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Letters to Editor

Walsh Success Story

THE article in the February 1-7 issue, “Walsh to Eliminate Visas?” gave a very negative report of the Walsh visa program, describing it as a “grave disappointment” and commenting on “poor working conditions.”

The article did not in any way reflect on the very positive effect it has had on the lives of many young Northern Irish people and the contributions it has brought to the U.S. economy and the economy back on home turf.

The three years I spent on the Walsh visa program in Boston from July 2002-June 2005 were invaluable, providing me with significant personal and professional development. I got my teeth into a fantastic role in a public relations firm and gathered a lot of business sense. My working conditions were excellent.

I felt a part of the Boston city community. I would not have imagined that my first full-time job would have given me such responsibility, fulfillment and enjoyment.

To live in a diverse society is a great advantage. Ireland lacks such cultural diversity and I therefore relished the friendships I made, and learned a lot in the process.

I have since returned to the U.K. and work in a London city law firm. I strongly believe that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Walsh visa.

Because the program garnered problems at the beginning in the late ‘90s, the resources were put in place to make it a success. There is much to be said for the people behind the program who have continued to provide a supportive network for the participants.

The visa staff at the Irish Immigration Center in Boston have contributed to what I and many participants believe to be a very successful program and certainly not in any way what could be referred to as a “grave disappointment.”

Nuala Higgins

London, England

IMC a ‘Disgrace’

THE Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) is a disgrace. Set up as a concession to anti-agreement Unionists, the IMC was ostensibly designed to assess paramilitaries’ activities and recommend sanctions against their political representatives if violations were found.

Its recent report has given the faulty impression that the IRA — even after turning in all of its weapons — is some kind of threat in order to disrupt the peace process.

It wasn’t only Sinn Fein that attacked “the integrity of the IMC.” General John de Chastelain vehemently rejected their allegation that the IRA is holding on to weapons. He heads the International Independent Commission on Decommissioning, the only body given the authority to deal with disarmament under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Senior police officers in the Irish Republic also disagreed with the IMC, and the North’s Security Minister Shaun Woodward stated that he had “no reason to believe that the IRA is involved in any criminality at all.”

The IMC has no credibility. There isn’t a shred of evidence to support their assessments, save for anonymous briefings provided by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Special Branch, groups hostile to police reform.

Sinn Fein introduced a bill in the Irish Parliament calling on the Irish government to repeal the legislation which brought the IMC into being.

It’s unacceptable that the entire peace process is being held hostage by members of the IMC, and those in the British political and military establishment who control them.

Pat Kempton, PRO

Cleveland Irish Northern Aid

Cleveland, Ohio

Spain Is Soaked

COLUMNIST John Spain rejoices that Afghanistan has reached a degree of peace and that elections were held in Iraq, initial steps to democracy.

Spain wants to start his own jihad and feels all countries, especially the U.S., should confront the Muslim nations worldwide regardless of the loss of lives of service personnel. He has no regard for innocent Iraqi people suffering the most casualties.

American military hospitals are nearly overwhelmed with wounded servicemen and women. Of approximately 15,000 wounded, 20% have brain or spinal problems.

To continue war without an end in sight, to increase dead and wounded statistics, and perpetuate slaughter of Iraqi citizens for years is not a noble venture.

In this country, many supporters of the war do not desire any involvement by their sons, daughters or relatives for continuing the invasion of Iraq. They support the cause, but are grateful when others do the fighting.

I think John Spain’s brains have been soaked in too much Irish rain, or Irish dew.

Anthony Zvirblys

Washington, New Jersey

Bush (Mis)Administration

RORY McCarthy, in his December 21-January 3 letter, referred to the “so-called Anglo Saxon establishment, whose British brothers almost eradicated the race in what can only be regarded as genocide under brutal rule and by force of arms.”

Well, the same privileged establishment runs (and owns?) this country, and under the Bush (mis)administration, has intentionally exposed all its worst predilections of control, destruction and suffering.

Right now they have created a terrible situation in Iraq, are pushing Japan to re-arm (do we really need to experience that again?), and are destroying the social, economic and spiritual well-being of our nation, just as Eisenhower predicted in January of 1961.

The Buddha taught that suffering is the result of greed, ignorance and anger. That about defines these people in a nutshell.

It is their bloody game. This country needs a revolution of sorts. Too often our choice is tweedle-dum or tweedle-dee. That is not democracy.

Bernard Ross

Dorchester, Massachusetts

Hooked on Oil

PRESIDENT Bush, as he is known, has declared “America is addicted to oil.”

As everyone knows, those who have so fierce a craving must have their fix — hence his illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern, his compliance in George’s need to guzzle apparent at Shannon Airport, while not a full-blown junkie himself, has tarnished us all with the deserved label of passive inhaler of the vapor trail as the U.S. military use our artery on their way to replenish supplies of their illicit drug of choice.

Robert O’Sullivan

Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland

Up the Rebels

I WOULD like to voice my opinion on bands like U2, the Wolfe Tones, Sons of Erin and the Irish Brigade.

First about U2. I never really cared about Bono until he was on Bill O’Reilly’s show The O’Reilly Factor during the presidential elections in 2004. He changed my mind about him, although his music is not for me. I am more of a rebel music lover.

My favorite groups are Wolfe Tones, Sons of Erin and a group from Co. Tyrone called the Irish Brigade. And my favorite Irish musician is Derek Warfield.

The Irish Brigade performs songs about the 1981 hunger strikers and past volunteers of the IRA. Three cheers for rebel musical groups and songs!

Jim Harrington

Arlington, Massachusetts

Leave Casey Alone

I THINK it’s time to leave Bishop Eamonn Casey of Galway alone for once and for all.

The man has paid the price for having a child with an American woman while he was bishop. As it turns out, others in the church have been shown to have committed much greater offenses, such as the pedophile priests.

I for one have always admired Bishop Casey, and I still do. I hope he enjoys his retirement in Ireland free of prying eyes.

Jean Caffrey

Stamford, Connecticut

 

 
 


 
 
 
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