Last Ever TAL - Issue 40 - The Final Farewell

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This issue of TAL, our 40th in 13 years of existence, will be the last issue of the magazine as we have come to know it in A4 format. TAL will continue on the web and we hope to produce a more regular but shorter E-zine edition of the fanzine after a general overhaul of the TAL website – http://www.talfanzine.com/ .

The TAL Forum which has developed a life on the internet independent of the magazine will also continue to function and hopefully become a source of articles and writers for the regular E-zine.

A number of factors have brought this decision about. Most of all, however, have been our changing political priorities. The fanzine has largely served its political function and it is time for a new generation of young republicans to pick up the gauntlet. The laws and regulations with regard to "sectarianism" in Scotland are increasingly being adapted for use against those who show political support for Irish republicanism. This together with the generally antagonistic and repressive policing policies at football grounds has made it more difficult to sell the TÁL magazine at Celtic Park and even to find the necessary numbers prepared to take the risk of  harassment and possible arrest by selling it at the ground.

It’s our opinion that the proposed tightening of laws and regulations on ‘sectarianism’ are almost entirely press-led, completely misplaced and politically misguided. It is therefore incumbent on republicans to make a more generalised political response to such attacks on the Irish community in Scotland. We should not allow the issue of anti-Irish racism in Scottish society (euphemistically described as ‘sectarianism’) to be reduced down to the actions of the supporters of Celtic and rangers. However, TÁL, in our opinion, is not the proper vehicle for republicans to make that political response.

Cairde Na hÉireann is the political means by which republicans in Scotland must respond to the attacks on our community. It is to be hoped that Cairde’s plans to produce its own quarterly political magazine will come to fruition in the very near future. Watch out for announcements of a new magazine from Cairde Na hÉireann. This new republican political magazine from CnhÉ will address itself to all of the political issues that TÁL did previously, but it will hopefully have a wider appeal to republican-minded folk in Scotland, in addition to TÁL's core within the Celtic support. It is expected that CnhÉ members will sell the new magazine at Celtic Park, starting next season.

In the lifetime of TAL Fanzine we have gone through the changes from the old terracing to an all-seater stadium, even spending some time away from Celtic Park when we had to play our home matches at Hampden. The Celtic support has also gone through transformations in this period with the growth in numbers also being accompanied by 'a new breed of fan’ – one that neither knows its history nor even sings the songs, or relates to the special atmosphere that have been long associated with our club.

There are still many issues that need to be continually addressed by the supporters at Celtic Park: the club's corporate image taking precedence over the fans' cultural identity; the consequent loss of atmosphere in the ground; continued vigilance against racism etc... and of course, the team itself and the money allotted to the coaching staff for strengthening the squad. All of this and more still require our attention.

We'd like to thank TAL’s readers, contributors, supporters and even some of our critics for making the production of the magazine over a thirteen year period a worthwhile task. TAL as we have come to know it may be no more, but we won’t be going away entirely you know.

Please buy the final issue of the magazine when it comes out and keep an eye out next season for the launch of a new Celtic fanzine from some of those previously associated with TÁL.

The TAL Night on April 2nd in Glasgow will mark the end of an era for TÁL Fanzine. I hope that as many of you as possible will be able to attend and help bring the fanzine to a close with one hell of a party. Contact talfanzine@dublin.com for tickets and further details.