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Carrick-a-Rede's new ticketing system is leaving loyal trust members hanging around too long

The new hourly ticketing system at Carrick-a-Rede favours corporate customers operating bus tours over individual visitors.

Only they can book timed tickets in advance, while for everyone else, tickets can only be purchased on arrival. This can regularly lead to waits of three or four hours and, if travelling by public transport, is just not manageable.

The timed tickets have absolutely no impact on how many people cross the bridge at any particular time. You can cross over at any point during the one-hour window and then stay for over an hour, or as long as you like, once across.

I had travelled 90 miles with my family for three hours using a combination of trains and buses only to get a three-hour waiting-time to cross the bridge once we got to Carrick-a-Rede.

This would have meant not being able to travel back home on public transport the same day.

As a member of the National Trust, paying over £100 per year in family membership, I took the tickets, hoping the attendant at the bridge might exercise some discretion. There were only three other people looking to cross in front of us and about 25 people walking around on the other side. Despite explaining our situation, the attendant wanted us to wait for two-and-a-half hours to cross.

This system favours corporate clients, has absolutely no impact on the number waiting to cross at any one time and leaves many, like us, deeply frustrated. Hopefully, if more people publicly complain, the National Trust might get its act together and look after its family customers and members.

NAME AND ADDRESS WITH EDITOR

Impasse at Stormont can’t run indefinitely

We elected 90 people on March 2 to work together as MLAs to form a regional government for Northern Ireland.

We trusted them enough to allow them to appoint their own special advisers to assist them in this difficult task. We allowed them time to get used to each other. They — and their advisers — are well-paid.

They have collectively failed in the task and, five months on, we are no further forward. Northern Ireland is drifting. Civil servants are keeping things ticking over, but no one is at the controls. This has become an expensive game, with MLAs blaming each other for lack of progress. No one, including the Secretary of State, seems willing, or able, to declare that the Assembly is failing and that MLAs are not doing what they were elected to do. No one seems able to say enough is enough.

Northern Ireland cannot continue to afford this expensive fiasco. It is an outrageous joke that a population of our size needs 90 politicians in an Assembly.

They and their advisers are all still being paid, apparently with no end in sight, yet they show no obvious progress in forming a government. How long can this continue?

ROBIN HEWITT

Belfast

Great strides made in Christian unity

I write regarding the letter “Baptists and talking to the Catholic Church” (Write Back, July 31), signed by Irish Baptist.

The writer, maybe defiantly, even proudly perhaps, declares: “I would like the opportunity to point out that the Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland isn’t affiliated to the WBA (World Baptist Association), nor is it involved in dialogue with the Catholic Church.” As if dialogue is a bad thing.

Then, the writer offers this: “Was Martin Luther, a priest in the Catholic Church, therefore, sectarian for leaving the Catholic Church 500 years ago and establishing a Reformed Church, which he believed to be in accord with the Bible?”

How ironic this is, as it seems to blithely ignore the recent, Holy Spirit-inspired ecumenical developments between the Catholic Church and the followers of the great Martin Luther, the Lutheran World Federation: the 1991 Catholic-Lutheran Joint Declaration on Justification (the wedge issue of the Reformation); Pope Francis’s marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation by visiting Sweden and, the World Communion of Reformed Churches formalising its assent to the Joint Declaration on Justification on July 5, 2017.

The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in the Vatican said: “One of the crucial issues of dissent between the Reformers and the authorities of the Catholic Church in the 16th century is thus being diffused and overcome, making further growth in spiritual and ecclesial communion between the Protestant and Catholic Churches possible.”

Furthermore, the Joint Declaration on Justification was later signed by the World Methodist Council in 2016 and warmly welcomed by the Anglican-Episcopalian Church. I find it sad there seems to be a great reluctance in Northern Ireland to even acknowledge these historic developments.

Is it too much to expect the Orange Order and some of the more fundamentalist faithful to graciously welcome Pope Francis’s commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and his important affirmation, “the intention of Martin Luther 500 years ago was to renew the Church, not divide her”?

FR SEAN MCMANUS

President, Irish National Caucus

Washington, DC, USA

Abortion should be available in Ireland

If she was faced with a crisis pregnancy, I would want any 16-year-old to have the choice to terminate her pregnancy on the island of Ireland.

If she were my daughter, I would support her and love her in whatever choices she made: if she decided to keep the baby, if she decided to give the baby up for adoption, or if she decided to end her pregnancy. I would trust she was capable of making the right decision for herself.

Yes, I hope for a legislative framework for the early termination of pregnancy in this country. But that doesn’t mean I think abortion is the right answer for every woman facing a crisis pregnancy.

ALISON HACKETT

By email

NI on a different track from rest of the UK

I wonder if Mr Barstow (Write Back, August 1) was aware that the railway track gauge is different in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK? This would present one of many problems.

ALEX ESDALE

By email

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