Letters to the Editor

Republic should hold referendum on rejoining United Kingdom

 'The way things are going currently, it would be more viable for the Republic to rejoin the UK than stay on the outskirts of the EU'

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness wants a referendum on a united Ireland. Perhaps instead, the Republic should have a referendum on rejoining the UK dare it be said, given the panic it is now in over Brexit. Britain is out, the Republic feels isolated, alone and adrift on the outskirts of the EU. It no longer has a ally or a crutch it can rely on.

Already, Irish markets have taken a slide on news of a British withdrawal, with further serious connotations to come. Ireland, it seems, cannot separate its interests for Britain or the British without feeling the pinch, nor can Sinn Féin sell the idea of a referendum to get enough people in Northern Ireland or the Republic interested in it.

The Shinners have been foisting the idea of a united Ireland now for some time – again no sign of it any time soon. It is surprising that Sinn Féin and the wider republican movement do not spend all their time trying to bring about a referendum, as it is the only thing that will bring about a united Ireland, not a war of attrition or the arms or bombs of dissidents.

One could safely say – there is a long way to go before Northern Ireland says farewell to the UK, and ironically the Republic. The Republic’s nature is a country of convenience. On the one hand it may vote for a united Ireland if proposed, which is probable, but on the other hand is in dire straits about the British withdrawal. Irish attitudes to the British are contradictory and of the utmost convenience. The Republic wants nothing to do with the UK when it does not agree with it and likes to get heavily involved when its interests are at stake.

Republicans want a united Ireland and Northern Ireland’s place within the UK to be given up – of that there can be no doubt. However, they cannot achieve that realistically in Northern Ireland’s case and its dependency on the wider UK. Given the strain the London Treasury is in to fund Northern Ireland it is most unlikely that the Republic could afford it.

There would have to be years, if not decades, of negotiations if Northern Ireland was to leave the UK. It therefore, goes without saying that any republican armed-struggle in Northern Ireland is futile in changing hearts and minds, as economics would rule the roost. Terrorism has no chance of changing anything.

The way things are going currently, it would be more viable for the Republic to rejoin the UK than stay on the outskirts of the EU without London to help it survive in the EU.

Republicans face a great dilemma in forging a united Ireland – go on detesting British rule in Northern Ireland, while at the same time needing British support to keep it going.  

Shanbally, Co Cork


Separation of UK from European Union in interests of both

The many commentators who ascribe the outcome of the UK referendum to various forms of disaffection are missing the point. Both sides of the Brexit debate in Britain were resolutely opposed to the idea of European integration. Whatever about regions like Scotland and Northern Ireland, the position of the UK as a state has been hostile to the primary objectives of the EU since the Thatcher era, and British interventions in the EU since then have frequently been disruptive.

Following Jacque Delors’s presidency of the European Commission in the 1980s the UK pressed successfully for a weakening of the commission, the supra-national institution at the heart of the EU. In the 1990s UK governments championed enlargement because it placed a brake on EU ‘deepening’, ie closer integration.

The UK’s decision not to join the Eurozone, once considered as temporary, has long been accepted as permanent and there are clearly conflicting interests between Sterling and the single European currency. In response to the 2008 crisis an unbridgeable gulf opened up between London and Brussels regarding banking regulation.

In short the differences between the EU and the UK cannot be fixed by the exercise of good will – they are irreconcilable. For that reason the separation of the UK state from the European Union, as decided in the referendum, is in the interests of both. Brexit will not guarantee that the EU moves back from its attachment to free market ideology but it does open up the possibility of a more united union and a return to the Christian Democratic ideal of ‘Social Europe’. Ireland’s national interest clearly requires a consolidation of the Euro currency through further political integration of the Eurozone, pursued as a matter of urgency.

Other priorities must be – preventing the British eurosceptics from using their victory to destabilise the EU and avoiding any moves that would prolong the dislocation and uncertainty that are the unavoidable accompaniments of the British exit. 

Bray, Co Wicklow


Prehistoric views

Owen Gallagher’s letter (July 12) caught my eye because of its openly homophobic language and anti-LGBT slant.

He starts his rant by saying that “despite five attempts during the last assembly, MLAs consistently defended the true definition of marriage”. Does he not acknowledge that the last time the vote was passed, but was blocked undemocratically by the so-called ‘democratic’ unionist party?

I wonder does he realise that politicians in the DUP vote the way they are instructed by the party whip? This is the 21st century, why should gay men and women be excluded from having the same legal rights as straight couples simply because they don’t fit in with some people’s prehistoric views?

In countries such as the US many straight married couples have said that equal marriage being legalised has not “changed the meaning of marriage for everyone” for what other people do in their own personal lives doesn’t affect them on a daily basis.

If Owen didn’t want politicians voting for equality and moving LGBT rights forward, then he should have checked their policies before marking his preferences on the ballot paper.

Would he not recognise that no politicians here are able to make their voices heard on this issue because of the constant use of the petition of concern to silence them?

As Alex Kane once said “the petition of concern was not designed to get in the way of two people who love
each other”.

Belfast BT12


Our new intolerant liberal society

Brian McClinton (June 24) claims ‘that millions of people are thriving without God’ and he offers Scandinavia, Japan and Australia as examples of countries faring much better than the countries where God is still held in esteem.

But Brian, within living memory the whole world was embroiled in conflict and millions of people, men, women and children died in conflict and pain and sorrow.

Religion was certainly not to blame – just colonial type greed by the great powers, grasping more and more wealth from other lands.

The Pope knew that even the Vatican and Rome was under threat of being sacked but I am sure that millions died with a prayer on their lips.

The Catholic Alive news sheet reports that American medias, papers, mags etc lapped up the idea that the conservative people were more aggressive, dogmatic, intolerant etc than those who adopted new liberal ideas.

But Alive emphasises that new research has found that the direct opposite is the case. Our new-liberals and non-believers have all the prejudices that they claimed had come down from our religious fore fathers but the truth is now out. It is not religious people who are narrow-minded, racial etc it is our new so-called liberals.

Lurgan, Co Armagh

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Letters to the Editor