15 June 2006 Edition
Haughey and Fianna Fáil
The demise of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey has been described as the end of an era. We should be so lucky. While I don't like to speak ill of the dead, I'd be a bit stuck for words if I was to try to write flattreringly about this same man's performance in government. He was a property owner of note with a mansion, a stud, and holiday homes at his disposal. At a time when unemployment and taxation drove the youth of Ireland to emigration, Haughey was carrying out the greatest tax scams in Irish history.
After years of trying to shed the whiff of scandal trailing the Haughey era, Ahern and other Fianna Fail colleagues of the former Taoiseach now speak endearingly of The Boss, weaving through the memory of scandal as if it were simply a thing of the past. The Boss is dead, long live the Boss. Haughy is dead but the scandal of incompetant Fiann Fáil government contiues.
Charles J Haughy was also the man who stood idly by as the ten Hunger Strikers died in 1981. His Fianna Fail colleagues now allow the Castlereagh men to remain in prison, in contradition of the terms of the Good Friday Aggreement to which they signed up.
Brendan Sheehan, Limerick
Ard Fheis motion
At this years Ard Fheis the activist base of this party supported the following motion 'This Ard Fheis resolves to promptly convene a special conference to debate the merits and viability or otherwise of the Good Friday Agreement as a vehicle to advance the struggle for a 32 county democratic socialist Republic.'
Four months after the Ard Fheis, and after the leadership's decision to re-engage in the sham that is the current assembly, the party is yet to make any move toward adhering to this motion.
It is patently obvious to any observer that the DUP has no interest in reaching an accommodation with Irish republicans on 24 November. This places an onus on republicans to debate our strategy once the date for restoration of the GFA's institutions has passed. If we don't, we simply leave the decisions to Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair.
I would call on the leadership of the party to immediately set a date for convening a debate on how we move forward our goals in the inevitability that the GFA slips into history.
Chris Ó Rálaigh, Droim Chonrach, Baile Átha Cliath
School haircut row
As a mother of a school going son, I was amazed and appalled at the ineptitude displayed last week by the headmaster of a secondary school, in his handling of a minor indiscipline on the part of a Junior Cert student. A short shave cost the youngster his Junior Cert. This is the same brand of mismanagement, if not arrogance, demonstrated by Minister McDowell on another matter concerning the youth of this country, the child rape issue.
If it's good enough for government, it's good enough for teachers, everyong learning from their masters. Does it follow therefore that the Junior Cert candidate dealt such a lofty blow last week will turn out to be another inept or even arrogant product of the education system? Hopefully not, but you can well understand his dismay and the clear anger demonstrated by his mother last week.
"Lead by example" they say and what examples displayed by those at government and shcool principle levels.
Maureen Reilly, Mullingar.
Labour's relationship with Fine Gael
As a lifelong trade unionists I am dismayed at the growing relatinship between Labour and Fine Gael. What these parties have in common is lost on me. The interests of labour can in no way be served by a coalition with a conservative party with nothing but an aspiration to takes Dail seats at the next election.
There is a huge appetite for political change. education and transport infrastructures are in tatters, the health service in tatters and there are glaring areas of injustice surrounding the likes of the Rossport Five, the use of Shannon Airport by the US military to facilitate its illegal war on Iraq, and the fall-out from the many Tribunals of recent years.
Labour would be better advised to join forces with the likes of the Greens, Sinn Féin and Independents to deliver tangible political change.
Tom Creedon, Booterstown, Dublin