28 May 1998 Edition
On a recent television debate concerning the referendum it was particularly noteworthy to hear Fine Gael's Nora Owen remarking on the fact that young people of ``16 or thereabouts'' should be talking about football or music as opposed to debating and discussing such issues as political prisoners, territorial claims, Articles 2 and 3 etc.
How typical of the ``bury your head in the sand'' regressive politics concerning the north as espoused by Fine Gael in the last thirty years of our conflict.
As a newly converted republican from North Down, where joining a party such as Alliance would almost be viewed as radical, it was particularly refreshing to hear young nationalist voices articulate their views in a constructive, positive and imaginative way.
In times of far-reaching change it was encouraging to see that our hopes for tomorrow will ultimately lie with the youth of today.
A United fan
Anti-traveller comments fascist
I am writing in response to the scurrilous attack on the Travelling Community by Fine Gael Councillor John Flannery, who suggested that microchips which are used on livestock be used on travellers. Sounds very like a fascist argument and we know where that could lead.
It might be more in line for the councillor to call for the prosecution of members and former members of Fine Gael who we all know have siphoned off unknown amounts of money into offshore accounts. Does it always have to be the most powerless and vulnerable in our society who pay the price for our ills, while the rich and powerful get away scot free?
If Yorkshire was German
This is an attempt by a native Yorkshireman with no Irish connections to understand what is happening in the six counties. It is also an attempt to see the Arab-Israeli and other disputes in a new light.
Let us suppose - as very nearly happened - Hitler had won the war and occupied Britain. Resistance, culminating in an armed rising in Yorkshire had been savagely put down. Then Hitler had ``planted'' a large population of Bavarians in Yorkshire to keep these troublesome ``Tykes'' in subjugation, giving them all our land and property and leaving the native population with no alternative but to work as virtual slave labour.
Let us further suppose that, after some years, Hitler had died, freedom and democracy had been restored to Germany, who wished to give Britian back its own government in London.
Meanwhile the Bavarians, who had become very rich and privileged at the expense of the Yorkshiremen and wishing to preserve their ascendancy, remained fascist at heart. They threatened armed resistance to rule from London and claimed to be German loyalists even though Germany wished to be rid of them.
Partition would have been the result. German would be spoken, place names would be altered, Yorkshire would have had to elect members to the Reichstag, the Mark would be the currency, taxation, housing, education, law, and the police would all have been under German - or worse - Bavarian rule.
Imagine what would have happened if native Yorkshiremen had demonstated against this state of affairs. German soldiers would quickly have appeared and shot us down. Not so the Bavarians, who, protected by their own police, led by fanatics that even the Germans regarded as a disgrace to democracy, regularly staged marches calculated to enrage the Yorkshire population through whose areas they goose-stepped, accompanied by um-pah bands, waving swastika flags, shouting ``Yorkshire is German'' and singing songs of hatred and contempt for the culture and identity of anything British.
Now I am a peace-loving Yorkshireman and, almost certainly, lack the courage to make bombs or die in a hunger strike, but peace cannot be bought at any price. If the above imagined scenario had been true, what would have been the very least I could have settled for at any meaningful peace process negotiations seeking a lasting solution?
First and foremost, Yorkshire should return to Britain and cease to be a province of Germany. British police and soldiers should replace German ones. All political power should return to London as should financial and administrative decisions and the constitution of local government. The representitives elected to the Reichstag by the Bavarians should lose their seats or transfer to the British Parliament.
However weary of conflict Yorkshire people had become, anything less then this would be unthinkable as a permanent or even temporary solution. Neither Yorkshire or any British people would entertain the suggestion that Britain should drop its claim that Yorkshire is British. To accept - in a referendum - that Yorkshire is German would be a betrayal of, not only our heroes of the struggle against Germany, but also of those who died fighting the Spanish Armada, Napoleon, and in the 1914-18 war.
I hope this exercise in imagination throws some light on how a growing number of British people feel. Many regard the more intransigent leaders of the so-called loyalist community as quite unfit to be British citizens. Probably the majority of voters are so fed up with troubles in Ulster that - provided any unionists that still wanted to live there were guaranteed equality with the rest of the Irish people - they would be only too glad for Dublin to take over.
Geoffrey W. Wood
Open Letter from Terry Kirby
I would like to thank Pat Treanor and Sinn Féin for taking the time and effort to visit the H-Block Three prisoners here in Dublin, California.
I would like to thank the people for their support, and for the support of Sinn Féin. But most of all , for their support of the Irish people. It is important for the people of Ireland to know that they have eyes and ears in this country (USA) who are watching out for their interests, and voices here to speak out for them. Remember, this has never been a struggle about individuals. Our struggle has always been about the Irish people.
With that in mind, I ask everyone to put his or her differences aside and stand together, because unity is strength, and with unity, we will have our victory.
I would like to thank Irish Northern Aid and the Irish American Unity Conference, and people and organisations around the country and around the world for their support over these past six years. I would like to thank my family and friends at home, and my wife Colleen and my daughter Keely for their patience and endurence through these difficult times.
Most of all, I would like to state at this time, my unwavering support for the leadership and membership of Sinn Fein.
You can write to Terry at:
Terence Kirby POW 88533-011
Federal Detention Centre
5675 8th Street
Dublin, CA 94568
Support for Larry
I was very distressed to hear of the attemped murder of Larry O'Toole and his son Lar.
I commend him on standing up for the vast majority of people against the ruthless tyranny of the drug-pushing world. And I wish him a speedy recovery.