The attempt to extradite Angelo Fusco is an insult. The outrage shown
outside the Four Courts last week mirrored the reaction of
republicans throughout the country, who have shown nothing but good
faith in the peace process. This move smacks of a pound of flesh
mentality, hardly in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.
The overwhelming logic of the peace process works in favour of Angelo
Fusco's release, but political extradition is a flawed legal device
anyway. It has been used as a weapon against republicans and the
Dublin government has collaborated in sending republicans, without so
much as insisting on a prima facie case being made, to face partisan
judicial systems in England and the Six Counties.
Dublin must now immediately move to rescind the warrant against Fusco
and all outstanding warrants against those facing political charges.
London to mark Bloody Sunday
London will once again host the annual Bloody Sunday march and rally
on Saturday 22 January. Despite the setting up of the Saville Inquiry
to reinvestigate the shooting dead of 14 unarmed civil rights
demonstrators, progress has been slow. The Inquiry has been subject to
delays and legal challenges, especially in relation to anonymity for
British soldiers who may be called to give evidence when hearings
It is worth pointing out that the Saville Inquiry was only won by
determined campaigning by the relatives and supporters of those
killed, who have consistently marched and campaigned for justice. If
there is to be a satisfactory outcome, if the truth is to be told, we
need to continue supporting the relatives of those killed.
The Bloody Sunday march this year will take place on Saturday 22
January. Assembling at Victoria Embankment (Embankment or Charing
Cross tube) at 12 noon, march at 1pm via Westminster, Downing Street
and Trafalgar Square before rallying at University of London Union,
Malet Street, WC1 (Euston Square or Goodge Street tube) at 3.30pm.
Speakers include Tony Benn MP, John McDonnell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP,
Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, Breandán Mac Cionnaith (Garvaghy Road
Residents Coalition), Sinn Féin, SDLP (invited) and Justice for
Stephen Lawrence Campaign (invited).
For more information about the march or if you are able to help,
please contact: Bloody Sunday March organising Committee, PO Box
10132, London SW@ 3BZ, Tel (0181) 442 8778.
Bloody Sunday March Organising Committee
I would like to tell your readers about an experience that I had, on a
recent visit (one of many) to Ireland over the Christmas Holidays. I
had occasion to be invited by a Sinn Féin councillor to two
commemoration ceremonies in the Limerick area. I thought that this
would be a unique experience and readily accepted. What I was about to
encounter were two very disturbing incidents of police harassment by
the Garda Síochána.
At the first venue, in a small area called Ballysteen, celebrants
showed up in twos and threes and gathered near a church. There was a
red Dublin registered car there and the three people in the car were
taking photographs of the marchers and copying down auto
registrations. The red car showed up just 20 feet away from the
commemoration venue. The 3 men in the red car (we all know they are
Garda Special Branch by now) sat and talked loudly as speeches were
made and the crowd from the commemoration dispersed to their cars
while the Gardaí continued watching and taking pictures.
We then travelled to Limerick proper for the Sean South Commemoration.
It was at the assembly area that I counted ten, yes ten, Gardaí
spotting participants and taking pictures. As the color guard and
participants marched about one mile to the cemetery the Garda cars
would zoom by and park ahead of them and begin taking flash pictures.
This tomfoolery continued up to the cemetery. This time the Garda came
into the cemetery and stood at the back and to the side of the
commemoration persons. They talked continuously during the speeches
and kept pointing to different people in an attempt to, again
intimidate them, talking continuously.
In reviewing the events of that 2 January, 2000, I felt that my civil
rights and those of all those participating had been violated. The
question begs. How many individuals, not in any way connected with the
commemoration, had their picture taken for just talking with the
participants? How many of these pictures are filed with the Garda
Special Branch? How many of these people can expect to be interrogated
at some future time?
The most disturbing thing about this all is that the Irish newspapers
refer to Limerick as having a high incidence of crime. So ten Gardaí
are assigned to the cemetery to spy on a commemoration ceremony.
Indeed, that evening, the news broadcast that there was a massive fire
in Limerick that night. The media speculated that it might be arson.
So what are ten gardaí doing at a cemetery spying on a commemoration
ceremony? Every one has heard the old saying, `Nero fiddled while Rome
burned'. Is it now `The Gardaí fiddled while Limerick burned?'
David E. O'Brien
Derry, New Hampshire
No peace dividend for South Armagh
While parts of Northern Ireland experience some semblance of promised
change, the residents of South Armagh rightfully denounce British
propaganda claims of demilitarization. Thirty-three lookout posts and
five British Army/RUC bases
render this 150-square-mile area the most militarised territory in
Western Europe. High-powered surveillance equipment prohibits both
freedom and privacy in this prison-like atmosphere. This
overwhelmingly intrusive presence not only violates the most basic of
human and civil rights but it also precludes future economic growth
British securocrats gaze down the sights of their implements of war in
deliberate provocation and violation of their own peace agreement.
They demand from an imprisoned community they have murdered and
colluded against that which they themselves refuse to relinquish. They
dare speak of timetables yet are audaciously oblivious to their own.
But the tables have turned and the sights of the world now rest fixed
firmly upon them.
The peace agreement mandated British demilitarization. The IRA remains
honorably silent. Yet the British government has spent double digit
millions this past year alone refurbishing these monstrosities which
are themselves unquestionably the greatest threat to peace in the
area. South Armagh and the world demand peace, normalcy and action
Máire A. Kelly
701 Anderson St.
Corpus Christi, Texas 78411
No to coalition
Sinn Féin as a political party has changed dramatically over the past
20 years. We have come from being a small party with almost no elected
representatives to a situation where we have 134 seats on local
authorities; 19 Assembly seats, including 2 ministers; 1 TD; and 2
This is a considerable achievement and puts us in a strong position at
the beginning of the new millennium. It does, however, also present
certain dangers for a party likke ours, which is trying to build a
radical alternative to the right-wing politics that dominate this
This point has been noted by others. Last June, when the results of
the local elections were being discussed on a radio show, the
presenter asked one Desmond O'Malley what he made of the impressive
performance of Sinn Féin and if he was concerned about it. His reply
was something like this. He said he was not concerned as it would
change the dynamic in that party completely.
I think what he meant was that the council chamber would make
politicians out of scruffy Shinners and that we would be so tied up
with procedures and clientelist work that we would have no time left
for agitation and protest. We need to prove righteous Dessie wrong.
We are the only all-Ireland party, with completely different politics
from any other party. We are a republican labour party, totally
committed to a British withdrawal and the creation of a society based
on equality and democratic socialist principles. We should never try
to be like the rest. People should see us as offering an honest and
radical alternative to the false nationalism of Fianna Fáil and the
champagne socialism of the SDLP and Labour.
Our natural constituency is the working class throughout the 32
counties. In the North, this includes a large section of the
Protestant working class who have become disillusioned with the stale
sectarian politics of unionism.
Other parties may confine their efforts to electoralism but Sinn Féin
must continue to use a variety of methods, such as pickets and street
mobilisations. Parliaments, assemblies and council chambers can be
used to build support for our policies and represent our constituents.
But we must never enter into a coalition government with any of the
establishment parties. Participation in any such coalition would
involve the total dilution of our policies and the disillusionment of
our members and supporters. It would paralyse our party and stop us
from having the positive dynamic role that we have had for over two
decades. In short, we would just become `another party'.
Sinn Féin Town Commissioner,