Letters to the Editor: 'For many spectators, claims about 'Little Leo' damaging Brexit are bordering on ridiculous'
In my more idle moments, I sometimes spend time perusing the online editions of right-wing UK publications such as 'The Spectator'. There you will live in an alternative factual universe, where poor Britain is set upon by an evil EU, and worse still, is betrayed by its supposed allies. Chief culprit, these days, seems to be the Republic of Ireland, which has been set upon an anti-British course by its demonic leader Leo Varadkar.
"Little Leo" (who stands 1.94 metres tall), stands accused of "do[ing] anything to suck up to the top gang in the EU playground..." and giving a "calculated two fingers to Brexit Britain" by applying for observer status at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie rather than rejoining the British Commonwealth.
In doing so, Ireland is joining a group of "flimsily connected" countries with "deplorable human rights records" and "French-speaking crooks", some of whom appeared "at the bottom of every global corruption index" - in contrast to the Commonwealth where Irish athletes could win "hatfuls of medals" at the Commonwealth Games.
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In vain one might point out that most Irish people would have no difficulty in rejoining the Commonwealth as part of a settlement to reassure unionists in a future united Ireland, but there is no pressing reason to do so now. However, 'The Spectator' does not allow reader's comments. Like a Victorian child, you might be seen, but you certainly should not be heard. Indeed, I am indebted to 'The Spectator' for informing me that Ireland has in fact sought observer status at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie as this had not previously come to my attention.
I doubt too many in Ireland will lose much sleep over it, even if some members have regrettable human rights records. Observer status doesn't give you much in the way of rights to tell others how to run their countries, something 'The Spectator' still seems to regard as its birth right.
The next gem I came across was Liam Halligan's "Leo Varadkar has done his absolute best to damage Brexit", in which he enumerates the various ways in which closet Remainer politicians, traitorous civil servants, an overwhelmingly pro-Remain media and self-interested businessmen have sought to frustrate the noble ideals of Brexit. But worst of all is the subterfuge of Varadkar, who has abandoned the constructive approach of his predecessor, Enda Kenny, and, wait for it, politicised the Irish Border issue. Who knew that an international boundary between EU and non-EU members states could be political? Who knew that the creation of a Border which caused a civil war in Ireland in 1922 and led to the Troubles in the North up until 1998, would be a matter of concern to the Irish Government?
Blessington, Co Wicklow
Elections offer the chance of holding SF to account
I MUST compliment Mary Lou McDonald, president of Sinn Féin, on her gift of eloquence in recent days in deflecting questions in relation to the re-establishment of power-sharing in the Northern Ireland Assembly after the death of Lyra McKee. According to her, the failure is always down to someone else. However, surely if you are always making excuses or passing on blame you should start looking at putting your own house in order.
I think the voters of the 26 counties now have a great opportunity to help Sinn Féin focus on what needs to happen after the murder of Lyra.
Sinn Féin candidates (the only party in the North we can influence) will be canvassing for your vote in the local and European elections over the next few weeks.
Please challenge them, not about local issues, but about what they will do to make sure Lyra's death was not in vain.
This is an opportune time for us to show Sinn Féin that we expect it to act as a proper political party, represent the people who elected it in the North and deal with the societal issues that allow the indoctrination of the people who murdered Lyra and try to justify it as a mistake.
If you don't get a satisfactory answer I would ask you to remember the picture of Lyra, a young woman whose life was so casually taken, partly because of its failure to govern, as you cast your vote.
Politicians must finally put their differences aside
BLESSED are those who mourn - for they shall be comforted. This is one of the beatitudes that permeated our young minds as we were indoctrinated into the Catholic ethos of the 1950s.
It all came flooding back as Fr McGill, in his moving reflection at Lyra McKee's funeral, quoted another beatitude: Blessed are the peacemakers - for they shall be called the children of God.
In life, Lyra embodied the spirit of the beatitudes that also suffused her young mind; in death, she united people of many different backgrounds and beliefs.
When Fr McGill asked the eclectic gathering why it took the death of an innocent young woman to bring them together, the assembly burst into thunderous ovation. It's symbolic and fitting that the ovation started outside the cathedral, outside the establishment in every sense of the word - before crossing the threshold and moving like a tsunami through the congregation. As it moved up the pecking order, it carried a subtle message: what will it take for the people at the top of the political food chain to bury their differences rather than bury their sisters and brothers?
To end, I will paraphrase another beatitude: the people of this island, North and south, are hungry and thirsty for righteousness.
Newcastle West, Co Limerick
Persecution of Christians needs to be highlighted
FAIR play to Patricia Casey for highlighting attacks on Christian churches in Europe in her article ("Why Notre-Dame's survival is testament to courage - and the enduring power of faith", Irish Independent, April 23).
Our media prefers to highlight the crimes committed by the Church years ago than investigate the crimes that are committed against the Church today - persecution of Christians and vandalism of churches all across Europe and internationally. Why not investigate this?
Because it does not suit their left-wing agenda, I believe.
Our world leaders cannot even bear mention of the word Christian in their tweets to Sri Lanka, and would rather refer to us as 'Easter worshippers'.
Their words to Sri Lanka were weak and lacking genuine sympathy. Catholic and Christianity have become dangerous or dirty words in the media and are to be avoided.
Respect and tolerance towards people of faith starts at home. The air of smugness, ridicule and disdain coming from certain television presenters and television programmes is not professional, is disrespectful and is a mockery.
Referendum campaigners are worthy Time winners
It is only fitting that the Together for Yes co-directors were named on Time's list of 100 most influential people. The referendum campaign to repeal the 8th amendment represented a movement we have never really seen before in Ireland. A true grassroots movement led by women - and supported by men.
This campaign was run from kitchen tables, from local stalls, sandwiched in between school runs and busy work schedules. There was a place for everyone, and everyone contributed what they could.
It was a movement that changed the country, or perhaps rather made it find itself again. It gives hope for the future.
We must get to grips with root causes of terrorism
IT IS unsurprising that most suicide bombers who targeted Christians in Sri Lanka are highly educated, and that one of them was British educated.
Jihadi John, who masterminded beheadings in Syria, was a graduate of the University of Westminster in London.
While I do not condone terrorism, it is prudent to remember that history is inundated with countless examples of human tragedies with harrowing and gruesome accounts of killings, rape and psychological traumas perpetrated by educated people, whether the Nazis, Isil or military juntas in Israel, Myanmar, South Sudan, Congo and elsewhere.
Educated people also watch with a simmering sense of powerlessness and helplessness, a lost generation of children and women, raped, uneducated, traumatised and abandoned in senseless wars by an apathetic global audience.
It is time to tackle the social, political, economic and religious root causes of radicalism and terrorism.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob