Elephant in the room in north remains lack of devolved government
The UK general election for December 12 was announced much to the delight of Boris Johnson, local politics this side of the Irish Sea has sprung to life. Albeit unfortunately, the Stormont Assembly (save for a very short attempt to stop the abortion law changes here) remains in hibernation with the average MLA salary since then being in the region of £137,500 but behind closed doors deals (predictably relevant parties refuse to use the word pact) are being made on which party will pull out of running in a constituency. The rationale for this is not to split the nationalist or unionist vote on the basis of differing opinions on Brexit and its possible outcomes. However, one cannot deny that this will also help reinforce sectarian head counts in some constituencies. North Belfast is the classic example of this where the UUP did a U-turn and announced that they will not field a candidate and for the first time in its party history the SDLP will not field a candidate, therefore allowing a head-to-head between Nigel Dodds and John Finucane.
Naturally local politicians have to contend in this election but the big elephant in the room remains the lack of devolved government here and the earliest possible assembly election will be January 13 2020. However, whether or not this comes to fruition is largely dependent on the outcome of this historically important Westminster election.
The bottom line is that as long as the Northern Ireland Assembly is put on the back burner the longer and more greatly severe local devolved issues will become. One of the most acute examples is the NHS here which is heading for a full-blown crisis as it enters the difficult and high pressure winter months.
As paramilitaries here are showing increased activity and flexing of their muscles it remains totally unacceptable that this vacuum is allowed to continue and I would encourage voters here in this Westminster election campaign to hold our political parties to account on this.
Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh
Omitting attacks on republicans from narrative an insult to families
I read with interest Fionnuala O Connor’s column (November 5) under the heading ‘Litany of attacks on politicians is long and murderous’.
It is certainly true that over the course of Irish history, particularly recent Irish political history, that political figures have faced assassination and attack.
What was totally absent from the very partisan account given by Fionnuala was the long and brutal history of attacks, including lethal attacks on republican elected representatives, activists and their families.
From the earliest days of the most recent phase of conflict in the north, republicans have been targeted, often by the British state or their proxies in loyalist death squads.
This has involved attacks on homes, workplaces, bullets in the post, cars burned and a litany of other incidents. It has also involved republicans being murdered, including in a hospital bed in the case of Sinn Féin vice-president, Máire Drumm.
Sinn Féin elected representatives and members from north and south have been targeted and killed by elements of the British state and their allies.
The exclusion of these attacks from Fionnuala’s narrative is an insult to the families of those republican representatives and activists.
Is the suffering of the family of Sheena Campbell, or the family of Eddie Fullerton, or the family of John Davey any less than that of any other family?
Sinn Féin, Fermanagh South Tyrone
No amount of billboards will alter the truth
It has been widely reported that there are billboards supporting same-sex marriage put up around Belfast.
Northern Ireland Humanists coordinator Boyd Sleator has been quoted in the press as saying: “LGBT people in Northern Ireland have suffered for too long under archaic laws influenced by religious groups which have prevented same-sex couples from being able to legally marry.”
His statement caused me to think that if he, as a humanist is wrong in his rejection of Bible Christianity (and he is) then he will discover that eternity will bring even more immeasurable suffering under even more “archaic laws”, even the law of God, to those who reject God’s truth.
The Bible says of all who reject God’s Law and His order and purpose for humanity, that they shall suffer as did their ideological forebears in Sodom and Gomorrah. Jude verse 7 states: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Time will declare which philosophy, the Christian’s or Mr Sleator’s, is true. The putting up of any amount of billboards will not alter truth or annul God’s divine decree.
REV IVAN FOSTER
Kilskeery, Co Tyrone
Political cowardice personified
So the intrepid Nigel Farage is not standing for election. What a leader. What a distinctive quality. You are in the trenches and about to go over the top when your fearless leader orders you to go first and he will follow when the battle is over. Thankfully his stances only come under the consideration of political cowardice, something with which our northern political parties are very familiar.
Renaissance of dreaded spin machine
In this latest general election – reality TV through the ballot box – Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn offers pop shots at the ‘elites’ and the ‘establishment’ which, it seems, is an attempt to borrow hackneyed phrases from American conservatives.
The remarks are setting a precedent which signals the renaissance of the dreaded spin machine under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. This Machiavellian shift signals desperation and pathos, aided by a sympathetic media and online community.
The only way is Westminster.
Ardboe, Co Tyrone
Death of a true Christian
LAST week we learnt of the death of Gay Byrne an icon in Irish broadcasting. Also last week another icon died and that was Fr Des Wilson and for us reared in the six counties during the conflict, this was a man who lived a true life of a Christian. His care and compassion has no equal.
May he rest in peace
Clondalkin, Dublin 2