Letters to the Editor

Courts must take stronger line with perpetrators of domestic violence

The editorial(October 25) dealt with the subject of domestic violence against women, concluding that the recent sentencing of men who had murdered women sent out a strong message. I would argue that the courts must take a stronger line with perpetrators, long before they get to the stage of murdering a woman.

I would like to share my experiences.

My daughter was a bright and confident graduate when she met a man who turned out to be a textbook violent domestic abuser.

For several years he abused her  verbally, physically and emotionally –  exerting a terrifying degree of control over every aspect of her life. They had a daughter together and thankfully, when she was a toddler, my daughter summoned up the courage to leave.

She pressed charges against this man, citing several incidents of serious abuse, including one of strangulation. The perpetrator pleaded guilty at the last minute and was given probation.

That was eight years ago. This man, described by police as “very dangerous” has subsequently abused another two partners.

This serial abuser has not served one day in prison for his crimes and seems to be able to continue to abuse women with impunity. The mother of one of his victims and I are still in contact and we are convinced that he will murder a woman one day unless the courts begin to impose custodial sentences for incidents of  domestic abuse.

In the wake of the Sarah Everard murder, I now greet the flurry of assurances that violence against women will no longer be tolerated, with a great deal of scepticism.

In my experience the courts hand down greater sentences for burglary and pet cruelty than they do for violence against women.

I believe that abusers should be handed an automatic custodial sentence for the first and every subsequent incident of violence, in the hope that they will be stopped in their tracks, long before they kill a victim.

Only in this way will these men be shown that their crimes are serious  and that the courts will not tolerate them.

(Name withheld for legal reasons)


Glorifying wrongs of the past

Acelebratory shindig could best describe the centenary of partition event that took place in Armagh and it showed that An tUachtarain Michael D Higgins is more in tune with the reality on the ground when he declined the invitation to attend because he recognised that the title of the “event wasn’t a neutral statement politically”. How  Taoiseach Michael Martin or Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, both leaders of Fianna Fail/Fine Gael, could not see through this one is beyond me. The fact that the Catholic Church was involved was rather strange, but at least Archbishop Eamon Martin, who grew up in Derry, said that the partition of Ireland institutionalised difference and remains a symbol of cultural, political and religious division between our communities. What were Simon Coveney and Fianna Fáil’s Jack Chambers, as representatives of the Irish government, thinking when they were taking part in this charade that was adding legitimacy to partition, with Boris Johnson smiling at how softly and efficiently his coup d’etat took place. As usual the excuses were flying with Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan saying that Jack Chambers was only there as a government representative, and not on Fianna Fáil’s behalf? What exactly is he trying to say, is Fianna Fáil not in government?

Make of that what you may but it’s the usual tactic of Fianna Fáil trying to ride two horses at the same time.

RTÉ did its bit for partition as well by glorifying the sectarian break-up of the country 100 years ago.

Is it any wonder that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are going down in the polls while Sinn Féin is going up?

Gort an Choirce, Dún na nGall


Church of Ireland apology a welcome step

The apology issued by the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, Rev John McDowell, for his church’s failings during the conflict is a most welcome step. Another initiative the Church of Ireland might consider would be to discourage its ministers from being officers of the Orange Order which parades throughout nationalist areas against the wishes of  Catholic communities. Orange Order marches at Drumcree have been outlawed by the British government appointed Parades Commission because they are designed to, and do, offend, and Orange Order apologists, which regrettably include senior unionist politicians, continue to defend the indefensible.

The Orange Order has fought a 200-year rearguard action against democracy in Ireland by opposing every progressive reform from the repeal of the anti-Catholic and anti-dissenter penal laws to the Patten Report on the RUC. Any proposal which they perceived might weaken loyalist hegemonic domination in Ireland was vigorously opposed, often with threats of violence. These unelected politico religious supremacists must be confronted. Neither the nationalist community nor those who respect the rule of law should acquiesce to their threats and intimidation.

Dublin 2


‘Perfidious Albion’ at its worst

Once again we witness the double standards of the Tory government, the sheer arrogance of these people knows no bounds. Bojo Johnson and David Frost sign up to an agreement which Dominic Cummings now tells us that Johnson never had any intention of honouring, Junior Paisley has come out and said that Johnson told him that he would tear up the agreement when it suited him. ‘Perfidious Albion’ at the very worst. Do these people not realise this debacle is being played out on a world stage? How many countries (especially the US) would want to sign up to a deal with a government who would think nothing of tearing it up when it decided it no longer suited them. Can the DUP not see that they are going to be thrown under the bus once again by a man who couldn’t give a damn about them or Northern Ireland. Surely this must put the lid on any American deal Johnson thought he could get.

Belfast BT13

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Letters to the Editor