Letters to the Editor

Hard to avoid the fact nobody likes the unionists

King Charles meeting Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey and Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O'Neill at Hillsborough Castle last week. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE funeral of the queen set Sinn Féin a challenge and stage to be true to their word after May’s election, their capacity as a serious political party with all the responsibilities that go with it to act outside narrow political self-interest.

It would be churlish in the extreme not to acknowledge how well they rose to the occasion, although not being a unionist helps.

For a nationalist it was hugely significant and entertaining to watch and indeed re-watch the video with a clearly well briefed King Charles speaking amiably and at length to Alex and Michelle (twice ignoring prompts from an aide to move on).

It was a seismic political moment as well as being comic theatre of the highest order. In truth it is hard to avoid the fact that nobody likes the unionists and, as we know all too well here, not without good reason.

It was not all one-way traffic however. Michelle referred to a meeting with the new king in Cork two years ago, failed to mention last year’s now embarrassing boycott of another event, but then neither did Charles.

Presumably this yeah, but no, but yeah, pattern is now broken forever. As ever the best came at the end as Charles squeezed in compliments to SF’s “skill and ingenuity” it spoke volumes. If I was planning a SF election broadcast I would include a clip of that endorsement.

For Charles this is nothing new and as the state funeral obsequies fade it is not hard to anticipate the changes to come.

After the Jubilee tours in the Carribbean it now seems likely there will be a re-run of the 1950s scuttle from Africa as Commonwealth countries start to shed Charles as their head of state, redesigning their national flags and writing new anthems.

The thing is, for Charles and normal political leaders, ignoring history, however recent, and greeting those they may neither like nor respect, goes with the job.

They all have to do it for the good of all their citizenry and confected principles have no place in that world. So what comes next? The DUP is no doubt desperately hoping for a hung parliament in 2024.

What if SF take their seats at Westminster and by doing so show up the DUP?

Also beyond proving the DUP does not represent the sick counties, DUP votes would become worthless at a stroke.

The political tectonic plates towards NI would change forever and for unionism, not in a positive way, just for some of us 100 years too late.

For those who cite republican principles we have already seen recognition of courts, parliaments in Dublin, Belfast and indeed Brussels. Apart from being wholly incoherent and illogical why should SF act in a predictable way which helps unionism?



Another side to Irish language people didn't know about

BRIAN Patterson writes in his letter – “A nation’s history should be taught impartially’ (September 8) – about children being beaten for speaking Irish, but people in the Republic are more familiar with children being beaten for not speaking Irish.

And in some of the Republic’s schools children were beaten for speaking English. From 1927 to the 1980s the stick was used to force children to learn Irish. Many Irish people still remember the Irish name for this stick ‘Botha’.

Many Irish children were forced to change their names to an Irish language version.

So there is another side to the Irish language that people in the north do not know about.

Co Dublin


New future beckons

GOING forward, when we get through this royal wake, a future beckons – Liz Truss, allied with ERG, nuclear energy expansion and fracking and King Charles allied with climate change.

Over here in mainland Northern Ireland it will be interesting to live in peace far away from that over-esteemed eastern island.

There will be challenges ahead. But as my Sligo granny often said: “Sure, there’ll be skin and hair flying.”

Co Antrim


Protect our award-winning precious beauty spot

I WOULD like to comment on an article in The Irish News – ‘College campus will ‘destroy’ beauty spot says Beattie’ (August 30) – with regard to our local beauty spot, the Craigavon City Park and Lakes, particularly information from the Southern Regional College (SRC).

As a resident of the area I was made aware of the fact that a college was planned by means of literature sent to my address from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC). They stated that there were 10 sites available for the new college. The other sites were mostly brown field sites.

However, the chosen site was on the South Lake, where there are acres of mature trees, diverse wildlife, a multitude of bird life from Kingfishers, herons, swans, ducks, geese etc and many different types of bat.

The area has otters and teems with insect life and rare orchids. ABC Council have a master plan not to integrate the college but to build right around the lakes, stating the erection of commercial buildings and other developments.

No-one is against the college but 6,700 people from the area and surrounding areas sent a petition to ask the ABC Council to choose another site where valuable pollution busting trees won’t be destroyed.

Seventy acres of mature woodland, wildlife, insects will be missed but the light pollution, the new bus route round the side of the lakes, the traffic and litter will be hard to miss at this very popular award winning precious park.

Co Armagh

Letters to the Editor