5 February 2009 Edition

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Cowen’s cuts

BRIAN Cowen’s decision to go after public sector pensions is just the latest move in a strategy shared right across the main parties in the South designed to set public and private sector workers at each other’s throats. I’m a private sector worker. I don’t have the pension entitlements or the job security of a public sector worker. But I want them. That’s why we organised a union in my workplace.
It’s not about whether your wages come from the state or from a member of IBEC. It’s about how much is in your wage packet. It’s about the interests of the low-paid against the bankers and developers; the chief executives of state agencies and the top civil servants. Public or private, the rich aren’t paying their share (What else is new?) and low paid civil servants are having their pensions gutted while private sector workers are taking pay-cuts while AIB’s investment bankers got their Christmas bonuses.
Recessions it seems, like taxes, are only for little people.
County Longford

BRIAN Cowen stooped to a new low again this week when he reduced the early childcare supplement by €75 Million. Not content with trying to shaft the pensioners, teachers and students, Mr Cowen is now picking the pockets of children to cover his own government’s failings on the economy.
Fianna Fáil councillors and TD’s were singing from the rooftops when this scheme was introduced in 2006 but their silence to date on the reduction speaks volumes. Fianna Fáil, at the time, described the supplement as a state payment to help with the costs of raising children, especially the provision of childcare. The cost of raising children is on the increase yet the government sees fit to reduce payments. It is disgraceful and not acceptable.
Thomas Gould,
Sinn Féin local election candidate,
Cork City North Central.


Truth recovery and the rewriting of history

David Adams writing in the Irish Times on 29 January says:
“Some of the politicians, but not all, who have been most vocal in support of a ‘truth commission process’ are the least truthful about their own history, and probably have more to hide than most. They are not looking to have the entire truth uncovered, but merely a version that will serve their own purpose. That purpose being the rewriting of history so that all blame for the Troubles can be heaped upon the British and the unionists.”
However, the fact is that Unionist politicians, British Government agents and the British media have repeatedly and explicitly portrayed every fatality in the Troubles as Protestant, British or both, and each and every fatality as inflicted by republicans.
For instance, in 1981 Unionist MP James Kilfeather proclaimed on the radio that the IRA had killed over 2,000 Protestants.
The London Times reported the funeral of Bobby Sands thus:
“The Roman Catholics buried Robert Sands yesterday as Protestants lamented over 2,000 dead from 12 years of terrorism.” The account continued, to refer to “2,000 victims of Bobby Sands’ collaborators”.  The Times, under its Editor Harold Evans, sought to justify its report for the next nine months until it was censored by the Press Council. The day the adjudication was published Britain’s editors voted Evans Editor of the Year.
A few months later The Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mail all repeated the same falsehood, all on the same morning, in a co-ordinated onslaught on Ken Livingstone. The Daily Express and the Daily Star were censored nine long months later by the Press Council which baulked at criticising the Daily Mail. The falsehood in that paper had gone out over the name of Sir Humphrey Atkins, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
The type of rewriting of history which David Adams expects of nationalists and republicans has a long and dishonourable record amongst supporters of British rule in Ireland.
When, in the 1990s the then Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, sought an American visa for Gerry Adams, a holder of an Irish Passport, an ex-Editor of the Times, Simon Jenkins briefed White House Staff that Irish republicans had “murdered 3,000 Britons” since 1969. Jenkins, boasted of his briefing in his old paper in 2005.
British Governments and their friends are in denial about fatalities inflicted by their agents in Ireland, particularly those suffered by Irish Catholics.
Harold Evans and Simon Jenkins were rewarded for their services to journalism with Knighthoods, conferred on the same day.

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