Adams's recent epiphany on border poll has to be welcomed
The 1920 Government of Ireland Act was an unworkable compromise which forced on the North of Ireland a parliament it did not want, provided for a Council of Ireland which never functioned, and looked hopelessly to Ireland’s two parliaments eventually agreeing to yield their powers to a single body.
In fact The Irish News at the time stigmatised the Government of Ireland Act as ‘a plan devised by unscrupulous politicians led by the ‘Welsh Wizard’ David Lloyd George to assassinate Ireland’s nationality’. The outcome was, Ireland was partitioned in violence, and violence has continued up to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which had offered opportunities for a new beginning.
Fast forward to the present. Devolved government in the North of Ireland has failed to live up to the expectations of the GFA. The UK is in total disarray with their Brexit issue. The north and south of Ireland border is a sticking point between a deal or no-deal scenario in the Brexit negotiations. Would an united Ireland be the solution?
Both communities in Ireland would be forced to rethink their position and come to terms with a new situation. Unfortunately, changes in people’s attitudes in the north of Ireland end to be inhibited by the constitutional question.
Gerry Adams’s recent epiphany in relation to a border poll has to be welcomed.
I’m in total agreement with his point that winning support for an united Ireland is not all about persuading unionists. They need to be convinced that they will not be politically impotent. They will share other advantages of unity, eg economic, commercial, social, health and education.
Get the assembly in the north back up and functioning. The unionist vote could hold the balance of power within an united Ireland.
Before implementing a border poll, all main parties must be united on these issues and future discussions begin in earnest, to be conclusive and devoid of red lines.
I’m heartened by a verse of a poem in the book An Ulster Reckoning by Belfast poet John Hewitt, ‘this is my country. If my people came from England here four centuries ago, the only trace that’s left is my name... My heritage is not their violence’.
JAMES G BARRY
Message of positivity to all Mater Hospital staff
As we all know there is an awful lot of negativity surrounding our NHS and the ongoing struggle to cope with patient care, due to cutbacks etc. Well, with this in mind, I wanted to send a message of positivity to our hospital staff, who through no fault of their own, are stretched to breaking point.
On March 19 of this year, my elderly aunt, sadly died. She had been in a care home to receive rehabilitation after a bad fall at home over a period of time. She showed no signs of improvement, and if truth be told, she was deteriorating rapidly. The day before her passing, she was admitted to Ward 3, Mater Hospital in Belfast, where it became apparent she was in a critical condition. During her last night there she was looked after by a team of the most dedicated, loving and caring doctors and nurses, whom to this day, I still call her ‘angels’. Sister Mary, Veronica, Clare, Barbara, Sally and Stephen (to name but a few) went far and beyond the call of duty to ensure her last hours were peaceful and pain free. Despite being over stretched and exhausted they never left her for one minute. My family and I were totally overwhelmed by their kindness and dedication so this is a heartfelt, overdue, public thank you to each and everyone of you. We can never, ever, repay you for your care and devotion. God bless you all.
Silent law-abiding majority have not been asleep
If you had just woken from a 40-year coma and started to read the local newspapers or watch TV, you would be forgiven in thinking that all the atrocities which have taken place in Northern Ireland had been carried out at the hands of the RUC, British army or loyalists and that it was only one side of the community who were an oppressed people with no rights and their leaders were Gandhi-like individuals involved in truth and memorial events.
But the reality is very different and the silent law-abiding majority have not been asleep.
These are the people whose hard-working parents, regardless of where they lived, made the decision not to get involved in criminality and protected their children from the madness that was going on all around them. These are the people who, despite the daily bombings and death threats, put their faith in the law to defend their families and businesses.
And these are the truly oppressed people who know the truth and will not let it be forgotten.
I read on a peace line mural recently that “it’s not those that inflict the most but those who endure the most who will conquer”.
I assume this is referring to the silent law-abiding majority.
It always helps to get terminology and history right
Francis Rice (June 10) rightly points out that the Jews are not exclusively ‘Semites’ as other related people groups claim descent from Shem, the eldest son of Noah, such as the Ha-Shemite (Semite) Kingdom of Jordan, despite it being the only Arab country with a Hebrew name.
However, Mr Rice’s point about using the terms ‘Arabs’ instead of ‘Palestinians’ as being collective misses the fact that during the Turkish and British non-Arab rule or ‘occupation’ of the same parcel of land both Jews and Arabs were ‘Palestinian’, as were Druze and any other minority Christian sects. The use of the word ‘Arab’ is selective as opposed to collective as it reminds the world that it wasn’t an Arab only populace pre-1948.
Palestinian Jews who now live in Israel alongside Israeli Arabs sadly have to build walls for protection, but that was always the case in the Land of the Bible for walls to be built for that reason as the people of Israel had enemies even then. As for the popular argument about the Khazars being used as a tool to doubt the ancestry of Jews (who were forced out of their land by Europeans from Rome) is similar to the anti-Semitic propaganda found in the likes of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, still read by anti-Semites, or more correctly to address the use of the word ‘Semite’, anti-Jewish people.
Mr Rice should look closer at the ancestry the ‘Palestinian Arabs’ many of whom originate from other parts of Arabia and the Middle East when migration and borders were more porous for the semi-nomadic tribes in the region. Also after the spread of Islam, often by the sword, there were conversions among the populace that included Christians and Jews, so some Palestinian Arabs have Jewish blood, but follow Islam today. Maybe this will be a key to help forge peace in the region. In the meantime it does help to get the terminology and the history right.
Bangor, Co Down