19 July 2001 Edition

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Mála Poist

Touched by RUC concern

A Chairde,

I am deeply touched by Ronnie Flanagan's concern for the children of Ardoyne.

At least that was the excuse he gave for, not only allowing UDA thugs from preventing the children going to school, but actually setting up a RUC roadblock to help turn the children away.

I'm sure the same ``concern'' was in the minds of the RUC members who were pictured on TV driving an armoured vehicle at children on the footpath in Ardoyne. And, no doubt, all those children killed and injured by plastic bullets over the years, were shot at for their own benefit.

Mr Flanagan was very quick to exonerate the UDA ``as an organisation'' from orchestrating hundreds of co-incidental (?) attacks on nationalists all over the north, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

But he was equally quick to blame the IRA for the trouble in Ardoyne, despite eyewitness accounts from many local residents and a detailed report from Councillor Martin Morgan of the SDLP.

Is this the new police service that the Agreement promised or the same old sectarian RUC that killed unarmed residents of Ardoyne in 1969 and then blamed the Civil Rights movement for the troubles?

Seán Marlow

Dublin 11

Gaelscoil fundraiser

A Chairde,

We in Cork were moved to action by the efforts of people in Dunloy, County Antrim, to come together to establish a trust fund to help meet the repair costs of Teach and Cheoil, owned by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, which was recently targeted in a sectarian arson attack.

Damage in the region of £100,000 was suffered in the late night attack on the building, home to Gaelscoil Dhal Riada and to eight other language, cultural and sporting groups. Although the flames failed to spread throughout the whole building, severe water and smoke damage was suffered and several cimputers were destroyed. The school does not have official recognition and the parents wull now have to find the means to make good the damage through their own endeavours. The main hall in the building, where the children did physical education and where they sheltered from poor weather during break time, was destroyed.

In order to raise funds for the Gaelscoil Dhal Riada Fire Fund, popular Cork ballad group Shennanagins will launch their first CD with a fantastic night of ceoil and craic in the Walter Raleigh Hotel, Youghal, County Cork, on Friday 3 August from 8pm `til late. Tickets, at £6, can be prebooked by contacting myself at (087) 656 1050 or the address below.

Michael O'Regan,

8 Chestnut Drive,


Youghal, County Cork

Who are the War Criminals?

A Chairde,

And so the former president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, has been extradited to the UN International War Crimes Tribunal and the media have turned the event into an entertainment circus.

What this trial highlights, however, is the question of who controls the world and who has the right to demonise through military might and media manipulation. Republicans are no strangers to this particular scenario.

These proceedings beg the question as to whether this is a UN or a NATO tribunal. Milosevic's assertion that the tribunal wasn't even ratified by the UN General Assembly is a valid one. Instead, it was commissioned by the Security Council, which is dominated by three NATO members (USA, Britain and France) and two other big states. It also comes in the wake of NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, as a result of the Kosovo Crisis.

When one considers that the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia involved the bombing of whole cities and towns, not to mention schools, hospitals, residential districts and workplaces, how are these actions not considered war crimes? Well, the answer is simple. It is because the NATO powers have the power of mass media to justify their ``righteous'' actions, the military might to pound any opponents into submission, and sanctions to cripple the economic well-being of citizens in any particular ``rogue state''.

Therefore Milosevic, and Milosevic alone of the Balkan leaders, has been brought to book.

I eagerly await the day when Margaret Thatcher is hauled off to The Hague to face international justice for the sinking of the General Belgrano, not to mention for the actions of her death squads in Ireland.

Tadhg Ó Sé

Baile Átha Cliath

Disgraceful poverty level

A Chairde,

Elderly people living in Senior Citizen complexes have contacted me to relay their disgust at the recent rise in rent on their accomodation. The £2 per week increase wipes out the much hyped rise in the Old Age pension announced in the last budget. This increase, coupled with the growing inflation in food prices, means that many of our Senior Citizens, who have built up this country, will end their days in poverty.

The publication of the UN development programme league table impartially measures the extent of human poverty. For the fourth year in succession, the 26 -County state languishes near the bottom of the table, with 15.3 percent of its citizens living in poverty. The worrying statistics also show that 23 percent of the population suffers from functional illiteracy and cannot perform basic tasks such as reading a bus timetable.

The publication of this table reinforces what Sinn Féin has being saying for some time. The government's current strategy is isolating a huge section of Irish society. Children are living in poverty while Bertie Ahern seems more concerned with the £1 billion Bertie Bowl white elephant.

Ireland has the highest economic growth rate in the Western world, yet we rank 16th of 17 in terms of the distribution of our wealth. The government must change its approach of giving tax cuts to the rich rather than investing in adequate development programmes that will benefit the entire country.

Another worrying aspect in this report indicates that women in Ireland earn up to 2.5 times less than men, the worst imbalance for any Western Country. This too, demands immediate government action.

Cllr Dessie Ellis,


Dublin 11

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1