6 May 1999 Edition
Two stories in the Irish Times on 28 April, by Carol Coulter in particular and by Suzanne Breen, on connections between the UUP, the Orange Order and the Church of Ireland, illustrate how one of the central problems of society in the North of Ireland is not being tackled.
That problem is the institutional linkage between the three organisations. A linkage between any two would be serious enough in the context of combating sectarianism, but the association between all three forms a bulwark against change. It plunges the North into a crisis of bigotry and hatred from Easter to September every year. This annual crisis is usually accompanied by gratuitous hand-wringing on the part of those who could do something decisive about the situation but who refuse to do so.
Suzanne Breen writes about how the UUP Chairperson is being threatened with expulsion for attending the funeral of three young Catholic victims of the Omagh bomb. Her assertion that ``the Order advises its members not to attend Catholic services'' is not strictly correct. Carol Coulter quotes the Order's constitution, which prohibits brethren from going inside a Catholic church: a member must avoid any ``act or ceremony of Popish worship'' and must ``strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome''. There are other more offensive elements in the constitution, which (despite their distasteful nature) it would be a public service, were the Irish Times to publish them for the edification of readers (it would also be helpful to know what is contained in the ``39 Articles of Religion'' of the Church of Ireland, which Coulter mentions).
The Order's explicit and direct encouragement of sectarian attitudes and acts, for which there is no comparable equivalent politically on the nationalist side, constitutes the basis of sectarian hatred in the North. The fact that Church of Ireland ministers, let alone members, are willing to participate in the activities of this institution and to thereby give it succour is an ongoing scandal. The constitutional link between the Order and the Unionist Party (the Order comprises 30% of the UUP's governing council, the vast majority of UUP members are members of the Order) links that party to explicit sectarianism. The headline ``Move disappoints Eames'' illustrates a typical example of hand wringing. The Church of Ireland Primate would do better to urge all his members to leave the Orange Order forthwith.
The attempts by the Catalyst group (as reported by Carol Coulter) to expose these contradictions, particularly in the case of the Church of Ireland, is to be welcomed. Their call for all those claiming to promote anti-sectarianism to break from the Orange Order should be supported.
Open letter to Bus Eireann
I have been a customer of your company for over 25 years and unfortunately the time has come for me to write you a letter of complaint.
Since November last, I have had the dubious pleasure of availing of your 114 Bus Service from Blackrock Dart Station to Sandyford Indistrial Estate. Every day, I await, in hope, that the 7.15am service to Sandyford will arrive. I am sorry to say that most days this service is either late or does not arrive at all.
I rely on this service to take me to work each day and I feel that the fares I pay should buy dependability.
Up to now I have been referring to this scheduled bus as a service. It is not. I feel complately taken advantage of by Dublin Bus, because I am paying for a service that does not exist. This is also brought hime to me by the uncivil attitude of your drivers. I say this because today, I witnessed a fellow passenger asking the driver simply what had happened to cause the lateness of the bus, your employee ignored the man.
I have traveled all over the world, have lived both in Germany and the US and can safely say that I have never had to deal with such a shoddy public transportation service. If other countries can maintain a reliable service, why can't we do the same in Ireland?
I think Dublin Bus and its employees need to realise that they are running a business and as such, require customers to keep that business going. It appears to me that if Dublin Bus does not improve its attitude and service dramatically, customers will have no alternative but to seek other means of transport. This will result in loss of profits and jobs for Dublin Bus.
Your slogan ``Changing with the city'' is in my opinion over ambitious. First you need to change to being on time.