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Letters: Parties must be held to account over failures

Sinn Fein should stop blaming others, stop peddling conspiracy theories and start taking genuine responsibility for their movement's murderous past.

The "dark forces" around the Jean McConville case are those who perpetrated the crime, or were involved in its planning and the subsequent cover-up and intimidation.

It is about time that the party's priority became helping police bring to justice the people who played a role in one of the most brutal murders of the Troubles and accepting that, whoever that may be, they are likely to spend two years behind bars and then get released on licence. Nobody would disagree that that is a small punishment for such a grave offence.

Many victims and others have made sacrifices and shown tremendous grace to get Northern Ireland to where it is today.

Across the board, there are parties who are not playing a constructive role in moving our society beyond conflict, or so-called "peace-processing" and toward normality.

We need parties which give unequivocal backing to the rule of law and support their police force as much as possible, rather than looking to undermine it, or subjecting its work to an ongoing sectarian audit.

The biggest parties at Stormont are not offering that constructive attitude and I would urge voters to hold them to account for that failure.

TREVOR RINGLAND

Co-chair, NI Conservatives

Sinn Fein's Euro friends leave a lot to be desired

I read with some amusement the comments of Dale Moore, a regular contributor to your letters page, regarding Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament (Write Back, May 6).

Of course, by now, we expect little better than scaremongering and a distortion of the truth from Sinn Fein in relation to Europe. As isolated as Sinn Fein are on the very fringes of European politics, perhaps they'd be best advised to modernise their policies by first examining their own sister parties.

Recently within the European United Left/Nordic Green Left we have heard pro-Putin sentiments from Sinn Fein's comrades in the Czech Republic and Sinn Fein's Spanish companeros praising the mass execution of Catholic priests and nuns during the Spanish Civil War as "heroic".

Is this the type of politics that Sinn Fein wish to be associated with? A rigid cult of personality, based on the leader, apologists for atrocities and war crimes and an aggressive, exclusionary nationalism which ignores the will of local people? Ah, I see.

DR C McCLOSKEY

Brussels, Belgium

Examining the complexities of faith and science

Some people can't understand that their favourite arguments are fallacies. Like Eric Conway (Write Back, May 7), who regurgitates the argument from design.

The usual example is a watch, not a perfect tower, but the fallacy is the same. But we don't have that experience for natural objects, so the argument fails. Patterns and the appearance of design permeate the universe at all scales.

These require no intelligent being, but are the results of chemical and physical processes discovered by science, not faith. Mr Conway should look at the complexities of the malaria parasite and mosquitoes that spread it and ponder the morality of that being.

STEPHEN MORETON

Warrington, Cheshire

Better to believe in God than not

On the subject of the existence or not of God, the Nobel Prize-winning author Albert Camus once wrote: "I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than to live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is." Me too.

M REILLY

By email

Strained carers will need care

One cannot disagree that every possible help should be given to those who care for dementia sufferers. However, it should be remembered that there are at least as many carers of those suffering from other problems. Care is care, whatever the need for it.

As time passes, the needs of the "carees" become every more complex and time-consuming and the strain on the army of unpaid carers increases.

Unless help – particularly respite care – is forthcoming, I can foresee a time when the carers will themselves need care.

B J CAIRNS

By email

Avoiding meat avoids scandal

When it comes to showing respect for animals which are raised and killed for food, there is only one label that really matters: vegan.

The actual slaughter is only part of the long and cruel process of modern meat production.

The vast majority of the one billion animals eaten every year in the UK are raised on filthy, crowded factory farms, where they are crammed by the thousands into windowless sheds, wire cages and crates. All of this contradicts the basic principles of compassion and reverence for life shared by most religions.

The solution to avoid scandals is to eat plant-based meals, which are kinder to the environment, our bodies and animals.

BEN WILLIAMSON

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals

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