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Letters from Irish Voice readers
Letters: 8 - 14 Oct 2008
October 10, 2008
Stand Up for Peace
ONCE again we witness the fact that the loyalist in Northern Ireland cannot be trusted.
In recent weeks we have witnessed the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and their minister Peter Robinson lie, distort the truth and use any deceptive act possible to delay, postpone, or derail the peace agreement. As if they wish to return to the bloodshed and the troubles of the past.
As Irish Americans we inherited the “ Irish cause” a cause of freedom and unity! Since we were just wee little ones, two phrases we were taught and ring in our hearts -– “a free and whole Ireland” and “ Erin Go Bragh.”
So when in 1998 we heard the wondrous news of the peace accord, we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The hopes of the “Irish dream” of a free and united Ireland were given new life!
As the few years went by it appeared that peace was taking root.
And we have the belief that in our lifetime we will witness the return of the six stolen gems of Ireland to their rightful place in the Irish crown, a united Ireland. That’s something past generations of Irish Americans dreamed, hoped, wished and prayed for, but they never lived to see it.
But now with the delaying tactics of the DUP and Robinson, this endangers the Irish dream.
I do not ask you for much, just to rise your voice and take hold of the power of the pen, write to your senators and your representatives and request them to pass a proclamation of outrage to the actions of the DUP and Robinson. Proclaim that this great nation will hold them accountable to the peace accord of 1998!
Ask them to request of former Senator George Mitchell and former President Bill Clinton to return to Northern Ireland and assist in restoring the course of the accord that they helped create! I ask you to write and/or e-mail letters to the editors of your local papers urging our fellow Irishmen to join this cause of peace!
I ask you also to write and/or e-mail letters of support to the newspapers of Northern Ireland, to Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, and former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, to let them know that we Irish Americans still hold the Irish Dream close to our hearts – a united Ireland!
I do not ask because of the Irish dream of a whole and free Ireland, but also for the sake of peace, which is the greatest cause an individual could endeavor to fulfill!
May heaven grant Ireland peace and unity!
Carriages Aren’t Irish Issue
THAT many of the horse and carriage drivers in New York are Irish does not make this an “Irish” issue. It is, rather, an animal cruelty issue, nothing more.
How can one deny that having thousand-pound animals on the street at 59th and Central Park is not only inappropriate, but dangerous and, in too many instances, deadly for the horses?
It’s time to cease the petty name calling and end the vitriol that serves to distract from the only important issue –- the safety of, and compassion for, the animals that are made to haul humans for entertainment.
Those of us who are the voices for the horses because they cannot defend themselves will not be so easily dismissed.
Glen Oaks, New York
Speaking for the Horses
AS the missing link to the article “Anti Horse Carriage Fundraiser Canceled,” (September 24-30), I wondered why I was not interviewed for it although it was about our organization. Could it be because I do not have an Irish last name?
It fanned the flames of an imaginary and contrived discrimination that does not exist. The Irish Voice obviously has an agenda and wanted to interview those who would “write the story” for you.
As the president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, I called Tadhg Healy, the manager of O’Flaherty’s, the day after he told our chairperson he was canceling our event –- less than one month to the day. He said he had received calls from the industry “threatening riots” if he held the fundraiser. He also said he was “concerned about the well being of his employees.” (All his words.)
Mr. Healy is a coward who is talking out of two sides of his mouth, telling us and the drivers what he thinks each wants to hear. Believe it and next time he will sell you a bridge.
Regardless, the “industry” called him with the intent of shutting us down. That is intimidation no matter how you slice it.
If Mr. Healy did not understand what the “coalition to ban horse-drawn carriages” meant then he should be fired from his job or take a course in reading comprehension. We met with him on several occasions and there was no reason why we would not have been honest about our agenda, just as there is no reason to lie now about our conversation with him.
He told us that he agreed with our goals and also did not like the carriage horses. His boss, who owns horses in Ireland, would have to approve our fundraiser, which he did at a later date. We had a gentleman’s agreement for the event, and Mr. Healy went back on his word.
Carolyn Daly, paid spokesperson for the carriage industry, charged that it is our coalition that is “harassing, intimidating and stalking” the carriage drivers, and “not the carriage drivers threatening the bar.”
What kind of proof did Ms. Daly offer? By publishing libelous allegations against our organization without fact checking, your paper and Ms. Daly has been put in a precarious legal position.
There is proof that the industry has attacked activists and passersby. Go to www.youtube. com and search for “anti carriage activists attacked” and then search for “homophobic attack.” Is the industry proud of this behavior?
So I must not be Irish and therefore did not rate an interview for your article, right? Wrong!
My late mother was born in Co. Kerry and would be ashamed if she could see this treacherous behavior. I am more Irish than many of the drivers. The kind of tactics the industry uses and you buy that fan the flames of racism and discrimination is appalling.
We are not back in the 1800s when the potato Famine in Ireland brought many Irish to America. These downtrodden people suffered real discrimination.
Study the history of this time in the U.S. –- the horrendous, painful, real discrimination that the Irish suffered –- and compare it to the mostly Irish carriage industry that wants to use its ethnicity as a free pass for bad behavior. Let one of them attempt to walk in the shoes of the early Irish. They could not make the grade.
Tactics such as these are often used by people who desperately need to take the focus off their undesirable behavior and to fool the public into believing a discrimination charge. It often happens with bad seeds playing the cards of ethnicity, religion, gender or race.
What the drivers and your paper are doing is crying wolf and cheapening legitimate charges of discrimination that could happen with any ethic group.
This has never been an Irish issue, period. It is about the inhumane treatment of carriage horses — that they work in heavy traffic, living a nose to tailpipe existence; that they do not get daily turnout and have to work in extremes of weather; that these slow moving 19th century conveyances do not belong on the congested streets of New York City with 1,500-2,000 pound animals who could spook at the slightest provocation and cause much damage.
It is only a matter of time before a person is killed. It has happened in other cities.
The industry has had a good run. It is time for it to end and it is time to stop exploitation of the horses.
New York, New York
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