21 July 2005 Edition
Litreacha do An Phoblacht
An Daingean v Dingle
I am extremely disappointed at the weak position adopted by Sinn Féin councillors in Kerry on the issue of An Daingean. It is quite right that official signage in this Gaeltacht area should be in Irish only, as provided for in Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla. There is nothing to stop commercial signs still using the English version, Dingle, which will also continue to appear on road maps etc. The issue is clear-cut and was well described by Roibeárd Ó hEartáin in Mála Poist on 7 July. The plebiscite proposal from Senator Joe O'Toole is a dodge that has more to do with maintaining his own profile and feeding his insatiable hunger for publicity. Our councillors should not have supported it.
Má táimid i ndáiríre faoin nGaeilge ba chóir dúinn seasamh ar a son 'go daingean'.
Baile Átha Cliath.
I am disappointed and astounded to hear that Sinn Féin in Kerry are giving backing to a plebiscite calling for the English name of Dingle to be restored on the signage of a Gaeltacht town in West Kerry that is properly known as An Daingean. This type of politics is nothing more than the pettiest of pandering to the most narrow-minded type of tunnel-visioned populism. As an avowedly Irish republican party, we shouldn't be afraid to stand up for what is right, even if it is not popular. As we are committed to the restoration of the Irish language as the dominant spoken language on our island, such a move can only move such a process back. Part of the process of restoring Irish is to encourage usage of Irish placenames. If this can't be done in a Gaeltacht area, what hope is there that this can be achieved throughout the island as there are plenty of pro-imperialist, anti-Irish bigots in this country who want to finish off our national tongue. And in any case, it is Sinn Féin policy, as endorsed at the last Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, to support the Official Languages Act 2003: among its provisions is that only Irish placenames are to be used officially in Gaeltacht areas. If Kerry Sinn Féin wish to pursue their policy of Cromwellian nomenclature, I suggest that they argue for this at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis!
Pádraig Ó Sé,
Baile Atha Cliath.
Free Seán Kelly
Seán Kelly was arrested on 18 June at the be-hest of unionist politicians. Mr Kelly was a familiar face 'on the front line' marshalling, along with other ex-republican POWs, at the Ardoyne interface. His presence there along with the other ex-POWs was to defuse tensions in the area.
Peter Hain by interning Seán Kelly has bowed to the pressure of unionist rejectionists who have nothing to offer the Peace Process. Once again the unionists and their cohorts in the British establishment are trying to put republicans on the back foot, this will not happen.
Peter Hain is using Seán Kelly as a scapegoat to flex his muscles. Ógra Shinn Féin in conjunction with the Free Seán Kelly campaign have been evident in our opposition to the imprisonment of Seán. This opposition will continue until a the British Government abandons its petty attempt to demonise and demoralise the republicans.
West Tyrone, Ógra Shinn Féin.
I write in relation to the report in the last issue of An Phoblacht (14/07/05) entitled 'Mary Lou voices concern over human trafficking'. The article covered a fairly innocuous statement made by Mary Lou calling for the government to act against human traffickers and those who facilitate the exploitation of vulnerable people.
I would take issue with the comment made by the author that "some middle-class commentators have propagated a rose-tinted view of prostitution as a private matter between consenting adults, the reality is much uglier".
I object to the insertion of such moral commentary into what is otherwise a straight news story, particularly when such comment is not backed up with evidence.
The "reality", whether the author likes it or not, is that prostitution is overwhelmingly a matter of consensual sex between adults. Advocates of sex workers' rights have pointed out that the issue of exploitation and human trafficking is often used to suggest that all sex workers are exploited, and that as the Catholic Church recently decreed 'nobody could possibly choose to be a prostitute'.
The "reality" is that, in countries where prostitution is legal, sex workers are able to operate in a safer environment. Like any industry which is driven underground (eg the drugs trade), criminals and gangs move in to make a profit. In countries like the Netherlands and Germany, there remains a problem with human trafficking and servitude, though a legal sex industry also exists. Therefore, there is no reason to suppose that the two are inextricably linked.
The "reality" is that the issue of human trafficking and sexual servitude is not the same thing as prostitution, and it is highly ignorant to conflate the two. The former is a serious criminal offence which should be severely punished. The latter is a business arrangement between adults and ought to be no business of the state.
Remembering Pearse's oration
I am writing to invite you to a major commemorative event taking place in August as part of Sinn Féin's Cead Bliain calendar of events.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Pádraig Pearse's famous graveside oration at the grave of legendary Fenian O'Donovan Rossa.
The commemoration will assemble at the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin at 2.30pm on Saturday 13 August.
With O'Donovan Rossa's close association with the prison struggle, the march will be led by ex-Republican POWs under An Cumann Cabhrach (Prisoners' Dependents) banner.
The march will end at O'Donovan Rossa's graveside in Glasnevin Cemetery.
Events at the cemetery will include music and song, a re-enactment of Pearse's oration, a speaker from the United States, where O'Donovan Rossa had a long association and readings from his book Irish Rebels in English Prisons.
The main address will be delivered by Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member and ex-POW Martina Anderson, who herself spent many years in jail in England.
We are asking all areas to mobilise for this commemoration.
Coiste Cuimhneacháin Atha Cliath,
58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.