8 April 2004 Edition

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Mála Poist

Reject armed EU superstate

A Chairde,

Article 42 of the proposed Constitution for Europe states in part that: "The Union and its Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the victim of terrorist attack or natural or man-made disaster. The Union shall mobilise all the instruments at its disposal, including the military resources made available by the Member States." Bertie Ahern successfully proposed that this Article be adopted as a political commitment at the recent meeting of EU heads of State and Government meeting in Brussels.

The adoption of this clause, ostensibly to bolster the fight against terrorism, foreshadows the Mutual Defence Pact enshrined in the proposed Constitution for Europe. "The common security and defence policy" it states, "shall include the progressive framing of a common defence policy for the Union. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides."

The decision to implement the provisions of the 'Solidarity Clause' and the specific arrangements for their implementation will be taken by the Council of Ministers acting on a joint proposal from the unelected Commission and the new Union Minister for Foreign Affairs. They will then inform the European Parliament. The request will be originated by the affected Member State. It should be noted that the definition of a terrorist act is discretionary on the part of the affected member state and that the implementation arrangements are then handed over totally to the EU.

This proposal from Bertie Ahern is a typical example of the methodical incremental progression towards a federal EU state with its own army. It is also part of the softening up process in preparation for the eventual referendum on the proposed Constitution for Europe, which includes the 'Mutual Defence Pact'.

The appropriate body to lead the fight against terrorism in the EU and elsewhere is the United Nations. The Irish Government should seek support for a resolution at the UN that would mandate that organisation to coordinate international action against terrorism.

But, not until all member nations recognise and strictly adhere to resolutions of the UN will terrorism of the kind recently and so tragically experienced in Spain be finally defeated. The invocation of the 'Solidarity Clause' at the instigation of Bertie Ahern echoes Bush's bypassing of the UN prior to the invasion of Iraq and should be rejected.

Frank Keoghan,

Co-ordinator, Peoples' Movement,

Dublin 9.

Loyalists in Limerick

A Chairde,

I wish to reply to the letter from John Canty, Cork (An Phoblacht 25 March), concerning the presence of a loyalist band at the International Band Competition in Limerick on Sunday 14 March.

This competition is somewhat beyond its best years owing to the absence of American bands and the greater attraction of the St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin. As a result it does not get the same amount of advance publicity in the local Limerick media as in previous years. And so, to be frank, Sinn Féin in Limerick was not aware in advance that this band were going to be participating in the competition. Had we known, we would have made an appropriate response. Also, on the day in question, many of our activists were attending a party meeting in Cork.

It is also worth noting that, according to our sources, while the band did indeed carry the Union Jack and other flags, these were furled and not openly flying. As for playing loyalist tunes and marching in their usual way (whatever that means), I cannot really comment, as I did not personally witness the event. On an historical note, it may be of interest to point out that in the early 1990s, this competition was also graced by the presence of the Tom Smith Republican Flute Band from Dublin, who on one occasion came away with one of the leading prizes.

Needless to say, Limerick Sinn Féin would not approve of the spectacle of loyalist bands marching down the main street of the city. Should such an event be contemplated again next year, we will of course make our views known and consider other appropriate courses of action to highlight the issue.

In relation to the state of Sinn Féin in Limerick, may I say that it has had its problems over the years, and those who know about these things will appreciate that, for a whole number of reasons, the party in Limerick has operated under very difficult circumstances. Our position is not made easier by having to endure sly digs in the pages of our own party newspaper.

On a final more positive note, Sinn Féin will be fielding candidates in Limerick city and county for the forthcoming local elections and a very active elective campaign is already underway.

Padraig Malone,

Cathaoirleach, Sinn Féin,

Limerick City.

Volunteer Peter Cleary

A Chairde,

Volunteer Peter Cleary, a member of the IRA's South Armagh brigade, was tortured and summarily shot by the SAS in April 1976.

Peter's daughter is seeking any information she can gather about her father's involvement in the republican struggle. Any information, reminiscences, songs or poems about her father will be greatly appreciated.

Readers who may be able to help should contact myself in the Monaghan Sinn Féin office, Dublin Road, Monaghan, Tel. (047) 82917.

Cllr Pádraigín Uí Murchadha,

Monaghan Sinn Féin.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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