25 May 2000 Edition

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Mála Poist

Druggies out, killers in

This week's announcement that a large number of soldiers were being discharged from the British Army for drug-taking highlights the dubious standards adopted by that army towards the murder, by its troops, of Peter McBride in Belfast in 1992. In the case of McBride, a well organised though morally misguided campaign has so far enabled those responsible to remain in the British Army.

Seven Welsh soldiers, members of the Queens Dragoon Guards (also known as the Welsh Cavalry), were given their ``marching orders'' last week after being disciplined for taking drugs whilst on leave. Another eight soldiers from a Scottish Regiment are also likely to be thrown out of the army.

The situation is a stark contrast to that of the two Scots Guardsmen, Fisher and Wright, who shot McBride twice in the back. In their case, although having served a prison term, the two were allowed to continue to serve. The issue is currently under further review after a judgement in the Belfast High Court that the decision to retain the Guardsmen was flawed.

The McBride family have campaigned ceaselessly to have the two killers, who were branded as liars by their trial judge, kicked out of the British Army. No doubt they will share the concern of the Celtic League that the British Army regard the issue of off-duty drug taking as more serious than murder!

We have written to the MoD asking them to explain the ambiguity.

J B Moffatt
Secretary General
The Celtic League

Fuming reader

A Chairde,

Two years ago, while in the public gallery attending a Town Commission meeting in Portlaoise, I committed a gross offence and lit up a fag only to be admonished by the then chairperson of the Commission and asked to extinguish the cigarette, which I duly did.

I was thinking of this incident while at a meeting in Portlaoise last Saturday night dealing with the dangers of incinerators.

On the one hand the Irish government and local Health Boards are spending millionsof pounds advertising the dangers of smoking and passive smoking while on the other hand they are promoting incinerators that will emit fumes far deadlier than someone having a fag.

What a strange little island we live on.

Joe Barrett

Cúpla Focail

A Chairde,

I have been reading An Phoblacht every week for about a year now and I have noticed very little effort by yourselves to promote our national language.

Although there is a section written in Irish I think it would be good to have a glossary of keywords that would help the non-fluent speaker grasp what the article is about. I also think it would be a good idea to have a small section published each week with a common phrase or useful words (as gaeilge) so people like myself can pick up a bit on our cultural language.

It is also disappointing to see that Sinn Féin do not have workshops or courses for people to learn Irish. Even if they do not have the resources to provide courses, they should at least recommend somewhere and have their contact numbers posted at their head office in Dublin.

Conchúir De Búrca
Baile Átha Cliath

Messrs Big and Insatiable

A Chairde,

In the Flood Tribunal in Dublin, we heard of Mr Big and Mr Insatiable. In the north, the unionists have their own Mr Big, who continually rants ``No!'' but has no problem in pocketing three large salaries and expenses.

Then there is Mr Insatiable, who constantly demands a drip feed of further concessions after a deal is done.

The latest obstacles being erected in the path of the peace process by the UUP prove what many felt all along - that the decommissioning issue was a red herring and the real aim was to block change and restore unionist domination.

This is only to be expected from a party that has been used to getting its own way for 80 years. What is much more worrying is how the British Government so easily caves in to unionist threats after an agreement has been reached. The Irish Government should stand up to such deviousness if the peace process is to retain any credibility. Instead, we have hints from ``government'' and from Minister O'Dea on ``Questions & Answers'' that more concessions would be given to ``help Mr Trimble''. That kind of weakness only encourages both Mr Big and Mr Insatiable!

Seán Marlow,
Dublin 11

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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