President Higgins and NI centenary event

 

Sir, – How come only the DUP can ever say “No” with impunity? – Yours, etc,

UNA O’DWYER,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.

Sir, – This appears to be an ecumenical matter, Sir Jeffrey. – Yours, etc,

PAT McHUGH,

Drogheda,

Co Louth.

Sir, – I wish to support President Michael D Higgins and his decision not to attend an event in Northern Ireland. It is fairly obviously a political event, however it is dressed up, and I can only fully commend his decision.

What is mildly disappointing is that Queen Elizabeth will attend, presumably on the advice of her government, and in fairness the people of Northern Ireland are her subjects technically, so it is probably “technically” appropriate, but one feels the whole event should have been played down.

However, living on another divided island, I am fully aware of the problems of cross-border statements. – Yours, etc,

NEIL MORRIS,

Pafos,

Cyprus.

Sir, – Perhaps, in the current political and environmental climate, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s time would be better spent concentrating on how to put out fires rather than trying to start them. – Yours, etc,

NICK CRAWFORD,

Dalkey,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Thank God for John Bruton – the voice of reason, inclusivity and genuine Christianity. He has the spirit of reconciliation and, more importantly, he lives by it. – Yours, etc,

MARGARET LEE,

Newport,

Co Tipperary.

Sir, – When an invitation to attend an event is issued, it affords the recipient a choice to be present or not.

This immutable fact would appear to be lost on many commentators in recent days. – Yours, etc,

FRANK BYRNE,

Glasnevin,

Dublin 9.

Sir, – President Higgins has no explaining to do. The church leaders who politicised their “ecumenical”service marking the imperialist partition of this island need to do some explaining. The very first thing the new Northern Ireland state did in 1921 was to actively alienate and discriminate against a very large minority of the population, totally unchecked by Westminster (and when it suited it, Dublin).

The first 75 years were unforgivable and the jury is out on the last 25. – Yours, etc,

RORY E MacFLYNN,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

A chara, – The President has kindly pardoned us from future unsolicited wedding and other invitations. No more reluctant guests: “An invitation is an invitation. It is not an instruction or an injunction.” – Is mise,

EOGHAN Mac CORMAIC,

Cill Chríost,

Co na Gaillimhe.

Sir, – I’m confused. If Michael D Higgins is, as he has stated, “President of Ireland”, rather than merely “President of the Republic of Ireland”, does that mean that he is President of the island as a whole? If so, then by default he is also President of Northern Ireland, even though it is in another jurisdiction (whether we like it or not). And if he is President of the island of Ireland, then surely he should attend the ecumenical church service to which he was invited in Armagh, given that the title “President of Ireland” does not appear to recognise any border between Northern Ireland and the Republic? – Yours, etc,

EMER HUGHES,

Moate,

Co Westmeath.

Sir, – Michael D Higgins is President of Ireland. Why he will not attend a service to commemorate the partitioning of our country by a foreign power should be obvious to all. – Yours, etc,

KEITH NOLAN,

Carrick-on-Shannon,

Co Leitrim.

Sir, – The President of Ireland is perfectly correct in asserting that this is his constitutional title. It is the official name of the State as set out in the Constitution, and is not altered by the Republic of Ireland Act, 1949 which was a political act to remove the last vestiges of British involvement. However, is the President now signalling that he will not attend sports organised on a 26-county basis, such as soccer, but only those organised on a 32-county basis, such as rugby and GAA? It’s the logical conclusion of his point, and can I have his seat? – Yours, etc,

DAVID LOUGHLIN,

Rathmines,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – Why would the President be reluctant to attend a church service to mark the centenary of the partition of Ireland?

After all, Queen Elizabeth is coming to mark the centenary of the partition of the United Kingdom. – Yours, etc,

EUGENE TANNAM,

Firhouse,

Dublin 24.

A chara, – If the main Christian churches in Northern Ireland are so anxious to promote the “commitment to peace, healing and reconciliation”, they should immediately abandon their opposition to integrated education. – Is mise,

GERALD BARNES,

Fair Oaks,

California.

Sir, – President Higgins claims that the “politicised” nature of the event to mark Ireland’s partition is what would make his attendance inappropriate.

With his comments on capitalism, Cuba, and even Christianity fresh in mind, we have to ask when “politicisation” has ever stopped Michael D Higgins from behaving inappropriately before? – Yours, etc,

KILLIAN FOLEY-WALSH,

Kilkenny.

Sir, – The controversy surrounding President Michael D Higgins has, if nothing else, taught me the meaning of the word reconciliation – concessions are made but by the other side. – Yours, etc,

SAM GLENDENNING,

Birr,

Co Offaly.

Sir, – While appreciating the dilemma faced by our President over the Northern Ireland commemoration, and accepting that he got it just about right, I wonder if he has plans in place to navigate the many tricky turns of the upcoming Civil War anniversaries?

Perhaps a blanket ban on the whole bloody caboodle might be a good idea? – Yours, etc,

PJ MALONEY,

Cloneyheigue,

Co Westmeath.