Letters to the Editor

Troubled people of Palestine need our voices and our help

On Monday April 17 more than 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners began a hunger strike in an effort to both highlight and combat the continuing inhumane treatment they receive at the bloodied hands of the Israeli regime. They were joined by hundreds of Palestinian citizens, including the mothers of some internees.

There are currently 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli torture centres. Five hundred of that number are ‘administrative detainees’ – the Israeli version of internment.

Prisoners are denied visits from family members. They suffer the effects of deliberate medical negligence. Specialists from outside are refused access to prisoners with specific needs. Detainees are charged for medical costs. They are regularly abused when being transported. Female prisoners face long distances when being ferried to and from court, in much discomfort.

Most Palestinian prisoners have reported being chained and suspended from their arms during interrogation. They are deprived of sleep, beaten and placed in solitary confinement for long periods of time should they complain. A Palestinian can be interrogated for 75 days, during which time they can be denied a lawyer for 60 days. Periods of interrogation can be renewed indefinitely. The prisoners have no recourse via courts that condemned them to a cell for spurious reasons to begin with.

The governments of the West know what is taking place yet do little more than offer mealy-mouthed platitudes in support of human rights.  

We, in the six counties, know only too well the horrors meted out to political prisoners. We know the pain and suffering of oppression, colonisation and conflict. We are aware of the trauma and pain associated with hunger strike.

The people of Palestine are in trouble. They need our voices and our help. Palestinian prisoners of conscience are being brutalised. The governments of Europe are refusing to acknowledge the horror lest they upset the Zionist regime and its burgeoning corporations. The tormented prisoners of Palestine deserve solidarity from the people of Ireland who have both a conscience and a backbone. I hope that all such will speak out.

Newry, Co Down


Muddled screeds neither challenging or entertaining

As a newspaper with a broadly nationalist/liberal readership, it is always interesting to read intelligent unionist/right-wing views in

The Irish News. For instance, Newton Emerson is essential (and frequently entertaining) reading. What’s the editorial justification for furthering Robert [definitely no O’] Sullivan’s standard-issue Daily Mail attitudes?
It is not as if such tired views are short of a platform. Perhaps The Irish News feels there is a northern novelty value to a blinkered, reactionary southern unionist? However, I lived in Dublin for 15 years and Robert’s post-colonial Stockholm Syndrome is common in many urban parts of the South.  Sullivan’s muddled screeds are neither challenging nor entertaining and they represent a southern unionist demographic that is wholly unremarkable. If I’d gotten into an argument with every poorly-informed southern anti-republican I ever met, it would have been in a full-time job.

Surely there has to be a publication threshold that is higher than quasi-trolling? Can’t we have a column by Jim Allister instead? That might be entertaining and at the very least he’d know what he is talking about.

Trillick, Co Tyrone


Women need care and not abortions 

I regard Patrick Murphy’s column (April 29) as unfair towards the Sisters of Charity nuns who happen to own the land of St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, known  for its high grade of excellence in all care.

What happened years ago was wrong and was acknowledged by this Order. 

Most hospitals have a Christian ethos which schools can also avail of if they wish. Christ died for all and give us eternal life. He paid the price for our sin to redeem man and not condemn man.

The Irish government’s Citizens Assembly was very flawed and its vote in favour of abortion on demand was not surprising as it was influenced by pro-abortion associations with pro-life groups not properly represented. The most basic human right of all, where all human rights come from, is the equal right to life that is covered in the Irish Constitution’s 8th Amendment.

I hope that the Irish government rejects this vote. We should be proud of the 8th Amendment and the Save the 8th campaign is the only protection left for the child. It is wrong to discriminate against any disability or the circumstances of conception. Women need care and not abortions. 

Bessbrook, Co Armagh


Iran is not  a ‘cuddly democracy’

The claims from G Savage (April 26) are as unpleasant as they are incorrect, in their vitriol against S Jaffe (March 30).

Iran is not a lovely democracy any more than Hamas is still elected. Both have severe human right abuses and no free speech or free press to moan to.

While Israel gives all its population human rights and equality eg women, gays and freedom of worship, it does have major security concerns due to its violent Islamic Jihadist neighbours’ threats.

Although he is correct that Hamas were elected in 2004, having banned further elections now makes them a totalitarian regime. Likewise Iran is not a ‘cuddly democracy’ as he believes.

I suppose he also believes Iran, the world’s second largest oil producer, needs alternative ‘nuclear’ energy for peaceful purposes?

Edinburgh, Scotland


Catholic Church is fair game for media

I have heard the ‘what aboutery’ term used in many aspects of Ireland past and present but never before with regards to child sex abuse and ‘home’ scandals. That is until I read M Hayes (May 3).

The scandals are all wrong from all faiths and none of them should ever be played down. The writer says ‘when casting stones, do so with clean hands’. Well, unfortunately, I, like many abused by members of the Catholic Church, can’t get an apology either. Although my hands tremble when my past is triggered I assure you mine are quite clean. How many bishops and cardinals can say the same?

The writer says the media seems to think the Catholic Church is fair game. The Catholic Church has attacked and abused its flock over many years. That makes them fair game and they are still trying to hide the facts.

Newcastle, Co Down 

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Letters to the Editor