This year two long-standing contributors to this page died, Neil C Oliver, pictured, and a Ballymena man who used the pen name Veritas. In an age in which newspapers receive a dwindling number of letters, both men kept writing, typically in letters sent by post (most letters are now by email).
Mr Oliver, a financial advisor who was born in London (his mother was born Irene Ferguson in Fermanagh, sister of the Stormont MP Cecil), died in May, aged 73.
Veritas died in April, aged 84. His family have requested we retain his anonymity. He often wrote on political and religious matters.
Below are two of their last letters to the News Letter:
LEGAL AID CUT FEARS
Legal aid and justice issues are of concern to many citizens. Since justice powers were devolved in 2010, successive legal aid budget reductions give particular cause for concern. The rich don’t need legal aid, but the poor do.
Government austerity measures primarily affect the poor. We are in this mess largely because, in the recent universal monetary crisis, the British government bailed out so many banks and financial institutions. The public is now paying for the losses. By contrast, the Icelandic government let the failing inefficient banks fall, and, as a consequence, Iceland’s economy now flourishes to the benefit of all its citizens.
As stated in an old First World War British soldiers’ song, ‘It’s the poor wot gets the blame, it’s the rich wot gets the gravy.’ We’ve reached the stage again where, in the words of the Irish judge, Sir James Matthew (1830-1908), “Justice is open to all, like the Ritz Hotel”, if you can afford it.
The effects of the present stringent legal aid fund cuts are most disadvantageous for the potential poor litigant, and also for legal firms. Furthermore, the government is disingenuous in failing to acknowledge that it gets nearly half the money back in the taxation paid by lawyers from their annual earnings.
Neil C. Oliver, LL B, Crawfordsburn Road, Newtownards
DOCTRINES OF ROME
After listening to some of the comments of those who contributed to the Talkback programme on Radio Ulster re membership of the Orange Order and other organisations, eg, GAA, etc. I think it should be made clear that in relation to Roman Catholics that a true Orangeman’s opposition is against the erroneous doctrines propagated by the Church of Rome, eg the Mass, confession of sins to another human being, worship and adoration of any human.
Some of these few examples are clearly wrong in the teaching of God’s Holy Word.
These truths should be clearly taught, but above all the true good news, ie the Gospel that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and that He rose against the third day according to the Scriptures.