3 March 2005 Edition
Collusion truth must out
One of the most scandalous issues in recent political times is that of collusion. It is a total disgrace that the British Government, through its various agencies, felt the need to involve itself in the plotting and carrying out of the brutal murder of innocent Catholics and republicans all over the Six Counties, but what's almost as disgraceful is their failure, to this day, to help the victims' families gain access to the truth and bring some closure to their respective cases.
How can people be expected to put their trust in the very people who willingly assisted the unionist death squads that violently murdered their friends and neighbours? Our so-called police service still refuses to admit involvement in these murders to victims' families, who still continue to seek the truth.
The perpetrators of these killings are still within the ranks of the PSNI and it is Hugh Orde and his commanders that hold the key to the files that will reveal the truth about state killings. Collusion is a Pandora's Box for the PSNI and the higher echelons of this group know that its opening will leave it as one of, if not the most discredited police force in the world. That's why the British Government are still trying to cover up in cases like Pat Finucane's. The change of name and uniform hasn't fooled anyone in the nationalist community.
If there is to be any kind of Peace Settlement the families of the victims of collusion must be allowed to move on with their lives, justice will have to be done and the truth will have to be told.
Ógra Shinn Féin has launched its campaign against collusion all across the 32 counties and I would urge you to support us and join in the pursuit of the victims' families to bring the British Government and State Forces to account and to let the public know the truth.
Laoi Áine Ní Pheacoíg,
Ógra Shinn Féin,
Rasharkin, County Antrim
The right kind of leadership is needed
It is not often I get involved in a public debate with a member of Sinn Féin but I feel compelled to reply to Caoilfhionn Ní Dhonnabháin's article in last week's An Phoblacht. She describes her exchange of views with Paul O'Connor of Munster on service charges as a debate on strategy and tactics and then goes on to grossly misrepresent the arguments put forward by Paul. This is something I would expect from our political opponents and not from someone within the party.
Caoilfhionn points out in her article that the power to abolish service charges does not rest with local authorities. She adds that this power lies in the hands of unelected city and county mangers and is controlled by central government legislation. Does she not understand that those of us who support motion 57 realise this? Does she really believe that Sinn Féin councillors throughout this state who have been arguing against bin charges and voting against estimates which include them are unaware of this? Her entire article is an insult to the intelligence of those who are advocating support for motion 57.
Caoilfhionn's argument is underpinned by a number of fundamental flaws. Firstly there is a world of difference between a Sinn Féin councillor adopting bin charges and a City and County manager doing so. To hide behind the argument that there may be some justification in certain circumstances for voting for service charges simply because they can be imposed anyway is an argument you would expect from 'New Labour' in Britain or the Irish Labour Party. Paul O'Connor is right to point out that many people voted for Sinn Féin because they see us as a party that is different, a party of principle, a party that is on their side. To say that voting against estimates, which include bin charges, is not the same as voting against bin charges is one I would expect from Tony Blair or Pat Rabbitte and not from a party of principle.
However, there is a much deeper flaw in Caoilfhionn's argument. It is only a matter of time before domestic water charges are introduced in the 26 Counties. I am sure the government is already planning to seize on the weakness of the Labour and Fine Gael position (and now some in Sinn Féin) of voting for bin charges because they say they have no other choice. The argument is, if WE don't adopt the charges, then the manger WILL. Will those perpetuating this argument on bin charges peddle the same argument on water charges? It is clear to me that Fianna Fáil and the PDs are playing a blinder in getting local opposition councillors to implement neo-liberal policies.
I completely agree with Caoilfhionn that we must direct our campaign against all forms of double taxation at those whose hands are on the reins of power in Leinster House. However, I also strongly believe, in keeping with our longstanding tradition and current party policy of opposition to service charges, that all our councillors vote against bin charges regardless of whether they can be adopted anyway. Our duty is to those communities who depend on us to do the right thing (or in this case the left) and we should not allow ourselves and our politics to become diluted by traps set at local government level by central government. I urge all delegates at the Ard Fheis to vote for motion 57.
Cllr David Cullinane,
Casement, a gay icon?
In his article, Not just your average gay icon, (An Phoblacht 17 Feb) Shane Mac Thomáis makes a number of mistakes.
He says "Casement negotiated a German ship, the Aud, to sail to Ireland in April 1916, with several machine-guns, 20,000 rifles and a million rounds" when in fact it was others who did the negotiating and organising. The ship was intercepted because the British had broken the German communication codes and not because he had "unwittingly told a British spy", as MacThomáis states.
When he comes to discussing the Black Diaries, which portray Casement as an active homosexual and, apparently unknown to Mac Thomáis, a paedophile, he gets it wrong again. He presents us with the idea that the Diaries, may or may not have been forged but either way Casement was gay. In reality, the notion he was gay only arose when the British propaganda campaign against him got going. The only evidence is from British sources of that time and the Diaries themselves. There was, for instance, a story put out that he had been charged in Germany with homosexual offences. When the court records were checked after the war it was a hoax. So that just leaves us with the Diaries as evidence. If he is in doubt about the Diaries being genuine, as he claims, then it stands to reason he should have doubts about Casement being gay, since one depends on the other.
The idea that someone who engages in paedophile activity, as referred to in the Black Diaries, can be a "gay icon" is appalling. It is an insult to gay people.
I have spoken to three people in my life who have studied the Black Diaries in great depth. All were sure the Diaries are forged. One, Angus Mitchell, researcher and writer on Casement, comes from a Scottish family with strong links to the British Army.
Two programmes appeared on TV three years ago claiming the Diaries had been found genuine by an expert. It was not a full all-round examination in any sense. There was a mix-up over the materials to inspect. The committee in charge lacked people with relevant training. Two other experts have since published assessments of the examination, saying it can not be taken seriously.
Roger Casement Foundation,
Ranganna Gaeilge saoire/Free Irish Classes
Tá Cumann Mich Murray ag atheagrú Ranganna Saoire Gaeilge.
The Mick Murray Cumann is reorganising its free Irish classes.
They are aimed at beginners, people who wish to help their children with their homework or have always wanted to get back into the Irish but, through cost and/or time, haven't gotten around to it.
Tá siad dírithe ar fhoghlaimneoirí, daoine atá ag iarraidh cuidiú/cabhair a thabhairt dá bpáistí lena obair bhaile, nó daoine a bhí i gcónaí ag iarraidh toiseacht ar ais ar fhoghlaim na Gaeilge ach nach raibh a dhóthain airgead nó ama le spáráil acu.
Gach Céadaoin @ 8in i "Le Chéile", Ionad Phobail Donnycarney.
Every Wednesday @ 8pm in Le Chéile, Donnycarney Community Centre.
All are welcome to attend. Fáilte roimh chách.
Breis eolas ag Alan, 086-2682032
For more info contact Alan, 086-2682032
Seán Ó hAdhmaill
Mick Murray Cumann, Dublin.