20 July 2006 Edition
Request for information on Women POWs
We are currently putting together a booklet of women who were imprisoned from the 1970's onwards. Some of these women have since passed away and we are keen to honour these women and their part in the struggle.
This letter is to ensure that no one is left out or overlooked; therefore we would ask anyone who has any information relating to these women to contact us ASAP.
Email theresa [email protected] or telephone Belfast 02890223000
RTÉ outdid itself in the shame stakes last Saturday night and returned in full to the days of Section 31 with its interview by Miriam O'Callaghan of film director Ken Loach.
Just as in the censorship era, when anyone with a different or sympathetic republican view was interrogated rather than interviewed, Loach was subject to the most insensitive, overly-simplistic, biased, derogatory questions O'Callaghan could string together.
I was ashamed and embarrassed to see him have to defend authentic Irish history in the face of her obviously anti-IRA stance, but I believe his answers were extraordinary and must have convinced anyone with half a brain that O'Callaghan is a half-wit.
It was incredibly upsetting however to see her challenge him on the subject of his young son's death, asking him if he had become a bleaker person because of it.
Loach's film, The Wind that Shakes the Barley is, as Aengus Ó Snodaígh put it in his review, the most powerful film I have ever seen. It takes the lie that Ireland did not need to fight for its independence and dumps it without ceremony. That Loach had to come on Irish television and defend that and the fact that he didn't portray the Black and Tans in a more sensitive light, is ludicrous. That RTÉ feels it should still have a monopoly in manipulating the public's view of history is preposterous.
I sincerely hope that while Loach was in Ireland shooting the film, he met some educated, politically aware people and he does not now hold the view that all Irish people are ashamed of their history and present. He is a gentleman and he deserves the highest accolades for his historically accurate films and integrity as a director.
Playboy products and children
I am writing in support of Sonya Oldham's letter Playboy products and children. As a mother of four children I would strongly agree and feel the same as she does. I would not let my children have anything to do with Playboy products because I believe it is an attempt to sanitise the degrading of women.
I was recently at a clothes shop were I buy my kids clothes and saw T-shirts and dresses with the Playboy logo. I was disgusted but kept it to myself. But when the shop assistant gave me a bag for the stuff I bought, the bag had the Playboy logo on it. When I told her i didn't want it, she thought i was joking and couldn't believe I was serious. I ended up getting into an argument with her about Playboy. I am glad to hear others feel as I do about this issue. Maybe something can be done about it now.
Sinn Féin and women TDs
In relation to the letter "The real alternative" 13 July, I do not think the front page was sexist. The picture in question was of Party President Gerry Adams and three of the five Sinn Féin TDs.
There was no woman in the picture because we haven't yet got a woman elected to Leinster House. When our women candidates get elected to Leinster House I am sure we will see them on the front page of the paper.