Slum landlords still abound
After viewing the recent Prime Time programme on RTÉ, I was disgusted and enraged ot see that levels of adequate accommodation in Ireland have not improved very much in the past 100 years.
Landlords are still with us, still depriving tenants of basic and proper amenities such as proper heating, proper fire exits, fire extinguishers, etc. Added to this, some places have no clean storage, rotten windows (which allow dampness to seep in), and no back yards to allow children to play in. Most basic of all, privacy is sometimes not guaranteed.
Seeing the accommodation in Church Street, Tullamore, and the new apartments which Mr Myles Shortall so proudly portrayed, only compounded the hypocrisy of the man. To hear him say that some of his flats were in better condition because some of his tenants came from better backgrounds smacks of utter racism (Is this character for real?). The facts are there for everyone to see. Mr Shortall, when asked about the lack of proper facilities in his flats, replied that some of his tenants were responsible for causing damage to the flats. When confronted about the fact that he was being prosecuted by the county council for not providing proper fire escapes, which endangered the lives of his tenants, he declined to respond. Money was being supplied to him in the form of rent supplements by the MIdland Health Board to provide these most basic of conditions, but he has failed miserably to do so and passes the blame on to the urban council. The council, in turn, will not enforce their powers of inspection in fear that they might have to house the people and, not having any houses, are allowing off the hook these landlords who supply dire accommodation.
I ask the people of Tullamore to support those who have to live in these deplorable conditions by writing to their local TD, the papers, or the UDC asking them to press the government to introduce security of tenure for all of our people living in `Flatland'.
Remember, tomorrow it could be one of your family who ends up in these hovels. Landlords get £100 million in rent subsidies every year. Why not give this money to local authorities and let them build houses that are badly needed, for our children and their children.
Racism has a short memory
It's right there when people say ``I am not a racist, but...'' that the real racism starts. If you are really not a racist, there shouldn't be a `but'!
We are now hearing that phrase from many corners of the 26 counties, places where local residents are opposing small groups of refugees being sent from Dublin to live in their communities, even though the government is trying to convince them that 75% of such immigrants are going to be deported anyway!
My hair rises when I hear the truly medieval-style accusations addressed to those who haven't even arrived yet: ``They should be screened for diseases'', ``How do we know that there are no murderers, rapists and child abusers among them?''.
It might be asked, how do the refugees know that there aren't any criminals or child abusers in these totally new , strange, and apparently, hostile places where they are being sent without even being asked if they want it?
The ``nouveau riche'' are historically proven the most arrogant of human beings, because they are trying so desperately to forget their own past and to imagine that they have always belonged to ``the elite''. Apparently - and unfortunately! - the Celtic Tiger has blinded many Irish people, who seem to have forgotten how their own forefathers were discriminated against in various countries where they sought refuge in the past.
How would modern Ireland look now if 75% of Irish emigrants had been deported back to the misery of the Great Famine?
A Russian in Dublin
Relatives' help needed
We have almost finished researching material for a book profiling republican activists from South Derry, Southwest and North Antrim who gave their lives in this and other stages of the struggle.
We would also like to include a few pages dedicated to the many staunch members of the republican family who died from natural causes, accidents, etc... during the past thirty years.
We would appeal to their families and friends for details, photographs etc, which will all be returned. We hope to publish the book in June.
Please contact myself or a local cumann.