Letters to the Editor

How do we explain ‘Hooded Men' without blaming Westminster?

Trevor Ringland (October 4) begrudges the ‘Hooded Men’ their court fight, putting British torture victims “well down the list” in his “hierarchy of wrongs that need to be investigated”. He opposes nationalists pursuing legacy justice, “whether they’re doing it through the ballot box or law courts”. Why should Irish nationalists  be allowed lawsuits or elected representatives troubling British rule?

Mr Ringland prescribes his reconciliation formula. Everyone else takes full responsibility for their actions in the conflict.
Everyone else repents political beliefs or “flawed ideologies” motivating their actions. See, hear, speak and remember no evil for which British rule and state violence could be faulted.

We pretend that Westminster had no responsibility for its Orange State, internment, Ballymurphy or Springhill massacres, collusion with loyalist killers and the like. Stop disturbing the crown with legacy cases in British courts, or by electing anyone who raises inconvenient truths.

If nationalists adopt this selective amnesia, (plus surrender hopes of a reunited Ireland), Mr Ringland feels, it would “free up future generations from the legacy of hatred”.

Mr Ringland’s hostility to the ‘Hooded Men’ fits in this puzzle. They were selected for internment without charge by British military. They were then selected to be tortured by British troopers.

How do we explain the ‘Hooded Men’ without blaming Westminster? How do we fault sectarianism instead of the British regime? Brian Faulkner wanted internment. Did Edward Heath, his cabinet and military, really have to approve and unleash British troops to begin internment, ‘Hooded Men’ torture and the Ballymurphy Massacre? Every court victory for these torture victims is a reminder that British officials backed Brian Faulkner with terror and repression because of Westminster’s deeply flawed Orange State hegemony and ideology.

Mr Ringland instructs the ‘Hooded Men’ to wait their turn. It has only been 48 years. There are unsolved killings of British forces more worthy of investigation than mere Irishmen being tortured. Does he imply the RUC did not bother investigating, when RUC members or British troopers were killed by the IRA? Did they jail 25,000 suspected republicans without really trying?

He urges “challenging those who want to chain us to the flawed ideologies which led to so much tragedy”.
I challenge you Mr Ringland.

New York


Playing out of legacy issue has had immense impact on Ireland

When the government and inhabitants of a country are militarily, economically and numerically more capable than a neighbouring country, and then attempt to colonise the neighbouring country, they would have to bear responsibility for their action in that country.

‘Legacy’ is a problem which Allison Morris discusses (September 19) in a local context but we must not forget that the concept and the playing out of legacy in a military/politico sense on this island has had an immense impact on Ireland.

Thousands of Irish citizens have been murdered, maimed, tortured, imprisoned and deported by successive British governments, an incalculable amount of hardship and pain wrought on innocents.

This was planned, thought out by successive British governments over a very long period of time and the key to this type of thinking was their willingness to sacrifice the Irish for their own ends for as long as they could get away with it.

They were responsible for the Stormont regime. They engineered the Plantation and created the grounds for the most sectarian society in western Europe and today are tearing their hair out about the backstop and British border they put in place to protect the unionist vote.

Derry 1969 blew that up in their faces. The world witnessed what the mother of all parliaments and the oldest democracy in existence was doing and how they were administering society and civil rights in the little colony that was bred on sectarianism in a northern corner of Ireland.

The recent ‘Troubles’ programme on the BBC wasted an opportunity to educate and inform the wider British public about what the British have been doing in the sequestered six counties was conceived and born into hatred and societal division though they did not choose to tell this story.

We know that recent secretaries of state know little about Ireland and Peter Mandelson acknowledges (September 29) in Tory party thinking ‘there isn’t just a lack of understanding about the
complexities of Northern Ireland but no understanding of the most simple details’.

I know Allison would like all this to stop but we’re going down the road of the snowball’s chance in hell.

Derry City


Sinn Féin’s advocacy for Stormont is hindering

ON The View last week, Mark Carruthers attempted to find out whether secretary of state Julian Smith would call a border poll, citing a recent poll that indicated a majority in the six counties would support a united Ireland.  Under the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) Mr Smith is obliged to call a border poll if he has reason to believe that a majority of the electorate here would support a united Ireland. However, Mr Smith indicated that he would not be inclined to hold a border poll because Sinn Féin has expressed its objective to get the Stormont Assembly and executive back up and running. It appears, therefore that Sinn Fein’s expression of wanting the Stormont institutions as functioning is being interpreted as an indication and justification for continued British rule.
Is Sinn Fein’s advocacy for the reinstitution of the Stormont institutions an obstacle to a border poll and Irish unity?

Belfast BT11


No answer to flawed question border poll

Fionnuala O Connor’s article (October 8), loaded with the euphemisms and clichés that have induced even normally civilised human beings throughout the world to accept the killing of fellow human beings in the womb, suggested that there was no answer to the question posed by a lady called Anna Soubry: “What are you going to do?  Make them stay in Northern Ireland to have children they do not want?”

There is no answer to that question, because it is a flawed question based on a false premise: that we own our children and, therefore, are entitled to terminate them if we do not want them.  ‘Terminate’ is a great word and mild; ‘exterminate’ is coarse, but unquestionably more accurate and meaningful.

We do not own our children.  They are not commodities.

As time passes and more and more people begin to realise the terrible violence and horrible evil that is abortion, our descendants perhaps will be asking: how could human beings have done that?   

Dungiven, Co Derry

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