22 May 2003 Edition
Demand the right to vote
On Saturday 24 May the Wolfe Tone Society (WTS) invites you to join them and others from the Irish Community in Britain on a march past Downing Street, Westminister, to demand the right to vote for the people of North of Ireland and the immediate reinstatement of elections.
At this present time the British government once again is using the Unionist veto to block democratic elections in the North of Ireland. All parties bar the Official Unionist party are against the delaying of elections. The people of the North of Ireland deserve the right to vote like all other people in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.
The (14-year) Stevens' inquiry has revealed, as many of us suspected, the direct collusion between loyalist death squads and British military intelligence in the North of Ireland.
And, again, British Intelligence is trying to blacken the name of the republican movement by making out that there was a high-ranking informer within its ranks. There has yet to be any proof given of an informer, but not with standing this, the British and Irish media are gorging themselves on this security led propaganda and utilising it as a means to discredit Sinn Féin in Ireland. It is significant that this attempt by British Intelligence is being made at a time when the Unionist Party is in freefall, both politically and physically. We need to see through the obvious assault that is designed to sow the seeds of discontent within the republican movement, prop up the Unionist Party and save Private Trimble.
The Good Friday Agreement was agreed by over 85% of the people of all of Ireland in 1998 and Tony Blair's government today continues to deny the implementation of its principles. This is a repeat of the 1919 All-Ireland elections, when over 80% of the population of Ireland demanded independence, the then British government vetoed the legitimate aspiration of the Irish people and set up a sectarian Fascist state that saw Catholics treated as third-class citizens in their own country.
We urge you to join this march to show your support for Sinn Féin and the struggle for Irish freedom. The march will assemble on Tothill Street, off Parliament Square, Westminister, central London at 12 noon. A rally with a prominent member of Sinn Féin and other speakers from the Irish Community in Britain and Ireland as well as from the Palestinian Solidarity campaign will be held at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn from 2.30pm.
Peter Middleton PRO
Wolfe Tone Society,
BM Box 6191,
Unionists having it both ways
After years of telling us that Sinn Féin was the IRA and vice versa, the unionists and the two governments now tell us that Gerry Adams could not be assumed to be reflecting the views of the IRA in his clarification of their April statement. Come off it!
This has been a red herring designed to disguise their real concern that David Trimble cannot bring the majority of unionists with him.
There has been much media hype about pressure on Sinn Féin, but where is this pressure coming from? Only from Iraqi warmongering governments of Blair, Bush and Ahern, who seek to repeat the methods of the Iraqi war or the Nice Treaty referendum of regarding the public as merely a rubber stamp who will approve decisions they have already taken, when in fact public dissatisfaction is with them.
This dissatisfaction can become evident in the coming local, European, Presidential and general elections in the 26 Counties.
Friend of the Bosnian Institute,
Rescuing our history
I am totally in agreement with the letter from Veronique Crombé in the latest issue of An Phoblacht. Fortunately, since she wrote to you it appears that 16 Moore Street has been saved. But there is one other building in that immediate vicinity which certainly deserves the same preservation.
On Parnell St, just around the corner from Number 16, is the building that housed Tom Clarke's tobacconist and newsagency, where much of the Rising was planned. The Rotunda Hospital, where the men from the GPO were held overnight on the lawn after their surrender, is just across the road. From there on the following morning they were marched off to jail and, some of them, to execution.
If the Corpo is sincere about wanting to revitalise Upper O Connell Street and bringing in a 'better class of clientele', as the city manager said on RTE,they should be preserving Tom Clarke's. By making it part of an Easter Rising focus area, stretching from the GPO to the Rotunda, with appropriate historical information available, they could draw in numbers of tourists both from Ireland and abroad.
People flock to Kilmainham Jail for its historical connections. Those who do are certainly a 'good class of clientele'. Bringing similar people into the GPO-Moore St-Tom Clarke triangle could only enhance that whole area and go a long way toward making it a world class heritage area, like the Liberty Hall area in Philadelphia or the Bastille in Paris.
This is surely a worthwhile undertaking for Sinn Féin!
Protest for the right to vote
Once a man had to wait for a moonless night to leave his family to steal a turnip from the landlord's fields, knowing that if he was caught the penalty was death. Men, women and children picked stones from fields, sun up, sun down, seven days a week to put food on the table. Women, wrapped in blankets walked the streets begging for food to feed their frail and starving children. This was Ireland under British rule.
The Irish people rebelled and said 'you can kick me, you can starve me, but you will no longer take my dignity'. The fight for equality, democracy and independence started 800 years ago, and it's still going.
Ireland is a divided country. Young or old, we must all stand up and not let the British government, or the Dublin government, try to bring us down the road of our ancestors.
Taking the fundamental right of voting from people is not justified. We must not let the Dublin government forget that over two million people voted for the Good Friday Agreement, and who gives Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern the right to tell people that they can't vote?
Irish men and Irish women have given their lives for democracy.
I cannot understand why the two governments would come this far, and regress to treating people like they did in the '70s. Have they forgotten all the civil rights marches? They say they do not trust Sinn Féin and the IRA, but who is working loyalist death squads, bugging cars, phones, offices, and houses, and planting informers?
And yet the unionists and the two governments have the cheek to say that the IRA have not gone far enough.
Without Sinn Féin, and the unprecedented moves by the IRA, there would be no peace process, and we should remind politicians of this every chance we get.
Write to your local politicians, and protest outside their offices - let them know that we want a democratic state, that can't be held ransom to unionist demands.
Collusion and the British media
The Stevens' Enquiry found that the RUC, now the PSNI, the British military, loyalist groups, Special Branch and senior members of the establishment, were colluding to murder members of the nationalist/republican communities. The announcement was made when Parliament was in recess. This limited the opportunity for debate. The British media carried the story, but coverage was, to say the least, minimal.
The revelations concerning the alleged informer 'Stakeknife' and his relationship with the British Intelligence Service is receiving saturation coverage and will run and run. The debate that should be at the forefront of media attention is the above mentioned Stevens' Enquiry.
Innocent people were murdered because of their religious or political views, with the knowledge and it would seem backing of the British government and its agencies.
To add to the problems faced by the nationalist/republican communities, Tony Blair and his sidekick David Trimble have postponed the forthcoming Stormont elections, leaving the nationalist/republican people with no political representation whatsoever.
The Good Friday Agreement is a starting point for a political solution to the problems. Blair must reinstate the elections and any form of collaboration that led to the murders of innocent people must cease. The nationalist/republican communities and their leaders wholeheartedly backed the Good Friday Agreement. The media must be allowed to openly debate the problems facing these people. This must include political representation for every person living in the Six Counties. If we have a free and independent media this will happen. However if the British media is an integral tool of the system, we will not have a debate. I sincerely hope that the debate will happen!
Recently I took a walk down Fleet Street Dublin in the hope that I would not see just what successive Free State Governments are capable of - but there it was, (or wasn't as in this case.) The house in which Kevin Barry was born has been demolished and replaced with an apartment block. On the ground floor there is a place called 'The House of Rock' and just over this sign is a very large portrait type window and between these two is a plaque that used to be on Kevin's true house. The plaque reads "In this house was born Kevin Barry on 20 January 1902. He died for Ireland 1 November 1920."
Once again, these people have shown us just what they are capable of. What a pity none of them bothered to show respect and importance to Kevin and his birthplace as they appeared to show to his final resting place.
The same faith awaits 16 Moore Street unless massive pressure is brought to bear on all who are responsible. There is no doubt that the Dublin government along with Dublin City Council would find it easy to give in to Property Developers as they have done so many times in the past. We now have Dublin City Council considering an area in the GPO devoted to the remembrance of 16 Moore Street.
Recently I posted an item in a Post Office in a large Midland Town, its destination was Co. Meath, on examining my receipt it read, "destination Ireland, 26 Counties"!
Do you get the idea?
Paul Demange PRO 078-38814. Cloonart,
Martin Hurson/Joe MacManus Cumainn