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Letters to the Editor

DUP's departure for usual rancour is way too little too late

Like many observers I was struck by the surprisingly urbane exchange between John O’Dowd and Edwin Poots on BBC’s The View, (January 11). What a pleasant departure from the universal rancour and trading of noxious insults of the

preceeding days following the Barry McElduff fiasco.  Who were these clones, and what had the BBC done with the real O’Dowd and Pootsie?  My heart gave a little skip for joy. Was there really some hope left for the farce that passes for politics here?  And then, fast on the heels of that comes Arlene Foster, speaking in emollient tones at the inaugural Killarney Economic Conference  and suddenly I’m thinking, hey, what’s going on here?

Last time I looked the DUP were the strident Brexiteer cheerleaders for a hard Tory Brexit and Dublin was the bogeyman, thorn-in-the-side determined to thwart the ‘will of the British people’. Now, suddenly, Arlene says Brexit is “not about pulling up a drawbridge and cutting off NI from its nearest neighbours”. No, rather, it is in our “best interests to see the ROI prosper” as our futures together are “closely connected and underpinned by close economic and cultural ties”. Bit of a change from accusing the taoiseach of being “reckless” during phase one talks last November.

Allowing her the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume that Arlene’s exhortation “not to rush for microphones at the first opportunity” is directed at  DUP colleagues also as we head into phase two talks, where the real fun will begin.

Having its cake and eating it is not the sole province of the Tory Brexit strategy; by insisting they don’t want to see a hard border here yet simultaneously supporting May’s determination to drag the UK out of both the Customs Union and the Single Market, the DUP are seeking the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  The two are mutually exclusive and it just won’t happen.  A hard border presents the biggest challenge to peace on this island since the Good Friday Agreement was signed and what’s more, the DUP know it. A cynic might be tempted to believe that the recent dulcet overtures of Poots and Foster are finally, if belatedly, a recognition by the DUP that a combination of intransigence in talks to restore devolution, coupled with their obstinate Brexit stand behind the Tories, is grist to the mill for a reunited Ireland. Personally, I want no part of Brexit. I now look to Irish unity for deliverance from the looming Brexit disaster. I suspect there are many others like me also. Too little too late DUP.

Omagh, Co Tyrone


Intentional ending of a person’s life can never be justified

I am prompted to write this letter in response to Clare Bailey MLA – 'Catholic Church still trying to hold moral high ground’ (January 11).

Ms Bailey comments that the Catholic Church’s teachings are 149 years old. I cannot comment on this as I do not know, but I believe that everybody should be against abortion.
We cannot single out that any one child does not have the right to life.
God has created every person to be born into the life here on Earth and ultimately to spend Eternity with Him. At the moment of conception God breathes His life into the child that has been conceived. From that moment on the child is beginning to be formed and starts to grow within the mother’s womb, until the birth of the child happens.
The colour of our eyes and hair, our gender, how tall we will be, our unique genetic make-up is all determined at that moment. Ms Bailey comments about the detection of foetal movement at 166 days There cannot be a sudden formation for this foetal movement to occur at this stage, as the movement requires limbs to take place. The heart starts beating at day 21. By the fourth week the brain is dividing into distinct segments. By day 42 brainwaves are detectable. By Week 12 eyes, ears, nose, fingers, teeth-buds, toes and all major organs are formed. The baby can yawn, swallow, suck, kick, flip and curl its fingers and toes. And so therefore there is a full body with all of the body matter at this stage. It’s really incredible. If only wombs had windows.

There is no time when the formation of the body is taking place (and after the birth) that the child should not be given the opportunity of life, as both Ms Bailey and I were given.

We are all unique. There are no 2 persons the same. We all have different talents and abilities and we should all be given the opportunity to use them. Abortion is a human-right issue and not just a religious issue. It affects people of all faiths and none who believe the intentional ending of a person’s life is never justified. It is the greatest human issue of our time. Nobody can condone wrong doings and should never try and justify their actions when they are in the wrong.

So, how can a child that is being wonderfully formed in the mother’s womb by Our Creator not be given every opportunity to live here in this earth.
I do not believe that many Catholics disagree with the hierarchy’s stance.

Newcastle, Co Down


Change the atmosphere

With the proposed talks planned for this week, surely it is time for the two biggest parties to take full responsibility for the mess which Northern Ireland is now in. In case people don’t know, we have a vacuum where decisions on improving NI are not being made. It is all very well complaining about the Health Service and its weaknesses, and no money to fix them,  but the buck stops with the non-performing ministers who don’t make the recommended improvements which have been flagged up time after time. It is not just big multi-million pound projects that are affected but small businesses who are owed a few pounds. 
Small community improvement projects are not being progressed. This  predictably is leading to growing frustration and we know what the last outburst of frustration led to.

The spats about issues which many of us have no real feeling for or against should not be wrecking the whole community. Why do visitors say that we are among the friendliest and most helpful of people yet we cannot be friendly and helpful towards each other at a political level?

As a former councillor I experienced “bullying” and bad manners, but I “got over it” and was able to help do things that were constructive for the whole community.

It is ironic that the two big parties profess a belief in Christianity and yet don’t show the basic Christian principles towards each other. Time to change that.

Belfast BT6


Hurt from the past

Rev Brian Kennaway (January 19) talks about the need for Sinn Féin to create a huge gulf between the party and the terrorism of the past – presumably he does not include British and loyalist violence in his definition of terrorism. It is ironical that he also makes unhelpful baseless insinuations about the Kingsmill massacre which will cause hurt and distress to other families.

He states that those who died at Loughgall were suspected of involvement in the Kingsmill massacre.  There was a gap of 11 years between the two events and a number of the Loughgall dead were too young to have been involved in the 1976 massacre. There is not a shred of evidence against any of the others.
It proves nothing that Raymond McCreesh was caught with a gun used in Kingsmill several months later. The IRA were very active in the south Armagh area and they were not so stupid as to keep weapons on their person or in their houses. They cached them.

It is significant that not even the notorious Diplock Courts attempted to pin Kingsmill on McCreesh.

Charleville, Co Corcaigh 

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