Letters to the Editor

50-year-old legislation not solution to abortion

Bernadette McAliskey deserves credit for the manner in which she expressed her opinions on abortion recently, if not for the thoughts themselves. Few would take issue with the rights of a woman over her own body. However, do we not accept that the unborn child in the womb also has rights? Engagement in debate in Northern Ireland on the issue of abortion is virtually non-existent and it appears that 50-year-old Westminster legislation is going to be thrust upon us imminently without any reference to the people. At least the people of the south got a debate and campaign, even if it was manipulated with a deftness that even Dominic Cummings might admire. Much of the sloganeering we saw in Belfast last weekend was of a crude, party-political nature and gave no indication of any concern for vulnerable women.

The real and practical nature of abortion – the destruction of an unborn human being – has not formed any part of the debate here; nor has the question of whether we as a society can do any better for the vulnerable woman than we did in the past. Whatever the question, surely we should ask ourselves if the abortion legislation of a previous century is really the best answer. In a time of increased prosperity and resources, better health and education and tremendous medical advances we certainly ought to do better. To do better we need to confront the issues in a sincere and honest way; the introduction of a liberal abortion regime in Northern Ireland will not make up for the suffering of vulnerable women in the past and should not be viewed as some kind of revenge for the undoubted wrongs of Church and state over many years. It largely rests in the hands of our assembly, but we still have time to pause and carefully consider the way forward. Many would accept that the issue should be debated but surely this should be done in a calm and humane way befitting of the dignity of mother and child. Our assembly representatives should face up to their responsibilities and reconvene urgently to engage in this issue rather than engaging in party politics with the welfare of mother, child and us all.

Michael Murphy

Co Derry

Early election can restore will of people on Brexit

The feckless cabal of parliamentary remainers turning politics into a laughing stock are quick to remind us of the law but very slow to implement Article 50 and enact the people's vote of 2016. It is grossly dishonest to delay the nation's departure from the EU.

This motley crew of Marxists, republicans, luvvies, and shameless Tories back the backstop. They are content to watch the EU force Northern Ireland into a customs union annexing us from the rest of the UK. Clearly our Union is worth less to them than the European Union. Only an early election can restore the will of the people in parliament.

There is nothing in law written into the Belfast Agreement which compels the UK to guarantee to the EU a frictionless trade agreement with the Irish Republic. It serves the Irish right when shooting themselves in the foot results in their losing their import and export business with the UK worth over £40 billion per annum. Foolish in the extreme most reasonable people would admit. The Irish have pushed good relationships to the brink. The backstop will be prevented and when the blame game kicks in there will be no hiding place for its sponsors. Not here, across the border, across the UK or in Brussels.

David McNarry

Strangford, Co Down

Search for truth painful process

In her analysis piece 'Reflection on past mistakes can be important part of healing' Allison Morris (September 6) is absolutely right to acknowledge that the new BBC Spotlight documentary series on the Troubles is a 'valuable resource for future generations.'

As we know and are very much aware about this place there are a myriad of competing, complicated, controversial and emotive narratives and stories of pain and loss. It is the process of telling our stories that should enable us to move forward as a society. I also believe that all stories and all truths have to be unearthed, heard, protected and understood.

The past remains, unfortunately, our biggest stumbling block in terms of real conflict transformation - it still looms large in our present. Information, knowledge, memory closure and justice are so important for so many here but also very elusive. As Allison Morris states in her piece: '..there are those with axes to grind and scores to settle, those who amplify or play down their own role in conflict and those who point fingers at others rather than looking in a mirror.'

Getting to the full story of what happened here will be painful but surely it is a process worth taking as traumatic and as unpalatable as that would be.

Barry Fennell

Belfast 11

'Republicans' nothing but imposters

Republicanism has moved on, claims Manus McDaid. Republicanism as an ideology regards the people of a nation as sovereign. For anyone to consider it legitimate for a national minority to control the destiny of the whole nation, as in the GFA, is antithetical of republicanism in general and Irish republicanism in particular. Yes Manus, people have moved on but those people who still claim to be republicans are nothing more than imposters.

Sean O'Fiach

Belfast 11

DUP should claim moral high ground

It is a horrendous situation that Northern Ireland is about to have the most brutal abortion laws imposed on it by Westminster because the DUP and Sinn Féin cannot agree on an Irish Language Act.

Does it mean so much to the DUP to give in to abortionist Sinn Féin on this issue, that they are prepared to allow thousands of Northern Irish babies to die?

It is time for the DUP to be the bigger party and let Sinn Féin have their hollow victory.

Dr Owen Gallagher

Glenavy

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