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27 March 1997 Edition

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Fair play to them

There is widespread disappointment that the attempted escape by republican prisoners from Long Kesh was unsuccessful. But that disappointment is weighed against pride in the ingenuity, resourcefulness and daring shown by the men in H7.

The tunnel is evidence that they are truly prisoners of war. Their discipline in this well-planned act of resistance and their determination to rejoin our struggle outside their prison walls shows to the world that the spirit of freedom lives on in the H-Blocks.

Not even the members of this repressive Tory government could repeat the old cry that republican prisoners are ``common criminals''. Acts of resistance such as this attempt to escape leave that lie unable to be uttered.

Already the prisoners are being punished for their attempt to escape and there are reports of beatings emerging from the jail. In the media the right-wing, unionist Prison Officers Association, backed up by their cheerleaders among the Unionist parties are calling for a repressive regime in the jail.

They have tried in the past to break the prisoners. We can be confident that they will once again fail.

Make neutrality an election issue

The 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the founding document of present European Union, was marked this past week with further moves towards a military superstate. Proposals from France, Germany, Italy, Spain Belgium and Luxembourg would commit the EU to incorporate in three phases the Western European Union (the European arm of the NATO nuclear alliance) into the EU through a new defence treaty. Other proposals envisage the expansion of NATO and the EU far into Eastern Europe.

The silence from the Dublin government is deafening. They have abandoned the defence of neutrality and Labour in particualr should be made to pay for their sell-out come the general election.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1