Your Views - Letters to the editor October 18, 2013


Total disgust at sectarian attack

I am writing to you to express my total disgust at the recent sectarian attack on the church in Ballyarnett.

The people who attacked this place of worship are the worst kind of fascist that one can imagine. Sadly they probably identify themselves as patriotic Irish men and women.

I want to tell them clearly that the people of Inishowen are sick to the back teeth with this sort of fascist sectarian behavior.

To daub graffiti on a place of worship in the dark of night is cowardice of the highest order. They do not speak for me, they do not speak for my neighbours and I am full sure they do not speak for 99% of the people from this area.

So where do they get the notion that they do? That they have some right to tell a small Christian community that they are not wanted or welcome? From their own religious leaders? I doubt it. From their own political leaders? I doubt that too.

So where is the source of this bile and hatred? Is it from their families and neighbours?

Is it from the faceless internet warriors, tweeting and blogging their anonymous bilge? Is it from some twisted and distorted version of history that tells them all their problems can be solved by ethnic cleansing and driving out ‘the other’?

Is it from some sick ideology that tells them that by some accident of birth they are ‘superior’ to other human beings, with greater rights to live in this country than other human beings? Let everyone in Inishowen this week make it very clear that we recognize and welcome religious diversity in this area, that it is part of what we are, and that in the society we want to live in all are welcome regardless of what church, temple, mosque or synagogue they worship in.

The alternative is hatred, savagery and a betrayal of the ideals of solidarity, justice and equality that most of us claim to adhere to.

Many years ago Edmund Burke wrote: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’ I hope that everyone in their own small way will commit themselves to challenging sectarianism in all its manifestations wherever they come across it, be it in the pub or the playground, in public fora or in private conversations.

We should never forget the words of Martin Niemoller: “First they came for the Communists, And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist,

Then they came for the Socialists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist,

Then they came for the Jews,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew,

Then they came for Me,

And there was nobody left to speak out for me.”

Last weekend ‘they’ came for the Presbyterian community in Ballyarnet .

Time to speak out.

Fearghal O Boyle



Co. Donegal


Barbaric ending of a baby’s life

I object strongly to the platform that Stephen Nolan has been afforded recently with regard to abortion. Where has unbiased journalism gone ? His live show was 100% biased in favour of abortion and the case of Sarah who he accompanied to England for an abortion was exploitation at its best.

Sarah and many other women have been told the devastating news that their babies have a fatal disability . To end the baby’s life by abortion is barbaric.

Will the baby be given pain relief before it is dismembered and pulled out of its mothers womb?

These babies deserve to be given the chance to be held before they die. They may be born alive and may live for a few hours when the parents can treasure the moment.

I assure you no such situation can ever occur in an abortion clinic as the baby will be in bits and anyone who denies this is avoiding the truth.

Abortion is not a caring solution but only more trauma put on the mother and family and of course the child.

I have heard of babies’ births being induced as they are expected to die in the womb to allow the parents to hold the baby before it dies.

All this is denied in abortion. No photographs can be taken of an aborted baby.

The only memories are of a routine abortion clinic, a place that profits on the deaths of babies. How is this ever a good solution to a mother who is already traumatised; to inflict more pain on her and her baby?

Let’s all see through the deception and lies and untruths around abortion. Abortion is a failure on the mother, the child the society and our whole respect for human life.

It is the world’s worst atrocity simply because it is accepted as a human right when it is anything but.

It is a human abuse of the worst kind on the most innocent beings; those who merely have the disadvantage of being unborn!

Jacqueline Doherty



Wrong blame for Stream debacle

Foyle SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood’s attempt to put the blame for Stream buying a company in Belfast and creating 1000 jobs on Martin McGuinness was nonsensical.

Colum’s argument that Martin is from Derry is a bit like attempting to blame James McClean or Darren Gibson for Derry City’s bad form.

First of all Martin McGuinness is elected in and represents Mid Ulster and as Deputy First Minister represents the entire Six Counties – he does not represent Derry.

May I remind Colum he is an elected representative for Foyle and needs to shoulder more of the blame than Martin McGuinness.

When Colum was appointed as Assembly Private Secretary to Environment he announced it in a blaze of glory as ‘Another SDLP seat at the Executive’.

If this was true then why doesn’t he raise it at the Executive table, maybe because Assembly Private Secretaries don’t attend Executive meetings?

Only a few weeks ago the SDLP were crowing in the Assembly that the parades issue was resolved in Derry because it was a SDLP controlled city. If this is the case what have they done about jobs coming here?

Under the SDLP control Derry has risen to the top of all the wrong tables, highest unemployment, highest homelessness, greatest child poverty and highest health inequalities.

However I may have picked Colum up wrong and that he was actually turning to Martin McGuinness for leadership as he has lost faith in his own MP Mark Durkan to deliver for Derry and given the leadership given by Martin in recent years. Colum like most people is turning to Sinn Féin for the guidance needed to bring about a better society.




Liberal Arts call out in Strabane

Dear Lovers of the Liberal Arts,

The Flann O’Brien Literary Festival is over for another year in Lifford and Strabane. It has, even if we say so ourselves, enjoyed considerable success. The events ranged from the Doodle Pig competition, superbly supported by the Strabane Library Staff, targeting our younger citizens to the carefully contrived inanities of Colin O’Grady who combined high quality clowning with poignant story telling.

The Flann O’Brien masterpiece ‘The Third Policeman’, that inspiration for the TV series ‘Lost’ and the film, ‘The Sixth Sense’ was brought to the Alley stage in a mixture of spine chilling detail and remorseless black humour by Colin Reid and Phelim Drew. Our sixth formers were entertained and educated by Val O’Donnell, that walking Flanmnac.

The intellectual ballast was provided by the panel discussion in Lifford Court House where academics Tess Maginess, Eamonn Hughes and Adrian Naughton were chaired by one of our great journalists, Frank McNally of the Irish Times.

There even were contributions from local sources where our very own author Brian McGilloway read from his own works as well as the work of Flann.

A booklet, ‘The Houses of Flann O’Brien’was entirely locally produced and is available free to anyone who wishes to access it either as a potted biography, a geriatric road trip or a not too subtle claim that Strabane has first claim on one of the twentieth century’s great writers. All this was made possible by the funding of The International Fund For Ireland through the Riverine Project.

We contend that as a festival it has a great deal of potential both in its own right and what it can lead to.

The group, that have seen the festivals so far, is big in heart but small in number. To realise the potential referred to above our group requires more members. You need not be a flannorak, but merely a soul who wishes to help nurture something special within this little piece of sod that we call home.

Our next meeting is upstairs in the Library on Railway Rd., Strabane, Tuesday 22/10/2013 at 7.30 pm.

We appeal to your artistic souls or in the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear, reiterate “Onwards and Upwards to Inflannity and Beyond”.

L McC, B C, M M, D Z S,

D H.


Flag Day helping Bennigan’s Babies

I would be obliged if you would allow me the opportunity on behalf of Destined, the learning disability charity, to thank the people of the city for their continued generosity towards our recent flag day on September 19, 2013.

The monies raised go towards helping Bennigan’s Babies, a charity in the city which helps disadvantaged people in India. This Flag Day raised a total of £452.68.

Colm Canavan

Flag Day Organiser


Fuel costs to pay, so check benefits

With colder weather around the corner, and further gas and electricity price rises predicted, millions of people across the UK will be extremely concerned about how they’ll pay their fuel bills this winter.

We know that this issue is widespread amongst the people we help, and our research last winter found that almost two-thirds of people on low incomes were not sure if they could meet their fuel costs without experiencing financial hardship.

In addition to rising energy prices, the costs of other everyday essentials are on the increase.

With personal finances being increasingly stretched and in response to the largest shake-up of the UK benefits system, Turn2us has launched a new, free and easy-to-use online Benefits Calculator at

The new calculator is a vital tool to help more people access the financial support they may be entitled to.

The calculator helps individuals to find out what welfare benefits they are entitled to, how much they should receive and how to make a claim.

It also links to our Grants Search tool to help people find other sources of support from charitable funds.

We urge anyone who is struggling to check their eligibility for financial help now - it could make all the difference this winter and beyond. Just go online at - you may find new sources of support for the months of winter which lie ahead.

Alison Taylor



200 Shepherds Bush Road

London W6 7NL