14 January 2010 Edition
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 defection of Killian Forde to the Labour Party highlights the dangers that any movement faces from selfish narrow-mindedness.
Killian thought there were organisational problems in the party and felt he had to resign. That doesn’t say much for his ability to be a team player. I’ve been involved in several organisations in my life, both professionally and voluntarily. In each of them there have been decisions and traditions that I agreed with and didn’t agree with. If I’d decided to leave any organisation based on the fact that they didn’t implement the various changes I wanted to see come about, I wouldn’t have lasted long in any of them.
I know where this party is going and I know the continuous struggle we face. If establishing a socialist united Ireland was an easy task, we wouldn’t have had 800 years of colonial rule and 90 years of partition. Killian Forde appears upset that none of this was resolved in the eight years he was a member.
I don’t mean for one second that we should allow any organisational difficulties or policy impediments to slow us up unnecessarily. We have an objective and should use the fastest route to attain it. But we need to be realistic. Every organisation has problems. We are small in number but geographically more spread out than any other party on the island. We are also in government in one part of the island and active in opposition in another. We have had electoral success but our trajectory will not always be upwards.
Our problems are not insurmountable but they require all hands on deck – not sniping from the sidelines.
It’s always disappointing when someone, especially a representative elected through comrades’ hard work, leaves. But those who remain should not be disheartened. This party has seen the worst of times and we still face a huge struggle against the establishment forces that would like to see us go away.
We can’t be deterred by those who don’t have the strength or the vision to help us.
MAY I suggest that each and every council or county council supplies each housing estate with a coal bunker type container which could be filled with sand or salt so that, when we have this type of weather (it will be more frequent than before), local residents can distribute the sand/salt themselves.
This is currently in place in many areas of the North, including my home town of Newcastle, County Down.
Basque extradition battle
On behalf of the Don’t Extradite the Basques Campaign, I would like to warmly thank all those who have shown their support for the two Belfast-based Basque men who have fought against their extradition to Spain throughout 2009.
The campaign has aimed to build public awareness and support in Ireland for the legal efforts by Iñaki de Juana and Arturo Beñat Villanueva to defeat the Spanish authorities’ extradition attempts.
We have also tried to raise awareness about the political context of the extradition attempts – of attacks by the Spanish authorities on political and civil rights in the Basque Country and the broad repression against Basque cultural, community and political organisations.
Since the campaign committee was launched in May, we have organised a petition that has now been signed by more than 1,000 people. We have also held a number of successful events involving hundreds of supporters – including public meetings, press conferences, protests, fundraising concerts and a sponsored walk of Black Mountain – all of which have helped raise awareness of the cases.
While the campaign received some good news in November, when the extradition request against Arturo Beñat Villanueva was ruled “invalid” by a Belfast judge, the Spanish authorities appealed against the decision in December. Both Arturo Beñat Villanueva and Iñaki de Juana are currently awaiting judgements.
At the same time, we have seen political repression escalate dramatically in the Basque Country over the past year.
We would like to appeal to you for your continued support in 2010 in building political support for the rights of Iñaki and Beñat to live free from political persecution in Ireland.
This year we plan to organise supporters in gathering many more petition signatures from the local community and presenting the petition to a representative from the Spanish government in Belfast.
There will be a public campaign meeting on Thursday 21 January in the Cultúrlann on the Falls Road in Belfast at 7pm, which all are welcome to attend.
The meeting will include an update from legal representatives on the defence cases, a political update on the situation in the Basque Country, and a planning component where we can discuss the way forward for the campaign, particularly building support for the petition.
We would like to urge all those who have supported us to come along to this meeting to discuss strengthening this important campaign in 2010.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh,
Don’t Extradite the Basques Campaign spokesperson