Letters to the Editor

Unionism still craves a Protestant state for a Protestant people

As we celebrate the 100th birthday of this statelet we have been reminded once again that unionism still craves a Protestant state for a Protestant people. Last week the LCC sent a lad onto a government Zoom meeting to say loyalist violence couldn’t be ruled out over the protocol. The old hands of loyalism are too tired to fight so they are going to send the children out to do it for them. It’s the sort of thing that turned the people against the IRA.

Doug Beattie, the new moderate face of unionism, began his tenure as leader of the UUP by saying that if the PSNI don’t do his bidding over the Bobby Storey funeral then Stormont could fall. Would it be missed?

What Doug was saying was: “We thought the PSNI was going to be a new version of the RUC.”

Kevin Meagher was a special adviser to former Labour Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward. He spoke last week and said that the British government should apologise to the nationalists for the misrule of unionism during the first 50 years state.

Maybe the real history of Northern Ireland will begin to be recorded. He wrote recently: “Unionists ran the place – their ‘wee country’ – as they saw fit, sloping the pitch in their favour.

“Discrimination against the Catholic minority was hard wired.

“Electoral boundaries were gerrymandered, while the franchise for local councils was based on property ownership, freezing out hundreds of thousands of poorer Catholics and minimising their voting power.”

Unionists fail to understand two things – the protocol hits us as much as them, and policing should be totally non-sectarian.

The PSNI have the support of most Catholics in the province – they are behaving fairly.

Nationalists should go on doing their work, educating their children and ignoring the huffing unionist bogeymen in the corner.

When is unionism going to learn that the only way to secure their British identity is to treat Catholics as equals and allow us to be Irish in the way they want to be British – who really cares about a border?

All we want is equality to work and enjoy life alongside our unionist neighbour. Is that too much to ask?

TURLOUGH QUINN
Portglenone, Co Antrim

 

Chance to celebrate Childhood Day

We know that children across Northern Ireland have just experienced one of the most difficult years imaginable – schools closed for extended periods, combined with isolation and the removal of vital support networks meant that many children lost a year of their childhood.

At the start of the pandemic, the change in daily routines, being stuck at home and the removal of professional support from schools caused great worry and anxiety in young people, particularly those who were already coping with other issues in their lives. At the start of this year the January lockdown presented another particularly challenging time for young people, as Covid death rates rose and schools closed down for a second time.

Indeed, NSPCC’s Childline service recently revealed data that shows there have been more than 1,100 counselling sessions with children from Northern Ireland about mental or emotional health since April last year.

After such a year, we could all do with a bit more play and that’s why we’re asking everyone from Belfast to play their part in giving children a great summer and a brighter future as we launch our fourth Childhood Day in Northern Ireland.

It’s all taking place on Friday June 11 and in the run up to the day, we are asking everyone to celebrate childhood by organising a play event to raise money and help keep children safe.

There are so many different ways you can play your part: whether you host a treasure hunt, a charity team game or have an online gameathon, whether you are five or 85, we are encouraging you to get involved on the day, with family, friends or workmates, we have a fundraising pack full of idea but whatever you do and whoever you do it with, please make sure you follow government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

For more information, please visit: www.nspcc.org.uk/support-us/events-fundraising/childhood-day or contact the NSPCC Northern Ireland Team at

FundraisingSupportTeam@NSPCC.org.uk

By supporting Childhood Day, you are raising awareness and crucial funds to enable us to help keep children and young people, from Northern Ireland, safe.

JOANNE McMASTER
NSPCC Northern Ireland

 

Double standards

Hysteria is the only way to describe the reactions of the “international community” to the interception of a Ryanair aircraft traveling to Belarus and the arrest of a journalist. A chorus of outrage emanates from London to Rome, Paris to Washington and around the world at this act of barbarism. There should be no place in the modern world for actions of this kind.

Memories are short in the world of politicians and their compliant journalists. Not a word about the forced landing of the presidential plane of Ecuador’s President Evo Morales in July 2013 when, first France and then Portugal and Spain, closed their airspace to it and forced it to land in Austria to be ‘inspected’ by  Nato, in case the American whistleblower, Edward Snowden, was aboard and fleeing Moscow for sanctuary in Ecuador, which, under article 14 of UN Declaration of Human Rights, he was perfectly entitled

to do.

EUGENE F PARTE
Belfast BT9

 

Mystified by support for protocol

Anyone watching  interviews with Northern Ireland business group representatives on the BBC’s Sunday Politics Show in January 17 would have been reassured that the protocol problems were caused by teething problems and all would be well soon. This was of course the line also being taken by the protocol’s political supporters.

Surely, some five months later it is still not teething problems that has caused increased prices and a reduced range of products. A survey released by Manufacturing NI indicates that 77 per cent of those surveyed reported a negative impact on business, 93 per cent report an increase in the cost of raw materials and 86 per cent report an increase in transport costs.

It is now very clear that the protocol will permanently increase living costs and according to recent reports, reduce the availability of life saving medical treatment.

It is understandable that the SDLP, Alliance and Sinn Féin, who facilitated and supported the introduction of the protocol, continue to argue for its retention. However, it is mystifying why businesses continue to provide support for arrangements that would appear to be to the disadvantage of almost everyone in Northern Ireland.    

JAMES MARTIN
Dromore, Co Down

 

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