1 March 2007 Edition

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Mála Poist

‘An Phoblacht’ welcomes readers’ letters. Letters in Irish or English should be kept short (no more than 200 words) and typed or handwritten clearly, double-spaced and on one side of the paper only. Name and address should be supplied for verification, but these will not be published if we are so requested.
Cuireann ‘An Phoblacht’ fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla. Is fearr litreacha gearra (200 focal ar a méid) clóscríofa nó lámhscríofa go soiléir ar thaobh amháin den leathanach. Cuir ainm agus seoladh leis ach ní fhoilseoimid iad seo más é do thoil.

Cowen’s SDLP bias

A chara,
I’m not worried about the RTÉ News headline today (Wednesday) that Bertie Ahern’s Finance Minister, Brian Cowen, is going to Derry to say good things about the SDLP (God love Mark Durkan, he needs all the help he can get), but isn’t there something inappropriate about a minister in a government purporting to be impartial yet issuing a media release supporting one political party against another in the last week of an election?
Is mise,
Frances O’Farrell,
Galway City

Rugby, Croke Park and anthems

A chara,
In his column in the Irish Independent on Tuesday, hack Ian O’Doherty got stuck into the people who protested outside Croke Park against the Ireland v England rugby match.
O’Doherty summoned up all his journalistic training and questionable intellect to describe as “politically illiterate, bigoted scum... some Provos and their sympathisers set to wreck the day”.
Mr O’Doherty blithely ignored the obvious fact that it was NOT a protest by the “Provos”, indeed, far from it, as the organisers made it clear on every occasion. But why let the truth get in the way of an Indo ink slinger’s politically illiterate bigotry? Is mise,
Roy Thornton,
Dublin 5

A chara,
It was wonderful to see a whole rugby team giving voice to a republican anthem in Croke Park, and showing enough surplus energy to win a match. Vive La France!
It was only right that God Save The Queen was played when the English were Ireland’s guests. For it always has been, and in the presence too of such distinguished Presidents as Dubhghlas de hÍde, Sean T. Ó Ceallaigh and Eamon de Valera and their successors.
It would be nice to think that there was some recipricosity when the Irish team plays overseas, but I’m told that Amhrán na bhFhiann is not played nor the Tricolour flown at overseas matches.
It’s as if the Irish Rugby Football Union is not happy with the Irish nation. The rugby unionists have their very own ‘anthem’ - Ireland’s Call . Perhaps copyright law prohibits them from using the old Village People air to Y-M-C- A and substituting  I-R-F-U which might trump the All Blacks’ HAKA in putting the wind up the opposition?
Ireland’s Call should be relegated to the ultimate Sin Bin. For an eternity plus extra time as a Bishop of Kerry would have sent the Fenians.
Alternatively, now that the great and good commentators have noted a maturity in the Irish never before noted in that lesser breed,  it would be appropriate to to sing a ditty written by
Peadar Kearney, who also wrote Amhrán na bhFhiann, and called Whack Fol The Diddle ,the last verse of which goes -
Now Irishmen, forget the past
Whack fol the diddle, fol the di doh dey,
And think of the day that is coming fast
Whack fol the diddle fol the di doh dey
When we shall all be civilised
Neat and clean, and well advised,
Oh, won’t Mother England Be Surprised
Whack fol the diddle, fol the di doh dey
Is mise,
Donal Kennedy,

Eurovision entry ‘politically offensive’

A chara,
I have now heard the 2007 Irish Eurovision entry several times and I feel that the lyrics are politically offensive and should be altered.   I refer to the Rules for Participation in the European Song Contest section 4 sub section 9 which are published by the European Broadcasting Union.  This rule states clearly that the lyrics should not contain any political reference.
The lyrics take a one sided political standpoint which some of us think should not be permitted by Eurovision.  For example the lyrics state that ‘ europe’s all one state’ when this is clearly not the case.
I would not support political parties which do not advocate that my country remains autonomous and feel that the broadcast of this song to millions of people would give such parties an advantage in an election.   If this song is permitted to be entered, it could open the floodgates for other politically motivated writers to enter songs to advance their cause.   The lyrics of a song entered for the ESC should not trivialise a serious issue such as the Prague Spring 1968 which is clearly referred to.
I do not know how to make RTE change their mind about this song before it is entered in May, so I thought that you might be prepared to take the matter up.
Is mise,
Roberta Bell
via email

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