12 October 2006 Edition
'An Phoblacht' welcomes readers' letters. Letters in Irish or English should be kept short (no more than 200 words) and typed or handwritten clearly, double-spaced and on one side of the paper only. Name and address should be supplied for verification, but these will not be published if we are so requested.
Cuireann 'An Phoblacht' fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla. Is fearr litreacha gearra (200 focal ar a méid) clóscríofa nó lámhscríofa go soiléir ar thaobh amháin den leathanach. Cuir ainm agus seoladh leis ach ní fhoilseoimid iad seo más é do thoil.
Witnessing the public actions this week in Dublin city of solidarity with the community in North Mayo in their fight against the Corrib gas pipe and the disgraceful complicity of the government, has gladdened my heart.
I had come to believe that the so called "Celtic Tiger" and its accompanying ethos had corrupted the country to the point that no one gave a damn about anything but themselves. What a joy it is to see young people taking such a courageous and direct stand.
Gardaí and Seamus Ludlow
The audacity of certain former Gardaí declaring that they knew the story behind the murder of Dundalk man Seamus Ludlow but were powerless to do anything about it because of opposition from above is beyond belief.
They made these claims on last Tuesday's Spotlight investigation of the matter but in defending themselves they actually convicted themselves.
The two sisters of the unfortunate murder victim graphically outlined the division and hurt that had plagued the family since the murder of Seamus. The primary cause of this was the Gardaí's persistent and false claims that the IRA were behind the murder. According to their own admission the gentlemen concerned were in a position to prevent some of the trauma amongst the family as early as 1979 and very probably a lot earlier.
The family have said they feel betrayed by the state and so they have been. Seamus Ludlow was a citizen of this state and he was denied his rights as such. Agents of the state participated in the cruellest of cover-ups to protect the British state. This is truly a disgrace.
Small wonder then that Justice Minister Michael McDowell had no comment to make when confronted by the programme makers. By making no comment and given his position as Justice Minister he has perpetuated the family's sense of betrayal.
The disappearance of Michael McDowell over the past week as Bertie struggled to explain the generosity of his friends in the early nineties belies the myth that the PD's are needed to keep Fianna Fáil straight. If he were true to his word he would have pulled the rug from under the government. This was an occasion when principle clashed with self interest. No prizes for guessing who won that battle.
The PD's know that Fianna Fáil can rely on the support of a sufficient number of independents to keep the ship afloat should the PD's honour their commitment to act as a safe pair of hands. Their stance on the moral high ground has now been exposed for what it is, a cynical sham. Of course the wealthy elite that elect them don't give a damn about ethics. All they care about are tax cuts, cutbacks in public services, privatisation etc. So far so good.
McDowell is probably right to believe his party can come through this unscathed. In fact he may be even grateful for the mess that Bertie has got himself into. Almost un noticed amongst the furore came a report that the state had paid twice the value of the land for the site of the new prison at Thorton Hall. The Minister responsible? McDowell.
Interesting to note the juxtaposition of British PM Tony Blair's formidable and powerful former spin doctor speaking on RTÉ Radio's Pat Kenny Show on Tuesday, World Mental Health Day, and that morning's 'Oirish' edition of the Sun.
Alastair Campbell spoke frankly of his own experience of mental illness and depression. He told Pat Kenny that he was to speak at an event later on "removing the stigma" caused by media coverage.
And that day's front-page headline by the Sun on the County Galway siege in which a man was critically wounded? "Siege nut shot by cop."