10 November 2005 Edition
Ógra in 26 Counties
I read with interest Barry McColgan's excellent piece in last week's An Phoblacht on the importance of Ógra Shinn Féin and the developments and changes going on within it. Since Barry is Ógra's Six Counties' Organiser it is perhaps understandable that the bulk of his contribution dealt with issues of relevance to the Six Counties. But I suspect it points to a deeper problem — the seeming inability of Ógra in the South to campaign on issues separate to the North or the Process.
Extending the right to vote in Presidential elections to citizens in the Six Counties, demilitarisation and collusion are all issues worth fighting and Ógra needs to lead the way on them. But why is Ógra not leading a national campaign on a socio-economic issue that affects young people in the 26 Counties? Beyond a pale imitation of a campaign on car insurance and one or two small initiatives around the War on Iraq, Ógra has done little on issues of interest to southern young people in the last few years.
I am not saying Ógra should stop campaigning on Northern issues. If they don't do it few others will, but if it is to be attractive to the young people in Wexford and Waterford, Dublin and Galway, then it needs to change its focus a little, and realise that to be the 'cutting edge' Barry wants Ógra to be, and I believe it can be, it must appeal to young working class people in the 26 Counties on issues other than ensuring young working-class people in the North can elect a pointless functionary like Mary McAleese.
I also love Ulster
Within the last number of months a group has emerged styling itself 'Love Ulster'. The campaign at this early stage seems to be led by unionists who are singling their campaign to only one province in Ireland. I think the campaign would receive a major boost if they included the three provinces in the island left out of this campaign. We have no problem loving Ulster. I love Ulster too, as do I Connacht, Leinster and Munster. Maybe the campaign should be renamed 'Love Ireland'!
Love Ireland. Any Recruits?
Justice for All
The McCartney sisters have refused an award in London due to the presence of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The award was to be given in recognition of their fight for their brother. They said that they couldn't accept an award at an event which Thatcher was at. They said she had committed crimes against our country. I agree with this sentiment.
However, I have a problem with the handing out of such awards. Let me state that I believe everyone has the right to justice no matter who they are. This includes the McCartneys who deserve to find out the truth surrounding their brother's death. Likewise the families of people killed by the security forces are entitled to truth and justice. But I wonder would such awards be given to the family and friends who seek justice for the men killed by the security forces, such as the families of eight IRA members killed at Loughgall in May 1987? Will families like this and many others including the victims of RUC/PSNI — loyalist collusion be given such awards for the recognition of their fight for justice for their murdered loved ones? I think we all know the answer to that one.
Justice for all families.
'Fess up' Michael
Michael McDowell's calls for all former IRA members and activists to own up and admit to their part in IRA activity as a way forward in the Peace Process were the source of much amusement in our West Cork household.
But then I thought hey!! that's a great idea Mick!! I'll make this suggestion to you. You tell us who all your famous confidential sources of information are, all your contacts within the British forces, the RUC/PSNI, Special Branch, and the British Government iteslf. You ' Fess Up ' to these and the IRA might tell you what you want to know — Deal ?? I didn't think so.
Oh and by the way Michael, just to put your mind at rest, you've already done more than enough to get a mention in the Queen's New Year's Honours List. Keep going and it will be the House Of Lords for you my boy, and if you continue to show such promise, maybe even the Privy Council when the time comes. You have served your country well and such loyalty will not fail to be rewarded.
S O'P, West Cork.
I would like to comment, somewhat belatedly I fear, but I rarely see your paper, on Shane Mac Thomais's article on Thomas Paine which appeared in your issue for October 13.
Paine was an outstanding supporter of the movement for a free Ireland, and numbered amongst his friends many leading figures of the time who fought for a free Ireland, as the article makes clear. Several publishers in Ireland risked the wrath of the English judicial system to publish Right of Man, and this is one of two points I write about, there was no "the" in the title, Paine did not restrict human rights. The other point is the statement in the final paragraph, namely that his work first appeared in 1787, the date of the publication of part one was 1791, with part two being published in 1792.
Secretary, Thomas Paine Society.