29 January 2004 Edition
Dublin's petulant mayor
All the media frenzy about what Dublin Mayor Royston Brady has said and implied has been nothing but a PR stunt, and any party reacting to this only stokes the Fianna Fáil PR fire.
The latest news as I write, says, "Defiant Royston: 'I won't apologise'". This will probably give him another three days of column inches. The former mayor, Dermot Lacey, has also joined the fray, claiming Brady was "shouting his mouth off". This smells of hypocrisy on the part of Lacey, as there is currently a pact in existence whereby Labour and Fianna Fáil are in cahoots.
The election of Dermot Lacey as mayor was backed by Fianna Fáil votes and in turn the election of Brady was backed by Labour votes. So Labour has nobody but itself to blame for the current Mayor's behaviour.
Furthermore, while we may agree with Councillor Christy Burke's comments that we are all shocked by this outburst from petulant Brady, I firmly believe we shouldn't be surprised at all. While the planning scandals surrounding George Redmond, Ray Burke and Liam Lawlor continue, we have to consider seriously how the latest from any Fianna Fáiler could ever surprise us.
SIPTU, Coke and Colombia
SIPTU's letter of reply to Dan Connolly on the Coca-Cola boycott is misleading in certain aspects that I feel I must correct. It is true that Dan Connolly was not at the meeting between Sinaltrainal and SIPTU, however, he was at a public meeting in Tar Isteach, given on the same evening, where Sinaltrainal described it as a waste of time, and that "it was like a meeting with management". Sinaltrainal speaker Luis Eduardo Garcia went on to say that he was surprised at the degree to which "the thinking of Coca-Cola management had penetrated the thinking of Irish trade unionists". Dan Connolly's comments that the Siptu branch is pro-company are very much in line with the report given by Luis Eduardo.
I should further clarify that the meeting between Sinaltrainal and SIPTU was convened by the ICTU development committee "Global Solidarity" at the request of the Latin America Solidarity Centre (LASC). Whilst the most acrimonious part of the meeting took place at the end with the students (who formed part of LASC's delegation and were there as of right), it is not true to say that it was comradely. Even the Colombian comrade, who does not speak English, noted the tone and body language of those present. Luis' translator was interrupted on a number of occasions whilst translating and interrupted again when making comments of his own.
The main point though, is that SIPTU is not in solidarity with Colombian trade unionists. SIPTU does not have a disagreement about the boycott tactic. They simply do not accept that Coca-Cola has a case to answer. Their public statement on the matter says that allegations against Coke are "sweeping and unsubstantiated", echoing those of IUF, the international federation that SIPTU are members of.
SIPTU were asked at the meeting what was their alternative to a boycott, none was forthcoming. We have yet to see any action taken by SIPTU in solidarity with Colombian trade unionists. In the face of such inaction, consumers are left with one alternative and that is the boycott launched by the Colombian Congress of Trade Unions (CUT) in July of last year. There is no getting away from the fact that the boycott is an affective weapon and has raised the profile of the issue in Ireland to such an extent that a number of bars and also UCD students' union have banned their products, not to mention that Coke sent one of their top men to Ireland to try and stem the tide. What role did SIPTU play in the visit of Coke's rep in the middle of the referendum in UCD?
Gerard Ó Loingsigh,
A president for all
St Mary's University College Sinn Féin Cumann fully endorses the Ógra Shinn Féin "a president for all campaign", which shows the ineffectiveness of Fianna Fáil. It takes a youth organisation rather than the present government to highlight the disenfranchisement of Six-County citizens in Irish presidential elections.
The assertion of Irish citizenship rights in the amended Article 2 of the 1937 Constitution placed a special responsibility on the Irish Government to ensure that the rights of all Irish citizens are vindicated. This establishes an imperative on the Irish Government to ensure that the right to full voting rights are afforded for citizens registered on the election lists in the Six Counties in referenda and presidential elections.
Obtaining voting rights for northerners in forthcoming Presidential elections is a step towards representation in Leinster House and the Seanad.
We would ask everyone to visit www.apresidentforall.com and support Ógra Shinn Féin in their monumental campaign.
Éamann Mac Mánais
Cathaoirleach, Cumann Sinn Féin Coláiste Ollscoile Naomh Muire, Béal Feirste.