20 December 2007 Edition
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Portlaoise republican prisoners say thanks
WE, the republican prisoners in Portlaoise Jail, would like to send Christmas greetings to all our families over this festive season. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends and comrades at home and abroad for their continuing support over the past number of years.
We would like to give a very special thanks to Ann O’Sullivan for the Trojan work she has done and continues to do on behalf of the prisoners and our families. Our appreciation for all the work that Ann has carried out cannot be overstated. Go raibh míle maith agat, Ann.
There are many people who have supported us throughout our imprisonment that we wish to thank – Deirdre Whelan, Andy Kavanagh, Brian Poole, Rab Hunter, Eamonn Nolan, Ian McBride, Pat O’Hare, Eileen Shiels, Mick Hennessy, Mike Duffy, Rob West, Arnie O’Connell, the POW Department, and An Cumann Cabhrach, to name but a few.
As it would be impossible to thank everyone individually, your efforts and support on behalf of the POWs has not gone unnoticed and is very much appreciated.
Beannachtaí na Nollaig,
Bring them home!
IT IS NOW over two years since the IRA ordered an end to the armed campaign. Fourteen IRA prisoners will again face a Christmas incarcerated for their part in the political conflict here, nearly two-and-a-half years after the official end of the IRA’s armed campaign.
Coupled with this is the fact that three of these prisoners held at Castlerea Prison, County Roscommon, actually qualify for release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed in 1998. The Irish Government continues to use the case of these men as a political football despite having signed up to an agreement whereby the release of qualifying political prisoners was paramount.
The Irish and British governments need to realise the commitments that the IRA have made and lived up to. We in Ógra Shinn Féin believe that these men should be released, given their commitment and the commitment of their organisation to the Sinn Féin peace strategy. It is widely accepted that had it not been for British interference in this country and the resulting political conflict, these people would not be in prison. Their commitment to building a better Ireland was the reason for their involvement in the struggle for freedom and it is that same political ideal which drives them in their commitment and determination to see a peaceful conclusion to this struggle.
Ógra Shinn Féin will address this issue on Saturday, 22 December, with a day of action in west Tyrone. There will be solidarity vigils held for republican prisoners in both Strabane and Omagh. The Strabane vigil will assemble at 2pm at the Bridge Street/Melmount Road junction. In Omagh, people are being asked to assemble in the Sinn Féin Centre at 12 noon. We are asking people to attend these demonstrations of support for our comrades, especially at this time of year.
SEÁN MAC GIOLLA EASPAIG,
Ógra Shinn Féin,
An Strath Bán
The Lisbon Treaty
WITH the signing of the Lisbon Treaty by Bertie on our behalf we can now expect the full force of bureaucratic Europe to turn towards pressuring us to vote for ratification?
Soon a variety of European leaders will appear on our TVs, telling us how it is for the greater good and how all our lives will be improved. Perhaps a few unelected civil servants from Brussels will also grace us with their presence to dictate to us their desired result and maybe chastise us for daring to put their plans for Europe in jeopardy. After all, it worked for them with Nice or rather Nice 2.
The Government will, through their media puppets and tame talking heads, attempt to demonise the ‘No’ campaign, linking us to every fringe group and extreme faction in Europe. They will hold vague threats of repercussions and marginalisation over our heads, conveniently forgetting the EU’s attempts to standardise business tax across Europe, a move that will finally kill the Celtic Tiger.
I am in favour of a united Europe, just not the one we seem to be moving towards. My Europe is one where all the nations are equal, irrespective of size; where basic human and civil rights are supported and defended, not eroded by faceless bureaucrats; and where the leaders and decision-makers are elected by and held accountable to the public.
We must all work together to prevent the Lisbon Treaty from being imposed on the citizens of Europe. History has shown us many times that unaccountable leaders controlling strong central bureaucracies lead to dictators, oppression and war. This might be our last chance to prevent the formation of another imperialist superpower.