Letters to the Editor

‘Citizens Assembly' has no right to interfere with north's constitution

In recent times there has been a number newspaper  articles continuing headlines regarding the unification of Ireland, including that relating to a letter containing 1,000 signatures, as published in The Irish News and The Irish Times  (November 4), from an elitist group calling itself ‘Ireland’s future’.
In brief, the group is urging the formation of a ‘Citizens Assembly’ to examine, and obviously to promote, Irish unity. The letter also embraces the issue of Brexit and those who wish to remain in the EU.

Firstly, I think it’s quite reasonable for outside observers like myself to ask as to who this elite, self-appointed group representing the academia, arts and businesses think they are in interfering with the constitution of Northern Ireland and the rights of the British and pro-unionist peoples therein? Interference that also extends to the democratic outcome of the UK’s European Union Referendum of 2016.

Evidently it must be the case that the Irish history books and newspapers that adorn their libraries, not to mention their wall-to-wall flat screen TV sets, are devoid of any mention to the centuries of hatred towards the same British and pro-unionist peoples, as championed with great vigour by Sinn Féin and their dormant IRA activists.
Then we have the continuous celebrations of the IRA’s slaughterous past and commemorations to their hunger strikers.
In another Irish Times article (October 26) – “Dublin must reassure Unionists in relation to United Ireland”, Noel Dorr goes to great pains to clarify that a united Ireland would only be ‘wanted’ if it could be achieved through ‘harmony and friendship’ in accordance with Article 3 of the Irish Constitution.

Expecting meaningful harmony and or friendship towards the British and pro-unionist peoples from Sinn Féin and their republican ilk is akin to expecting penguins to fly off to the moon – it’s never going to happen, but if a united Ireland ever does otherwise come about it’ll not be, I imagine, the elitist ‘Ireland’s Future’ group who’ll be hanging around to be left to their mercy.

It’s little wonder then that the “Youth in the North have little appetite for United Ireland” either, as per Justine McCarty’s article in The Sunday Times (October 27).

ARCHIBALD TONER
Dromore, Co Down

 

People’s focus should be on restoring good government to Northern Ireland

Mike Nesbitt was widely mocked for the “vote Colum, get Mike” strategy after his party formed an official opposition with the SDLP.
Actually, with the UK government and its Irish equivalent focused on keeping Sinn Féin happy, the alternative was always, “vote Martin McGuinness and get Ian or Peter”.

This tactic was unnecessary when the vast majority of us just wanted  a politics that would make this small part of the world work.
We deserve better than the situation, engineered by the governments and underpinned by the St Andrews Agreement, that place Sinn Féin and the DUP in an untouchable position.

Most of us, while we have plenty to complain about at times, enjoy living in the shared home place we call Northern Ireland (or something else). This reality is borne out by happiness surveys and the work of Prof Peter Shirlow at the University of Liverpool. Our focus should be on how we can restore good government here.

Steve Aiken is leader in waiting at the Ulster Unionist Party, which has a good claim to be the one party that really does love this place. He is wrestling with the problem of how to return genuine choice to electoral politics here.

Without other parties making hard points about making Northern Ireland work socially and economically, it would be difficult for the UUP to do the heavy-lifting on its own.

Whatever one’s constitutional preference making this place work socially and economically is the only logical way forward that guarantees a peaceful and stable Island for ourselves and our children and we should show little tolerance for those who argue otherwise.

TREVOR RINGLAND
Holywood, Co Down

 

Good ship UUP setting sail for political irrelevance

One has to have a degree of sympathy for ex-commander Steve Aiken now at the helm of the UUP. I am sure he has in his naval career never sailed in more murkier and shark-infested waters than are politics within this province.

He appears now to have come as just another breath of stale air exhaling unfulfilled promises. He has capitulated to the DUP in a pact that reflects the ‘I’d rather have themin’s than yousin’s’ school of political practicalities. There is no doubt enormous pressure was exerted in getting him to acknowledge the political realities. My, oh my, he landed with a bump. Rumours abound that it was not only political, but physical too. Threats from the equivalent of our Taliban – that is loyalist paramilitaries. Both groups share common ground, a hatred for the populace and their yearning for democracy and real change. And this threat to their medieval mind sets is met with violence and the threat of violence.

It is full steam ahead for ex-commander Steve, set to the same course for good ship UUP and its inevitable destination – political irrelevance. It has borne out to be true – if democracy  did change things it would be banned.

LAURENCE TODD
Belfast BT15

 

Time to end our segregated society

Poll after poll shows that a majority of parents would like their children’s schools to transform to integrated status.

Lagan College is the most oversubscribed school in Northern Ireland. Every year parents and children are disappointed in their wish to attend integrated schools.

Children growing up and learning together learn to respect each other whatever their religious or racial background.

Parents and children all over the country no longer want to live in a segregated society.

It is time to move to a progressive society where everyone is valued whatever their background and people can live in  genuine peace and harmony.

MARGARET MARSHALL
Belfast BT8

 

Expression of thanks

Cavaliers In Need wish to thank the people of Belfast who gave so generously at our Street collection on Saturday 26th October 19. We raised a fabulous £1718.18

ANTHEA SPROULE
Belfast

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Letters to the Editor