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Friday September 07, 2012 08:07 by Frank Walsh
On Friday, October 5th, a British military band are scheduled to play at the K Club in Co Kildare. The event has been co-organised by the the Security and Emergency Services Ireland Forum (SESIF) and The Jack and Jill Foundation, with the proceeds from the event being donated to the latter organisation. The SESIF is an organisation which purports to represent those who work in the 'ambulance, coast guard, fire, military, police, rescue and prisons' services. In reality much of its energies are devoted to rehabilitating the image of the paramilitary PSNI and the British Army in Ireland. The Jack and Jill Foundation is a children's charity which provides support to sick children and their families.
Those of us who think it is totally inappropriate for the British military to be involved in the fundraising activities of the an Irish children's charity want to make it clear that we are NOT attacking the Jack and Jill Foundation, its donors or the families that it helps. We fully support the great work that the Jack and Jill Foundation is doing. We fully support all the great paid staff and volunteers who work directly or indirectly for The Jack and Jill Foundation. And we demand that the Dublin government should either properly fund charities like The Jack and Jill Foundation or directly provide the necessary support to seriously ill children and their families.
In fact it is because of our support for The Jack and Jill Foundation that we so appalled by the decision of the charity to associate itself with the British Army. We believe that it morally wrong for a children's charity to benefit from an event that involves an organisation which has been directly responsible for the murder of children. The murderous track record of the British Army in general, and the Irish Guards regiment in particular, is well documented.
Our opposition to the K Club event in its current format is not based on ancient history. Dozens of Irish children have been killed by the British Army and British police over the last forty years and yet not even one soldier or police officer has been held to account for their deaths. Indeed, the British state to this day refuses to disclose the circumstances under which many of these children were murdered. The parents, siblings and wider families of these children suffer the loss of their loved ones every single day. We implore The Jack and Jill Foundation to consider the feelings of the families of these Irish children as they seek to raise funds for the medical care for other Irish children.
In 2003 100,000 people marched through the streets of Dublin in opposition to the invasion of Iraq. The invasion and subsequent invasion of that country was illegal and immoral. The Irish Guards regiment, who are due to play at the K Club, part of that invasion, taking a lead role in the conquest of Basra, Iraq's second city. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's have died as a direct result of the action of the British Army and its allies. And in Afghanistan too, the British Army and the Irish Guards have played their part in a war which has been paid for in the blood of countless men, women and children. If not for the children of our own country, then for the children of Iraq and Afghanistan we call on The Jack and Jill Foundation to re-format the K Club event, minus the British Army.
We also believe that it is wrong for a children's charity to involve itself in an overtly political event. On The Jack and Jill Foundation's own website it states that the British regiment in question has a 'long and noble history'. This is clearly a deeply political view and one that many Irish people fundamentally disagree with. It also states that the K Club event will build on the state visit of the so called 'British Queen'. Again this is a very one-sided view. Many Irish people were opposed to that visit and many more would be opposed to the overtly military nature of the K Club event. It is simply not the place of a children's charity to become involved in controversial political events. Leave that to the politicians.
As supporters of The Jack and Jill Foundation we believe that the K Club event will do untold damage to the charity, not only now but into the future too. We believe that the charity is being cynically used by those with a particular, highly political agenda. Everyone makes mistakes and the British Army / K Club event is clearly just that. It is not too late for The Jack and Jill Foundation to change the format of the event and drop the British Army. There are any number of other bands, singers, musicians and entertainers that would be only too happy to play at the event in the place of the child-killers of the British Army.
We are calling on supporters of the charity to get in touch with The Jack and Jill Foundation and ask them to re-format the K Club event so that it can go ahead with the full support of everyone. There is no need for the charity to immerse itself in controversy and cause hurt to the families of those children that have been murdered by the British Army.