Northern Ireland and its people have become hyper sensitive to words and actions

Trevor Ringland in a recent article in this paper (‘No space in a new Ireland for me,’ March 23) states on seeing Mary Lou McDonald marching behind a 40 year old banner stating ‘England out of Ireland’ that there is no ‘space in their new Ireland for moderate unionists’.

Sunday, 24th March 2019, 8:28 pm
Letter to the editor

Is there a place or space in present day Northern Ireland for nationalists?

A place where an ancient language that belongs to all is still not officially recognised. Scotland, Wales, other members of the ‘precious union’ have their language acts legislated for, in Northern Ireland, it is simply derided and insulted, ‘leprechaun language’ from the TUV, ‘crocodiles’ from Arlene Foster.

‘Curry my yogurt’ from Gregory Campbell who also promised to treat any Irish Language Act as ‘toilet paper’.

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Does any of this speak of a welcoming, respectful attitude or place of parity for Irish speakers in particular and nationalism in general, who see the treatment of Irish as indicative to views on nationalists and their values.

‘Nationalists are becoming emboldened’, really!

Are they not allowed an opinion and to have that opinion considered and respected? Are nationalist not entitled to and should they not expect to have the same rights, entitlements and say in any Northern Ireland as the unionist population?

If there is any hope for Northern Ireland to continue as part of the Union, then that old attitude of superiority of one community over and above the other must go.

Nationalism finding a voice and using that voice to try and promote their hopes and wishes for their and their children’s future, is and should be perfectly reasonable within a society where parity between both communities is the acceptable norm.

To say that nationalists are ‘embolden’ suggests a place where nationalist opinion is secondary or worse still should not be heard.

Mary Lou walking behind that banner may not have been the wisest move, however, Sinn Féin’s policy has always been an end to British Rule in any part of Ireland.

They have never made a secret of it, so there should be no surprise when they take an opportunity to promote their message, however ill advised it was.

Just as the aim of unionism is to maintain the Union at all costs. Yet they too manage to hurt others, as Mary Lou did in walking behind that banner, by their ill conceived actions.

When Edwin Poots lit a bonfire which had earlier been covered in Irish flags, Sammy Wilson called The Taoiseach ‘a nutjob’ or Arlene Foster being pictured with Dee Stitt, UDA commander they too hurt people and damaged any relationships and trust that might have been built.

Because of its history since its inception, Northern Ireland and its people have become entrenched and hyper sensitive to real and sometimes thoughtless words and actions by the ‘other’ side.

Perfectly understandable, but at some stage the more reasonable and level headed among the citizens of Northern Ireland, as I am sure there are many, must realise that the crass and insensitive on both sides do not reflect the majority view within either community.

It’s difficult and hard to ignore insults from a particular side whilst they glibly ignore their own record on insulting and hurting.

Neither side has a monopoly on careless and insensitive words and actions, but the views of these people are not the views of the majority within either community, hopefully, and that too should be recognised.

Mary Russell, Balregan, Dundalk