1 December 2005 Edition

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Mála Poist

The all-Ireland economy

A Chara,

The fact of an all-Ireland economy is almost unquestionable. The fact that the North experienced growth levels above that of Britain in the 2000 to 2003 period demonstrated that its economy was being lifted by the growth in the 26 Counties.

An all-Ireland economy exists simply because of the volume of trade and the fact that business no longer looks at the border as some huge dividing line for business. There is no reason someone wouldn't consider crossing the border to buy goods or services any longer. Operations like the Quinn Group (one of the largest in the state) operate entirely on a cross-border basis as if it didn't exist. That is increasingly becoming the norm and we need to see the importance of viewing the maintenance of two different currency, fiscal and legal systems as being detrimental to those business interests.

In most border corridor villages virtually every non-skilled worker works (entirely) in the South and every contractor takes the overwhelming bulk of their work from the south. This situation would be similar right along the border corridor. Even major towns like Enniskillen or Newry are hugely dependent on cross-border trade for business — come Christmas and we will see large numbers shopping in the major shops in the North.

Comrades, maybe we have to shake our heads and realise that just because the Brits and Irish Governments talk about a united Ireland economy in decades doesn't mean that it reflects reality. The united Ireland economy - irrespective of how disjointed it may be North/South or East/West exists in the today and now by virtue of cross-border trade. We must become champions for that economy and see how to promote it.

Martina Anderson,

Sinn Féin All Ireland,

Co-ordinator.

US use of chemical weapons

A Chara,

The US and Britain used the pretext of Weapons of Mass Destruction, including chemical weapons, as a justification for their invasion of Iraq. As the UN weapons inspectors and many others had predicted, the Iraqis did not have any WMD, nuclear, biological or chemical.

However, despite earlier denials, it has been revealed that occupation forces used White Phosphorous in their attack on the city of Fallujah, during which many civilians were killed. White Phosphorous is both an incendiary and chemical weapon. It sticks to the skin, burning at over 1,000 degrees and produces highly toxic phosphorous pentoxide fumes, poisoning anyone in the area in which it is deployed.

No doubt these horrific weapons, like the victims and perpetrators of torture, have passed through Shannon Airport. It is time the FF/PD coalition stopped the use of our country to facilitate the use of torture and WMD. Would the alternative FG/Lab/Green coalition allow the continuation of this trafficking, which is not only wrong, but is also endangering the safety of Irish citizens?

Is mise,

Councillor Dessie Ellis.

US troops in Shannon

A Chara,

Just why should Republican (Irish style) Americans give a damn if Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams gets a visa to raise funds in the United States of America, if his party is offended by the sight of our soldiers in their uniforms on your soil?

I understand that we often come from different political philosophic points of view, but you should understand that even first generation Irish Americans like myself take great offence to anyone, including the Irish, disrespecting me and mine. And that especially includes American servicemen and women of any race, nationality or rank.

Joe Murphy,

Leonia, NJ,

USA.

Fine Gael agus an Ghaeilge

A Uasail Uí Chionnaith,

Ba mhian liom mo mhí-shonas agus iontas a léiriú le do ráiteas thar an deireadh seachtaine. In ainneoin gur dúirt tú roinnt rudaí dearfacha maidir le

tábhacht na Gaeilge, sílim gur dhearcadh aineolach agus neamh-loighciúil í má chreidtear go bhfeabhsaítear suíomh na Gaeilge sa chóras oideachais in Éirinn tríd deireadh a chur le riachtanas na Gaeilge don Ardteistiméireacht. Nach b'fhearr a fhad polasaí dearfach nuálach a chur i bhfeidhm sular dtógfar cur chuige damáisteach, cosúil le fáil le riachtanas na Gaeilge.

Tá súil agam go n-athródh sibh do sheasaimh láithreach bonn.

Feidhlim O hAdhmaill

A Chara,

If we as a nation want to reclaim our language, the best thing we could do is to offer students schooled through English a high point scoring course in purely conversation Irish. Peig, Prose and Poetry are secondary subjects till one can speak the language. Imagine the nation's pride if all students from Blackrock, Glenstall or Newbridge College, were able to speak Irish as competently as those in the Gaeltacht.

Is mise le meas,

Rossa Ó Snodaigh,

Dublin.

Alcohol abuse

A Chara,

I read with interest Michelle Boyle's well-written article in An Phoblacht recently. There are serious consequences for alcholol abuse in our country, and anyone who claims it is part of our culture does not know the meaning of the word.

It is a reality that for Irish people the main social scene is the pub. Rather than attempting to change this, the government should encourage people to drink non-alcoholic drink either on its own or in conjunction with alcohol. The simplest way to do this would be to bring down the price of non-alcoholic drinks in pubs, which are often at the same price as cheap beers.

However, to tackle a problem as big as this requires not only legislation. It requires Irish people themselves, especially the youth, to set an example to their friends by respecting drink. Drink must no longer be an acceptable excuse for violence or wanton behaviour. As someone who enjoys his drink as much as the next man, I believe we cannot blame the government every time we end up drunk, but rather acknowledge that the choice is ours on how we act and on the example we give to others.

Is mise,

Seosamh Mac Aodhagáin,

Dublin.


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