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How can legacy inquests pursue ex-Army and RUC officers if they don't question ex-IRA man Conway?

The recent admissions by Dublin lawyer Kieran Conway on the BBC's Hard Talk programme will have come as a shock to those who weren't aware of previous comments by the former IRA member made in a book in 2014.

He admitted to participating in a number of armed robberies in England, half-a-dozen commercial bombings and 100 shootings. On five or six occasions, British soldiers were killed. He also claimed to have key information in relation to the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.

Quite simply, if the judicial system in Northern Ireland does not attempt to question this man, then the very concept of legacy inquests and investigating the past is brought into disrepute.

How can anyone pursue former members of the British Army and RUC in relation to the events of 40-odd years ago if they are not prepared to question former terrorists based on admissions freely made?

As a member of the Policing Board, I have written to the Chief Constable to ask if attempts have been made to question this individual and, if necessary, to seek his extradition.

It is, surely, a supreme irony that Kieran Conway styles himself a "criminal law and human rights" practitioner.

How someone can claim to be a human rights advocate and then admit to involvement in terrorist acts and to withholding of information is beyond me. It is high time Mr Conway was made accountable for his actions.


MLA for West Tyrone

Fireworks on dockside miss beauty of Belfast 

Over these last two years, it appears Belfast City Council has reviewed its health and safety protocol for firework display location.

Marketing/promotional material used by the council has, in the past, used images of fireworks in the sky behind the Titanic building and SS Nomadic (The Tall Ships event is one example).

Yet, for the past two Halloween events, the fireworks have been launched from the opposite side of the Lagan, on the dockside among ship containers.

This is not a picturesque view of the city, unless you own a drone (which Belfast Harbour bans). The only image in the background the fireworks illuminate are the tops of multi-storey flats.

People will, therefore, photograph just the fireworks and that means you could actually be located anywhere - not a visitor to Belfast. Of course, crowd/building safety are the priorities, but there is plenty of waste ground on the Titanic side and even Lagan barge options for the fireworks launch site.

London can safely locate fireworks that also highlight the city, it's a pity Belfast is no longer prepared to do so.

I suggest the council asks spectators - particularly any photographers - what they thought of Sunday night's display.

I am sure they won't wish to Photoshop in the "scenic" part of the docks.


By email

DUP stance on border must be condemned

As an Ulster Scot, now living in London, I write in support of the idea of having a border control between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland whenever the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

I condemn the DUP for supporting the idea of keeping open borders as being anti-unionist and anti-British and in support of a united Ireland by default.

In regards to the idea of freedom of movement between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, this was guaranteed by the Treaty of Ireland in 1921, when people in southern Ireland were given the right to travel to the United Kingdom to live and work and the right to vote - something that was around long before the Good Friday Agreement.

So, I do not see why a return to a customs border, as in the 1950s and the 1960s, should prevent any freedom of movement between the north and the south of Ireland.


Ulster Gillespie Society

Brexit gives us chance to remodel economy

As many politicians from all parts of the United Kingdom have attested, Brexit is an opportunity.

But it is one of far greater potential than their limited visions allow.

It is a God-given chance to ditch impossible endless growth in favour of sustainability and to remodel our economic system to provide complete sustenance for everyone as a mutual community.


By email

Jordan crisis could create global disaster

The current global refugee crisis was/is a watershed moment for global policy, the primary moral challenge of the 21st century and an opportunity to avoid past tragic mistakes of abandoning traumatised people to their fate.

Jordan offered a good example of how small countries with little natural resources could handle enormous numbers of refugees and still plays a pivotal role in the relentless struggle for peace, stability and security in the Middle East.

However, the crisis has now reached a historic threshold, set back development projects, economic growth and debt reduction and consumed a sizeable portion of Jordan's national budget.

If Jordan is abandoned or left to fail by the rest of the world, the dam would crumble with millions of refugees then bursting into Europe - threatening its health, security and mere survival.

Public health in Jordan is teetering on the brink of disaster.

Refugees still live in shanty, unsanitary and underfunded camps with the threat of emerging infectious diseases.

They are victims of persecution, oppression and gruelling poverty.

They need clean water provisions, vaccinations, vital medicines, life-saving treatments and equipments, social care and mental health clinics.

Recalling past global events - like the Irish famine and the Holocaust - it is heartbreaking to see how a timely response could have averted the death of millions.


By email

Belfast Telegraph


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