16 August 2007 Edition

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Mála Poist

Stop blaming the poor British peacekeepers!

A chara,
Strange that you should single out the deaths that can by any stretch of the imagination be laid at the door of the British Army and brush aside the far greater number of deaths caused by the IRA, UDA and their weirdly fanatical fellow travellers.
I don’t suppose that you realise that such one-sided reporting means that reasonable people will conclude that your publication is just propaganda, and badly written propaganda at that.
What you also don’t seem to realise is that most of the soldiers stationed in Ulster during the Troubles didn’t even want to be there. Trying to keep the peace between people whose unreasoning hatred for each other goes back to imagined sleights hundreds of years old is an unenviable task.  Most of those guys would have rather been back in England, in a pub, drinking a pint and relaxing.  Instead, they get blamed for everything from shooting back at people that are shooting at them to arresting poor innocent gun runners and murderers.
How about printing a tally of the deaths caused by both IRA and UDA in both Ulster and Britain during the Troubles, just to even things up. It’ll be a long list and I doubt if you will print it, but it might open peoples eyes to the reality of the situation.
Is mise,

Ireland and an ‘honours system’

A chara,
 Bertie Ahern has once again mooted the idea of an honours system for Ireland.  He draws a comparison between Ireland and the United Kingdom when it comes to honouring people. 
It should be remembered that the UK is a Constitutional Monarchy whereas we are proud republicans. The UK allows its Queen to honour her subjects and as a republic we have such system here in Ireland. 
Nor should there be.
There are two very good reasons for this.  One is that outstanding individuals in Irish society have always been recognised by their fellow citizens, whether they are Padraig Harrington or the Westport Utd FAI Champions.  The victory or achievement or good deed is its own reward and we Irish never forget a legendary performance.
Secondly how many ‘outstanding’ citizens would we have had to strip of their honours had we such a system here?  Certainly Charles J Haughey would have had to hand back any award Bertie may have given him. 
Bertie Ahern should remember that in the UK Lester Piggott lost his knighthood for tax evasion.  Need I say more?
 Is mise,
Councillor Keith Martin,

Seanad election

A chara
In response to the leading article in An Phoblacht (26th July 2007) ‘Double Standards’. First of all it makes sense to have co-operation between parties of the left and to maximise the number for progressive representatives.
The article is also right to say the establishment parties still has a way to go in respecting Sinn Féins mandate.
The problem I have with these sentiments is Sinn Féin’s own double standards.  Where I ask did the votes go in the Labour Panel?  In the absence of a Sinn Féin candidate there was one obvious candidate for republicans to vote for. That was Mick O’Reilly.
Mick was sponsored by our union ATGWU and nominated by ICTU. He made it clear that he could only proceed with the candidacy for the senate with the full support of Sinn Féin, and that was our understanding, had he received that support he would have been elected.
Mick O’Reilly down through the years has been an ally for republicans when other Trade Union leaders were jumping on the bandwagon of condemnation, when it was not popular or politically profitable to defend Sinn Féin Mick argued in public forum against the De Rossa’s and Rabbit’s of this world, the very people Sinn Féin are now jumping into bed with.
As a well known Royle Family member would say Double Standards my arse!

Is mise,

Peter McAleer,
Independent Councillor,             
(Ex Sinn Féin Councillor)

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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