Letters to the Editor

Catholic Church is anti-woman

"The Catholic Church is far too harsh with women who become pregnant against their wishes and with women generally because it is led by males only"

The Catholic Church in Ireland has lost most of the working class. They are totally alienated and for good reasons. The Catholic Church is far too harsh with women who become pregnant against their wishes and with women generally because it is led by males only.

The Catholic Church in Ireland is too authoritarian and hierarchical. So-called ‘ordinary people’ do not count – except to pray, pay and obey.

It is time for change – for radical change. The people are the Church, not the priests or the bishops. They are there to serve the people.

Co Fermanagh


British prime minister not well briefed on Good Friday Agreement

Grounds cited for the claim contained in British prime minister Boris Johnson’s recent letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk that the backstop is ‘anti-democratic’, because it “affords the people of Northern Ireland no influence over the legislation which applies to them”, and because it would involve “removing control of such large areas of the commercial and economic life of Northern Ireland to an external body over which the people of Northern Ireland have no democratic control” are not valid. Unfortunately, this shows that the writer of the letter is not well briefed on the Good Friday Agreement.

An important part of the remit of the North-South Ministerial Council (para.17) is “to consider the European Union dimension of relevant matters, including the implementation of EU policies and programmes and proposals under consideration in the EU framework. Arrangements to be made to ensure that the views of the Council are taken into account and represented appropriately at relevant EU meetings”. Obviously, this provision would acquire a new relevance for Northern Ireland in a post-Brexit situation, but it means that under the backstop arrangement and continuation in the EU Single Market and Customs Union supported by a majority the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland do have a democratic channel in which to make an input into EU decisions to which they would be subject, on the assumption that the institutions are operational. Apart from this being done through the Irish government at EU meetings, in practice, the EU would also be bound to listen to representations from the British government on behalf of a part of the UK that was in a closer relationship with it. Appropriate and more detailed protocols could be drawn up between the governments and the EU to make sure the input mechanism that is already there worked effectively in the new situation.

Tipperary, Co Tipperary


Boris Johnson has put his money where his mouth is

After 953 days and counting and at a cost in MLAs salaries of £11,523,391 and counting; to witness our so-called representatives publicly foam at the mouth in consternation and pantomime horror at Boris Johnson’s proroguing of parliament was infuriating. For these politicos to harbour the temerity to explode in a paroxysm of hysteria at a politician honouring the pledge he made when challenging for the prime minister’s post spoke volumes more about them than it did about the man who was the target for such invective.

Like it or not, like him or not, unlike the politicians that we endure, he has put his money where his mouth is and not into an empty cask where a state of permanent stasis has been a haven for those unable and unwilling to take the difficult decisions that government demands. We have delivered unto ourselves a political Dodo that prefers endless argument and disagreement to grappling with the day-to-day issues and concerns that affect us all.

The letter that Johnson issued to MPs set out that government must regularly debate reports on the progress to restore Stormont which in itself must be an exercise in futility and financial folly in the pursuit of a legislature unfit and unprepared for purpose.

Maybe the threat to those who oppose the result of the referendum is just this. That the will of the majority will be carried out and democracy shall be seen to be done for good or ill and that threat places our political elite in mortal danger of being recognised for what they have become after years of endeavour – an irrelevance.

Belfast BT15


No appreciation of talent?

Even those of us who were not regular listeners to Sean Coyle recognised that he was the ultimate presenter in regional radio broadcasting. That someone in BBC Radio Ulster did not appreciate his talent is no reflection on the presenter. For the BBC to reject the heartfelt pleas from his many followers that he should be reinstated is an affront.

But we must remember that once upon a time the BBC stood for something. It was something with a culture, a code of behaviour, and a sense of decency of its own. All that is gone. The BBC no longer has any of the characteristics that make it socially appealing. It is a diminishing piece of nationalised property, run, in so far as it is run, by people in suits. It enjoys the itinerant jesters’ privileges without any responsibility to the people.

Sean Coyle was simply dismissed because of his positive means of expression with his thousands of listeners, and that he found himself articulate in their language.

Derry City


Time for compromise

A majority of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, a majority of MLAs support Remain, but we have the misfortune to be represented in Westminster by DUP MPs who take no heed of the wishes of the people nor of the warnings of business.

Now these DUP MPs are supporting the prime minister’s proroguing of parliament, which will make a disastrous no-deal Brexit almost inevitable.

Brexiteers in England do not care about the outcomes for Ireland – north or south.

In the European Elections Alliance’s Naomi Long was elected with the greatest number of votes showing that Alliance has a reach that no other challenger can match to secure Remain victories.

In the May Local Government Elections the Alliance surge saw it overtaking the SDLP, comfortably out polling it by 3:2 across South Belfast DEAs – showing that there is now one clear challenger to the DUP.

Every day we hear of more issues that cannot be dealt with because the assembly is not sitting.

A majority of MLAs want to be doing what they were elected for, but the extreme parties are unwilling to compromise.

More and more people realise that only Alliance offers a strong cross-community voice and a determination to deal with social issues such as tackling segregation, racism and sectarianism.

Belfast BT8

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