DUP has nothing to lose by engaging with Dublin government

First Minister Arlene Foster with Taoiseach Michéal Martin at Stormont Castle last July 
First Minister Arlene Foster with Taoiseach Michéal Martin at Stormont Castle last July  First Minister Arlene Foster with Taoiseach Michéal Martin at Stormont Castle last July 

THE British government has always taken unilateral decisions whenever it suits, and breaking the agreement with the EU is only one example in a long list of treachery over the decades.

The fact that Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed for Brexit got Britain, Northern Ireland and even the Republic into serious problems and led directly to the border in the Irish Sea.

Some British MPs as well as the DUP are now talking about consent and democracy, which is double standards since it refused to accept that the majority of people in NI voted against Brexit.

The worst action the DUP took was to throw in its lot with Boris, instead of awaiting further political developments before making a decision.

To make matters worse, Britain appointed a secretary of state who claims there is no sea border.

Brandon Lewis then causes even worse problems by telling Stormont members that they have a moral and legal obligation to pass abortion laws. This nonsense shows that he didn’t listen to nor meet the heads of the Catholic Church, Presbyterians or Church of Ireland.

The vast majority of assembly members do not support abortion and that includes the SDLP.

Since the Good Friday Agreement 145 people have been murdered by different paramilitaries and in recent months several bombs have been found by the PSNI in Belfast, Derry and south Armagh.

There is quite a bit of hate being exposed in different circles as well as a lot of anger among loyalists and some unionists. Neither nationalists nor unionists want to contemplate another war that would be disastrous for all the people here.

The DUP has nothing to fear by talking to the Irish government and maybe would gain a lot more since we all live on the same island and we all want peace.

It is time now for the Irish government to initiate talks with serious unionist groups and let them know where exactly they will stand in any new arrangement.

The future of Ireland north and south is in our hands – grasp it and don’t wait for miracles as a deal like the Good Friday Agreement can take many years.

Frank Feely (SDLP founder member)


Co Down

Pioneering nurse Seacole ignored by history writers

AN INFORMATIVE letter on Florence Nightingale (23 March). However Mary Seacole (1805-1881) born in Kingston, Jamaica, of mixed race was a pioneering nurse. A hero of the Crimean War as she established the British hotel near Balaclava to provide comfort for sick and convalescent soldiers. For this she was known as ‘Mother Seacole’.

Seacole would now be described as an advanced nurse practitioner for her hands-on patient care in a variety of settings. Unfortunately her medical achievements have been almost ignored by the history and myth makers and is thus unknown to the general public.

Her reputation rivalled that of Florence Nightingale. Seacole’s life deserves to be celebrated and fully recognised in the nursing profession and the world.

Brian Wilson


Unionist leaders might be surprised by people’s response if they spoke to us as equals

WRITING in the News Letter Peter Robinson returned to what unionism knows best, the threat of a loyalist backlash, citing Protestant disillusion with the political process as his justification. The same day Edwin Poots admitted that he didn’t know that his own department was advertising for people to implement the NI Protocol. The day before the DUP stated that if the protocol came back there would be no Irish Language Act and Boris announced that the Union flag had to be flown over all government buildings in the UK, except that bit which is gradually being syphoned off, Northern Ireland. 

In 50 years of watching politics I have never seen unionism in such a pathetic state. There is no leader to tell the unionist people that the return to unionist hegemony is a fantasy, that the protocol is coming whether we like it or not, and that for many nationalists in this province a united Ireland is not the most important thing in the world. 

Peter Robinson’s article was a litany of blame, the great cry of the person who perceives themselves as the underdog, “Wait till you hear what they did on me!” As I read his piece I couldn’t find one word of why the Catholic rising of 69 took place. The unionist falsehood that everything was fine was implied if not stated. 1969 was nothing to do with a united Ireland, it was Catholics proclaiming that enough was enough.

Once again we must state the obvious: History, demographics and human rights are not on the side of unionism. The three nations of GB are growing towards a federal union. Northern Ireland is not viable, politically, economically or socially. Instead of threats against innocent Catholics, unionist leaders should be talking over the heads of Sinn Féin to the ordinary people and if they speak in a way that recognises us as equals then I believe that they will be surprised by our response. 

This past 50 years has taught us at least two things: The Union is no longer secure and Irish unity is not as important as it was years ago. There is a “peace” in the air of this country now; Peter Robinson would be better trying to build on that peace. 

Turlough Quinn