24 July 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 Palm of Honour – setting the record straight

An Phoblacht recently carried a letter which contains some criticisms of a new history book published by Sinn Féin in Laois. These need to be responded to as they are based on misunderstandings which could otherwise lead to confusion and division. Primarily the letter adopts two lines of argument. It purports to identify an inconsistency and on that basis refers to the apparent omission of the names of some republican prisoners. In addition it notes the absence of certain details on the former cumann in Portarlington.
An initial point with regard to the title of the book should help to clarify matters. While the letter refers to the publication as The Palm of Honour, its full title is The Palm of Honour, An Introduction to the history of Sinn Féin in County Laois. Further to this the introduction of the book notes that, “The inspiration for this publication was Sinn Féin's centenary celebrations in 2005. It is not intended to be a comprehensive account of the history of the party in Laois, rather it is an attempt to identify the main strands of the party’s historical background through to the present time.”
From the outset this was a party project with the parameters of the historiography clearly delineated. It was an attempt to give an outline history of Sinn Féin in Laois. The direction was unambiguous and consequently the research was required to stay clear from other more contemporary republican activities and issues at national and local levels. Some flexibility was needed for the period from 1916 up to the 1920s’ and local republicanism prior to that had to be addressed as background. For the subsequent history the criteria were not without problems however. Reference to broader republican developments, was essential to create the necessary context for the story. This was mainly done, in a general way, and with little local details. The focus was always on the party and its members.
In this regard the reference in the book to the late Liam O’Mahoney, who was a former prisoner, was due to his candidacy for the party in a local election. Further it is incorrect to say, as the letter does, that Brian Stanley made reference to Liam O’Mahoney. The information concerning his participation in the election came from another source, which is identified in the book. The reference is entirely consistent with the purpose of the publication and there is no insult, unintended or otherwise, towards other prisoners who are not named.
With regard to the absence of certain details on the cumann in Portarlington for the 1970s and 80s, it is regrettable that more information was not available at the time of writing the history. This is, in part, a reflection on the geographical fragmentation and disjointed nature through time, of the local party organisation during that era. In addition, at the outset of the work, a letter from me was carried by the local press outlining the aim of the project and seeking information from people which might help in that regard. Subsequently a similar letter appeared in An Phoblacht. Had information specific to Cumann Thomais Mhic Ghil, Cuil an Tsudaire come to hand, it would have been used. While it is unfortunate that this did not arise the project is, in one respect, a work in progress. Shortly after the book went on sale a new contact was received offering further details on a party officer during the early 1920s. The prospect of a revised edition at some point in the future cannot be dismissed.
Anyone interested in securing a copy, who doesn’t have easy access to outlets in Laois, can contact Stephan Lynch at 087 9769595. Finally, it is important to acknowledge that prisoners, throughout the history of republicanism, should receive their deserved recognition. This publication was not designed for that particular purpose but such a departure was discussed in Laois shortly after our successful book launch at Christmas. Beidh lá eile.
An Rúnaí
Laois/Offaly Comhairle Ceanntair,
Sinn Féin


Disgraceful treatment of Irish fishermen

THE treatment of Irish fishermen off the Wexford coast this week was a disgrace in light of the devastation facing Ireland’s fishing industry.
Irish fishermen are hounded out of business while foreign vessels are allowed to plunder Irish waters with impunity.
These struggling fishermen are forced to throw back into the sea perfectly good fish because of the unjust EU fisheries policy which blatantly discriminates against this island nation.
It was issues such as this which cause the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish Government must now re-negotiate with the EU the deal which is costing Irish fishermen their livelihoods and adversely affecting coastal communities.


Treacy challenge accepted

I NOTE that your ‘esteemed’ correspondent Mr. Treacy challenged me to assume his duties while he is off in Blackpool or Courtown or wherever it is his ilk go for their ‘holliers’ as the Jackeen says. Wouldn’t it be a Holy Terror now the lot of them coming down in their pot bellies and Arnotts shirts drinking.
Well let me tell Mr Treacy that where I come from no man reneges, so I’ll be more than happy to take his challenge, sneering and all as it no doubt was intended to be.
Oh, I’ll be at Thurles please God on Sunday and I’ll write the truth about what happened. So the ball is in your court Mr. Editor.

An Phoblacht
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