Letters to the Editor

Theoretical leanings towards ‘generosity' could prove fraught with danger

Seamus Mallon is undoubtedly a much respected and experienced politician and we were lucky to have the Armagh politician’s counsel during the latest and most difficult years of civil strife in this corner of Ireland.

Should the unionist/loyalist people who deeply oppose the establishment of a 32-county state and are prepared to fight their move into a united Ireland then a simple majority of 50-per-cent plus-one will not have any great significance for them.

Were the majority to be 60 per cent this also would make very little difference. A larger percentage in favour of a 32-county Ireland will not alter feelings or emotions or a deep seated need among unionists to try and prevent a United Ireland.

One of the most important questions in a 32-county majority scenario will be how the resistance plays out on the ground and the orchestration of the resistance.

The most important outworking of a majority vote whether it is 50-plus-one or 60 per cent will be the context and management of the change. Preparations for such a vote should begin five years in advance of the poll.  Representatives of all security, political and religious shades of opinion should be regularly brought together to discuss the potential outcomes and responsibilities of the poll result.

Likewise, if the vote indicated a move to a 32-county Ireland then another transitional phase of five years would help meet the difficulties that have to be encountered. The same representative groups that met prior to the vote could help in this context as well.

The Ulster Workers strike (May 1974), was essentially a mass mobilisation of Protestant force, a huge bullying exercise that came about to stop power sharing with Irish nationalists and to oppose any proposed role for Dublin in the administration of the north.

All preventative measures should be taken to stop this happening again.

As regards Seamus Mallon’s theoretical leanings towards ‘generosity’, parallel consent or reaching out, this could prove to be fraught with danger. Certainly, the ‘reaching out’ can be done but the difficulty is that it may be thrown back in your face and perceived by loyalists/unionists as pathetic attempts at cajoling them into a united Ireland. Absolutely no in-built vetoes need be allowed in the context of the poll. It would be immensely less stressful for all the people in the north should Seamus Mallon’s concepts of achieving transition to a 32-county Ireland help the transition.

The nightmare scenario, however, must be prepared for.

This statelet of Northern Ireland, a construct of British sectarianism, was allowed to function and fester for many years until the boil busted in 1969. This allowed and encouraged division between the mainly Catholic nationalist community and the loyalist/Protestant community. Britain was the architect of this disaster, they can help take responsibility for the transition to a 32-county republic.

Derry City


Everyone knows what apartheid is without defining it

Tom Carew (June 3) has obviously devoted a huge amount of his time in identifying “...40 key constituent elements which defined historic apartheid in South Africa ...” but doesn’t elaborate on what these elements are. Surely every thinking person knows instinctively what apartheid is without defining it under “40 key constituent elements”. Most of us saw what went on in South Africa during the period that the apartheid regime was in power and there is no dispute anywhere in the world concerning what went on there during those terrible times for the black population.

But Mr Carew is not denying this reality. His thesis is that this abhorrent system of social control does not apply to the “only democracy in the Middle East”, Israel, despite the fact that many of the most important civil rights voices in the world have condemned Israel for apartheid against the Palestinians and other minorities.

In 2018 the Israeli parliament passed a law entitled ‘Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish people’, thus reducing the status of the non-Jewish population to second-class citizenship.
Is this not apartheid? If the Dáil were to pass similar legislation entitled ‘Ireland as the Nation-State of the Catholic People’ would this be acceptable to Mr Carew? It might be of help if Mr Carew would forward his “40 key constituent elements which define historic apartheid” as it just might help people escape the confusion about Israel’s apartheid.

Belfast BT9


Using term Jew is more headline grabbing

Jim McCormick – ‘Be kind to your neighbours’ (June 5) – asserts that he doesn’t “hate the Jews but I do hate the way they are treating the Palestinians”. He was of course referring to that very bloody day in May 2018 when Gazan rioters tried to breach the border with Israel only to be contained by the IDF. He makes no mention, however, of May this year when 690 missiles were fired from Gaza between  at civilian targets in Israel. Four Israeli civilians were murdered, thousand were traumatised. A massive war crime was committed. Finally, I have got to ask Jim McCormick to answer the question: why does he single out ‘Jews’ in his letter? He assumes that every member of the Israel Defence Force is a Jew. They most certainly are not. There are Christian and Muslim soldiers in the IDF. Volunteers, who love their country.
However I suppose using the word Jew is more headline grabbing.

Belfast BT10


Sinn Féin drubbing

Bearing in mind all the issues haunting Sinn Féin, it was no surprise they got a drubbing in the Republic’s elections. Some of these are as follows: continued glorification of bombers and gunmen; cover-up of sexual abuse of children; bullying and resignations of councillors; irrelevant when economy doing well; failure of MPs in Westminster and MEPs in Brussels to deliver; failure to govern and power share in NI etc etc. With all this baggage, the big question is – why do so many here ignore a future for our children and vote for them?

Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh


Dementia Action Week

I want to thank every person, all of your readers and the community as a whole for joining the conversation about dementia for Dementia Action Week this year (May 20 – 26).

Starting a conversation is just the beginning. Help us beat dementia by taking part in Cupcake Day tomorrow. Whether you bake it or fake it, you can sign up at cupcakeday.alzheimers.org.uk

Nominations are now open for the Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly Awards. If you know anyone who has made a real change to the lives of people with dementia, please do nominate them at www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiafriendlyawards

Alzheimer’s Society


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