Letters to the Editor

Principle from a republican perspective is a very flexible concept

As we head into yet another election one wonders what lies ahead? We will now have arguably one of the most sectarian head counts with “agreed” candidates on both sides of our not so great divide. I fear it will not end well. I am not surprised by the UUP that is what unionists have always done but just because they do it doesn’t justify others coping them. 
I suspect the SDLP will come to regret  listening to siren voices to allow Sinn Féin a clear run. Why did they do it?

A negative negative is not really a positive. What do John Finucane and Sinn Féin really offer? We all know that when it suits SF will do backroom deals with the DUP. So principle, from a republican perspective at least, is a very flexible concept. Keeping one of them out – even someone like  Dodds – amounts to not very much. The facts are that parties do not split votes, it is voters freely and knowingly who choose to do so.
The idea that some back room stitch-up will decide how anyone votes is not only grossly insulting and sectarian, it also suggests that politicians believe their voters are unthinking groupies who need to be told what to do, including where to put an X on the ballot paper.

Sinn Féin could surprise us all   by announcing that they will take their seats. After all  DeValera took the oath in the mid-1920s when he got rid of his Sinn Féin refuseniks –  somehow I doubt it.
As the centenary of Sinn Féin exclusion from power in the Republic looms, the only thing they seem good at  is taking the money, no doubt for principled reasons.

A final thought, what if Nigel  Dodds should win by getting out more sectarian votes than John Finucane or indeed vice versa?
What will that really prove? Will it have been worth it?

I doubt it since in a sectarian race to the bottom, ultimately we will all be losers.

Belfast BT9


An open invitation to all who want to end the democratic deficit

ON November 24 the Irish unity community will be coming together in Lifford/Strabane for the first time in a non-party political, anti-sectarian mobilisation for Irish unity, a turning point for the entire Irish unity campaign.

Over the past three years, ‘Yes For Unity’, the socialist broad front campaign for Irish unity have travelled across Europe, from Catalunya to Scotland, to learn from the experiences of our international comrades. In each of these trips, the importance of street mobilisations became very apparent.

Learning from these lessons, this mobilisation and indeed all future Irish unity marches will ensure the involvement of not just the republican and nationalist political camps, but the social  and cultural community in Ireland.

Just like partition, Irish unity will affect us all.
The campaign will be won in the homes, the streets, doors and polling stations of working-class areas. These mobilisations will inject a sense of ownership, a power of change and clear political direction to the grassroots, a momentum that when fully harnessed cannot be stopped and will be of vital importance when heading into the post-partition era to ensure that working-class needs are met.

Such mobilisations ensure that the debate and campaign is not just silently fought in the elected chambers by the political elite, but maintains true democratic power within our communities with regards to our constitutional and socio-economic futures.

The March for Unity is an open invitation to all who want to end the democratic deficit, to end political/sectarian division and end partition.
This march will  be the first of many, the debate around Irish unity is growing and we need the feet on the street to match this growth and demand.

Be part of it and seize the moment, for all our futures.

Strabane, Co Tyrone


Allies in fight against abortion

Niall Meehan – ‘Minority rule no more on abortion’  (November 13) – is right in one respect: Catholics and Evangelical Protestants are indeed allies in the fight against abortion.

Also allied with us are people of other faiths and none, who recognise the dignity and right to life, of our unborn brothers and sisters. There are hundreds of thousands of us, all over Ireland, in both jurisdictions, women and men of all ages.

Together we will challenge the prevailing ‘group think’ on abortion. We have every right to do so. All of us, united, will never cease in our efforts to challenge and change the societal acceptance of abortion.

There is a vast moral difference between contraception and abortion. Contraception prevents life coming into existence. Abortion deliberately destroys a life already present – an act that can never be justified.

Those of us who are pro life will never desist until abortion is recognised for what it is - an abominable crime against the most vulnerable of us all.

Belfast BT12


Republic should offer redress to its PoWs

Is it not time now for the Irish government to offer redress to its own prisoners of war from De Valera’s government?  German males were employed in Irish psychiatric hospitals to use and abuse at will those unfortunates locked away because their siblings had joined the British army. Many believe that such PoWs had no human rights. Let me say they most certainly did and it was unlawful to take those rights away. 
I posted a copy of my publication Ireland’s Starvation Order during the Emergency and her Child Prisoners of War. Apart from an acknowledgement I was offered no form of redress.  Ireland can never be free while PoWs like myself remain ignored by a so-called Catholic country.

Newtownabbey, Co Antrim


Hyperbole gone mad

I think Fiona Maguire – ‘How could anyone not vote for Paul’ (November 11) – should stand for election. She shows remarkable flair for pontifical electioneering.

Hyperbole gone mad.

Belfast BT11


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Letters to the Editor