Coming from a place like Ballyfermot, I and many of my friends have carried a stigma throughout our lives. Bad press, in particular directed at young people, has left a feeling of downheartedness, estrangement and a lack of hope in my area. Dáil na nÓg, for me, has been a chance to break this stigma. I have been given the opportunity to meet and mix with many people from many different walks of life and without Dáil na nÓg, these social boundaries would never have been overcome.
Say no to right-wing constitution
This retrospective justification for war on Iraq is closely connected with efforts to prepare world opinion for possible military action against Iran or Syria. Indeed, former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter, says Bush has already signed off on a plan to attack Iran in June.
Young asylum seekers
In response to Vincent Browne's query as to what we citizens can do to help the dire situation in the Irish peace process, I recommend that we hold a protest and call on our fellow citizens to march on our streets for the end to this very serious impasse.
Around 30 community activists from North and West Belfast took part in a major demonstration in Berlin on Thursday (10 February) to demonstrate against human rights' abuses in Iran. We were rerouted from Paris after the French government banned the demonstration at the behest of the Iranian regime.
The Community Workers Co-operative (CWC), a national anti-poverty network, which has been an independent critical voice of government policies on anti-poverty and equality issues for 24 years, has had its funding withdrawn by Minister Noel Ahern, in what the CWC calls a sinister move to silence an effective critical voice.
Thank you for the interview with Gerry Adams (Village 15 January). It highlighted the innate hypocrisy of Sinn Féin. For once I got the impression Adams was uneasy at the persistent repeating of questions on which he was fudging his responses.
Adams was shown to be very selective in what he wants to believe and not believe. Clearly the bank robbery was a major embarrassment to him, not only in itself, but in highlighting the frightening level of criminality within the IRA.
Development is a good thing. An Ireland without development would be an Ireland which stagnated, an inward-looking Ireland without aspirations or the confidence to make plans for its own future. It would be an Ireland in which our children would be taught to revere the deeds of their fathers and to undervalue their own ability to contribute.
The powerful would remain forever powerful, the poor would remain forever poor, the excluded would remain forever excluded. Nobody could want an Ireland like that.