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19 October 2000 Edition

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Mála Poist

Tar linn go Slógadh Shinn Féin

A Chairde,

Bheinn buíoch díot as deis a thabhairt dom a mheabhrú do léitheoirí An Phoblacht go mbeidh Slógadh 2000 ar siúl i Ráth Cairn, Gaeltacht na Mí ag an deireadh seachtaine Saoire Bainc, 27, 28. 29 Deireadh Fómhair 2000.

I would be very grateful if you would allow me to remind your readers of a very important linguistic, cultural and political event taking place in the Meath Gaeltacht this October Bank Holiday Weekend on the 27, 28, 29 October. Sinn Féin's Slógadh 2000 is being organised by the local Sinn Féin Cumann in the Ráth Cairn Gaeltacht.

As it happens, this year's Slógadh in Ráth Cairn commences on 27 October - 20 years to the day on which seven H-Block prisoners refused meals in their demand for political recognition of their actions. It is fitting, therefore, that the theme of this year's Slógadh is ``The Legacy of the Hunger Strikes - 20 Years On.'' One of the keynote speakers will be Gearóid Mac Siacais, who shared a cell with Bobby Sands. He is now a member of An Foras Teanga - one of the all Ireland bodies set up under the Good Friday Agreement. If Bobby Sands and other Hunger Strikers had survived that terrible time in our history, would they have a political part to play in the evolving political developments, political recognition now gained but refused to those who died on hunger strike? Would we be at this stage of political development without the hunger strikes? It was also during the hunger strikes that electoral mandates were sought and gained. Questions such as these and others will be discussed at this year's Slógadh. There is also a full timetable of other social, entertainment and literary events as well as a local historical tour as part of this year's Slógadh.

Ní dhéanfar dearmad go brách ar an oileáin seo ar an Stailc Ocrais ina bhfuair deichniúr bás agus aitheantas polaitiúil á iarradh dá gcuid gníomhartha. Fiche bliain ó shin cothrom leis an lá a thosóidh an Slógadh Ráth Cairn (27 Deireadh Fómhair) dhiúltaigh seachtar cimí de chuid na H-Bhlocanna bia agus aitheantas polaitiúil á éileamh acu dá ngníomhartha. Is tráithiúil mar sin go mbeadh an Stailc Ocrais mar théama an tSlógaidh. Mar aon le cuimhneacháin orthu siúd a cailleadh le linn na stailce ní mór breathnú anois ar an aitheantas polaitiúil atá bainte amach ó thuaidh - rud a diúltaíodh don deichniúir a d'fhulaing bás ocrais agus an t-aitheantas sin á iarradh acu. Dá mba beo é, an mbeadh Bobby Sands nó aon duine eile den deichniúr mar bhall den Tionól ó thuaidh? Nó an mbeadh an Tionól ó thuaidh ann murach an deichniúr laochra sin? Is ceisteanna mar seo agus oidhreacht na stailce a phléifear ag an Slógadh i Ráth Cairn.

Gerry Adams, MP, the President of Sinn Féin, will officially open the Slógadh in Ráth Cairn at 12.30pm on Saturday, 28 October. Other speakers include Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and Sinn Féin's General Election Candidate in Meath, Joe Reilly.

Fáilte roimh chách agus roimh chuile theanga. Everybody and all languages welcome. Accommodation available with Gaeltacht families. Tuilleadh Eolais, bróisiúir, áirithintí ó:

Oifig Shinn Féin, Ionad Bobby Sands, An Uaimh, Co. na Mí ag (00353) (0)46 21345 - Ephost: [email protected] agus ó Rúnaí Chumann Shinn Féin Ráth Cairn ag (00353)(0)46 32652

Ephost: [email protected]

Seán Ó Riain,

Oifigeach Caidrimh Phoiblí,

Cumann Shinn Féin Ráth Cairn,

Co. Na Mí .

Kevin Keegan

A Chairde,

When I turned to the back page of last week's paper I thought I had picked up The Star by mistake. Then I realised that The Star was the one with the reports of the All Ireland Football Final and the Ireland v Australia game (for those who only read An Phoblacht Kerry won The All Ireland and Australia beat Ireland).

Maybe I'm not a typical An Phoblacht reader afer all, but I really couldn't care less how honourable or inept Kevin Keegan is. If this is the best you can do you would be better forgetting about sports coverage. Surely there must be something better you could use the back page for than this irrelevance.

Seamus Ó Droma

Co. Louth

Harassment of Northeners

A Chairde,

As an Irish republican from Derry who has moved to Dublin after completing a degree in university, I have been angered by the treatment myself and my friends have been subjected to here in Dublin. Coming from the Six Counties, we have experienced a high level of harrassment from the security forces, physical and verbal. We see it as an everyday part of our life and try are best to let it have no effect on us. But I have been amazed by the verbal attacks that we have received since we came her to live in Dublin.

We have in numerous occasions been told to fuck off back to the UK when they hear our accents. This occurs particularly with bouncers, most recently with one at a prominent nightspot calling us Provie-loving bastards and other numerous things.

I have never had to defend myself before in proving how Irish I am but a lot of people down here think that if you were born in the Six Counties then you have no right to call yourself Irish. I am writing you this letter because I believe that it is your duty to highlight this problem in your publication.

I read An Phoblacht every week and a lot of your articles concern racism in Ireland, but this type of racism is never touched upon or even highlighted. I hope that you will mention it and not hide the fact the way the British media hides the harassment that nationalists and republicans receive in the Six Counties.

Kevin Thompson,


Of Cowen and Connolly

A Chairde,

I found Foreign Minister Brian Cowen's attempt to have his party don the mantle of this century's leading Irish Republican Socialist, James Connolly, to be rather amusing if not really taking the biscuit.. (Sunday Business Post, Sunday 15 Oct).

According to Cowen, ``Labour owns Connolly's title deeds'' and his ``blending of nationalism and socialism'' is lauded from a ``Fianna Fáil perspective'' as are the ``courageous and pioneering leaders in the Loyalist community'' who ``emphasise the needs of working class Unionists''. The ``lumpen proletariat'' (who make up the mass of Sinn Féin ) don't seem to get a look in through Cowen's new rose-tinted glasses. Nor did they at Fianna Fáil's debate on the legacy of Connolly, held earlier that week, when the party's young guns deemed it more appropriate to invite the political wing of the UDA.

Some might think it academic to ponder what the Apostle of Republican Socialism might think of today's Ansbacher-funded `Republican' Party. Maybe a bit like asking what would Connolly have thought of the mini-skirt? However, I would hazard a fair guess that being an internationalist and a leading advocate of neutrality, he wouldn't have liked to see us being railroaded into the NATO waiting-room of the Partnership for Peace. Nor do I think that he would agree with Minister Cowen's assertion that ``we have made good use of the economic control granted to us through republican self government''. By ``us'', I assume he is referring to the people of the 26 Counties. Sorry, I thought Connolly was a nationalist? As for ``economic control'', does this not lie largely out there in the offices of Brussels and Strasbourg, now far beyond the control of ``the sovereign people''?

Finally, as for Deputy Cowen's claim that his party emphasises the ``welfare of all of the people'', maybe we'll leave that one for some future Tribunal to ponder!

Cllr. John Dwyer (Sinn Féin)

New Ross UDC

Co. Loch Garman

Withdraw obsolete choppers

A Chairde,

Two weekends ago, a 40- year-old military helicopter crashed in South Armagh. Will it take another crash like that which killed three young people in North Wales in 1993 before this type is withdrawn?

The Celtic League has expressed grave reservations to the MoD about its continued operation of obsolete helicopters in the North of Ireland. Earlier this year we highlighted the fact that British Lynx helicopters were being kept airborne by fitting them with defective second-hand spares, subsequently the fleet was grounded.

RAF Chinooks have also been subject to a less well publicised but essential replacement of defective parts.

Two Sundays ago, the oldest helicopter type in the RAF inventory, the Wessex was involved in a crash in South Armagh. It's the latest in a series of such accidents in the area.

Quite frankly, it beggars belief that the RAF are still operating a helicopter type of this age. The Wessex as a type is now 50 years old, those in RAF service HC 2 came into use in 1961!. Following a fatal crash at Padarn Lake in Wales (1993) which we investigated, we established that in those 40 years no serious upgrade has been undertaken. Furthermore, for a machine of this age it's highly likely that defect servicing is being effected by the use of second hand spares, as with the Lynx.

The Wessex should have been withdrawn following the crash in Wales in 1993 in which three young people (air cadets) were killed. It seems that the Ministry of Defence will not withdraw this type from service until another equally serious tragedy occurs.

Bernard Moffatt

Secretary General,

The Celtic League

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries of the western British Isles and Brittany. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It targets human rights abuse and monitors all military activity within these areas

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1