14 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

Victims Commissioners

NOW that we have not one, but FOUR new Victims Commissioners what will happen to the existing Victims Unit run by the NIO?
Will it be disbanded or amalgamated into the workload of the Commissioners?
Or, for that matter, what will become of the Memorial Fund for Victims and Survivors?
Will the Victims Commissioners oversee its distribution or will it remain with its own administration and workload?
The reason I ask is to clarify the roles and responsibilities of all these various bodies intended to work with/for victims and survivors.
There seems to be such a plethora of government-funded civil servants that we could be forgiven for thinking that there is a growing industry around victims and survivors. Yet, by the time these groups and individuals get paid their salaries and expenses, there is very little left for those frontline services who actually work with victims and survivors from both communities every day.
An Fhirinne


Podge & Rodge – Hillary or Obama?

ARE RTÉ current affairs editors reading too many VIP and Hello magazines? Going by today’s This Week programme (Radio 1, 10 February) ‘celebrity’ look at the US presidential runners, it seems they are.
Valuable air-time was taken up with the opinions on Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain of Louis Walsh, Sinead O’Connor and Diarmuid Gavin - a music industry manager, an eccentric singer and a gardener! Now they’re undoubtedly all fine people in their own right but why did RTÉ’s ‘brightest brains’ think they deserved such a billing and the devotion of valuable resources needed to secure the interviews? Apart from a tenuous link to the X Factor, what expert insight did any of them shine into the race for the White House?
I can’t wait for this Sunday’s offering. Maybe we’ll get an idea of who should be the next president of the United States from Podge and Rodge, the cast of Fair City, Twink, Dot Cotton and that nice Polish girl who works the check-out at SuperValu in Mullingar.
I think we need to know.
North Strand,
Dublin 3


No one winning in Afghanistan

“WE’RE winning the battle in Afghanistan,” Gordon Brown told the British House of Commons last December.  In January, George Bush told the US Congress: “Afghanistan is now a young democracy where people are looking to the future with new hope.” However, now the truth is out.
Three recent reports all reach the same conclusion.  The US-led forces in Afghanistan are not winning and the country faces a humanitarian disaster. This is why Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flew to London recently for an emergency meeting with Gordon Brown, to discuss escalating the war, with more troops and more bombers.
Meanwhile, the United Nations reports that Afghanistan is the fourth most impoverished country in the world, with life expectancy falling to 43 and health services now virtually non-existent.
As for Iraqis, under George Bush’s supposedly successful troop ‘surge’, they face new levels of desperation and insecurity.  In a country that once had the most advanced national health system in the region, cholera and other waterborne diseases are rife.  Pollution levels are critical, with the water systems contaminated by sewage and rubbish piling up in the streets.  Two-thirds of Iraqi children have no school place and unemployment remains at 60 per cent.
The longer that foreign forces are allowed to stay and continue to make war in this region, the greater will be the disaster that the peoples of these regions will be faced with. Withdrawal by foreign forces from these regions and acknowledging their right to form their own governments without any outsiders interfering is the only real answer to the problems that these people face.
County Mayo


Anti-treaty forces

WITH Labour Youth voting at its weekend debate in Dublin to back the Lisbon Treaty, and with the Young Greens firmly sitting on the fence (mind those natural wood splinters, boys and girls), this leaves Ógra Shinn Féin as the only youth wing standing against the ‘super state’ treaty.
So much for Labour and Green radicalism.
Dublin 5


Against all-Ireland teams

I AM totally against the proposal by Barry McColgan of Ogra Shinn Féin in last week’s Mála Poist (7 February) for an all-Ireland soccer team.
If the so-called Irish rugby team is anything to go by, it would further erode the rights of the people on this island whose allegiance is to Ireland and not Westminster. I must state I have never liked Irish rugby since I was a child when I used to scratch my head and wonder why ‘Irish’ players were playing for the British Lions. I feel a strong Irish identity must be developed before a move to unite the two divided football teams on the island.
Dublin 10

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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