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On-the-runs revelations signal end of the road

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I never thought that I would ever write to the Belfast Telegraph, but since the revelations regarding republican on-the-runs, I thought I just had to make my feelings known.

I am a 70-year-old Protestant woman. My husband is 74.

Together, we brought up three children, who are all pleasant, hard-working, non-sectarian people. We both embraced the principle of the Good Friday Agreement – despite a little touch of scepticism.

Over the past couple of years, I have become gradually disillusioned with the way things were progressing in Northern Ireland politically and have begun to feel that we were conned into voting Yes for a document, which was obviously never an agreement, but, rather, a paper which bore no resemblance whatsoever to what the Government had agreed with the IRA representatives.

Perhaps the so-called 'Good Friday Agreement' should be renamed 'The Peace At Any Price' document, as it is becoming more apparent as the years go by exactly what concessions were given to republicans (with no doubt more to be revealed).

I have always voted for non-sectarian, middle-of-the-road politicians. Never, ever again.

Isn't it sad that, at the age of 70, a moderate like myself has been turned into a militant?

THOROUGHLY DISILLUSIONED

By email

US is not so far removed from Russian cousins

As John Kerry berates the Russian intervention in Crimea, after an unelected government took control of Ukraine, he should be reminded of America's Monroe Doctrine and the Clark Memorandum.

These sanctioned both covert and military US intervention anywhere in the Caribbean basin, where US interests were regarded as being eroded, or threatened. In November 2013, John Kerry announced the Monroe doctrine was now dead... because the US has seized on 9/11 to undertake global intervention, anywhere it is in US interests so to do.

PATRICK LAVENDER

By email

May Mrs Dodds continue to give victims a voice

As a member of no political party, I think it is wonderful to see one of our MEPs speaking up for the victims of Northern Ireland terrorism.

Let's not forget, Diane Dodds herself became a victim of terrorism when the IRA launched a murder attack on her and her husband as they visited their son in hospital. In her letter to an American Congressman last week, she wrote, "Anyone guilty of murder should be held accountable for his or her actions."

I have gained renewed respect for Mrs Dodds in recent days.

I wish her every success in the upcoming European elections and ask that she continue to use her voice in the European Parliament to pursue the interests of the victims of Northern Ireland.

VICTIM

Co Fermanagh

Crimea 'foul play' claims a bit rich

Isn't the furore about the Crimea referendum a bit rich? It's claimed the vote is illegal as it took place under Russian occupation. Does that mean the Afghanistan and Iraq elections, under Western military occupation, were also illegal?

I wonder how the West would have liked it if, after they invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, China and Russia had imposed sanctions?

MARK HOLT

By email

New York parade for all Irish people

I was concerned and saddened to learn of the refusal by the organisers of New York's St Patrick's Day parade to allow gay groups to take part in the parade.

Such events should be as inclusive as possible. However, the parade organisers reportedly said that allowing gay groups to take part would conflict with their Roman Catholic heritage.

May I point out that the supposed focus of this celebration – St Patrick – was not a Roman Catholic?

St Patrick founded the Christian Church in Ireland. This Church – the Irish Celtic Church – remained distinct from the Roman Church, which did not become dominant in Ireland until many centuries later.

St Patrick's Day is for all Irish people (and for all worldwide who wish to celebrate) and not solely for those of a religious ethos which Patrick himself did not share.

LA FHEILE PADRAIG

Ballynahinch, Co Down

Labs must show real openness

This week, a pro-vivisection lobby group is staging what it calls an "open labs" programme, whereby students around the country have the chance of seeing an animal research lab. Teachers and parents should be under no illusions about this initiative.

Carefully screened pupils will be given a tightly restricted tour of an animal laboratory, but they will emerge none the wiser about what really goes on there.

If participating institutions are genuinely committed to openness, they should urge policy-makers to repeal the secrecy clause in UK law that is used to prevent even the most basic information about animal experiments from being released and allow public access to information about animal experiments.

ISOBEL HUTCHINSON

Animal Aid

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