29 May 1997 Edition
Britain responsible in McAliskey case
May I comment briefly on the article headlined German Confusions (15.May)?
From my own reading of letters being issued by the German Embassy in London concerning Germany's application for the extradition of Róisín McAliskey, it seems that Germany's part in this case is being misinterpeted.
The Embassy's legal representatives are at pains to point out time and time again to correspondents that while the Federal German Prosecutor's Office ``stands by'' its request of 17 December 1996 for Róisín's extradition and continued detention, ``all further decisions including the enforcement of detention pending extradition (my emphasis) are solely within the competence of the English authorities, ultimately the English courts'' (letter dated 4.March 1997).
In a further letter dated 28 April the Embassy official states, ``...since the extradition request and papers were turned over on 17.12.1996, the British authorities alone have had jurisdiction over all further decisions concerning extradition. This also applies to the decision whether Ms McAliskey is to remain in custody pending extradition or whether she might be released on bail''.
The next comment in this letter is quite extraordinary, if not unprecedented in diplomatic terms: ``It is up to the British judicial system alone to assess according to prevailing British law whether, in particular, it is necessary for her to remain in custody. It is not bound by the German request that Ms McAliskey be held in custody pending extradition''. As the applicant for Róisín's extradition, for Germany to be pointing out to Britain that Britain ``is not bound'' to abide with a German request could not be a clearer indication of German intentions.
What we have therefore is a German request/application (Antrag) for Róisín's extradition with Germany was legally bound to issue under the provisions of the European Convention on Extradition (1957) after Britain's approach to the Germans. This request does not put the British under any legal obligation to prolong Róisín's detention or refuse her bail. Without actually overstepping the strict rules applying to all diplomatic communications, the Germans could not have expressed this fact any more clearly than they have already done in dozens of letters to protesters.
May I suggest that any further media attention and investigation, including that of An Phoblacht, should take this into account when covering this dreadful case of blatant and wilful human rights abuse in the UK.
Moya F St Leger,
Ceasefire or unconditional surrender?
There has been a clamorous demand for a `renewed' IRA ceasefire but are the politicians being honest about what they mean by ceasefire?
When English politicians call for a renewed IRA ceasefire they are misusing their own language. The 1994 IRA ``cessation'' was not a ceasefire even if the English continue to call it so. It was, in the words of the IRA, a ``complete cessation of military activity''. No sooner had the words been spoken than the English got down to doctoring them by calling it a ceasefire and demanding the addition of the term `permanent' which is a complete misuse of the English language.
A ceasefire by its very nature can never be permanent. It is never more, nor can it ever be more, than a period in which both sides stop fighting each other and sit down (not necessarily with each other) to devise strategies to end the fighting through talks and negotiation. The agreed terms for such talks must have the approval of both sides.
The IRA cessation ensured a period of non-fighting in which people of goodwill from both sides could get down to discussion and negotiation with the aim of producing the groundwork for a just resolution of those issues on which we disagree. This did not happen because there was never anything but suspicion and ill-will on the part of England. Peace, on any terms but their own, was the last thing England wanted. Their terms, as soon became clear, were complete unconditional surrender not only of Republican arms but of Republican thinking. Their stalling strategies during the cessation prove this.
I have this to say to the English and I'm sure I speak for every Republican. Come clean! Tell us in unambiguous language what it is you want, and we will give you an unambiguous reply. Is it a ceasefire, in the only true meaning of that term, or is it unconditional surrender?
If you can convince us that it is the former then the fighting can stop and people of honour and goodwill can get down to devising strategies through which talks between contenders in the conflict can begin. But there can be no `baddies' and `goodies' around the table. It must be a level playing-field with England unable to ``put in the boot'' to get their own way.
If, however, it is unconditional surrender you want you are knocking on the wrong door. No Irish republican, whether they bear arms for their ideals or not, is a criminal, nor will they consent to be made one by an English government. Neither will they put on sackcloth and ashes and crawl and beg for English pardon. The eight centuries, and not just the last twenty-five years, that Ireland has endured under English rule and during which you have committed such inhuman crimes against our people as will never be forgotten or forgiven has firmly put that option out of court.
Finally, if you continue to usurp any part of our national territory you will not do so in peace - not even a peace induced by fear - but by implacable and unrelenting war.
There will be no unconditional surrender.
Fianna Fáil election posters are carrying the slogan, ``People Before Politics''. This is a mere copy of the Sinn Féin policy of ``Putting People First'' which has long been adopted and practised by our party, unlike theirs.
Also, they seem to have taken up this notion of being the ``Republican Party'', but I can never remember seeing comrade Bertie campaigning up and down the streets for a bit of fair treatment for the true republicans, our 40 years men in Portlaoise jail, or even speaking out against the vindictive arrest of Sean Kinsella in Cavan last February. And this is not to mention the continuous harassment carried at by the Branchmen towards all real republicans, members of Sinn Féin.
Isn't it funny the way the prodigal will always try to return or do Fianna Fail want to reconsider that decision taken in 1927 because then they can become the true ``Republican Party'' and begin to really put ``People before Politics''.
I recently came across a medal which I believe was issued during or after the IRA campaign (1920s?). If any of your readers could give me any information or guidance in my research I would be very grateful.
The details, on the circular rim of the medal, include the following:
M Murphy - from the boys of Wexford
The medal belongs to the grandson of the above M Murphy.
Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.
(can be contacted via An Phoblacht)
Involve the youth
With Sinn Féin's excellent performance in the elections in mind, I'd like to make a few points. As a young man who has always had affiliations to republicanism and been interested in their political ideologies, I'd like to know how the youth of today can fit into the arena of republican politics.
Originally I was involved in smaller organisations where the youth were given the chance to enhance their knowledge and capabilities through participation and discussion. I had followed republicanism at a distance but now feel to sustain Sinn Féin performances the youth need to get more involved. The aims, objectives and principles of republicanism need to be carried forward from one generation to the next. The republican youth of today need to come together and be given the knowledge, understanding and wisdom from longer-standing members.
It is suggested Sinn Féin got a lot of first time votes. We need to bring the youth into our politics and give us direction. We need to build our political awareness so the republican tradition can strengthen and finally, we need the support and advice of our seniors to go ever forward, for the voice of the youth today are in reality our future.
A young Republican,