Letters to the Editor

Vanguard side of David Trimble's personality can't be forgotten


Much praise has been lauded on David Trimble in recent days, especially on his contribution to the Good Friday Agreement. He did, however, come late to pragmatism and for many years preferred to march into a red, white and blue cul-de-sac in step with his political masters in the Orange Order. 

In the early 1970s he was a member of Vanguard, led by William Craig; at rallies in 1972 Craig addressed volatile crowds as follows: “Ladies and gentlemen, if the politicians fail, it may be our job to liquidate the enemy” and “We are prepared to come out and shoot and kill. I am prepared to come out and shoot and kill”. Extreme language by any standards and one wonders how a young, university-educated man, seeking a career in the legal profession, could be part of such an organisation.

Trimble later came to prominence during the Drumcree crisis of the 1990s. Let’s not forget the utter turmoil the whole province was subjected to at that time. Five deaths can be directly attributed to the Drumcree disturbances – Michael McGoldrick, three Quinn children in Ballymoney and Constable Frank O’Reilly. 

In 1995 the residents of the Garvaghy Road, in a compromise deal, graciously stood aside to allow the parade to pass. When asked about this compromise Trimble, unable to resist a triumphalist opportunity, replied: “There was no compromise, we marched our traditional route”. A little humility and an acknowledgment of the goodwill gesture made by the residents would have defused the situation – he chose instead to perform a jig of delight with Ian Paisley in the true orange, shorted-sighted, tradition.

David Trimble was the MP for the Drumcree area. Is an MP not duty-bound to represent all his constituents?
It is impossible to imagine an MP in any other part of the UK acting in such a partisan manner in an inter-community dispute. He, like Paisley, was eventually undone by those who had listened to their empty ‘no surrender’ rhetoric – unionist-minded people were conditioned to believe they had a divine right to govern and of course, God was on their side. 

Mr Trimble was fully deserving of his Nobel Prize and the Good Friday Agreement would not have been possible without him.
This may well be his legacy but there are those of us who remember the Vanguard side of his personality, which propelled him to the leadership of his party and ultimately, First Minister. 

Newry, Co Down


Democracy at its finest

I recorded the programmes on the Russian-backed news channel RT on the days OfCom deemed them to have been biased reporting but I cannot agree with their version of events. RT have put forward a balanced report on all the days in question. I would not expect RT’s reporters to go into areas controlled by Ukrainian forces as it would be too dangerous for them to do so, whether for balance, bias, or otherwise. Some selected extracts from each day, starting with March 2: The Trade Union building in Odessa was petrol-bombed by Nazi types, with 50 dead, others just murdered in the streets. March 1: young men aged 18, 19 and 21 sent to the front line without any basic training. February 28: The RT news presenter, Kevin Owen asked John Laughlin, political science lecturer in Paris, for his views on RT and Sputnik being removed from broadcasting in the EU and the UK. February 27: Vladimir Putin puts his military forces, including nuclear, on high alert, due to aggressive rhetoric by Nato’s members, with Josep Borrell and Ursula von der Leyen promoting the closure of RT and Sputnik from broadcasting within
the EU.
This is an edited version of a much larger broadcast over the days highlighted, and then RT went off the air. This is democracy shown operating at its finest, by these paragons of virtue. Now, I will just listen to the radio until my choice of viewing is reinstated.

Ballycastle, Co Antrim                                            


Broadcast standards need to be addressed

Some of the music played on daytime commercial radio is a disgrace. The DJs and people presenting these shows portray themselves  everyone’s favourite nice guys and girls – the Harry Enfield DJ characters  ‘Nicey & Smashy’ come to mind.

These presenters play music that is quite inappropriate, particularly for small children.

Some of the lyrics from mainstream artists are seriously questionable when it comes to daytime broadcasts in which children are listening and in many cases the target audience.

If in a public setting such as a school, two adults were to be heard in the proximity of children using language similar to what is being aired,

questions would surely be asked. Jobs and careers could possibly be at risk.

Why do artists feel the need to be contentious and endlessly push boundaries? Why do commercial radio stations allow language that leaves little to the imagination to be broadcast? 

To quote Plato: “Listen to a society’s music and you will gauge the maturity of its people.”

When will those in broadcast standards take responsibility, act and address this issue? I would suggest a proactive, mature and sensible approach to this issue, but at least act to address it immediately.

Belfast BT15


North’s forest parks badly maintained

ON Monday I visited Castlewellan Forest Park and couldn’t get over how badly maintained it has been. The aboretum is a disgrace. A lot of the glass in the green house is damaged. All of the name tags for the trees are rotting away. The paths are not maintained. The place is falling down around us. Why have these wonderful gardens been left like this in what was a beautiful place to visit? Tullymore Forest is not much better.  

Since this area has been usurped by Newry Mourne Council the area around Newcastle and Castlewellan is lacking a serious investment. Are people going to accept this?



Act now on energy costs

When will people in Northern Ireland get help with energy costs? Everyone in GB will now get payments from October. What about Northern Ireland?
It doesn’t matter whether Stormont is back or not, the appropriate minister should still be able to act.   

Bangor, Co Down



Letters to the Editor