Letters to the Editor

Time to stand up for human dignity and the rights of the unborn

The Ballymena Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, representing approximately 20,000 people, mainly in the Mid and East Antrim Area, want to voice our outrage at the prospect of an almost unregulated abortion regime being imposed on Northern Ireland as a result of legislation passed at Westminster. That is unless of course a functioning executive returns to Stormont by October 21.

We call on the secretary of state to recall the assembly before October 21 and urge all our politicians in the strongest possible terms to do everything in their power to make this happen, in order to prevent the imposition of what will be the most radical abortion regime in western Europe. We also call for a moratorium on any changes to the current legal framework on abortion until there has been proper consultation with the people of Northern Ireland, especially health care workers, which takes into consideration how the best possible health care can be delivered for everyone in our society.

As Christians we believe that all human life is valuable and precious from conception to death and that the unborn is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Given the recent strong sense of public feeling expressed through pro-life protests, media articles, petitions and the joint Church Leaders’ Statement we believe that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland do not want any change to the legislation on abortion as it currently stands.

We are also deeply concerned about the lack of regulations regarding the provision of abortion services in the five months following October 21 where there is the potential for abortion on demand. Additionally, we want to voice our support for our health care workers for whom there will be no protection during this unregulated period. We are also gravely concerned with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s apparent belief that there is a human right to end human life. There should be a balance between the rights given to the mother and to the unborn child. Surely the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn children and all the potential that they have, deserve better?

As a Presbytery we also call on all our members to continue providing Christian love and care for everyone, with a special emphasis of practical and prayerful support for women and their families for whom these particular issues are very pressing.  God’s love displayed through Christ is still the core message which compels us and our primary calling remains that of bringing the Good News of the saving power, grace and mercy of the cross of Jesus Christ to everyone.

Moderator Presbytery of Ballymena



Cynical political statements far removed from truth


As part of the Boris-DUP blame game strategy on Brexit both Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds have launched an astonishing attack on the taoiseach and the tanaiste because of their response to the British prime minister’s latest proposals on Brexit.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds  ridiculously accused Leo Varadkar of using incendiary and outrageous comments and then claimed that he would “go down in history as the taoiseach who restored a hard border between Northern Ireland and
the Republic”.

These cynical political statements are far removed from the truth.

If the current negotiations tragically result in a hard border, an objective historical analysis will demonstrate that the only political party on the island of Ireland responsible for bringing about that situation was the DUP.

In their alliance with the British Conservative government, they betrayed the wishes of the majority of people in Northern Ireland who voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

Furthermore, on several occasions they aligned with hard-line Conservative Brexiteers and others to vote down Theresa May’s deal which would actually have prevented a hard border.

By their irresponsible actions, the DUP have put the Good Friday Agreement at serious risk. However, no-one should be surprised. We should never forget that when this historic peace agreement was signed, the DUP strongly opposed it.

Former Alliance leader, Co Limerick




British rule underlying cause of Troubles


The underlying cause of the Troubles was British rule over Irish people, which still continues. According to the Belfast Agreement, Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom, basically because unionists do not want to be part of a united Ireland. But this doesn’t give Britain the right to impose sovereignty over Northern Ireland.

According to Tom Kelly (September 23), “The bad times then were trivialised  – after all, we called them the Troubles. But it was more than that. It was a war. A terrorists’ war. A sectarian war.”

According to republicans it was, or developed into, an armed struggle for freedom from British rule. But according to unionists, republicans were trying to bomb Northern Ireland into a united Ireland republic.

Ultimately, Irish people need to accept that unionists will never accept a united Ireland, and unionists need to accept that Irish people will never accept British rule.

Belfast BT15



Brexit has no place in council debate


I was in the public gallery last month listening to the debate on Brexit at the Ards and North Down Special Council Meeting. While good intentions might have been behind the motion, Brexit is a Westminster issue and council is not able to impact how it is delivered. The motion ultimately went nowhere and the debate was predictably a divisive replay of the same arguments we have been hearing for years day-after-day. There was little discussion on how Brexit would impact Ards and North Down which for me was what I was really wanting to hear as opposed to Brexit discussion at a national level. The focus needs to be on what council can actually plan and prepare for at a local level rather than engagement in debates that ultimately go nowhere.

UUP, Newtownards



Retort missing the point


Professor Bill Tormey’s retort to Archbishop of Armagh (September 12) conveniently misses the point, as does the abortion industry and its advocates – the life of the unborn child. We are the only species who terminate our unborn and we are supposed to be the smart ones.

Every last person in Ireland should be shouting out in defence of our unborn children, our future.

Omagh, Co Tyrone



Antidote to faith



Thank you Professor Bill Tormey for directing us towards well-known atheist Christopher Hitchens as an antidote to our faith. Could I in turn direct him to a book by Hitchens’s well-known brother Peter. It is titled The Rage Against God and details his journey from militant atheism to Christian faith.

Belfast BT11



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