Letters to the Editor

Bitter irony of old saying be careful what you wish for comes to mind

Finally, four years after Sinn Féin brought the assembly down to get rid of Arlene Foster it has happened. Curiously, SF’s response since the news broke as it has been over the past few months as Foster’s position became more tenuous, was very muted if not supportive.

Indeed, SF’s response to the likely disappearance of an Irish language act over the electoral horizon, has been so very understanding, almost to the point of desperation, first to prop Arlene up and now, to assure her successor, how amenable they will be. This new approach is revealing suggesting that over the past year, against the backdrop of the worst global pandemic in 100 years, that SF were more interested in causing political mischief and disruption. Who would have thought Irish unity would be controversial?

As Arlene exits stage left, the bitter irony of that old saying, be careful what you wish for, comes to mind.

For those who swallow and parrot SF’s ever-changing party line this latest somersault must be a hard one to follow. Sometime after the 2017 assembly elections the reason for the Stormont logjam became DUP intransigence over an Irish language act, nothing to do with RHI or Arlene’s mandate as first minister. The 2018 deal that never was, telegraphed to everyone that Arlene wasn’t the problem. Likely Irish wasn’t either, just those who were using it to annoy unionists. If anyone doubts SF’s “reverse midas” talents, consider the recent and relatively non-controversial introduction of bi-lingual street signage in Belfast by Alliance.

Meanwhile, and unusually, SF plans to restructure party apparatus in Derry have become public as two unelected MLAs are being politely shown the door. If there is one thing SF consistently quote it is their mandate, which justifies what they do, or more often don’t do. Since the two Derry MLAs do not have a mandate but were appointed by one of the most rigidly controlled organisations, the thought occurs surely those who appointed them should be stepping down as well?  The fact such long standing, prominent figures can be so readily, and involuntarily retired, is another powerful signal to the movement.

Looking ahead down south, a few TDs, given their unexpected election in 2020, (one campaigned while overseas on holiday), might be asked to walk the plank as well.  Interesting times.

Belfast BT9


Disgruntled unionist

I  received a letter in the post the other day from a disgruntled unionist somewhere in the north. He was replying to a letter of mine – ‘Unionists must accept the new reality of changing demographics’ (April 16).
If he had provided an address, I could have replied directly to him.

We will call him Alex, and rather than address and accept historical truths which I set out in my letter in regarding unionist intolerance and injustice going back many, many years,  he decided to come up with his own blame game. He made a bold statement that the 26 counties is a cold house for Protestants based on the fact that there are Protestant churches lying empty in every county or have  been turned into cafes? If he cared to take stock without wearing blinkers, he would see that Catholic (which was the predominant religion of the country) churches that used to be full are now echoing with emptiness, so is it any different for Protestant churches? Protestants born and bred in the 26 counties have the exact same problems and misgivings as their Catholic neighbours, no more no less. All suffer the same employment, business and marriage issues. What knocked me for six was a further claim that the GAA was the most “sectarian organisation in the world’? I personally know Protestants who play/manage GAA and would refute these claims, never mind Protestant  presidents of the GAA. Alex definitely knows little about Sam Maguire or the cup which was named after him. Here where I live, we go to each other’s churches for weddings or out of respect for a neighbour/friend who has passed away. Cross-community events take place to raise money for the repair of churches and farmers help each other irrespective of religion. If Alex  reads this, he can call to my house any time for a chat, tea and scones (providing he doesn’t invite Covid along). I can bring him to meet his co-religionists who can put his mind at ease over the Republic being a cold house for Protestants.  Alex makes the point that Protestant/loyalists don’t dominate anyone, they just want to be left alone in the UK as he puts  it. The point is that loyalists/Protestants no longer hold the strings of power as they once did, and as for being left alone, times have changed and the clock is ticking on GB’s colonial claim on the wee six. The sooner  that reality dawns, the sooner we can begin mapping out a new democratic future without the intruding coat tails of London. It is unfortunate that recent events within the unionist/loyalists’ camps have taken a backward step by ditching Arlene Foster who herself started out with hard-line loyalist views. All in all, the invite to my house for a chat still stands.

Gort an Choirce,
Dún na nGall


How democratic is the DUP?

How absurd that, following the Belfast/Good-Friday Agreement (GFA), democratically agreed by majorities north and south of the Irish border in 1998, a political party, the DUP, fundamentally opposed to the agreement, was allowed to take and hold the dominant role in the Northern Ireland government charged with the implementation of the agreement?

Was that a magnanimous exercise in democracy?

Subsequently, the DUP’s pursuit and support of Brexit, contrary to the democratic wish of the majority in NI to remain in the EU, was undemocratic in terms of the party’s NI constituency.

How democratic is the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)?

The Good Friday Agreement, if implemented, would have created a confederation of the various parts of these islands, irrespective of affiliation to the UK or the EU, ‘to promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the peoples of these islands’.

Have any present day politicians anywhere on these islands read and understood the Good Friday Agreement?

Do they care about it?

Have they any intention of implementing it, albeit belatedly by 23 years?

Strabane, Co Tyrone

Unanswered questions

According to figures published daily of those who die ‘with’ Covid-19, there are no other daily deaths deemed worthy of recording.

From the very start of the pandemic, the daily death toll in Ireland has remained as it has always been – approximately 90 people per day. While it is unfortunate that families have lost loved ones due to declared Covid, the numbers of fatalities from ‘normal’ end-of-life deaths remain the same.

For example, if six patients die in one day who are connected to Covid in some way, then around 84 citizens succumb to other conditions, including ordinary ’flu.

There has not been the careful medical reporting or transparency surrounding the issue of Covid-related figures in this country. There has always been unanswered replies to questions frequently asked.

Bantry, Co Cork


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Letters to the Editor