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Norn Iron

Rob Fairmichael, Belfast

ImagePleased as I was to see a quiz about Northern Ireland in the PN February edition, your sub-editing let you down on the cover by asking ‘Ireland: do you know your facts?’. Ireland includes two political jurisdictions; the Republic and Northern Ireland, and all the questions related to the North.

If you were including the whole island of Ireland then other facts worth bringing out include big cuts in services because Irish citizens and taxpayers are bailing out German and European banks (since the state took on property developers’ debts which were nothing to do with ordinary people), and the very rapid increase in the number of people here born outside Ireland, including people from Poland, the Baltic countries, and Nigeria, over the last 15-20 years — a positive fact culturally and otherwise.

The Republic, which played a useful neutral role so far as military alliances are concerned in much of the 20th century is being slowly dragged into the NATO orbit and the USA has been permitted to use Shannon airport as a staging post for troops and military supplies going to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Information about the peace movement in Ireland — North and South — can be found on the INNATE website at
www.innatenonviolence.org

Guilty as charged! Thanks for writing in, Rob. – eds

Junk the junk food!

Wendy Harries, Bristol

ImageI’m writing to express my disappointment after reading ‘Activism and junk food’ (PN 2554). I had expected inspiring reminiscences from activists who had taken action against junk food manufacturers and suppliers, not guilty confessions about the consumption of snacks! With the current horsemeat scandal prominent in the news, what better time to shine a light on corruption in the food industry?!

Food is essential to all of us, and I note my fascination with Jennifer Verson’s mention of ‘communal dinners of tofu and spinach pasties’ — how do you fill pasties with such ingredients without the pastry going soggy, I want to know?

I’m not advocating a cookery column in Peace News (!) but there’s an interesting article to be written on the subject of food production, I’m sure.

Thank you for your topical note, Wendy. If anyone else has any culinary queries, please do write in, and we promise to get the answers. We’ll think about a food production article, but the next couple of issues are already quite full.... — eds