Letters to the Editor

Faithful Catholics will make no compromise on abortion issue

Among Dr Niall Meehan’s assertions (July 25) is the pernicious falsehood that steadfastly opposing  abortion is a “denying of women’s rights”.

No man or woman has the so-called “right” to deliberately terminate the life of another – in this case the most vulnerable and defenceless of all our fellow human beings – the unborn girl or boy.

The Church’s unequivocal opposition to abortion goes back to the earliest times and has absolutely nothing to do with Dr Meehan’s alleged ‘coalition’ with Protestant fundamentalism. The fact that Protestant fundamentalists take the same view on abortion as the Catholic Church is coincidental.

I, as a priest, as Dr Meehan points out, have opposed for many years now the anti-Catholicism inherent in certain strands of Protestant extremism and I continue to do so. Likewise, I will also challenge the ideological anti-Catholicism displayed by those of Dr Meehan’s mindset. For whether he admits it or not, such prejudice is also present in his projected notions.

Dr Meehan fails to grasp a simple reality. The Church faithfully upholds an exacting standard towards which God calls human beings to aspire. The same God is loving, patient and merciful with human beings when they sin and when they fail.

The standards of God’s Law being exacting and challenging does not negate them. Their being unpopular and “unfashionable” does not in the least detract from their truthfulness. We must aspire towards them, even if we fail, again and again: “for though the upright fall seven times daily, they get up again; but the wicked stumble in adversity” (Proverbs 24:16).

Faithful Catholics will make no compromise on the issue of abortion with the spirit of this evil age. Abortion is a matter of life or death. To intentionally terminate the most defenceless among us, is indicative of  what is at the heart of human society, which must be rejected and opposed at every turn.

The hostility and mockery of the world holds no surprises for those who strive to be faithful to Jesus Christ and His Church. We will not draw back in any way from maintaining the standards of His Gospel.

Belfast BT12


Second World War conscription claims ill-founded

Brian Feeney asserts that during the Second Word War unionist politicians did not want conscription to be extended to Northern Ireland (July 25). 

If Dr Feeney  consults Dr Brian Barton’s book Brookeborough: The Making of a Prime Minister (1988) – in which this subject is dealt with at some length – he will find that his claim is ill-founded. 

Even before the outbreak of war the then Sir Basil Brooke, at that time a cabinet minister, complained that conscription legislation had not been extended to Northern Ireland; he spoke of “anger and hurt pride at the feeling of having been snubbed”.
In September 1940 Lord Craigavon, then prime minister, toyed with the idea of withdrawing employment benefit from those eligible for military service who had not volunteered. 

In May 1941 JM Andrews, Brooke’s predecessor as prime minister, wrote to Ernest Bevin, then the UK minister of labour, stating that his cabinet was “emphatically of the opinion that conscription should be applied”. Discussions concerning conscription took place in London that month between representatives of the Northern Ireland and UK governments (the former delegation included Andrews and Brooke). The decision not to extend conscription to Northern Ireland was taken by the British war cabinet on May 27 1941. The war cabinet took account of opposition to the extension of conscription across Ireland and in Canada and the United States. Andrews, too, seems to have been put off in late May by increasing evidence of opposition, especially after an anti-conscription rally in Belfast on May 26  which had been organised by nationalist MPs and senators. Brooke was critical of Andrews’s change of mind. Two of his three sons died in action during the war. 

Belfast BT1


British army used children as ‘human shields’

Kenny Donaldson, ‘victims campaigner, was on The Nolan Show (July 24) to speak about IRA commemorations. During his contribution he stated “children were brought out onto the streets in riotous situations to act as human shields”. 

My 14-year-old sister was shot dead by the British army with a plastic bullet in 1981.The day my sister, Julie, was killed hunger striker Francis Hughes died. Just yards from the spot my sister was killed women were saying the rosary and banging bin lids – hardly a riot Mr Donaldson.Julie was crossing the road to fetch milk from the shop and was shot from an armoured personnel carrier. There was no rioting in the area. There was no shooting in the area. There were no active service units in the area. 

Also it’s a fact that British foot patrols, who were hunkered down at street corners, called little children over [myself included] to let them look down their telescope. They were not doing it to endear themselves to the local community, they were doing it to use the children as human shields.

Belfast BT11


Ian Paisley should clarify his position

I refer to the extensive coverage in the media regarding Ian Paisley and the furore that has followed initially when the Daily Telegraph broke the story in September 2017. Mr Paisley described the article as defamatory and devoid of content that he has referred it to his solicitor.

The speaker of the House John Bercow’s commented that Ian Paisley had breached parliamentary rules by not declaring two luxury holidays to Sri Lanka paid for by the Sr Lankan government.

Ian Paisley made an emotional  public apology on but the next day he sought to step back from the ‘tear-jerking apology’.

Ian says that the regulation rules are confusing and he appears to have a real problem with simple regulations.Did he ‘remember’ to declare to the HMRC on his tax returns the gifts in kind?

Perhaps as a public servant he would clarify his position.

Is it too much to ask for integrity and transparency by those who are elected representatives?

Templepatrick, Co Antrim


Tory Brexit cop out

Amidst all the talk of a cop out over the British government’s Brexit deal, people seem to have a lack of understanding at the state’s ineptitude.

The reality is that the British government doesn’t know who to please, so they upset everyone. The ‘peace process’ here was a prime example. Cop outs one way, followed by a cop out the other way.

As Will Rogers once said, ‘There are people in government I wouldn’t trust with paper clips.’

Ardboe, Co Tyrone

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