IN THE NAME OF PATRIOTISM
Sir, - By virtue of being born of naturalised American Irish parents, I am an American, also holding rights as a citizen of Ireland. I have dual justification to deplore US Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, for giving an official welcome to Gerry Adams.
My father, in the early part of the 20th century, was a professional footballer, representing Kerry on the all Ireland football team, playing in Ireland and America. Growing up in Ireland, my father and my mother experienced first hand, discrimination in employment and education (also being the butt of Dubliner rocketers).
Despite very real personal harms and denials, my parents and most of my Irish born relatives and their friends, could not support continuing organised violence by ad hoc terrorist groups that intimidated legitimate political action. Fund raising in America to abet terrorist activities was always rejected by ordinary immigrant Irish Americans. Those that have provided misguided financial aid, are rightly condemned by an Irish citizenry, living in fear.
My father's views were and are shared by many. Old political grievances were of a different time and culture and no longer, important to present day America or Ireland. As young children of immigrant parents we were even cautioned that the militant words of the Irish Anthem, A Soldier's Song inappropriately dwells on resentments long past. It is an anthem with words that permanently memorialise divisive conflict, rather than singing of the unifying beauty that is the soul of Ireland.
Violence and terrorism was always seen as cowardly and shameful. My father, if alive, would be appalled at the indiscriminate destruction of innocent men, women and children done in the name of patriotic bravery.
Gerry Adams himself is not at issue. Indeed, he may in the future, become a hero in unifying all parts and politics of a troubled island. His public welcome stands as a disservice to the National Democratic Party, citizens of Ireland and all people of the world forced to live in fear of organised terrorism. - Yours, etc.,
Evergreen Park, Chicago.