Republican News · Thursday 28 September 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Pillar arrest unbelievable

A Chairde,

I can't quite believe that the Gardaí have just arrested someone for the demise of Nelson's Statue in Dublin over 34 years ago. This incidentinjured no-one (and caused less damage to O'Connell St than the subsequent demolition of the remaining Pillar!)

Would scarce resources not more justifiably be devoted to properly investigating the Dublin/Monaghan bombings, which deliberately killed 33 people and injured hundreds more? Despite this being the biggest mass murder in the history of the Irish state, not one person has been jailed, convicted, charges or even arrested and the initial Garda investigation was quietly ended after only 3 months.

Dr Seán Marlow

Dublin 11

Neutrality debate

A Chairde,

Síle de Valera's recent speech in Boston is welcome as it has sparked a much-needed debate on the vital question of Irish foreign policy and our place on the international stage.

In recent years we have seen a significant militarisation of Irish foreign policy and the steady erosion of our sovereignty and neutrality. Most recently, this has been seen by Ireland joining the `Partnership for Peace', which has among its stated aims ``the development of co-operative military relations with NATO''. All this has taken place without any real debate and with any clear statement on Irish neutrality.

Sinn Féin believes that in any such debate we should embrace ways in which our neutrality might not only be maintained but enhanced. Neutrality is not and should not be about either `opting out' or `pragmatism'. A positive and emphatic assertion of our neutrality could assist us in drawing up political alliances far removed from outdated Cold War politics. For instance the Irish government could take a lead on the issue of the cancellation of foreign debt for developing countries.

Sinn Féin supports a participative role for Ireland within a United Nations framework, positive neutrality, an independent foreign policy and giving voters the chance to have their say on joining any military alliance through a referendum.

There is an urgent need for debate and public accountability on the issue of foreign policy. Síle de Valera's speech, although lacking real substance, will hopefully contribute to a wider, more informed discussion.

Councillor Seán Crowe


Dublin 24

Mandelson's arrogance

A Chairde

I read the article in An Phoblacht about the arrogance of Mandelson in trying to force unwanted British cultural symbols down our throats, with more than a little anger.

It now seems that the English government and the local ``British'' parties are trying to squirm out of every undertaking to which they signed up in the Good Friday Agreement. This sickens me deeply, because we Republicans have held to our side of the bargain, in spite of totally undisguised sectarianism from unionists, particularly in the form of the cryptosporidium that constitutes the membership of and the electorate of the DUP.

I fully accepted that we should honour our commitments in the GFA to allay the fears of unionists that when we re-unite Ireland, we will not do to them what they have been doing to US for the last eighty years. But despite the fact that we have carried ourselves honourably, unionists and their lap dog, the spineless Mandelson, are interested only in trying to do what they have failed to do for centuries, i.e. stand on the necks of the ``Croppies''

While I support,in broad terms,the strategy of Sinn Féin, I believe that we now need to develop other strategies for the ultimate re-unification of our nation. We need to challenge unionist bigotry at every available opportunity, we need to be totally unapologetic for promoting our language and culture. We should be resolute in our refusal to do business in the assembly on days when they propose to fly the butcher's apron. Our elected representatives should be obliged to use the Irish language whenever interviewed, even if only to say hello, goodbye or thank you.

Let's hope that while we keep the peace as we promised, that the IRA remains ready and able to defend us if needed, and that we will progress unapologetically in gaelicising this part of Ireland all over again. Unionists have their entitlements, surely, but they must not be allowed to think that anything they do will deflect us from peacefully re-unifying Ireland, whether they like it or not.

We must not lose the opportunity for finally completing the business of 1916 which is now in our grasp, and to that end, we must grow politically, culturally, economically and co-operate with every Irish man and woman who shares our aim to remove the hated presence of the British government from our country, once and for all.

Tá súil agam go mbeidh ár lá linn go luath.

taine Ó Labhradha

Béal Feirste theas

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