Thursday 17 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Bradley's ignorance on the Troubles shows double-think'

Karen Bradley. Photo: PA
Karen Bradley. Photo: PA
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Ireland should never publicly opine on British cabinet appointments.

The Northern Ireland secretary is often an English person (supposedly for 'partiality') - but they have often in the past displayed scant knowledge of the niceties of NI.

Mo Mowlam in that position engaged heroically in spite of health problems to facilitate the eventual Good Friday Agreement (GFA).

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The Irish and British governments are, if you like, 'guardians' for that GFA (even if the Brexiteer wing doesn't seem too burdened by that responsibility).

Granted it is an 'intricate', complex posting and it's hard to expect any outsider to ever fully 'get' all the little nuances.

However, I think indirectly, through confidential diplomatic channels, our Government should be expressing shock at either Karen Bradley's lack of knowledge or, worse again, lack of concern.

The Troubles weren't really a 'war' per se, but a 30-year-long, dirty, tragic stain with lots of spies, betrayal, double-agents, ordinary criminals, shoot-to-kill policies, state collusion with certain terrorists and whatever you're having yourself.

Ms Bradley seems to favour the Trumpian/dystopian "the only one who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" line. In her black and white world, 'our' guys in uniforms always equal 'good'.

'Their' guys are terrorists in plain clothes and are 'evil'. She quotes dubious stats that "under 10pc" of deaths in the Troubles were caused by 'our good guys' and because they're both ours and good, none of those could be considered crimes.

David Cameron apologised unreservedly for the "unjustifiable" crimes of the British army on Bloody Sunday in 1972 in Derry.

Maybe she doesn't know about that, but it seems Ms Bradley now thinks he shouldn't have apologised because they were just 'our' good guys shooting bad guys - just as part of their job.

Tom Richardson,

Co Tipperary


Depressing inadequacies of our mental health services

Few people would be surprised at the massive rise in the prescribing of antidepressants. The stress experienced by so many people is tangible. The pain of living for some people is unbearable, and the only hope of relief for many is a prescription.

GPs can struggle to find appropriate services to refer people on to for support.

Professionals have told us they can often find themselves accused of 'wasting time with people' if not adhering to time limits, generally set up by those with questionable experience in the value of human contact.

This too, we now hear, is creeping into the NGO/voluntary sector, with pressure on them to meet targets to get funding.

This certainly will have consequences for many vulnerable people.

The late Tony Gill who lived on the streets was known to us for many years and rests now in our burial plot in Glasnevin.

He once wrote: "Today I spoke to no one, And nobody spoke to me. Am I dead?"

With those simple words he certainly captured a sign of the times we are living in.

Alice Leahy,

Bride Road, Dublin 8


Playing the female card is indeed sexist - to women

When 19th-century British MP Benjamin Disraeli described "half the parliament as asses" he was called on to apologise.

The following day, he famously did so, saying "half the parliament are not asses".

Minister Shane Ross could probably take a leaf from his book. Comparing Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster to a "donkey", for what Ross believed to be her lacklustre performance in Brexit debates, was unfortunate to say the least.

But Ross's critics were quick to play the 'woman' card, emphasising Ms Munster in media reports as 'a female' TD, as if that had any significance in relation to either Ross's comments or her contributions.

But the suggestion is clear - Ross's criticism is 'sexist'. This is a cheap shot, but one Munster wasn't slow in taking advantage of.

She asked "what message does this send to women trying to enter politics?"

Clearly Mr Ross's critics want to send the message that if your performance is roughly criticised you can always fall back on the 'sexism card' and, ironically, ask people to judge you on being female and not on your work.

Nick Folley,

Carrigaline, Co Cork


Ross's latest gaffe might have earned him a brand new title

Has Minister Shane Ross, sometimes referred to as Lord Ross, now earned the title of Lord Hee Haw?

Dr Mary Frances Rogan,

Annaghdown, Co Galway

Irish Independent

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