13 March 2008 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
Save Tara campaign says thanks
I want to send this letter of gratitude to Gerry Adams MP MLA for his greetings to the Save Tara campaign and his congratulations for the hard work thus far of the people living at the camps at Tara and Rath Lugh on behalf of the entire campaign. Everyone in this campaign owes you a great debt of gratitude. I would like to invite you, Mr. Adams (let us know if you are going to come so we can give you a tour of the Valley and the destruction), and all republicans to come to the Tara/Skyrne Valley in County Meath and see for themselves the destruction that the construction of the M3 motorway has caused so far and the destruction it continues to do. Please come see the Valley, the ancient heart of Ireland, in its mostly pristine condition while you still can before this government destroys it forever (not if we have anything to say about it). In addition, we ask you, Mr. Adams, and Sinn Féin to support the SDLP Private Members Motion on Tara being put forward by Carmel Hanna MLA. Once again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Gerry Adams. Go raibh míle maith agat. Save Tara!
COLM MAC NIALLAIS,
Did you march in ‘68 & ‘69?
THIS YEAR marks the 40th anniversary of the transformation of the Civil Rights Association, established in ‘67 as a lobby group, into a mass movement following the dramatic events on Duke Street on 5 October 1968. In recent months a broadly-based committee was established in Cookstown, by key activists in those days, with the aim of organising a programme of commemorative events across the Six Counties, and beyond.
Over recent weeks a Programme Implementation Group was formed in Derry with the support of several local people then active on diverse civil rights issues, not least Springtown Camp, boundary extension, voting rights, lack of housing, repressive laws and unemployment. The Derry PIGroup is anxious to widen and deepen its commemorative plans in the near future. We are conscious that we have not been able to make contact with everyone who was active at a central or local level within the civil rights movement. Thus this appeal for their solidarity in marking this highly historic anniversary, in an appropriate manner, with an educational emphasis on learning lessons for the future from this pivotal era of social change via passive resistance.
We wish to make audio-visual recordings to add to existing archives and are currently engaged with TV documentary makers and other sections of the mass media. The period we intend to commemorate will be the events before and after Duke Street in 1968 with the Belfast to Derry ‘Burntollet March’ chosen as the cut-off day in early January 2009. Anyone interested in assisting this project are cordially invited to make contact with our temporary office, either by phone, 028-71-286359 (after 6pm) or by e-mail, [email protected]
Derry Programme Co-ordinator,
1968 Commemoration Committee
Cathal Ó Searcaigh controversy
AFTER WATCHING Neasa Ní Chianáin’s excellent film Fairytale of Kathmandu, I find it nauseating to witness the list of luminaries – poets artists and Seantors – rally to the defence of the indefensible.
It is very clear that the “boys” (Cathal Ó Searcaigh’s own words) with whom the poet had sexual relations in Nepal were shockingly poor by western European standards and that their relationship with this realtively rich, middle-aged westerner was a grotesquely unequal one. This is nothing short of the most blatant exploitation.
Ó Searcaigh is clearly a man in denial who sees nothing wrong in his actions. He needs to be disabused of this notion not encouraged or enabled by the so-called ‘beautiful set’ in Ireland.
To suggest that the expose of Ó Searcaigh’s activities in Nepal is homophobic, as some have, does a disservice to the cause of equality of treatment for gay people. The pertinent issue has nothing to do the issue of sexual orientation but with the abuse of power. Senator David Norris in particular did not do himself or the cause of equality any favours with his pathetic atempts in the Seanad to stop the broadcast of Fairytale of Kathmandu by RTÉ. So this is what it has come to? A self-proclaimed liberal calling for the banning of TV documetaries and advising that a committee of our betters in the Oireachtsa view the contents before the ‘great unwashed’ can be allowed see it? What next, the burning of books?
It also amazes me to see those defending Ó Seraciagh, allegedly in the interests of ‘fair play,’ beat up on a woman such as Neasa Ní Chianáin for her temerity in bringing to the attention of the Irish people a major issue of public interest. She is to be commended for her courage.
SEOSAIMH Ó TUATHAIL,
Baile Átha Claith 3.
Legislate to protect agency workers
WITH Social Partnership talks commencing soon and downward pressure on wages exerted by Government, the situation regarding Agency Workers takes on an added significance. The increased employment of Agency Workers, who are not subject to the same rights as Irish workers in pay, conditions or union Membership, is a sign of the onslaught against workers’ rights and conditions. Agency workers are mostly but not exclusively from Eastern Europe. They are open to exploitation by unscrupulous employers who use an anomaly in EU employment laws to undercut rights and conditions afforded to Irish workers in the same job. We have already seen such unscrupulous employers at work with companies such as Doyle Concrete, GAMA Construction and Irish Ferries.
Against this background Sinn Féin, along with the Labour Party, in Leinster House tabled a joint motion calling on the Government to introduce legislation protecting the rights of agency workers. Our MEP’s have also supported attempts at EU level to introduce such legislation covering all 27 Member states.
Three governments are blocking this legislation. The Fianna Fail/PD/Green Government is one of them. The Taoiseach who, until shamed into a reversal, was prepared to accept an increase in his salary which is over three times the average industrial wage. He is now telling ordinary workers to “tighten our belts”.
In the context of upcoming pay talks, it is in the interests of the government to allow the ongoing exploitation of agency workers to facilitate the “race to the bottom” of pay and conditions of all workers. Legislation affording agency workers the same rights and conditions as Irish workers would reverse this downward pressure and protect the pay and conditions of all workers.
I would ask that all of those who support all workers in Ireland put as much pressure as possible on their local politicians and to force FF, the PD’s and the Green Party to introduce such legislation as a matter of urgency and to desist from blocking such legislation in the EU. The issue takes on an added importance in the context of the Lisbon Treaty debate.
PRO, Sinn Féin, Trim,