29 May 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


The arresting case of Captain Nairac

THE public are somewhat confused as to why the PSNI and not the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) recently arrested South Armagh man Kevin Crilly in relation to the abduction of undercover British Military Intelligence operative Captain Robert Nairac.
This seems to fit into an established pattern by Chief Constable Hugh Orde and his deputy, Alastair Finlay, who oversee ‘legacy issues’ whereby Peter Keeley (aka Kevin Fulton) was arrested from his London home and detained for several days concerning historic cases. Then we had the arrests of Tyrone republicans Gerry McGeough and Vincent McAnespie also in connection to historic cases yet none of this involved the HET despite the fact that historic cases are the officially stated function and remit of the HET.
Why would Hugh Orde  – especially after going to great lengths in setting up the HET, resourcing and promoting it  – have need to operate outside of the remit of the HET?
Are some cases of more political significance and therefore victims can be somehow used to advance a particular political cause or aspiration by the PSNI as part of what can only be described as political policing? Would this be why the names of those arrested were also leaked to the media?
This is the only logical conclusion considering the fact that an abundance of evidence exists regarding almost 100 sectarian murders in the south Armagh and mid-Ulster area involving the RUC’s Special Patrol Group and members of the UDR/RIR masquerading as loyalist paramilitaries. Indeed, evidence indicates that Captain Nairac was involved in some of these murders.
This was, of course, recently highlighted by the excellent work of Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre yet no arrests of former RUC officers and British soldiers have occurred. But, hey, we will leave that one for the HET – the Hidden Evidence Team. The reality is that the HET is a lame duck and the Chief Constable has now ensured that. The Chief Constable stands exposed.
Families whose loved ones were killed need to know why the double standards are continuing.



IFA’s foul play

As elected representatives for West Belfast and Lagan Valley we would like to register our strong opposition to the decision by the Irish Football Association to exclude Donegal Celtic from the newly-formed Invitational League.
The IFA decision is the latest in a long line of setbacks the club has had to face as it has struggled to bring top-level soccer back to West Belfast under the Celtic banner after an absence of several generations.
Donegal Celtic were denied access to the Irish League for seven years, only succeeding in gaining entry when the club had secured a court date against the IFA with the full support of the Equality Commission.
The decision by the IFA defies any logic and raises many serious questions about the procedures employed by that organisation in arriving at this decision.
Soccer in the Six Counties has always struggled with sectarianism. Many soccer supporters believe that this sectarianism is institutionalised and that Donegal Celtic is the latest victim.
The IFA decision’s to exclude Donegal Celtic is wrong. It is unacceptable and we are confident that the west Belfast community will rally round Donegal Celtic in their efforts to overturn this objectionable decision.
Questions must also be asked of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) about unnecessary delays in confirming the allocation of funds to the Club for investment in its infrastructure. There is £800,000 owed to the club by DCAL for developing its grounds. This aspect of club development is reputed to be one of the main criteria against which Donegal Celtic was excluded by the IFA.
When challenged by Sinn Féin in the Assembly on Monday, 19 May, the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Edwin Poots, defended the decision of the IFA to exclude Donegal Celtic as “based on merit”.  The people of west Belfast are not convinced.
The IFA must not only reconsider the decision; it must also disclose the details of how this decision was made, name the members of the panel who adjudicated on the points allocation, and whether there is any conflict of interest among the panel members and the decisions taken.
Only with full disclosure of all the facts can the public make a proper judgement on this issue, and especially the criteria which inform decisions in the soccer hierarchy in the Six Counties.
Donegal Celtic is truly a community-based club, with few equals in the North of Ireland in terms of youth provision.
The club finished 11th in the Irish Premier League this season and were only minutes away from the first appearance of a Celtic team in the Irish Cup Final for more than half a century. Its reserve team won the Reserve League.
These impressive feats are all the more noteworthy given the legacy of discrimination against the club by the soccer authorities in the North of Ireland.
Sinn Féin, West Belfast


Bono for President?

AM I not mistaken, but would there not be a conflict of interest if any Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire were elected to serve as Uachtarán na hÉireann?
Cluainín Uí Ruairc,
Contae Liatroma


Hail the Celts

APART from the sheer pleasure of Celtic FC beating Rangers into second place to take the Scottish Premier League from under their noses, can I say it was great to see Celtic fans celebrating by waving not just Irish Tricolours but Basque flags as well.
That made the victory even more enjoyable.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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