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Readers Blog: Varadkar needs to look at bigger picture

Sections of recent Dáil debates and international statements made by the Taoiseach threw up some interesting statistics.

It confirms the fact that even the glossy new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is out of his depth when it comes to discussions on why the Stormount Assembly collapsed, and how if and when it can be resurrected.

RTÉ news showed clips of Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou Mac Donald ask questions off the Taoiseach in reference to his role as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement in which he responded by minimalising her concerns as no more than a laughing matter.

He followed this by castigating her party for bringing down the six-county institutions and comparing her to Marine Le Pen.

Does he get away with this crap because he’s a gay man and she’s only a woman?

Unfortunately for viewers, the “question in its entirety” that Mary Lou asked Leo was not aired in a fair or just manner, but his dismissal of her concerns took airtime precedence.

Mary Lou asked him why should Sinn Féin in the six counties compromise on equality And more to the point what part of “equality” should they in his opinion’ compromise on?

Should nationalists in the North not have the same rights afforded to citizens in the rest of Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland or the Isle of Man in relation to their nationality, civil rights or native language?

Simon Coveney, to give him his dues, has a much better understanding of the political landscape north of the Cooley peninsula, and would have made a much better hands-on Taoiseach than Leo Varadkar and his PR team.

That said Simon must be more pro-active which might prompt his leader into sitting up and taking notice, it is more than just about Brexit and the negative impact it will have.

I wonder is Leo aware or does he care that in recent days four Catholic families in south Belfast were forced to leave a mixed housing estate after a series of threats by the UVF who seem to be able to roam at will, marking out their territory, doing as they please under the noses of the PSNI.

Local DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly wasn’t sympathetic to their plight by her vague reply on the issue.

Then people have to bite their tongue and suck it up, as chief constable of the PSNI George Harrison attends a DUP fundraiser?

So Leo, those are some of the daily scenarios that Sinn Féin have to contend with in the six counties and all you two can imply by way of snide remarks, is get on with it; it’s your fault?

The leaders of unionism are not showing any signs of fulfilling cross-community roles that would benefit both sections of the community unless they are utterly forced to do so.

As they unashamedly see it they are elected to maintain services on traditional sectarian headcount.

Nationalist concerns were being dismissed out of hand by Arlene Foster and her DUP colleagues who have reneged on almost everything they signed up to in the Good Friday Agreement, and to the detriment of nationalists, continue to engage in issues (cash for ash scandal, etc) which left Martin McGuinness with no alternative but to pull the plug on what was becoming a charade in regards to equality in governance in the Stormount Assembly.

The ensuing elections in which Sinn Fein received a hugely increased mandate showed that had they had the full backing of the nationalist/republican community in collapsing the assembly.

This fact seems to have (intentionally) escaped the combined interests and deflection tactics of the 26-county Fianna Gael/Fine Fail setup, who actually support unionism by their constant criticism of Sinn Féin for doing the right thing.

“Make no mistake about it” as TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin would say, the big picture for the Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil team does not contain Sinn Féin and they will do everything in their power to keep it that way, irrespective of the detriment to the needs of others.

In an international context, the Taoiseach was one of the first out of the traps in condemning the Catalonian referendum on independence, insisting that we stood with Spain on the issue and would not recognise a vote on independence if it were to prove successful.

A vote, which by the way, was carried out peacefully and in accordance with the democratic wishes of the Catalonian people. The Spanish government used brute force, ie rubber bullets, water cannon, arrests and batons to disrupt and destroy all attempts to hold a ballot.

This should sound very familiar if the Taoiseach consulted his Irish history books.

How would he feel if, countries refused to recognise our rights on January 21, 1919, after the first meeting of Dail Éireann where independence from Britain was declared? For a start he wouldn’t have the job that he has now? Shame on him.

James Woods, Gort an Choirce, Dún na nGall



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