7 August 2003 Edition
Plus ca change...
The renewed PSNI "investigation" into the murder, 29 years ago, of Cllr Patsy Kelly is an implicit admission that a proper inquiry was never carried out by the RUC. What I want to know is what happened to those RUC officers who failed to perform their basic policing duty over the past 29 years. Were they prosecuted, dismissed or even disciplined or are they now in the PSNI?
The SDLP's premature welcome for an internal PSNI re-investigation, before even consulting the Kelly family, seems to be a desperate attempt to justify their failure to insist on full implementation of Patten's proposals.
It was the PSNI that mysteriously lost, found and lost again the papers on the Kelly murder (if they ever existed) in a vain attempt to prevent the UTV esposé going out to the public. It was the PSNI that agreed with the Kelly family that nothing would be released to the press until they had collectively decided the way forward, only to break that trust by unilaterally announcing the new "inquiry" without even informing, never mind consulting, the bereaved family.
And it was the PSNI who, after 29 years, suddenly launched an internal inquiry when the family's long quest for a proper inquiry was to come up in court, just as new investigations and spurious charges are launched into the murder of Pat Finucane, when it seems that family are making progress towards a proper public inquiry.
Plus ca change...
Dr Seán Marlow.
Young men not wanted
I am extremley disappointed at the organisation of a "female only" youth weekend by the Sinn Féin youth department (the advertisement appeared in AP/RN 24 July). I am not sure what this event is set out to achieve; it gives no indication why ONLY women should attend.
In the past, youth weekends were the strong point of the youth structures and Ógra in general, combining an all-Ireland perspective and an all-inclusive agenda (both young and old attended as either speakers or facilatators, etc).
Why the change in direction? Every female member of Sinn Féin can tell you of the discrimination that they face within the party. So why organise an event to preach to the converted? It is my opinion that those most in need of education on this issue are those who are being excluded.
Ógra Shinn Féin
The Dr Neary case
I must add my voice in calling for a public inquiry into the scandal that has emerged in the Lourdes Hospital and has led to Dr Neary being struck off the medical register.
As a mother and grandmother I can only imagine the horror of being told that I had undergone a surgical procedure that stripped me of my womb and ensured that I would not be in a position to have any more children.
To discover that this act of barbarity was unnecessary, that my life, the life of my as yet unborn baby was never in jeopardy, that I need not have had to have been catapulted into the menopause prematurely, is a human tragedy beyond measure.
I am appalled that it has taken four years for the Medical Council to conclude its investigations and take action. Unfortunately, we may never know the full extent of the damage done to innocent women.
I cannot even pretend to imagine what these women and their families have suffered as a result of this practice. I can, however, question:
* Why it took two student nurses to bring this disgraceful savagery to an end?
* Why the other 'professionals', the consultants, anesthetists, etc, turned a blind eye?
* Why there is no proper accountability or monitoring in the medical profession?
* Why the hospital and NEHB management treated Dr Neary like a 'god' and failed to halt his barbaric treatment?
* Why did these women have to wait four years to have their complaints validated?
What's tragic about this case is that people's lives were shattered; these same people were treated with contempt by the hospital in question.
With this in mind, I feel that the way forward is a public inquiry. I take my hat off to the brave women and their families who persevered in their quest for justice. Their actions will play a major part in ensuring that this type of arrogance and savagry will no longer have a place to hide in our Health Service.
Bobby Sands Centre
SF can lead the Irish left
While I recently put my short political activist career to sleep, I nonetheless have maintained a strong interest in politics and in republican socialism. Thus, as a man who still genuinely believes that Sinn Féin has more to offer than any other mainstream party, I feel compelled to add my twopence worth to the debate going on in this paper recently between Justin Moran and others.
Sinn Féin is a party that genuinely has a lot going for it at the moment. It is a good, left wing, socialist party for the most part. However, Justin Moran has raised some valid points and has started an important debate on future direction. Such a debate is vital to maintaining a strong, stable, viable and relevant political entity.
Fine Gael are having problems because they are a boring, boring, boring (sorry I nodded off there for a second) party that don't mean a lot to anyone. They don't know what they stand for, even their traditional tag as the party of rich ultra-conservatives has been to an extent stolen from them by the PDs. Fine Gael will never have to worry about going below 25 to 30 seats, due to tradition, but additional seats can only be won by having a coherent message to offer people.
Sinn Féin in the 26 Counties does not have the advantage of tradition. I would imagine most Sinn Féin voters would come from Fianna Fáil or Labour traditions, rather than from lifelong Sinn Féin roots. Therefore, it is even more important for Sinn Féin to stand for something as, to be fair, it does.
Justin, however is quite right in pondering why higher taxes and an open opposition to Social Partnership did not feature in the 2002 campaign. The irony is most of the people who would be offended by such stances would be people who would already feel that Sinn Féin is far too left-wing and wouldn't vote for same in a million years.
To be honest, this infatuation with being electable can be taken too far; of course you want people to vote for you, but only if they understand what the party REALLY stands for. Perhaps I'm being naÔve here, but I still believe what Sinn Féin stands for is freedom and social justice. Is there anyone who genuinely believes that Sinn Féin has any more than two chances of being in a viable government in the near future? Those two chances are slim and none.
What Sinn Féin can reasonably be, however, is the leader of the Irish left, Labour are already running scared and should, if care is taken to emphasise the left wing socio-economic value of Sinn Féin, be overtaken within ten years or so.