21 November 2002 Edition

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Mala Poist

Informative solidarity visit

A Chairde,

I am writing this letter on behalf of Sinn Féin Ollscoil na héireann Gaillimh. On Saturday 16 November we travelled to Belfast with the aim of educating our members about the ongoing siege of the nationalist communities living at the sectarian interfaces of North and East Belfast.

On the Saturday, Councillor Margaret McClenaghan and ógra members took us on an informative tour of the Ardoyne area in North Belfast.

The following day, Sinn Féin representatives and local residents kindly welcomed us to the Short Strand and gave us an incredible insight into their horrific situation. Our members were both saddened and inspired by the desperation and resiliance of this tight knit community. The sense of fear and depth of despicable sectarian hatred dwarfed the height of the recently heightened 'protective' wall.

We are greatly indebted to the Sinn Féin reps and residents from both Ardoyne and the Short Strand. We would also like to thank those Ógra members who organised accommodation for us in the Ormeau Road. I would urge all to visit these besieged communites and tell the real story of what has and continues to happen to these areas.

Shane O'Meara
>NUI Galway SF

More than a 'Brits Out' party

A Chairde,

"Their objective is not the radical overthrowing of the system. Pacifists and legalists, they are in fact partisans of order - but to the colonialist bourgeoisie they put bluntly enough the demand which to them is the main one: 'give us more power'."

Although written during the Algerian War of Independence, Franz Fanon's definition of constitutional nationalist parties rings as true today as it did 40 years ago. Sinn Féin is the only party on this island that has the potential to radically overthrow our present system.

A lot of people see our primary objectives as the removal of the border and the forces that maintain it. But we are more than just a 'Brits Out' party. We have a collective responsibility to combat issues like privatisation and the eradication of our neutrality with the same vigour that we oppose British occupation.

Larry O'Toole said recently "We're about building a real alternative, not an alternative establishment." Political parties have said this before but went on to reinforce the establishment, not change it. We must not fall into the trap of being 'partisans of order' in the present political structures. Let us become builders of a new order based on independence, equality and justice.

Becoming guardians of a flawed establishment is a great threat to republicanism and any steps towards this must be opposed at all levels - from cumainn to Ard Comhairle.

We have seen other left wing parties go down this road and become political Dodos. It is up to us to learn from these mistakes and progress to the Republic or fall by the wayside along with our goals.

Daithí McKay,
Gerard Casey Cumann,
Rasharkin, Co Antrim

UN Vote on US economic blockade of Cuba

A Chairde,

On Tuesday 12 November, the United Nations voted for the eleventh consecutive time to oppose the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

This year, a record 173 countries (including Ireland and Britain) voted against the blockade, with only the US, Israel and the Marshall Islands supporting its continuation.

The illegal, unjust, immoral and irrational blockade of Cuba by the US continues to create huge shortages and hardship for the Cuban people and must now be lifted. International support for Cuba's right to national self-determination free from US interference has never been greater. The US must be made to listen and act on the democratic and moral will of the United Nations.

Douglas Hamilton
Cuba Support Group - Belfast

Say no to mobile masts

A Chairde,

I live in the Andersonstown area and am glad to see that Sinn Féin are supporting residents in their opposition to mobile masts. One of the masts is to be located near my street. All the residents in this street - Errigal Park - are totally opposed to these masts.

Aoife Ní Riain

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1