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Dear FRONTLINE,

Having had my life touched in the past by the IRA, it sickens me to read some of your messages. Many of which have been written by those who live in neither Ireland nor the UK, what business is it of yours?, most of the opinions you hold because you feel you ought and I doubt that any of you are actually Irish of birth. Thus keep your opinions to yourself, the IRA are murderers and terrorists, the solution to the problem they pose is their arrest and punishment

Jimmy Cooke
manchester, england


Dear FRONTLINE,

To those British citizens who feel Americans have no say in Northern Irish politics, I say you have even less. What do you know of discrimination, harrassment or torture at the hands of British soldiers? My husband went from a 7 day "interrogation" at Castlereagh Interrogation Centre to the ER at Belfast City Hospital for fracture casting and then to jail. His crime was that he was a 17 year old Catholic. My kids and I were often hassled by British troops while visiting their grandfather on the Falls Road. Many Americans have similar experiences. You have no idea what its like and have no right to condemn our support for Sinn Fein. The will of the Irish people will prevail, regardless of continued action by British terrorists.

Liz Kerr Philadelphia, PA USA

Liz Kerr
philadelphia, pa


Dear FRONTLINE,

I am extremely saddened to read most of the other posted comments, especially some that originated from the US.

Let's get some facts straight: - Britain behaved in a deplorable way a long, long time ago. But, it "was" a long time ago. Do we really, for example, hold a grudge against Germany for the country's actions in a past war? Of course not - times have passed and it's a very different Germany today than that of the past. So why are Britain's long-past actions used as a pro-IRA argument?

- Britain wants whatever the people of Northern Ireland want. If they VOTE to become part of Ireland, then fine. If a separate parliament can be reformed with members voted in by the people of Northern Ireland, then fine. What's not fine is to give away a country to another without the consent of the people there. Imagine your county or region's control being handed over by your government to another country's. How would YOU feel?

- The IRA are murderous scumbags. No doubt about it. We recently had the opportunity to achieve peace. The British made some pretty gawddamn-awful decisions such as releasing terrorists from jail. But release them they did. Now why is it impossible for the IRA to at least start the decommissioning process? Is it because they do not actually want the war to end? What other possible reason could there be?

Chris Clifford
zurich, switzerland


Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank god for the IRA. If it wasn't for the heroic efforts of these brave and unselfish men all of Ireland would still be in the possession of the treachorous, murderous Saxons. Britian only gives up what she has to.

James Connelly, Kevin Barry, Robert Emmett and all the great Irishmen died that Ireland would some day be free, these were the men of the IRA. God Bless your souls. This is what the IRA stands for, it stands for freedom against slavery to a foreign Queen.

It is a historical fact that the true Irish were displaced from their homes by the brutal, domineering Saxons and these lands were then given to the mainly Scottish insurgents. The cowardly, English bootlicking Scots can't even run their own country and yet they attempt to lay claim to the six counties.

Ireland like any country has its share of traitors and this is the only reason the English still hold the north. I was born in Canada, yet my heart and soul lies with Ireland. I am far more Irish than any traitor will ever be. God Bless the true Irish patriots, God Bless the Irish Republican Army. You will prevail in the end.

Joseph McDaid
woodstock, ont. canada


Dear FRONTLINE,

Whilst I am aware that there are 5O million Irish-Americans who have the right to an opinion, I'm sure we would all agree that their brash comments, loaded with 'bravado' are not really helping at such a critical time in the peace process. Let's talk constructively instead of going back to unhelpful, ill-informed accusation.

liverpool, u.k


Dear FRONTLINE,

I was surprised to see your report on-line being so coy about the identities of the IRA Council. It is widely known, and published in the British Press, that both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are current and active members of the Council which runs the IRA.

Perhaps if you post this message, many Americans will now understand why Sinn Fein bears direct responsibility for the IRA's refusal to decommission its weapons. Sinn Fein's insistence that it can only try to persuade the IRA is completely farcical. Can Messrs Adams and MnGuinness not persuade themselves??

Reading the messages on-line, how sad that there are still those with intelligence so limited that they regard killing human beings for mere political ends as justifiable. There will also be those who use my city of residence to dismiss me as a Brit who knows nothing. Well, sorry guys - I'm a Scot, we know all about harbouring historical grievances, and anyone who has ever spent time in Glasgow understands only too well about all the history and nuances of British injustice towards Ireland, and Irish sectarian bigotry. You don't have to go to Belfast to have flute bands or rebel songs thrust in your face!!

I write this on the night the de Chastelain report has concluded that the IRA has not started (or even agreed to start) decommissioning. No amount of invective, bile, posturing or excuses can hide the fact that the people of Ireland, north and south, voted by a substantial majority for the Good Friday agreement. Every single aspect of the agreement has STARTED to be implemented, including the releases of large numbers of convicted murderers, regarded by all decent people as utterly revolting, but nonetheless essential as part of the agreement. It also includes reductions of British army and RUC weapons which have already started.

Well, every aspect except one. The murderous thugs of the IRA (and the similar loyalist gangsters) don't care about what the people of Ireland want - they have their deluded dreams, and let's face it, extortion rackets and drug-dealing (the everyday activities of these violent criminals) are much more fun than going out and getting a legal job!

I can appreciate that some who live in shamrock-lined isolation in the backwoods of the US must find it tough to realize that they've been duped, that those who masquerade as freedom fighters actually ignore the will of the Irish people, and prefer to spend their days in squalid drug deals instead. However the world is full of realities, and THE most real right now is: What do the Irish people want? Peace. When do they want it? Now.

Graeme Bell
bristol, uk


Dear FRONTLINE,

I've noticed quite alot of British people writing in complaining about America's support for the IRA. There are 50 million Irish Americans in the US, so why shouldn't they support their homeland?

lurgan, co. armagh, northern ireland


Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a young Irish Catholic man from Boston.

I visited Ireland for the first time this summer and loved it. I read all the time about the IRA and support them very much. I only wish there was some way I could show them my support. I pray for the day the Brits leave the country to its righful owners and leave the Irish people alone forever.

The dispute between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland makes me sick. If the protestants wish to remain faithful to England, than they should move there and get out of Ireland. I wish I could go there and fight myself.

Ryan Foley
boston , massachusetts


Dear FRONTLINE,

I feel that my government is stupid in keeping Ireland. We used to be a great commonwealth of nations, but the Royals have got rid of many nations, so we have fallen to just a few countries in our commonweath. Britain or should I say 'England', should give back Northern Ireland to Southern Ireland, and adapt to a new reformed government. I don't think that the assembly in N Ireland will work, there will be still be too much conflict between the politicans. I don't think bombs or killing people ever is the answer!!!!

Andrew Pearce
bournemouth, uk


Dear FRONTLINE,

I am interested in corresponding with anyone who knows anything about the Shouldice family who were heavily involved in the 1916 uprising, and who were either executed for involvement, or interend in a camp in Wales.

I am particularly interested in the camp in Wales -- where was it, how werwe people treated there, how long did internment last? I am linked to the Shouldices on my mothers side and am proud of the actions that they took, so would also like to know waht became of them. Regards to all of a like mind,

Alice Miller
bournemouth, dorset


Dear FRONTLINE,

I can see how the IRA was useful in some respects--when things were really bad and there was nobody to protect the Catholic communities. However, the whole terrorist bombing tactics really doesn't help their cause and takes away the credibility of the whole Republican movement.

I do believe Gerry Adams when he says he can't get the IRA to decomission. I think the IRA has become too large for Gerry Adams or Sinn Fein to really control it.

By the way, don't forget about the Loyalist terrorists. They're just as bad if not worse. Go to the RUC's home page and even they will tell you that during the past few years there have been a lot more Loyalist terrorist acts than Republican ones. I just hope that some kind of peace is accomplished so those poor souls in Northern Ireland--no matter what side of the conflict they are in can finally live in peace and without fear of violence.

hoffman estates, il


Dear FRONTLINE,

To the contributor from Oxford. You speak about the horrors that your poor land has had to undergo at the hand of the "unlawfull killers", while on the subject of unlawful killing, le'ts take the time to mention the murder of the Irish from 1846-1852 at the direct hands of the British Parliament.

Every day, from the ports of southern Ireland, during this time enough food stuffs left the island to end the famine and the pestelence that desimated the country and engrained our hatred of your nation.

Let's then speak of 3000 people men women and children killed while seeking sanctuary in a church by Oliver Cromwell's forces. (This was all justified by himself, just read about it) If you want the bombing and killing to stop then take some action-- get the army out of the North, give the people the vote, and maybe then you can take the bolted plates off your cities rubbish bins.

Ourselves Alone
somewhere, united states


Dear FRONTLINE,

I am living in the Irish Free State and continue to feel agrieved at those around me with regard to the present conflict. Their attitude seems to be that as long as it stays 'up there' then they couldn't give a shit. It's because of those people that there still is a conflict.

It is our country that is occupied, our people that are under oppression, and it affects us here because the occupied 6 is part of our island, it is not an isolated corner of someone elses land.

Darach Kennedy
limerick, ireland


Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm Irish of the McKay family, I'm an IRA supporter and a beleaver in the free republic for which it stives as I don't favor Violence I do see the need for the right to fight for what we should have our own counrty.

I also see that one day both catholic and protestant will have to make peace, and maybe it's the only way to get rid of the British element in my home! because one day we're going to have to live side by side with the rest of the iland, but we don't have to live with the Brits! and if any one has a comment they can E-mail me at johngideon@hotmail.com, Brits need not reply.

John Gideon
dublin, d.


Dear FRONTLINE,

I have for a long time been fascinated by the conflict and its consequences and have decided to do an essay on the conflict between IRA and the brits.

I should appreciate to get in touch with people who can help me with opinions and personal experience. I need to wiev it from both sides so all comments are welcome. I am supposed to take a stand for myself and write the essay out of my own conclusion. In other words...try to convince me that YOUR standing is the right one =) Please send me an email and let me know how YOU can help me! alaerel@hotmail.com Thank you for your help!

stockholm, sweden


Dear FRONTLINE,

I live in Belfast. I turn on the television each morning to check which roads are out of action. I have two accents, English and Irish, which I flip between depending on where I am. When I walk down to the shops to get a pint of milk I admire the burnt out cars littering the roads. When I want to go out in the evening I phone the police helpline to ask where the troublespots are.

I'm not religious. Nobody cares any more. The terrorists are fighting through sheer momentum. I live here, and I'm telling you there is nothing noble about killing innocent and random people because you wish to overthrow the lands government. They're a bunch of cowards, both IRA and loyalists, and I'll tell you something else. If I got my hands on one, I'd kill him.

James Browning
london, uk

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