13 September 2000 Edition
Mick Derrig's article on Rangers supporters and loyalism in Scotland was an eye opener. It's a sad state of affairs when sectarian intimidation and violence is tolerated or swept under the carpet like that by the authorities.
It makes me extremely angry. I'm really getting sick of these relentless bully boy tactics seen in Belfast and Glasgow.
It's time to take the toys away from the boys.
New York City (Montrealer by birth)
Commemorating Cork's patriot mayors
The Tomas MacCurtain/Traolach MacSuibhne Society was founded in homour of our two patriots and former Lord Mayors of Cork. Both were OCs of the 1st Cork Brigade IRA at the time of their deaths. They had been central to the development of republicanism in Cork since the early part of the 20th century and were lovers and promoters of Irish language and culture.
This society is dedicated to commemorating their lives and those of the many other Cork men and women who gave their lives to achieve Irish freedom. It also promotes the ideas, beliefs and thinking of these two great men, emphasising how their objectives are still as important today, as their goal is yet to be fully completed. This society is non-party political and above religious divides.
The immediate aim of the society is to hold a seminar and commemoration in honour of Traolach MacSuibhne close to the 80th anniversary of his death, which falls on 25 October. The society is also seeking funds to republish a bilingual version of MacSuibhne's important work, Principles of Freedom, which, sadly, has been out of print for some considerable time.
Any assistance your readers can give the society in this venture or in any of the work outlined would be greatly appreciated.
Darren O Coaimh
Ministers in error?
In a few ill-chosen words and misplaced sentiments, Martin McGuinness's comments (Irish News, 27/8/2000) on the NASUWT's industrial action have displayed the potential dangers of accepting responsibility for governance of the Six Counties.
Instead of pinpointing the legitimate nature of the grievances behind the teacher's union actions, and herein forcing the onus of responsibility onto the British Cabinet whose educational legislation it concerns, Martin McGuinness upheld the informal façade of collective responsibility and stated that his department were doing all that was within their power.
Such a non-committal response, whilst hardly sufficient in itself, was substantiated upon by what can only be described as the traditional right wing anti-union utterances. `I just hope this action does not affect the children's education' - seemingly an innocent and concerned response, but what in effect amounts to placing responsibility on the teachers, instead of a neo-liberal British government whose educational reforms have placed teachers under undue stress and bureaucratisation. The same rationale is currently being employed against the ILDA workers in Dublin, and was employed against the nurses in the 26 Counties, as a not so subtle attempt to demonise their legitimate demands. Has the strain on teaching resources and personnel not affected the children's educational needs? Sadly on this occasion our minister remained silent, at least publicly.
Of course, this incident is symbolic of a wider dilemma. By accepting to take part in government there is the very real possibility that our party, indeed all of the Six-County Assembly representatives, can be used as an effective `buffer' to protect the British government's legislation in Ireland. Thus it is Bairbre de Brún's fault that the maternity ward at the City Hospital was closed, and it is Martin McGuinness's fault that teachers' grievances aren't being addressed. It is a precarious situation which can only be resolved by refusing to be placed in the `buffer zone', and by standing firmly behind those in our society who seek social justice.
Martin McGuinness should have sided with the teachers, stating unambiguously that he agrees with their demands, and pointed the finger squarely at the British government for their irrational legislation which further bureaucratises the educational system. As it stands, McGuinness's comments were utterly inappropriate, especially given the fact that this `limited' industrial action aims at freeing up teachers' time so as to enhance the quality of education for the children.
41 Glandore Ave.,
Buff or Buffooon
Last week (Sept 7) you described Kevin Myers as an ``anti-republican columnist and imperialist war buff''.
`Buff'!!?? `Buffoon', surely.