31 March 2005 Edition

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Mála Poist

Balloons and Irish republicanism, SDLP style

A Chairde,

Before the last Westminster election in 2001, the SDLP proclaimed that it was a post-nationalist party.

Four years on, and in the mouth of another Westminster election, the SDLP is now telling us that it is actually an Irish republican party.

This latest SDLP political somersault would be great if it were true but I can't understand how the party is going to square the circle on the following contradictions:

A universal tenet of republicanism, international and domestic, is the absolute rejection of elitist monarchies, yet this increasingly confused SDLP will continue to swear a slavish oath to a British Monarch if elected to Westminster.

Year in year out, poppy-bedecked SDLP representatives attend British War Memorial Services. Fair enough, but the SDLP, as a party has never sought to commemorate, in any shape or fashion, republicans from any era or generation who struggled or strived to break the link with the ancient oppressor Perfidious Albion.

There is about as much substance in a balloon as there is in SDLP's newly found Irish republicanism.

I look forward to four years time to see how the SDLP will attempt to reinvent itself. Maybe next time it will be the SDLP "the post republican/nationalist party".

A Uí Shiail,

Co Thír Eoghain.

Good Friday 2005 - What's good about it?

A Chairde,

I have just woken up to the sound of a British helicopter hovering above my city, spying on the local population. The "New Beginning on Policing" Board has passed and approved the use of a new type of plastic bullet.

Is this what they meant when they said "New Beginning"? The DUP members on the board will have a good snigger at SDLP representatives trying to explain this in nationalist areas over the next few electoral weeks.

Then there is the debate in South Armagh, where Crossmaglen military base will be now be called a police station, all that could mean for such a staunchly republican area like Crossmaglen is more military, more spy posts, more harassment and more of the criminalisation policy.

Obviously, the people sitting on these local "District Partnerships" are not representative of local opinion, or they would know that Crossmaglen would fall into the category of "Unnecessary Police Station". The only people who would use it would be the military and the heavily armed police force, which are not acceptable to the local population.

The spin doctors of the parties to these backdoor measures will think that the storm over these matters will have subsided after the Easter holidays. God bless their little hearts; the storm may have calmed but the smell of rotten eggs in our midst will stay.

Cathal Beag,

Derry City.

Go raibh maith agaibh

A Chairde,

I would like, through the pages of An Phoblacht, to express my personal thanks and that of the Sinn Féin organisation in Meath for the help and support of comrades from all over the 32 Counties in the recent by-election.

This support was invaluble. The increase in the Sinn Féin vote in the face of unprecedented media hostility is a credit to the voters of Meath and the Sinn Féin organisation.

May I also wish all those Sinn Féin candidates in the forthcoming Westminster and council elections in the Six Counties every success. We in Meath, as proud members of an all-Ireland party, will be heading North to give you as much support as we can. I urge every republican from every county in Ireland to do likewise.

Arís, go raibh maith agaibh go léir. Tiocfaidh ár lá.

Joe Reilly,


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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