Henry McDonald in his article re the Queen’s absence at the Armagh service criticised those who viewed her absence as another part of the withdrawal strategy (‘Absence of Queen was spun beyond credulity’, Saturday October 23, see link below).
I think he is wrong, because there is good reason to be concerned in the light of recent events.
1 The Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed by the United Kingdom government, which was and is anti NI remaining part of the UK
2 The recent prosecution of Dennis Hutchings; why could letters not be issued to soldiers on the same basis Tony Blair gave PIRA killers free rein?
3 The intention of the Westminster government to bring in abortion legislation in Northern Ireland
4 The proposed introduction of the Irish Language Act
5 The proposed church service was quite clearly planned for some time; surely the government knew of Her Majesty’s programme and they could have discussed the importance of this event and suggested she forego some of her earlier engagements in light of her frailty.
Perhaps they might have reminded her of the loyalty of Northern Ireland during the Second World War when the Republic had a Nazi ambassador.
Nothing is beyond the bounds of credibility so far as Westminster politics are concerned in light of the betrayal of Claudy by arranging the escape of murderer Father Chesney, and of course the meeting in London in 1972 when the PIRA leaders were flown over secretly for talks.
The one encouragement was the article by Ben Lowry on the event (‘Centenary service should have celebrated Northern Ireland,’ October 23, see link below).
Lyle Cubitt, Ballymena
• Henry McDonald: Absence of Queen at centenary service was spun beyond credulity
• Other reaction to the service below and beneath that information on how to subscribe to the News Letter
• Billy Kennedy: Queen’s absence left a huge void at centenary service
• John Cushnahan: To those who distorted nature of centenary service — Shame on you!
• Doug Beattie: Sinn Fein incredibly small-minded over NI centenary event
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