Letters - August 22, 2017

We have duty to help disabled refugees

Tuesday, 22nd August 2017, 1:09 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:35 pm
Migrants and refugees on a boat approaching the Greek island of Kos

It was recently revealed that just five per cent of refugees resettled from Syria under the Government’s Vulnerable Person relocation programme (VPRP) have disabilities, including mobility issues or special education needs.

This is despite the fact that Britain’s pledge to resettle refugees made specific reference to support disabled Syrians and that the (VPRP) which commits the government to take in 20,000 refugees by 2020, was set up to accommodate the most at risk groups.

This is appalling and a new low in this Government’s treatment of refugees.

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Mrs May said a year ago that a disability or health condition should never dictate the path anyone could take.

This Government must be made to understand that they should stop passing off refugees as someone else’s problem. They will go down as the ones that watched while thousands suffered.

We all must also demand that the government stop playing into a toxic narrative that claims showing compassion for people who are victims of poverty and war is wrong because they are after welfare and to do us harm.

Whether it was the Vietnamese in the 1970s,or the Ugandans in the 1980s or the Kosovans in the 1990s, we have a proud history of giving sanctuary to those escaping war and persecution.

We demean this legacy by turning our backs on desperate refugees,wishing to escape and build lives here. Europe is facing the biggest refugees crisis since the Second World War.

It is a test of our humanity,and principles and test of our international cooperation.

Royston Jones



Disgrace of Vic’s disabled charge

My wife and I have frequent outpatient appointments at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and being the holder of a disabled parking badge we have until recently enjoyed free parking when spaces are vacant.

In my experience, there weren’t vacant spaces very often due to insufficient disabled spaces - and when this is queried we are told that the statutory number are provided.

Having had an appointment earlier this week I noted that since free disabled parking has been withdrawn, an increased number of disabled spaces has been made available.

I suggest that this is nothing to do with allocating more spaces for the disabled but more to do with generating extra revenue.

Charging disabled people to park for necessary appointments and patient visits is disgraceful and the prices charged are extortionate. Also why is the minimum parking period two hours? why cannot the initial period be one hour? In my experience a visit frequently lasts less than 60 minutes.

D N 

Kipling Drive


Celebrating life of Auschwitz priest

Earlier this month we celebrate the anniversary of the heroic death at Auschwitz of the Polish Franciscan Priest, Maximilian Kolbe.

Before the war his religious magazine had a huge circulation in Poland but he was arrested and sentenced to hard labour at Auschwitz, as he refused to cooperate with the Nazis.

Another prisoner escaped from his block and this was punished by the random selection of fellow inmates. Kolbe offered to take the place of one of the men; Franciszek Gajowniczek had let out a cry of pain for his family and the priest volunteered to take his place.

His offer to take the place was accepted and Kolbe would be the last to die, having impressed the guards with his calm and inspiring presence.

Three years ago I visited Auschwitz and was amazed to learn and pleased to see fresh flowers in his cell. A sign of hope, in a sad and brutal place.

May his life of love and act of sacrifice inspire us today.

Fr John D.G. Collins

English Martyrs Church


Not all officers could be armed

Regarding the question “Should all police officers be armed?” I doubt all officers would wish to be armed nor are some likely to fit the parameters required of an armed officer.

Having been an armed officer, those who carry firearms are selected carefully and I doubt many officers would meet the requirements.

That is not intended to insult, but it is a fact not all officers would be suitable.

A police officer carrying a firearm requires in depth training, a cool temperament and special skills which not all will possess, hence the selection process.

To arm all officers will require a significant change to the selection process.

This, in itself, could deter applications from individuals who may possess qualities required of a police officer but not one who is to be armed.

Thankfully the UK does not have the same gun culture as some countries and, whilst there are increasing incidents, there are many armed officers on daily patrol ready and able to deal with such occurrences.

High level debates will be required on the subject of all officers being armed and will probably be a long time in the waiting.

If the outcome was to arm officers, there would undoubtedly be a significant exodus of officers at all levels.

Shaun Kavanagh

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