1 September 2005 Edition

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Mála Poist - the republican letters' page

Unionists in Leinster House

A Chara,

Political parties and their membership island wide that refuse to work towards re-unification are in my mind as unionist as any party that openly considers itself to be of that persuasion. For it is their actions or lack of action, that supports the current political status of six Irish counties being part of the United Kingdom.

Take Fine Gael for instance. Enda Kenny has come out and said that his party will in no way support the call for northern representatives to have speaking rights in the Oireachtas and it wasn't too long ago that John Bruton claimed he was a proud 'Home Ruler', boasting that his proudest moment as Taoiseach was the visit of Para chief Prince Charles.

Just as Sinn Féin and its members are tagged as 'republicans' and rightly so, it is now time that parties working against Irish unity be rightly referred to as 'unionists'. Sinn Féin members must do so in our dealings with the media, with friends and any debate, formal and informal that we take part in.

Is mise,

Cllr Noel Campbell,

Castlebar, County Mayo

Neglect of 16 Moore Street

A Chara,

Dublin City Council could do more to preserve the building at 16 Moore Street, where Irish revolutionaries and nation-builders surrendered after the Easter Rising in 1916.

Under the Derelict Sites Act 1990 a Local Authority can serve a notice on the owner or occupier of a neglected or derelict building requiring them to undertake works to prevent the building from becoming, or continuing to be derelict or neglected. If the owner does not comply with the notice the Local Authority can carry out the works itself and charge the owner. It seems clear that 16 Moore Street is neglected. Over to you, Dublin City Council.

Ciarán Cuffe TD

A Chara,

I would totally agree with everything that was said in the article in An Phoblacht on 18 August last about 16 Moore Street. Unfortunately it is not the first time that Free State Governments have ignored the plight of important buildings.

The house where Kevin Barry was born is no more, a plaque on the building states that this is the house where he was born, but this is not so, the original house was demolished.

A few years ago I went to see the work which was done to 27 Pearse Street, Dublin, the house where Pádraig Pearse was born. The house was restored by the Ireland Institute. Major surgery was required to bring the house to what you see today.

The people involved in this restoration work must feel they did an excellent job, considering the very small amount of the original house which was left. But once again a serious crime was committed by successive governments for allowing this house to incur the abuse it did over the years.

I look forward to a more respectful outcome to number 16 Moore Street and wish everyone involved total success. Keep up the fight.

Paul Demange, Secretary,

Martin Hurson/Joe Mac Manus Cumann, Longford

Safe & legal

A Chara,

We welcomes the Irish Family Planning Association's Safe and Legal Campaign for abortion services. It is regrettable that the campaign does not encompass the whole of Ireland. This should be an All-Ireland campaign.

We recognise the reality that 6,000 to 7,000 Irish women each year find themselves in crisis pregnancy situations with the added financial and emotional burden of having to travel to England for abortions. It is not the same women travelling each year, and over 111,000 Irish women have made this journey to England since 1980. This means that we all know someone and probably have a close relation who has had an abortion in England. This is part of the reality of women's experience in today's Ireland.

Despite the severe restriction on abortion in Ireland, our abortion rate is similar to other European countries where abortion is legal. The difference is that we export the problem of crisis pregnancy.

Abortion is not, and should never be seen as, desirable or as a substitute for contraception, but rather must be a last resort option within a comprehensive, free family planning service and in the context of a relevant and effective sex and social education programme.

Sinn Féin must now face up to this issue and open a rational and mutually respectful internal debate. We recognise that feelings run high on both sides, but avoiding the issue is no answer. In the context of the IFPA's campaign we can no longer keep our collective head, ostrich-like, in the sand. It's time we faced up to our responsibilities as a political party, and stopped relying on England to solve this problem. If we are serious about creating an Ireland of Equals we can no longer avoid this debate.

Pauline Humphreys and Sharon Walsh,

Port Láirge

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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