15 September 2005 Edition
Fianna Fáil's ballroom dancers
Bertie and the party faithful are having a bit of a backslapping hooly in Cavan. I suppose you could call it a moral boosting exercise. Cavan would be in my estimation a lot safer place to have it than say, Donegal 'the poorest county in Ireland', which has the highest poverty levels, the highest number of job losses, whose once busy industrial estates now resemble a lunar landscape.
Now the landscape around the Slieve Russell Hotel is quite different and the hotel itself is one of the best in Europe and owned by a self-made multi-millionaire who has created employment for scores of people. It has beautiful gardens, a fantastic golf course, where over the coming days deals may be done or lost and the odd brown envelope picked out from the bushes when retrieving the golf ball, it's only a thought' or is it?
With a strong wind blowing and Bertie doing more u-turns than a ballroom dancer, anyone down wind in Fermanagh or Tyrone will smile to themselves when they hear Bertie once again proclaim his new found republicanism, after two or three pints councillors and TDs alike will sing a verse or two of Kevin Barry or Seán South and discuss the medals their fathers or grandfathers got in the fight for independence, conveniently overlooking the fact that we are still not really an independent state. Anyway, after a few days to sober up and claim your expenses, and God only knows who'll pick up the tab, it will be back to normal. The factories still empty because the birds are still nesting in them and they cannot be disturbed until after the next elections. And bar all speaking rights for Sinn Féin councillors if they dare to mention a united Ireland when they put a motion forward to discuss the subject in the council chambers. Some things just never seem to change.
PSNI and paramilitaries
I note that Mr Hain has stated categorically that no former paramilitary personnel will be allowed to enlist in the PSNI. From that position you can see the the Brits don't ALWAYS fail to learn from their mistakes.
In 1921, when the wee statelet was set up, the RUC the A, B and C Specials were taken en masse from the ranks of the technically illegal terrorist army known as the UVF ( as an aside- most in the world don't know that the UVF predates the IRA by several years).
People like myself, who grew up in occupied Ulster will remember, too well, what kind of selectively oppressive law enforcement agency was created by that. And, I mean to say, its bad enough that so many of the PSNI are also members of the intrinsically bigoted Orange Order and the Masonic Temples without the likes of Constable J (Mad Dog) Adair coming knocking on your door in the dead of night.
Patrick O' Donnell,