Letters to the Editor

Endeavouring to portray Paisley and DUP in a more favourable light

Ian Paisley arrested outside St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral in May 1980 during a protest against Taoiseach Charles Haughey. Picture from Pacemaker

Dr Ciaran O Ciogligh (September 27), perceives Joe Brolly’s comments regarding the DUP and the Rev Ian Paisley as crass and unacceptable and he endeavours to portray both in a more favourable and honourable light. While I have no desire or inclination to defend or support Mr Brolly’s remarks, I would nonetheless like to respond to some of the content of the letter.

He states that Rev Paisley was characterised by colleagues in the DUP and FPC as “a humble man of prayer”. From the 1960s on, one of Ian Paisley’s main agendas was the systematic and unambiguous demonisation and stigmatisation of Catholics and the Catholic Church – the Pope was the anti-Christ, Catholics were vermin who bred like rabbits, they were lazy, work shy, and bled the financial resources of the state; as such they were largely responsible for the poor housing, economic and social conditions that existed here rather than an administration that was neglectful, incompetent and corrupt.

For many, if not all, Catholics and indeed many moderate Protestants the legacy of Ian Paisley is this – that if there was one individual who single handedly shouldered more responsibility than any other person for sustaining and accelerating a significant amount of this conflict it was the Rev Ian Paisley.

Regarding Dr Ó Coigligh’s comment: “I have heard many stories from grateful Catholics whose homes Dr Paisley visited at times of distress or death to share fellowship” – try telling that to the Catholic families living in the Shankill district in the 60s whose names and addresses Rev Paisley read out to a baying mob in that area, thus putting them and their homes at risk. Should they have been ‘grateful’ for this? The families he visited to offer condolences were no doubt his constituents. Would this not be expected protocol for an elected representative as part of his duties?

Regarding his “efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland” – arguably, that Ian Paisley’s ultimate goal was to be  head of the Northern Ireland statelet is in little doubt. This ambition was the driving force rather than some new-found magnanimity or ethical about turn. A   journalist aptly summed up Ian Paisley when he described him as an arsonist who joined the fire brigade a few years before he died.

Later Dr Ó Coigligh refers to “local DUP activists or public representatives whose concern is primarily to serve the poor in particular and all sections of society, regardless of religious affiliation or political loyalty, by giving effect to Biblically-based Christian policies”. Really? Try telling that to the poor, Catholics, the LGBT community, Polish, Romanian and other foreign nationals, people of the Sikh, Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, Islamic faiths etc. Would many of them testify to receiving help or support from the DUP? One would doubt it.

GERRY DEVLIN
Belfast BT7

 

Lord Kilcloney’s assertion built on quicksand

‘Lord’ Kilclooney’s assertion that a significant section (40 per cent) of the Catholic/nationalist community would prefer to stay as part of the UK is built on the quicksand foundation of opinion polls. Nevertheless, maybe he’s right, maybe the nationalist people who sometime in the not too distant future will find themselves as the majority for the first time in the gerrymandered state of Northern Ireland will quietly forget what was done to them as a people for more than 100 years by a corrupt regime and vote to stay in the UK purely on an economic basis. Maybe they will forget the discrimination in housing, in education, in jobs. Maybe they will forget the injustices carried out by the state. Maybe they will vote to stay in a system that has treated them with contempt so they can pick up the few shekels thrown to them as reward for tugging their forelocks to their English masters. Maybe Lord Kilclooney is right. Maybe he actually believes the fallacy he has used your letters page to espouse. Well then, why doesn’t he come out and support the call for a border poll? He sounds confident of the outcome so will he be the first prominent unionist figure to support the call for a border poll or will he follow the usual unionist mantra of, ‘No, not an inch, no surrender’? I suspect it will be the latter. No matter, Canute will not stop this tide.

JOHN MOORE
London

 

Keep up the good work Fr Patrick

Danny Tracy’s onslaught on Father Patrick McCafferty  (September 20) is a typical example of anti-Catholicism, together with his thinking on abortion and his ongoing political ambition for integrated education.

Fr Patrick McCafferty has every right to take a strong pro-life stance, particularly in defence of the right to life of the unborn baby in the womb. Abortion is an attack on life; a total abuse of equality – where is the child’s choice, the right to his/her God-given gift of life?

Danny Treacy also mentions the Catholic Church’s declining popularity – wishful thinking, Danny.

Indeed I couldn’t help thinking we may yet see Danny Treacy in the pulpit having taken over from the late Ian Paisley, criticising and condemning everything the Catholic Church believes in and teaches. Perhaps too, if he had his way, we Catholics might all receive a life-long sentence to limbo. Maybe he secretly hopes to achieve that through integrated education –  non-Catholic and non-Irish education. My personal experience of so-called integrated education was certainly not pro-Catholic or pro-Irish. I would not condemn any Catholic child to ensure the deprivation of equality and our Irish culture, as was my personal experience of integrated education.

Father Patrick, keep up the good work.

 C HUGHES
Belfast BT7

 

Carbon footprint

The urgency in the UK to address the shortage of HGV drivers to take fuel to petrol stations creates a great back drop for the climate change conference. Boris Johnson can now point to how by default or design this current crisis has been done to show the world what happens when you depend on fossil fuel, never mind the CO2 and damage it is creating. The added backdrop or footage with the smug car drivers going past these queues on their daily business thinking about their electric car charged by solar panels, renewable energy from the grid including low night rate charges when grid is offload. Not alone have they the smug satisfaction but their backup batteries are being filled for evening use or power cuts while they drive, work or sleep. They can also feel great that they have a weekly shopping booked and delivered by an electric van and stored in fridges and freezers run on their low-cost renewable energy. They feel great that they are contributing to the well being of the environment reducing his carbon footprint as they drive past. They just don’t understand these guys in a panic queuing, adding to their carbon footprint, which has yet to be delivered in big tanks and paying dearly for it. Somebody needs to tell them urgently – but who?º

JOHN HEALY
Bohermore, Co Galway

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Letters to the Editor