Letters to the Editor

Hello Mary Lou, goodbye calls for unity referendum

Classiebawn Castle at Mullaghmore, Co Sligo was the holiday home of Lord Louis Mountbatten. Lord Mountbatten died in a 1979 IRA bomb attack, along with three others, including two teenage boys  

OCCASIONALLY politicians when putting a policy reversal on the record, try to do so when it might not attract much attention. Mary Lou McDonald’s recent “apology” for the death of Lord Mountbatten, seems a case in point.
Sincere or not, and SF does have a well-rehearsed style, what was really interesting was her declaration that a united Ireland referendum will not happen before 2032.

Curiously back in January 2020, at the start of the Sinn Féin’s general election campaign, Mary Lou declared a unity referendum a red line demand for any coalition deal. The fact that the “demand” was contrary to the GFA, and not in the gift of any Republic’s government was irrelevant.
As the election campaign progressed, with the real chance of electoral success, SF quietly dropped its demand.

Two possible explanations come to mind: After 22 years Mary Lou and her campaign team had not read, much less understood the GFA, did not know they were demanding the impossible.
Alternatively, they knew all too well but had cynically calculated, banging on about a unity referendum would serve their purposes, with the added bonus of rattling the unionists.

In the year since the 2020 election, despite a pandemic and the imminent arrival of Brexit, SF has continued to agitate non-stop for a referendum and the unionists are certainly rattled. Now SF expects a unity referendum will not happen before two more general election cycles.
If one takes the Brexit example, even in the event of a dual yes vote, in 2032, the practical out-workings of unity could well take much longer.

In 1925, three years after independence, the Irish Free State finally agreed its share of UK national debt payable to HMG.
Ironically, this debt entailed a contribution towards the cost of the War of Independence including, no doubt, Black & Tan pensions.
It is no wonder they kept it secret. Looking forward to any unity deal, Northern Ireland may well bring a dowry, less an offsetting share of
UK government debt, including the cost of all those bombing
One does wonder how any future SF minister in the Dáil will sell adding the bill for the 40 years armed struggle to taxpayers in the Republic? No wonder Mary Lou has put unity onto the long finger.

Frank Hennessey
Belfast BT9


Irish runner blazes trail to Tokyo through covid doom and gloom

FOR well over a year news items have been dominated by negativity –  covid-related, lockdowns, travel restrictions and the rest.
On April 25 2021 an exceptional athlete has hopefully broken the mould of that long-playing doom and gloom record stuck in a rut.
At the Cheshire Elite Marathon running competition, Aoife Cooke won the women’s race in a time of 2 hours, 28 minutes and 36 seconds, qualifying her to compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Over the past year, with uncertainty in the air and many potential Olympians throwing in the towel, Aoife maintained her focus and composure on her multiple 10-mile plus daily training runs.

Now, Aoife has won her just reward. Well done and congratulations.
Hopefully, the nation will enjoy watching Aoife, donned in an Ireland running vest, competing at the Olympic Games women’s marathon race.

Joe Terry


Integrated education will not neutralise the real poison

DO those who demand integrated education for our children ever stop to think that most people are just not that interested?

Are our MLAs swamped with calls, or are there street protests demanding such schools? I think we know the answer to that. Most Catholic parents I know want their children in a school with a Christian ethos, not placed in a secular environment where the bulk of teachers, however well intentioned, have no interest whatsoever in a child’s spiritual upbringing.

Instead of pointing the finger at our faith schools and the Catholic sector in particular, why don’t the integrated lobby show some courage and address the real source of the poison that exists here in the north.

I have no hesitation in saying that the vast majority of the bitterness can be laid at the door of the DUP, the Orange Order and their followers.

I doubt if any reasonable person would dispute this. Even if we had an integrated school on every street corner in the land, these two organisations mentioned above would still be spouting their animosity, yes, even in decades to come. Surely no-one is deluded enough to think otherwise. I think the new shared campus to be built at Limavady is the way forward, where both communities can mix together, and still retain their own way of life.

J Diamond


Columnist Alex Kane has helped me explain

I WAS trying to explain to family how Boris Johnson appeared to know very little about Northern Ireland Protocol but I’m going to show them Alex Kane’s well-written piece (April 23). Never mind how sad – it’s that is who we are depending on.

Mary McDonald

Southern government will keep us all laughing

THE south has seen fit to increase the price of alcohol substantially. Having already banned Masses, GAA and live music I wonder what else in Irish culture they could try and stamp out.
Surely with a bit of gumption they could pass an injunction against the Ireland’s Own and criminalise cups of tea.
They could arrest Tommy Tiernan and destroy the Father Ted archive.
But I’m afraid they will never stop the Irish people’s ability to laugh for the government is the biggest joke of all.

Dominic Gallagher

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