Letters: 'There is only one plan B and that is a new constitutional arrangement'

It is fantasy politics for the DUP to believe the British government will meet its demands
It is fantasy politics for the DUP to believe the British government will meet its demands

THE British government has been asked if it has received legal advice that to capitulate to the DUP’s demands would be impossible. That is because the DUP’s demands aim to restore those parts of the Act of Union that the protocol repealed. It would in fact mean that the British government was repudiating the internationally agreed protocol with the EU.

It is fantasy politics for the DUP to ever believe that is going to happen but the DUP is insisting that is what is needed for a return to a Stormont assembly and executive. If we take the DUP at its word, and I for one am quite happy to do so, then that signals an end to the GFA.

The GFA is 25 years old and no-one can truthfully argue that it has represented good governance for people living here. It has simply lurched through crisis after crisis and at the moment the British government is colluding with a minority here to obstruct and frustrate the wishes of a majority of people. That is totally undemocratic and can’t be allowed to continue.

Public services have borne the brunt of DUP intransigence, which has served to exacerbate the cost of living crisis for people living here. It has been a long time now since people should have abandoned trying to support a failed political settlement. Hopefully they are now coming to finally accept that position and devote their energy to a plan B.

There is only one plan B and that is a new constitutional arrangement where the theatrics of the historical ideology of unionist supremacy is finally brought to an irrevocable end where people will at last be able to fully participate in every aspect of the social, political, economical and cultural life of society.

Seán O’Fiach

Belfast BT11

Read more:

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Deirdre Heenan: Time for DUP to start listening

A border sign greets motorists at Pettigo, Co Fermanagh
A border sign greets motorists at Pettigo, Co Fermanagh

Who fears to speak of ’73?

MORE than two centuries ago, a native of Pettigo village in Co Donegal, John Kells Ingram, wrote the beautiful poem Who Fears to Speak of ’98.

Not many Pettigo people are well known but we have a few.

Pettigo is better known, indeed has even been made famous, because of Brexit, as my home village has been divided by the British border since partition.

On September 28 1973, our village was devastated by a car bomb on the Co Donegal side.

The bombers had selected the narrow confines of Mill Street and closing time at the local pub to cause the maximum damage with civilian injuries or death.

The no-warning car bomb estimated at 100 to 150lbs of explosives was detonated at 11.35pm.

Many families were left homeless, although we were blessed to escape that night with few injuries and no fatalities.

The bombing did not receive national media coverage, with the local Donegal Democrat sharing our tragic story throughout the county.

But as we reach the 50th anniversary of that night, it is not the bombing of Pettigo that is of interest but information made available at the time.

Loyalist paramilitaries were involved in countless bombing attacks in the border counties during the Troubles.

Only one individual was arrested, charged with an offence and sentenced in the Republic for involvement in a loyalist attack south of the British border.

This was in relation to the bombing on September 28 1973 in Pettigo and also a bombing at a dance hall outside Pettigo on June 23 1974. This man was convicted in the Special Criminal Court and sentenced to 15 years penal


It is perhaps relevant to point out that the man was released on appeal the following year. However, other alleged bombers were named at the time and are on the court record of his trial.

Investigations have now reopened after 50 years into the bombings in Belturbet, Clones and Pettigo which occurred on December 28 1972.

No doubt next May 17, appeals will be made for new information into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974.

I have to ask why are new investigations seeking new information necessary?

An Garda Síochána in Pettigo had also received information which proved to be accurate 48 hours prior to the September 1973 bombing in Pettigo.

The name of the individual with that accurate information was also passed on to the authorities.

After 50 years, only the families affected by the car bomb in our street will remember that night.

We remember that night every day.

I have been informed that the bombing of Pettigo in September 1973 is not under the remit of the December 1972 bombings investigations team.

Why not?

If Pettigo’s John Kells Ingram was here today, the title of his famous poem might be ‘Who Fears to Speak of ’73’.

Joseph Reid

Termonfeckin, Co Louth

Lottery projects nominations

Four local projects have been named finalists in The National Lottery Project of the Year category in the 2023 National Lottery Awards and need your readers’ support to help them win.

The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded people and projects. Among the nominees are the mental health charity Tackling Awareness of Mental Issues’ Changemakers initiative; the regenerated and revitalised arts venue the Bangor Court House; the Mae Murray Foundation’s Inclusive Beach project at Portstewart Strand, and the University of Atypical, a disabled-led arts organisation based in Belfast. They would be delighted if people could support them by casting a vote at lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards. Voting closes at 12pm on Monday October 9.

Jonathan Tuchner

National Lottery, London

Slieve Gullion Forest Park in south Armagh
Slieve Gullion Forest Park in south Armagh

Slieve Gullion not so mystical any more

THE great Irish poet William Butler Yeats once wrote describing the mystical aspect of Slieve Gullion.

I wonder what the poet would write following the vandalisation not to mention desecration of the mountain by Newry and Mourne council.

The council have ripped a path right across the mountain. The resulting scar can be viewed from below the mountain.

As a result Slieve Gullion is not so mystical any more.

The council should immediately take steps to restore the mountain. Furthermore in an age when the environment is under constant threat from man’s interference, the council should be called to account and penalised like any other vandal.

John B Vallely

Armagh City, Co Armagh