Republican News · Thursday 8 May 1997

[An Phoblacht]

Reassure Protestants

A chairde,

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.

Mark Jordan.

What Blair should do

A Chairde,

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.

Joe Murphy,

Hurling optimists

A chairde,

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 the victory...

Up the Optimists...

Cumann Iomanaiocht HQ
A very small town in Irish America

Basque congratulations

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 again.

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 will.


Diego Ugarte.
ASKAPENA (Basque international solidarity organisation)

National Graves

A Chairde,

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

A Chairde,

Your ``Remembering the Past'' contribution in the edition of 24 April outlined the life of United Irishman Arthur O'Connor. We read that:

``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 housing development.

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 June.

Pádraig O Conchúir,

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