Letters to the Editor

Good Friday Agreement denies right of self-determination

Road signs on the motorway point north to Belfast and Newry and south to Dublin and Dundalk. Partition can only be ended by a majority vote of the people in Northern Ireland – a poll that can only be held if the secretary of state believes that conditions have been met

IN the letters column, Friday April 9, Paul Laughlin, Doire, argued that a border poll held under the Good Friday Agreement would constitute an exercise in self-determination by the people of Ireland. In this, however, he is wrong.

The Good Friday Agreement and its provisions, where they relate to Irish unity stands, in fact, to deny the exercise of self-determination by the people of Ireland, this through awarding power of veto to a gerrymandered constituency forming merely a section of the Irish people (this being that section of our people who live in the occupied north).

The raison d’être of that agreement is to give primacy to the wishes of a contrived gerrymander over those of the wider Irish people. Where there is self-determination in any of this it is for that section of our people still bound within that remnant of colonialism only. But that is not self-determination for Ireland.

How so? Because even if the electorate in the south, to a man, was to support in a vote the reunification of Ireland and even were this married to a full-on 49.9 per cent vote for same in the north, Irish unity would still be held back. The wishes of the Irish people, then, are secondary and are circumscribed by the wishes of those who live in the north. This may be many things, depending on your perspective, but it is not and can never be self-determination by and for the people of Ireland.

While a day may be approaching where unionism is eclipsed and is reduced to a minority even within its own artificial gerrymander, potentially speeding the numbers required for to unlock Irish unity in accord with the agreement, nevertheless, this should never be held up and spoken of as though it would constitute self-determination.

For there to be self-determination for Ireland and her people then all of her people — acting as one unit, with equal weight afforded each of their number — must be free to determine their future for themselves, absent any external impediment, including the continuing claims to sovereignty in Ireland by the UK.

As an earlier version of Gerry Adams once called it, many years ago, it remains: “The unionist veto must go; the British government must go; partition must go.” 

Only then will there be self-determination for our people, as is their national right and entitlement. Speed that day.


Sean Bresnahan
Co Tyrone



North’s taxpayers must step out of shadow and demand postive change

HAVING lived for more than 70 Years of failed Sinn Féin/republican violence and innumerable failed self-appointed, then sometimes elected, unionist loyalist “representatives” , I and others look at the total failure of our society to even attempt to solve the obvious cancerous problems that we know.

These decades of failure have created a state of amorality and ‘who cares’?

It beats me why we continue to support politicians whose achievements are continuing sectarianism, division and failure to progress. 

That’s their legacy.

The continual harping about united Ireland or United Kingdom is making the problems worse, particularly when our politicians don’t seem to be able to agree any practical actions.

Why don’t we elect politicians who will put the constitutional position on the back burner until we get Northern Ireland to being a better run place, with better education, better welfare, better jobs for more people, and less criminality.

We have had failure for at least 70 years and the present set up will not change that.

Why have we not got a head of our civil service after months of knowing there was going  to be a vacancy? Surely quite an important job. Why do our politicians get away with obvious incompetence in running departments or flagrant breaching of the rules/law, or passing the buck and demanding others to “consider your position”? They can’t even say “you’re fired”. Because they were in charge when the problems arose

It is past time for the politicians to change their attitudes and display coherent leadership. It is time that the shadowy background leaders are left behind. It is time that taxpayers and those left behind demanded positive change. It is time that more of us started to take responsibility for the next generation.

Tom Ekin
Belfast, BT1



Stormont decision on Troubles pension is to be welcomed

THE announcement from the Stormont Executive Office that they will foot the bill for a pension scheme for victims and survivors of the Troubles, is long overdue but welcome.
For months, this issue has been a political football and been fought through the courts.
It took a case from Brian Turley, one of the Hooded Men subjected to enhanced interrogation torture techniques from the British military, to have funding for a pension scheme put in place. It should not have taken the courts and such a level of pressure, for victims and survivors of the Troubles to receive a pension.

The particulars of the scheme and funding are still unclear. 

I urge the Stormont Executive to immediately clarify the eligibility criteria for the scheme to make sure victims and survivors are not arbitrarily barred from a pension. 

An issue I and thousands of others have campaigned for is that eligibility for pension payments would be extended to those suffering from psychological injury and PTSD – I sincerely hope that these are considered grounds of eligibility under the new scheme. 

The announcement is welcome and overdue, but immediate clarity is needed for us to be at ease.

Cllr Denise Mullen


Raised glasses all around

IN The Irish News on Tuesday April 13, the loyalist Moore Holmes said there is little appetite for further protests since the death of Prince Philip. He stated: “Instead of an ‘Irish Sea border’ sign in your hand it should be a glass to raise a toast to Prince Philip.” Perhaps he hadn’t noticed but the loyalists have been raising a glass since the start of the riots. It is in the shape of a bottle and is called a ‘petrol bomb’.                                               

Tony Carroll

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