I was shocked to hear that Volunteer Diarmuid O Neill's brutal murder by the London Metropolitan Police was judged by the British courts as a ``lawful'' killing. But then again, I was reminded of the ``lawful'' death threats made against Rosemary Nelson throughout her attempts to represent oppressed members of the nationalist community against British injustice; the ``lawful'' shooting dead of young children by the RUC with plastic bullets; the ``lawful'' collusion of British agents with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of Pat Finucane; the ``lawful'' massacre of 13 innocent members of the nationalist community participating in a civil rights march in Derry city centre on Bloody Sunday; the ``lawful'' collusion of British intelligence in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings; the ``lawful'' oppression of the whole island of Ireland and its population for seven centuries and the ``lawful'' partition of the island after this tyrannous reign; and of course the ``lawful'' oppression of the nationalist community of Northern Ireland by British-imposed law since our country has been partitioned.
Let's not forget the ``lawful'' shooting dead of a 15-year-old Catholic boy by two Scots Guards, who have recently been freed from prison.
Everyone, from the brave volunteers who answered Wolfe Tone's call for revolution to the similarly brave volunteers who defended the nationalist community of Bombay Street against the RUC and loyalist mobs, led by a current unionist MP (another example of an act branded ``lawful'' by the British government), are referred to as criminals by British justice. Indeed, when the oppressed nationalist community get up off their knees to defend themselves and their children against discrimination, oppression and persecution, they are branded as murderers and terrorists even by some people on this island (clearly victims of British propaganda).
As a republican, I am proud of Sinn Féin and the IRA's commitment to a lasting peace on this island in the face of all of this ``lawful'' oppression at the hands of the British government. This commitment, invested since the ceasefire of 1994, has resulted in the establishment of a new government in a peaceful Northern Ireland made up of both sides of the community. Despite the conditions set by the Good Friday Agreement and voted for by the majority of people on this island, the British government have recently succumbed to Unionist demands (to obviously resist change and equality) and destroyed the institutions set up as a consequence of the Good Friday Agreement, against the will of the majority of the people. However this act is probably ``lawful'' as well.
Outmoded court practice
The reported comments last week of High Court Taxing Master James Flynn is another glitch in the matrix of the Irish legal system, following on the Sheedy and the Patwell affairs. When Master Flynn was comparing tribunals to Star Chambers and highlighting the denial of basic human rights, he could equally have been describing the reality of what goes on behind the closed ``IN CAMERA'' Family Law courts.
Whereas on might expect that the work of the tribunals are carefully recorded, there isn't even a system in the Family Courts for taking accurate records of evidence or of judges' decisions. This facade of justice is compounded by preventing anyone from reporting or exposing any miscarriage of justice in the family courts. Therefore, public debate about the quality is being censored.
The antiquated courts system is simply inappropriate for an Information Society driven by young, educated Irish women and men. The duty of a good citizen is to keep his mouth open. Citizens of an informed democracy deserve and expect an accountable, open quality justice system. Secrecy in our courts creates a benign climate for the growth of corruption and abuse of powers, whether by the judiciary or members of the legal profession.
<>Liam Ó Gógáin
Can any readers help me in locating sheet music for the more up to date ``rebel songs''? I'm looking for tunes like the ones recorded by Éire Óg, Charlie & The Bhoys, Blarney Pilgrims etc. I would especially like to get anything written by The Irish Brigade. If anyone out there can provide (or transcribe) this music I would be very grateful.
Peadar Ó Murchú,
33 Lord Edward Street,
Labour under the influence
What planet is Ruairi Quinn living on when he states that Peter Mandelson got it right in suspending the Institutions set up under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement (Sunday Business Post 19 March)? The truth is that Peter Mandelson and Ruairi Quinn have both got it totally wrong.
The institutions that Peter Mandelson collapsed at the stroke of a pen and at the behest of David Trimble were established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. This was voted for by the vast majority of people on this island. Yet, because David Trimble sets his own unilateral deadline for a decommissioning demand that was not contained in the Good Friday Agreement or voted for by the Irish people, Peter Mandelson re-imposed the unionist veto on political progress and ignored the democratic wishes of the Irish people.
To see Mr Quinn defending this attack on the peace process and insult to the Irish people clearly shows that he is either living on another planet or that the pro-British/unionist elements (De Rossa/Rabbite and Co.) have now taken over Six-County policy within the Labour Party.
Joseph Gilmartin Jnr,