Letters to the Editor

If Protocol places north at disadvantage then it's not good enough

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said his party could quit the Stormont Executive over the Northern Ireland Protocol

There is no reason in the world why Northern Ireland should be placed at a disadvantage because of the Protocol. If that is what it does, then it is not good enough.

Those not from unionist or loyalist quarters have to put themselves in their shoes and look at it from their point of view and may even find themselves in agreement with some or much of it. If traders and merchants have a vastly reduced list of vendors to do business with, then of course there is justification for the difficulties which have arisen.

The EU cannot simply bully its way through Brexit without understanding the delicate sensitivities which exist because of Ireland’s troubled history.

Arrogant statements such as “there will be no renegotiating” are going to provoke a very strong rebuttal which will lead to deadlock and stagnation.

The Irish and British governments say they are listening to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s serious warnings but the question is are they paying any ‘heed’ or just waiting to see how things will play out. Well, that’s not hard to imagine because something is bound to give. The work of senior unionists to ‘keep the boys off the street’ is commendable and deserving of great admiration from the wider community.

However, there appears to be a degree of complacency at times in taking the fragile peace for granted in Northern Ireland by the two governments and the EU. Unionist and loyalist anxiety is now very high. They must not be allowed to feel isolated because they do not happen to agree with the Protocol in the way it’s configured. In a statement to the Commons Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said “it is high time Dublin, London and Brussels started listening”.

They’re probably listening alright but the question is – is it going in one ear and out the other? Donaldson is right when he says: “If Dublin faced similar restrictions at its ports it would feel the same way.” And yet, he and his party are criticised for potentially calling an election to give people their say on the matter.

The DUP leader gave an estimate of £850m loss to the Northern Ireland economy which is very serious and bound to cause job losses. If the Protocol cannot be fine-tuned to remedy this loss, it will just be a matter of time before unionists and loyalists are asking themselves – are they part of the UK any longer? He also mentioned the issue of ‘respect’ and the executive’s role in decision making for Northern Ireland, which again is a valid one.

The current situation is a very dangerous one and has the theoretical potential to bring about a second Troubles, never mind bring down Stormont. The lessons and warnings of the past must be heeded and acted upon and not just listened to – if they are in fact listened to.

Shanbally, Co Cork


Open season order a death warrant on Irish wildlife

The Open Season Order is issued prior to September 1 each year by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

It is an official wildlife killing via firearm or dog approval document that takes no account of the existing conservation status of a species on the list.

The Open Season Order sets out a list of 21 bird species, four deer species and one hare species that can be hunted during a defined hunting season throughout the State.

Reviewing the 21 bird species on the Open Season Order: Snipe and Scaup, species which have worryingly gone from amber conservation

status to red, with breeding populations of snipe in Ireland now ‘in severe decline’. Other red-listed species which may be shot are Pochard and Goldeneye (both have experienced severe declines in their wintering populations) as well as Golden Plover, Shoveler and Snipe.

The red-listed Red Grouse may be killed anywhere in the state for the whole month of September.

Other amber-listed birds on the kill list are Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Tufted Duck and Greylag Goose.

Reviewing the four deer species that may be shot, it must be noted that Ireland’s deer species population and conservation status has yet to be accurately determined based on independent scientific analysis.

As for the Irish Hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus), the order permits its shooting, hunting with hounds and coursed by greyhounds. This despite that hare hunting, both legal and illegal, and habitat destruction is herding this species into a conservation red zone.

In addition, members of this species have become infected with RHD-2 (rabbit haemorrhagic disease), a disease fatal to rabbits and hares which could implications for the population status of this animal. The Open Season Order is a death warrant for wildlife approved and signed

by the relevant ministers.

They have donned the black cap and from September 1 onwards Irish wildlife awaits death in fields that once carried their silent shadows.

Dublin 1


Supply of medicines

The vice-president of the European Commission, Maroš Šefcovic, is quoted as saying that: “It’s quite clear that the people in Northern Ireland should have access to all medicines they need, generics, cancer treatment, any medicine they need.” This was in response to concerns raised that some medicines may not be available in future due outworking of the Protocol.

However, there are a number of questions that need to be addressed. First, list these medicines and their treatment so these can be examined in more detail.

Secondly, are the same or similar medicines really not available from the EU?

Thirdly, price comparison –  are these specific medicines really the most cost-effective treatment? We need to know whether this is just scaremongering for political gain or whether we should really be concerned.

Belfast BT9


We are living in ‘woke’ times

Patsy McGlone’s declaration that the protest against the Mid Ulster Pride march should either be called off or forbidden by the Parades Commission makes one speculate as to what he actually thinks the ‘democratic’ part of his party’s title means. However, we are living in ‘woke’ times and free speech now is only to be allowed when liberal arbiters deem it acceptable. We are indeed heading somewhat belatedly towards George Orwell’s 1984.

Belfast BT11


When it suits it suits

It is extremely frustrating to see people who furiously supported ‘abortion rights’ and the ‘woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body’ now attacking people who choose not to have a vaccine. Surely the same thought process must be applied. These people seem to just follow the latest trend or popular social media movement. Total double standards.

Belfast BT17

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Letters to the Editor