Armagh Volunteers 25th anniversary events
Saturday and Sunday (2/3 December) have been set aside for a weekend of commemorative events in honour of four IRA Volunteers from South Armagh who died within six months of each other a quarter of a century ago.
The four volunterrs lived in Jonesboro/Dromintee/Forkhill area and it was from there that a group of people got together recently and formed a 30-strong committee to oversea the organising and running of the weekend's events. Comrades, friends, and representatives from the local Sinn Féin cumainn, and family members of Jim Lochrie, Sean Cambell, Gerry Mc Kiernan and Francis Jordan joined together to put forward a programme of events to mark the 25th anniversary in a fitting manner.
The first event of the weekend is a book launch by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams. The commemorative booklet was researched and put together by the organising committee. In his speech, Adams will remind everyone of the political developments made through the sacrifices of Volunteers such as these men. Proceedings will commence at 8pm sharp in the Ravensdale House (Ceasars), and there will be a question and answer session immediately after the book launch. A banner will then be unveiled which will be dedicated to the four Volunteers and a presentation will be made to each of the fallen Volunteers' families. The evening will continue with music by the popular Folk Group Sean Nós, which will be followed by a disco.
On Sunday, a special anniversary Mass will take place at 10am in Dromintee chapel. At 2pm a march will commence at Killeen and proceed to the Lochrie/Campbell Memorial at Kelly's Road. A prominent speaker will be in attendance to deliver the oration.
From there, everyone is invited to travel to Lochrie/Campbell Park (Dromintee Football Club) for the final of a minor football match between Roche Emmets and Dromintee Minors for the Lochrie/Campbell Memorial cup, a special fixture organised in recognition of the contribution made by Sean Campbell and Jim Lochrie to both teams as players. The floodlit match commences at 4.30pm and immediately afterwards soup, tea, and sandwiches will be provided in the adjoining clubrooms. After the cup and medal presentations, a traditional session of Irish music, dancing, and story telling will conclude the programme of events.
As large numbers are anticipated, organisers are advising everyone to arrive early and join in the various commemorative events.
Jimmy Canning and Imelda Matheson,
The Organising Committee,
Where are we going?
I found Jim Gibney's article last week very interesting and it led me to do what a bucko on TV used call a bit of ruminating and cogitating.
Jim, shrewdly, asked, ``is it any wonder that republicans are asking what new beginning are you talking about?'' The wonder is it took some so long to ask the question.
A few years back at a conference in Letterkenny we were discussing the then current British declaration of `no selfish strategic economic interest in Ireland'. I remember comparing the statement to the old song, `Old mother England loves us still, when we were savage fierce and wild, she came as a mother to her child'. The point being that the definition of selfish was a British one!
Jim said that Mandelson's primary concern on the flags issue is to save Trimble's neck. I wonder, as Jim rightly describes Mandelson as a jingoistic little Englander, is it not likely that that is his driving motivation rather than Trimble's neck?
Where does that leave Blair, is he not the boss? Or is it like the `securocrats' we talk about, not really a British government thing?
It all leaves us stuck in a statelet where we are the only people with no clout.
Should we be looking to build a new process that examines in detail the nature of British interferance in Ireland? Should we be looking for an agreement people can support because we believe in it rather than because, ``nudge, nudge, wink, wink, the leadership know what they are doing''?
RTE ignores children's strategy
I am appalled to note that children's issues are deemed by RTE not to be newsworthy. The National Children's Strategy ``Our Children - Their Lives'' was launched on Monday, 13 November, by An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD and was attended by a cross section of political, social and community representatives, and children.
Yet not a single mention was made of this hugely important , ten-year, strategy document on RTE's main evening news. The vision for children, as outlined in the strategy, is ``An Ireland where children are respected as young citizens with a valued contribution to make and a voice of their own; where all children are cherished and supported by family and the wider society; where they enjoy a fulfilling childhood and realise their potential''.
It is very sad that our national broadcaster did not consider a major ten-year strategy for the children of Ireland to be worthy of prominent place in the main news bulletin of the day.
Mandelson's double standards
I am truly amazed to see how, on one hand, Mr. Mandelson claims he ``cannot force Mr Trimble to withdraw his sanction against Sinn Féin ministers because making the political institutions work is a voluntary act''. On the other hand, however, when it comes to the same Sinn Féin ministers, the very same Mr. Mandelson doesn't hesitate to force them to fly the Union Jack over their offices (even though the Agreement underlines the need for respect for both traditions, and Sinn Féin was offering exactly this kind of very reasonable compromise - both flags or no flags).
Looking at this, one can only come to the conclusion that British democracy is some kind of a perverted one and that, in Mandelson's view, there are still first class and second class ministers in the Six Counties, ones who can be forced and ones who cannot.
You can say thousands of beautiful words about equality, justice, democracy etc. But deeds speak louder than words.
World AIDS Day
1 December is World Aids Day and to mark the day Foyle Friend will hold a Spiritual Service in Derry City officiated by Bishop Pat Buckley and open to all.
Over 34 million people thoughout the world have HIV or AIDS. This is an opportunity for anyone irrespective of sexual orientation to remember those we have lost and those living with or affected by HIV or AIDS. The Spiritual Service is one of many events organised to mark the day and raise awareness that HIV and AIDS is still with us.
For further information contact Foyle Friend on 028-71263120 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.