Men’s attitude towards females must change

The shocking murder of Natalie McNally has filled us all, men and women, with sadness and anger. Men’s attitude to females of all ages must change. Now perhaps Natalie’s murder may become a catalyst for change and an opportunity to begin a conversation with men about respect for all the women in our families and in our communities.

Since the murder on December 18, women have been telling their personal stories of living in fear. All men need to listen and to feel ashamed. We are all guilty, we all need to listen seriously and all men need to change. I want Naomi Long to encourage the necessary legal changes needed to help create a safer space for all the women in our lives. You have an enormous responsibility and you can make a difference.

My heart breaks for Natalie’s family and the sad, lonely days ahead of them. Her parents and her brothers have shown unbelievable courage in all their media interviews and they have displayed how precious she was in all of their lives.

I have lived the nightmare of losing a sister to violence. I know that the pain never leaves. There remains an emptiness and for our family there will never be closure.

My sister was unfortunately a woman whose violent death had not received extensive media coverage, her murder never had a single stone turned in a professional investigation and our family never had the privilege of communicating with a police liaison officer.

Natalie was precious to her family as our Mary was precious to our family and we loved her deeply. If you live through a family tragedy you feel the pain of other families. You learn that there are times in our lives when there are simply no words that will bring comfort or ease the pain of loss.

However, the greatest pain comes from knowing that the people responsible for my sister’s death have not been brought to justice.

Sunday January 29 was the 20th anniversary of the day that my sister Mary disappeared after leaving work in Derry. Mary’s half-naked body was discovered on an isolated beach in Co Donegal that evening. Mary had lived and worked in Derry city for more than a decade. However, there was no PSNI investigation.

I ask you Naomi to make that difference not only in memory of Natalie but also in memory of our Mary and the other forgotten victims of male violence.


Termonfeckin, Co Louth

Money wasted on nonsense projects

I am writing in disgust at the recent money from the levelling up funds. There were tens of millions of pounds given to many affluent areas and once again south Down was passed over. A cinema in Belfast received £4 million, a gallery in Banbridge £3.5m and rugby clubs received a staggering £20m. I live in an area where we don’t even have a 24-hour accident and emergency, where people travel for 30 minutes for care. That is the derisory nature of this funding. The hospital operates only as a clinic really. The hospital was erected for £70m and no staff were allocated to try and keep it open. The thing is you don’t open a shop without the proper staff to maintain it. I am sure other people are angry as over the years their politicians have let them down. I have lived here, moving down during troubled times, and not much has changed. Downpatrick and the surrounding areas have been forgotten. The best shopping centres and infrastructure are in unionist areas. That comes down to good MPs that do something for their community and don’t just sit back and let time pass by, where all who struggle lose out and the affluent win again financially.

South Down needs new independent politicians who work to solve problems for everyone. A proper working hospital to benefit everyone. Also, the horrendous travel problem that has been an issue for more than 35 years still can’t be resolved.

In future people need a good independent MP that will help everyone on both sides. So, in future you shouldn’t waste votes on MPs who just take the money and let all the people down.

I hope someone tries to stand up and see that taxpayers’ millions aren’t wasted on nonsense projects and the affluent don’t once again benefit from Tory money.


Strangford, Co Down

‘Cock-and-bull’ legal defences

There was a time when you picked up a newspaper to read that Mr X or Mrs Y had been jailed for serious criminal offences. Of late the headlines more often than not inform us that Mr X and Mrs Y have avoided jail for serious criminal offences. Whereas a defendant is entitled to the best legal defence, some of the ‘cock and bull’ put forward seeking reduced sentences and bail applications may be acceptable to the judiciary but they are an insult to the intelligence of wider society.

As a democrat I am not questioning the independence of the judiciary. However, I do question the competence of a judicial system where the balance of justice has swung in favour of the accused as opposed to the victim. Even when magistrates complain that serious criminal cases should not appear in their courts but in higher courts where the tariff for the crime is much higher, the magistrates’ complaints appear to fall on deaf ears.

I believe that Northern Ireland society has been conditioned into accepting a poor criminal justice service and that the threat of the full force of the law being thrown at criminals doesn’t leave too many ‘shaking in their boots’.


Dungannon, Co Tyrone

BBC has no reason to address concerns

To no-one’s surprise the latest independent report suggests BBC impartiality is at risk because too many of its journalists do not understand basic economics, and lack of confidence to challenge arguments is given an extra twist by hype.

In a previous report by OFCOM in 2019 the most damning criticism of the BBC was the absence of any plans to address the stated concerns. Why should they? In a national industry forcefully financed by licence fee money, the BBC has no reason to address concerns of people using their dubious service.


Derry City