Thursday, 27 October 2011

First Court Appearance for Newry éirígí Activist

Yesterday [October 26] saw the first court appearance of éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney.

éirígí members and supporters held a protest outside the British courthouse in Newry in solidarity with Stephen and other victims of PSNI harassment.

Protest at Newry Courthouse

The protest was met with much support from passing motorists, many of whom sounded their horns in support. The political police also had the peaceful protest and those taking part in it under constant surveillance.

Stephen was arrested and beaten by the PSNI last month during a “security operation” in the Derrybeg estate in which homes were raided, cars searched and residents tormented.

Despite being punched and kicked by PSNI gunmen in front of his family and neighbours he now finds himself facing nine charges.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said, “The only thing Stephen is guilty of is standing up for his community. The Derrybeg estate was held under siege that day just as it has been countless times over the years. Stephen’s case is not an isolated incident, éirígí are aware of numerous examples of other republicans finding themselves in similar circumstances over the past few months. This is nothing but a relentless campaign of harassment being carried out against republicans in Newry.

“Countless times Stephen has put himself forward and has exposed and highlighted PSNI harassment in Newry and the unchanged ways of this force. Sadly that means that over the past number of years he has become a target for special attention which has culminated in his assault and arrest.

Mac Cionnaith continued, “éirígí in Newry are involved in countless campaigns in the Newry area. Our members are active in engaging with their communities in many shapes and forms, their Different Name, Same Aim campaign has been ongoing since early 2010 and they are also involved in the Stormont Isn’t Working campaign which exposes the inability of the puppet body to solve the economic crisis. As well as those campaigns our Newry activists have also been busy organising pickets, protests and commemorative events throughout the year as well as standing on picket lines with striking workers.

“It’s clear the PSNI and their cheerleaders are deeply worried about the rise of éirígí in Newry and the fact that we are offering an alternative to working class communities in the area. This is the reason our activists are being targeted in such a manner by the crown forces.”

Breandán concluded, “If the PSNI think that dragging republicans before British courts is somehow going to deter éirígí from rebuilding a popular struggle of resistance, not only in Newry but across the country, then they are very much mistaken.”

Stephen’s court case was adjourned until November 23.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

éirígí Remember Volunteer Michael Hughes in Newry

éirígí in Newry held a wreath-laying event in the Derrybeg estate yesterday [October 18] in memory of IRA volunteer Michael Hughes, who was killed by the British army’s Royal Marine Commandos thirty-seven years ago in October 1974.

The ceremony was attended by local éirígí members, supporters and community leaders from the area, including independent republican councillor Davy Hyland, and a wreath was laid by Derrybeg community activist Anthony Coyle.

Speaking after the event, éirígí’s Stephen Murney said, “Michael was just 16 years old when he was killed by the British army. Despite his young age he stepped up to the mark and joined Óglaigh na hÉireann. The people of Derrybeg have suffered gravely due to the British occupation with five IRA volunteers from this estate giving their lives over the years.

“While we remember Michael, we must not forget that the British forces who killed him are still occupying Ireland, with thousands of British combat troops garrisoned here today including sinister covert forces like the SRR who are well skilled in the practices of murder and collusion. In 2005, an SRR gang was caught red-handed by Iraqi police in Basra carrying a bomb in what appeared to be a classic covert British dirty tricks operation.

“The fact that the SRR is a companion regiment to the notorious SAS will not be lost upon the Irish people. Nor will the fact that the SRR was at least partially-formed from the discredited 14th Intelligence Company which was itself one of the lead British Army units responsible for controlling the unionist death squads.”

Stephen continued, “We constantly see attempts to normalise the occupying British forces with regular ‘homecoming’ events and recruitment stalls taking place. éirígí have continually resisted these and during one event éirígí members boarded a Royal Marine warship, the same regiment that murdered Michael Hughes, and protested against the event.

“éirígí has consistently opposed the British occupation from the party’s formation and we will continue to do so while at the same time remembering the sacrifice made by republicans like Michael Hughes.”

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A Sign of the Times

éirígí in Newry have upped their Different Name, Same Aim campaign in the area in direct response to an upsurge in Crown Force brutality and harassment in recent weeks. A new addition to this campaign will include the erection of a number of signs in working class areas across the district.

éirígí’s Newry representative Stephen Murney explained, “We have started to erect a number of signs in the Newry area to highlight the unchanged nature of this force. The first signs were erected in the Derrybeg estate in direct response to the recent attack on the community by the PSNI in which homes were raided, residents tormented and I was assaulted and arrested.

“I have been a community activist in the Derrybeg estate for several years and from engaging with people from this estate on a daily basis it’s clear that they haven’t been fooled by the lick of paint approach, nor are they happy with the ham-fisted tactics the British police use when they have the Derrybeg community in their sights.

“Whilst some amongst us would rather remain silent and engage in selective condemnation when it suits their agenda, we in éirígí pledge to oppose and resist all forms of PSNI harassment and stand by all victims of human rights abuses.”

Murney added, “In the coming days and weeks more of these signs will also be erected in other working class areas of Newry to spread the message that, despite what Crown Force cheerleaders say, the only obvious change in this force is the name of it. We also have several other initiatives in the pipeline for this campaign.

“éirígí will not be found wanting when it comes to resisting and opposing the political police.”