27 July 2006 Edition
Sinn Féin and women TDs
In reply to Eric Doyle's letter "Sinn Féin and women TDs" of 20 July, responding to my letter of the previous week. Eric points out the painfully obvious fact that Sinn Féin does not have any women TDs and uses this as a justification for the front page I took issue with. I did not accuse anyone of sexism nor did I say that the front page was sexist, which it wasn't. I was simply trying to point out that the image of four men in suits was not an image we as a party should be presenting if we want to encourage women to join and participate or even to vote for our "Real Alternative".
Presenting an image without women as an alternative to the status quo is not in keeping with our equality agenda, and therefore misrepresents us as a party. It would have been perfectly reasonable to have used a photo with some of our candidates (including women candidates) to illustrate the headline and story.
If that point cannot be taken, without the sort of defensive missive fired off by Eric Doyle in response, then maybe our equality agenda needs to be explained a little more clearly.
I wish to respond to Eric Doyle's letter (20 July) where he states: "There was no woman in the picture because we haven't yet got a woman elected to Leinster House. When our women candidates get elected to Leinster House I am sure we will see them on the front page of the paper."
I deem it imperative to remind Mr Doyle that Sinn Féin is a 32 county party and in accordance with that, to further remind him that within the Six Counties one female member of Sinn Féin is an elected MP and six female members are elected MLAs. I find it odd that Mr. Doyle feels it acceptable that only those who have been elected in the 26 Counties should be worthy of featuring as 'The Real Alternative'. Surely Mr. Doyle's willingness to exclude representatives from the Six Counties is contrary to the ethos of Sinn Féin as the only all-Ireland party.
Challenge Unionist veto
While reading a book by the acclaimed Irish writer/journalist Tim Pat Coogan recently, I was reminded of the old saying "History is always repeating itself".
A passage from the book The Troubles quoted British Prime Minister Gladstone as saying "I cannot allow it to be said that a Protestant minority in Ulster, or elsewhere, is to rule the question at large for Ireland". Gladstone said this as he put forward a Home Rule Bill in 1886.
Gladstone's Bill eventually got "scuppered" by the Honourable Randolph Churchill who used the tactic of playing "The Orange Card". This occurred in 1886, but do they not sound familiar in 2006, 120 years later.
When people from across Ireland, North and South were asked to vote to amend Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, to facilitate the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, many people, myself included, wrestled with their consciences. People felt uneasy about relinquishing our right to the Six Counties as part of Ireland. However, it was felt that the Good Friday Agreement was worth the gamble, resulting in an overwhelming vote in favour.
To date, the Good Friday Agreement has not been implemented. Dr. Paisley is holding the democratic vote of the people of Ireland to ransom by playing "the Orange Card" with the backing of the modern Randolph Churchills.
As November 24 fast approaches, are our political leaders going to allow Dr Paisley to play the "Orange Card", and ignore the democratic mandate of the majority of people of this island? I hope not. Mr Blair and the Taoiseach Mr Ahern should learn from history, and deliver what we as a people voted for.
Ogra SF success in Carlow/Kilkenny
Ógra Shinn Féin Ceatharlach / Cill Choinnigh would like to thank all those involved in making the recent Ógra weekend in Kilkenny City a great accomplishment. Ógra activists the length and breadth of the country came to Kilkenny to take part in the first annual ÓSF Carlow / Kilkenny weekend. Local Sinn Féin activists also loaned a helping hand in making this first weekend a phenomenal success. Buíochas libh go léir.
Peadar de Bluit,
Local Organiser, ÓSF Ceatharlach / Cill Choinnigh.