Letters to the Editor

Sinn Féin's democratic mandate cannot be dismissed or sidelined

The result of the recent general election seems to have rocked the political status quo in Ireland.
For nearly a century either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael have governed this country and they have been the dominant forces of Irish politics. Sinn Féin is now serious challengers as they won 24.5% of the vote but the mandate, they received has not been accepted by the Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael parties. Neither FF or FG will enter talks with SF citing that they are unfit for government due to their economic policies and the party’s history and legacy from the Troubles. FF cite that ‘shadowy’ figures from the armed struggle continue to control SF. The outgoing taoiseach Leo Varadkar continued the hysteria by describing SF-planned post-election rallies as part of a “campaign of intimidation”. All parties have skeletons in their closets as the Mahon, Flood, and Moriarty Tribunals exposed. The Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998 thankfully brought an end to the Troubles and SF played a pivotal role in bringing an end to the conflict. Since the collapse of Stormont in 2017 both FG and FF have been demanding SF to go back into government in the north. They are good enough to be in government in the north, but they are unfit to be part of any government in the Republic. SF are accepted in a power-sharing Stormont assembly by the DUP, SDLP and Alliance Party. These parties may have very different ideologies and cultural narratives, but they share power and work together for the benefit of all communities in Northern Ireland. All parties are working collectively to build a society where difference is accepted and respected. The power-sharing government is supported by the EU, Irish and British governments and all political parties in the Republic.

The FG and FF strategy to undermine SF is also a tactic to deflect from their own failings and an attempt to hold on to power.
The democratic mandate that SF received in the election cannot be dismissed or sidelined by FF and FG. We are now facing a huge global and national crisis as the Covid 19 virus threatens our health, social and economic capacities.
Perhaps it’s time for a national government like Northern Ireland where power is shared between all parties. This would give us the strength and cohesion to tackle the housing and health crisis and the consequences of the Covid 19 virus.

Bandon, Co Cork


Boris Johnson and DUP were prepared to play politics with children’s lives

How more glaringly obvious can it be that Boris Johnson was forced into taking a decision that all evidence, medical and scientific say he should have taken a fortnight ago? Schools in the UK are to close. Our future, our children and grandchildren, are to be taken away from the front line. They are to be protected. Why did he play with the lives of these innocent children? Why did Arlene Foster and Peter Weir allow this situation to develop?

Wales and Scotland, the medical profession here, the World Health Organization and countries in Europe, Australia and all around the world forced their unwilling hand.

All scientific and medical information pleaded for the schools to be closed to hamper the spread of the virus.  Churches, of all denominations, called for schools to be closed.
All political parties with the exception of the DUP and the Tories called for the same. When no order was given many schools closed anyway. Thank God they had the courage to put the lives of our children first.

While I am thankful of this outcome I believe it is time we all judged our political leaders on their actions.

Craigavon, Co Armagh


Everyone should be subject to intensive testing

THURSDAY’s Financial Times reports on an experiment where every person in a small Italian town was tested for the coronavirus.
Three per cent were found to be infected, half of whom had no symptoms. Following isolation of these people, the test was repeated 10 days later and the rate had declined to 0.3 per cent. This clearly demonstrates that intensive testing and isolating those infected will stop the virus quickly – much quicker, and therefore very much more cheaply, than the current policies. This approach has also been urged by the World Health Organization and by Professor Ariberto Fassati, Professor of Virology, University College London in his letter, also in Thursday’s Financial Times. And isn’t it good to know that the latest, and most technologically advanced, rapid diagnostic test for the coronavirus has been developed by Randox Laboratories in Antrim. I suggest that the whole of Northern Ireland – the entire island of Ireland, if the Republic will cooperate – should be subject to intensive testing. And doubtless some creative arrangement can be quickly reached to cover the up-front cost so as, in the longer term, to save money, lives, the economy, and much inconvenience in the
longer term.

Belfast BT8


Natural belief in facts suspended

I never cease to be amazed at how people could support either Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. I always thought that when they were put to the test, having misled enough people to get them elected, that they would be removed from power at the first opportunity. I was naive, because if ever they were to be shown not fit to lead their countries then the recent pandemic is it. However, it appears that there are still a considerable body of people who have suspended all their natural belief in facts and instead are prepared to still listen to the alternative facts presented by these two to political ‘leaders’. How is this possible? It can only be happening because normal, sensible people have been brainwashed or cannot handle the truth. How else can you explain that there is still even tacit support for Trump and Johnson?

Newry, Co Down

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Letters to the Editor