Galway Advertiser 2002/2002_11_28/GA_28112002_E1_022.pdf 

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Galway Advertiser 2002/2002_11_28/GA_28112002_E1_022.pdf

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T h e limits o f compassion
RTF. broadcaster Pat Kenny, one of the most intelligent and articulate of Irish media folk, presided over two quite electrifying moments this past week. One of tbem featured poet Paul Durcan, the other Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, Mark Safer. First. Paul Durcan. Those who know Durcan's poetry, and more especially the pas sion of his public readings, might still have been unprepared for the level of outrage and anger he expressed in the 'open letter' addressed to Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams he read on the show. A few excerpts will give you some idea of the tone of Durcan's Swiftian denuncia tion: "... all those hundreds and hundreds of unique, individual human beings mur dered, many of them much more interesting and decent people than you or I, Gerry Adams. All of them dumped into the trashcan of history, their rotting arms and legs hanging out of bins everywhere, on estates and seashores and on derelict bogs." The occasion for Durcan's blast was a photograph that appeared on the front page of The Irish Times recently, showing the gently greying Adams, smiling into the face of six-month-old Emmet Taggert Gildemew, son of Sinn Fein politician Michelle Gildemew, sitting inside the Sam Maguire Cup won by Armagh in the All Ireland. Durcan's response to the photograph was sharp and furious: "This marvellous photo graph of you as a benign, handsome, gentle grandfather ... fills me with such despair thai my eyes leak tears, tears of anguish that you did what you did and that you have been rewarded with victory. I have no choice but to accept your victory but I cannot forgive you for what you did." What Adams did. what Durcan cannot forgive, was implied rather than spelled out; it was to have been in a position of senior responsibility in Sinn Fein/IRA during the bloody terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland. Durcan concluded his attack with a bit terly ironic vision of what little Emmet Taggert Gilemew might live to see when he's 18 years old: Sinn Fein as the strongest and most popular party in Ireland, and Adams as president of the Irish Republic. Durcan's onslaught was a fine example of the righteous indignation of a passionate Irish man of letters, a superbly angry "j'accuse' of a kind Irish listeners will rarely have heard before on the national airwaves. The only pity is it was not delivered to the Sinn Fein leader a decade ago. when the IRA was still fully and bloodily engaged in its 'armed struggle', and Adams was perfecting his smooth and articulate method of apolo gising for their actions. The other Kenny Show broadcast also had to do with the effects of terrorism. But this time compassion was in short supply. Israeli Ambassador to Ireland. Mark Sofer was Kenny's interview subject. The ambassador came on the show in the wake of yet anoth er horrendous suicide bombing in Israel, and was clearly distressed by the deaths of more innocent civilians. The current situation in Israel is one of the most bitterly con tentious in the world, with balance a quality in very short supply. Kenny was probing but carefully avoided even a hint of taking sides. He did a good job. Yet once the phone lines were open and listeners began calling in to comment, any sense of proportion and balance disappeared as caller after caller denounced Israel, fail ing to demonstrate the slightest compassion for the Israeli victims, the unspoken verdict being that they somehow 'deserved' it because of the assumed wickedness of the Israeli state and its leaders. What is at issue here is not the policies of the current Israeli government, with which a large number of Israelis disagree (which is why Prime Minister Sharon has called a general election after failing to consolidate a new cabinet), but the terrible failure of imaginative sympathy on the part of those in the international community whose con demnation of Israel is so comprehensive it renders them blind or 'understanding' of the appalling tactics of the suicide bomber. Though it took the organisation an uncomfortably long time to declare itself, nonetheless the hard-hitting report by Human Rights Watch, published recently, unam biguously condemns this particular stategy. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, declared: "The people who carry out suicide bombings are not martyrs, they're war criminals, and so are the people who help to plan such attacks. The scale and systematic nature of these attacks sets them apart from other abuses committed in times of conflict They clearly fall under the category of crimes against humanity." The 170-page repor Erased in a Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks against Israeli Civilians is the first fully -fledged examination of individual criminal responsi bility fur suicide bombings against civilians in Israel and the Israeli-occupied territo ries. Compassion for the victims of terrorism, and anger at those responsible for them, is - or ought to be - universally applied. The innocent victims of Newry and Enniskillen and the innocent victims of suicide bombers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv share a c 1


rooting around in the bottom of the white bin bag and finding evidence that it was, indeed, originally my own), they let the matter drop. In the mean time I went to the apartment manage ment company and informed them that this problem existed. More recently, during October, I received a fine in the post from Galway City Council, stating that another bag of rubbish, with evidence of my identity amongst it. had been found on the street, and inviting me to pay 125. Obviously somebody had struck again. On going to the environ ment office in City Hall to explain the situation, I was told that perhaps if I could get some kind of evidence from the apartment managers that this was a problem, they would review my case. The apartment managers told me that not only would they send a letter (in the end they sent two) confirming that this was indeed a problem and that I was a regular purchaser of the 4 bin bags, but that they themselves had pre viously been in correspondence with the environment office about this very issue. One month and two letters later, I went in to City Hall to check the sta tus of the case and they confirmed that they had received both letters, were looking into the case and would be in touch shortly. The next day I received a phone call telling me that the fine would not be dropped and I would have to pay it or face a day in court. In the end I am sure 1 will have to pay this fine, as making a fuss in court over such a matter when there are wife beaters and drunken drivers to be dealt with seems a bit out of proportion, but I, and my flatmates, feel enormously aggrieved by this injustice. And the city council may be sure that not one piece of rubbish left out from my apartment will have any evidence of identity attached to it again. Yours, K Forkan, Irwin Road.

Dear Editor, I am writing to you in relation to Galway City Council's policy of prose cuting and fining law-abiding citizens, to the extent of having them appear in a court of law. How could this be? Let me elaborate. Living in a flat in the centre of this city, our means of waste disposal is to purchase bin bags, priced 4 each from a waste disposal company and have mem collect the filled bags from out side the apartment complex in the morning. Sadly one of our neighbours has taken to pulling people's rubbish out of the said bin bags, throwing it around the comer and replacing it with his/her own. In August of this year, I was awoken by two community wardens with evi dence of illegal dumping by myself, the above inconvenience having been perpetrated on my bin bag in the early morning. Having gone downstairs and convinced the wardens that I had been the victim of someone else's crime (by

Clearing u pthe mace mix-up
Dear Editor, With regard to last week's letter concerning the presentation of the Galway sword and mace. My reply is to clear up any doubt about the research carried out on my book Role of Honour -- The Mayors of Galway 1485-2001.1 spent many serious hours in the universities, libraries, special manuscripts departments over die past there years researching this book. 1 went back to the original sources and did not take any person's word or indeed written word on various issues. To clarify the details regarding the age of Mayor James Redington and the presentation of the sword and mace in the Aula Maxima. UCG. Regarding Mayor Redington's age when he was mayor in I960, according to the James Redington Profile compiled by his daughter Mrs Bernadette Culliton, he was bom on October 4. 1872, which would make him 88 in I960 during his lerm as Mayor of Galway. His age is also confirmed by a newspaper article (Nov 5. I960) in an article which stated "The first words of James Redington. mayor of Galway city, in land ing in the United States were particularly appropriate for the occasion and purpose of his visit. It was the 88-year-old Galway patriarch's first time out of Ireland and his first time up in an air plane (sic)". With regard to the presentation of the sword and mace in the Aula Maxima, confirmation of the presentation by An Taoiseach Sean Lemass can also be found in an article dated January 28, 1961 which stated "with solemn ceremony, Galway's ancient civic sword and great mace wererestoredto the city on Thursday afternoon by An Taoiseach Sean Lemass. in the presence of a representative gathering." All of die above information can be found in my recently pub lished book which contains more than 40 pages of footnotes which will lead one directly to the original source. It also con tains a photograph of Mayor James Redington and An Taoiseach Sean Lemass alter leaving the Aula Maxima in an open carriage taking the treasures to St Nicholas' Pro-Cathedral where the items were blessed by Dr Michael Browne. Bishop of Galway. I do not want to start a tit-tor tat argument in the Galway Advertiser. However, I am not prepared to have someone throw doubt over my work and indeed the work of my proof-readers without first checking the original sources. If an error can be found in the book, I will be thefirstto admit it and will make a note of it. and have it corrected in the second edition. I would welcome this kind of constructive criticism. Yours, William Henry,
V I , , , , ; , .... [>,. .-L

Dear Editor, Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Robert W Lampe and I live in the city of Butte in southwestern Montana. My reason for this letter is to find out if you can offer any assistance in a quest which I have recently under taken. To me this is a fascinating project and if you will please read further you will see what I mean. I am a re-enactor in the 7th US Cavalry and the person I portray is 1st Sgt Michael Kenney who perished on Last Stand Hill with General Custer and the rest of his company. Recently I discovered that 1st Sgt Kenney was born in Galway and thought it would be very interesting if I could obtain more information about him. I do know that he was born in 1849 which to me was a large coincidence since I was bom in 1949. Further it is quite possible that I am related to him. As you may well be aware when the early Scottish settlers migrated to Ireland a great many of them dropped the Mc or Mac from their last names. Those same settlers still had family in Scotland and many of those later migrated to the US and left the Mc or Mac on their last names. My great great grandmother was bom Martha McKenney hence the possible family link. The family, connection is not the important issue in ques tion here but rather if 1st Sgt Kenney may have any family still residing in Galway and if they could provide any infor mation on him most specifically his exact date of birth and if he had siblings or not. In addition if he does have any family still residing in Galway they may wish to know that 1st Sgt Kenney died a hero. He and his company. Company F. died doing the duty they were assigned which was to surround and protect General Custer. Unfortunately they were overwhelmed by the Sioux and Cheyenne but as the saying in the Cavalry goes "they held their ground" and died very bravely. Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciat ed. Yours, Robert W Lampe, 424 S. Dakota Butte, Montana 59711



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