Letters to the Editor

Problem for unionism is that it's no longer the force it once was

By now it has become abundantly clear that this election is an “existential crisis” for unionism.
For the first time in our history the ‘Mother Country’ is holding an election where the future of Northern Ireland is pivotal.
No one can deny that the deal which is on the table puts a border down the Irish Sea and effectively creates an economic united Ireland. The UK as a whole is deciding what is to be done with her beloved Ulster. One of the many unspoken truths that unionism has been unable to face is that the people of Britain have never really given a hoot about us. Unionists natter on about their great standing in Britain, how Harland & Wolff won the war for England, and how we are the last outpost of a once great empire.
When the deal was done and it became obvious that Boris was willing to sell us out, unionists accepted it without a murmur – Big Ian would have had 100,000 at the city hall next day, Northern Ireland would have been at a standstill. That is the problem for unionism, it is no longer the force it once was.

This gives rise to other questions which need answering.
If Britain leaving the EU creates a game changing fracture in the United Kingdom why then is Sinn Féin so set against it and is entering unwritten electoral pacts with other parties? Surely the dream of the socialist Republic has not given way to something so crass as money?
While no one could possibly claim that Sinn Féin has become loyal to the Crown it certainly does appear that the half crown has taken precedence over the seldom mentioned socialist Republic.

All this begs the question: “in today’s modern world what exactly do we mean by an independent nation?”
The old certainties are gone. Ireland has decided to pool its sovereignty with Europe while Britain is on the cusp of choosing to go it alone. The DUP and SF have been caught in the middle, each one having to tackle hard truths that they are not ready to deal with.
For the DUP they need to face the fact that English Conservatives no longer want them, while for Sinn Féin they also need to realise that a united Ireland is not really that important any more.

Portglenone, Co Antrim


There are a lot of God’s laws being ignored by well-meaning Christians

Rev Ivan Foster (November 14) in tackling the viewpoint of a humanist states 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”.
This is directed at LGBT and humanist people, but from what I can see there are a lot of God’s laws being ignored by many well-meaning Christians and also rejection of God’s truth.

How can this be? There are clear laws and commandments in the Bible, such as keeping the Sabbath Day holy on the seventh day (Saturday) and of eating unclean animals that many professing Christians completely ignore or argue away by man-made doctrine.

Jesus said that He had not come to destroy the Law, but rather to fulfil it. Webster’s Dictionary cites ‘fulfil’ as “carry out, obey, satisfy the requirements of”. It does not mean ‘cancel’. Paul later reiterates this by stating: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid.” He exclaims, “rather we establish the law”.

Rev Foster is right to uphold the law as he claims to do, but we can’t pick and choose our favourite ones or amend them, as in the case of the Sabbath commandment being changed to ‘Sun’day, put into law by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the fourth century due to its links to worship of the sun, not the Son of God. This same ‘Sun’day law is still kept to this day, but put in place by Rome, not by Jesus Christ.

If we can change one of the Ten Commandments (I.e. concerning the Sabbath), then we can change all of the rest. As for calling a Christian leader ‘reverend’ the Bible only gives such a title to God. As Psalm 111:9 (KJV) proclaims: “Holy and reverend is His name.”
Even Jesus never gave Himself such a title, as He waited for the Father to glorify Him at the given time.

Bangor, Co Down


Time to talk Irish unity
Nationalists have been emphasising this for centuries that no English person or English government has the best interests of any part of Ireland or its people at heart. They partitioned Ireland against the wishes of the people, even the unionist leader Lord Carson opposed it with a vengeance.

England has created and fostered division and strife – they have pitted people against each other on religious/sectarian grounds and washed their hands of the consequences. The people on this island could work out any differences they have, and as an Irish republican I don’t see anything that is not negotiable or insurmountable. The old arguments that the Catholic Church would rule has long since been abandoned and rightly so.

To unionists I say take the wise words of David Ervine (“these people are not to be trusted, their interests does not lie in Northern Ireland their interest is self-interest”) in context with the words of Lord Carson, 100 years ago, (“what a fool I was, I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster and so was Ireland in the political game that was to get the conservative party into power”) and ask yourself what have you got in common with a capitalist millionaire living in England and then look at your neighbour who goes to a different Church. I think you will find we have more in common than that which divides us.

Clogher, Co Tyrone


Dalradian regulate water discharges

Following a report (November 7) over a challenge to a NIEA water discharge consent for Dalradian’s proposed underground mine in Tyrone, a number of misunderstandings have arisen.

First, Dalradian is not discharging any metals into local water courses as a result of industrial activity. There is no operational mine and no mining at the site. There is an exploration tunnel which dates back to the 1980s.

The metals reflected in the discharge consent – including trace levels of arsenic and mercury – are all naturally occurring and reflect local geology. As part of its environmental responsibilities Dalradian captures and treats any water which comes into contact with its existing exploration site before discharging it back into the local burn.

The metals in question are already present naturally. They are not being added to by Dalradian and there is no build-up of metals.

Water discharge consents are not permits to discharge harmful substances into the environment. Verified testing of local water demonstrates that water quality levels in the area are good. We anticipate that the consent will be re-determined by NIEA in identical terms. Until that time, discharges will continue to be regulated by a similar, earlier consent.



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Letters to the Editor