24 June 1999 Edition
I regularly read An Phoblacht, and I can say that it is one of the best websites I have found on Northern Ireland matters.
I'm a Hungarian born French educationalist, conference organiser, freelance PR officer, actually working in Budapest.
For many years I have been involved in Irish matters. The Internet is a big help for my research, and your website, as well as the site of Sinn Féin are my major resources. I'm concerned about everyday life in Northern Ireland, especially politics and human rights.
Last year, an old dream came true when I could visit Belfast and Derry. It was moving to me to see all the places I read about and saw on TV during the Troubles. I visited the Green Cross Bookshop on the Falls Road, the Milltown cemetery, and in Derry the place where the Bloody Sunday massacre happened as well as old historical sites.
I visited a lot of countries during holidays and on working purposes, and I always had a camera with me. But this time, probably
because I felt emotionally involved, and by respect I couldn't take a single photo. I felt, not doing like a tourist, I'm one
of you, almost in my mind and in my heart. And that's true. That's the way I feel.
I felt at home in West Belfast, people were kind, helpful, friendly.
I had an appointment with Yvonne Murphy, director of the Linen Hall Library's Political Collection. It was a great experience, and I promised her to make a research concerning the Troubles in the Hungarian press, during the last 30 years. I'm still working on it.
But my biggest pleasure and I think I can frankly tell it, was my last night in Belfast. I saw Brian Friel's Translations in the Lyric Theatre with a Protestant acquaintance from Carrickfergus. Since we had quite a lot of ``fights'' on political matters (my visit took place just before the Easter Agreement), on politics, education, minorities, churches, the Irish language, which I try to learn, at the end of the play he simply told me: ``It's a pity Sara, I didn't know you long before. After our discussions and after this play, I'll probably learn Irish. And it was you who made me understand the importance of that.''
Well, I keep on learning Irish and researching politics, and maybe one day I can settle in Belfast, and be useful in some field.
May I agree whole-heartedly with your editorial on Junior Doctors' hours. Apart from anything else, being in the profession myself, I happen to know that most of the general public do not know that the phrase ``junior doctors'' includes all doctors who are in the National Helath Service who are not consultants, i.e. the vast majority.
I felt during my own training that not only was I being let down but more importantly the patients who depended on our care were being let down by such a foolish system. Let it be done away with - and let me say that there are many unemployed doctors in the EU who would love to work part-time in Ireland and relieve the strain on our own.
(Dr) Kieran Upton