Letters to the Editor

Fine Gael TD provides a masterclass in filibuster and can-kicking

The wind chill for northern nationalists/republicans must be palpable as Fine Gael TD, Neale Richmond, provides a masterclass (April 26) in filibuster and can-kicking.

A ‘united Ireland’, as commonly understood, will not happen any time soon.

There are several reasons underpinning this observation.

1. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have overwhelmingly dominated the political landscape in the Republic.

However, add the 27 Sinn Féin MLAs to the 37 TDs currently in Dáil Éireann and you can see that a ‘united Ireland’ would provide Sinn Féin with such a structural advantage over everyone else that they would probably dominate the next 100 years. The chances of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs voting in favour of their own political eclipse is as likely as turkeys voting for Christmas, don’t you think?

2. During the last 100 years it is Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour who have literally shed blood, sweat and tears creating and building the Republic from humble beginnings to the current Celtic Tiger, and transforming its fortunes from being a net recipient of EU funding into a net contributor.

For most of this period an abstentionist Sinn Féin and its military wing were sniping from the side lines.

3. Furthermore, until recently, and as was de rigueur for revolutionaries during the Cold War, the Irish Republican Army Council (IRAC) undermined the Irish government by claiming to be the legal government of the Irish Republic. In 2002, when the Republic’s Attorney General publicly acknowledged this claim, the European Parliament was petitioned to resolve competing claims by IRAC and the Dáil to be the legal and lawful government, and the EP in turn passed this to the European Commission.

The context is all-important given that the EU was transitioning from the 1993 Treaty of Maastricht to the 2004 Treaty of Lisbon that was meant to be the EU’s constitution.

These treaties had to be signed by the legal government of each member state to come into effect, and IRAC’s claim would invalidate the new treaty.

It wasn’t until 2005 the IRAC ceded to the Dáil, and this act had a number of consequences beyond the EU treaties.

Firstly an influx of talented and highly motivated individuals to Sinn Féin and the party’s transition from eurosceptic to europhile.

Secondly, the institutions set up under the 1998 Good Friday or Belfast Agreement had, like Sunningdale, collapsed amid recrimination and rancour and, after the conclusion of the St Andrew’s Agreement, Sinn Féin entered government with the DUP.

4. The 1998 GFBA is arguably an Act of Union by another name.

Under Strand Three, membership of the British-Irish Council encompasses representatives of the British and Irish governments, devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

In many ways it mirrors the Nordic Council.

And, perhaps crucially, the North-South Ministerial Council already provides all-island or all-Ireland government if only political parties in Northern Ireland would operate it as envisaged.

Belfast BT9


Sinn Féin’s divisive rhetoric only serves to exacerbate existing divisions

On Monday (April 26), a broadcast was released on social media commemorating “A celebration of the life of volunteer Seamus McElwaine”. The broadcast had been recorded earlier last month and Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy was the keynote speaker in the broadcast virtual commemoration. 

Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Arlene Foster, claimed in 2015 that McElwaine was the gunman who attempted to murder her father who was a policeman in 1979 at their family farm in Roslea. McElwaine, a member of South Fermanagh’s IRA Brigade is also believed to have been involved in the murder of 10 Protestants and attempts on many others in border areas.
In his eulogy, Carthy said: “Seamus and all of those who fought for Irish freedom continue to inspire us.”

Matt Carthy is not the first Sinn Féin TD to glorify the IRA’s campaign which was responsible for over half of all victims in the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’. 

How is it possible to put Sinn Féin and the IRA’s past behind us particularly when their TDs not only remind us of it but continue to glorify it.

Additionally, it makes nonsense of their stated objective to unite the people of Ireland when they engage in this divisive rhetoric which serves only to exacerbate existing divisions
Former Alliance Party leader and Fine Gael MEP,  Lisnagry, Co Limerick

‘Hidden hands’ pulling the strings

Trevor Ringland warns loyalist rioters “they should be very wary of anybody who is encouraging them onto the streets.” (April 27). Has Trevor thought of ‘British Intelligence’. It’s common knowledge now that loyalist paramilitaries were supported by “the spooks” throughout the Troubles.

In military colleges all over the world the UVF/UDA/LVF etc are known as ‘indigenous counter insurgency forces’.

Has it occurred to Trevor that the ‘hidden hand’ of MI5 could be pulling the strings from head office in Vauxhall, London and Palace Barracks, Co Down?

Cork City


Piggy in the Middle is a game, not a job

Having witnessed the scenes of chaos over the last few weeks in Northern Ireland, scenes that have been broadcast all over the world, I thought to myself – what sort of masochist would you have to be to join the PSNI?

Piggy in the Middle is a game – it’s not meant to be a job – a real life job. Stuck in the middle between two rival factions who hate each other, playing Russian Roulette with their lives – there is no let up it seems. Don’t know what the money is like for this job but it would need to be huge.

Belfast BT15

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Letters to the Editor