Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Letters to the Editor: 'Anti-Brexit cross-community group could stand up for North in election'

One of the possible consequences of the continuing political deadlock at Westminster might be a snap general election in Britain.

In this scenario, it would be highly desirable to create some kind of anti-Brexit front on a cross-community basis in Northern Ireland.

A central point of any such arrangement would need to be a willingness, if elected, to attend Westminster and vote on Brexit-related issues affecting Northern Ireland.

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Obviously, this could pose difficulties for Sinn Féin in view of its long-standing policy of abstention from Westminster, but it should be possible to find a way around this without asking Sinn Féin to compromise its principles.

In the early years of the civil rights struggle, Sinn Féin found it possible to support agreed ‘Unity’ candidates in Mid Ulster (Bernadette Devlin, as she was then), and Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Frank McManus) for Westminster elections.

This is not a call for a ‘pan-nationalist front’. Opposition to Brexit and support for the Northern Ireland backstop go far beyond the nationalist community and the nationalist parties have already been able to work with the Alliance and the Greens, both in Brussels and Dublin, in support of the backstop.

This experience of working together could provide a foundation for a more organised anti-Brexit front and assist in the restoration of Stormont.

Willingness to co-operate should also extend to unionists such as Lady Hermon in North Down who is, at the moment, the only elected representative from Northern Ireland willing to articulate at Westminster what most people in Northern Ireland really think of the backstop, despite abuse from the DUP.

Ed Kelly

Merseyside, England

 

Highly paid consultants our solution to everything

Another day in the Irish Republic, another highly paid consultant appointed.

This new consultancy will examine the reason costs have overrun on the proposed new children’s hospital before even a brick has been laid.

Can someone in this Gubu Cabinet explain to the electorate why they are ministers? Obviously not for their ability or intellect, which explains why they require innumerable outside consultants.

Is the €450,000 consultancy fee fixed or will it, too, end up in an over-run?

There is one certain thing about the Blueshirts of today. The health of the children of Ireland takes no priority, just as they did not matter in the days of Noel Browne.

The difference between 1948-51 and today – the Catholic Church is not the scapegoat.

The inanity of not one, but two Cabinets is the cause of the fiasco the children’s hospital has become since 2011.

One has to wonder – in the centenary of Independence from the UK, has anything changed when it comes to rifling the taxpayers’ pockets for white-elephants, sorry, paper reports?

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

 

Constables shot dead in ambush not forgotten

Joe O’Toole expresses concern about the two RIC constables shot dead in the Soloheadbeg ambush on January 21, 1919, and that there are no plaques for the two men who died and that they were unlikely to be included in centenary commemorations (‘Why names of two RIC men shot at Soloheadbeg should be on memorial’, Irish Independent, January 23).

He should be reassured that all 12 men present, the eight in the ambush party, the two constables and the two council workers, are all listed by name on the Heritage Information Board attached to the memorial erected by the people of Solohead and the Third Tipperary Brigade Old IRA Commemoration Committee, which was unveiled on Sunday and attached to the Memorial opened in 1950.

All the names and indications of their status were read out in alphabetical order as part of the ceremony, which was attended by family members on all sides. The RIC men, James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell, were referenced by name in the course of a number of speeches over the weekend.

No one was forgotten.

Martin Mansergh

Friarsfield House, Tipperary

 

Brexiteers have declared economic war on the EU

The coverage of Brexit and the ‘hard Border’ in the Irish media is increasingly over the top in deference to the Brexiteers. Brexiteers in the UK (87pc of them English) have voted for Brexit.

Our former colonial masters thereby have declared economic war, not alone on this former colony but on the rest of Europe as well.

They have also torn up the Good Friday Agreement, which drew a line under nearly eight centuries of colonial exploitation.

Yet their spokespersons are given the ‘yes, your honour’ treatment by many spokespersons and interviewers in the Irish media.

One celebrity leader of the Brexit campaign was cheered to the rafters in a conference of the so-called Irish elite recently.

How pathetic is the fact that the only people the Irish media blame for the present situation are the Irish?

Many people in the Irish media are lining up to blame the people of this country for the fact that our former colonial masters have torn up the Good Friday Agreement and declared economic war on us.

How pathetic is that?

A Leavy

Dublin 13

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