Letters to the Editor

Orange Order determined to keep Protestants in state of anxietyUbiquitous paramilitary task force

The speech delivered by Rev Mervyn Gibson of the Orange Order at Friday’s east Belfast Protocol Rally was reminiscent of the type once delivered by Rev Ian Paisley of the DUP, with its central messages of anger, fear and mistrust.

It seems to me that the Orange Order is determined to keep Ulster’s Protestants in a perpetual state of anxiety.  This might benefit the Orange Order and the DUP, but does it benefit the young Protestant teenagers I used to teach?

Rev Gibson warned us about the danger of being forced into an all-Ireland economy, about “foreign influence” being a cancer that could spread and he declared that “we have had enough negotiations”.

Before Rev Gibson issues more warnings against the cancer of foreign European influences he should pause to consider where Prince Willem Hendrik of Orange was born and what was his first language before he invaded Britain and Ireland and became our ‘King Billy’.

Just as in 1690, when Britain and Ireland benefited from the input of European influences, today we would benefit from having our economy linked to both Europe and the UK; we should not let our fear of being considered Irish blind us to our geography – just look at a map, trading freely with the Irish Republic as well as the rest of the UK makes sense. The Orange Order should not be encouraging young Protestants to cut themselves off from the rest of Europe.

The involvement of the EU in 1998 helped secure peace because unionists could pretend Northern Ireland was like any other part of the UK, while nationalists could pretend it was another part of Ireland and separate from UK. The dramatic cut with Europe at Brexit was a strategic mistake for unionism – picking another row with Europe now is a short-sighted strategy that will bring more chaos to Northern Ireland businesses. Much worse is Rev Gibson’s unashamed use of the example of 1912, when our ancestors joined the UVF and unlawfully imported guns from Germany through Larne and Donaghadee to obstruct the democratic wishes of the British parliament at Westminster.

As a former RUC member, Rev Gibson knows the dangers to our young people of the influence of armed paramilitaries. The Orange Order has a Christian ethos, it should beware of leading young Protestants into the arms of Satan.

A CARTON
Belfast BT6

 

Ubiquitous paramilitary task force

In 2019 the chief constable, Simon Byrne, announced that in terms of security the only way of strengthening security in the north of Ireland was to enhance the powers of the paramilitary crime task force. This multi-million task force, which started life under the title of ‘multi-agency’ now enjoys an ubiquitous reach.

This reach was supposedly designed to confiscate the proceeds from anyone who was perceived by the task force to benefit from crime. In his hard-hitting speech the chief constable stated, we will take their homes, their cars, their benefits and the one that caused the flurry – their children.

The problem with this task force lies in the fact it was never actually set up to deliver even-handed results. The task force, like all those approaches that went before, is specially designed to invade and wreck the lives of republicans. This ‘disrupt their lives’ initiative initially came from the mouth of the then MI5 boss Andrew Parker. He believed the only way to ingratiate the community to MI5 was to destroy the lives of those who could not embrace the cosmetic cover-up. The need to eradicate what Parker described as the “remnants of the past” is borne out by the allocation of the security budget which, in spite of threats from other quarters, is directed almost exclusively into dealing with so-called ‘dissident’ republicans. All of this takes place under the unwatchful eye of our so-called wall-to-wall human rights and democracy enthusiasts, all of who appear to spend their time measuring their own personal parapets for fear their head might actually go above it.

NUALA PERRY
Belfast BT13

 

Good doorstep question for Alliance Party canvassers

‘CREATE a safe community’ adorns an Alliance Party poster in Carrickfergus for the forthcoming elections. With some prominent senior Alliance Party representatives supporting abortion it’s hard for me to accept the sincerity of the words on the poster. A quick glance at the pregnancy dating scan on the NHS website reveals the fulness of human life in a three month old unborn human.

‘Follow in the footsteps of kings, knights and presidents’ run the words on a Carrickfergus information notice for visitors to the seaside resort. It’s always good to follow in the footsteps of the wise and humane, though, rather than powerful or popular leaders, gripped by self-refuting arguments about creating a safer community while supporting abortion. Mother Theresa said: “The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.” Can we condemn Vladimir Putin if he poisons children with chemical or biological weapons, while we in Ireland permit the termination of unborn children in large numbers? Has abortion in Ireland terminated more human lives in recent years than were lost during the Troubles? Now there’s a good doorstep question for Alliance Party canvassers or senior leaders.

JT HARDY
Belfast BT5

 

 

Irish border returned to its rightful place

I completely agree with my neighbour James Martin – ‘What is a war crime?’ (April 20) – all the killings he lists were crimes, no ifs or buts. I’m not too sure where he is going with and I quote: “More recently the threat of a return to such atrocities was successfully used by senior politicians in order to overturn democracy.”

I would imagine James is referring to a return to a hard border across Ireland’s 32 counties – four provinces. For James’s information this temporary unenforceable, unnatural British border was not installed democratically it was at the point of a British gun and there were threats of war if Micheal Collins refused to sign. Ironically and thankfully the British have now returned Ireland’s natural enforceable permanent border to its proper place - the Irish Sea.

PETER McEVOY
Banbrdge, Co Down

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Letters to the Editor