20 December 2001 Edition
One aspect of Nuala O'Loan's report on the RUC, that seems to have been overlooked, is the failure of the Special Branch to make video tapes from the many South Armagh spy-posts available to the Omagh bomb investigation team. Now, could someone please remind me what exactly is the purpose of these British posts?
Also, Lord Maginnis has compared Nuala O'Loan with suicide bombers, Ronnie Flanagan has talked of committing public suicide and Peter Mandelson says that Ronnie is "at the end of his tether"! Would that they had taken the deaths of victims like Samuel Devenney, Nora McCabe and Pat Finucane so traumatically.
Cllr Dessie Ellis, Finglas, Dublin 11.
In my piece 'Are we ready for independence?' - which is based on 'Ireland Unbound', a book work in progress - I suggest Ireland is the only country in Europe (aside from specific regions such as the Basque Country) where the practice of imperial rule has produced an economy similar to the so-called Third 'underdeveloped' World. This was an editing error.
I left it there as an indication to myself to include a footnote on the regions of Europe which are empoverished despite capitalist development. In fact the Basque region, which is now heavily industrialised, is doing quite well, while Galicia, on the Spanish pheriphery, is not doing so well. This is a pattern all over Europe, east and west, where the country exhibits figures which suggest it is developing under capitalism while in fact regions within each country are living in virtual poverty.
There is a myth that all the EU countries are enjoying prosperity and that eastern European countries are desperate to join the EU. I've just returned from a six week tour of eastern Europe and the Balkans and it is clear that while countries like Croatia seem to be prospering under capitalism it is an illusion backed up by clever propaganda. What is actually happening is that capital cities are beginning to prosper because they operate a two-tier economic system, relying on tourism and capital development while the pheripheral areas are left to decay as people flock to the capital cities to find work. Where have we seen that before?
CRUELTY OF CHRISTMAS HUNT
The public view of fox hunting on St.Stephen's day is one of the Huntsman leading the way from the meet with his hounds on display. Horses are groomed to perfection with their coats shinning in the morning light. For the mounted field who trot behind in their black jackets this is an opportunity to parade their horses. The hounds themselves are the pride of the hunt as they trot along with their tails up in a tight group between the Huntsman and the Whipper-in. The overriding image the hunters seek to project is one of order and control.
That is until a fox breaks cover. In a few moments the pageant turns to farce as riders and vehicles charge off in pursuit of the hounds and their terrified quarry. There may be more than one fox, which can spilt the pack taking horses and car followers in all directions. In fact anything can happen and invariable it does. In a few hours time the true colours of the hunters will be revealed.
If the hunted fox goes to ground, the terriermen are brought in to flush or dig out the fox. It is here that acts of sadistic cruelty take place. The hunt staff ensure that the mounted field and foot followers are held back. The ruthless methods of the terriermen are not considered fit for the eyes of hunt supporters and any strangers that may be present.
Fox hunting is unbridled cruelty. It is a convoy of death that must be stopped. As a people, we must turn our eyes and conscience to this most bloody and unnatural "sport" and remove it from our society.
John Tierney, Campaigns Director, Association of Hunt Saboteurs, Dublin