Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Anger erupts over hunger strike memorial event

ANGER has erupted over a recent Hunger Striker's memorial event held in the Queen's Canada Room.

The event took place last Wednesday running from 10 am to 3 pm. QUB Students' Union Student Community Action officer, Edward Hanna said that he was "disgusted" with the event; in particular that the university was prepared to supply the Canada Room for "Sinn Fein to promote the glorification of the hunger strikers".

The Gown previously reported this issue when attempts were made to hold the event in the Students' Union. Ed Hanna confirmed that the Students' Union executive committee had previously turned down an application to host the event.

Mr Hanna said "This type of event only causes segregation between the student population as it fails to promote peace and reconciliation," he added: "Many young students view these sorts of memorials as degrading and unacceptable, wishing to move on from the past and look forward to a brighter future.

"Students' within the unionist community feel that it is wrong for the university to support any event which glorifies terrorists who were involved in the killing of innocent people."

Andrea O'Kane, spokesperson for the Sinn Fein group at Queen's in explaining the purpose of this event said that it was "to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Hungerstrike which saw the death of 10 Irish Republicans in a protest initiated by Republican prisoners to secure their five demands and political status.

"The exhibition has already visited many parts of the country although this is the first visit to Queen's University."

She added, saying that "It was a very successful event" and was viewed "by hundreds of students and staff".

We have asked Ms O'Kane to comment further on the claims made by Ed Hanna and await her reply.

A spokesperson for Queen's University said in a statement: "All recognised clubs and societies within the University are entitled to book rooms within the room booking system. This was the case in this situation."

22 Comments:

Anonymous MATILDA said...

If Ed 'Cuddles' Hanna wants to be taken seriously by ALL the students he represents then perchance he will consider not having his handsome features pictured with the current backdrop....'bible?, crown and redhand. Commemoration, parades, flags etc are all contoversial issues, if you wave them - you must expect some edjit to wave a different one back. Whatever possessed the University bigwigs to put on this exhibition is entirely a matter for them to justify. We all expect the scribblers at Gown to find out. Considering it has taken you this long to get on the ball, mind you, it doesn't seem likely.

5/02/2006 10:01 pm  
Blogger Gown Team said...

Matilda,

You can trust that the Gown team are on the ground and on the ball.

Best Wishes,

Gown

5/02/2006 10:06 pm  
Anonymous David Cather said...

Matilda correct me if I'm wrong but is that not the university crest in the background of Mr Hanna's picture?

5/03/2006 10:51 am  
Blogger Chris Gaskin said...

T

5/03/2006 2:56 pm  
Anonymous MATILDA said...

Dave, I'm not in the business of correcting people. And I believe you've never been wrong before....Is 'Cuddles' representing the University or the Students Union? Considering sensitivies to such symbols and the others...crucifixes, Marc Bolan etc why not use the Qub Student Union logo? Mad I know..the thought of it..but it is ALL embracing. Now give us a hug!

5/03/2006 3:00 pm  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

...for two?

5/03/2006 3:02 pm  
Anonymous David Cather said...

Matilda the Queens badge is used by Students Union affiliated clubs and societies from both sides of the percieved fence. You're the one who appears to have issues with it. I don't believe that Eddie was trying to make any "I'm siding with the university" statement.

A quick search of QUB club websites shows the badge being used on the site or club shirts of the following:
Camogie
Hurling
Cricket
Northern Ireland Supporters
Rugby
Tae Kwon Do
Singapore Students Society

Who do you think feels excluded by the badge? You're trying to manufacture an issue here.

5/03/2006 3:31 pm  
Anonymous Anon said...

It is an illegal use of the Queen's Crest, and that is coming from the University who have already issued a statement to the Union to that effect.

5/04/2006 1:39 am  
Anonymous Anon said...

it should also be noted that Mr Hanna is speaking from his perspective as a student of this University not in the offical capacity of QUBSU SCA officer as reported by the Gown. The Union hasn't released any statement regarding the event.

5/04/2006 1:42 am  
Blogger Roberto said...

anon,

may be a personal issue but he is still the SCA officer.

5/04/2006 6:01 pm  
Anonymous Sca said...

I am a bit perplexed to see that matilda thinks that the University flag is offensive to students, but however I think that this is the picture on the website and the gown used it for their story.

The matter in hand is that if we begin to run political events round the University we may ask were does it stop- should the unionist community run an event to fallen soldiers of the UVF, UDA AND THE UFF we could even have people promoting suicide bombers. Who has the control on these type of political bookings and what they may promote to students.

I believe that if we are going to run a political event strict rule must be imposed. If we want to promote peace and reconcillation among students we must be very carful. The SU did not host the event for this reason so it seems baffling why the University supplied a room.

I have a proposal for next year about running an exhibition highlighting the History of the troubles. I feel that this might have been a better way for students to learn about certain issues surrounding 1971- 1998. If this was run with sepearte topics highlighting both sides it would be more acceptable for both sides of the community at Queens.

I am sure matilda read my article in the News Letter and it was clear that the Unionist population at Queens felt alienated over the hosting of this event- This I imagine would be the same if the shoe had of been on the other foot. Its time to put this behind us and if people want to drag down the hard work which has been put in to making the SU Inclusive and tolerant of all religions then move on- leave them in the cold.

5/05/2006 6:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A more accuarate reflection of the history of the troubles can be seen at the Ulster Museum, just a five min treck up the road.

Thats if it's still on.

5/05/2006 7:53 pm  
Anonymous Matilda said...

Oh...we are sensitive! All students are members of the student community, first and foremost - whether they like it or not. Just ask the vigilantes in the holylands. Give the big man his dues, he's trying. But NONE of us really try hard enough.
I never said the symbols of the crest were offensive - but they surely are devisive.
I'm glad to hear the SU did not put on the 'event'. Judging by the comment made elsewhere by the Cumman/woman there is some kind of oracy defect inflicted on those viewing it. Can she claim for that? I doubt there is a 'Unionist population' at Qub. There are of course a collective of 'naysayers' who are pretty damned good at alienating themselves. Now...it's the weekend, anyone fancy a bit of kareoke?

5/06/2006 3:58 pm  
Anonymous pso said...

As regards to anons comments. The use of the crest is not an illegal one. The comments from the university were incited by the VPCS, and non-specific. They did not apply to their use as a symbol for the 'campaign for a better union', as it is a representation of the flag and at any rate has been proven by its usage for over a year without any quarrel. I don't see university staff going around tearing down posters, do you?
The symbols behind Eddie are those of our University, and we should all be righty proud of them. That is why they are used, to show a respect for our 'Alma Mater' and a concern for her future. Those who complain are only manufacturing an issue out of nothing.

5/06/2006 4:02 pm  
Anonymous Matilda said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/06/2006 5:39 pm  
Blogger Gown Team said...

Matilda,

Re. Last Post

The Gown allows open and mature discussion.

Either offer sensible and mature comment or refrain from commenting altogether.

Thanks.

5/06/2006 8:51 pm  
Anonymous Patch said...

"This type of event only causes segregation between the student population as it fails to promote peace and reconciliation,"

"if people want to drag down the hard work which has been put in to making the SU Inclusive and tolerant of all religions then move on- leave them in the cold".

"If we want to promote peace and reconcillation among students we must be very carful".

These were all statements which have been made by the SCA officer in support of his criticism of the Hungerstrike exhibition. Noble and vituous ideals certainly, however I do wonder if they were indeed at the forefront of his mind when he was drawing up his latest motion to Student Council which attempted to mandate Council to send Birthday wishes to the British Queen,"may she long reign over us" and when he was singing God the Save Queen after Council. Certainly a magnificent way to lead by example in promoting peace and reconciliation among Students...a "very careful" approach indeed. If this is testament to the "hard work which has been put in to making the SU Inclusive" then hats off to you Mr SCA!

Or perhaps his well meaning and deeply held sentiments just make for good press when it suits him. Hmmm, hypocracy?? Who knows??

5/10/2006 4:59 pm  
Anonymous SCA said...

well if the officer in question had of been at the meeting I would coment but as he did not even do the good thing and turn up I shall not lower my credits to his level

5/10/2006 7:44 pm  
Anonymous Joe Mangel said...

Good to see Patch did know about Council last evening, shame he couldn't be bothered to turn up and answer to Council as an Executive Officer he should. Only four members of the Executive turned up last night which shows how much they really care about Council. But what can we expect from an Education Officer who all year hasn't even sat on the Education Committee. Speaking to the Chair of the Committee he accepted for some meetings there had been problems sending out the Agendas, but he was impressed that Michael Forde was able to turn up to the last meeting at very short notice.

I can't see what is wrong with trying to send birthday wishes to Her Graciousness the Queen from the Student Council of QUEEN's University. Is that offensive? Trying to promote equality and respect amongst the many nationalities in Queens, a place which has traditionally been a 'cold-house' for Unionist students? I believe during the singing of the National Anthemn after Council some members decided they did not want to take part and sat down and talked during that - I don't believe there was any malice shown towards these members for opting out. Correct me if you know any different Patch.

5/10/2006 10:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't the National Anthem, some of the words may of been from the anthem but the line that included "Popeish tricks" was nothing but pure bigotry and is in no offical anthem.

to you joe mangel.. why should he turn up if council refuses to conduct worthwhile business? Though at least credible motions and reports were done before the meeting was ruled inquorate by the Speaker.

5/10/2006 11:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't the National Anthem, some of the words may of been from the anthem but the line that included "Popeish tricks" was nothing but pure bigotry and is in no offical anthem.

to you joe mangel.. why should he turn up if council refuses to conduct worthwhile business? Though at least credible motions and reports were done before the meeting was ruled inquorate by the Speaker.

5/10/2006 11:03 pm  
Anonymous Joe Mangel said...

Is Exec not accountable to Council? Is the last meeting of the year not when Exec members issue their end of year reports and Councillors are allowed to question them on it? Maybe i'm wrong, but that was my understanding. Would it not have been wiser for members who found offence by the National Anthem to come to the meeting, be accountable to Council, and then officially record their regret at such motions? Or even walk out as, i'm led to believe, other members did when it came to the 'uncredible' motions.

Re: the inclusion of the phrase 'Popish tricks' rather than 'knavish tricks', whoever you are Mr anonymous seem to know more about this than I do but I do believe it is a common replacement, and is published in some documents, although perhaps they're not the Official words.

In a final note to Mr anonymous, who decides what motions are 'credible' and 'worthwhile' and which aren't? Surely all members of Council have equal right to bring forward motions as they see fit? Just because you don't view something as 'worthwhile', that doesn't mean that it isn't - presumably those proposing and seconding any motion see the value in it. Should Council not have the oppurtunity to discuss motions and then, after hearing both sides of the argument, vote on it?

5/11/2006 2:29 am  

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