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Foster's nationalistic stance on Brexit will lead to the break-up of UK and an eventual united Ireland

It is ironic, indeed, to see our First Minister and her party adopt a Sinn Fein/Ourselves Alone position in the EU referendum debate.

In this tussle between nationalism and internationalism - for that is what it is - it is depressing to see the leading politician in Northern Ireland revert to nationalism.

Given that the history of the 20th century illustrates graphically the dangers of such a philosophy, it is clear that, in an increasingly globalised and interdependent world, our future surely lies at the heart of Europe, rather than in insularity and withdrawal from our neighbours.

Mrs Foster also seems to miss completely the implications of a Brexit vote for the future of the United Kingdom.

If we leave the EU, it is almost certain that Scotland will leave the UK. Furthermore, those moderate voters of a Catholic/nationalist background, upon whom any future referendum in Northern Ireland on our constitutional position will pivot, are unlikely to wish to remain tethered to an increasingly right-wing, English nationalist government in London.

Thus, two of the four parts of the UK will be gone.

In short, as a unionist proposing a Brexit vote, the First Minister is expediting the break-up of the UK and the arrival of a united Ireland.

Mrs Foster resembles nothing more than a turkey voting for an early Christmas.


By email

Shame money is ruling the European debate

I had a son on January 1, 1973 and I remember the excitement in the ward at the realisation that we were now part of a new Europe - not just an island on the periphery.

The original concept of the European Economic Community was to prevent the re-occurrence of the disastrous world wars.

It is disappointing that so much of the campaigning has been about arguing about how much money we put in, or get out. Being in Europe has broadened our horizons, contributed greatly to the peace process, improved relations with the Republic of Ireland and enabled young people to study and work in Europe.

I am proud to be European, as well as British and Irish, and most certainly wish to remain in Europe.



NI football team needs new football anthem

Delighted to see the Northern Ireland team doing well in France. Considering how well both they and the Irish fans are getting on, and the support shown by the Irish supporters, isn't it time we considered changing our anthem?

Instead of singing the British anthem, why can't we follow the examples of Scotland and Wales and define our own identity by developing our own individual anthem and not be constantly riding on the coat-tails of Britain?

Considering the Irish rugby team took into consideration its players from a unionist tradition and dropped the Irish national anthem in favour of an anthem that was acceptable to all traditions, it would be an magnanimous decision if our soccer team did the same.

Then, all of our community in the north would have no problems whatever supporting the Northern Ireland team. What a delight that would be to see.


By email

Perplexing arguments over gun control in US

Once again, we are in a period of mourning for innocent lives, this time in the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida - the latest gun massacre in the US.

The main problem is the easy availability of guns. This is due to America's gun culture, which, historically, has been sustained by many groupings and interests, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Power movement.

Of these, the NRA is the most prominent and challenging. Its members regard themselves as "the tireless defenders" of the Second Amendment and somehow have enormous political and societal clout.

When confronted, their defence is as bamboozling as a maze: for example, a gun-owner said on the radio lately that it is not the gun that is the problem, it is the bullets that cause the harm. Another argument is that it is not the gun, it's the individual firing the gun that is the problem.

What the NRA is effectively saying is that widespread availability of guns is essential to rid the country of "bad" people, regardless of how many innocent lives it takes to do so. When is all this slaughter going to stop?


By email

Childhood should be free of gender issues

I agree totally with Fionola Meredith's statement (Comment, June 17) that "a child... is (not) capable of making a definitive decision" that he/she is transgender.

Any parent knows that childhood should be free from such adult imposition of ideas, as children go through different stages right through puberty. For goodness sake, let them be children.

There may be a very tiny minority (0.006%, apparently) who have problems, but why impose this ideology on all children? It is like state-sponsored child abuse.

Where I disagree with Fionola is in her acceptance that transgenderism should be accepted unreservedly.

Feelings are trumping scientific and physiological facts, so that the traditional view of the family can be dispensed with and a sexual free-for-all allowed.

What is not said, however, is the effect produced by enabling such behaviour: ie that hormone and sex-change operations do not have the desired effect and there is a high suicide rate among those who have undergone such treatment.

The former chief psychiatrist of Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Maryland has explained that he and others carried out such work for 30 years, but stopped because it just didn't work and the suicide rate was just the same. Both sides of the story need to be told.


Tandragee, Co Armagh

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