8 January 1998 Edition

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US support for CEARTA

ROCKLAND COUNTY, part of the New York state legislature passed a resolution in its last session of 1997 supporting `CEARTA- Charter for change', thus becoming the first US government body to throw its weight behind the newly formed organisation. In a similar move the Uniformed Firefighters Association in New York City has become the first US union to adopt a resolution supporting the Cearta.

The democratic principles in the Cearta Charter covers six basic areas and call for an end to emergency legislation; an end to discrimination; and for equality for Irish language and culture. Cearta also calls for the release of political prisoners and insists that an internal settlement to the conflict in the North is not acceptable.

New York City Council announced on the last day of 1997 that on its first day of business in 1998, Wednesday 7 January it would pass a motion to support Cearta. City Council Speaker Peter Vallone is then due in Belfast on Sunday to present the ``strongly worded'' declaration to public officials and peace and justice campaigners and to meet with Cearta representatives.

Further US support for the Charter comes from the Irish-American Labour Coalition. Executive member Edward J Cleary, who chairs the Northeast council of the powerful AFL-CIO union which represents all organised labour in the highly unionised Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, has indicated that the union leaders who threw their weight behind the successful ten year battle to have MacBride Principles incorporated into state legislature could soon vote on a resolution to support the Charter. Cleary has indicated that resolutions supporting the Charters' principles could come from labour and community leaders in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, St Louis and San Francisco.

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