22 July 2004 Edition
Sinn Féin and the economy
In response to Robbie Smyth's piece last week on the recent Examiner articles in respect of Sinn Féin economic policies, it is time to move beyond arguments about the motivation for such pieces and simply respond to the points being made. We should take it as a given that the establishment media will try to generate a climate of public unease about what republican policies will mean, if and when those policies are implemented.
The Examiner pieces were fair in so far as the economists invited to comment on Sinn Féin's policies were described as subscribing to current economic thinking (and were, therefore, no friends to a radical left-wing alternative). And the Examiner did give space to the Sinn Féin view, articulated by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. His assessment that Sinn Féin is on a learning curve in respect of its approach to economic policies was a refreshingly honest acknowledgement that we don't have all the answers just yet. It is just a pity that he didn't have access to some of the points made by Robbie Smyth in relation to where those policies originated.
What emerged from the articles was that Sinn Féin policy is skewed in favour of the weak and underprivileged in our society and (as Robbie suggests) there is nothing to apologise for in that. However, the central thrust of the Examiner articles was that specific policies enunciated by Sinn Féin will mean huge costs to the Exchequer and that these will only be met by a huge rise in taxation.
Make no mistake about it, this is the bogey that the opposition will employ to frighten working people off voting for Sinn Féin in future elections.
For its part, Sinn Féin nationally will have to convince the public that its policies are doable, without putting an enormous additional burden on the PAYE sector and on the wider economy. Aside from its work on the peace process, this is arguably the greatest challenge facing Irish republicans today.
Still no signal
I have e-mailed TG4, TV3, RTE and Ntl as to the disparity of TG4/RTE/ TV3 availability in the North. Why is there no attempt by RTE to make TG4 available via Ntl? This would help viewers in Derry and Belfast at least.
It is six years since the Good Friday Agreement and this important all-Ireland dimension has yet to be realised. I still haven't received a reply.
Cathal Ó Donnaile,
Does the outcome of the Butler Report show that the term 'British Intelligence' is an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the last two syllables?