28 January 1999 Edition
Nationalists for the Peace Process
Many people in the South of Ireland are extremely concerned and dismayed about recent developments in the peace process.
There seems to be a campaign to delay the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. There are also elements trying to rewrite the Agreement. We all have to be on our guard to ensure that the peace process is moving forward each day. People are now beginning to question the sincerity of Mr David Trimble MP. His Oslo speech was a disgrace and an insult to all nationalists on the island of Ireland. When you win a peace award people expect genuine openness and a sincere attempt to understand your political opponents.
Many of us got the real impression that Mr Trimble wants to drag us back to the old days. His attitude to his neighbours on the Garvaghy Road leaves a lot to be desired. His attack on the Parades Commission and his constant undermining of General John De Chastelain shows an arrogance that is damaging to the whole peace process.
Many of us supported the whole idea of inclusive dialogue from the beginning to bring about real change. Our group ``Nationalists for the Peace Process'' have come together to push for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as a step on the road to a new Ireland. We particulary want to support the northern minority at this difficult time. We call on the leadership of unionism to stop playing games with the democratic wishes of the Irish people. We also call on the Irish government to represent the democratic will of the people by implementing the Good Friday Agreement.
Finian McGrath (Co-ordinator Nationalists for the Peace Process)
Robert Ballagh (Artist)
Matt Merrigan (Former President of the ICTU)
Just a brief comment about the comparison made by John Kearney in his letter on14 January. He wrote that referring to ``Latin America'' (meaning Mexico, parts of South America, Central America, and some of the Caribbean islands) was the same as referring to ``Great Britain'' (and including Ireland).
The general use of the word ``Latin'' refers more to the official language of the countries than to the ethnic origin of their inhabitants.
I agree that referring to that part of the American continent as ``Latin America'' is not entirely correct or even appropriate, but it is not meant to be offensive. The general use of ``Latin America'' among the solidarity groups all around the world, from Ireland to Australia, confirms this.
Consult with community
I am very disappointed with the article by Roisín de Rossa (14 January) on the unspent £4 million allocated to drug projects.
I totally agree with the first paragraph. Yes, drug deaths are quite unnecessary and quite unavoidable. But then to go on and say ``is anyone serious about helping drug addicts back to living?'' is quite outrageous and surprisingly ill-informed.
For two decades republicans have been to the forefront of the fight against drugs. Some have been beaten, some shot by drug dealers and many have been harassed, arrested and their homes raided by those who should be out tackling the drug dealers.
I have personally been involved in the anti-drug campaign movement for over two years in Blanchardstown. In those two years we have seen the establishment of many community projects from education/prevention, treatment and rehabilitation to youth projects aimed at those most at risk.
Almost £1 million has been allocated by the local drug task force to tackle the serious drug problem that we face.
I am astonished that Roisín calls for government bodies to railroad facilities through and impose them on communities. It does not have to be that way. We have through long and sometimes frustrating consultations and public debates come to a situation that we now have two local satellite clinics in place with plans in the pipeline for a full treatment and rehabilitation centre. But there is still much to be done.
I am still frustrated with the lack of speed in which we can establish some projects, but we cannot achieve what we set out to do by riding roughshod over the geniune fears of some sections of our community.
The Lawyers Group of Amnesty International Flanders support the call for a full international independent judicial inquiry into the killing of Belfast lawyer Patrick Finucane.
We also send our best wishes to the prisoners, the ex-prisoners and their families.
Piet De Pauw