Clinton And Omagh


Sir, - How can we be expected to take President Clinton seriously when he comforts the victims of Omagh bombing while the victims of his own bombing escapade lie dead and dying in the undoubtedly, more impoverished wards of hospitals in Sudan and Afghanistan? The atrocity at Omagh must have sensitised all of us to the horror of such grotesque acts of violence. It should propel us to confront anyone who is responsible for such actions with the clear message of its unacceptability. Mr Clinton's visit provides us with the ideal opportunity to state this message loud and clear as was done throughout Ireland in the days following the bombing of Omagh.

Another purpose of Mr Clinton's visit is to strengthen trading links between Ireland and the US. But this too is a cause for concern. The US trade delegation which visited Ireland in June led by Commerce Secretary Richard Daley included executives from some of the world's leading arms manufacturing companies, including Boeing and GEC. Afri's attempt to raise the incongruity of Ireland "securing" our peace by welcoming companies into Ireland whose business is to feed conflicts around the world, were singularly unsuccessful, when it was ignored by the media at large. The hypocrisy of this is on a par with condoning the bombing of famine-stricken Sudan while condemning the equally horrific bombing of Omagh.

Please, let our Government be seen to rise off its knees and tell Mr Clinton that we don't accept his bully-boy tactics in Africa and Afghanistan. Let our Government also say that we will not accept to become more immersed in the iniquitous arms trade which visits the equivalent of several Omagh's on the people's of East Timor, Nigeria, the Federal Republic of the Congo and many more other countries throughout the world on a daily basis.

If this does not happen then we are about to engage in one of the worst orgies of hypocrisy that we have witnessed in recent years. - Yours, etc.,

Joe Murray, Afri Co-ordinator,

Grand Canal House,

Lr. Rathmines Road,

Dublin 6.