I am an English patriot and so understand your
struggle to unite Ireland. Unfortunately the Catholic/Protestant
publicity has clouded the real issues. I think most English
people have been brought up Church of England which means
absolutely nothing in terms of prayer etc - we may as well be
atheist! This means the average English person is constantly
ridiculing both sides because of the hyprocricy of killing and
maiming linked with Catholics and Protestants.
I also feel that
you should be saying more about the future of the Protestants in
a united Ireland, Mandela made an issue of keeping the whites
happy before he became president. In general, people only hear
the few words spoken on TV, so repeating the same old phrases
about British intransigence doesn't wake up the majority. I think
most of the English electorate would be glad to see a united
Ireland and I hope that with our new government this can be
achieved for you with the minimum of disturbance.
What Blair should do
A desire on the part of the New Labour government for
a post-election honeymoon period is entirely understandable.
However, one area where unfortunately no honeymoon is possible is
the North of Ireland. It is important that after their first
meeting the two Premiers make clear their adherence to the
totality of the three-stranded approach contained in the Joint
Framework Document and the successive Joint Communiques
culminating in the February Joint Communique (before it was
departed from by John Major's unilateral statement and extension
of the Northern Ireland Grand Committee).
The importance of
clarity on this matter of an internal settlement versus the
agreed three-stranded approach cannot be overemphasised, lest
John Bruton make the same mistake of vagueness as before in
Anglo-Irish relations. Vague and confused notions about the
purely internal `re-structuring' of the RUC or even of Northern
Ireland itself will only encourage the loyalists to test this new
government at Drumcree or elsewhere in the belief that they can
achieve a repeat of the Ulster Workers' Council's destruction of
the Sunningdale Agreement in 1974. This would be a double shame
when intelligent and moderate unionist opinion has begun talking
about `opening up' the Anglo-Irish Agreement and its Maryfield
Secretariat, thus making it more inclusive and representative.
On Wednesday evening our hurling club showed up at the lake for
practise..err, rather, those 3 of us die-hards who assumed,
naturally, that it would not be cancelled despite the 50 mph
winds, thunder, lightning, hail and torrential rain.
We had a grand mudfest for 20 minutes then fled to the pub where
our filthy, soggy, dedication earned us Guinness on the house (of
course, the barkeep is on the team...)
Our fast-mellowing condition launched a lively, pre-election
celebration of Gerry's win, Major's banishment to the minor
leagues, and everything in between - despite the official results
being two days away! We like to think our optimism contributed to
Up the Optimists...
Cumann Iomanaiocht HQ
A very small town in Irish America
Through this message we would like to congratulate Sinn Féin and
the whole republican movement for your efforts in the search for
peace and freedom.
We agree that the two seats that Sinn Féin has achieved in the
Six Counties are a clear signal of the Irish people's commitment
to be free and, therefore, your people and your movement deserve
the highest respect and recognition from our organization once
Finally, we would like to express our solidarity in the difficult
task that you will have in the near future trying to promote and
rebuild the peace process. Mr Blair and the British Government
will have to understand that the only way to get peace is by
respecting Ireland's right to self-determination and its people's
ASKAPENA (Basque international solidarity organisation)
I note from your issue of 1 May that our name has again been used
by a group with no connection to our organisation.
We are a private limited company and it is an offence for others
to use our name without permission.
ytime the NGA holds a commemoration, only one of our members is
permitted to deliver the oration.
M. Ni Cearnaig (Rúnaí)
National Graves Association (Ireland).
Sagart a rún
Your ``Remembering the Past'' contribution in the edition of 24
April outlined the life of United Irishman Arthur O'Connor. We
``Charged with sedition, he was tried at Maidstone in May on the
eve of the rising in Ireland, and after a skilled defence was
found not guilty. He was however immediately re-arrested and was
transported to Kilmainham Jail in Dublin to face trial on exactly
the same charge.''
Of course that is correct, but it was a pity that your
contributor neglected to mention Fr James Coigley of South
Armagh. Arrested with O'Connor at Margate he was found guilty.
The following month on 7 June he was hanged and beheaded at
Penenden Heath, just outside Maidstone. His remains were buried
on the heath and have subsequently been lost in the course of
Perhaps understandably the Catholic Church in England has tended
to regard him as a skeleton to be kept in a firmly closed
cupboard. However, he deserves kinder treatment in An Phoblacht!
Your contributor ought to make amends in your edition for 5 or 12
Pádraig O Conchúir,