An Féile Abú | Black Mountain | Afghanistan | The expulsion of Ken Loach

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An Féile Abú

Well done Féile an Phobail and to all of the staff who plan and prepare Féile. Many thanks to all those volunteers who work around the clock every August to make it all come together.

Black Mountain

Thanks also to Féile for hosting the launch of my latest book Black Mountain And Other Stories. Harry Connolly- Féile Chair- was very kind and Timothy O Grady travelled from Poland to be with us. He too was very kind. He also did the Foreword to Black Mountain. Thanks to them all, and to The Felons who hosted the event.

Afghanistan

Almost exactly 20 years ago the USA and Britain invaded Afghanistan. On Monday the Taliban returned to Kabul amid scenes of the chaos as thousands tried to flee. The British pulled their Army out of Afghanistan in 2014 after losing 457 soldiers and spending some £37 billion there. This week, like the fall of Saigon in another era, they are pulling out their citizens and Embassy staff.

The future for the people of Afghanistan is less certain. But a look at the Iraqi situation gives a sense of the stupidity of these adventures.

The expulsion of Ken Loach

Two weeks ago my column focussed on the British Labour Party, and the approach of its current leader Keir Starmer toward Ireland. The internal decision making processes of that party and the leadership style of Mr. Starmer are obviously a matter for it and for him. My concern is for its Irish policy and in particular the Labour leader’s stated willingness to stand on the side of Unionists in any debate on Irish Unity. His stance is in direct contradiction to the principles of the Good Friday Agreement which state that it is for the people the island of Ireland alone to determine our own future.

Regrettably, the news that Ken Loach, film producer, director and writer has been expelled from the Labour Party has reinforced my concerns.

Ken Loach has long been a friend of Ireland. The 85-year-old is widely respected, with an impressive international reputation as a film maker. His style of filming making is described as “socially critical” and he makes no secret of his belief in socialism.

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