Gabriel Fallon's DUBLIN DIARY
THE decision of the Official IRA to confine its military activities to a purely defensive role was described by one commentator as "the first tottering step on the shaky road to peace." It is hardly more.
The reaction of the Provisional IRA to the Officials' decision is that "the fight must go on." Which means, in effect, that more innocent men, women and children must be sacrificed in a cause in which they had no choosing, that cries of mourning must ascend from more and more homes, that more and more property must be senselessly destroyed — and all for the glory of God and the honour of Ireland.
Denis Larking son of the great labour leader, did well to remind delegates to the Workers' Union of Ireland Conference that his father, Jim, the man who gave Ireland's worker-slaves their freedom, never murdered anyone and would not condone today's violence. Nevertheless, though 94 delegates agreed with him, 62 of them in the words of Jim Larkin's friend, Sean O'Casey, obviously were "dyin' to die for Ireland."
Ithis country we have a A tradition of "political imprisonment" which stems from Mr. de Valera downwards and which actually reaches status of definition in the Criminal
Justice Act of 1964. Now it was part of Gandhi's policy of nonviolence that followers of Ahimsa must be prepared to accept without p r ot es t whatever punishment its opponents saw fit to impose.
Not so the "political prisoner" in Ireland's sense of the term. A recent claim that "politicals" should be separated from what they described as "the criminal type" brought a stinging reply to Miss Mairin de Burca of Sinn Fein from the pen of Dr. Noel Browne, T.D.
In the course of his letter Dr. Browne said : "I believe that the men, and the women too, who as members of Sinn Fein see no evil in advocating or practising by so-c a I I ed ,Republicans, the capture, trying, torturing and then executing their fellow-men of any nationality, or alternatively blowing to bits or maiming innocent men, women, and children without even the bizarre preliminary of the kangaroo trials, are themselves emotionally disturbed.
"They can reasonably be said to hold such distorted moral values as to come within the general definition of homicidal psychopaths."
Certainly, the lust for this kind of activity seems to grow by what it feeds on.
IF the changes in the constitu tion and laws of the Republic proposed in the report of the working party of the Irish Theological Association were to be accepted, the new document, even in its preamble.
would contain 11 0 acknowledgement of the existence of the Deity. There is, it is true, a reference to "the brotherhood of all," which in the absence of an. acknowledged paternity, leaves us, so to speak, merely orphans of the humanistic storm.
The working party (whose chairman is Fr. Enda McDonagh, Professor of Moral Theology at Maynoot'h and vice-chairman of the Irish Theological Association) is said to have based its proposals on documents as diverse as the Proclamation of 1916. the Constitution of France, the U.N. Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, and the Vatican Council's Declaration of Religious Freedom.
Already the report has run into heavy weather and has drawn a rebuke from Bishop Ryan of Clonfert, who denies that our existing Constitution is an obstacle to peace in the North. In the course of a radio interview with Kevin O'Kelly, Bishop Ryan described the conciliation with the North contention as "eyewash."
He declared that he was very upset "to find a group of Irishmen objecting to the inclusion of the name of the Blessed Trinity and of our Divine Lord, wanting to eliminate the mention of God, wanting to open the door for divorce, and several other points."
Asked about Cardinal Conway's agreement that the Constitution should be changed to cater for a pluralist society, Dr. Ryan said: "I'm quite sure the Cardinal did not intend the abolition of the name of God or of the Blessed Trinity or the introduction of divorce." And there, for the moment, the matter rests.