Decision to axe Twelfth coverage should have been done long ago
The decision by the BBC to axe live coverage of the Twelfth parades is to be welcomed by all right thinking people, and it is a decision which should have been taken a long time ago. I would go even further, and I hope the BBC are seriously considering this as their next step: they should now stop all coverage of these parades as they are little short of triumphalist displays of naked sectarianism.
These parades could be covered on the news, but the producers must inform the public that what they are about to view may be unacceptable to some viewers. The organisation which stages these parades is the Orange Order, which is unashamedly anti-Catholic and preaches this at their demonstrations and spouts it out regularly in their press.
The Order is celebrating the victory of the Protestant King William over the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne more than 300 years ago. It has no relevance in today’s society other than to humiliate the Catholic population of this island and the six counties in particular. It has created a movement based solely on anti-Catholic sectarianism and attempts to justify its existence by claiming it to be their culture.
This claim is groundless, and a closer examination of the movement’s raison d’etre clearly shows this to be the case.
For example, the Order clearly and unambiguously states for all to see that no member of the Catholic population can ever be a member of the movement. It also states that no member of the Order can attend a Catholic Church service and no member can marry a Catholic. It views the Pope as an anti-Christ and rejects all the doctrines of the Catholic faith.
This clearly cannot be deemed to be cultural, and I believe that those in this organisation must not be allowed to cloak it under the heading of culture in order to give it any credibility. The leaders must be asked to explain the blatant sectarianism that lies at its very foundation and is seen, expressed and acted on throughout the entire organisation. They should also be asked if they are proud for their culture to be founded on the hatred of another Christian religion.
Orangeism is not and never can be termed cultural. It is sectarianism.
It was allowed to exist unchallenged in the Protestant state created 100 years ago.
Circumstances in the six counties have changed dramatically and this outdated sectarian body is no longer welcome and its continued existence should be seriously challenged in the courts of law.
Craigavon, Co Armagh
Residents should embrace once in a lifetime opportunity
Following the emphatic judgment by the court on the redevelopment of Casement Park we, as residents who live in Owenvarragh and Mooreland, and fully support the project, are calling for a line to be drawn on this process with the whole community coming together to help realise the huge benefits of the new stadium.
While we respect our neighbours, we regret that they pursued this flawed legal process, against the wishes of the vast majority of local residents. The judicial review judgment makes for stark reading for Mooreland Owenvarragh Residents Association (Mora), with the case being fundamentally rejected by Mr Justice Humphreys.
We would now urge Mora to work with their neighbours and the whole community, who overwhelmingly support the project, to embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity which will bring considerable sporting, economic and cultural opportunities to west Belfast.
It is now time for proper and constructive dialogue with the GAA. We have asked for a meeting with Antrim GAA and Ulster GAA to make sure our community can positively contribute to the really important conversations about Casement, and we welcome the attendance and participation of others at that meeting. We have waited too long for the delivery of this stadium, and now that the court has ruled, we want to see no more time being wasted with the project’s redevelopment commencing.
Stop pandering to the DUP
The DUP and the British government are holding the communities of the six counties to ransom by undermining the Brexit agreement in regards to the protocol. This is in spite of the spiralling cost of living crisis. Wages are also stagnating. This is causing massive stress and anxiety in our communities. I know of many families across the north who are struggling to pay utility bills. At the same time, despite not doing their job to legislate, MLAs were able to sign the register at Stormont and draw down their wages.
Even the cost of living payment promised by the British government is concerningly limited. Low-income families will be left out of the payment if they are not on a means-tested benefit. As a result some of those on the minimum wage will miss out on this badly needed top-up payment.
I would urge the DUP to give up this current political pantomime. I would also urge the British government to listen to the people of the north who voted last month for a functional executive and to stop pandering to the DUP.
Aontú, Upper Bann
The cost of living crisis is affecting us all and can only get worse as the increased prices of energy have to be passed on from manufacturers and delivery firms to consumers.
Families with young children are the most affected.
The figures for child poverty in the UK, still one of the wealthiest countries in the world, have been denounced by the United Nations.
Is the general public aware that the Conservative government actually reduced the amounts paid to families for their children on Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit?
Since April 2007 the slightly higher amount paid for the first child was reduced to the level for other children. Most iniquitous of all, there is no extra amount for the third and subsequent children in a family. So parents of larger families are expected to bring up their children on payments meant to cover essential costs for two children.
Many of these families are working on low wages, have to pay for expensive child care and have to resort to food banks.
Our children are our future and as many of us are living longer, we need more young people coming into the labour market to support us.
What right has a government to impose financial penalties on those who choose to have more than two children?