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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (22/11/16)

Your letters, your views.

Trump may undo basic freedoms

While we come to terms with a Donald Trump presidency, each new day brings additional reasons to worry about the hard-won freedoms of US citizens.

Having appointed climate change denier Myron Ebell to the Environmental Protection Agency, and having promised to extract the US from the Paris Accord, Trump has since selected civil rights opponent Jeff Sessions as his attorney general, and proud racist Steve Bannon as his strategist.

Some commentators are suggesting that Trump will rebrand white supremacy as US nationalism.

Indeed, the bulk of his proposed cabinet seems to be a ragtag bunch of reactionary bigots and anti-science proponents. Each of his selections, and his VP, if given leeway, have the potential to undo decades of progress in civil liberties, and to erode reason and objectivity, which are the bases of civil society.

Instead, the US is in danger of allowing its governance to be based on ignorance and fear.

Unfortunately, it’s not only US citizens who have cause for concern, as Trump’s win has emboldened populist nationalism in the EU, which is still trying to maintain unity, post-Brexit.

The spectre of climate change demands global unity, if we are to maintain a planet that we can all share, and the current political mood does not lend itself to an effective solution.

This may be a significant moment in history.

Will it be one in which people stood firm and protected their freedoms, or will there be a slow sleepwalk into nationalist-fuelled discord?

We have been here before and it didn’t end well.

Barry Walsh

21 Linden Ave
Blackrock
Cork

Abortion ‘industry’ a form of tyranny

We in Ireland are living under a diabolical, state-implemented system of tyranny when abortion-industry organisations are not only allowed to break the law and Constitution, and the ‘laws’ of God and nature, by arranging for their partners in other states to kill babies in utero, but are protected in doing so.

Those who try to save these innocent, defenceless babies from being brutally murdered, and from bringing love and joy to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, are persecuted, as unconstitutional and unlawful attempts are made to stop them in their defence of God-given rights.

Instead of being supported and lauded for their work in saving the most innocent citizens from unlawful killing by organisations that exist for that purpose, they are unlawfully maligned and their basic rights and freedoms attacked, even by the state legislature, as evidenced by the bill that is currently proceeding through parliament.

This is an unlawful attack on the rights and freedoms (including the right to life) of all of us.

Furthermore, the leaders of the Catholic Church are refusing to fight against such great evils and thus are aiding it by omission.

Yes, the rule of law is dead in this country. We are living under tyranny.

I pray people will repent and return to serving God — only then will we be freed from the tyranny of these wicked men who hate God and his creation.

Lynda Finneran

Granby Place
Dublin 1

Class inequality the real problem

The election of Donald Trump in the US, and the rise of the far right in Europe, are part of a political polarisation which is a product of the deep crisis of global capitalism and the fact that neo-liberalism, for so long triumphant, is running into the sand.

In the US, this has produced a society in which the wealth of the richest 1% has gone through the roof, while the wages of working people have flat-lined since 1973; 48m people live below the poverty line.

This is the context in which some people ‘rebel’, albeit in a dreadful way, against what they see as the status quo and the establishment.

The basic division in society is class, not race or religion. This division is perpetuated by the ruling class to prevent the growth of mass social movements which challenge their wealth. If wealth was taxed fairly, there would be sufficient decent jobs and high standards of free public services for everyone.

Even in Ireland, while we have so far repelled the rise of a right-wing party, examples of institutionalised racism do exist, such as that experienced by asylum seekers in direct provision and by Travellers, both situations being worsened by the chronic housing shortage.

It is worth recalling Ireland’s history. In the mid19th century, a British government report referred to Irish immigration to Britain as “an example of a less civilised population spreading themselves, as a kind of substratum, beneath a more civilised community”.

In the 1930s, Basil Brooke, a member of the Northern Ireland Unionist regime, made the following comment, in regard to Northern Ireland’s Catholic population: “I recommend that those people who are Loyalists not to employ Roman Catholics, 99% of whom are disloyal.”

Rage and alarm — entirely justified as they are — should not give rise to panic or despair. As well as anger and protest, we also need analysis and understanding, so as to better ground our resistance to racism, now and in the future.

Kieran McNulty

25 Lios Rua
Cahermoneen
Tralee
Co Kerry

We’re in dangerous new territory

Donald Trump’s White House is the final voyage of the great American ‘enterprise’. Its four-year mission: To strangle new ideas, to stamp out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go protectionist in the age of enlightenment.

And so it goes!

Kevin Devitte

Mill Street
Westport
Co Mayo

Emigrants right to vote delayed again

A week may be a long time in politics, but seven years is not long enough for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to make up his mind.

A referendum on the right of Irish emigrants to vote in Ireland’s presidential elections will not be held in 2017, as previously promised, the Taoiseach has confirmed.

Speaking in the Dáil, on Tuesday, November 15, and in response to a question from the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, TD, he said: “It is unlikely that changes to the Constitution, to extend the franchise to citizens overseas, could be voted on in a referendum, and implemented in time for the next presidential election, in 2018.”

The Constitutional Convention recommended, in 2013, that emigrants be given a vote in presidential elections, while the European Commission, in 2014, heavily criticised Ireland for “disenfranchising” its citizens who live in other EU countries by not providing them voting rights.

The Constitutional Convention (CC) was conceived by the coalition of Labour and Fine Gael in 2011. As part of the Programme for Government, the CC was insisted on by then Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, and it is his legacy.

Therefore, after a firm recommendation, of 79%, by the CC, and speeches by Minister for the Diaspora, Joe McHugh, I can only conclude that, after seven years of potentially announcing a referendum to allow the Irish abroad to vote in future presidential elections, Taoiseach Enda Kenny does not want to.

That is further enhanced by the likelihood that he will have left frontline politics by 2018, at the latest. He has made his Minister for the Diaspora look like a fool, as he gave me a personal commitment, in Camden Town Hall Chamber, on July 15 (and also later, in the Irish Embassy and on subsequent visits to Africa and US) that the mechanisms could be in place by 2017 for the pending presidential election in 2018.

In essence, the majority of Irish people abroad would particularly like a vote in presidential elections.

Gerry Molumby

Nottingham
England

Ireland run afoul of the All Blacks

In his interview after the Ireland and New Zealand game on Saturday, the New Zealand team manager, Steve Hansen, seemed irritated when he was asked about the number of offences for which his team had been punished (two yellow cards and 14 penalties), and asked the interviewer “Are you saying we’re a dirty team?”, and also asked for the line of questioning to be changed.

Now, two of his players have been cited for dangerous play during the match.

After the hearing, the rugby world will be able to judge for itself whether or not the answer should, in this instance, be ‘Yes’.

If the players are found guilty, it is sad that such a great team should attempt to keep its remarkable playing record by being so determined to win at all costs.

Paul McCarthy

Currabinny
Co Cork

New Zealand in fighting form

It’s now a toss-up whether to watch the UFC or the All Blacks.

Liam Power

Ballina
Co Mayo


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