The Dog in Ireland

Posted: 24jul2001
Updated: 07aug2001


Dog quit his lucrative job in San Jose and moved to Ireland - something 
he's wanted to do for as long as I've known him. He never been there before. 
The Dog is Irish, from Hoboken, New Jersey. 


received 07aug2001:


Peace Line started in '69, when all the "Troubles" began. They are 12'-30' 
walls that keep catholic/nationalist areas separate from unionist/loyalist 

The unionists term comes from wanting to stay part of the United Kingdom. 
The loyalist term comes from wanting to be loyal to the Queen of England.

Just today, the IRA made a big step, announcing a plan to decommission 
weapons. They have never done such a thing, so there's great excitement 
today. It happened just a few hours ago.

I wasn't prepared for how old my parents are getting. They are older 
emotionally than they are physically. They spent a lot of time being 
nervous about everything, from where to eat to whether or not they
should get off the bus during a tour. 

They left yesterday. I'm glad they came. I think they really stretched 
just coming here.

I applied to the Troops Out Movement (TOM) delegation from an ad in 
the Sinn Fein newspaper. TOM will select the family with whom I stay. 
I won't know who they'll be until I get there.

Sinn Fein is a political organization. Literally translated from Gaelic, 
it means "We Ourselves". They are widely connected with the IRA, 
although they have declared a legal separation for a long time. 

The connection of Sinn Fein to the IRA, although present, is over-
emphasized in order to demonize Sinn Fein. Historically speaking, the 
unionists have had an army of their own, namely the British Army and 
the RUC.

Both the British Army and RUC kicked the shit out of Catholics almost 
exclusively. It's gotten better over the years. Also, no one in the 
American press seems to cover the paramilitary organizations associated 
with the loyalists/unionists: the Ulster Defense Regiment, the Ulster 
Volunteer Force, and others.

Sinn Fein started in 1905, and was instrumental in freeing Ireland 
from Great Britain in 1921. In 1921, Great Britain gave back 26 of 
Ireland's 32 counties, but kept 6 northern counties, which today 
make up Northern Ireland.

From their website, their objectives are: Sinn Féin seeks an end to 
partition which is the cause of conflict, injustice and division in Ireland. 

We seek the establishment of a new Ireland based on sustainable social 
and economic development; genuine democracy, participation, equality 
and justice at all levels of the economy and society; and a lasting and
meaningful peace with unity of purpose and action.

Sinn Féin is an Irish Republican party. Our objective is to end British rule 
in Ireland. We seek national self-determination, the unity and independence 
of Ireland as a sovereign state.

Sinn Féin is committed to the transformation of Irish society and to a 
negotiated and democratic settlement. We know that peace is not simply 
the absence of violence. Real peace - a lasting peace - is based on
democracy, justice, freedom and equality.

Sinn Féin has a vision that sees beyond the present conflict and beyond 
the present phase of our history. Our vision foresees the unity of the 
people of this island. Our vision is for the redistribution of wealth, for the 
well-being of the aged, for the advancement of youth, for the liberation 
of women and for the protection of our children. Our vision is for a free 
Ireland and a free people.

Sinn Féin is committed to our peace strategy. We have sought with 
honesty and integrity to construct a peace process which reaches 
out and embraces everyone on the island on the basis of equality. 

Our objective must be for an agreement that will earn the allegiance 
and respect of all sections of our people. To achieve these objectives, 
Sinn Féin is backing the Good Friday Agreement, which Sinn Féin reached 
with the other northern parties and the Irish and British governments 
following multi-party negotiations in Belfast. 

These negotiations arose from the Irish Peace Process, itself initiated 
in discussions begun several years ago.

Sinn Féin's peace strategy was supported by a renewal of the 1994 
cessation of the armed struggle by the Irish Republican Army and was 
endorsed again by the decisions taken at the annual Ard Fheiseanna 
[annual conferences].

Through its leadership, the Ard Chomhairle, Sinn Féin maintains its goal 
of a just and lasting peace as part of its agenda for change.


received 24jul2001:


The trouble here has been going for a long time - 800 years. The latest round 
is 30 years old.

The place still has much old world charm. Pubs are still the social center of Ireland. 
The government is slowly trying to change that. In terms of drinking as an acceptable 
social custom, they're probably where the US was 35-40 years ago.

I've been involved with Sinn Fein and the IRA to some degree, although any 
encounter I've had with the IRA has been unofficial. At social gatherings, pubs, 
and political meetings, I'll meet people and ultimately find out later that they're 
IRA. It's still an illegal paramilitary organization, but in the current political 
environment, IRA and ex-IRA people (mostly men) circulate everywhere.

The IRA has been completely _ized in the American press. I've known this for a 
while, but it's become more apparent since I've been here. The British have been 
_ing Irish nationalists and Catholics in Northern Ireland for a long time.

My mother and father are coming Friday. After they leave, I'm going to Belfast 
for a few days as part of a UK delegation known as Troops Out Movement (they 
have a website that tells you what they do). 

I'll be staying with a West Belfast nationalist family. The visit coincides with the 
West Belfast festival, which include political events.

It's the 20th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikes (where Bobby Sands and nine 
other men died), so the event in Belfast is expecting a big turnout.

Hope your well, brother. My best to Wendy. I'll catch up with you more in the coming 



received 20jul2001


How are you, brother? I'm in Ireland, living in a little town 14 miles south of Dublin. 
I've been getting into the politics of the north. Shit's been hitting the fan again. 

Was involved in a minor riot two weeks ago. My father saw me on CNN. I saw it later,

Reading and writing, traveling a bit. All my shit's in storage and I drove back to NJ. 
How's bayou?