Neutrality under fire
Following the recent Nice summit of EU leaders it is clear that the 26-County government is intent on drawing us closer to the discredited NATO military alliance, into a European Superarmy and abandoning Irish neutrality, despite all their spin-doctoring.
Even clearer is that the government doesn't want to debate, or have the public debate, any of these issues. Indeed, the only discussion in Leinster House on the `Nice Treaty' and its implications took place after the event - for just 70 minutes. This is despite the Nice summit being the most decisive step yet in transforming the European Union into a European superstate, already with the nucleus of a single army since the creation of the Rapid Reaction Force (RRF).
To allow just 70 minutes to discuss the magnitude of these proposed changes is disgraceful and exposes the government's contempt for the Irish people.
However, this time I don't believe that the government will get away with their scheming as handy as they have in the past. More and more people, including members of Fianna Fáil itself, are becoming increasingly aware and alarmed at the ongoing attempts by this government to abandon Irish neutrality by stealth and lead us towards and probably into NATO.
The government will be legally obliged to hold a referendum on the Nice Treaty. It is my firm belief that unless they have a protocol included (similar to that included by Denmark at the time of the Amsterdam Treaty) to exclude Ireland from the new Rapid Reaction Force and the militarisation of the EU, voters will reject this latest attempt to abandon neutrality.
Living in the Bessbrook/Camlough area of South Armagh I find it harder day by day to beleive that there is actually a ``ceasefire'' in Ireland. The constant flying and crashing of British helicopters and the never ending flow of British soldiers walking in and out of our estates has not only annoyed me but obviously the whole area in general.
Surely this kind of harassment and intimidation is unheard of in any other ``peacetime'' part of the world?
Arson attack school fund
The community in Dunloy has come together to establish a trust fund to help meet the repair costs of Teach an Cheoil, owned by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, which was recently targeted in an arson attack.
Damage in the region of £100,000 was suffered in the late night attack on the building that is home to Gaelscoil Dhál 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 computers destroyed. The school does not have official recognition and the parents will 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.
We are calling on concerned individuals and groups to support the new trust fund called `Cairdeas Teach an Cheoil (Friends of the Music House). We were lucky that the whole building was not destroyed in this attack. However severe damage has been done and it will be extremely difficult to restore the building.
I ask people to donate whatever they can, be it small or large to our new trust fund :- Cairdeas Teach an Cheoil, First Trust Bank, 17 Church Street, Ballymoney County Antrim. Sort Code 9386 18 Account Number 4209 8019.
The groups that use Teach an Cheoil are, Ógras, Gaelscoil Dhál Riada, Naíscoil Dhún Lathaí, Dunloy Development Association, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Comhcoiste na Gaeilge Aontroim Thuaidh, Glór na nGael, Conradh na Gaeilge, Cumann Lúthchleas Gael and Cumann Camógaiochta Aontroim Thuaidh.
Máirin Gaston (PRO)
Cairdeas Teach an Cheoil