Republican News · Thursday 22 June 2000

[An Phoblacht]

End Labour's union-funding monopoly

A Chairde,

As a member of SIPTU, I was horrified to discover that I am forced to help fund a political party (Labour) that I do not support nor does not in any way represent my interests or concerns as a worker. While I never gave my consent to funding the Labour Party, it was only during recent media discussions in relation to the scandals surrounding the funding of the establishment parties that I discovered that this was the case. This is totally wrong and it is time for it to stop.

Why should I, or thousands of other union members, be forced to donate money from our hard-earned wages to a party that we do not support? If SIPTU and other unions wish to fund or make donations to political parties, then surely the best way to do that would be to have each union member indicate to which party his/her donation should go. At least that would ensure that union members' money would go where they wanted it to go.

Apart from the injustice of taking money from members in this manner, funding and aligning itself solely with the Labour Party is damaging to the effectiveness of the union. In the past, we have seen how when the Labour Party were in government, union leaders were reluctant to take them on even when trade union members and their interests were clearly under attack. One glaring example was the inaction of the Union leadership following the introduction by Labour and Fianna Fail of the 1993 tax amnesty at a time when PAYE workers were being told to tighten their belts.

What is now needed is for SIPTU and the other unions to become a Trade Union movement that is independent and not aligned or funding any party from the political establishment. Ending the funding of Labour could be the first step in creating a real and powerful voice for the workers of this country. Trade union members in every county in Ireland should now begin to raise this issue within their union, with their fellow members and in the local and national media.

Gerard Regan



No Jeeps here

A Chairde,

Would it be possible to stop using the term Jeep when referring to British or RUC military vehicles in your reports. I know that it has become a generic term like Xerox, but Jeep is a registered trademark of Daimler Chrysler. Isn't it true that the British and the RUC drive Land Rovers? I've noticed the term jeep used in reports like the one below. It almost implies that a Jeep was somehow involved in the murder.

``She said Mr. Hamill and his family had been failed by the four RUC personnel ``who sat in a jeep as he was brutally kicked to death'' and by the RUC spin doctors ``who put up a smokescreen of misinformation'' immediately after the fatal attack.''

If I'm wrong about this, and the RUC are in fact driving Jeeps, I will do everything in my power as a shareholder and a Jeep owner to prevent future sales of Jeep vehicles to the RUC. I realise that this is trivial matter compared to Robert Hamill's tragic death, but if the RUC were sitting in a Land Rover you should call it that. It would be ironic that if they were in fact in a Land Rover and your reporter called it a Jeep; that would qualify as misinformation also. I know this might seem petty to you, but as a Jeep owner and shareholder, I don't want to be associated in any way with a discredited police force like the RUC.

Please let me know if the RUC are actually driving Jeep vehicles and I will bring it up with other shareholders as well as with the corporation to stop future sales of Jeep vehicles to the RUC. If they are using Land Rovers and you identify them as such, maybe the guilt by association will bother Land Rover owners too.

Don Henderson


A Chairde,

excellent article from Mick Derrig, this time about my favorite subject, Glasgow Celtic, and he hits the nail right on the head with his comments.

Nice one Mick.

Alec O'Donnell

Keep Dublin low rise

A chairde,

The front page of the Irish Times Property section on 7 June was again covered in designs of a new high rise building project. What is going on? What is the obsession with building companies and high rise complexes and why do they need to be built in Dublin?

Dublin is the largest city on this small island. We are becoming a very rich country and there is a need for office space for expanding companies. However, why is it necessary to build in Dublin? Surely, the point of the information age is that location does not matter any more. If companies need office space, why not build in some of the other Irish cities such as Cork, Belfast, Galway and Waterford?

The need for decentralisation is already being addressed by the government, who have transferred some of their departments away from Dublin. We do not want a huge sprawling metropolis like every single city in the US. Let's keep Dublin unique. Future generations need to look back on the images and memories of Dublin they know well instead of the cityscape postcard image synonymous with cities in America.

I believe that this is a serious issue and should be addressed by the people before it is too late. I open this letter to Dublin TDs, councillors and our mayor, Mary Freehill. Keep Dublin special please, before we become just another downtown.

Daithí Ó Caoimh

Cill Bharróg,

Baile Átha Cliath 5

Cleeky Clark

I only found out today that my friend Cleeky Clark had passed away. I t is with deep sadness that I learned of his death.

We grew up together, went to school and played gaelic for Ardoyne. I will always remember him with fondness, as we shared many great times together. Although I have been home a few times over the years, I could never seem to catch up with him, although last year just as I had left home one night, he rang and spoke to my wife. I was really disappointed that I had missed him. I would like to pass on my condolences to his family and will keep him in my prayers.

Arthur Lavery


South Australia

Don't forget Nobby

A Chairde,

Just a short note in relation to our recent success in attaining the mayoralty of Derry City.

I have seen media reports in recent weeks, stating that Cathal Crumley is the first Sinn Féin mayor since Terence MacSwiney in 1920. While in no way wishing to detract from his and the party's marvellous achievement on Derry City Council, I think for historical accuracy it must be pointed out that there was a Sinn Féin mayor elected in Sligo in 1967. Indeed, Norbert `Nobby' Ferguson received the first citizenship of Sligo on his first day in elected office - a somewhat rare distinction. Unfortunately, Councillor Ferguson died in the lifetime of that council.

Even though it is now over 30 years since Sligo City had a republican mayor, the Sinn Féin grouping on Sligo Corporation is confident that within the lifetime of the current council, perhaps as soon as this coming July, Sligo shall again have a Sinn Féin member as its first citizen.

I wonder how upset Gregory Campbell and his cohorts would be to see the only Sinn Féin mayor in the Six Counties welcoming the only Sinn Féin mayor in the 26 Counties up the steps of the Guildhall. A unique photo opportunity awaits!

Councillor Chris MacManus,

City Hall,


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