Letters: Joe Brolly's vilifying of Creggan club can't go unchallenged
One is reluctant, following the media coverage of Peadar Heffron’s painful experiences, to put pen to paper, lest it further distress Peadar and his family. However, Joe Brolly cannot be allowed to go unchallenged as he continues to vilify the Creggan club and community.
Peadar announced his decision to join the PSNI in 2002.
There was no consensus among nationalists then that this represented a new beginning to policing.
More evidence was emerging then of police collusion with loyalists, including the murder of Bellaghy chairman Sean Brown, whose body was dumped two miles from Creggan pitch, with others living in fear of similar sectarian attacks.
In short, there was a context to what occurred, one of which Joe was aware, but which he glossed over.
In light of Peadar’s intention to become the first high profile Gaelic player in the PSNI, several considerations arose for the club. Most crucial was its duty of care for members, including children, due to the inevitable security presence at games and the dangers arising from that.
Also, could the senior team field if some players left in protest? Would there be a disruptive focus on Peadar during games?
The interview referred to political activists who leafleted the club. Joe disingenuously added ‘clearly by prior arrangement’ but their arrival onto club property was brief and uninvited.
Peadar sought local support for his decision. Some people expressed their disapproval. It was equally valid for Peadar to seek support and for others to withhold it. When Peadar left the club, he continued to play recreational football on the club premises with former team mates until shortly before the bomb attack.
Joe derided the club for its denial of the smear that club members were involved in the attack on Peadar. He asked what evidence there is for this denial. This is a disgraceful defence of his own irresponsible journalism which allowed the claim to be carried in the first place.
Regarding the failure of the club to share, formally, its concern for Peadar and his family, it is most likely that, because Peadar was already embittered toward the club, a feeling existed that such a gesture could be perceived as being hypocritical.
It must be said that Peadar and his family received widespread support from club members and the community in the time following the attack.
Nevertheless, the lack of a formal gesture of sympathy is something which the club should consider some time in the future.
Peadar’s story is a tragedy and his sense of betrayal is understandable. However, Joe’s provocative attacks on our club and community using terms such as ‘cowardly’, ‘rotten’ and ‘self-serving’ rather than resolving anything, have sown resentment and division.
P Mac an tSAOIR
Creggan, Co Antrim
Ireland won’t find answers to problems in Westminster
Ignatius McQuillan (November 24) suggests that Sinn Féin MPs should break our promise to our voters by taking seats in the British parliament. This will not happen.
Popular support for Sinn Féin and for our unambiguously abstentionist approach is growing as is evidenced in June’s Westminster election.
Sinn Féin MPs are elected on the very clear basis that they will not attend Westminster. That is our mandate from the people. Active abstentionism is a matter of political principle, based on our firm belief that the people of Ireland should make decisions about Ireland – not a parliament in London. Moreover ranged against 650 British MPs, the vast majority of whom have no interest in or concern for this island, Irish nationalist votes in Westminster have no effect.
Nationalist MPs, even with the best intentions, failed to achieve anything meaningful in decades of sitting at Westminster.
Westminster’s record in Ireland is entirely negative. It includes partition, internment, torture, collusion, state murder, discrimination, censorship, relentless austerity, attacks on public services, the punishment of welfare recipients and profound social and economic inequality and Brexit.
All progress in the north of Ireland over the past three decades has been achieved on the island of Ireland, not in Westminster. Ireland’s only defence against the potential chaos of Brexit is through political pressure on the British government in Europe, where Sinn Féin MEPs punch far above their weight and in Dublin where the strong team of Sinn Féin TDs ensure the Irish government acts in the interest of all the Irish people, north and south.
Ireland will not find answers to our problems in Westminster when Westminster is our problem.
And for the record, while Sinn Féin MPs do provide full-time representation, we do not receive salaries from Westminster.
PAUL MASKEY MP
Sinn Féin, West Belfast
Witnessing for SF and SDLP no longer important
Fr Martin Kelly (November 22) offers the opinion that Sinn Féin and in particularly Michelle O’Neill have little time for ideological niceties over God, Church and the moral [natural] law and in this summation, he is correct.
What the Ard Fheis expressed itself most fully in was an apostasy both in a personal and communal rejection of Catholicism, as well as rejecting the Easter Proclamation in its call for the cherishment and the flourish mentioned of all the Republic’s children.
In regard to the moral law, far from it reflecting the will either of God or man, it more than likely would mirror the continued hijacking of letters from the alphabet to cover real or perceived phobias.
The SDLP’s attitude, like SF, is showing among its younger membership a growing unease with the pro-life stance of the party. Undoubtedly once the founding members of the party have passed away, then the pro-life view like them will pass into oblivion.
All Catholics are called to witness and further the Kingdom in both their private and public lives. What we have seen in Fr Kelly’s excellent letter, is that SF and SDLP find this witnessing is no longer important.
Clonoe Co Tyrone
Thatcher and RUC still in view
Mr Adams’s claim that ‘republicanism has never been stronger’ must have rung more than a little hollow with those members of Saoradh, who were prevented from attending their Ard Fheis on the day he presided over his.
No surprises there, because on the superficial scale his Ard Fheis claim that Thatcherism has only got a foothold on the other side of the border must have scored him a resounding 10.
Mr Adams knows only too well, that the heavy-handed tactics of the RUC like their name have never left the stage, just as he knows that the ‘trickle-down’ policies of Thatcher have found a home here in the north and thanks to all the parties in Stormont (including his own) have been fully implemented and embraced.
Arlene’s bogus ‘culture’
At the DUP conference Arlene Foster asked people to respect their British culture. I would like to know what is this British culture she wants nationalists/republicans to respect? Is it the kick the pope bands, the hate-filled bonfires, the KAT mentality, the anti-Catholic bigotry, the takeover of towns and villages for part of the year, the domineering culture that made nationalists second class citizens? That so-called British culture could not be respected. It is a bogus ‘culture’. However, if it is about respecting her political beliefs and aspirations that is not a problem. This letter is also a part answer to a previous letter from Manus McDaid who challenged me to ask hard questions of unionists as well as republicans in contemplation of an agreed Ireland.
Fr JOE McVEIGH
Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh