Letters to the Editor

Not too late to save our place in Europe

In 1849 at an International Peace Conference in Europe, Victor Hugo said that a day would come when the nations of Europe would form a European brotherhood.

Unfortunately his hopes were not realised. We suffered the devastation of two world wars before the countries of western Europe finally agreed to work together for peace.

More recently the admission into the EU of former communist countries of eastern Europe has brought them protection and freedom from domination by Russia.

The Balkan states are now resolving their differences peacefully after years of conflict.

In Ireland, north and south, our EU membership has contributed greatly to the peace process.

The EU is not just about trade, it is about sharing culture and values, about ridding ourselves of racial and religious prejudices.

Surely it is not too late to save our place in Europe.

Margaret Marshall

Belfast 8


Unborn left to their fate by main parties

Your correspondent, Martin O’Brien (Opinion, August 30), expressed disappointment at the failure of the SDLP and Sinn Féin to oppose abortion on demand being imposed on Northern Ireland by Westminster acting over the head of the Stormont Assembly, even though abortion is a devolved matter.

The SDLP is no longer in practice an independent party, but effectively the northern section of Fianna Fail, whose leader, Micheal Martin, would appear to be a supporter of abortion on demand up to 12 weeks and in tune with the new privatised morality expressed in the rights agenda that determines the self as the arbiter of right and wrong and which when claiming abortion is a human right, promotes the grotesque proposition it is a human right to kill a human being.

Likewise, Sinn Féin is also a strong supporter of abortion on demand, opposing in principle the right to life and supporting the taking of the life of the unborn which in some quarters is claimed to be a sign of social progress.

In addition, Sinn Féin will be aware that Westminster pushing Stormont aside has the political advantage of side-lining the people of Northern Ireland and promoting joint authority by the two governments in running the north. And while some in the DUP will want to defend the unborn it might also assist the DUP’s position to have Westminster re-establish direct rule authority over Northern Ireland and therefore, in conjunction with the return of an economic border as a consequence of an anti-European hard Brexit, assist the DUP undermine, if not destroy, the Good Friday Agreement.

Therefore for diametrically different reasons, the DUP and Sinn Féin might both desire the demise of Stormont and while same sex marriage provides the PC cover for these manoeuvres, the unborn will be left to their fate, barely an interruption in the ongoing sectarian grind of what passes for politics here.

Laurence Moffat



Impact of Jesus cannot be denied

Prof Bill Tormey (Letters, Sept 13) says "Religious faith requires the suspension of critical faculties, the blind belief in the highly improbable". I am indebted to Prof Tormey for the clarity of his logic, and the genius displayed in his choice of words. Has Jesus Christ once and for all demolished every human inspired religious system? Attempts to draw near to God relying on own efforts are doomed to failure, with the long shadow of Babel Tower's an archetypal description of this. Belief in a real person beats any vague religious system that demands "blind faith". The prophetic words of Isaiah 53, one of the shortest chapters in the whole bible, point me to Jesus and the Cross. The essay "One Solitary Life" is available on-line and has half a dozen or fewer incredibly short paragraphs. The impact of Jesus Christ on history cannot be denied and demands explanation.

T J Hardy



Forget Brexit - climate change is the real problem

While everyone is talking about Brexit, all the time we are failing to see the bigger picture and that is the icebergs melting in Iceland and Greenland that will lead to rising seas and oceans that may put Ireland and Britain under water and we as a people and nations are no more, like the legendary Atlantis. What is the answer to this except like Noah build an ark that will sail above the rising oceans? Are our towns and cities going to be like Venice, if they are lucky?

Why are our politicians not focusing on this rather than wasting our time on Brexit that will soon be a secondary matter as climate change is affecting us more as it becomes a reality?

Martin Ford



Make sure to get planning advice from the experts

I refer to recent articles about Trevor Clarke, MLA, and his planning consultancy business, “Versatile Consultancy”. (September 9 2019 “DUP MLA Clarke facing probe over triple garage built without planning permission”).

If any of your readers or other members of the public need advice about town and country planning matters, they are advised to seek help from professional planning advisors. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) ensures that those working in this sector have the technical knowledge and experience required to help others; when individuals meet the appropriate standards they are eligible to become members of the RTPI. The Irish Planning Institute operates a similar professional standard and membership. So when considering obtaining planning advice, the first question to the potential adviser should be what planning professional qualifications have they and are they a member of the RTPI or IPI. If the answer is negative, beware. Planning advice can be obtained from your local planning authority, from RTPI planning consultants, or from Community Places.

Rosemary Thomas, MRTPI (retired)

Belfast BT6

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