Monday 19 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'SF shows contempt for Irish'

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

Letters to the Editor

Sir - There is no doubt that a no-deal Brexit will be devastating for Northern Ireland and the Republic, irrespective of the Border question.

The Boris Johnson regime, notwithstanding his public comments on the desirability of a deal, is determined to leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal. This is obvious from the make-up of his cabinet, who have an ideological hatred of all things EU. Unless his regime is brought down, there is no way to avoid this disaster - and the only way that this can occur is if one particular politician takes action.

This politician can talk the talk, but is unwilling to send her people to walk the walk into the House of Commons.

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It's is not Jeremy Corbyn, who is a closet Brexiteer anyway, or even Arlene Foster, whose party are even more anti EU than the Brexiter cabinet.

This politician is Mary Lou McDonald who controls seven Sinn Fein MPs. If they were to take their seats, they would wipe out the Tory-DUP majority of just one.

Sinn Fein, by ditching the ridiculous throwback abstentionist policy, could do more for Ireland - North and South - than all the talk of Border polls and political point-scoring could ever do.

Thomas Horrigan,

Pattaya, Thailand


A united Ireland will not heal all our ills

Sir - Those who imagine a united Ireland will be a panacea for all of our ills, serves merely to show many Irish people prefer to be blind to reality.

For a united Ireland to come about, there needs to be serious debate and agreement with the unionist population.

Their legitimate fears have to be addressed, and their point of view of how government would operate must be agreed upon.

If anyone is serious about a united Ireland, then start working towards it, not wishing for it to happen magically. And can I also say that it is high time the Sinn Fein MPs elected to Westminster represented their people there.

The old excuse about the oath is obsolete. They can say aloud: "I take this oath under duress."

Declan Foley,

Berwick, Australia


Johnson only ever cares about himself

Sir - In response to Eoghan Harris's article of July 28, it is worth pointing out that the backstop is not a straitjacket imposed on the UK by Ireland and the EU from ulterior motives.

The backstop arose because of an attempt by the UK government to pretend that there would be no problem on the Irish Border once the UK left the EU - when anyone with an understanding of the EU single market must have known there inevitably would be.

Secondly, far from having a "determination to deliver Brexit", Boris Johnson has no principles whatsoever - as he has demonstrated in his work as a journalist and a politician, and also in his private life. His only real concern is for himself, and at this moment in time that means trying to save the Conservative Party, on which his career now depends.

Tony Newlove,

Lusaka, Zambia


Harris shows his true prescience

Sir - Over the years, Eoghan Harris has written many memorable pieces. But last Sunday he excelled himself when he wrote: "I believe the backstop was part of the baggage of Irish Nationalism [and] would feed a fresh series of Sinn Fein demands."

By last Tuesday, your columnist's prescience had borne fruit, as was made clear when we heard the leader of Sinn Fein calling for a poll on Irish unity if there is a hard Border.

Eoghan Harris is persona non grata at RTE. One must deduce from this that he is telling the truth. As the farmers in Enniscrone, among whom I spent my youth, used to say, "The truth is sour."

Martin Gordon,

Blackrock, Cork


Time for Leo to eat slice of humble pie

Sir - Eoghan Harris's intuitive sense regarding Leo Varadkar and his appalling handling of Brexit transcends mere instinct, in the sense that his analysis is damningly cogent.

Tolerating Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is one of our most terrible sins. He is ever so willing to impress his EU puppeteers, but is wholly indifferent to the national interest, and a compromise solution to the Border.

And it all could have been so different if Mr Varadkar had been an experienced politician, rather than the greenhorned, arrogant, hubristic, authoritarian unquestioning Europhile that he is.

It is time for our Taoiseach to eat some humble pie, which will cause pain to his ego, but bring relief to the nation which he is duty-bound to serve.

Pierce Martin,

Celbridge, Co Kildare


Border is a Brexit weapon for Tories

Sir - I do not agree with the recent criticism of the Irish/EU Brexit position on the Border backstop around not offering sufficient compromises to the British.

People in the UK in general, and Tory Party members in particular, care little for Northern Ireland and its people.

The British, at large, demonstrated this during the Brexit campaign when they gave the question of the Northern Irish Border scant regard. And recent research among the Tories revealed the majority (59pc) of them would abandon Northern Ireland if it was in the interests of the rest of the union.

The British are making a big fuss now because they realise the Border issue is hugely important to the Irish. So it has become an important weapon during withdrawal negotiations to secure what they really want: total, free access to the single market without being bound by any EU laws or policies.

Lisa Callanan,

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16


Sammy Wilson's view indefensible

Sir - Boris Johnson's declarations on Brexit and its implications formed a large part of your paper on July 28.

Your coverage included excellent articles by Colm McCarthy, Dan O'Brien, Mary C Murphy and Jody Corcoran - and it was in this last that we heard the comments being made by Sammy Wilson of the DUP.

He was quoted as saying that Ireland's attempt to defend its position within the EU, and its defence of the Good Friday Agreement, was an "hysterical and self-centred response" to the "reasonable demands" of Boris Johnson.

The EU is the most advanced effort at international cooperation in the world. It involves cooperation in matters of mutual interest, including a customs union and the freedom of movement of people.

The UK's vote for Brexit is a vote to tear up this agreement and plays into the agenda of people like Putin and Trump the and European fascists who want to dismantle the EU.

To say, as Sammy Wilson did, that Ireland's position in defence of the EU and the Good Friday Agreement is 'hysterical' is indefensible.

A Leavy,

Sutton, Dublin 13


Neither side has skin in this game

Sir - In this great folly called Brexit, we have two blocs. The British bloc, led by Boris Johnson, and the other bloc with Leo Varadkar and the EU.

They are both playing a game of 'chicken' with our futures. It must be nice to play this way when you've no skin in the game. The EU will continue on its way regardless of a crash-out Brexit... it's a mere bump in the road.

Johnson and his merry band are all independently wealthy men. Brexit means nothing either way for them and they will never notice the suffering of the "lower classes" around them.

And then we have our Government ministers. Proud and full to the brim with hubris. What does crash-out Brexit mean for them? Will they feel pain?

Here's the acid test: could any of them tell you the price of a litre of milk?

Gerard Barrett,

Sandyford, Dublin


Include alcohol in new drug proposal

Sir - The new 'health-led' initiative on drug offences is welcome, but it's not a new idea. Some of us have advocated this for over 20 years. Many lives have probably been lost because of delays in implementing it and I fervently hope that it is now approached in a structured, effective and expert manner.

Though the proposal refers to "illegal drugs", there are two areas which it is vital to consider for the "brief intervention" to be effective. Firstly, the inclusion of assessment relating to alcohol consumption as well as any illegal drugs.

Secondly, I would urge the Government to urgently extend this type of approach to those arrested for alcohol-related offences. Early intervention and education works and is easily implemented. Drink-driving, drunken public order offences and domestic violence fuelled by alcohol are by far the more urgent areas to be addressed.

So while being heartened by this approach finally being adopted, its extension to all drug usage - legal and illegal - is imperative. It would help to address so many societal issues.

Gerry Hickey (psychotherapist),

Adelaide Road, Dublin 2


No time for merchants of hate

Sir - Right-wing attacks on mosques in Ireland and racially motivated discrimination against people who have "different" looks, beliefs or ethnicity have sadly become commonplace in Ireland.

We should think carefully before succumbing to the message from the hate merchants, no matter how well packaged their lies might be, no matter how well got those hate merchants might be in society.

Let's do the right thing and resist the temptation to condemn our fellow human beings on the basis of prejudice, fabrication, and discredited conspiracy theories.

As a famous poster once warned: "Careless talk costs lives!"

John Fitzgerald,

Coyne, Co Kilkenny


Meath legend Colm waxes lyrical

Sir - I remember Colm O'Rourke as a magnificent Meath county footballer. Now he is a regular columnist with the Sunday Independent and I'm a regular reader of his.

Did you see last week where he referred to "the Greek poet Horace", assisting those of us who are too old by translating the Latin quotation into English?

I was reminded of Ben Jonson's reference to Shakespeare having "small Latin and less Greek".

Horace, a Roman citizen, wrote in Latin. Homer was the Greek poet. Good luck to Meath at the weekend.

Padraig McGinn,



The dreaded silly season in politics

Sir - Here we go again, more stealth taxation on the way as the Government announces that the TV licence is to be scrapped and replaced by a tax on all households in Ireland.

What is Communications Minister Richard Bruton going to do with the TV licence inspectors and their vans?

Will the Government still fine and imprison those who don't pay this new tax, just like the old TV licence? What about free provisions for our pensioners?

With Brexit pending, this policy initiative seems to be silly season politics. It must be the first week in August.

Paul F Horan,



Quays unsuitable for an injection centre

Sir - Patrick Costello of the Green Party wrote last week about the planning rejection of the safe injection centre at Dublin's Merchants Quay. It mentioned "harm reduction" several times - but he missed the point of why the introduction of the Medically Supervised Injection Centre (MSIC) has been refused.

Regardless of what is needed to support the thousands of addicts living in Dublin city, the council's refusal to place it on Merchants Quay is wise.

Costello says addicts' lives are at risk because of the delay in opening the centre. I'd like to tell him about the other lives at risk.

Every day local workers, school children and tourists have to negotiate the junkie strip that surrounds Merchants Quay, Wood Quay, and right down to O'Connell Bridge. They do so in total fear for their lives. This is not an over-the-top statement; it is a reality.

I have had close encounters with addicts on Merchants Quay over the past 10 years. Last December, I left my office to meet a client in a next-door coffee shop. As I walked the 50 or so paces to the shop on Merchants Quay, I was confronted by an addict who stuck a needle into my hand. It was totally unprovoked, the addict had I am told mental health issues. The MQI charity had disowned him as a troublemaker. I made four hospital visits for blood checks.

I can list addicts overdosing and dying in the toilets and offices of adjoining buildings. I have been involved in fist fights with addicts who put staff at risk in a local cafe. I have seen tourists assaulted by addicts. Young women scared out of their wits and knocked to the ground.

Who was responsible for this MSIC project? The site is 50 yards from St Audoen's School. What were they thinking? You can't sell a burger near any school in the country - but an injection centre next to 200 kids? You couldn't make it up.

Addicts' lives may be in danger and no one wants that but let's get our priorities right. Law-abiding citizens going about their daily lives should be the No 1 concern for lawmakers and politicians. Everything else, drug addicts included, is secondary.

Yes, we need to sort the crime and drug problems in our city, but it must not come at a cost to honest Dubliners who have made Dublin the great capital city it is.

On behalf of the people who live in and around Merchants Quay, we congratulate Dublin City Council for its simple common sense in refusing this proposal.

Pat Egan,

Merchants Court, Dublin 8


We expect fairness from our referees

Sir - I have great sympathy with the referees of the GAA and condemn any personal abuse of these unpaid officials.

That being said, teams and supporters expect a reasonable performance from them, and more than anything else a measure of fairness. Players train long and hard, making many sacrifices.

I felt utterly sorry for Limerick hurlers who were deprived of a 65 and a chance to level the match last Saturday. That was nothing to how I felt when I saw how unfairly Tipperary were treated in the other semi-final against Wexford. Three goals were disallowed and some blatant round-the-neck tackles ignored.

I can't imagine how Davy Fitz would have reacted had that happened to Wexford. They'd had to have sent in the army!

I had just got over my fury when The Sunday Game was shown. I sat back expecting expert analysis, but was treated to a boring, irrelevant discussion about the "sweeper system" and "innovation in a historical context". These discussions belong to another platform, but come on, Des - The Sunday Game is about that weekend's games, the players and the refereeing.

Jim O'Shea,

Thurles, Co Tipperary

Sunday Independent

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