14 March 2002 Edition

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Mala Poist

Sindo spin war

A Chairde,

The Sunday Independent has asserted that "Sinn Féin's Electoral March Has Been Stopped". I would assert the opposite, that the Sinn Féin march is gathering momentum and strength with every day that passes.

The vitriol the Sunday Indo and associated publications has targeted against our election candidates is undoubtedly a reaction to this march forward. The consistent stream of negative campaigning isn't working and as republicans we have a responsibility to answer those who would attempt to demoralise us with talk of running out of steam.

We will answer them by promoting our vision in a positive fashion at every opportunity. Through our doorstep canvass, through our elected representatives, through our electoral candidates. We will answer them as new members come on board to spread our vision and as the Sinn Féin vote grows.

I look forward to answering them as we celebrate Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin returning to Leinster House, not as our sole representative but with Sinn Féin TDs by his side.

John Gollogly,
Co. Monaghan

Trimble's good idea

A Chairde,

I've been very interested in David Trimble's call to have a poll for whether the North of Ireland should unite with the Republic. Trimble feels that it would 'copper fasten' the North's union with Britain. I myself feel that it will show the Unionists and the British just how many people in the North want a United Ireland. If this poll goes ahead, the issue of a United Ireland will be blown wide open and it will be the catalyst for a United Ireland.

I know that next year's poll will not give us a United Ireland, yet I believe that the one seven years later will prove Trimble wrong. Trimble has made a huge mistake.

I just can't wait to see what the leaders of the other unionist parties have to say about this. I'm sure they do not support it. I say, well done Trimble. You've given us republicans what we've wanted for 80 years... a chance to express our desire of a United Ireland in a fair and democratic way. I salute you.

Tomás Óoacute; Maoileagáin
County Down

An Tír Ghrá

A Chairde,

Would the family or friends of the late Fian Sean Hughes, listed as killed in action 4 December 1972 (The Last Post) please contact us at the following address: Jim McVeigh, 53 Bóthar na bhFál, Béal Feirste BT12 4PD, Tel: (048) 90 223000

An Coiste Tír Ghrá

Can you help?

A Chairde,

I am researching for an article about members of the old IRA who came from Liverpool and am having difficulties with regards to one such member, John Whelan (Sean Phelan).

I understand that John Whelan was born in Liverpool of Irish parents and went to Ireland around 1919 when he joined the IRA. He was killed in the Upton station ambush, the event covered in the well known song, "The Lonely Woods of Upton".

If you would be kind enough to publish this letter, perhaps some of your readers will be able to provide information through your letters page or directly to me at the address below regarding John Whelan's background. Information such as, his date of birth, old pictures of him, any newspaper articles written about him, any surviving relatives in Liverpool or Britain, place of burial, etc, and any other details giving John Whelan substance.

Any information of this nature will be very much appreciated.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Sean McHale,
6, Elswick Street,
Cockburn Street,
Liverpool 8,

El Salvador welcomes Irish musicians

IDUCHA (The Human Rights Institute of the Central American University) was created in 1985 by the Jesuit Segundo Montes. Snr Montes was killed by the Salvadoran army on 16 November 1989 alongside five other priests, their housekeeper and her 15-year-old daughter. IDUCHA has continued to work as Snr Montes envisaged, seeking to protect the poorest and most vulnerable - those systematically denied access to justice in El Salvador.

For the past five years, IDUCHA has organised a series of cultural and social events, coinciding with the anniversary of the death of Monsignor Oscar Romero, and the publication of the Truth Commission's report on the war in El Salvador. These activities form part of El Salvador's "Truth Festival".

This year, a group of Irish musicians, artists and ecumenical representatives, drawn from a cross-border, cross-community base, have been invited by IDUCHA to join the festival, along with musicians from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Uruguay. They will play at an open-air venue, and later at the Catholic Cathedral in San Salvador, at the annual vigil of remembrance for Monsignor Romero and the other 80,000 victims of El Salvador's conflict.

The travellers will then spend ten days playing and taking part in cultural, dance and artistic workshops throughout the country. It is hoped that the trip will lead to further exchanges, and help to strengthen relations between the two countries as both seek to strengthen lasting peace and to work towards true social justice. The visit has been facilitated by a number of groups, including the Derry El Salvador project, the Corrymela Peace and Reconciliation Centre, El Salvador Awareness Dublin, APSO, and the Dept of Foreign Affairs. It is being coordinated by Trocaire in Ireland and in El Salvador.

As you can imagine this project will cost a great deal. Any help towards the cost will be most gratefully received. Please send what you can to:

Sr Peter,
El Salvador Awareness,
101 Harold's Cross Road
Dublin 6W

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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