28 January 2010 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

Rape Crisis Centre damaging its credibility

I WAS very surprised to read the statement from the Rape Crisis Centre NI regarding the dispute between The Sunday Tribune and the woman interviewed by Suzanne Breen about child abuse by the individual referred to as “X”.
In this statement the RCC stated its full support for Breen and said it wanted to verify that there had been “no manipulation” of any victims of abuse by The Sunday Tribune.
I don’t understand why the RCC believed it was appropriate for a victims’ support and advocacy organisation to become involved in this dispute – let alone why it would actually side with a newspaper against a victim of abuse.
In acting in this way the RCC has crossed a line and badly damaged its own credibility as a professional, independent organisation that puts the needs of victims and survivors first.
Anyone who has any experience of abuse or rape, or of working with victims and survivors knows that victims have the legal right to anonymity. The belief that this right will be protected is a crucial factor in encouraging victims to feel confident enough to report allegations of abuse to the appropriate authorities.
The woman involved in this legal dispute said in a public statement issued by Madden and Finucane that she did not wish to be publicly identified as a victim of sexual abuse and that her legal representatives informed The Sunday Tribune of this before the publication of the article.
After assuring the woman details of sexual abuse would not be printed and that she would not be directly or inadvertently identified, the Tribune acted in flagrant disregard of the victim’s wishes and legal rights.
The woman said the paper had manipulated her and the publication of the article was a breach of her human right to privacy. She said this had caused her and her family deep distress.
Knowing this, the RCC then issued a statement insinuating that the woman was ‘being manipulated’ – but not by The Sunday Tribune.
For the RCC to dismiss out of hand the statement of an abuse victim, and to then patronise her by implying she was incapable of deciding to take legal action of her own accord – because the RCC “has known Suzanne Breen” for 20 years – is hard to believe and hard to stomach.
The supportive statement from the RCC has since been published in another issue of The Sunday Tribune and is being used in a political motivated campaign against a political party. The paper gave no such space to the statement from the victim.
I fully support the RCC in advocating politically for women’s rights. But intervening in this way against an alleged abuse victim, in order to be a willing pawn in a political and legal dispute, is truly appalling and seriously undermines the confidence many women will have in the RCC as an independent and professional organisation in future.
(Name and address supplied)


Israel’s water war

ACCORDING TO a recent report from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 10,000 Gaza residents do not have water taps anywhere near their homes.  On top of this, about 60 percent of Gaza residents do not have reliable access to water at all.
After the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, Israel imposed sanctions against border crossings and materials exchanges across the borders.  Israel officials say these sanctions are imposed in order to meet the humanitarian needs of the residents of Gaza.
But now, those basic needs of the residents of Gaza are being grossly neglected. Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, is dealing with a crisis of food security, shelter, energy and education.  But perhaps most critical is the unavailability of water to Gaza residents, and the critical need for materials to repair water and sanitation services.
Clean water is essential to life, and a humanitarian effort that neglects this fact is no effort at all.  The health of a population depends on running water.  Without is comes serious medical problems and high death rates. 
No government or body can refuse water to anybody; yet this is what the Israeli government is doing today and many of the world’s governments continue to support them.  If governments will not stop them, then the people of the world must.  We must boycott all Israeli goods and services.  We did it to end apartheid in South Africa and it worked.  We can and must do it to Israel to bring an end to their apartheid of our brothers and sisters in Gaza.
Co. Mayo


Double standards

APPARENTLY there will be at least four inquiries into the affairs of Peter and Iris Robinson.
Peter Robinson has taken time out as First Minister saying he doesn’t have months to wait to clear his name.
They can order inquiries, it seems, at the click of their ministerial fingers.
Peter says he is the innocent victim of a media vendetta waged against him and his family. But what if Iris Robinson, instead of having an affair, had been killed by a plastic bullet fired by the PSNI? Would Peter still be clamouring for the truth to be told and the innocent vindicated?
I ask this because Peter Robinson has supported the British state for over 40 years in denying the truth to victims of collusion, Shoot to kill and the State murder of men women and children by plastic bullets.
My family and hundreds of others have campaigned for an international, independent truth commission.
Hopefully now the Robinsons will support us in our quest for truth and justice.
An Fhírinne,
Béal Feirste


Free Legal Service disgrace

Free Legal Service disgrace
The government decision to put out for tender the Free Legal Service in Limerick, it seems to me, has serious implications for the administration of justice and also political interference in how justice is done.
The accused will no longer have the right to a defence of their choosing.
Furthermore, if, for example, a firm is picked to take all Free Legal cases, how can this firm be unbiased in its handling of a case when it is dependant on government contracts.
Something must be done
Dublin 22

Chocolate covering to takeover

The proposed takeover of Cadbury by Kraft Foods has much to recommend it to shareholders.
The Quaker traditions of Cadbury have heretofore seen an undue priority given to the welfare of workers instead of to shareholders’ interests. Kraft Foods will hopefully bring the enterprise’s management into the 21st century and secure a hardnosed maximisation of profit.

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