Des Wilson – A Voice for the Poor and Oppressed by Joe McVeigh; The ANC and the 1981 hunger strikers; The storming of the Capitol

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Manage episode 282500935 series 2711022
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Des Wilson – A Voice for the Poor and Oppressed by Joe McVeigh
Fr. Joe McVeigh was a close friend and colleague of Des Wilson. It wasn’t just that both were priests. They both shared a passionate believe in justice and were committed to standing up for the rights of citizens against a British state apparatus which was oppressive and violent.

The ANC and the 1981 hunger strikers

The year after the 1994 election I had the honour and pleasure to meet Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. In June 1995 I travelled to South Africa as part of a Sinn Féin delegation to meet with the ANC’s senior negotiators. Our objective was to talk to them about their strategies and tactics and to see what Sinn Féin could learn from their experience for our peace efforts. The IRA cessation was then ten months old and the British were stalling on establishing all-party talks. By the end of our visit we had made many new friends, confounded the British who had tried to block a meeting with President Mandela, and were pleased to discover that our peace strategy was already following the pattern of that used by the ANC.
The storming of the Capitol
The political and constitutional fallout in the USA to the unparalleled events last week in Washington will continue for years to come. I have visited the Capitol Building many times since my first visit to Washington DC in September 1994. I know well many of those Congressional and Senate representatives and their staffers who have regularly met with me to discuss Ireland. It was surreal and deeply troubling to watch as mobs rampaged along corridors and stairwells and offices that I have visited many times.

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