Author Roddy Doyle and poet Tom Paulin are among a prominent group of literary names who signed the letter, which was published in the Irish Times last week.
Playwright Brian Friel and authors Peter Sheridan and Jennifer Johnston also added their names to the letter — in total 41 names, including British writers, were in the newspaper.
They stated their opposition to military action against Iraq, saying: “The world is poised on the brink of war. We hope that it is not too late to prevent this conflict and wish to add our voice to the many millions throughout the world who are calling for the momentum towards war to be halted.”
Other signatories included “My Left Foot” scriptwriter Shane Connaughton, dramatist and poet Brendan Kennelly and author Joe O’Connor, brother of singer Sinead.
“Ostensibly the reason for this war is to check the possibility of Saddam Hussein using weapons of mass destruction,” the letter said. “But is it not clear that the most immediate victims of his repressive government, his own citizens, are those who will suffer terribly in the event of war?”
The letter asked whether a war to topple Saddam Hussein would leave the world a safer place.
“Wars have always been cloaked with noble ideals, such as the defense of ‘small nations’, ‘democracy’ ‘freedom’. But the actual motives for conflict have very often been far more sinister and predatory,” it said.
“In this case it suffices to draw attention to the fact that Iraq controls the world’s second largest oil reserve.”