2001-11-24 / Letters

Pursuit Of Catholic Freedom

Pursuit Of Catholic Freedom

Dear Editor;

Praise to you Harry McGuirk for you pursuit of the cause of Catholic freedom in Ireland. I enjoy your column in the Wave.

Ms. Victoria Roehling’s letter of criticism in a recent copy of the Wave is typical of ignorant or prejudice people. England may be an ally of the United States in both countries’ endeavor to suppress terrorism. It has good cause to join with us, its own self protection. But in Ireland, England has always been the oppressor.

Just as Hitler had his Holocaust, England has the "Famine" where it sought to starve the Irish people to death. Ms. Roehling seeks to absolve England of its past misdeeds in Ireland by blaming the IRA. No one will condone killing of the innocent. But in Northern Ireland, it is not all one-sided. British brutality has merited reprisals. British economic and religious suppression of the Catholic Irish has been criminal. England has had the power to promote liberty and equality for all in Northern Ireland. It chose not to. England was forced to make concessions in the South because of the perseverance and persistence of the Irish people. Without such resistance, the Irish Catholics could have been annihilated.

Ms. Roehling wants to know what the IRA did for the USA since September 11th. Unfortunately, I do not know anymore who belongs to the IRA that I could ask. I assume it has a limited number of members, mostly residing in the North of Ireland. It would be better id Ms. Roehling looked at the many Irish names of those Police Officers and Firefighters who sacrificed their lives in the World Trade Center incident.

This anti-Catholic attitude has continued in Northern Ireland to the present time, not only to the detriment of the Catholics, but to the bane of the entire population. Where the Irish Republic has prospered, Northern Ireland has floundered. When I was in Londonderry this past August, it reminded me of the Bowery in the 1950’s, with its many bars and alcoholics in the square. Rock throwing seemed to be its major sport as many windows, police cars and police stations were covered with steel mesh. It has not seen the development that has occurred in recent years in Galway, Dublin, Adare and the many beautiful towns and cities in the South. There are many new and larger homes, new roads and better road signs. Now, some of the B&B’s have e-mail addresses and more conveniences, but the prices an owners are still the greatest.

Ms. Roehling said in her letter that Harry McGuirk lives in the past. Has she read the stories in the papers this past August and September about the Loyalists in Belfast who stoned the little grade school children as they tried to walk down Ardonye Road near Crumlin Road in Belfast on their way to Holy Cross Catholic Grammar School? The little children and their mothers needed a police escort to get through the roadblocks set up by the Loyalists. By the way, Margie, Harry’s wife, and I went to Holy Cross Grammar School on Church Avenue in Brooklyn.

Harry has a right to criticize the British. All Catholics should complain that the British allow such conditions to exist. If England can’t keep the peace in Northern Ireland, then let the British go home. The Irish people, both Protestants and Catholics will come to an understanding. It may take a little while, but it will be done.

Does Ms. Roehling know that there are little bands of men in red coats who parade through the streets in the North playing tunes in support of their assumed superiority and loyalty? Are these groups seeking to promote unity or division? Why do they have to have police protection? Are they supported by the (British) government?

Northern Ireland is a beautiful country. The Bushmills facilities, the Giant’s causeway, as well as many coastal towns are great places for tourists. Britain’s failure to promote peace has had a deleterious effect on tourism.

But for the British domination and suppression of the Catholics, its people could live at a standard higher than that of the people in England. Is that one of the reasons England has a role in Ireland?

Keep up the good work Harry. It’s nice to see that people are reading your column.


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