Sunday 20 October 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'McDonald has every right to aspire to a united Ireland'

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Mark Condren
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Mark Condren
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Lawrence O’Neill admonishes, if not vilifies, Mary Lou McDonald’s decision to be “associated” with an ‘England get out of Ireland’ banner (Letters, Irish Independent, March 23).

Lawrence tells us his English wife, who lives in Ireland, has always found people to be kind and welcoming. Why would they not be?

I’ve been married to an Irish girl for over a 40-year span that included the most intense period of military activity in the Six Counties. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Ireland, and have never felt more than welcome, whether from my wife’s large and extended family or anyone else of the thousands of Irish people I have been delighted, even enthralled, to meet or talk to.

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But, in spite of being British, I can be objective enough to condemn England’s duplicitous and murderous role in the division of Ireland, as in India, Cyprus and ‘Rhodesia’, among other countries.

People have aspirations, Lawrence, whether it be in Ireland, Cyprus or elsewhere. Mary Lou McDonald has every right to aspire to a united Ireland. It is the English government that she and many others want out of Ireland, not your wife or me.

Harry Charalambou

Muswell Hill, London

Justice Department has not been driven out in Rooskey

In his opinion piece ‘The racist firebombers have got their way – and the biggest loser is Rooskey’ (Irish Independent, March 22), Liam Collins makes a claim which is completely false.

The claim is the proposed accommodation centre for persons seeking international protection at the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey, Co Leitrim, will not now be opening because racist fire-bombers have “driven the State away” and the Government has “buckled” in the face of vandalism.

To repeat, this allegation is completely false.

The decision not to proceed was taken solely following legal advice from the Chief State Solicitor’s Office with regard to the leasing arrangements in place between the owner of the hotel and the contractor offering the accommodation service to the department.

These issues, which are outside of the department’s control, have nothing whatsoever to do with the fires and would have remained whether the attacks had occurred or not.

Any suggestion the decision was taken due to the attacks is not only untrue, but potentially dangerous. The department has in no sense been “driven away”.

To the contrary, it remains firmly committed to sourcing suitable premises to meet the accommodation needs of people in the international protection process. Indeed a regional procurement process is under way and will continue throughout the year.

Finally, to be absolutely clear, Ministers Flanagan and Stanton have condemned the arson attacks in the strongest possible terms.

The Department of Justice and Equality has done everything possible to open the centre and they look forward to opening others in the near future.

Andrew Payne

Press Officer, Department of Justice and Equality

Palestinian call for artists to boycott Eurovision in Israel

We Palestinian singers, songwriters, dancers, musicians and other artists urge all Eurovision 2019 finalists to withdraw, to avoid participating in Israel’s explicit agenda of using international artists’ appearances to whitewash its crimes against humanity.

The Tel Aviv convention centre hosting Eurovision is built atop the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of al-Shaykh Muwannis.

‘Eurovision Village’, where fans will celebrate, is located in a park built on top of Manshiya, one of the 500+ Palestinian localities destroyed and emptied of Palestinians to make way for apartheid Israel.

As Palestinian artists – brutalised, besieged, occupied and exiled – we cannot offer the glitz and glamour of Eurovision. We can offer something much bigger: a place in the history books.

We will never forget Irish store worker Mary Manning and her colleagues, who in 1984 refused to handle apartheid South African produce. Their selfless actions led directly to Ireland banning South African goods.

The contestants’ history is not yet written. We encourage them to write it.

Kamal Aljafari (film maker), Sama Abdulhadi (musician), Rafeef Ziadah (poet), Ahmed Masoud (playwright), Saleh Bakri (actor)

This letter was signed by 95 other artists

Online social media ‘news’ contributes to our calamities

Most people of my age group accept that “media” refers to well known and respected suppliers of verifiable facts and/or news.

In more recent times, regrettably, too many people are informed via Facebook, Twitter, etc, which is rarely verifiable and often totally untrue.  Is it, therefore, any wonder Brexit/Trump and other calamities occur?

David Ryan     

Derrypatrick, Co Meath

Irish Independent

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