4 May 2006 Edition
Remembering Bobby Sands
The death of Bobby Sands will be marked in Clonakilty on this Friday, 5 May, the 25th anniversary of his Hunger Strike to death after 66 days without food. He died in the infamous H-Blocks of Long Kesh, where then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had removed political status from Irish Republican Prisoners in 1976. Nine other Republican political prisoners died on the Hunger Strike in the summer of 1981, which was the only weapon they had left to try to regain political status for themselves and their hundreds of comrades.
In Clonakilty, The Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee was established in January to organise and plan events surrounding the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike. A meeting will take place at 9pm this Thursday evening 4 May in O'Donovan's Hotel for all committee members and people wishing to become involved.
The committee has already decided to mark the 25th anniversary of each Hunger Striker's death with a Remembrance Evening at 8.30pm at the Tadhg an Astna monument, where each of the ten young men will be remembered. The first of these will be on this Friday, when Bobby Sands, who was elected MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone during his hunger strike, will be honoured. Francis Hughes died on 12 May and there were two deaths on 21 May- Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara. Everyone is invited to attend the Remembrance Evenings on these anniversary dates, and subsequent ones later on in the summer.
If people are unable to attend these events, they are asked to light a candle in their homes to remember the 10 Hunger Strikers on their anniversaries, and to recall their noble sacrifices.
Cllr. Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin,
An Gallán, Cloich na Coillte, Contae Chorcaí.
With the government's new found republicanism, we are all well aware this year marks the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising. This week 90 years ago saw the commencement of the executions of the leaders of the Rising by the British forces. From the 3 to 12 May 1916, fifteen of the leaders were murdered, the last being James Connolly.
For republicans and for oppressed people around the world this week also is significant because it marks 25 years since Bobby Sands died after 66 days on hunger strike on the 5 May 1981.
I say Bobby Sands and James Connolly in the same breath. I say 1916 and 1981 in the same breath. I have stood at the grave of Bobby Sands and I have stood at the spot where James Connolly was shot. Each time I have felt the same emotions, sadness and pride.
Bobby Sands saw James Connolly as someone to look up to. I am sure that if the dates were reversed and events stayed the same James Connolly would have seen Bobby as someone to look up to.
James Connolly and Bobby Sands lived in Belfast during their lives. If they were still alive and living there today, Labour, Fianna Fáil and the republicanism of all the other partitionist parties wouldn't include them because it stops at the border.
A person shouldn't be judged on what they say they are but what they prove they are and the 26 County Government has a lot of proving to do when it comes to republicanism.
Republicans don't do it for themselves, they do it for the Republic, for us and for the thought that says we are right.
Ógra Shinn Féin
Worker exploitation and displacement
Last week Martin Ferris issued a press statement in relation to the displacement of workers in Kerry by non-nationals from the new accession states. This followed numerous approaches from constituents who had lost jobs, been refused jobs or had been under-bid for contracts. Martin was subsequently interviewed on Radio Kerry and the response, overwhelmingly positive, provides a fair indication of how widespread is the experience of displacement and the undermining of wages and trade union rights.
Kerry Sinn Féin has begun a campaign to highlight these issues and is compiling a blacklist of employers who are engaged in exploiting migrant workers in order to replace higher paid existing workforces.
The sole reason why this state, uniquely, agreed to open up its borders to workers from the new EU states was because certain interests recognised the opportunity to do as they are currently doing; displacing workers, cutting wages and undermining hard won trade union rights.
All workers, Irish or Polish or Latvian, are entitled to decent wages and trade union representation. They are also entitled not be let go or denied a job because some gombeen man can hire someone for 50 cent less per hour. A campaign, such as that in Kerry, would have huge support if launched nationally.
Geraldine Nolan, Tralee, Co. Kerry.
We would be grateful if you permitted us to use your letters page to express our gratitude to the Republicans of Tyrone who recently extended us such great hospitality on our recent visit.
We went to Tyrone to see a football game, but came away with lots of friends and pleasant memories. We would particularly like to extend our appreciation to Cll Barry McElduff MLA , Kevin McElduff, Cllr Declan McAleer, and Brian Arthurs who were informative hosts as well as being great company.
We were also honoured and touched by the warm hospitality extended to us all by the Hurson family, it remains a treasured encounter for us all.
We would also like to thank the management and staff of Kelly's Inn in Omagh, for providing us with ample comfort and hospitality.
Such fraternal interaction between Republicans throughout our nation can only help to strengthen the unity of our movement.
We can but promise that a similarly hospitable reception shall await visitors to North Kerry and West Limerick , should any AP readers wish to visit us.
Muidne le Meas, Jim Buckley, Joe Dalton , Declan Finucane, Donal Kelliher and John Walsh,
Listowel Co. Kerry,
Athea Co. Limerick.