Inclusivity of nationalists is a relatively new thing in Sinn Féin
It is with some scepticism that I heard Michelle O’Neill and Conor Murphy have both announced their support for the letter in The Irish News (December 4) addressed to the taoiseach from the nationalist people in Northern Ireland requesting that the Irish government look after their needs. There was a lot of support for the letter among nationalists and the media but as usual when Sinn Féin see something that they hadn’t thought of themselves they jump on the bandwagon and try to hijack it.
This inclusivity of nationalists is a relatively new thing in Sinn Féin “where everyone is treated fairly and cherished”. Really?
In the past if you were not a Sinn Féin supporter you had no right to desire a united Ireland. You had to be a republican or a Sinn Féin member to do that.
Sinn Féin has bullied the nationalist people in Northern Ireland for too long. They stood outside chapel gates daring you not to buy An Phoblacht after Mass on Sundays. At election time they bullied SDLP candidates, especially women, who were standing for election and SDLP voters. There was always a nasty current running through the Catholic community of them and us. Many young men and women would vote for Sinn Féin and take place in their marches in order to be accepted by the community not because they agreed with their policies. Sinn Féin would try and ostracise you if you were not a member or supporter.
It was only the strong minded individual who could stand up to them.
They may have mellowed and lost some of their arrogance when the defunct government Sinn Féin/DUP fell apart and they realise that they don’t have the support of the broader nationalist population.
Now Michelle O’Neill talks about respect and equality for all, maybe Sinn Féin should have thought about that a long time ago.
A leopard never changes its spots. And long live nationalism in Northern Ireland who always treated others equally and with respect.
Newry, Co Down
It would be easier to cure Ebola than sectarianism
Barry McElduff’s appalling, insensitive and sectarian tweet was followed by what can only be be described as a feeble excuse. Then to add insult to injury there was an insincere apology exacerbated further by a like and retweet by Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.
This is not just an insult to unionists but to all right-thinking people and clearly shows how deep sectarianism runs within the political establishment and how little some of our public representatives have moved on.
It also shows Michelle O’Neill not to be a leader but at best a post box for Gerry Adams and his acolytes. To add insult to injury, Michelle O’Neill’s response can be best described as pitiful and at worst, pathetic. A three-month suspension on full pay from a job he doesn’t do.
If Martin McGuinness was alive today I believe Mr McElduff would have been expelled from the party and Mr Ó Muilleoir would have been severely reprimanded. But to be fair, Michelle O’Neill is no Martin McGuinness.
No matter your politics and not condoning his past, Martin McGuinness showed leadership, statesmanship and most importantly empathy, a trait clearly lacking in the current Sinn Féin leadership. What has been exposed is a moral vacuum by those who continually ‘bang on’ about a rights-based society.
In the real world there is a cost to failure, both in our personal lives and where people are engaged in ‘real politik’ but in our political ‘neverland’ there is no such cost.
We as the electorate expect much more from our political representatives.
Political point scoring
As a health service employee I have watched with interest as elements of the political establishment kick the health service around like a football in an attempt to score political points against other parties.
The notion that the health service is suffering because we have no assembly at Stormont is nothing more than a myth created to fool the electorate.
The health service has been struggling for many years. Staff shortages, closures, cut backs, use of agencies, no pay rise, the list goes on. Staff morale has been slowly buried under the pressure to get the job done.
We survived Stormont when it was up and running under health ministers like Edwin Poots who told us when our A/E department went into crisis during his tenure “it was a one-off”.
Jim Wells and Simon Hamilton did little to impress us when they held the health minister post.
The only breath of hope for the health service came from Michelle O’Neill when she held the post. She was prepared to listen to staff and their concerns. I worked all over Christmas and the new year in our A/E department.To say we struggled is an understatement but we did our best to deliver the service for those who needed it the most.
I take offence at any political party or their representatives who will attempt to use me and the service I work in for their own political agenda.
Many of my colleagues are LGBT, Irish speakers and like myself have lost loved ones as a result of the conflict in our country and we want the truth.
I will not allow their rights to be ignored to get Stormont open again so the health service can continue to run in its usual fashion.
I want an honest government that works for all of our people regardless of their status.
Another sorry milestone
The saga of the recent sectarian outburst of Barry McElduff MP is just another sorry milestone in the political history of Northern Ireland, which is littered with such uncharitable words and actions.
The fact that Sinn Féin has only suspended him for three months effectively gives him a three month holiday and adds insult to injury.
This reaction of Sinn Féin raises the question of their commitment to non-violence. If the Mitchell Principles to use, ‘exclusively peaceful means’, were not broken in fact they were surely, by this response, broken in spirit.
This is a real test case for Sinn Féin and unless they react with further action, both against McElduff and including a fulsome apology for the Kingsmills massacre, their already feeble commitment to the Belfast Agreement must be disregarded.
BRIAN KENNAWAY (Rev)
Expression of thanks
Cancer Focus Northern Ireland would like to thank the public in Belfast on Tuesday November 28 who generously supported our street collection. The collection raised a fantastic total of £690.45.
Cancer Focus Northern Ireland