Sir Jeffrey is trying to outdo TUV leader in his-nationalist rhetoric
If anyone ever believed that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was to be an innovative neo liberal leader of the DUP then the last few weeks will have painted a whole new picture for them. His constant grandstanding on his opposition to the NI protocol, his calls for the end to the economic border down the Irish Sea, his refusal to allow his party to attend NSMC meetings and his inability to accept, or to allow, a SF First Minister are all typical of his party’s policy of always saying no.
Not only has he failed to produce any new policies on absolutely anything, but he is clearly being led by the nose by none other than virulent anti-anything nationalist, Jim Allister. What Mr Allister says one day, our Jeffrey is shouting out from the roof tops the next day. It has become clear that Jeffrey fears the TUV in the forthcoming assembly elections and his sole policy seems to be to outdo Mr Allister in his anti-nationalist rhetoric.
Jeffrey’s calls for unionist pacts in order to win as many seats as possible is aimed at preventing Sinn Féin becoming the largest party in the assembly and therefore holding the position of First Minister. Clearly unionism still sees nationalists as second-class citizens and not fit to hold the top political position. Notwithstanding the fact that this position has been held by unionists for the past 23 years, the political demographics in the six counties has changed and the outcome of the next assembly election might well see SF as the largest single party.
Sir Jeffrey’s threats to collapse the institutions in the middle of the deadliest disease in recent history has to be unreservedly condemned. Does he really want to put the lives of the people in the six counties into the hands of Boris Johnson, an individual who has clearly shown his total disinterest and disregard for the people here – unionist and nationalist. In his juvenile attempts to outdo Jim Allister he has placed himself in a position of ridicule – a fact that is not being lost on the electorate.
Names and faces in the DUP may have changed since its formation 50 years ago, but the party remains the same at its heart. Nationalism has moved with the times and the latest census figures and recent polls are indicative of change. If Sir Jeffrey had any forward thinking, which he has so far failed to display, he would be taking the DUP along a very different path.
Boris Johnson has now stated that the protocol, with some changes, can be workable. Sir Jeffrey and the DUP need to waken up and read the writing on the wall. The protocol is here to stay, SF will be the largest party in the next assembly, Boris will be no guarantor for the union, dialogue has begun on the nature of the new Ireland and if the DUP do not take their heads out of the sand it will all go ahead without them.
Craigavon, Co Armagh
Jaundiced view of Ireland’s Future
Oh dear, what a jaundiced view Maurice Fitzgerald offers of the Cork event hosted by Ireland’s Future. (September 30).
I also took in the proceedings – albeit via the live stream – and found it to be a laudable attempt to initiate some honest discussion around a topic that is very pertinent to people living on this island.
I don’t know what Mr Fitzgerald was hoping for, but his comment about speakers going ‘off-topic’ seems strange, to say the least. Any blueprint for a united Ireland requires the concept of social inclusion to be embedded in its policy base. And so the feelings and needs of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and asylum-seekers, working-class people, as well as the shameful housing crisis in the Republic and the misgivings of northern unionists, all need to be aired. These issues – and many more – far from being niche agendas, lie at the very heart of any plans for re-unification.
Referring to the ‘three-quarters full’ hall: the pandemic is still with us. Might it not be the case that wise folk were observing social distancing and some decided to watch from the comparative safety of their homes?
As for the observation that young people are ‘screaming’ about climate change instead of a united Ireland, there is no contradiction here – addressing climate change and environmental concerns is part and parcel of an all-Ireland agenda. Climate change, by the way, is not ‘disputed science’. It is fact. And facts do not cease to be facts simply because someone chooses not to believe them.
Unless we tackle climate change and modify human behaviour toward the natural world, our grandchildren will not live to enjoy a united Ireland, or indeed any other earthly living space.
Ireland’s Future is to be commended in kick starting an adult conversation about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead en route to an inclusive, progressive and genuinely unified Ireland.
Magherafelt, Co Derry
Over 40s left in lurch
The vaccine program so far has been been outstanding and has ensured that people can resume much of their normal lives. However, how long will it last? Recent research from Israel has shown that immunity from the virus lasts six to seven months. Those over 50 will be able to receive the vaccine booster this winter. The majority of those between 40 and 50 received a second dose of the vaccine between June and July. This means that this age bracket will be vulnerable at the start of the new year. This age group has the responsibility of both bringing up children and helping to look after elderly relatives. If, for instance, parents from this age bracket become sick or die with Covid, who is going to take care of their caring responsibilities? Also, this age group is the most economically active. If we want to ensure the economy continues to pick up, we need to ensure they have the confidence to go out and spend. I believe the Northern Ireland Executive needs to be brave and ensure the over 40s are part of the booster program. During the initial rollout of the vaccine, the executive did deviate from the national policy and rolled out the vaccine quicker to the over 40 age group. I believe if they do so again, they will save many more lives.
The recent news that electricity prices are to be increased again by nine per cent after going up in August by nine per cent is a shocking rise.
How are people meant to get by with these never-ending increases in energy prices?
Wages are ridiculously low. Can someone in government please explain?
On an almost daily basis we hear Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and other unionist spokespersons state that the Northern Ireland Protocol has had the effect of separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom. Mr Donaldson et al might like to reflect on the fact that since the forced partition of Ireland 100 years ago, nationalists living north of the border have had to endure separation from the rest of Ireland.
Hollystown, Dublin 15