26 April 2007 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 Name and address should be supplied for verification, but these will not be published if we are so requested.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.
Sinn Féin best placed to stand up for victims of state violence
The report by Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan on the killing of Paul Whitters (15) brought back to myself and many more Catholic, working class people memories of just where we have come from in the not too distant past.
I was being held in Strand Road Interrogation Centre on the day Paul Whitters was seriously injured, April 15, 1981, and grown men were laughing and joking about a 15-year-old child lying defenceless in the street after being hit at point-blank range by a plastic bullet. You can guess how they were treating me.
Paul Whitters died on 25 April, 1981, no doubt a few more laughs and cheers went up in Strand Road barracks from those keepers of their own form of “law and order”.
This incident happened just a week after the killings by the British army of Gary English and Jim Bowne whose murders were probably investigated by the same uncaring keepers of “law and order”. With many more young people murdered by the British army and police during that period, to this day only four members of the British army (and no RUC members) have been convicted of murder.
I have never forgiven the leadership of the SDLP who were at that time in the position to challenge these deaths and the many more injustices inflicted on our communities by well paid state terrorists, but did not. They have only become campaigners for victims’ rights in recent years, albeit selective.
I was glad to see the Sinn Féin leadership making the decision at their recent extraordinary Árd Fheis to go into the local policing boards to fight on behalf of myself and many others if we have problems with the police in the future.
Those of us who previously have been the victims of “police” tactics, in the past due to our political allegiances saw SDLP members take the attitude that all our woes were self inflicted
To me it’s down to trust and I would rather have someone on the Policing Boards who has practical experience of being on the receiving end of bad police tactics, who can empathise with citizens in any part of Ireland having had the misfortune of being victimised by state forces.
Sinn Féin is the only all Ireland party capable of challenging the powers that be and making them more accountable to all communities because of their own experiences. That is why I trust it and its membership to fight my corner. They are the people who fought the hardest on issues such as plastic bullets, collusion, torture, harassment etc, because in most cases they were also on the receiving end of it.
Former republican prisoner,
(name and address supplied)
Bertie for the birds
After ten long years of incompetent, bad government, the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrat coalition should well be for the birds at this year’s fast approaching general election. We have had to endure endless rises in the cost of living, rising mortgage rates, stamp-duty rip-off, spiralling bills, expensive food, drink, clothing etc. In addition the Irish economy has been built on sand. It has not been diversified enough. There has been too much reliance on job-creation by foreign investment and little or no support given to Irish indigenous business, essential as a safety net should any economic recession occur in the future.
Ireland has one of the highest inflation rates in the whole of Europe, if not the world and few Irish first-time house buyers can even afford to get on the bottom rung of the property ladder! We have one of the most unequal societies in the western world, a two-tier health service, an A&E crisis, sub-standard, even third-world public services, carnage on the roads and an uncaring government hell-bent on privatising the whole country for the benefit of the golden circle elite – corporate business and the political establishment!
These are the non-achievements of ten years of Fianna Fáil and the PD’s in government. It is the legacy of “slíbhín” Bertie and “Mad-Mac” McDowell, the true disciple of Maggie Thatcher.
Fine Gael and Labour, led by Enda “the Blueshirt” and Pat “the Rabbit” would simply deliver “more of the same” if elected, their policies being practically identical to the incumbent government.
It really is “Do or Die” time for the “coalition of the confused” and “getting more confused” by the day, as Trevor Sargent ponders which way to jump with the Green parachute.
In contrast, Sinn Féin has a vision – a republican tiger economy and a united Ireland of equals. Sinn Féin stands for peace, prosperity, freedom and equality. Vote for a new beginning – Votáil Sinn Féin!
I enjoyed the bashing of ‘Marine Myers’ in 12 April issue of An Phoblacht, he deserves that kind of treatment almost every week. Two things arose from Myers’ attitudes. First Myers claimed that “no US marine would have been captured so easily”. He has obviously over looked or ignored the fact that around the same time as the Iranian Big Brother was taking place a number of US Troops were captured in Iraq and were executed. It can be presumed that Myers would see this as the right stiff upper lip attitude so lacking in the British Marines, perhaps they refused a cup of tea or some cigarettes and in doing so insulted the Iraqi’s. The other point is an old one which should be of some amusement to all republicans. We all know of Myers’ distain and hatred of all things republican but I discovered a gem of information in John McGuffin’s Internment (1973). McGuffin in dealing with the anti-repbulican purges within RTE in the early 1970’s states “Only one reporter, Kevin Myers of RTE, was disgusted enough to actually resign, and after their token protest and march the ‘media men’ returned quietly to work”. Perhaps Myers is a self hating republican, someone should ask him to explain himself as he so often asked republicans to ‘come clean’ about their past.