4 August 2005 Edition
Litreacha do eagarthóir An Phoblacht
May I through your paper commend the entire leadership of the Republican Movement who have shown nothing but extreme courage and leadership through this very intense phase of our struggle.
For the first time in our history we have a leadership who are capable of delivering what all our Volunteers paid the ultimate sacrifice for through the decades of war.
Cllr Anthony Kelly,
An Phoblacht — events as they happened
Whilst listening and reading the 'same old, same old' publications of 28 July last, of serious events unfolding, I was very pleased to pic up An Phoblacht. It was an excellent issue with the pages packed with historical and republican events, throughout the years. Events as they happened and not fables of the gutter press.
I have been reading An Phoblacht since the late '80s and except for the issue dedicated to the life and death of Joe Cahill, this is without doubt the best issue in years.
Congratulations to all at An Phoblacht. More of the same please !
Baile Atha Cliath.
An Daingean vs Dingle
I was extremely angered to read the deeply insulting commentary of some of our comrades in An Phoblacht of 21 July, regarding the position of our county councillors in Kerry in relation to the Dingle/An Daingean debate. I must say I find it somewhat amusing, if not disturbing, that such staunch Irish republicans would use such notable papers as the Irish Independent as a source for their information.
Maybe for future reference our comrades would actually get their information from the horse's mouth rather than relying on the somewhat limited reporting of the Indo et al.
Kerry Sinn Féin's position was made quite clear at the meeting of Kerry County Council when Cllr Toiréasa Ní Fhearaíosa warned the meeting that the use of a plebiscite to decide the issue of Dingle/Daingean could have serious consequences for Dingle when the Gaeltacht regions are being redrawn in 2007. Also, and this might come as a surprise to your readers, there was actually no vote taken by Kerry County Council in relation to the holding of plebiscite so therefore we did not support the holding of such a plebiscite.
I trust that this clarifies our position and I sincerely hope that it lifts the wool from the eyes of Pádraig Ó Sé ó Baile Atha Cliath and the anonymous Gaeilgeoir Poblachtánach.
Irish republicans believing what they read in the papers! What next; Kevin Myers writing for An Phoblacht. I would never have believed it.
Sin scéal eile,
PRO Kerry Sinn Féin.
Given the numerous letters from Comrade Hogan on the legalisation of cannabis I judged his use of the word "reality" Mála Poist of 21 July with a jaundiced eye. However, his advocating the act of a man or woman selling their bodies for sex as merely a business arrangement is clearly ludicrous. Does he also believe that those working in the sweat-shops of the world or those forced to work for minimum wages have also come to a business arrangement and that this is therefore no business of the State?
For me the link between prostitution, poverty and its accompanying social problems and the exploitation of women under capitalism cannot and should not be condoned. It is our duty as socialist republicans to challenge the inequalities of a market which subjugates one person's sexual behaviour for the gratification of another. The recognition of the ugly side of prostitution is not a "moral commentary" but an ideological one. Does comrade Hogan believe that when a prostitute sells their body to another they are being treated with the tenets of freedom, equality and fraternity by the customer? And if so how does he explain the high rate of suicide, drug addiction and victims of violence amongst that profession.
Shane Mac Thomais,
In response to Brendan Hogan's letter of 21 July criticising the An Phoblacht article of 13 July on human trafficking and prostitution, I would take issue with not only his interpretation of the article but also his views on prostitution in general.
He objects to the "moral commentary" in the article in question. Well, what's wrong with morals? They don't have to be Christian or Catholic ones. In order to live in a peaceful and just society free from exploitation, certain boundaries have to be set on various types of excessive human behaviour. Rights and freedoms of the individual have to be balanced by responsibilities and obligations to society in general.
Brendan Hogan further states that "the reality is that prostitution is overwhelmingly a matter of consensual sex between adults." While some prostitutes are from comfortable backgrounds whose involvement is consensual and without economic pressure, for most this is not the reality. Most become involved through sheer economic necessity and this is most explicitly seen through the dangerous street prostitution involving mostly young people feeding heroin habits. There isn't much choice for these unfortunate victims.
In poorer parts of the world such as the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc armies of prostitutes (many of whom are underage) service the needs of rich Western tourists and soldiers. The basic point is that prostitution is essentially based on an unequal economic power relationship of rich and poor upon which our world is currently built.
Bláithín Ní Bhroin,
An Chabrach, Baile Átha Cliath 7.
Make Irish unity election issue
I often wonder why the British Government stays in Ireland. On reflection it seems to me that one of the major obstacles to a united Ireland is the attitude of the Dublin Government/political establishment and the Dublin -based media. As far as they are concerned the Six Counties is a different country and is not part of the Irish nation. After all the Dublin Minister responsible for affairs in the Six Counties is the Minster for Foreign Affairs.
It is clear that the Dublin establishment does not want an Ireland united and free. They are afraid that such an Ireland would mean the end of their privileged position and bring about a new political dynamic on the island of Ireland. They are scared of this. There is only one way of changing this mentality and it is by making the issue of the re-unification of Ireland the key issue in every election in the 26 Counties from now on.
Fr Joe McVeigh,
Contae Fhear Manach.
Recently, a reader complained about those beyond the Pale who usually cheer for anybody playing against Dublin. He said that such prejudice could hardly be explained by the Dubs' sporting dominance. In the same way, one supposes, that anti-Engerland soccer prejudice around the globe is hardly down to English football dominance.
Could it possibly be that in both cases the hostility is down to some supporters of both teams — including Dublin based journalists — whose own sporting eyesight is infected by the presumption that their team ought to be the best and usually is the best, being beaten only because of poor refereeing, dirty play by opponents and sheer hard luck? Oh, and that hardy annual, bad management.
Sadly and bafflingly, An Phoblacht contributes to these delusions as the apologia for Ciarán Whelan's failed assassination attempt on a Wexford player recently indicates. This was an example of Dublin 'resolve', according to Matt Treacy's laddish comment.
Meanwhile, sporting coverage in the 32-County Republican newspaper for Irish people, North, South, East, West and abroad, gives the impression that the paper is in the grip of some perverse form of partitionism with Dublin being the centre and extent of the Irish nation.
Steelroe, Killorglin, County Kerry
PS: Please do not publish full address as Dub fans can be a threatening lot when riled.
Tara and M3
In recent media pictures, the Hill of Tara is clearly visible from the site of the M3 Tara Interchange. It also appears that heavy mechanical diggers are being used in the excavation of the Tara Valley.
Many in Meath are concerned that the visual impact of this M3 Interchange at Tara may have a detrimental effect on the appeal of Tara, both as a heritage site and a tourist venue.
Time and time again, the crucial question of whether the M3 and the Blundelstown Tara Interchange would be visible from the Hill of Tara has been raised. And as many times, both the government and the NRA have stated categorically that the M3 would not be visible from the hill. However, it is now entirely evident that this massive interchange at the foot of the Hill will indeed be visible from Tara, and this now poses grave questions.
Given Tara's importance to the areas of heritage and tourism in County Meath, why was the foot of Tara chosen for a 28-acre interchange? Why have government Ministers including our own local Minister, Noel Dempsey, repeatedly stated that the Tara Interchange would not be visible from Tara when there is now clear photographic evidence to the contrary?
It is essential that the Ministers Dempsey, Roche, and Cullen respond to these concerns, and explain why assertions that the M3 would not be visible from the hill have now been proved so spectacularly incorrect, and so factually inaccurate. Meath needs infrastructure, but Meath also needs its heritage.
Cllr Joe Reilly,
Meath County Council,
Navan, County Meath.