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Just how low can Boris Johnson’s government go?

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) speaking with Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin during the recent service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) speaking with Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin during the recent service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) speaking with Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin during the recent service to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The disconnect between British government policy and what the people of the North actually want grows ever wider. The ground is shifting under David Frost’s feet and he doesn’t have a democratic leg to stand on in his stand-off with the EU.

A survey carried out by Lucidtalk for a Queen’s University Belfast study has found 52pc of Northern Ireland’s adults think the protocol is, on balance, “a good thing”, compared with 43pc in a similar survey in June. The percentage of respondents who agreed the protocol provided Northern Ireland with a “unique set of post-Brexit economic opportunities” that could be beneficial also rose, to 62pc.

Even more remarkably, 87pc of respondents said they distrusted the British government’s ability to manage Northern Ireland’s interests regarding the protocol.

With the DUP currently languishing at 13pc in the polls, it means that virtually every single adult in Northern Ireland, bar its ally, the DUP, now distrusts the British government.

The British government is delaying legislation, agreed by all parties in the North, which would make it more difficult to collapse the power-sharing institutions so that it can use the threat of a collapse as an excuse to trigger Article 16 of the protocol in its dispute with the EU.

Naomi Long has testified to a Westminster parliamentary committee that the Johnson government is using Northern Ireland as a political football in its dispute with the EU, while Alexandra Hall Hall, the lead Brexit envoy to the US, quit her job because she was unwilling to “peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust”.

Is there no low to which Boris Johnson’s government cannot sink?

Frank Schnittger

Blessington, Co Wicklow

 

Sounds like they’ve solved the climate crisis down under

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has, in his very recent climate change plan, informed citizens that the country’s fossil fuel production of coal and gas will not be limited, that households or the broad economy will not be subjected to extra taxes and that the plan will not increase energy bills.

Not only that, he further intimates that jobs and livelihoods will be protected, the cost of living will be kept down and, crucially, the “Australian way of life” will be protected.

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For the sake of we citizens in this part of the world, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan should get in contact with Mr Morrison soon as it seems the Australians have ‘cracked’ the monstrous challenge of climate change.

Michael Gannon

St Thomas’s Square, Kilkenny

 

It’s very clear we erred in turning down nuclear option

What a pity Ireland didn’t follow France’s lead when it came to nuclear power (‘EU nations hope crisis subsides after failing to find a middle ground’, Irish Independent, October 27).

Today, 70pc of France’s electricity is generated by unlimited carbon-free nuclear energy. We depend on expensive natural gas and unreliable wind power.

Fianna Fáil’s George Colley stopped the ESB investing in nuclear energy in the 1980s because of protests by environmentalists, hippies and celebrities, including Christy Moore and Chris de Burgh.

Environmentalists have been wrong about nuclear power and diesel cars being better than petrol. What else have they got wrong? Perhaps battery-powered cars and heat pumps?

Karl Martin

Bayside, Dublin 13

Coveney should take action on Israeli treatment of NGOs

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney expressed concern this week as Israeli authorities designated six Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organisations”.

By way of context, Israeli authorities have criminalised membership of numerous Palestinian civil society organisations and their members face imprisonment.

Mr Coveney’s statement is welcome, but it raises a fundamental question – what does the minister plan to do about it?

It was Mr Coveney himself who forced his coalition partners to drop the Occupied Territories Bill – a modest but concrete measure to support the human rights of oppressed people in occupied territories throughout the world – from the Programme for Government.

The Bill has reached committee stage in Dáil Éireann, with the support of all political parties except Fine Gael.

How many more draconian measures must the Israeli state impose on Palestinian society before our own political leaders agree that the time for mere platitudes is over and the time for concrete action has arrived?

Brian Ó Éigeartaigh

Donnybrook, Dublin 4


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