11 January 2001 Edition
US has interests, not friends
Clinton's visit to Ireland appears to have sparked a debate about the US role in the peace process. To many republicans this debate might seem trivial and a distraction from the real issues.
An article in the Irish Times (23 December) by Congressman Ben Gilman - a strong opponent of British policy in Ireland - deserves reflection. In the Irish Times article, Gilman argued that Ireland owed America a great deal and it was time to start paying back. If the Irish wished to benefit from American goodwill, they should stop criticising US foreign policy.
A few days before the Gilman article, the same newspaper carried an interview with the EU chief commissioner, who claimed that Ireland owed everything to Europe and criticised the Irish for their ingratitude.
A measure of realism would suggest that both US and EU policy-makers are motivated by strategic considerations: both see Ireland as part of their `sphere of influence'.
The presence of large numbers of Irish emigrants and people of Irish descent in the United States gives Irish republicans a valuable edge against the British state and it would be foolish not to take advantage of it. It would be a mistake, though, to lose sight of the larger picture and to ignore the fact that the US is, like Britain, an imperial state, which has `no permanent friends, only permanent interests'.
If Sinn Fein is serious about radical change in Ireland, both short and long term considerations need to be taken into account.
Thanks from Tramore Sinn Féin
The Sean O'Rourke Sinn Féin cumann Trá Mhór would like to thank the people of Tramore and Waterford and those further afield who recently supported our Christmas raffle. The monies raised from this will be put to good use in the Tramore area in helping to raise awareness of housing rights, employment rights and all the areas of inequality that we already know about and any that are brought to our attention again a sincere thanks on behalf of all the Trá Mhór cumann members. We would also like to extend a sincere thanks to the people of Tramore and any visitors who donated to the annual church gate collection on the 6th and 7th of January and would like to take this opportunity to inform all those who donated funds that these funds will only be used to advance the people of Tramore and it's surrounding area in informing them of their rights be it employment, housing or the environment as well as a section of it going to the next local election fund.
1st £200, Sean Mullen, Belfast
2nd £100, Ann Marie McGuire, Tramore
3rd Drinks hamper, Paddy O'Keeffe, Waterford
4th Turkey + Ham, Kieran Murphy, Tramore
5th Waterford Crystal, Liam Morris, Wexford
6th Framed Picture, Thomas Sinnott, Wexford
7th £10 Voucher, Jim Burns, Waterford
8th T-shirt, Doc Dalton, Tramore
9th Tin biscuits, Jonathan Hutchinson, Tramore
10th Wine, Stella Whittle, Tramore
11th Wine, Nicky O'Connor, Tramore
12th Wine, Carl Doyle, Kilkenny
Anyone interested in joining Sinn Féin in Tramore can contact Joe Mooney @ 087 2357083. There are also cumanns in Waterford city, Dungarvan, Ring and the Waterford Institute of Technology and contact numbers can be supplied for any of these on request from myself or from Sinn Féin head office, 44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.
Sean O'Rourke Sinn Féin Cumann,
Stop blaming refugees
Séamus de Búrca's comments on the refugee situation in Ireland were ill-informed and unfortunate in the extreme. ``We can't take in everyone'' and ``we need checks and balances'' he pleaded, displaying the same type of hysteria that passes for reasoned analysis throughout much of the Irish media on this issue.
The actual facts paint a different picture. Refugees make up only a small percentage of migrants into this country. Last year, around 60,000 people from the various EU states migrated to the 26 Counties, a figure far greater than the 10,000 or so refugees who came from non-EU states.
It is right and proper that the 60,000 or so EU citizens could come here to live and work without fear of persecution from a hostile government and media. It is right and proper that they be welcomed and accepted unquestioningly into Irish society.
However, it seems that when it comes to the small number of non-EU citizens, most of whom are black or from Eastern Europe, the situation is different. Unremitting hostility from an opportunistic government and racist media seems to be the order of the day.
It is important to explain to working class people the real facts behind the refugee issue here. It is important to explain that the lack of decent housing and the increase in poverty and social decay felt in many areas are a result of policies pursued by successive Irish governments, and not the fault of a few thousand impoverished refugees.
Support for migration control does equate to racism, and republicans cannot advocate such policies or pander to the prejudices that underpin them.
Unity is strength
Congratulations to The Green Party, Sinn Féin and The Socialist Party and others for coming together for a joint press conference on The Treaty of Nice.
In a world in which many commentators are now warning of the dangers of American chauvinism and of increased competition between the two economic superpowers of the US and the EU, it is vital that all those who in any way care about the future of humanity come together to increase democratisation and resist Ireland being ``bounced'' by opportunist politicians into one camp or the other. Instead, we need to develop relations with the people of both continents and in particular now persuade Irish America of the wisdom of lobbying a new, conservative, US presidency to take effective action over global warming and its consequences.
Indeed, for those parties and other groups to come together for a new National Development Plan for Ireland which places the building of a publicly owned railway system at its core, this could be one of Ireland's best contributions to the world of the 21st century. In the knowledge that only an alternative economic strategy and the building of a new party and government can secure social and economic justice and ecological sustainability and freedom from corruption and not just strike action alone.
Death by stoning in Iran
On Wednesday 3 January 2001, the Iranian paper `Doran Emrouz' published reports of a court case in Karaj , near Tehran, where Islamic judge Ganji has condemned a 38-year-old woman to death by stoning, for the murder of her husband with a male accomplice, who is sentenced to death.
Death by stoning is a medieval, brutal form of execution practised in Iran's Islamic Republic. The penal code, passed in 1996 is quite clear:''the stones used for this practise should not be so big as to inflict immediate death, nor should it be so small that it cannot qualify as a stone.'' During this process, the condemned is buried in sand, until the waist and executed by others throwing stones.
Workers Left Unity -Iran, abhores this brutal type of execution and reiterates its support for abolition of the death penalty in Iran. At a time when many countries have abolished the death penalty, at a time when world public opinion is condemning executions, this brutal sentence issued by the clerical regime in Iran is yet another manifestation of the interference of religion in the country's judicial and civil law and must be condemned.
Earlier this week a man charged with stealing had four of his fingers amputated and on 2 January a number of women accused of `mingling with the opposite sex'' at New Year parties, received 70 lashes. If this is the kind of `civilisation' the Iranian president has in mind, when he talks of the `dialogue between civilisations', his government and the regime he presides over, should be condemned universally.
We call on human rights organisations to act swiftly to defend the life of this woman. Although she has not been named in the Iranian press, letters of protest should refer to the case of a 38 year old woman in branch 45 of the criminal court in Karaj.
Co-ordinating Committee of Workers Left Unity, Iran