7 February 2008 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

Question to Seán Ó Neachtain MEP

MEP Seán Ó Neachtain’s letter in the Irish Examiner (2 February) offering reassurance in the event of people of this state accepting the proposed EU Treaty, and his disagreement with Gerry Adams over its likely threat to Irish neutrality, raises some questions.
He states that our neutrality will be secured by a triple-lock system which will include there first having to be a specific UN Resolution which then must be approved by the Government and the Dáil before Irish troops can engage in peace-keeping activities.
Would this be the same government which insists that our airports are not and never have been used to ferry torture victims around the world, and would it be the same Dáil (dominated by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael) that turned a blind eye and remained largely silent while these deliberate breaches to our policy of neutrality and other people’s human rights were taking place?
I must therefore also ask, if such a government and like-minded opposition are already so disposed to ignoring or replacing our long-held policy of neutrality, are they likely to oppose any specific UN resolution calling for Irish troops to join the force which Gerry Adams warns against?
Finally, doesn’t it also follow that if we are ever fortunate enough to get to vote in a referendum about our neutrality, that the Government and main opposition parties will be promoting the abolition of neutrality. And if that ever happens, I am left with one final question: who gets to decide if a so-called military mission is a peace-keeping one?
County Cork


Unite to compete

IRELAND should have one united soccer team.
BBC Spotlight (Tuesday 29 February) has hopefully reignited this important sporting issue. I hope common sense prevails and football fans across Ireland realise that the best way forward for international soccer in Ireland is to have one national team.
This has been a long-running debate, one which many footballing greats have opined on, including George Best who supported the creation of an all-Ireland team.
Other sports have shown maturity and created truly national teams, including rugby, cricket and International Rules.
Ireland is a small nation and in order to truly compete in an international arena, we must utilise a full pool of talented players.
A coming together of the two currently partitioned teams will ensure a more competitive team and undoubtedly silverware for Irish soccer and more joy for the fans.
The programme also touched on the possibility of an all-Ireland soccer league, with the general point being made that the majority of teams, North and South, would actually support this idea.
An all-Ireland soccer team is something which Ógra Shinn Féin has continually called for since its formation.
In the spirit of national reconciliation and the need for Irish soccer to compete on an international stage, we urge everyone across Ireland to support the call for a 32-County national team.
Ógra Shinn Féin


Orange Order’s quarter million

I DON’T support the burning of Orange Order halls (even though I do regard ‘the Orange’ as an intrinsically sectarian organisation) but I do question the Irish Government’s grant of €250,000 to a company set up to “cater for the needs of Orange lodges and other groups that meet in Orange halls in the border counties”.
Some commentators have hailed the move as a sign of the political maturity engendered by the Peace Process.  Let’s hope that the Orange Order reflects some of that maturity by being proactively non-sectarian in its words and deeds, in the border counties and beyond, in this ‘new era’.
Maybe the Orange Order will surprise us all.
Grand Canal Dock,
Dublin 4



The ‘great granny rule’?

I AM very disappointed at the current policy of the Irish Government of denying citizenship rights to the Irish abroad.
The current citizenship by descent policy was modified in 1986 only to extend citizenship rights to those with a grandparent born in Ireland (people like myself whose closest link is a great-grandparent have since been unable to get Irish citizenship).
But at the same time the Government has simply gone off and sold passports to wealthy foreigners in the well-publicised Passports for Investments schemes.
For a government that is supposed to be based on being Irish there seems to be no regard for that in their citizenship policy.
Irish-Americans have invested a lot in Ireland, both economically through tourism and industry, and through political involvement working for progress in Ireland.
And now we are repaid by being ‘locked out’ of being a part of Ireland?
All ethnic Irish should have access to Irish citizenship automatically. To propose anything otherwise defeats the whole purpose of having an ‘Irish’ republic.
One cannot forget that the people who emigrated from Ireland were forced to do so due to horrendous conditions on the island (i.e. famine, war, genocide, etc), not because they simply wanted to pack up and move to America (or the other parts of the world the Irish relocated in).
I hope Sinn Féin and other major political parties in Ireland will take up this issue and work to create the right of return to Ireland that we, the descendants of Irish emigrants, deserve.
Let us come home.
New Jersey,

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1