Letter to Paisley
Here is a copy of an email letter that I have sent to the DUP.
You should, in every sense of the word be ashamed of yourselves.
You, ``Dr'' Paisley, and your fellow bigots have cause enormous
Your motives are utterly transparent to the rest of the world and
your days of power mongering are over. If you were indeed merely
exercisingyour ``Ulster Protestant culture'' you would celebrate
dates important to you among yourselves in a peaceful, joyful
fashion. Instead you insist on taking your crude marches of hate
and intimidation into the neighbourhoods of those you are
avowedly against. No sane, principled, democratic government or
society would permit you to do this.
As a concerned Canadian citizen I call upon you to go home, beg
the people of your country and your god forgiveness and
henceforth take your place in the community as human beings who
have a right to religious and personal freedom and uphold the
right of all others to enjoy the same. You could choose a
positive expression of your culture, one that is not dependent on
the subjugation of others. If your community has strength and
humanity - show it. End the bloodshed. End powermongering. Have
the courage to take a positive and equal role in your country.
Support for Egin
I am writing to express my indignation after the arbitrary
closure of the Basque daily abertzale (or ``patriotic left'')
newspaper Egin by the Spanish government.
This event shows, if needed, that the Spanish security forces
have not changed much in twenty years. Egin has been presented by
many Spanish (and European) media as being the ``official ETA
newspaper'' or ``close to ETA''. Being an Egin subscriber for six
months - and having no links with [the political party] Herri
Batasuna, I can say that this paper is independent, serious, and
certainly not linked to ETA (or even to Herri Batasuna) and that
``moderate'' nationalists from the PNV and EA regularly write in
This attitude of the media and the Spanish government (especially
M. Mayor Oreja, the Interior Minister) who pretended they had
``proof'' Egin was linked to financial aid to ETA is not new. For
two years ago the editor of the paper, Pepe Rei, was jailed for
presumed collaboration with ETA, and then acquitted. This
harassment shows that the government is determined to prevent
freedom of expression in Euskal Herria in order to ease policial
repression, which is the only ``solution'' found by M. Aznar's
government to ``solve'' the Basque conflict.
Phoblacht has been the victim of this type of arbitrary
repression in the 70s and 80s, because it was the only newspaper
to provide independent news from the Irish conflict, as Egin
does. I can only hope independent newspapers such as yours will
protest, as well as other papers and political parties, against
this closure which shows the Spanish state is not yet a
democracy, and that it only seeks war in Euskal Herria.
A Corsican reader
SF and multinationals
Tom Shelley and Aengus O Snodaigh wrote letters (An Phoblacht 9
July) regarding Sinn Féin's policy towards foreign investment and
the supposed confusion and lack of debate that surrounds the
issue. To make it crystal clear, I quote directly below from the
SF policy document on community economic development, Putting
People First, which was agreed by the 1997 Ard Fheis. The
document that received wide discussion within the party at a
major one-day conference and was also given extensive coverage by
An Phoblacht. With regard to foreign investment and transnational
corporations, the document states:
``Since the 1950s, the Irish economy, North and South, has become
increasingly dependent on Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and
foreign investment for jobs and economic growth. Recent economic
growth in the 26 Counties can be attributed to a large extent to
the expansion of exports by US companies in computer goods and
services and chemical products. This high growth gives the
impression of an extremely healthy 26 County economy. However,
this is partly an illusion created by corporate accounting
techniques, transfer pricing and excessive profit repatriation.
In the Six Counties, there is a lower level of foreign
investment, fewer jobs, poorer working conditions, and the
investment that comes is more unstable.
- Most foreign companies have only truncated operations in
Ireland. They import parts, assemble them, and ship them to
continental Europe or the US. To take full advantage of low tax
rates in the 26 Counties, TNCs artificially inflate their
profits, appearing to produce more in Ireland than they actually
do. Thus, the 26 County economy appears to be growing much faster
than it actually is.
- Foreign companies create little demand for local suppliers, so
their effect on broader economic development is limited.
- Since foreign companies actually produce so little in Ireland,
they do not hire as many people as might be expected and the jobs
they create are increasingly part-time or temporary.
- The concentrated nature of foreign companies in Ireland in a
small number of industries - coke, chemicals and computers -
means that they are highly vulnerable to global economic changes,
with potentially disastrous consequences for the Irish economy.
- Foreign companies have bad records of pollution and poor working
Foreign investment and the community: A Strategy for Change
Foreign companies in Ireland are too important to be ignored.
However, Sinn Féin believes that there needs to be a fundamental
rethink around the role of foreign investment and transnational
corporations in the Irish economy.
- TNCs need to be pressurised to be better citizens. Governments
have a great deal more bargaining position over TNCs than they
acknowledge, given the level of profits made in Ireland.
- Foreign investment should not be accepted at any price.
Polluting companies or companies with poor employment records
should be made unwelcome. `People power' has recently been
effective against polluting chemical companies and plans to set
up incinerators in Cork and Derry.
- The community, together with the trade union movement, has an
important role to play as a watchdog against poor corporate
- Pressure needs to be imposed on governments to regulate foreign
business more strictly and to toughen their regulations on
foreign corporations with regard to local purchasing.
- Democratic community bodies should negotiate with the IDB and
IDA about incoming investment projects. Communities should be
made aware of the nature of investments, their potential problems
and benefits, and should be given a chance to negotiate
conditions for entry for investment projects. Such local
community bodies should be empowered to negotiate conditions
especially on ecological/quality of life considerations, working
conditions, and linkages (local purchasing requirements).
- There should be an all-Ireland policy towards transnational
corporations and all-Ireland bodies to attract and administer
them to avoid destructive competition between agencies in the
North and South.
Such co-operation should be supplemented by stronger cross-border
and international links at the community level, where
partnerships and other community bodies share information about
and co-ordinate policies toward foreign investors.''
I hope this is found helpful and contributes to further debate.
Hunger strike thesis
I am currently researching a thesis, the topic being the role of
hunger strikes in Irish political history, and it would make me
immensely happy if your readers wrote to me at the address below,
expressing any opinions they have with regard to the
For research purposes, I am using the strikes of `81 as my focus,
the general aim of the study being to examine the build up to
them, both in ideological and practical terms, the effect the
strikes had upon observers at the time, and their consequent
I am interested in anything and everything anyone has to say. My
main hope is to hear observations from as many political
persuations and walks of life as is possible; from Republicans,
Unionists, constitutional Nationalists, Loyalists, Americans
Republicans/Unionists, none of the above, all of the above, and
so on. You get the gist.
What I'm interested in is thoughts and opinions - and you don't
have to be a politician to have an opinion. So get writing.
Furthermore, I would like to assure those who correspond that
their input will be treated confidentially; under no
circumstances will names and adresses be discussed with, or
passed on, to anyone.
For those who feel that they can communicate better in person
than on paper, please let me know.
I look forward to hearing from you soon, and would like to thank
you in advance.
T Jones c/o Jean Brennan (Administrator),
Department of Politics,