12 February 1998 Edition
RUC chief's disregard for nationalists
The RUC Chief Constable, Ronnie Flanagan, on a recent `Spotlight' programme, commented that the families of the two latest Catholics killed by Loyalists were not interested in knowing who was responsible.
He has once again displayed a total disregard for the feelings of the nationalist community by his remarks. The families, relatives and the wider community of the last two Catholics murdered are interested in knowing who was responsible.
This along with his refusal to reveal what everybody already knew, that the UFF/UDA were involved in the murder of Catholics, further inflicts and adds to the great hurt and grief that exists within the nationalist community.
His failure to inform the public about the UFF/UDA involvement and his refusal to reveal the forensic history of the weapon used to kill John Slane a year ago confirms nationalist suspicions that their lives are expendable.
Instead of providing political cover to the UDP by remaining silent during the slaughter of Catholics, Ronnie Flanagan should have made a public statement that the UFF/UDA were in fact responsible. This would have saved the lives of several Catholics.
Nationalists are very concerned in this tense atmosphere and demand to know exactly who they are under attack from, especially as there has been two killings since the UFF/UDA statement. It is imperitive that Ronnie Flanagan immediately reveals the forensic details of the weapons used in all of these murders.
Last week several republicans in north Belfast were warned by the RUC that their lives were in imminent danger. He needs to disclose the origin of these threats. This will establish whether or not the UDA/UFF ceasefire is bogus or not.
This week I and other nationalists who feel that this is an important issue held a picket to highlight these points. I am disappointed that the broadcast media have largely chosen to ignore this.
Ireland of the welcomes - for some
Recent reports show that, despite all the hype, the so-called Celtic Tiger has racist claws and feet of clay when it comes to dealing with at most a few thousand refugees and economic migrants.
These poor hapless people fleeing tyranny, poverty, unemployment and persecution - perhaps just like many millions of Irish people before them who were forced to emigrate - just want a better life for themselves and their children.
The uneven ``development'' of capitalism, its tyranny, exploitation and oppression, causes and forces many, many millions of people to cross continents in pursuit of a better life and in many cases in pursuit of survival itself. And so long as the hegemony of capitalism continues, so long will it be necessary for the migration of people from poor areas of the world to the rich and so-called advanced and developed areas of the world.
But sadly too, there will be the racist and reactionary practice of governments, who will use immigration laws, imprisonment and deportations against the poor, the vulnerable, the dispossessed and against many who will already have suffered their fill of persecution, oppression and tyranny.
Ireland, to its shame, has joined in the frenzy of attempting to create fortress Europe by excluding the poor, the dispossessed and those less fortunate than ourselves. And most of all, excluding all those who are supposedly `less sophisticated' than ourselves and may be a `burden' whether they be poor Romanians, Iraqis, Bosnians, Vietnamese or Africans.
In historical terms Ireland has turned from poacher to game-keeper. The céad míle fáilte has been replaced with ``we only welcome ``foriegners'' if they are tourists or if they have loads of money.
All of course to feed the voracious appetite of our great Celtic Tiger and with it the whims, fancies and pretensions of the Irish nouveaux riches. what a sad and horrific reality is taking shape in Ireland today.
Unionist reaction to Bloody Sunday inquiry
I am sure there were not too many Nationalists surprised at the reaction of Unionist politicians to the announcement of an independent inquiry into Bloody Sunday.
Reg Empey and Paisley were at one when they called for an inquiry into the formation of the `Provos' and the Irish government's alleged involvement in that. David Trimble thought it would do no good but rake up old sores. Was Mr Trimble admitting that there was indeed old sores to rake up after the Widgery Whitewash?
Nationalists have nothing to fear from any inquiries. As a matter of fact why not go the whole hog and have a truth commission as there is in South Africa.
Wouldn't it be an interesting agenda? For example, the UDA. Why did it take the British Government so long to proscribe an organisation which was known to have murdered hundreds of Catholics?
Are the Clinton and Blair pontificating against any possible IRA return to violence the same pair preparing to inflict upon Iraq the ``collateral damage'' of killing and maiming innocent, non-combatant civilians?
Thomas Hutchison McFadden,
Night at the dogs
On behalf of Cairde Shinn Féin may I request that all areas return their nominator cards and advertisements IMMEDIATELY for our Race Night in Shelbourne Park, on Saturday 28 February. Admission tickets at £5 each can be obtained from Joe Reilly, Bobby Sands Centre, 45 Flowerhill, Navan or from the Sinn Féin Bookshop, 44 Parnell Square, Dublin. All advertisements and nominator cards must be accompanied with cash.
Cuba or Ireland?
Are we fighting for Cuba? Or for Ireland?
Dara McNeil's story titled `US Ignores Pope's Condemnation of Blockade' will not help those of us who are attempting to gain support for the Republican people in Ireland.
It will not help our cause to scold the US government's policies in Cuba while at the same time asking them to help the people in the north of Ireland - that logic just doesn't flow. You don't bite the hand you're hoping will feed you; especially before you've been fed.
In my humble opinion, it would have been better to draw attention to the fact that the media is opting to cover Clinton's alleged indiscretions and ignoring the sectarian killings going on in the north right now.
Stories such as this can only further distract the US media from the intended focus of our cause; which is the human, civil, religious, and political rights abuses which are continuing in the north at the hands of the British government.
Let's choose our fights carefully and not focus on Cuba until we have secured a free and united, 32 county Ireland.
Not so liberal media
The British media, including the ``liberal'' section, has declared that republicians and Sinn Fein ``hijacked'' the peace rally in Belfast City Hall. This theme was plugged by Marjorie Mowlam, the Mayor of Belfast and the leader of the Unionists, just because the nationalists `dared' to bring their banners to the rally; banners rightly equating the British army with loyalist death squads.
We expect unionist bigots to engage in such hate campaigns against nationalists and republicians, we also expect New Labour to indulge in the same antics, but it is shameful to see papers which claim to be on the left aping the likes of Trimble, Mowlam and their ilk.
Trade unions in the Six Counties are, due to mass unemployment in Catholic areas, Unionist dominated. Given this, it is hardly surprising that Six County trade union branches regularly submit motions calling for the union to be maintained at all costs.