Letter to the Editor: If people in the Republic don't want us then we're wasting our time
Recently I attended Mass at which an 80-year-old priest, who has just returned from 40 years overseas on missionary work said: “The Ireland I have come home to is not the Ireland I left and I wonder do I want to settle here?”
That statement raises questions for all of us. Now that a united Ireland has become a serious political talking point someone has to ask: “How do we even begin this process?”
Surely the first thing to do is ask the people of the Republic if they would want or take us. We can chatter all we like about the great social, economic and identity benefits of a unitary state but if the people down south don’t want us then we are wasting our time.
The Mass I attended was in Westmeath and during the retreat, which it was part of, the north was brought up many times at the dinner table. The constant refrain was – “We couldn’t afford yous.”
There was no appetite for the readjustment needed to bring this country together.
Would I vote for a united Ireland tomorrow? That is a hard question to answer. Ireland has become an anti-Catholic, secular state with which I have nothing in common. Sinn Féin needs to persuade me that their pro-abortion, secular state would be a place where I and my beliefs would be welcome.
In 30 years of bombing and killing there is no evidence that they ever persuaded one unionist to change their mind. The unionists are not stupid and understand that because the IRA have called a long-term ceasefire it does not mean the war is over – all it means is that Sinn Féin have changed their weapons.
Sinn Féin believes that an Irish language act and secular ideas will make the union meaningless. They don’t understand the deep convictions that give a person their identity. We have never grasped that unionists genuinely see themselves as British and that on social issues such as abortion and marriage many Catholics want nowt to do with Dublin.
In the lifetime of this parliament there is every chance that London will want to divest itself of the north – Boris has shown he has no interest in the north. If so, watch Dublin have a fit and Catholics up here will have to think long and hard about joining a country where we are not wanted.
Portglenone, Co Antrim
Cruel assassination of military general a serious breach of international law
ON January 3 Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and up to six others were assassinated by a US military drone and missile attack at Baghdad airport. The cruel assassinations were directly ordered by President Trump and are a serious breach of international law.
This violent immoral and illegal action, which will leave the world a more dangerous place, serves to increase the anger, hatred and potential for violence in the middle east and in the world.
This is such a serious action which has already increased the fear of escalating violence and potential for war against Iran.
Trump has also announced that a further 3,000 US soldiers will be sent to Iraq (where the US has its largest of 800 bases in the world). These soldiers will go through Shannon Airport on their way to Iraq. If there is a war against Iran the Irish government will be complicit in any war crimes committed by US forces in the Middle East.
The Irish government should uphold their Irish neutrality and refuse the use of Shannon Airport to the US military.
There are those who benefit from war, the militarists, the arms dealers, the media/military industrial complex, but those who really pay for militarism and wars are the poor and the people. The drums of war are being banged and this time the target is Iran, just like US/UK/Nato carried out wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc. Let us, the people, learn lessons from the past and unite and mobilise calling for no war against Iran, US troops out of Shannon and out of Iraq. There is power in truth and love is stronger than hate.
Nobel Peace Laureate, Belfast
Step to far for political ecumenism
I find it bizarre that the Irish government will formally commemorate those Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police members killed opposing the fight for Irish independence. Surely this is taking political ecumenism a step too far? How can one honour the RIC without also honouring the Black and Tans who were an integral element of policing in Ireland during the 1919-1922 War of Independence period?
The standards, ethos and policing values of the successors of the RIC, An Garda Síochána, are anathema and repugnant to what the RIC stood for and should not be compromised for political expediency. It was the RIC who enforced evictions during the Famine, attacked and killed workers during the 1913 lockout, and fired indiscriminately into the crowd in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday in 1920. These were the armed colonial police force tasked with enforcing British rule in Ireland despite the massive rejection of this rule by the electorate in the 1918 general election, an act which rendered both forces unlawful.
Regressive step by SDLP
I agree with Desmond Devlin’s observations regarding the SDLP selling out to trendy so-called progressivism (January 2). This is particularly true and despicable when it comes to the issue of abortion.
The SDLP, as a political party founded on the principle of spreading social justice, understandably took a pro-life stance on the issue of abortion defending the right to life of the unborn from conception when life begins.
However, this position has been abandoned by the two new SDLP MPs Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna who have effectively turned their backs on the unborn. In their disregard for the human rights of the unborn – the most vulnerable group of all – these two MPs could be described as truly regressive.
Lisburn, Co Antrim