Fewer Union flags. More Catholics
THE READERS:What you’ve said on irishtimes.com this week
Peace is a fragile plant that needs careful nurturing
On Monday John Cushnahan, former leader of the Alliance Party (1984-87), and a former Fine Gael MEP, wrote: “We cannot afford to be complacent about the situation in Northern Ireland. It is true that remarkable progress has been made in Northern Ireland – as illustrated by what is happening in the corridors of power. Unfortunately the situation is totally different on the ground.”
Very good article. There has always been a large majority in Northern Ireland who simply wanted to get on with a normal society. The pandering to the tribal leanings of the minorities at the extremes must cease; how, for example, has Belfast City Hall flown a national flag as opposed to its own city standard for all these years?
This week’s nonsense over a flag, like the issues cited as excuses for the riots in July, are no excuse for young people to engage in criminality. Those old enough to know the consequences of a criminal record for those young people should clearly spell out the life-changing impact of becoming one of the apprehended few: barring them from countless careers, including defence of the realm. KevinKelehan
Economics are key here and inequality and its attendant oppression and injustice, if allowed to flourish in Northern Ireland, will reactivate the barely suppressed, atavistic, programmed intuitive views of both sides of the community towards each other. Late improvements in material circumstances have helped ameliorate these, so as to allow reasoned, objective, mental processing, which is necessarily slower in its formulations than the familiar knee-jerk gut reactions of hate and suspicion, to prevail.
The hatred is bone-deep and atavistic on both sides. It is reflexive, whereas peace is reflective, arising from growing economic equality; generous state support; material comfort. Without economic supports reducing inequality, people will revert to their ancient biases and prejudices. DergootYooden
It’s not about hate, etc. Most people get on fine – republicans, loyalists, whoever . . . The issue at hand is the insistence of a tiny Protestant minority on the domination of the entire public space through flags, emblems, marches and ultimately violence and intimidation.
Most Protestants have nothing but contempt for the fascistic nature of these people but, like the rest of us, are too intimidated to do anything about it.
As for money, well that won’t solve it. Go look at much of the public housing in Belfast. People in the South would pay hundreds of thousands for similar living. It will become a historical curiosity when it is faced down as the dominant force on the streets.
It must be made illegal to fly any flag or emblem from any structure other than your own house (and I include the Tricolour in there as well). Turpington
Unionists must heed numerical rise of Catholics
The Irish Times Northern Editor, Gerry Moriarty, wrote on Wednesday about the North’s 2011 census results: “Unionist politicians can take some comfort that just 25 per cent of the population consider themselves solely Irish. But unionist politicians can also do the arithmetic. If there are 864,000 people from a Protestant background and 810,000 from a Catholic background, then they should know it’s in their interests to keep on side those Catholics who are happy with the current powersharing that recognises Irish identity.”
This article completely bypasses one of the major causes of the fall in the proportion of Protestants in Northern Ireland: Protestant teenagers are more likely to head to the mainland for university and, more often than not, they make their home there.