Sunday 21 July 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Brexit is reopening Ireland’s terrible beauty of ancient hurt and alienation within our shores'

Minorities: The Old Library Building at Trinity College, Dublin
Minorities: The Old Library Building at Trinity College, Dublin
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Brexit has unglued our island, cursing the hope built into our cross-Border institutions, spitting on our fragile peace process.

I look back to try to understand why it hurts so much. I am an Irish Protestant born in the south (Cork). Being a Protestant meant Protestant schools, Protestant friends, and, my parents would have hoped, a Protestant husband (that one didn't happen).

Thus, political awareness was somewhat late in arriving. It was only when I started my degree in Trinity College Dublin (and this was the 'Protestant' university) that it properly dawned on me in what a minority group I had grown up (around 3pc of the population at the time).

Occasionally I would meet people who would say: "Gosh, I never met a Protestant before."

The corollary of this is that when I first started going up to Northern Ireland with my work for the Institute of Physics (a UK-Ireland body) I met many people who said they had never been down south (to Ireland) and knew very little about it - it seemed to be a place more foreign to them than continental Europe.

But this is the terrible beauty of Ireland - ancient hurt and alienation within our shores, which are now resurfacing in the crude nationalism of Brexit.

I long for a time when that Border, that alienation, and that mistrust is no more; a time when we live peacefully together on one island.

Perhaps my grandchild, now at the tender age of 22 months, will live to see this day.

Alison Hackett

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin

It is time to suspend work on children's hospital

THE exorbitant costs overruns in the children's hospital must not be allowed to become the straw that broke our dysfunctional health service.

We do need a functioning children's hospital but not one costing up to €2bn. Many of our best nurses have been forced to emigrate, and those nurses now justifiably on strike are being threatened with penal sanctions while our politicians have no difficulty awarding themselves outrageous salaries, expenses and pension pots.

This is just the latest in litany of such scandals involving our public services, including the Garda, public/private infrastructural projects and our natural resources including oil, gas and fisheries.

Topping it all was the disastrous economic crash due primarily to corrupt and reckless bankers, builders and developers which Irish taxpayers were forced to bail out by our incompetent politicians. We have unjustifiably mortgaged future generations without their permission and this latest scandal will only add to this.

Work on the children's hospital should be suspended. The board who were supposed to be managing this project should be dismissed.

Some persons must have been set to gain substantially unjustified amounts from these overruns. Enough is enough. It is time to deal with this scandal in an exemplary manner.

In the short-term additional resources should be given to the existing children's hospitals and a proper investigation carried out by a non-Irish investigation team.

In the long-term interests of all the Irish people, especially children, this latest scandal must be used to initiate real reform of the health system and those responsible must be held accountable.

Edward Horgan

Castletroy, Co Limerick

Treaties are like roses - they last while they last

NO ONE should be concerned by the terms of the legally binding treaty Theresa May will sign.

Ted Heath took the UK into the Common Market in January 1973 against Labour opposition which focused on the "draconian curtailment of the power of the British Parliament".

The Labour manifestos in the February and October 1974 general elections promised immediate renegotiation of the treaty of accession, to be followed by a referendum "binding on the government".

As former French president Charles de Gaulle observed: "Treaties are like roses. They last while they last."

Dr John Doherty

Vienna, Austria

Tóibín's new party brings life to pluralist society

FOR the 34pc of us who voted to retain the Eighth Amendment, it is very encouraging Peadar Tóibín has set up a new party to represent our views.

Of course, in a proper, functioning pluralist, political society this initiative should not be necessary at all.

This significant group of the electorate was effectively given the "two fingers" by the existing political system (all the major parties included). All of the existing political parties in Ireland now are avowedly pro-abortion.

We are constantly lectured by the liberal establishment on the virtues of pluralism and diversity of opinion. In this context Peadar Tóibín's initiative should be applauded rather than derided.

Eric Conway

Navan, Co Meath

Heartfelt plea takes no account of UK and EU

GAY Mitchell makes a heartfelt plea (Irish Independent, January 30) on the need for a backstop, ie maintaining an open Border between Ireland and Northern Ireland following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

It is clear from Mr Mitchell's critique he is thinking solely of Ireland (driven, I have no doubt, by his abiding love for his country), and not the UK, including Northern Ireland, and not the EU.

This becomes quite clear at the end of his article when he states: "For the Republic, ensuring everything we export is accepted without question as meeting EU standards is a requirement, not an option." In other words, if there is no backstop, ie no Border, with Northern Ireland, then the Republic could find itself outside the EU.

Mr Mitchell's opening paragraph makes it plain that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the UK, and hence, if the UK leaves the EU, Northern Ireland follows suit.

Micheál O Cathail

Dún Laoghaire, Dublin

Well done, Joanne, for keeping Brolly on track

I KNOW there is great excitement about RTÉ news studio, but to me the big news in RTÉ is Joanne Cantwell's performance on the Allianz League sports programme on Sunday last.

At long last someone is pulling Joe Brolly up on some of his comments. Even Joe acknowledged that on Sunday when he said: "It's going to be a long year, Joanne, if you query me on everything." He has been let away with blue murder for so long on TV, radio and newspapers.

All I ask, Joanne, is continue as you have started, keep them on the topic and not let them down the side roads they want to go. Well done, Joanne.

Donough O'Reilly

Kilmacud, Co Dublin

England's oldest colony suffered with Ireland

DEARBHAIL McDonald wrote this week that Ireland is England's oldest colony. That fate is actually claimed by Wales.

The lessons learnt by the Normans, in particular Strongbow, during the conquest of Wales were applied soon after in Ireland.

Glamorgan is our pale. The sequence of atrocities, cultural oppression and abolition of laws and customs are very similar with Ireland either having the same problem at the same time or soon after.

Ireland has the advantage of geographical if not territorial integrity while Wales to some extent benefited from Henry VII's accession.

The English have had to admit the Irish are a nation. We Welsh are considered eccentrics who persist in occupying a part of Britain which despite everything remains as yet not totally subdued.

Evan Bayton

Lancashire, UK

Letter that underscores folly of men of violence

A BRILLIANT letter by Declan Foley (Irish Independent, January 30, 'Men who claim 'right' to violence can learn from McGuinness and Adams') shows the futility of violence for any "belief".

The question asked in Declan's letter:

"What loving God could understand, let alone accept, deliberate slaughter, maiming of bodies and minds for a 'belief' that can be achieved by discussion, irrespective of how many years, or centuries, it may take?"

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal



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