Right to discriminate not one any legislator should accept
Newton Emerson – ‘Stormont talks show Sinn Féin’s nerves’ (June 6) – is singular in its failure to understand the unique circumstances of government in the north of Ireland.
As a sectarian state it requires, so that it does not relapse into conflict, a right of the nationalist minority to share in the administration of the territory. The unionist majority also rules, but may not exclude nationalists.
Newton Emerson’s attempts to depict the question of reforming the administration as one of government versus opposition is inapt in those circumstances. His analysis includes insults directed at republicans who remember those who suffered and died in opposition to an unjust state.
Sinn Féin’s attempt to form an anti-Brexit ‘remain’ wedge within the administration makes sense. If it reflects also majority views on equal marriage and abortion, that too should be welcomed. Sinn Féin demands DUP inclusion, since no administration is possible without representatives of the unionist majority. The fact that the DUP wishes to impose its religious prohibitions on the whole of society is a problem. It links to practices when there was single party unionist government.
A further complication the north labours under is that a crisis-ridden Tory government in Britain, which controls the purse strings, is targeting the poor and essential public services. All of the parties should form a mudguard against the imposition of cuts. Other parties should join a defence against attacks on the needy. If any party reduces this effort to one of party political competition or advantage, it is a mistake.
Nationalists are quite sanguine on the matter of democratic rights. If they are blocked in the peculiar six-county territory, civilised standards must be imposed from outside. There is no accepted right to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, sexual orientation or bodily integrity. In the US south, in days gone by, discrimination was upheld on the basis of ‘states’ rights’.
In Alabama recently, that is no longer able to frame racist laws, 25 male senators effectively denied all rights to termination of pregnancy, including in cases of rape and incest. They are the DUP’s US fellow travellers.
The right to discriminate is not one any legislator should accept, in government or out.
While this view is not shared by the DUP, it should be supported by Alliance and by the SDLP.
Chief constable’s remarks on policing ill-timed
The timing of George Hamilton’s remarks that Catholics must be encouraged by community leaders to seek a career in policing could not have been more ill-judged nor ill-timed coming as it did after the debacle of the arrest of two investigative reporters whose aim was to get the truth of who was involved in the Loughinisland massacre. A tragedy like so many that encompassed the potential of state collusion. These recent events challenge the chief constable’s assertion of an ‘honourable profession of policing’ and undermines and devalues the very idea of impartiality and unbiased law enforcement.
The search warrants issued for these two journalists described by a court ruling as ‘inappropriate’ may serve as a timely reminder to the Catholic/nationalist community that the PSNI remains steeped in protectionism and that its interests are the state’s interests which will trump the safety and interest of the Catholic/nationalist citizens at every turn. The PSNI continues to stymie and frustrate any challenge to their activities, past and present –despite the chief constable’s statement that ‘they must go where the evidence takes us’. I am sure these words ring hollow with the many families of the victims where collusion is strongly implicated. I am unclear as to what the chief constable’s intention was in issuing his statement. I am sure there are many more who share that uncertainty and scepticism. Because to my mind the evidence of the previous week certainly does not add up to an open and transparent appeal from a man whose organisation remains neither.
Common sense no guarantee of equality
Dr CiarÁn O’Coigligh – ‘Authors of ‘Open Letter’ have succumbed to the culture of entitlement’ (June 5) – professes to be “one of the more prolific academic and creative writers in terms of books and articles published”. He takes issue with the publication of an advertisement signed by 200 personalities supporting the need for an Irish language act. Who needs it? he asks. He says he is an Irish (he says Gaelic) speaker who lives in Dublin and is “affiliated” to the DUP. This got me thinking though. Who needs acts whether its Westminster or Dublin or anywhere? I mean common sense would have seen that education, votes for women, health care were necessary. Why have acts to make them come into being? The American Constitution’s first statement is “all men are created equal” yet it took an emancipation act to recognise that Afro-Americans were human beings – as well as a bloody civil war. So acts are important. They give recognition to matters of equality and concentrate the minds of all that diversity is good, life enhancing, and places a legal insistence on inclusivity. While I bow to Dr Ciarán’s self-proclaimed status, this ordinary mortal suggests he descend from his elevated plateau and see that ‘common sense’ is no guarantor of equality and that acts to ensure equality are necessary.
Within The Irish News May 30 I read two articles that may be said to encompass the future and the past. First an unctuous letter praising the arrogant and xenophobic Nigel Farage.
Second in the business section a leading cyber security expert hails Northern Ireland as an area boasting “world-class talent” and an “ideal location” for investment.
Farage’s obsolete empire ideas lack practical economic application. Young talented people want to embrace the future and currently digital businesses offer jobs and excellent salaries.
Many entrenched white, middle-aged men have had their political day and should now step aside as fusty and irrelevant as the calendar edges towards a new decade.
Craigavon, Co Armagh
I find it amazing that you should publish Francis Rice’s distortions (June 11).
The Khazar theory has long been discredited – Jews today are religiously, genetically and linguistically a middle-eastern people who have returned to their ancestral homeland.
If he has visited the West Bank, he would have seen magnificent villas and how life flourishes in Ramallah. Only Palestinian ‘refugees’ are kept in camps until their mythical ‘return’ to Israel. Where is his outrage at the obscene exploitation of their human rights?
Francis Rice’s attempt to apply the South African analogy to Israel, a liberal democracy, inverts the true situation. The families of the majority of Israeli Jews were driven out from ‘apartheid’ Islamic lands. Now it’s the turn of the Christians – who go back 2,000 years in the Middle East.