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Letters: We're powerless within the European Union

Ian James Parsley (Write Back, May 13) appeals for support for the European Union. I am 74 years old and have never had an opportunity to vote for or against the monstrous Brussels-based bureaucracy which erodes the rights and identity of member states and which is controlled by a central bank about which we know little.

We are subject to a myriad collection of diktats which have no relevance here. We suffer because uncontrolled entry to the UK is destabilising our economy and enabling unscrupulous people to provoke racist responses from a bewildered and demoralised working class.

The European Union was established to encourage free trade between neighbouring nations and help develop sound relations with countries that had a common interest in peace and prosperity. No one envisaged the creation of an unmandated political entity, requiring millions of pounds per day from net contributors like the UK taxpayer.

Mr Parsley castigates those who oppose an expansion of EU ambitions. He refers to the the massive benefits to be gained from the planned negotiation of a free trade deal between the EU and the USA.

Will we be consulted on that deal? Will we have an opportunity to say no? Will the new merger lead to a superstate – the EU/USA alliance?

Most are happy to live in a Europe that is easy to access and that trades freely. It is all the nonsense and stupidity we object to.


Holywood, Co Down

African farmers need help from all governments

Africa's smallholder farmers have a vital role to play in that continent's economic growth and development. It is heartening, therefore, that the new report from the Africa Progress Panel should focus on the role of small-scale farmers.

The 2014 report reinforces the belief that Self Help Africa has held for 30 years – that rural farming communities are vital if hunger and poverty are to be eradicated. We must hope that international governments and decision-makers heed their recommendations and provide the necessary support.


CEO, Self Help Africa

SDLP remains committed to pro-life policy

The SDLP is a pro-life party and always has been. We oppose the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. SDLP support women having the best support and medical advice during pregnancy.

It is curious that, at election time, those whose positions have been less clear seek to question the SDLP's commitment to our pro-life policy.

We will oppose any further proposal to extend Britain's abortion legislation. The SDLP will make that opposition clear in the Assembly, Westminster and Europe.


SDLP health spokesperson

Rich must pay fair share of tax

Grace Dent (DebateNI, May 15) misses the point in defending Gary Barlow and his attempts to be more "tax-efficient".

There are thousands of higher-rate taxpayers who could avail of the multifarious tax-avoidance schemes. The point is the ethical and moral among us, who choose to live, work and own property in this relatively rich country, recognise society can only flourish if all pay their fair share of tax.

If all higher-rate taxpayers did the same, we would all pay a lot less tax.


By email

Ukip hypocritical over free speech

There is more than a whiff of hypocrisy about a party that celebrates freedom of speech when a Ukip member talks about "Bongo Bongo Land" and labels women as "sluts", but as soon as it disagrees with a negative comment about it, it calls the police.

It speaks volumes that this party can pick and choose when the free speech argument can be used and we should be very wary of any political party that thinks it could possibly be right to use uniformed officers to crush dissent.


By email

Starvation still a relevant issue

Further to John Dallat's letter (Write Back, May 14), I would respectfully ask that John looks at more recent issues than the Famine, like the Starvation Order that was drawn up and agreed on by the Irish government and Bishop McQuaid during the 'Emergency' in Ireland.

There is a woman residing in Northern Ireland today bearing the pain of that starvation as a child – rickets and all the abuse that could have been visited upon her person. That child is me.

Show concern. No one has ever given her an apology. She was somebody's daughter.


Newtownabbey, Co Antrim

Leave religious beliefs alone

It never ceases to amaze me that atheists spend all their time rubbishing other people's beliefs.

The truth is, religion, no matter what form you believe in, is based on nothing more than faith – and all scientific counter-evidence is just condescending claptrap.


By email

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