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Time for Gerry Adams to come clean about the past so younger generation can move forward

I am writing to you as the youngest office-holder within the SDLP. At 22 years of age, I was elected to the position of vice-chair.

However, my letter is not concerning the future, but instead highlighting the incapability of Sinn Fein (and, in particular, Gerry Adams) to understand that denying victims their pathway to truth and justice is not fit politics for government.

At the age of 47, Brian Stack was leaving a boxing match when he was shot in the back of the neck and left paralysed, dying 18 months later, leaving behind a wife and three children.

Despite more than 30 years of searching by the Stack family, last week, on public record in the Dail, Gerry Adams denied the Stack family their pathway to truth.

As a young person growing up in Northern Ireland, I want to see legacy issues like the Stack case resolved. For society to move forward, families deserve truth and justice.

My challenge to Gerry Adams is that he is not committed to a fully comprehensive way of dealing with legacy issues, because of his inadequate response to the Stack case.

He has information regarding an IRA leader, who has further information that should benefit the murder investigation.

He should pass this on to An Garda Siochana and meet the standards of a politician my generation expects.

I would also challenge my generation of young people to hold our politicians to account, specifically on matters of truth and justice, because only then, when both Stormont and Dublin meet the needs of all victims, can society move forward.


Vice-chair, SDLP

Harbour expansion underlines positivity

It's wonderful to see Northern Ireland going from strength to strength since the EU referendum, with export growth the best in the UK, new businesses hitting a £1m turnover faster than anywhere else in the country and tourism taking in a record £790m.

News that a £36m expansion of Kilkeel harbour is expected to create 1,000 jobs only underlines the overall positive outlook.

I fully expect that, after Brexit, when we can take back control of our fishing waters and secure lucrative new trade deals in North America, the region's ports and exporters will grow all the busier and the Osborne Treasury's scaremongering predictions will seem even sillier than they do already.


Co-chairman, Leave Means Leave

Banks plan to move a wake-up call for UK

For those who "wanted their country back" through Brexit, the fact that a number of major banks are in advanced stages of planning to shift some operations from London to Paris should act as a rather alarming wake-up call.

Similar talks are, of course, going on in Europe's other financial centres and authorities in Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Amsterdam have said they would welcome banks moving operations from London for when the UK leaves the European Union.

For many years, British-based financial services companies have been able to operate in Europe using passporting rights. That scheme may end when Britain leaves the EU, with no guarantee it will be replaced by a similar one.

It is that uncertainty that has led many financial companies, particularly international banks, to make contingency plans that would see them transfer a chunk of their business to an EU member country.

Eight centres are now actively vying for this business: Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Madrid, Bratislava and the Maltese capital, Valletta.

The fact that major banks have gone as far as conducting due diligence indicates an important milestone.

With its strong reliance on the financial services sector, Edinburgh is likely to be hard-hit by such a move.

Of course, there is an alternative, given the fact that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and that is that we protect and indeed greatly expand our financial services sector through securing our own deal with the EU, ensuring membership of the much-coveted single market.



Veil un-Islamic and subjugates women

Angela Merkel is right to suggest the banning of the burka. This proposal is entirely legitimate.

The veil is un-Islamic. It is worn in a few Muslim and Arab countries as an affirmation of ethnic and cultural identity, or in a few cases as a form of imprisonment, social segregation and patriarchy to subjugate or oppress women.

In fact, one can see women's faces uncovered during Hajj (the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca).

Former Foreign, Home and Justice Secretary Jack Straw was right in raising the issue and opining that the full veil was bound to make cordial and harmonious relations between members of the community more strained and difficult.


By email

Taking the 'Christ' out of Christmas

As a member of the Christian faith, I believe that Christ was born on Christmas Day.

I was surprised that some want to take the 'Christ' out of Christmas and call it something else.

Will the next step be that some of us will lose our Christian names?

Those names - Christine, Christabel, Christian, Christopher, to name but a few - could be in danger.

If made into law, how will the courts deal with this one? As my old granny used to say, "Whatever next?"


Coleraine, Co Londonderry

Retrospective justice for some, not others

A headline in the Belfast Telegraph (News, December 3) reads: "No refunds for night-time bus lane offenders despite a relaxation of the rules".

Yet a headline in today's paper (News, December 8) reads: "NI men convicted for being gay will be pardoned within weeks".

Where is the equality in that?


Newtownards, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph


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