Letters to the Editor

Partition should only be remembered as a gross injustice

We are all too familiar here of the age old saying, “let’s call a spade a spade”. In plain speech it simply means to tell the truth with no frills or ribbons to soften its punch. It’s past time that this process was applied to all the talk and jargon emanating from some of our citizens of Catholic and nationalist dispensations around the issue of 100 years of partition.

Simply put, partition of the island of Ireland was the British government ignoring the democratic wishes of the people of Ireland in the 1918 general election and instead bowing to the threat of violence from the Protestant UVF. As a result of this threat the British created a small Protestant dominated statelet where the Catholic population was subdued by physical force and blatant sectarian discrimination in order for it to exist.

No-one from the Catholic or nationalist population should take part in any event to mark, commemorate or indeed celebrate such an insidious happening. Unfortunately, some of our so-called leaders have done just that and they and their stances are to be condemned by all right thinking people. The only event regarding the last 100 years that any of our so-called leaders should be attending is one that recognises partition for what it really was. Partition tore an island and a people apart with no thought for the nationalist population and no protection for it either. Then, repressive anti-nationalist laws, armed sectarian militia, internment of nationalists as well as discrimination against the Catholic population in the six counties in employment, education and housing were all put in place by the statelet.

The sole purpose of all these acts was to keep the Catholic/nationalist population on their knees and ensure no opposition to the new state could be organised. Those nationalists who believe they can help organise or participate in the proposed event would do well to dwell on these indisputable facts. They should also remember that when the Catholic population tried peacefully to end these horrendous inequalities, in the form of the civil rights association, they were battered off the streets.

For any nationalist to mark this centenary in any fashion other than to call it what it was is an attempt to rewrite history in a form suitable only to unionists who have never admitted the truth about this sorry little place. The world knows what happened here. Film crews from all over Europe and America have hours of footage of the brutality of the state forces on the nationalist people of these beleaguered six counties. History cannot be rewritten, it can not be denied, the evidence is there to stay.

Partition can only be remembered as a gross injustice and a gross violation of a people on pure and naked sectarian grounds. This is how history has recorded it and this is how to call a spade a spade.

SEAN SEELEY
Craigavon, Co Armagh

 

Constitutional change

I disagree with position of Barra McGrory and David Kenny that Irish reunification does not require a border poll in the south (October 13).

McGrory claims that the requirement for a southern referendum is not in the Good Friday Agreement. But, according to the north’s High Court, the requirement is in the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which translated the border poll provisions of the GFA into domestic British law.

The High Court ruled in June 2018 that: “It is clear that a border poll in Northern Ireland to produce the outcome of a united Ireland would have to be replicated by a poll in the Republic of Ireland producing a concurrent expression of a majority wish in the Republic to bring about a United Ireland” (para. 5).

Kenny’s claim that southern consent to unification does not require a referendum contradicts the position of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland, of which he is a member.

In its final report published in May, the working group notes that although “the agreement does not explicitly impose any obligation on the Irish government to conduct a unification referendum in the south... our view is that the Irish government is required as a matter of Irish constitutional law to hold a unification referendum in the South if a unification referendum in the north is passed” (para. 4.32).

The working group, like the High Court, believes “that consent to unification in the south would require a constitutional referendum” (para. 4.30).

It’s unfortunate that Mr McGrory and Mr Kenny further mystify the already obscure process of constitutional change.

MIKE BURKE
Ontario, Canada

 

Shame on those who give legitimacy to partition

There has been much rumpus again from our unionist neighbours demanding from nationalists and others, what they never do themselves – give respect to something they fundamentally disagree with. It’s a cynical ploy to play up to everyday unionists to say “look at them, they’ll never respect what we are and what makes us unionists”, neglecting the fact they never give credence or thought to anybody but themselves, ever. Can you neglect the state was founded under terrorist threats, demanding the British subvert the will of the people here? Can you neglect the blatant lack of electoral mandate from the people for their new state? Can you ignore the formation of the northern state and its apparatus being in place long before the treaty with nationalists was even signed, something done under duress and threats, and you can’t ignore its formation on a purely sectarian-based head count and the engrained sectarianism to its core. It is a failed enterprise from its formation to today; it’s a failed state, with unionists desperate for those – who they constantly throw scorn on – to validate and give legitimacy to their sectarian failed entity. Those attending the service to celebrate partition should be ashamed of themselves giving credence to the denial of democratic rights to nationalists, but sure, when have the rights of nationalists ever mattered to the 26 counties establishment to begin with?

PADRAIG DONOHOE
Greencastle, Co Tyrone

 

Striking parallels

Chris Donnelly (October 11) writes: “In other words, the the fanciful notion that Irish unity will be pre-dated by a Damascene conversion by unionists to the nationalist cause is utter nonsense.” This informed judgment flies in the face of the assumptions underlying the taoiseach’s ‘shared island’ delusion. The political line of most of the Dublin commentariat is a parallel exercise in wishful thinking facilitated by ignoring the evidence. Read the collected speeches of Jeffrey Donaldson and his allies over more than a decade and compare them to Comical Ali (Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf) “there are no American Infidels in Baghdad”. The parallels are striking. Does Donaldson know that Boris Johnson’s hero is Winston Churchill who said: “We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.” Churchill was promiscuous on the subject of Irish unity. Ditto Boris. Paul Bew has the Churchill details. Caught in the tide of history, Donaldson’s blather insults the intelligence of the loyalist community. NI business should go all out to use the massive economic opportunity of being in and out of the EU simultaneously. Donaldson as a legislator is truly an example of ‘May God save the Queen’.

PROF. BILL TORMEY
Dublin 11

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Letters to the Editor