PTA airport harassment
I am from Derry and have been studying in Liverpool for the past three years. I attended the meeting arranged by NUS in Liverpool and was pleased that NUS have taken the time and the energy to give the students in England a chance to gain a better insight into the problems faced by the people in the Six Counties.
I was, however, not surprised with Merseyside Police when it came to Matt Carthy's detention at the airport. I have travelled between Liverpool and Dublin and, more recently, between Liverpool and Belfast and have used Liverpool Airport on every occasion. Each time both my fiancee and I have been stopped and questioned separately and made to fill in cards with personal details and details of travel. The officers then switch and ask each of us questions about each other. They also ask stupid questions as if they are trying to catch you out, but these are so obvious it is unbelievable. I complained to the officer the last time we went through the airport as we were becoming increasingly annoyed at this treatment. I would perhaps understand if maybe we were stopped once or twice but the fact is that we are travelling through there regularly (during terms) and have been stopped every time and made to fill in these stupid cards. It is worse when you have filled in on one card details of when you are travelling back and they stop you again when you are travelling back to Liverpool and make you do the same thing.
The thing about this is that it adds more stress to travelling and we are so glad to be going home that you feel can't really say anything to them for fear of being further detained.
5th Column's low morals
In your edition of the 3 February, your columnist (5th Column) has written on the views of ``The Paisley Youth'' re. their lifestyle (etc) ``they don't drink or smoke, are against pre-marital sex''.
I am disgusted at the ridicule being made by your columnist on their opposition to pre-marital sex. All decent minded people from Christian to Muslim to Jewish and indeed many of the religious beliefs have always upheld clean living.
Please don't give such views again in An Phoblacht to undermine the moral values of our youth who are targeted morning, noon and night by sinister evil forces. The high moral standards of our dead generations must not be lowered by any columnist in the shape of a 5th Columnist who tries to do that.
draoi agus an sagairt arís
Ba mhaith liom tagairt don litir a scríobh an t-Athair O Lorcáin seachtain ó shin. Tá brón orm a rá go bhfuil dul amú air má shíleann sé go raibh ionsaí iomlán a dhéanamh agam ar an Eaglais Caitliceach ar fad agus ar an chóras dlí leis. Mar a luaigh mé san alt:
``Caithfidh mé féin a rá anseo nach bhfuil mé den bharúil go n-insíonn gach sagart bréaga agus go bhfuil gach breitheamh claonta. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil daoine maithe san Eaglais agus sa chóras dlí.
Tuigim gur cás aonair a bhí anseo agus nach féidir an córas iomlán a lochtú dá bharr. San am céanna, ní chóir go dtarlaíodh a leithéid go forleathan ná go haonarach.''
B'é an rud a bhí i gceist agam san alt ná gur bhain an sagart áirithe seo úsáid as stadas s'aigeasean mar bhall den chléir ar a shon féin. Ar an drochuair, creidim gur ghlac an t-Athair O Lorcáin leis an méid a bhí le rá agam fán scéal go pearsanta.
Ba mhaith liom freagra a thabhairt ar na seanfhocail a luaigh sé. `Éist le scéal an duine eile,' a dúirt sé liom. Bhuel, d'éist mé le scéal mo chara agus le scéal an tsagairt agus chuala an breitheamh dhá taobh an scéal fosta. B'é an fhadhb a bhí ann ná gur éist an breitheamh le taobh claonta amháin agus neamhaird tugtha do fhíricí an cháis.
Níl eolas ar bith ag an t-Athair O Lorcáin fán chás, fá mo chara, fán sagart ná fán bhreitheamh a bhí í gceist. Cén fáth mar sin, a shíleann sé go bhfuil dualgas air taobhú le sagart a d'inis bréaga ar an Leabhar?
Lena chois sin, dúirt sé `Níl aon duine ina bhreitheamh ina chás féin.' B'é an rud a spreag mé féin leis an tsliocht a scríobh ná nach bhfuair mo chara cothrom na Féinne sa chás seo. Ghlac an breitheamh le tuairimí an tsagairt gan an cás a scrúdú i gceart. An bhfuair an Seisear Birmingham a gcearta ón bhreitheamh?
Dá mbeadh an t-eolas ar fad ag an t-Athair Ó Lorcáin fán scéal, déarfainn go mbeadh sé féin iontach míshásta leis an sagart áirithe seo agus an breitheamh chomh maith. Ar an drochuair, truaillíonn drochshampla duine amháin clú shagairt eile. Caithfidh a admháil nach ndúirt mé gur bréagóir gach sagart. Nuair a bhí cásanna luaite fá shagairt a thug drochíde do pháistí, ní ionann sin is a rá go ndéanann gach sagart a leithéid.
Ní naomh gach sagart agus níl monoplacht ar na fhírinne ag aon duine acu dá bharr an slí bheatha atá acu. Creidim féin gur sagart náireach a bhí i scéal s'agamsa agus chuirfinn é i gcompáráid leis na Fairisinigh in aimsir Chríost.
Is mór an trua nach féidir le duine cúis gearáin a lua i gcoinne sagairt ar leith agus breitheamh áirithe gan duine ag glacadh go pearsanta leis.
Can't get the paper
I have been a reader of An Phoblacht since the hunger-strikes of 1981. I have seldom missed an issue. Consistently through all those years the paper has provided a high standard of news, analyisis and a radical alternative to the establishment media. The editorial and production standard has been consistently high to this day. I have one problem. I work on the south side of Dublin city centre and cannot obtain the paper in any shop or on any newstand there. It is no longer sold in several of the pubs I know where it was formerly sold. I know that outside Dublin the situation is even worse.
It seems that while Sinn Féin has grown over the past five years to become the most visible and pro-active party the paper has become almost invisible and unobtainable! This is crazy. Do you know the value of the asset you have in the paper? If you do not value it then how can others, and how can it reach its potentially huge audience? Why not initiate a campaign to get the paper carried in newsagents like other newspapers? An appeal to readers to ask for the paper at their newsagents could be issued and this would help break down any resistance there might be to stocking it. One thing is certain. Action is needed urgently unless you want the paper to become an internet-only organ.
Baile Átha Cliath.
Placenames as Gaeilge
At the recent inaugural meeting of Ógra Shinn Féin's `Comhairle na Mac Léinn', the issue of placenames in Ireland was raised by Trinity College's Gerry McGeough. Gerry's suggestion was that republicans push to have all placenames whose origins lie in the Irish language and were anglicised in times gone by to be reintroduced in their natural form. Should this happen, within a short number of years the meaningless versions presently used would be forgotten and a massive step be taken to recover our heritage. While `Londonderry' may be alien to many (and most), so also may `Derry' in the case of others. Why allow `Doire' or `Doire Cholm Cille' fall by the wayside? As happened in the case of Dún Laoghaire/Kingstown, Laois/Queenstown etc., people can and would adapt. This issue can include all the people of this island, from whatever political persuasion, and should offer no offence to anyone. As we saw St. Patrick's legacy unite all (!) in the closing days of the Six-County Assembly, so too can we see the language he used and a campaign to revive those places named after him draw people together in a common-sense campaign. No more Downpatrick, let's use Dún Phádraic, and those `Donagh's in Ireland where Naomh Pádraic set up his `Domhnach's - it's time to reclaim our heritage.
With the above in mind, I suggest republicans and others should embrace Gerry McGeough's proposal.
Daithí Mac an Bhaird,
Ógra Shinn Féin
Ollscoil na hÉireann,
Elitist arts chair
It is a long time since I came across as pompous an attitude as that espoused by Patrick Murphy, the new chairperson of the Arts Council, in his interview with Victoria White, Irish Times 29 February. While I support his laudable ambition ``that everyone should possess at least one work of art'', possession does not equal appreciation. Surely art possession is secondary to the task of the Arts Council - to heighten art appreciation and art participation.
Murphy commented: ``She is selling works for £250 or less to friends. You could spend that on a weekend drinking. Everybody can afford art in our full employment society, if we can persuade them to want it.'' This remark shows how out of touch with today's society he is.
Very few of us could afford to spend £250 ``in a weekend drinking'' - that is more than the average weekly industrial wage, much more than pension, disability or other social welfare payments, and a lot more than the subsistence payments doled out to those who, while not on the live register, are on work schemes of one sort or another. It will also be a long time before those now caught in the mortgage trap because of spiralling house prices will be able to consider drinking £250 at a weekend, never mind purchasing a work of art.
It does not augur well for the future of arts policy or arts funding when Murphy on the one hand seeks to make art ``less elitist'' yet immediately narrows the remits of the Arts Council, setting out to exclude works which he believes not to be ``true art''. He also has the gall to say that ``not everyone can create art''. Everyone has the capacity to produce art, maybe not good art, yet art all the same. Is it not said, ``beauty is in the eye of the beholder''?
Rather than limiting the scope of the Arts Council, in a developing society such as ours we should be seeking to expand art funding, appreciation, production and possession - whether individually or via shared ownership - into as many fields of society as we can. Hopefully, Patrick Murphy can be encouraged to take a more enlightened approach to the arts community and to the public than he has hinted at in his first interview as Arts Council chairperson. If not, the problems of the Arts Council will be revisited very soon.
Aengus Ó Snodaigh
Baile Átha Cliath