30 August 2007 Edition
Cuireann An Phoblacht fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla, 200 focal ar a méid. Déantar giorrú ar litreachta más gá. Cuir do litir chuig [email protected]
An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected] No attachments please
I was raised in Britain in a family that has been solid Labour Party for generations, so the antagonism shown here in Ireland to the national question and republicans by the Labour Party under the malevolent influence of closet reactionaries such as Conor Cruise O’Brien has always been a source of regret to me.
I hope that the departure of Pat Rabbitte and Labour’s reflection on how it was used as a mudguard for Fine Gael in the general election will lead to a more constructive relationship between Labour and republicans in the future.
Being a secular republican but someone who believes the police should be representative of the community they serve, I’m in a quandary about the Garda Commissioner’s ruling that a Sikh applicant cannot join the Garda Reserve if he insists on wearing his religious identity openly, i.e. his turban.
That said, seeing as the Garda Commissioner seems to have made his mind up, I hope he has sent an instruction to all other officers and applicants (Catholic, Protestant and whatever) that they cannot similarly display their religious affinities on feast days or with religious-led organisations with Pioneer pins.
First Adams broadcast in 26 Counties — putting the record straight
I refer to the Remembering the Past column (An Phoblacht 16 August) dealing with the historic interview with Gerry Adams on 98FM in August 1992. As in this article, the interview is often referred to as the first time Adams’ voice was broadcast “by any station in the 26 Counties”. This, however, is incorrect.
Over six years previously in February 1987 during a general election campaign a local Limerick station known as Raidio Luimní interviewed Adams and myself (who was the Sinn Féin candidate in Limerick East in that election) for nearly an hour in a programme that also included a phone-in. This popular station was run by the late John Frawley, a rather colourful personality known locally as John the Man. It was John who approached Sinn Féin in Limerick to ask that Adams do the interview in the full knowledge of the implications this would have in light of the infamous Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act. However, as he explained to us at the time he considered that all parties in the election were entitled to have their views heard by the electorate and he did not have to agree with Sinn Féin in order to defend its right to be heard. The programme was heard all over Limerick City and County and also in parts of Clare and Tipperary and was reported on by some of the national and local print media. Needless to say local establishment politicians were somewhat less than gracious in their response and there was much spluttering of outrage and tut-tuting at the temerity of it all.
While the 98FM interview was much more momentous and of greater importance due to the circumstances of the time and its 26 County-wide coverage, John Frawley’s challenge to the prevailing climate of censorship and repression (and indeed self-censorship by much of the media) deserves to be remembered. Adams’ interview on Raidio Luimní may be a little historical oddity (and as such easily forgotten) but it remains a matter of historical fact nonetheless.
Aer Lingus & Shannon
What is the point of Minister O’Dea, FF & FG TDs and IBEC whinging about the short sighted Aer Lingus decision to end its Shannon - Heathrow connection? They must have known what could happen when they supported the privatisation of our national carrier. After all, they had the lessons of Eircom & Westlink, where vital infrastructure was exploited for maximum profits at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.
Ironically, before the election, Willie O’Dea claimed that Sinn Féin in government would set back the economy. Now wages and economic growth are lagging behind inflation, unemployment is rising and capital is flowing out of the state – often, as in the case of Aer Lingus, Bank of Ireland and O’Briens, to the SF-governed Ñorth!
To prevent employers from dividing and ruling workers North and South in future, we need not just an all-Ireland economy for capital, but also all Ireland harmonisation of wages, conditions and taxation. ‘national’ agreements need to be truly national!
Dr Sean Marlow,
I am dismayed that the Irish Government has seen fit to buy surveillance drones for the Irish Army. What possible use could we have for this military equipment? And to make matters worse it was bought from the Israeli Government a Government that has tragic record in relation to Human rights.