The introduction of the FBI into the inquiry into the tragic siege at Abbeylara bodes ill for a just and fair result. It casts serious doubts on the bone fides of this so called thorough investigation and the Gardai's input to same.
The credibility of the FBI has never recovered from its half-century leadership by defamed Director, J. Edgar Hoover.
Have the authorities so readily forgotten that this was the man and malice behind the disgraceful excesses of the McCarthyite era in the American arts and entertainment arena when thousands were left workless and homeless and hundreds of other innocent citizens were unjustly jailed.
The FBI have never properly apologised for those gross abuses of American democracy. It therefore bodes ill that this arrogant organisation should now be invited to interfere in Irish democracy. Quite likely, of course, their participation is merely a smoke screen to attempt to blind the Irish people who are genuinely outraged by the manner of the killing of John McCarthy at Abbeylara. You can bet your bottom dollar that this `kick to touch' is in fact the precursors to a Widgery-style whitewash and over up of this great tragedy.
The fact that the garda authorities and the Ministry for Justice only allowed that there might be a public result to the enquiry as a result of the unprecedented public demand for same is very significant.
Can we honestly expect a fair enquiry from the FBI, the perpetrators of the killing of unarmed women and infant children at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas in more recent times.
As disenchantment with the establishment political system reaches new highs, political and media commentators have recently been criticising young people for being cynical, apathetic and politically ignorant in shifting to smaller parties and independents. To blame young people for being alienated from the corrupt political system is to put the cart a mile in front of the horse.
Young people are not stupid. To suggest that they are turning to more radical parties like Sinn Féin, Greens and independents without knowing their policies is patronising and insulting. They well know that, despite all the guff about the Celtic Tiger, workers' wages are not even keeping up with inflation. And they know that past budgets from various combinations of FF, PDs, FG and Labour have increased inequality and have made their rich donors even wealthier (they can't even remember whether it was £1m or £2m that they handed to politicians!) Is it any wonder that many people (young and old) have become cynical?
However, I do agree with the pundits that there is no point in just complaining. Young people need to get involved to change the system. Here in Dublin North West we have a very dynamic Ógra Shinn Fein group who are actively involved in campaigns on racism, drug abuse and anti-social behaviour. Currently, they are out three or four evenings a week leafleting and gathering thousands of petitions against the proposed £150 annual bin charges for Dublin households (while big business, which produces most of the waste, have their taxes lowered - nothing to do with stuffed brown envelopes, of course!)
These talented and energetic young people are a credit to their generation and give me great confidence for the future.
Councillor Dessie Ellis,
Dublin North West
The Seanad is an elitist, undemocratic retirement home for failed politicians and those seeking to build a profile for themselves in order to get elected to Leinster House. It is an expensive talking shop, paid for by the Irish taxpayer, which in reality serves no purpose and is really just an Irish version of the House of Lords.
The vast majority of Irish people are excluded in electing these people to the Seanad and as such is totally at odds with any definition of democracy. Sinn Féin should be making clear that there is no place for such an elitist, undemocratic and expensive talking shop in Irish society and should be actively seeking the abolition of the Seanad.
We should also make clear that we would not participate in such an undemocratic institution that denies representation to the vast majority of Irish citizens. To do so would be an insult to the Irish people.
Fighting the good fight
May I be permitted a few lines on your letters page on the death of the late Matt Merrigan, whom one also recalls from the days of ``Trades Unionists for a United Ireland'' (TUUI). His death occurred the day before The Irish Times/MRBI opinion poll showed a swing to the left amongst the people of the 26-County state. His death also revived the memory of the need for the struggle for the unity of the left, red and green, for a majority left government, and for opposition to coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil. Even in death, Matt was still fighting the good fight.
Indeed, opinion polls taken some time before the election will probably overestimate the support there will be for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael by the time Tribunal-land arrives at an election. A government comprising the parties of the left and the no doubt very many more independents that will be elected at the next election is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Five years ago, most people would have said that peace in the North was impossible. Do the parties of the left always want to content themselves with the crumbs from the table of the corrupt? Do they want to be always with bridesmaid, never the bride? Without an end to coalition with the conservative parties, without an end to governments of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in its present incarnation, the political horsetrading for unnatural coalition will ensure that there can never be adequate scrutiny of standards in public life or integrity in the face of corruption.
The consequences of apathy, abstention or no-voting here will not mean that corruption will all go away, rather it will get worse.
With the 26-County government now reliant on the support of allegedly corrupt ex-Fianna Fáil TDs and with all the damage to the public's perception of politics and democracy that this entails, anything other than precipitating a general election would be unconscionable for anyone of integrity.
From ``the high moral ground'' of politics and independence, the PDs and the `Independents' have come to this. Now is the time for all good men, and women, to come not to the aid of their party, but of the country.
Formerly Secretary of the Campaign for the Birmingham Six (England)