is demonstrably false and risible. The espousal of citizens’ rights is the hallmark of ‘good government’. The denial of those rights marks out ‘bad governments’. These two ‘governments’ are, plainly, not the same thing.

PATRICK FAHY
Omagh, Co Tyrone

 

Expenses farce needs to be halted

I find it very upsetting, even bordering on mind-boggling, that some of our British members of parliament are still lining their pockets (as published in the Sunday Express), contrary to the Independent Parliament Standards Authority.

Apparently 377 MPs (well over half  of parliament) have had their official credit cards suspended, but more worrying than that, this same Independent Standards Authority, it is claimed tried to stop this news getting out to the public domain.

A few of those politicians who are named as offenders were Jeremy Corbyn, Chris Grayling, Richard Burgon, Keith Vaz, Claire Perry and our own Ian Paisley jnr.

This article also claims this expense channel has risen since 2009 to date by 20 per cent, to a cost of now £120m.

If found correct, proceedings should take place to at least stop this farce once and for all.

HARRY STEPHENSON
Kircubbin, Co Down

 

Offensive name mars great idea

The greatness of the idea of an alcohol-free bar in Dublin (May 10) is marred by the blatantly offensive name given to the bar – ‘The Virgin Mary’.
It is sacrilegious and totally unnecessary.
Not only is there a ‘cultural shift’ from alcohol, as the owner says, but obviously a shift from any respect for the Catholic faith.

EILEEN FORDE
Belfast BT9

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