14 December 2000 Edition
Taking issue over asylum seekers
As an active member of Sinn Féin for the last 15 years, I would appreciate if you would give me space in your paper to express my view of your coverage of the asylum seekers situation.
It seems you cannot have an opinion on this problem without immediately being called racist.
I believe it's about time your paper `grows up' and realises we cannot take in everybody in the world, and that we have some checks and balances, be it Sinn Féin, the party in power, or some other party.
Your paper does a disservice to its readers by equating racism with migration control.
Ireland, whether you like it or not, has very little experience of multicultural society, this being due to having no colonial baggage.
I personally felt really sorry for that Dublin bus conductor who was made an example of.
We as a party, who represent ordinary working people, must take into account their fears and anxieties, be they ill-founded or not, and work with them to resolve it - not shout racism at any doubt they might have, or stuff a particular policy down people's throats.
Seamus De Búrca
Tralee `81 Committee
At a recent meeting, the Tralee 1981 Committee was reformed to prepare for the 20th anniversary of the H-Block Hunger Strikes of 1981.
The purpose of this meeting was to reactivate the committee that was present during that period almost 20 years ago. We must stress that this committee is broad based and is not controlled by any one group, political or otherwise. The purpose of this committee is to organise commemorative events at local level and liaise with other committees throughout the country regarding national events.
This will be an opportunity for us all to remember and recognise the sacrifices made by so many brave and selfless young Irish nationalists. We invite anyone who may be interested in becoming involved to contact us at the address or numbers below.
Davy Barrett, PRO,
Tralee `81 Committee,
Tel: 066 712545
Fax: 066 7129572
South Derry office, please
I recently attended an excellent lecture given by Gerry Adams in Toomebridge. Among the questions coming up from the floor was one I have heard many times over the past years! ``When is Sinn Féin going to get an office in this area?''
Now the night that question was asked to the wrong person, but it is very valid nonetheless, so I would like to take the liberty of redirecting it through your columns to whoever would be the right person!
Southwest Antrim and South Derry is a large area with a large republican vote, yet if I want to see my local councillor, or get advice from Sinn Féin, my handiest option is mostly the chapel gate on a Sunday morning, or, if I'm extremely lucky, I might get one of them in their home on the umpteenth try.
Twenty years ago this may have been good enough, and even old halls stuck out in the back of beyond served their purpose, but this is the year 2000, the Good Friday Agreement is six years old and it is definitly time Sinn Féin had an office advice center that reflected its image as a vibrant, youthful party.
It is the bigger shame now as Sinn Féin certainly has the personnel to staff such an office.
South Derry republican
Questionable soccer funding
As a keen follower of Irish league football and sport in general in Ireland, could you please tell me how Linfield FC managed to get £150,000 for ground inprovements at Windsor Park while clubs like Cliftonville (our ground is the worst in the league) need it more.
It seems the louder they sing their sectarian songs, the more money they get. I thought sport was meant to be for all.