The President and the Armagh event


Sir, – In 1965 unionists objected to taoiseach Seán Lemass attending a meeting in Belfast with prime minister Terence O’Neill.

Today, unionists object to President Michael D Higgins not attending a meeting with church leaders and the Queen in Armagh. It’s too early to tell if this is significant progress by unionists. – Yours, etc,

JOE DUNNE, Shanakiel, Cork.

Sir, – President Michael D Higgins has form when it comes to getting his priorities wrong. In the 1980s, the late Frank Cluskey said after his Labour parliamentary party colleague went to Nicaragua in the midst of an internal crisis that “Michael D had chosen the easier option of saving the world over saving the Labour Party”.

– Yours, etc,

PJ O’MEARA, Cahir, Co Tipperary.

Sir – Denis Bradley (Opinion, September 20th) has said it all and has said it well! While I disagree that “no one ... apart from the fundamentalists” would have noticed had the President gone to the service (for I believe such a gesture would have meant so much to those working for mutual understanding and respect), I wholeheartedly agree with Bradley in the totality and tone of his plea.

Like so many at home and abroad, I greatly admire and respect Mr Higgins and value his integrity, judgement and leadership but I would urge him to take the opportunity now to go beyond the “politically correct and judicially safe” and help again to “break down some of the circular negativities” that have so often dogged Anglo-Irish and unionist-nationalist relationships.

Events surrounding this part of the Decade of Centenaries were always going to be difficult and highly sensitive, but it falls to our generation to address them with courage and goodwill and so endeavour to build a better future for all our children. – Yours, etc,

JULITTA CLANCY, Batterstown, Co Meath.

Sir, – Fhiona Ní Dhonnabhain (Letters, September 21st) asks if Michael D Higgins has “forgotten his subjects next door”.

For the vast majority of Irish citizens in the six counties (only sovereigns have subjects) he has proved by refusing to attend this farcical event that he hasn’t forgotten them.

– Yours, etc,

DANNY BOYD, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.

Sir, – It is a refreshing change from the questionable behaviour of many of our elected representatives for one to stick to their own principles.

This is what I consider President Michael D Higgins is doing and I applaud him. – Yours, etc,

BERNIE O’CALLAGHAN, Mount Merrion, Co Dublin.