Sinn Féin hierarchy needs to demonstrate courage over Gaza

Sinn Féin's Declan Kearney speaks at an Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally in Belfast. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN
Sinn Féin's Declan Kearney speaks at an Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally in Belfast. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN

My family and I have always voted Sinn Féin as they give a voice to working-class communities and represent us well.

However, I am very disappointed by the public declarations of Mary Lou McDonald, Michelle O’Neill and many other prominent Sinn Féin MLAs, TDs, MPs and councillors in relation to the genocide that is taking place in Gaza.

I know Sinn Féin are desperate to win the next Dáil election and have Mary Lou elected as taoiseach. However, at what cost?

A failure to call Israel out for the war crimes and genocide they are perpetrating in Gaza?

I have always regarded Michelle as a wonderful elected representative and the perfect person to be First Minister.

Surely as she watches  the news every evening she can see the children lying in body bags or on trolleys in hospital wards. Surely with thousands of innocent civilians murdered in air strikes and thousands more seriously injured, she can see how they are relying on world leaders to speak out on their behalf and publicly call out Israel for the war crimes it is committing.

There are hundreds of Sinn Féin councillors and elected representatives across the island of Ireland but some were slow to speak out for a period about the genocide and ethnic cleansing that is taking place.

They should grow a backbone and not allow themselves to be censored. The children and families in Gaza need their public, vocal support.

I never thought my family and I would consider switching our voting allegiances from Sinn Féin to People Before Profit but at least they have shown great courage and leadership in standing up to the Israelis.

G McLaughlin

Derry City

Open-door policy in a small country is a recipe for disaster

In relation to groups protesting about foreigners, be they asylum seekers, refugees or chancers seeking a better life for themselves, you can’t help noticing the flying of tricolour alongside chants of ‘Ireland for the Irish’ and ‘Ireland is full’. Other banners clearly say protect our women, children and the elderly, which is inherently racist, because it implies that every refugee/asylum seeker is a rapist, child abuser and burglar of old people’s homes.

The reality is that it is our own ‘Irish born and bred’ who have been carrying out these heinous crimes over the last 30 years and before. 

However, at this moment in time, more than 17 per cent of the population living in Ireland have been born on the perimeters of Europe, Asia, Africa and outside it, so it is not surprising that it is a shock to the system going from zero to more than 17 per cent in a few years – leaving our hospitals, welfare, security and housing needs creaking at the seams in what is a

worrying trend.

A majority of new entrants have or are in the process of putting down roots here with no intention of ever leaving. We must accept that reality. Sympathy must be afforded to those fleeing from certain death, but an open-door policy was and is a recipe for disaster in a small island country like ours.

Refugees are requested under an EU ruling that they seek refugee status in the first EU country they land in, which has largely been ignored, leading to accusations of receiving preferential treatment on housing waiting lists, meaning they are allowed to jump the queue in more respects than one.

People coming from countries with no direct flights to Ireland should be sent back to the last EU airport they flew from, because how can you differentiate between claims of persecution or otherwise if they claim to have no identification papers?

This is a self-inflicted problem of vast proportions by our government. It has been the cause of hate-filled rants and attacks on properties leased out for housing this proliferation of foreign nationals into small towns and villages with services that are barely able to cater for the locals never mind coachloads of strangers with wildly different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

This decision-making by the government is only giving fuel to right-wing elements. Social media has been used by such groupings that are on par with the National Front in England. Let us not be tarnished for ever more with labels of racism and intolerance in the history books of tomorrow as our neighbours across the water in Downing Street have been.

James Woods

Dún na nGall

It’s clear DUP is wrong-footing political parties

Micheál Martin indicated that progress on a deal between the British government and the DUP had ebbed, that the talks had reached a conclusion. Jeffrey Donaldson denied this and said that the talks were ongoing.

It is clear that the DUP has been wrong-footing the other political parties here for some time. Doug

Beattie, for instance, had a few months ago suggested putting off an economic conference until October because it was more likely that an executive would be functioning by that time. 

Again, at a recent US delegation of potential investors, some of the parties were suggesting that the mood music for an agreement was very positive.

Jeffrey Donaldson has said that if the DUP can get an agreement that both unionists and nationalists can support, there is a much better chance for an executive to be formed. That is a bit misleading though as the only parties trying to negotiate a new agreement are the DUP and

British government, with the rest of the parties excluded from those talks.

And that says more about those parties for allowing themselves to be excluded from these negotiations as though they were bit players. 

If they had any gumption they would be telling the British government and the DUP that they don’t want to share power with the DUP, that it is not a party that they can do business with and neither is the British government for that matter. 

Seán O’Fiach

Belfast BT11