6 July 2000 Edition
Flags and nationality
I refer to the flag of Ulster and contest that it should only be the red hand of Ulster on a white background, more often than not it is shown with a red cross (supposedly the cross of St. Patrick) with a red hand as it's centrepiece. If you care to research this you will find that it is the Unionist representation of the Ulster flag and the cross is actually the cross of St. George as depicted on the English flag.
Also, I am tired of British morons (especially on the weather forecast) constantly referring to the British Isles, presumably including Ireland. This is purely an English concept and emanates from their idiotic notions of British imperialism, whereby they want to Britishise everywhere they lay their dirty paws.
Only the other day I read in the London Evening Standard that a village in County Fermanagh was a quiet secluded spot of Britain, far from the madding crowd. I think it should be an accepted standard, that O-level education or higher should be a basic requirement for a British journalist, but obviously that is not the case.
I am also tired of hearing almost the entire Irish contingent from our noble leader Bertie Ahern to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness referring to the island of Ireland rather than just simply Ireland. I ask, since when did it cease to be a country as I was thought to believe and merely become an island. (Presumably another sop to the unionist population).
Right of reply
Might I begin by acknowledging a fine example of the old adage ``Never let truth get in the way of a good story'', as displayed in the recent contribution to your paper from Councillor McAleer. It is almost entirely based upon what can only be described as a vindictive, untruthful, infantile and above all else, fascist tirade in an attempt on his or indeed the part of his masters, to somehow ridicule my own personal and political integrity.
At no time during my contribution at the recent council meeting did I make either snide or racist remarks against Councillor Huggett, or indeed for that matter, his English background. I have a great respect for English people, I have many English friends, I very much welcome support from English people, or for that matter any race of people, for the Irish republican cause. This is not an issue here, since Councillor Huggett is not a member of a party now espousing the Irish republican position. I do not know the man.
I know Councillor McAleer well and all about his contribution to the division and weakening of the republican position over the years. The remarks attributed to me were the concluding remarks of an address in which I had solely outlined the pro-British credentials of all those present in the chamber. They were said in order to present, as an example, what I had termed the `` historic and ironic occasion'' of the provisionals now presenting in the chamber an Englishman to represent their viewpoint. Surely, here in Fermanagh this was indeed an historic occasion worthy of comment, given the new found pro-British credentials of the provisionals.
Since Mr McAleer has chosen to present a deeply flawed and untruthful historical account of my political involvement, I should firstly state that I joined Sinn Féin in Fermanagh in 1981, at 18; my previous involvement with the SDLP is a matter of public record. I note that Mr McAleer suggests this decision as being a late conversion. I must apologise for not having held the republican mantle from the cradle. I just wonder where he and many others like him were when they were the same age?
I recall some hostility to me from some quarters within the organisation at the time, but thankfully I can state that it did not come from those who have remained true to the republican position to this very day. I find his untruthful allegation about me berating him in the early `80s for selling An Phoblacht to be rather pathetic.
Again let me reject another batch of lies, I never sought at any time nomination from the SDLP or further to that, I never sought or had ambition to seek nomination from what was then Sinn Féin. I did not leave Sinn Féin at the first opportunity, if that were true then I would have left with Mr Adams and his colleagues in 1986, as Mr McAleer did. Those who opposed what is now clearly seen to be the first strategic steps of that leadership on the road back to Stormont did not leave; it was the dissidents who left.
I have devoted much of my adult life to the promotion of the republican position. Not only did I suffer for that position, but my family suffered as well. I have defended that republican position against those (who must now include Mr McAleer) who would seek to defeat it both internally and externally.
The only dissidents are those who have succeeded in taking the republican movement onto a path which has seen them abandon every last vestige of Irish republicanism which they at one time would have claimed to embrace. I have never pursued a political career on the back of any struggle, it's a pity others truthfully could not say the same. I have never gained financially from my involvement, again it is a pity others truthfully could not say the same.
Furthermore, in 1993, I was approached by a number of Mr McAleer's colleagues, who asked me to consider joining their then party, and to stand as a candidate for that party.
Might I humbly state that my political maturity over the years, stands in stark contrast to those who have judiciously engaged in the wholesale abandonment of republican positions, in their rush to embrace all that they would have at one time claimed to oppose. As they now slide comfortably into their crown ministerial positions and play out their role of poacher turned gamekeeper, they should always remember that the trust which they have so readily placed in their British paymasters, and the trust that so many of the fallen republican dead placed in them, may come back to haunt them.
Irish republicanism is indeed all-embracing and welcoming, but only to those whose intentions are honourable. Mr McAleer, by the nature of his one time connections to Irish republicanism, should be able to testify to that. I will now depart from my ``bigoted soapbox'' and seek refuge in the ``closet'', for fear I might mature into a psuedo-Englishman.
Fermanagh District Council
Pat Cannon Commemoration
The 24th Annual Volunteer Patrick Cannon Commemoration takes place on Saturday 15 July at 2.30pm. The assembly point is at the Darndale Roundabout with a march to Patrick Cannon's grave in Balgriffin Cemetery. Volunteer Patrick Cannon came from Edenmore on Dublin's Northside, and was a member of the IRA's Dublin Brigade. He was 21 when he died alongside his comrade Volunteer Peter McElcar from Co. Donegal, in a premature explosion in Castlederg Co. Tyrone on 17 July 1976.
This is an important local event, organised by the Cole/Colley Cumann, which has been a great success for many years. The reason for this success has been the annual mobilisation of republicans from across Dublin. We are again calling on this support and that of your comrades and friends.
The main speakers on the day are Martin Ferris and Larry O'Toole and statements will be read on behalf of Ógra Shinn Féin and the Sinn Féin Women's Forum. The Smith/Harford/Doherty RFB will also be in attendance. On the morning of the commemoration, we hope to organise a football match between Naomh Fionnbarra of Cabra and St. Joseph's of Fairview for the Volunteer Patrick Cannon Memorial Shield.
Following the commemoration, you are welcome to join us in the nearby Inis Fáil GAA Club for music and refreshments. That evening we are holding a function, in conjunction with the O'Malley/Russell Cumann, at the Ierne Club, Parnell Square, featuring Shan Nós. Táille is £5.00 and doors open at 8.30pm.
The main bus routes from the city centre to the Darndale Roundabout are the 27-27A-27B from Talbot Street and the 42 from Beresford Place.
We look forward to seeing you all on the day.
Dublin North East Sinn Féin
Now I know!
The frank admission by property developer Mark Kavanagh that his £100,000 gift to Charles Haughey was ``a hard-headed business decision'', combined with the Moriarty Tribunal's accusation that Fianna Fáil failed to provide full information on this donation, explains many economic oddities that have puzzled me over the years.
I could never figure out how property developers were able to engage in speculation and profiteering without any windfall tax being imposed. Now I know.
I couldn't understand how Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax kept being lowered, thus risking inflation. Now I know.
I couldn't comprehend the strict controls on workers' wages, while there was no control at all on directors' fees and ``expenses''. Now I know.
What I still find amazing, though, is that the FF/PD government is so arrogant as to continue with policies which worsen inequality and dismiss those of us who question this as ``liberal pinkos'' and ``creeping Jasus's''!
Cllr Dessie Ellis,
Martin Hurson Commemoration
The annual commemoration for Volunteer Martin Hurson will take place on Sunday 9 July in Galbally. There will be a series of football matches during the day followed by a parade to the graveside.
Later that evening, there will be a concert in Galbally Community Centre.
Everyone is invited to attend.