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Life in the 'old guard' yet

Madam -- Having experienced 'incoming fire' for more than 40 years, I was not likely to let Eilis O'Hanlon's political infatuation with Sinn Fein's 'boys of the old brigade' and her political loathing of the Labour Party 'old guard' ruin my usual Sunday morning reading. Her comment piece, (Sunday Independent, May 27, 2012), was perhaps too heavy on wishful thinking and too light on analysis.

In my opinion, Labour's old guard knows how to win political battles and, in the words of Colm McCarthy, has some unfinished business with banking in Europe. To me, Labour's 'new guard' has shown over its first 15 months that it is much more than a government in waiting.

In contrast, at his party ard fheis, Pearse Doherty's economic arguments for voting No were clearly fraying at the edges and the leadership of the No campaign had been neatly ceded to Declan Ganley and Shane Ross. Neo-nationalism was the new theme as Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness led the retreat from the doomed No campaign back to the safer ground of 'united Ireland' revivalism.

With shallow words of conciliation and inclusive debate, Sinn Fein indulged in a sinister grooming of unionism in preparation for a neo-nationalist crusade to coincide with the centenary of 1916.

With such glib words, it used an entire generation in the North as cannon fodder in its sad little sectarian war. After 35 years of murder, Sinn Fein, along with the DUP, created a political desert in the North and called it the peace process.

Now, in the south, it seeks to use another generation as cannon fodder in an equally futile class war threatening an economic desert and calling it defence of the working class.

Of course, it has to target Labour. Sinn Fein has to take it out if neo-nationalism is to triumph. It seems obvious to me that Labour stands in its way. The Labour old guard will not break in its onslaught.

Perhaps, Ms O'Hanlon will try standing with the old guard. Perhaps she will take 'incoming' fire in defence of our democracy, and perhaps we will learn what exactly she understands to be 'Labour's way', and 'Frankfurt's way'.

Brian Brennan,

Dublin 8

Sunday Independent