John O’Dowd’s bogus comparison of Northern Ireland and South Africa suggests he has no experience of apartheid

A letter from George McNally:

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 5:43 am
Updated Sunday, 9th May 2021, 5:59 am
White people and black people on a legally designated 'whites only' beach in Cape Province, South Africa during the apartheid era. 1984. There was no such formal segregation of the two main communities in Northern Ireland,writes George McNally

Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd’s comments during a debate in the Stormont Assembly (‘O’Dowd: Law governing NI was envy of apartheid SA,’ May 4, see link below)where he compares aspects of living in Northern Ireland with the apartheid regime of South Africa fill me with despair.

My first experience of apartheid was in a Cape Town cinema in 1965 when I inadvertently sat in the black and coloured section. A charming, smiling usherette came over to tap me on the shoulder and asked me to join the white section.

Never did I have to sit in the unionist section of St Columb’s Hall in Derry where I grew up.

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This cinema was known as the bug ranch because the fleas were as prolific as the westerns. I walked the whites only beaches of South Africa.

but never found one in Northern Ireland where unionists were in one enclosure and republicans in an other.

The unionist controlled Londonderry Corporation did gerrymander the electoral wards to try and maintain a majority. Successive unionist governments committed many indiscretions but not on the scale of South African apartheid.

The Sinn Fein party (we ourselves) exalts the ideology of Irish republicanism as sacrosanct and unchallengeable. History is re-written for political purposes. Republican funerals are above the law. The burial wishes of Bobby Sands were subservient to the republican credo.

Now John O’Dowd pontificates about South African apartheid of which he has neither experience, insight or understanding and condemns unionism by bogus association.

I despair of Sinn Féin’s all Ireland socialist republic where I know there will be no comfortable place for me.

George McNally, Londonderry

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