Central tenet of Irish republicanism long pre-dates Good Friday Agreement
As an occasional contributor to the Letters to the Editor page I would be particularly anxious to defend the right of everyone to contribute their opinions and/or to comment on, challenge or criticise my submissions. What is not acceptable though is when others try to misrepresent your own position. An example in point surfaced in Manus McDaid’s reply to an earlier letter of mine – ‘Sinn Féin has tried to make Good Friday Agreement work’ (October 29).
He is absolutely wrong in merely suggesting that the only difficulty I have around a British border poll is with who is calling for one and on what date it should be held.
It seems to come as a surprise to many of Mr McDaid’s ilk that the central tenet of Irish Republicanism long pre-dates the Belfast/Good Friday (dis)Agreement B/GF(d)A, almost one hundred of partition and the formation of Sinn Féin in the early years of the last century.
That core belief is based on replacing division with the unity of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter in a common cause as equal Irish citizens in an independent sovereign republic. The guarantee of rights to be afforded to all was crystallised in the 1916 Proclamation of Irish Freedom and further enunciated in the 1919 Democratic Programme of the first Dáil.
Unfortunately, very many have since abandoned the republican cause for different reasons including short term political opportunity.
Those more recent “leavers” who now peddle the lie that “..the B/GF(d)A was hard fought for” by republicans do a tremendous disservice to the memory of all who struggled for Irish freedom. In particular they betray the ideals of all those over the centuries who gave their lives in the cause of the Irish republic.
One such patriot, Cork’s noble son Terence MacSwiney who died in 1921 after 73 days on hunger strike succinctly summed up the very single mindedness of genuine republicans, which apparently also affronts Mr McDaid, thus: “To those who understand no explanation is necessary, to those who do not understand no explanation is possible.”
In that context, his failure to understand that Irish republicans will never cede or sub-contract the right of national self-determination to a British politician or a British parliament requires no further comment.
Galbally, Co Tyrone
We must demand real change from elected representatives
We really need to be part of a united Europe, but not this present version which seems to prefer corporate interests to ours. A good number of people we elected to the European parliament have never got together to try to make substantial changes to it, to make it more democratic – taking their seats and allowing it to continue unreformed, whilst taking their salaries.
If we carry on selecting such people for elected positions, which must include national elections, without first demanding real change from these prospective candidates, then we deserve all we get.
Perhaps, by lifting our heads from our mobile telephones we may see just what is going on around us and start to make progress, if not for ourselves then for our children and future generations. Don’t forget when David Cameron lost the Brexit vote he went to Europe on holiday, leaving the mess for someone else to clear up. Should this Brexit deal, put forward by Boris Johnson finish up the same way, he and many more will probably join David, including 10 from these Six Counties, leaving us to contemplate what fools we have been.
Ballycastle, Co Antrim
Do we want better?
Having seen Sinn Féin and DUP for the last 50 or so years achieving nothing except reinforcing the green/orange divide at the expense of ordinary politics, I despair that they could ever do anything positive for us in Northern Ireland. Indeed over the more recent years they have been stuck in their old world of simplistic mantras which are unrealistic in this decade.
A united Ireland brought about by 50 per cent plus one vote is nonsensical. The clinging to UK apron strings, yet rejecting much of its legislation is equally nonsensical.
We have seen these two parties being incapable of governing, yet pretending they are looking after our best interests. We must believe that it is beyond time for us to change the politics of Northern Ireland. This election is an opportunity to change the direction from a closed-minded reactionary society to a more open-minded, progressive society and to make it a vibrant self-confident society.
We need to show our confidence to make a change now.
Minority rule no more on abortion
Fr Patrick McCafferty is attempting, again, to bible-bash and to pontif(icate) his flock into line on abortion. God’s “entire and unadulterated message – not some woolly-headed, half-baked, and self-serving interpretation” leaves no room for ambiguity, he proclaims (November 4).
Or does it?
As I pointed out to Fr McCafferty in 2018, he has eased off on the ‘sinful’ use of contraception. It once was denounced exactly as abortion is today. Though contraception is still as forbidden, that battle is lost. Efforts are concentrated instead on another aspect of the fight to constrain women’s autonomy.
The abortion battle is going the same way.
With only the DUP for allies, the six-county anti-women holdout on these islands has collapsed. As with other reforms imposed from outside, abortion is now legal in Northern Ireland. Minority-rule holds sway no more. Irony of ironies, the DUP does the pope’s bidding and Fr McCafferty is in alliance with evangelical Protestants.
Fr McCafferty does concede, his job is “not to be popular”. His attempts to impose his minority opinion on the majority will probably fail. He should instead consider agreeing that he has no right to impose his will (however much exercised) on others.