The whole Patten
Yesterday, I received in the mail a courtesy response to my e-mail of June to the Northern Ireland Office. In reply to my demand for the comprehensive implementation of the Patten Report, a member of the Patten Action Team assured me that ``the changes recommended by Patten will achieve... a modern police service which is both effective and representative to the community it serves''. The letter further states, ``The Government is implementing these recommendations''.
Forgive my inherent skepticism of British promises, but would this be the Patten, the whole Patten and nothing but the Patten? Would this include all 175 recommendations set forth and applauded by governments and human rights organisations worldwide, or would it include only that single digit percentage which the securocrats find least threatening to their privileged status quo?
History has proven that had the British government the capacity to provide the Six Counties with an accountable and acceptable police force, the services of Christopher Patten would never have been warranted.
In this age of readily accessible information, dare the British government endeavour to not only covertly cherry pick and dilute the Patten Report to the point of rendering it sterile but to attempt to placate if not deceive the media, the public and its own citizens?
Máire A. Kelly
Jailing the victims
With reference to Michael Pierse's article (An Phoblacht, 3 August), it is not out of place to quote the following passage from ``Prison Policy in Ireland: Criminal Justice versus Social Justice'', by Paul O'Mahony:
``A recent UN study has shown that, next to the USA, Ireland has the most unequal distribution of wealth of all the developed industrialised nations. Ireland is an increasingly competitive and meritocratic society that unfortunately continues to subject a large minority of its citizens to relatively severe levels of poverty and to very confined opportunities to gain a more substantial stake in society ...this very socially divided Ireland resorts to imprisonment more readily than most other countries and continues to impose harsh custodial punishment on even trivial offenders.''
Imprisonment and various other ``communitarian'' humiliations, imposed upon the victims of the economic and social system which exists, maintain coerced obedience to what is criminal and fundamentally unjust and gives an appearance of authority to people and institutions who are enforcers for such a system.
Little Englanders abroad
After reading your article ``Loyalists Intimidate Catholic Holiday Makers'' dated 27 July, I felt I had to write. Can anybody give a good reason as to why people who call themselves British, or in this case English, act in this manner when they are supposed to be on holiday?
On a recent holiday to Crete, my fiancée and I stayed in a lovely town called Hersonissos, which was full of Irish and other nationalities from all over Europe, and everybody seemed to get on very well.
Two towns away was a different place called Malia, one of those Mediterranean towns that are dominated by English, and they were not shy in letting everybody else think it was their own. On the way into Malia we were met by a huge billboard with a Union Jack pasted to it with the words UK club on the flag and sour-faced English people wearing T-Shirts with the George's flag on them. They do this to let you know that they are there. The owner of the hotel where we were staying told us that it was not safe to go there at night, even for Cretans, because if they (the English) are not fighting each other, they are attacking everyone else.
Back in Hersonissos, people told us of their experiences in Malia. They were verbally and physically abused while trying to gain entry to the UK club, both by other clubbers and by members of staff, and it is this I can't understand. When these same gangs of English came to clubs in Hersonissos there wasn't a word said, by them or other nationalities. It only seems to be when you enter their so-called town, where they're all together, that they get brave and cause trouble.
It's mind boggling to try and understand why people go on like this and ruin other people's holidays. It's bad enough to have to put up with it at home without taking it abroad. I don't want to sound like I am painting all English with the same brush, just the racist, unintelligent ones who can't handle the concept of socialising.
Troops Out Thanks
Please allow me to thank the nationalist people of Belfast, South Armagh and Garvaghy Road for the tremendous welcome they gave to the 22nd Annual Delegation of the Troops Out Movement. We learned a great deal and had great craic.
The main issues that continually recurred in the discussions were demilitarisation, policing, resettlement of political prisoners and breaches of human rights. All issues pointed to the bankruptcy and hypocrisy of British policy - cosmetic demilitarisation, reneging on the Patten Report, discrimination against and lack of resources for former prisoners and no progress on inquiries into the deaths of Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill and Rosemary Nelson. I think we all came away even more convinced that British policy in Ireland has failed. Britain should withdraw from Ireland and leave the Irish people to determine your own future.
I would like also to pay tribute to all of the people who organised and worked in the festivals. The talent and confidence in your communities is inspiring - confirmation of a risen people. I want to pay particular tribute to the young people at Triple FM. Having young teenagers reading the news is a real challenge to the traditional media attitudes. We were overwhelmed with admiration when we saw young schoolgirls operating sound machines that looked as if they belonged on Star Trek!
Watch out Blair & Mandelson, these people are the future and will not lie down.
Troops Out Movement
The emigrant experience
The Wolfe Tone Society in London are holding a day's event on Irish emigration to England over the last 50 years.
The `Thousands are Sailing' cultural day will have exhibitions on politics, GAA, music and poetry.
We are asking people to send in personal accounts, poems, photographs etc for usage in this. Please enclose an addressed envelope.
The evening's highlight at the Camden Irish Centre will be a performance of poems from `I could read the sky' by Anthony O'Grady, and he will be presenting it to musical accompainment with Shane McGowan's band The Popes.
Go raibh maith agat.
Wolfe Tone Society