6 November 2008 Edition

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All-Ireland action on suicide needed

THE people of Ireland need to call for all-Ireland measures to address the issue of suicide in Irish society. Suicide has only recently become recognised as an illness in Ireland but it is an illness that can be prevented and treated successfully if diagnosed early.
It is time in Ireland that the illness that causes suicide is brought out into the open and discussed as an illness, not a stigma that has to be covered up.   
In the last Dáil, the Health and Children Committee published the report, The High Level of Suicide in Irish Society. The report was especially critical of the state of our mental health services. It points out that people with mental illness are known to be at greater risk of death by suicide but “the type of mental health service one can access is a matter of luck”.
The report places a special emphasis on the need to raise awareness and to put in place support and response systems within the education system. This is extremely important and is surely an area where resources can be shared and joint all-Ireland programmes undertaken. The governments need to explore in detail how much of this work can be done more effectively in a joint North-South approach. There should be direct and ongoing co-operation between departments in Dublin and Belfast and between the different committees.
The health services could act more effectively if they act together.
County Mayo


Deeply offensive parade

It is a disgrace that the British Army was allowed to parade through the heart of Belfast on Sunday 2 November. So much for the British government’s commitment to bringing communities in the north of Ireland towards peaceful co-operation. The events on the day showed that it totally divided the people of Belfast. This act was a serious offence against the Nationalist and republican community. The Royal Irish Regiment, and its forerunner the Ulster Defence Regiment, have an appaling history of harassment, intimidation, assault, even killings in the nationalist and republican community, as has the whole of the British Army. The British government and unionists supporting this event need to understand the level of hurt and pain inflicted within that community by the British army. It is still a running sore as no apology or statement of fault has been forthcoming from the government, in fact they cover up the facts. It has been stated that the war is over, but it seems that the adage “The first casualty of war is truth” has been amended by the British government to become “The first casualty of the Peace Process is truth”! Perhaps the fact that Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was once part of the Conservative & Unionist Party means he can’t divorce himself from Unionist principles?
For the Nationalist citizens of Belfast, and those bereaved by the British Army, the parade was deeply offensive. They have been treated as second class citizens throughout the existence of the northern state.  This march reinforced that position. Is this the message the British Government want to give those who have supported the Peace Process? Is the British Government committed to parity of esteem for all communities in the north of Ireland or still giving supremacy to the Unionists and Loyalists.
The march should not have been allowed. We congratulate all those who protested against this insult. We will continue to work to expose British atrocities in the north of Ireland and to demand total British withdrawal from Ireland.
Mary Pearson,
Troops Out Movement. 


Paisley Jnr’s Taser ‘joke’

IAN PAISLEY JNR’S comment to the DUP annual conference audience that he would like to see Sinn Féin’s Human Rights spokesperson, Martina Anderson, “Tasered” surely calls into question his suitability to sit on the Policing Board.
His excuse that he was only joking is weak and self-serving.
What next from Ian Paisley Jnr – ‘jokes’ about wife beating and the police shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes?
Russell Brand at least resigned from the BBC and Jonathan Ross was suspended by the BBC. What will the DUP do?

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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