Sunday 24 February 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Men who claim ‘right’ to violence can learn from McGuinness and Adams'

Radical method: Mahatma Gandhi in London in 1931 drew huge crowds. Photo: Imagno/Getty Images
Radical method: Mahatma Gandhi in London in 1931 drew huge crowds. Photo: Imagno/Getty Images
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Yet again, the imaginary line between the 'six counties' and the '26 counties' of the island of Ireland looms large in the narrow minds of the die-hard men of violence, waiting in the shadows.

A car-bomb in Derry which thankfully caused no injuries, allied to threats of violence should a hard Border be imposed, is a sad reflection on those who threaten the hard won peace, a peace that brought liberty, economic improvement and, above all, hope for the future of young people throughout Ireland.

Those who seek to bring terror and mayhem over a failed ideology not alone don't serve the Irish nation in any meaningful way, but - worse - they destroy any semblance of hope or charity in themselves.

The Border that requires dismantling is the self-imposed 'border' in their own mind.

Violence will never force any British government to alter its position on Northern Ireland.

In 1970, Ted Heath became PM of the UK and Northern Ireland. Within a month of taking office, he met with the heads of MI5/6 and the British army to discuss the situation in NI. Two years earlier Enoch Powell had made his infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech; this was cited by the trio as good cause to use NI as a training ground to "counter future urban-terrorism in the UK itself".

British intelligence and the army were 'successful' because they understand violence. When you understand violence, you can control it.

Mahatma Gandhi frightened the bejaysus out of the British with his peaceful protest: they could not "grasp" peace with their hands, nor their minds, hence Gandhi and India triumphed.

Working in London in the late 1960s, my boss told me of seeing Gandhi arrive at King's Cross Station in 1948: "The station was thronged, and when Gandhi alighted from the train, there came a collective gasp of awe from the crowd."

They were surprised by his slight stature. "Gandhi did not walk down the platform: he glided along as if elevated!" was another comment.

To all those Irish people who imagine that killing or maiming in the name of a nation, without the sanction of the majority of the people, take a lesson from the late Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams. They realised the most successful way to unity is through the parliamentary system.

Those, who title themselves Continuity, Real or whatever, claiming "their sole right" to continue violence, should ask themselves this question: 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?

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

 

British have an ideal but should learn from history

It seems so sad the British people - in a very small majority obviously - do not seem to have learned from the very, very expensive lessons from history.

To others it might seem a level of belligerence, intransigence, even naïvety exists at a seemingly almost gladiatorial level, to believe and suggest the world cannot do without the British Empire and its possibly relative influence on the rest of the world.

That ship has long since sailed, the world is much smaller, and mutual dependence is the only way forward.

OK, so that is my opinion. Please remember every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The long and well fought-for fragile tolerance that up to today exists between the different segments of society in Northern Ireland can only be sustained if greed, self-promotion and aggrandisement and expansionism is outgrown and dismissed by the thinker in the community. Do they want that, do they not, or do they even care?

Are the minds of the influencers big enough to see further than self-interest, be it political or even economic?

While joining the EEC of the time might now seem to be an enormous error - and maybe it was, as who could possibly predict the outcome relative to laws, finance etc - it now is a fact.

The UK is no longer the country it was, any more than Ireland, France, Italy and so on can be. We have evolved, for better or worse, and we will evolve further.

A pig in a poke is what was offered to the people of Britain as nobody knew then, or even knows now, what the outcome might be or become. But trying to turn back the clock to how things used to be is just pure nostalgia.

The idealism of independence prevails in Britain, exactly what happened to Ireland in 1916. And who can blame them for that, or us for that matter?

And please remember, it's really not all about just them.

Dan McColgan

Gorey, Co Wexford

 

Government must stand firm to stop hard Border

The Empire and the Orange state are gone and will not be coming back, ever. The United Kingdom is in disarray yet the DUP clings to its apron strings with their fingernails at this stage.

It has taken every opportunity to insult the Republic and elected ministers and it should stand firm on the Border issue and the Good Friday Agreement signed up by 27 countries.

Now is the time for a Border poll on all of this without any preconditions and let the people of this small country decide its future.

It is the duty of our Government to stand firm on the backstop and protect the Good Friday Agreement that no hard Border will ever exist again in this country.

Noel Harrington

Kinsale, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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