27 July 2000 Edition
Punts or sterling?
Recently whilst bundling up my wife's old copies of An Phoblacht for recycling I noticed a curious anomaly in the annual subscription rates quoted on the back page. Subscription rates for Europe Surface, Airmail and Elsewhere are quoted in pounds sterling.
To me this reflects either ra colonialist nostalgia, or an Unionist mindset, neither, of which I would associate with a publication with a republican agenda.
What is wrong with punts, or even the insidious Euro/ECU?
Yours in bewilderment
Is it just Cobh formally known as ``Queenstown'' that suffers form an anti-Republican'/Nationalist phobia?
An article recently published in a local newspaper clearly explains the pro-British attitudes of an up and coming would be ruling class in my town namely, Junior Chamber, Cobh, which mirrors the behaviour of the Unionists, that governed this place at the turn of the last century.
I don't know of any town in the 26 counties that suffered such hardships and loss of income from the departing British forces in 1938, indeed such dark clouds hung over Cobh, when the British left, for the merchant classes who profited from their presence that one can easily identify with the dreaded anticipation of Northern Loyalists today at the thought of a British military disengagement from the Six Counties. Or indeed to the disbandment of the RUC.
However Cobh was not entirely a bastion of Unionism even in the glory days of the empire. The A Company of the 4th Battalion, Cork First Brigade was to the forefront in the battle against British imperialism. My father, Michael Burke, was the commanding officer of the said company and my uncle Capt. James Ahern was also an officer with A. Company, and he topped the poll in his district ward for Cobh UDC as a Sinn Féin councillor before giving his life at the Clonmult Ambush in February 1921. My uncle along with three other colleagues from the Cobh Company were either killed or executed as a result of that incident and the only man to survive and escape that ambush was another Cobh man Capt. Jack O'Connell.
Finally, although the residue of Unionists and anti-Nationalists still survive today in Cobh r what they would rather prefer to call ``Queenstown''. We will not take a back seat until the true Republic is realised.
``A man is as good as his word.'' Do these words not extend to a government?
The commitments Tony Blair made as a representative of the British government simply need to be upheld. From the beginning of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), the British government has consistently allowed the will of good people to be subverted.
For example, the abstract word, `equality,' a word one can read throughout each section of the GFA - how can the meaning and implementation of this word warrant a multitude of diverse interpretations? There has been no substantial change over the years. The loyalists are not on ceasefire and the people I care about are still living through needless danger. The Royal Ulster Constabulary remains sectarian and by no stretch of the imagination, can be considered a police force serving equally throughout the communities. The Orange Order is permitted to hold violent protests and flaunt its clout, regardless of law.
I received word from a friend in South Armagh. She was pleased by the attention given to the residents of this militarised zone by international observers. I am as well, yet cautious of hope as the British Army, the outposts and spy towers, the harassment that still intrudes into the daily lives of the residents. Again, commitments are not being honoured by the British government.
I know change moves in its own time, determined by the people; however, lifetimes have gone by waiting, waiting for promises to be fulfilled. In business, firms are held by law to their contractual agreements. In the United States, politicians come under severe scrutiny if they do not honour the will of their constituents. I ask why there is no accountability for the broken promises by the British government. Honour, by necessity, is linked to worth. Therefore, the words of the British government have no worth without action.
Frustrated in Clare
As a young republican from West Clare of voting age, I find myself in the predicament of having no republican candidate to vote for in the next election. Numerous attempts have been made by republican sympathisers in the area to get a Sinn Féin cumann set up. These attempts have hit a brick wall.
Although there is a Sinn Féin cumann in Shannon, this can hardly be expected to cover the whole county. We believe that there is enough support in the county to set up three more cumainn, one in West Clare, one in North Clare and one in Ennis. If Sinn Féin are to make gains in the next elections, cumainn need to be developed in places like Clare to take advantage of the growing anger among young people towards corrupt politicians and parties.