Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

3 July 1997 Edition

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A dose of reality

What would be the reaction if in a Dublin suburb or in a village in West Cork a group of sectarian Catholic demonstrators tried to prevent their Protestant neighbours from going to their weekly religious service?

After months of such demonstrations involving the hurling of sectarian abuse, and occasionally of missiles at worshippers, and an actual assault on the church itself, if the Protestant minister reluctantly cancelled services, how would people react?

Wouldn't it be ludicrous if the minister was praised for his gesture of reconciliation? Wouldn't it demonstrate the most wishful of thinking if this forced abandonment of the right to worship because of sectarian bigots was seen as a sign of hope?

Yet such has been some of the reaction to the recent abandonment of Saturday night masses at Harryville, where a loyalist mob for months taunted Catholic church goers.

Even after Drumcree 1996 there are still those who close their eyes to the reality of loyalist bigotry and its organised manifestation in the Orange Order. This weekend they should keep their eyes open. They should realise that the real problem in relation to marches is the very nature of the Loyal orders themselves. Only in that context can the objection of nationalist communites to sectarain marches be understood.

Slipping into NATO

The Dublin government has sent troops this week to serve for the first time under NATO command. The troops were sent to Bosnia to take part in the so-called peace-keeping operation there. As reported in An Phoblacht in April this international operation has taken on the characteristics of a military occupation, with the role of the British army in particular being resented by the local population. The operation is a foretaste of the planned expansion of NATO across Eastern Europe. For the Dublin government to violate Irish neutrality by sending troops to participate in this is a disgrace. The government should be calling for the disbandment of the nuclear armed alliance known as NATO, not slipping under its command.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1