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We Are Free to Speak.

IN response to letter writer Gregorio Macaluso (“Terrorism Within,” December 3-9), I find that equating the democratic principals of dissent and free speech to terrorism is in itself anathema to our constitutional form of government. 

Even more frightening than any terrorist organizations operating against free societies throughout the world are those who would destroy personal freedoms from within our democratic societies. 

The dictionary defines terrorism as the systematic use of terror as a means of coercion. I would think that those of us attempting to convince others that the exercise of free discourse equals terrorism, and those exercising that right should be branded as unpatriotic or worse, are much more akin to a terrorist organization, and pose a real threat to our personal freedoms.

If Mr. Macaluso is really interested in maintaining a free society he should direct his attention to other areas. Our current administration continues to borrow and spend, running up huge deficits which threaten the future of our children; they continue to destroy the environment and weaken current environmental laws at ever chance they have.

Republicans continue, as they promised they would, to systematically dismantle Medicare for the benefit of the corporate bosses and at the expense of our senior citizens; our personal liberties are being eroded through the abuses of the Patriot Act; our president was not elected, but was seated by a court which is heavily dominated by members of his own party, and only after his brother denied thousands of voters in Florida the right to vote.

It sounds like there is more than enough for Democrats and all Americans to legitimately disagree with Mr. Macaluso. Since we still live in a free society, and not a controlled society such as we witnessed in the former Soviet Union or Nazi Germany and fascist Italy during the middle of the last century, we will and we should continue to speak out.

Jim McQuilkin
Woodbury, New Jersey

Problem Teens.

FOUND the “Ireland’s Eye” report entitled “Pre-Teen Drinkers” in the December 3-9 issue shocking. Then I read about the drinking behavior of youth in the U.S.

The Youth Risk Behavior survey revealed that in 2001, 47% of youth aged 15-19 had one or more alcoholic drinks in the past 30 days, and 30% had five or more drinks on one or more occasions during the past 30 days.

Alcohol use is associated with 36% of motor vehicle-related fatalities among youth aged 15-20 and 20% percent of youth under 15.

Trends in the Well-Being of America’s Children and Youth 2001 reports that in 2000, “30% reported binge drinking in grade 12, 26% in grade 10 and 14% in grade eight.”

Unfortunately Irish teenagers are far from unique when it comes to drinking problems. 

James V. Dolson
Springfield, Virginia.

Thankful for Edit.

Thanks In a Tough Year” in the November 26-December 2 issue. Not only did the writing bring a bit of sense to these times, but it served to remind one that the majority of us do have a lot to be thankful for in these tough times. 

We need reminders like this to reorient ourselves in the ever-changing, turbulent, media-battered world that we live in today.

Kathryn Calamita
Panama City, Florida

1974 Inquiry Needed.

THE Barron report into the 1974 Dublin bombing has revealed nothing new, except to remind us that the Dublin government had only one policy – nothing must be done to offend the British government or say anything that indirectly might help the IRA. That is how Irish-Americans will react to the report.

The rot set in under Jack Lynch and Dessie O’Malley, and was continued with a vengeance under Liam Cosgrave, Garret FitzGerald and Conor Cruise O’Brien. It reflected in the Irish embassies worldwide, especially in Washing-ton. 

It continued until Albert Reynolds – God bless him – threw his weight behind the peace process. Until Reynolds, the highest priority of the Dublin governments was not to eliminate the cause of the problem in Northern Ireland – injustice and oppression – but rather to eliminate the IRA and to marginalize Sinn Fein. 

Therefore they were silent, even when the British government committed state terrorism on the streets of Dublin.

Since Reynolds, the Irish government has done great work for the peace process and Irish Americans can be rightly proud of it. 

Now I hope it will fully exorcise the ghosts of the previous governments by holding a public inquiry into the Dublin bombing, and demand explanations of the previous leaders who performed so shamefully.

Father Sean McManus
President, Irish National Caucus
Washington, D.C. 

Remembering War Dead.

FRANK Durkan’s account in the November 5-11 issue of his pre-war friendship with Daniel Harrington from Eyeries, Co. Cork, killed in action in Korea on June 6, 1951, offers a moving and insightful tribute to Irish heroism in a shamefully neglected war. 

As administrator of The Irish in Korea, a website honoring all Irish-born casualties in Korea, I welcome similar memories from readers of the Irish Voice. They can be posted in our guest book at www.irishinkorea.org.

I’d also like to take the opportunity to offer some clarifications to Mr. Durkan’s article. Only one set of remains – not five – were released by the Army to represent the nine then-known Irish casualties being honored in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, in February, 1952. They were those of Patrick Sheahan from Newtownsandes, Co. Kerry, killed in action on October 4, 1951. Sheahan was awarded the Silver and Bronze Star medals for combat heroism.

According to Harrington’s late sister Eileen, her brother was laid to rest in Castletownbere Cemetery, Co. Cork on February 2, 1952 – coincidentally the same day as the Mass in St. Patrick’s. His memorial card refers to Daniel (or Donal, as the family in Ireland called him) as captain of the 1950 Cork senior football team in New York.

In all, the remains of 16 of the 28 were repatriated for interment in their native soil. At the request of family members in America – most Irish immigrants at the time were sponsored by uncles or aunts – the remains of seven were buried in the U.S. 

The remains of five were not recovered; they are still classified as missing. Unlike World War I and II, U.S. policy in Korea was and is to repatriate all recoverable U.S. remains, whether identified or not, to American soil. 

The special exemption from military service to which Mr. Durkan refers was included in the Irish American Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation, signed on January 21, 1950 by Sean MacBride on behalf of the Irish government. This privilege was moot for five of the Irish-born dead who voluntarily enlisted for military service, as well as for an unknown number who were drafted before the war began, or the terms of the 1950 treaty took effect. 

For the majority, however – as Mr. Durkan states – U.S. citizenship was clearly a goal for which they were willing to risk their lives. It was my privilege to work with those who survived Korean service to achieve that dream – chief among them John Leahy from Kerry and Pat Maguire from Fermanagh, to assemble the list of those posthumously honored.

Brian McGinn
Alexandria, Virginia.



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