Make extradition the issue
LATER THIS MONTH, with the official nomination of candidates by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the presidential election campaign in the 26 Counties will begin in earnest. Only Mary Robinson of the Labour Party has been formally nominated and the main interest in the presidential race up to this has been the difficulties of Fine Gael in finding a candidate.
This has added to the troubls of Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes, who remains unable to carve a niche for himself or his party while Leinster House is dominated by a coalition government made up of the larest and smallest right-wing parties in the state, and while the Labour Party looks like the only half-credible opposition. The choice of the Fine Gael candidate and his or her performance in the polls could become a referendum on the future of Dukes as leader of that party.
As yet, no political issues have been seriously raised to determine the character of the presidential campaign. However, it is possible to speculate on what will come up and how the campaign will be used by some elements, particularly by the neo-unionist lobby in the 26 Counties, to further their cause.
Extradition and all its implications for our civil and national rights and for the fate of its victims, in particular for Dessie Ellis, must be made the issue in the presidential campaign. The work to prevent Dessie Ellis being sent by armed British guard to spend the rest of his life in an English jail must begin now.
Phoblacht, Thursday 6 September