17 November 2005 Edition
Exposing the truth
I listened to Jonty Brown, a former RUC man who was in the force for 30 years, being interviewed on the Gerry Ryan show recently about a book he had written on his time and experiences in the RUC. It was educational, to say the least‚ as he confirmed what republicans have been saying for many years — the RUC were a corrupt and sectarian force‚ and this was why Sinn Féin were correct in not taking their seats on the policing board.
Jonty Brown has in his possession evidence of horrific complicity by the RUC/PSNI in the murder of innocent people. He has finally brought this heinous criminal activity into the public domain, though his reasons for doing so at this late stage remain somewhat clouded. Hopefully it was his conscience that led him to make the decision, even if it was a quarter of a century in coming.
Thank you for the pictures/article on US soldiers at Shannon. I travelled back to Canada via Shannon on 10 October and was shocked and disgusted at the sight of hundreds of uniformed soldiers in duty-free and the lounge. There was a bare sprinkling of civilian passengers.
My impression was that with all that commerce going on (every sales counter had a line-up and all the bar stools were occupied), no one will be in a hurry to stop it.
Facing Harsh Facts
Barry McColan's recent article on Ógra Shinn Féin in An Phoblacht was encouraging. Many young people are disenchanted with establishment politics. Sinn Féin is seen as a viable alternative. The party has yet to capitalise on this and give leadership to disinterested youth. Harsh facts must be faced. What can Sinn Féin offer young people? OSF remains chronically under-resourced, despite valiant effort by its members to spread the republican message.
Far from attaining a cutting edge‚ OSF lags well behind its competitors. It is a lame duck compared to Ógra FF and YFG. It is perhaps the only major political party on the island that has no website for its youth wing. Given republicans pioneering use of the web, this is embarrassing.
Many OSF activists say their role is confined to putting up posters and canvassing. Is there a two-tier republicanism whereby the young are marginalised? There is a perception that Sinn Féin operates an invisible policy towards young people. Young republicans rarely get the credibility they deserve. Self-imposed constraints and a stifling of publicity on youth issues exist. Is it any wonder that sometimes activists get disillusioned?
Barry McColgan argues for more communication and co-ordination. The setting up of a separate OSF website should be a priority. Sterling work by many OSF activists may continue but under achievement still remains a major problem.
It was to my disgust that I recently observed the huge media drive for the British Army being conducted within the Queen's University campus. The campus has been covered with their recruitment posters and all the computer screen savers constantly show recruitment advertisements for the British Army.
A university is supposed to be a place of learning and enlightenment and through its mission statement Queen's claims to provide "an environment of equality, tolerance and mutual respect". I must ask how such a PR offensive on the campus grants equality and mutual respect to all students and employees of the university. The University through allowing this offensive material on its campus has in fact created an environment lacking in equality and inclusion for many of its students.
The British Army are an illegal force of occupation and have no right to be in Ireland and it is deeply offensive to many on this island to have such literature or images forced down their throats daily.
Andrea O' Kane,
I write in relation to a disgusting incident which occurred on the Dublin Bus service to Blanchardstown on 9 November. A young woman was sexually assaulted on the Number 39 bus at 4:30pm. The ordeal lasted over 30 minutes, while none of the other passengers on the bus bothered to intervene or enquire as to what was going on. I feel disgusted to share a city with these pathetic and deeply selfish people.
It seems to me that this sort of 'I'm alright, Jack' attitude now pervades every area of our society. We are quite prepared to pass homeless children on the street and to ignore violence occurring around us once it doesn't impact on us. In some parts of our country, and particularly in large urban areas, there is no community cohesion whatsoever, and people are too concerned looking out for themselves to bother about others.
Margaret Thatcher's maxim that there is 'no such thing as society' reflects the view of large numbers of people in this country, who have become obnoxious and greedy in pursuit of the wealth of the so-called Celtic Tiger.
We are constantly told of how much better today's Ireland is, and how lucky we are to have such a wonderful economy, but I wonder how many people would trade our new-found wealth for a little bit of old fashioned human decency.