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13 July 2000 Edition

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Media prolongs the myth

Throughout yesterday, 12 July, nationalists across the Six Counties have been complaining about the BBC and UTV's coverage of the Twelfth. The BBC has had most calls.

Nationalists, who have been subjected to a ten-day pogrom since Portadown Orange leader Harold Gracey called for protest in support of his demand to march down the Garvaghy Road, are disgusted that the BBC continues to peddle the myth that the Orange Order is a benign cultural and religious organisation.

The attacks on nationalist homes and property, the assaults and assassination attempts, are brushed under the carpet as the BBC PR machine cranks into gear.

This sectarian mindset reached its peak as the BBC, on its main teatime radio news programme on 12 July, reported how the death of Andrew Cairns (a loyalist shot dead as a result of loyalist paramilitary feuding) cast ``a shadow over the Twelfth''.

The reality for nationalists is that they have had to live under the shadow of Orange Order bigotry and the seamless violence that this brings for decades, but the media has airbrushed their experience out of history.

The myth that the Orange Order is an organisation that merits respect is one that should be debunked immediately. It has courted the worst type of loyalist thugs and killers in a desperate attempt to exert sufficient pressure so that the British will feel compelled to force a march down the Garvaghy Road.

The effect of their behaviour, ironically, is such that the prospect of any such march looks increasingly distant. The Orange Order stands exposed in the eyes of the world, but not, it seems, to the established order that prevails in the BBC and UTV.

The peace process has presented challenges and compromises to all sections of society. Is it too much to expect that the Six-County media might grow with the rest of us?


Wsateful charges

The decision by Dublin City Council to subject Dubliners to bin charges is a greedy form of double taxation. The worry also exists that the money raised is intended to help offset the cost of building a planned incinerator that will threaten the health of Dubliners with poisonous dioxins for decades to come.

Sinn Féin across the 26 Counties has opposed refuse charges, but not for the sake of it. There are alternatives to landfills and incinerators, but they require a little more thought and long-term planning. They also require that the polluter pays principle be applied, not to the end user, the consumer, but to the industries that produce the vast majority of waste.

The solution lies in a comprehensive waste management strategy based on the three Rs, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

It is true that we cannot go on as at present. But as usual, the establishment parties are looking for quick fixes, with ordinary people left to pick up the bill. Sinn Féin will fight this tax and for an environmentally responsible approach to waste management.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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