6 September 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
British army’s bloody record
There’s a first time for everything, so allow me to express my agreement with former British Army commander Mike Jackson’s description of Donald Rumsfeld’s approach to Iraq as “intellectually bankrupt”.
However, Jackson conveniently ignores the level of moral bankruptcy in the British Army’s own wars in Iraq and Ireland. The most obvious link is the sending of two convicted murderers, Ptes Fisher & Wright, to Iraq. Fisher & Wright were convicted of the murder of Belfast teenager Peter McBride, but served less than two years before being taken back into the British Army . . . with promotion! General Jackson sat on the British Army board which decided that the murder of an Irish boy did not warrant a dismissal.
Jackson’s own career is also one of promotions and medals despite his involvement in the killing of many innocent Irish civilians. This started, not with Bloody Sunday as widely believed, but with a massacre in Ballymurphy six months earlier. Jackson was an officer in the Parachute Regiment which was involved in the shooting of 11 civilians, including a priest who was tending a wounded child and an elderly mother of eight, as internment was being imposed in August 1971.
Despite (or because of?) this and his central role in Bloody Sunday, including “gathering” statements which portrayed the victims as gunmen, nail bombers and wanted IRA men, Jackson was awarded the GCB, CBE and DSO and was promoted several times to become General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of the General Staff, in Iraq.
No wonder a hasty retreat from Basra is being beaten as I write.
Dr Sean Marlow,
Willow Pk Rd,
You’ve really got to feel sorry for Sean of the USA, the cheerleader for the British army. Like many Americans, his only available source of Irish news is the dreaded AP reporter Shawn Pogatchnik.
In his latest article, Pogatchnik described the British army’s withdrawal from Ireland as a “milestone of peacemaking.” (An oddly euphemistic way to describe the departure of an occupying force from a besieged country.)
His interpretation of the news, where he maligns Irish republicans and glosses over every crisis caused by the British government, is carried by every major newspaper here.
No wonder poor Sean is so confused. It’s encouraging, though, to learn that he now reads An Phoblacht for a balanced view.
Garda turban ban
Over the last few years Sinn Féin, in taking a progressive and equality centred approach to immigration, has done a great deal to make Ireland a more welcoming place for immigrants.
But in applying the principles of equality, it is important that Sinn Féin remembers one of the other great principles of republicanism, secularism when examining the current controversy over the wearing of the turban by a Sikh Garda Reserve.
Firstly, the argument that Sikhs have no option but to wear turbans is false. Sikhs serving with the British Armed Forces are obliged to wear the standard British Army helmet when serving on active duty. While Sikhs in the British police forces are allowed wear turbans, many choose not to do so, or wear a much smaller cap that fits beneath the standard police cap.
In the rush to be politically correct an important opportunity to advance the argument for the elimination of religious symbolism for all faiths is being missed. I applaud the decision by the Gardaí to not merely refuse to allow the wearing of the turban, but also to review the wearing of pioneer pins, ashes on Ash Wednesday, crucifixes displayed outside the uniform and other religious paraphernalia.
A Garda is a servant of the state, a servant of the people. As republicans, we should be committed in our support for the separation of Church, all churches, and State. We should be looking to eliminate religious overtones from state institutions where they exist, not seeking to accommodate new ones.
The family of the late Volunteer Tony Gormley wish to thank most sincerely all members of The Tony Gormley Cumann Sinn Féin Killeeshil who organised the erection of a very fitting monument in honour of Tony and his seven comrades who were killed at Loughgall on 6 May 1987. The monument near Aughnagar Chapel was unveiled on 21 April to coincide with the 20th anniversary of their deaths.
A special thank you for all the generous donations in particular the donation of the site for the monument, to the men who built the monument giving so much of their time Saturday after Saturday in all weather and to those who gave of their skills and materials in order to complete the project.
We are both honoured and privileged that Killeeshil Sinn Féin named the cumann in memory of Tony, this along with the monument ensures that Tony and all the other men and women from the Killeeshil area who played a part in the struggle for Irish freedom will be remembered with pride for generations to come.
The Gormely family.