9 August 2007 Edition

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Mála Poist

Cuireann An Phoblacht fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla, 200 focal ar a méid. Déantar giorrú ar litreachta más gá. Cuir do litir chuig [email protected]
An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected] No attachments please

What the Irish media didn’t say about ‘Operation Banner’

A chara,
What was missing from the Irish media’s recent coverage of the ending of the British Army’s so-called operation banner was the following statistics.
•     The British Army killed approximately 300 people during their campaign here.
•     The British Army was responsible for 11% of all killings during the recent conflict-their victims being almost exclusively from the Catholic community.
•     Only four British soldiers were ever convicted of the charge of murder in any of these killings.
•     The sentences served by these 4 British soldiers ranged from three-four years, most of which was spent in ‘military custody’ sic.
•     All four were subsequently re-admitted to the British Army
•     Two are currently stationed in Basra in Iraq.
Is mise,
Mairtin Óg Meehan,
Béal Feirste

Show sectarianism the red card

A chara,
As a republican whose late father was a Protestant and who has been active republican since the 1970s, I feel hurt by the fact that the Under-21 Fermanagh GAA player Darren Graham has quit the game reportedly because of sectarian abuse by opposing players and fans and taunting over the death of his father who was a UDR soldier shot dead by the IRA.
Why should I feel hurt? I’m not responsible for the abuse he received. But nor is Darren Graham responsible for what his father did in the UDR, no more than my son should be singled out for what I have done as a result of what I believe in.
I am hurt because the public perception has been created that republicans are somehow responsible for hounding darren Graham out of Gaelic football. I’m used to refereeing schoolboy soccer matches and I’m sadly aware of the sort of name calling that happens on the pitch to put other players off their game, but this is the stuff one expects in the schoolyard, not from adults or people who would like to consider themselves grown up and with at least half a brain. We don’t tolerate it in the schoolyard and we shouldn’t accept it anywhere else.
I support the anti-racist campaigns, Show racism the Red card and Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI), because my republican beliefs include opposing racism in all its forms. My republican beliefs also include opposing sectarianism in all its forms, whether it’s Orange or Green.
Sectarianism must be stamped out and a level playing field created for everyone, wherever they’re from, whatever their colour and whatever their religion, “Catholic, Protestant or Dissenter”.
If Darren Graham’s claims are true, it shows that we still have much work to do.
‘Sport for All’
(name and address with editor)


Myers’ column — an incitement to murder?

    A chara,
Here is the opening paragraph from the Kevin Myers article in the Irish Independent from last Friday:
“How much longer must we endure the preposterous antics of the Shell to Sea campaigners?
“They have failed every democratic test that has come their way, yet still they picket the Shell terminal at Bellinaboy, with their maudlin self-righteousness and their know-nothing grasp of scientific realities. I hate to criticise a multinational, because generally speaking I am a great fan of multinationals (they being the basis of our present prosperity) but I have to say that Shell has been scandalously remiss in not employing someone to bump off a few of these fellows.”
This looks like what I would call hate-speech. He’s inciting murder. He may claim it is satire but it is still pretty serious to complain that Shell haven’t killed a few Shell to Sea campaigners the way they murdered Saro-Wiwa and others in Nigeria.
I have a serious question for your readers: is such writing as this a crime?
I believe that the journalist Robert Fisk reported someone to the British police a few years ago because they wrote that he should be killed. Can Shell to Sea protestors now do the same?
Can you imagine if one of the many people Myers has insulted, offended and attempted to degrade through his poisonous columns over the years were to publicly express the desire that someone should kill him? You can be sure the Colonel Myers would be scurrying to the Gardaí quicker than his little legs could carry him.
If the Gardaí cannot do anything about such hate-mongering, is there a role here for the Press Council  of Ireland or a Press Ombudsman?
Is mise,
Seosamh Ó Tuathail,
Baile Atha Cliath 3.

Welcome Senator Harris

A chara,
Am I alone among republicans in welcoming the elevation of Eoghan Harris to the Seanad thanks to the generosity of the leader of Fianna Fáil?
Eoghan Harris has made so many twists and turns that have left his opponents standing open-mouthed that maybe he would have given us more enjoyment playing GAA for Cork than as a right-wing hack at the Sunday Independent.
Harris can turn on more than a sixpence (ask the Workers’ party and Fine Gael), so I look forward to him clash in his biggest ever match in the Seanad, especially up against the likes of Pearse Doherty and Ivana Bacik, where his dubious talents will surely be tested.
Let the games begin.
Is mise,
Ray Thornton,
Dublin 5.

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