Friday, 16 November 2012
Tomorrow at 3pm éirígí will be holding a protest against PSNI harassment at Ardmore barracks in Newry Over the last number of years éirígí have been helping with re-building the republican struggle in the city of Newry, something which has attracted a huge amount of harassment from the British police In response to This éirígí are organising a protest outside of Ardmore Barracks in Newry at 3pm on Saturday, November 17th. If you could join that protest it would be much appreciated. Following the protest at the barracks a Wolfe Tone commemoration will be held 4.30pm at John Mitchel Place in Newry. This commemoration, which is being organised by éírígí in Newry, has been in planning for some months, a good turnout at the protest and commemoration would be a fitting response to the oppression of the British state.
Thursday, 8 November 2012
éirígí in Newry have criticised a series of raids and arrests that took place across the city early on Monday morning [November 05].
Several families were targeted during the dawn raids and homes were left ransacked as well as a number of residents being arrested and taken to Antrim holding centre during the state force operation.
Criticising the raids, éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said, “This is an all too familiar pattern. Here we have several homes ransacked and a number of people arrested and taken from their families. Unsurprisingly, those arrested were later released without charge within a matter of hours and with nothing untoward found during the searches.
“The PSNI’s strong-arm tactics left a number of children terrified and families were left to pick up the pieces. These raids were a particularly frightening for young children.
“The PSNI operation lasted for several hours and a large force of PSNI personnel in countless armoured landrovers saturated a number of working class areas. At the same time, a PSNI helicopter hovered over the city, keeping the local population under surveillance. These communities have endured this type of treatment many times in the past and today’s actions are clear proof of the unchanged nature of policing.”
Murney continued, “I met and spoke with some of the families targeted in these raids and they were left distressed, worried and seething with anger at the actions of the state forces. During the raids the PSNI confiscated mobile phones, ipods, family cars and even children’s computer games. Those who had their cars confiscated now have to find alternative transport to get them to work.”
Stephen concluded, “While constitutional nationalist parties tell us that this type of RUC style policing is a thing of the past, for republicans it’s clearly very much part of the present.”
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
éirígí have announced plans to commemorate the anniversary of one of Ireland’s most iconic revolutionaries, Theobald Wolfe Tone, in an event to be held in Newry.
The commemoration will take place in Newry city centre on Saturday 17th November at the Cochran and Lowans plaque situated at John Mitchel Place, Hill Street. The Volunteers Patricia Black & Frank Ryan Memorial Flute Band from Glasgow will also be in attendance.
Speaking ahead of the event éirígí’s Stephen Murney said, “Wolfe Tone is regarded by many as the founding father of Irish Republicanism. In 1791 he founded the revolutionary society of the United Irishmen along with Samuel Neilson, Thomas Russell and Henry Joy McCracken, taking their inspiration from the French Revolution. Wolfe Tone was captured with a French fleet in Lough Swilly County Donegal and taken to Dublin. He was tried and condemned to death in November; he died on the 19th November 1798.
“The reason we have chosen Newry as the location to hold this commemoration is that in 1792, Wolfe Tone held a meeting in the Crown Inn (now Best estate agents) in Hill Street directly beside the Town Hall. At this meeting a local branch of the United Irishmen was formed. The first chairman of the United Irish Society in Newry was James Lang.
“At the lower end of Hill Street a plaque is situated in John Mitchel Place which commemorates Cochran and Lowans, who were executed in Newry for their part in the 1798 rising. Cochran and Lowans, both from Newry, were publicly executed on the high ground at the rear of the Bank of Ireland, Trevor Hill, a site known as Gallows Hill where Heather Park is situated today.”
Stephen continued, “Cochran on his return from the Battle of Ballynahinch, gave money to a woman on the outskirts of Newry to conceal him However she induced her husband to go into Newry and report his whereabouts for a much higher reward. The only information available on Lowans is that after the Battle of Ballynahinch he was apprehended at Bellman’s Loanin (now Windsor Avenue) off the Downshire Road. Both men were interned in the Linen Hall Barracks before their execution. They were then hung, drawn and quartered.
“Their heads were then spiked on a building in Margaret Square for forty-one days. Cochran’s father was not given permission to bury his son’s head along with his body until he agreed to carry it uncovered in his hands shouting “Traitor, traitor, the head of a traitor” all the way to the graveyard.
“Both Cochran and Lowans are buried in St Patrick’s graveyard, Church Street, Newry. The name of Cochran has been kept alive in Newry by a street named Cochran Row in a small housing estate on the Armagh Road. Part of the tunnel from the Bank of Ireland to Gallows Hill can still be seen in Heather Park.”
Tone was also very much aware of the class struggle being intertwined with the freedom struggle and he is quoted as saying, “Our freedom must be had at all hazards. If the men of no property will not help us they must fall; we will free ourselves by the aid of that large and respectable class of the community – the men of no property.”
Join with éirígí in commemorating those revolutionaries who gave their lives and let us continue to finish the task and complete their objectives, which remain unfilled.
Assemble at the Cochran & Lowans Plaque, John Mitchel Place, Newry, on Saturday 17th November at 4.30pm, with main speaker Pádraic Mac Coitir. Refreshments and entertainment will be available in a nearby establishment afterwards.
The socialist republican party éirígí are to hold a public meeting in Conway Mill, Belfast at 7pm on Thursday evening, November 8th, at which the party will formally launch an information and guidance leaflet aimed at advising people who have been or who may be subject to harassment by MI5.
Speaking ahead of the meeting and leaflet launch, éirígí spokesperson Padraic Mac Coitir said, “An increasing and disturbing trend has emerged in the Six Counties where undercover MI5 agents have been involved in numerous attempts to recruit various individuals to ‘work’ for them.
“It is clear that MI5 operatives, based at their headquarters in Palace Barracks, Hollywood, are engaged in a massive intelligence gathering trawl right across the Six Counties. It is also clear, from the cases reported to us, that they doing so in total collusion with the PSNI.
“Many of those targeted by MI5 and who contacted the party in recent months are not republicans, but are community workers, trade union activists and ordinary members of the public.”
Mac Coitir explained, “The circumstances in which people have been approached by MI5 vary from case to case.
“Cases that have been reported to the party include:
- Individuals being stopped at what appeared to be normal ‘run-of-the-mill’ PSNI traffic checkpoints. In these cases, PSNI personnel then stood aside as well-dressed civilians approached the person stopped, introduced themselves as ‘X’ or ‘Y’, and then proceeded to attempt to recruit the person stopped
- Telephone calls being made to people by individuals who have identified themselves using various pseudonyms such as ‘Ian’, ‘Mark’ ‘John’, etc. During these calls people have been asked to meet with MI5. Monetary incentives and jobs have been offered to people if they will assist them in gathering information
- Individuals being approached while travelling through airports on way to a family holiday or as a journey connected to their work
- Individuals being approached in person at their place of work
- Individuals being approached while shopping in town centres
“Incidents have been reported to the party from across each of the Six Counties and it is clear that the frequency of such incidents is increasing.”
Mac Coitir continued, “In response to this increased activity by MI5, éirígí is launching a comprehensive information leaflet advising people what to do if they find themselves approached by MI5. Earlier this year, the party published a ‘know your rights’ card detailing a person’s rights when stopped or questioned by the PSNI. That received a very positive response in our communities, and we believe that this initiative regarding MI5 will be equally responded to.”
The meeting in Conway Mill on November 8th will be addressed by éirígí’s Breandán Mac Cionnaith and Belfast solicitor Padraigin Drinan.
Mac Coitir also said that the party would also be showing a short video at the meeting on the activities of MI5.
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Members of the PSNI in Newry have made a direct threat to kill a member of éirígí in the Newry area.
The threat was made on Friday evening [October 26] when éirígí's Newry spokesman Stephen Murney was stopped and searched by members of the PSNI just minutes after he left a community event in the town. The well attended event was being held to promote suicide awareness and prevention.
During the stop and search in Monaghan Street, one member of the armed PSNI unit menacingly told Murney, “I’ll put a bullet in your f***ing head.”
Commenting on the incident, Murney said, “I was stopped and searched by the PSNI in Monaghan Street shortly after leaving the suicide awareness event. It was during that search that a member of the PSNI said he would put a bullet in my head.
“Given the history of collusion between the Six-County police force and loyalist death squads, I am taking the threat seriously. In the past, similar threats were made to people and, in many cases, those threats were later carried out by state forces acting in conjunction with their loyalist proxies.
“While the threat is a worrying development it certainly won’t be deterring me from my political activities. I will be recording the details of this threat with my legal representatives and with the human rights group CAJ.”
Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said, “Such behaviour by the PSNI is totally unacceptable, although it is far from surprising. The PSNI has inherited the old bully-boy tactics of the RUC. Indeed, half of the current manpower of the PSNI who patrol the streets of the Six Counties were themselves members of the RUC. It is little wonder that they feel that they can act with impunity.
“Constitutional nationalist parties have created a smokescreen of cover for the PSNI to engage in widespread harassment and human rights abuses. Contrary to what those parties state, incidents such as these confirm the reality that the PSNI is merely the old RUC dressed up in new uniforms with a new name.”
Saturday, 27 October 2012
éirígí in Newry have expressed their concern after it was revealed that benefits appeal hearings are to be moved, and will now be held in Newry Court House rather than Ballybot House.
Ballybot House is a widely used, purpose built, multi-purpose community resource centre located in the city’s Cornmarket area. A number of local people and community groups contacted the party after hearing of the move.
Commenting on the development éirígí’s Newry representative Stephen Murney said, “It can be a daunting enough experience to appear in front of a benefit appeals panel but this decision to relocate to a heavily fortified Court House will do nothing but cause additional stress and worry to many of those working class people who will be affected by this decision. The people who contacted éirígí are quite rightly concerned about the negative impact this move will have on ordinary citizens, the vast majority of whom have never entered a Court House in their lives.
“Entering a Court House is not a pleasant experience and indeed this move could be seen as a very carefully designed plan to try and deter people from appealing draconian decisions regarding their benefits. Indeed, this is very clearly a not so subtle attempt to portray those struggling to maintain their welfare entitlements as criminals.
“Those in positions of power seem to be hell-bent on using scare tactics against those who are being directly affected by the Tory/Stormont cuts. The Stormont poverty enforcers are threatening to strip people of their benefits if they refuse to do unpaid labour through the Workfare scheme and now benefits appeal hearings will be held within a fortified British Court House.”
Murney concluded, “Not only is the Stormont administration willingly implementing Tory cuts on behalf of the British government in Westminster, but now they are using heavily fortified courts as part of their anti-social programme. The extent that those responsible for this mess will go to seems to know no bounds. It appears that they will try everything and anything to prevent the sick, the disabled and the unemployed from accessing their rightful entitlements.”
Friday, 19 October 2012
These normalisation initiatives focused on both the British army and the British police, the PSNI.
These included a publicity stunt held in the Quays shopping centre on Saturday [October 13] in which the PSNI were put in the same light as genuine emergency services such as the fire, rescue and ambulance service.
This particular event was advertised as a ‘fun day for all the family’. For many families across Newry, their experiences of the PSNI have been far from fun. Countless citizens of Newry have endured house raids, and stop and searches at the hands of the PSNI.
Voicing the party’s anger, éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said, “Saturday’s event clearly tried to portray the PSNI as a “normal” emergency service when in fact they nothing of the sort.
“In recent weeks advertisements for the British army have appeared in Newry city centre as well.”
Stephen continued, “The British army’s record in Ireland consists of murder and brutality. These tactics have also been adapted in their recent imperialist exploits in other countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Local people contacted our party and told us of their disgust that these recruitment advertisements were displayed in various parts of Newry.
“Indeed, to add further insult, one such advertisement, which depicted an armed British soldier, was displayed in Hill Street, just a few yards from the spot where three unarmed local men, Sean Ruddy (28), James McLaughlin (26) and Robert Anderson (26) were murdered in 1971 by British soldiers who shot them in cold blood.”
Murney added, “However the British army’s role in Ireland is not consigned to the past, it is very much part of the present day. British troops remain garrisoned in the Six Counties and the sinister Special Reconnaissance Regiment is on active operations here. Undercover British soldiers are currently involved in covert surveillance operations right across the North.
“éirígí will resist all attempts to normalise the presence of British forces – irrespective of whether they are British troops or British police.”
Despite persistent rain, members of éirígí held a successful picket today outside the front entrance of the Canal Court Hotel in Newry where a business lunch was being held, attended by the British shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls. Those attending the lunch included ministers from all of the Stormont parties.
The protest was part of the party’s Stormont Isn’t Working campaign and was held to highlight the fact that Stormont’s failed economic agenda is designed in Britain and implemented by local politicians.
éirígí members also handed out leaflets to shoppers and other passers-by, many of whom expressed their support for the protest.
Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith, who was present on the Newry picket-line, said, “The social and economic fabric of the Six-County state is in complete disarray and the Stormont assembly is unable to provide any meaningful or effective solutions.
“The previous economic recession of the Thatcher era during the 1980s saw unemployment in the 6 counties reach a peak of 123,500 by October 1986.
“In the intervening years, various British governments introduced no less than 13 separate measures to massage and hide the true levels of unemployment. Those measures are still being used by the Stormont coalition today to hide the extent of mass unemployment within our communities.
“Stormont’s ‘official’ statistics are heavily massaged to minimize the number of unemployed persons downwards. Those massaged figures put the number of unemployed at 71,000.
“Stormont is deliberately concealing the fact that there are another 60,000 men, women and young people who need and want work, but who are excluded from the ‘official’ count.
“Today, in the Six Counties, the scandalous reality is that there are an estimated 130,000 people seeking work.
“Almost one in four young people aged 18 to 24 are unemployed as a result of Stormont’s economic ineptitude.
“One senior economist has described the method used by Stormont for measuring unemployment as
‘unreliable’ and ‘not well regarded in the economics world’.
“Over 11,000 people recently applied for the 450 full- and part-time jobs due to be created by a large international supermarket chain in Portadown. That demonstrates just how critical the demand for employment has become.”
Mac Cionnaith continued, “In addition to unemployment, child poverty levels are also growing unabated under Stormont and the welfare reform bill will mean that the less well-off in our society will again be the hardest hit. Yet, Stormont politicians are united in a campaign to secure further tax-breaks for large businesses and multi-national companies which already make vast profits.
“It’s clear that Stormont is simply not working for ordinary people and that is the message which our party activists will be driving home over the coming weeks and months.”
Local éirígí member Stephen Murney also criticised the PSNI for attempting to harass party members participating in the picket.
He said, “The PSNI attempted to take the names and other details of party members immediately the protest commenced. Our members quite rightly refused as the PSNI could not even state the legislation under which they were seeking that information. Even when it was pointed out to the PSNI that there were no legal grounds for anyone to provide them with such details, the PSNI continued to persist in their harassment.
“It was only after one of our members phoned a solicitor and then offered the phone to the lead PSNI officer for the solicitor to inform that officer of the limitations of their powers that the PSNI backed off.
At one stage, the PSNI also demanded to see the credentials of a press photographer who was covering the events both inside and outside the hotel.
“The PSNI actions once again demonstrated that political policing is still very much a reality.”
Over the course of the last month tens of thousands of third level students have started the new academic year in colleges and universities across Ireland. It is an unfortunate fact that the post-education prospects for these students are as bleak as those that have faced any generation in recent decades. For too many their educational efforts will be rewarded with a choice between emigration and the dole queue.
But long before today’s students complete their courses they are dealing with the reality of post ‘Celtic Tiger’ Ireland. In both the Six and Twenty-Six Counties the ruling administrations are launching sustained attacks upon the very notion of universal education. From Cork to Belfast and Dublin to Galway students are struggling with the double blow of increasing tuition fees and decreasing student grants. If current trends are allowed to continue it is clear that third level education will once again become the exclusive preserve of the privileged and the rich.
Faced with such an appalling prospect the response of a significant section of the student body has been heartening. Through organisation like Free Education for Everyone (FEE) students across Ireland have set about organising resistance to the right-wing agenda emanating from Stormont and Leinster House. Protests and direct actions have become relatively commonplace on campuses where student militancy has been lacking for far too long.
Congratulating those students who are actively fighting for a free education system, Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said, “The right to free education is something that was hard fought for by previous generations, not only here in Ireland but across Europe and the world. While the current system is far from perfect it is light years ahead of the type of system that the right-wing want to create. In fighting for a free education system, students are not just acting in their own self-interest; they are acting in the interests of the generations that are coming behind them. For that they are to be commended.
“The issue of educational rights must, of course, be seen in the context of the wider fight for national, social and economic rights. The fight for one set of rights cannot be separated from the fight for another set of rights. Those political forces that want to make students bear the full cost of their education are the same forces that want to privatise our health service, sell off our state assets, give away our natural resources, decimate social welfare and bring about an end to social housing. Those students that are fighting against fees today are the workers that will be fighting for decent housing and healthcare tomorrow.”
Leeson concluded by inviting students to join éirígí in the fight for a new Ireland, “éirígí’s analysis is quite simple – the only way to secure long-term educational, housing, health, national, social and economic rights is through an overall change of system; replacing the current one, which is based upon human competition, with one that is based upon human co-operation. We believe that a Thirty-Two County Irish Socialist Republic is the only political and economic model that is capable of delivering a just and equitable society.
“We are asking students across the country to come on board with éirígí, to join the fight for not just educational rights, but also for a free, independent and socialist Ireland. We recognise the potential strength of an organised student body; a militant movement of young women and young men that will not allow the state to set a limit on their futures. And we are committed to turning that potential into a reality, but for that to happen we need individual students to come forward, to join the resistance and encourage their friends to do likewise.”
If you are currently in third level education anywhere in Ireland and interested in joining, or working with, éirígí please click here. You can use the ‘Message’ box to let us know what college or university you are in and what activities you are up for. Such activities might include distributing leaflets, putting up stickers and posters, organising meetings, establishing societies, taking part in protests and direct actions, etc. Make the decision today. Join the resistance. Join éirígí.
Across the Six Counties, the statistics also show that young people are particularly hard hit by unemployment with 29.6 percent of all claimants aged 25 or under. By way of context, when the Good Friday Agreement was signed in April 1998, the youth unemployment rate was 9.6 percent.
Commenting on the figures Stephen Murney, the local spokesperson for the socialist republican party in the Newry area, said, “When you look at the statistics released in January and compare them to the recently released figures you will see that in almost every electoral ward in the Newry and Mourne area, there has been an increase in unemployment . The Ballybot ward, as was also the case in January, still has the highest level of unemployment in Newry city with 12 percent claiming unemployment.”
Three electoral areas in Newry are listed as having levels of unemployment which are higher than the overall Six-County average. They are the Ballybot ward (12 percent), Daisy Hill ward (9.3 percent) and St Mary’s ward (8.6 percent).
Stephen continued, “The onslaught being waged against the working class by Westminster and their willing partners in Stormont shows no sign of abating. In July, the Stormont administration voted to introduce the Tories’ workfare programme. This programme amounts to slave labour were people have to work to receive their benefits. People are being threatened that they will be stripped of their benefits if they refuse to do unpaid labour through these schemes.
“Those fortunate enough to have a job may find that their hours and overtime are slashed as their employers take advantage of those forced into the Tory/Stormont Workfare programme.
“With 129,000 people now seeking work in the Six Counties it’s clear that Stormont isn’t working and that a new system is needed, a system that will have the interests of the working class at its heart rather than the current one which adopts a right-wing Tory agenda. éirígí is determined to help play a part in creating such a system.”
Sunday, 23 September 2012
The socialist republican party éirígí has rejected an offer from the PSNI to engage with the force.
The offer emerged following reports in the local media in Newry in which the PSNI responded to éirígí’s statement exposing the fact that undercover British state operatives approached a neighbour of the party’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney and attempted to recruit him into working for them in gathering information.
Dismissing the suggestion that the party should meet with the British forces, éirígí’s Stephen Murney said, “The first thing to note is that the PSNI do not deny that they were involved in a surreptitious approach to one of my neighbours and attempted to pressurise him into working for them as a spy. The very fact that the PSNI didn’t deny this vindicates our decision to publicise the underhand nature of these PSNI activities.
“The person who was approached by the PSNI to spy made very detailed statements about these incidents to an independent legal representative and to a human rights organisation. Those statements indicate that these approaches were first made during the early summer. Indeed, those statements also show that the PSNI called to the man's home several weeks before those dates on which the PSNI assert they were conducting house to house enquiries.
“The suggestion that anyone who finds themselves being targeted by the PSNI should contact the PSNI is clearly absurd. Meeting and engaging with those directly involved in such activity would serve no meaningful purpose.
“As for the attempt by the PSNI’s PR office to portray éirígí’s highlighting of very real and serious issue of human rights’ concern as a ‘tit-for-tat debate about the past’, nothing could be further from the truth.
“The recruitment of informers and pressurising neighbours to spy on neighbours is part of the PSNI’s current present day tactics, approved at the most senior levels within that force. It is the PSNI who are continuing to use and implement on a daily basis the discredited policies and tactics of the past.”
Murney continued, “éirígí will continue to be active in our communities. Our members in Newry, and indeed across Ireland, include many activists who have been involved in working on behalf of their communities for years. That work includes helping our neighbours in need, spearheading community projects and initiatives, taking part in and supporting charitable events, lobbying for improvements for various community issues, organising community clean ups, and involvement in the public and voluntary sector as well being active in trade unions.”
Stephen added, “In contrast, it is the PSNI who are the heavy-handed strangers and outsiders seeking to undermine our communities.”
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Activities by the British state forces in Newry have taken a sinister twist after it emerged that covert undercover MI5/PSNI operatives are actively targeting éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney.
The revelations emerged after a neighbour of Stephen’s came forward to éirígí to make it known that he had been approached by plain clothed security force personnel who tried, unsuccessfully, to recruit him to work for them in gathering information on Stephen.
The build up to this approach began several weeks ago, when the victim, a family man, had to attend Ardmore PSNI barracks about a family matter, during which he had to provide his name and address.
Shortly afterwards the man had an early morning visit to his Derrybeg home by the PSNI accompanied by plain clothed personnel, who didn’t identify themselves. They claimed to be investigating a burglary in a nearby cul-de-sac but rather than make enquiries about the alleged burglary, they pressed the man to tell them how long he had lived at the address and how many people lived in his house along with a number of other personal non-related questions.
These questions immediately raised suspicions and the victim asked if would also they be calling to the rest of the houses in the street. They said they would, but after leaving his house, they immediately got into their vehicles and drove off, without making any more door to door enquiries as they stated.
Since that incident, it has come to light that there was no burglary as stated by the PSNI. Several residents in the small, quiet street where the burglary was alleged to have occurred have all stated that they had not heard of any such incident taking place.
That this was the only house visited in the street would suggest this wasn’t a normal door-to-door enquiry. It now seems this was an initial attempt to ‘suss out’ the individual before the next step in the process which took place a few weeks later.
On this occasion the man was walking down Hill Street in Newry on a Tuesday afternoon. A well dressed man wearing a suit approached him, called him by his name and referred to his attendance at Ardmore PSNI station a few weeks previously and asked him if the matter had been resolved. The victim, thinking this person was a PSNI member, replied yes, that as far as he was concerned it was resolved. The fact that the plain clothed individual failed to identify himself as a member of the PSNI would suggest that a more sinister agency was at play.
This unidentified individual then began questioning the victim about éirígí’s Stephen Murney, who lives close to him. The victim was asked if he had any information on Stephen that he would like to pass on. Quite sensibly, he replied that he didn’t know anything but just kept himself to himself. He was also quizzed about Stephen’s movements, activities and those who he associates with before being finally being asked if he would be willing to spy on Stephen and gather information for them. Stephen’s neighbour refused this request.
The unidentified state agent then menacingly made it known that he knew the victim had been speaking to Stephen in a city centre establishment located in Monaghan Street a few weeks beforehand. This would further confirm that the éirígí activist has already been placed under surveillance by state forces.
Speaking about the approach éirígí’s Rúnaí Ginearálta, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, said, “Stephen’s neighbour is to be commended for coming forward and making it known that these shadowy forces, unsuccessfully, attempted to pressurise him into gathering information on a member of an open political party.
“I have spoken with the man to whom these approaches were made and it’s clear that he was clearly unsettled by this whole episode.
“Stephen Murney is openly and actively engaged in legitimate political activities and in helping the community in Derrybeg and other parts of Newry. Like all members of our party, Stephen has nothing to hide. These cowardly sinister forces on the other hand are working in the shadows under cover and out of sight to target him and others.
“Incidents like this certainly won’t deter Stephen or any other éirígí activist. If anything, it proves that the political course we have chosen is correct.”
Breandán concluded, “This approach has since been recorded with the Committee on the Administration of Justice [CAJ] and the victim’s legal representatives.
“I would urge anyone who is approached in this manner, regardless of whether the approach is made by PSNI, MI5 operatives or both, to come forward and expose their ominous activities.”
Sunday, 2 September 2012
éirígí in Newry have slammed the PSNI after they carried out a stop and search on a cancer charity vehicle and its occupants on Wednesday [August 29].
The vehicle was making a delivery just outside Newry when a PSNI patrol car, travelling towards them, conducted a u-turn and pursued them with sirens sounding and lights flashing.
The charity vehicle was pulled in by this very aggressive PSNI patrol, the occupants questioned and vehicle searched for unknown items.
éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney condemned the incident. He said, “Our party was contacted on Wednesday and the incident was reported to us. We spoke to the passenger of the charity van who told us of his shock and disgust at the conduct and attitude of the PSNI.
“This man has been unjustly targeted by the PSNI on a few occasions and it would appear that this was the sole excuse needed for the PSNI to aggressively stop and search this van, which I might add was clearly marked with signs on the front and sides which identified it as a cancer charity vehicle.
“This isn’t the first time the PSNI have targeted people involved in charity work in the Newry area. Only few months ago we highlighted another incident wherein a local man collecting sponsorship for another local charity found himself being stopped and searched in Hill Street and, on that occasion, the PSNI went as far as taking his sponsorship card from him. Shortly afterwards the same man was harassed while training for a marathon to raise much needed charity sponsorship funds.”
Murney concluded, “The victims in this latest incident were, at the time, working for the benefit of those less fortunate than themselves. They were engaging in charitable work yet they found themselves on the receiving end of state harassment. Both victims should be commended for the work they were doing, not persecuted and punished by the use of repressive laws.”
Saturday, 1 September 2012
Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has condemned the planned appearance of a British Army military band in the exclusive K Club as a “sickening public relations stunt”. Leeson has also confirmed that the socialist republican party will be actively opposing the October 5th event, which is being organised by the Security and Emergency Services Ireland Forum (SESIF) in conjunction with the Jack and Jill Foundation.
The format for the event will see a military band from the British Army’s Irish Guards regiment perform on the lawns of the K Club in front of spectators who will pay up to €200 per person for the privilege. While an entrance fee equivalent to more than a week’s dole may seem extravagant to most people, it is but pocket change to those who frequent the K Club, where a single night in the Imperial Suite costs a staggering €7,950!
Since its foundation in 2007 the SESIF has focused much of its energies on attempts to rehabilitate the image of Britain’s occupation forces in Ireland. It routinely organises events which include members of both the paramilitary PSNI and the British Army. For their part the Jack and Jill Foundation describe the history of the Irish Guards as “long and noble. A Regiment of foot guards formed by Queen Victoria in 1900 as her salute to the outstanding involvement of Irish Soldiers in the Boer War.” Those with a better grasp of history would question the nobility of war crimes, including the establishment of the world’s first concentration camps, which is exactly what the British did during the Boer War.
In more recent times the Irish Guards have inflicted a reign of terror on the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2003 the regiment was to the fore of the illegal invasion of Iraq, killing an unknown number of people in the conquest of the city of Basra. In one incident three members of the Irish Guards forced a fifteen-year-old into a canal before watching the boy, who was unable to swim, drown before their eyes. A noble history indeed.
Speaking from Dublin Brian Leeson said, “Those who have conspired to bring the British Army to the K Club are guilty of organising a sickening public relations stunt. The perversion of incorporating the British military into a fund-raising event for an Irish children’s charity will not be lost on the people of Ireland. The British military has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade. In one well documented case members of the Irish Guards were responsible for the drowning of a fifteen-year-old boy, Ahmed Jabar Karheem, in a canal in 2003.
“While it is no surprise that the SESIF are involved in organising a publicity stunt of this sort it is shocking that a children’s charity has lent its support to it. The parading of the British Army around the K Club will do nothing but cause division and distress to the victims of the British Army in Ireland. The British Army was directly and indirectly responsible for the murders of hundreds of Irish citizens over the last forty years. Has the Jack and Jill Foundation anything to say about that? Or has it anything to say to the parents or the siblings of those children who died at the hands of the British Army in Ireland? Has the Jack and Jill Foundation asked the relatives of those who died in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings what they think of their Irish Guards extravaganza?”
Leeson continued by outlining the true motives behind the K Club event, “Whether the Jack and Jill Foundation realise it or not, this event has nothing to do with reconciling relations between the peoples of Britain and Ireland or fundraising for charity. This stunt is just the latest attempt by Britain and her supporters in Ireland to normalise the occupation of the Six Counties.
“Like the royal visit last May it is designed to present a false image of normal relations between these two islands. And like that visit it serves only the interests of the ruling class here and in Britain. These lavish events in the banqueting halls of Dublin Castle and the K Club are nothing more than disgusting demonstrations of excess, where the rich and powerful come together to toast their own success and reaffirm the status quo.
“éirígí is calling on the Jack and Jill Foundation to withdraw their support for, and involvement in, the Irish Guards event at the K Club. They need to protect the integrity of their organisation and prevent it from being cynically used by those with ulterior motives. To do otherwise is to move out of the arena of charity and into the arena of politics, something which will inevitably cause division and reduce the level of support for the Jack and Jill Foundation.”
If you are opposed to the British Army’s presence in the K Club please contact the Jack and Jill Foundation and let them know how you feel:
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Jack-and-Jill-Childrens-Foundation/295613613769
By email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
By Phone: (353) 45 - 894538/660
Friday, 31 August 2012
The three days of sectarian coat-trailing experienced in Newry over the weekend of 24-26th August brought nothing but frustration, disruption and inconvenience to the people of the area.
The bank holiday weekend began on Friday evening with a show of strength hosted by the South Down Defenders flute band, with over a score of other unionist bands along with three thousand of their supporters taking over the streets of Newry.
Coupled with an accompanying and domineering major PSNI operation, many local people were simply unable to venture into the city centre. Those local people who had no choice but to travel around Newry, either by car or on foot, found themselves delayed or intimidated not only by unionist bands but also by the menacing behaviour of heavily armed members of the Six-County police force.
Saturday and Sunday proved to be no different with several more sectarian marches taking place alongside the accompanying clamp-down of nationalist residents of Newry by the PSNI.
Voicing the socialist republican party’s opposition to such sectarian shows of strength, éirígí’s Stephen Murney said, “After being contacted by local residents and several shop-owners in the town, our party activists and supporters were present for each of these marches. Local nationalists found themselves targeted by the PSNI’s Tactical Support Group for simply observing the march.
“éirígí party members were verbally abused and threatened with arrest by PSNI personnel in full view of members of the public.
“At the same time, a constitutional nationalist MLA, also observing the marches and performing the same role just a few feet away from éirígí party members, was allowed to do so unhindered by the same PSNI personnel.”
Murney added, “We are often told by the main unionist parties’ PR machines that these marches bring an economic benefit to the towns in which they are held.
“Perhaps, shop-owners in Newry should tell those unionist apologists just how little these marches actually added to the economy of Newry over the last weekend of August.
“It is obvious to all citizens in Newry that the presence of these sectarian marches actually kills off trade rather than enhancing it.”
Murney continued, “It’s also obvious that unionists will use any excuse to indulge in sectarian coat trailing exercises in Newry. They march to catch buses to another town, then they march after getting off buses from other towns; they march going to a church and then march coming back from a church. They also march for no reason at all other than sheer sectarianism.
“Newry has had enough of these sectarian displays. These marches only cause, rather than heal, division.
“In July of this year, the convenor of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council described the Orange Order and its off-shoots as being ‘out of time and out of place’ in modern society.
“Perhaps, it’s time that others within the nationalist community and, indeed, the protestant community in Newry also stood up just as courageously to send out the same message. Such marches are, indeed, out of time and out of place in Newry.”
Monday, 27 August 2012
Several dozen people attended the public launch of éirígí’s “Know your rights” campaign in Newry Arts Centre on Thursday [August 23].
The event was introduced by the party’s Newry representative Stephen Murney and was chaired by Councillor Davy Hyland. A legal professional provided an in depth view of the various legislation used and abused by Britain’s police force and provided a presentation on the statistics available.
éirígí’s Rúnaí Ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith gave a historical and present day analysis of British policing in Ireland and made comparisons between repressive legislation used as far back as the RIC, RUC and the present day PSNI.
Mac Cionnaith explained, “The historical use of special powers to address opposition to British rule in Ireland created a sort of sham internal legitimacy within the Six Counties that has supported the continued use of similar coercive measures from partition right through to the situation we find ourselves in today where two political parties who once opposed such repressive laws now acquiesce to their use.
“Repressive laws have become so much part of the fabric of life in the North that the mindset of constitutional nationalists has veered away from viewing repressive legislation as anything other than normal – little surprise given that they have fully brought into Britain’s normalisation policy. Perhaps, those parties have forgotten that one of the demands of the civil rights movement, which they both claim descent from, was the repeal of the Special Powers Act – not its replacement with more repressive legislation.”
Pointing out that the repressive legislation in use today is intended to prevent anyone from expressing or organising political, social or economic opposition to the status quo in the Six Counties, Breandán continued, “That was the intent behind the introduction of the Special Powers Act in the Twenties, and that is the intent behind such legislation today. The new stop and search powers under the Terrorism Act will likely be used in a similar way – those powers will be used for ‘dragnet’ low level intelligence gathering exercises and general intimidation and harassment.
“The lack of knowledge which prevails about extent of repressive legislation amongst our communities, and even amongst many political activists, demonstrates how well the British state has succeeded in isolating and demonising Republicans and radicals in the Six Counties. It also demonstrates how well the British state has succeeded in its normalisation policy.”
Breandán concluded, “It is vital that we familiarise with those remnants of our individual rights and civil liberties, especially today when new anti-‘terrorist’ legislation is casting the net of repression ever wider. It is important that we educate others what the British State in the Six Counties is capable of and how it operates. The launch of this “Know Your Rights” card is part of that process of education. It will be updated regularly to take account of changes in legislation.”
Following the panel discussion there was a very informative question and answer session during which those in attendance raised their concerns and gave their accounts of the harassment they have received. Some valuable and helpful advice was provided by the legal professional.
Speaking after the launch éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said, “We are delighted to have launched this ongoing campaign in the Newry area. The turnout tonight is testament to the fact that the PSNI have been waging an unrelenting campaign of harassment and intimidation in Newry through the use of stop and searches and various other means.
“I have no doubt that the people who attended this launch have left here tonight with a better understanding of their rights when confronted by the state forces. This is just one example of how we need to educate, organise and agitate within our communities and éirígí will not be found wanting when it comes to that.”
Sunday, 19 August 2012
CAJ is an internationally-recognised independent human rights organisation, which lobbies and campaigns on human rights issues both in the Six Counties and abroad. The organisation is currently monitoring stop and search incidents and are recording and logging the details.
The meeting was convened after members of the socialist republican party contacted CAJ with details of an unremitting campaign of state force harassment being waged against people in Newry.
The CAJ representatives heard first-hand accounts of numerous incidents that have taken place in the area. These incidents include countless stop and searches, assaults, house raids, arrests, intimidation, provocation, the targeting of children and people being targeted while at work.
Speaking after the meeting éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said, “This was a very worthwhile and positive meeting with a leading human rights organisation. CAJ have provided us with stop and search/police harassment monitoring forms, which they ask victims of PSNI harassment to fill in each time they are targeted.
“We are asking people when filling in these forms to note the legislation used, details of the incident including the location and time, and if possible to note the rank and numbers of the PSNI members involved.
“As well as launching éirígí’s own “Know Your Rights” campaign in the area next Thursday [August 23] we will also be advising people to contact their legal representatives and CAJ to have the incidents logged and recorded.”
Murney added, “We are delighted with the proactive approach CAJ are taking and we in éirígí have pledged to work closely with them and we look forward to future meetings with the organisation.”
The Newry launch of éirígí’s “Know Your Rights” campaign will take place on Thursday 23rd August at 7.30pm in the Newry Arts Centre, Bank Parade, beside the Town Hall.
Saturday, 18 August 2012
An explosion which wrecked a phone box in the townland of Ballyargan in County Armagh last Sunday [August 12] occurred only yards away from a catholic church. A spokesperson for the socialist republican party éirígí has accused the PSNI of covering up the location of the blast and of failing to attribute any sectarian or other ominous motivation to the explosion despite obvious evidence.
A spokesperson for éirígí in the Newry area, Stephen Murney, said, “The PSNI, in a classic piece of media management which went unchallenged by the main news media outlets, issued a terse statement on Monday 13th August about a blast on the Lisraw Road. That PSNI statement said that detectives based at Ardmore in Newry were investigating reports of an explosion at a phone box and that the extent of the damage was too great to have been caused by a firework.”
Murney added, “At no time since last Sunday has the PSNI mentioned that the seat of the explosion was less than twenty yards away from the entrance to St Patrick’s catholic church at Ballyargan. Many people will no doubt find it remarkable that the PSNI did not deem the actual location of this blast and its close proximity to a catholic church to be of any factual relevance or to be indicative of a sectarian motive from those responsible for causing the explosion.
“This is even more remarkable given that St Patrick’s Church has previously been subjected to other sectarian attacks in the past. St Patrick’s is situated in a fairly isolated location and is located in the middle of a triangle bounded by Markethill, Tandragee and Scarva. A decade ago, unionist slogans were daubed on the church and gravestones in the adjoining cemetery were broken on several occasions, and in the mid-90s it was also fire-bombed.”
Murney also questioned why no representatives from the SDLP or SF appear to have publicly questioned the PSNI version of events.
He said, “Furthermore, one must also ask why those constitutional national politicians who constantly claim to hold the PSNI to account have failed to publicly challenge the PSNI’s reporting of last Sunday’s explosion. Why have SDLP and SF members of the Policing Board and the so-called Police and Community Safety Partnerships failed to publicly take the PSNI to task for the deliberate cover-up of what, to all intents and purposes, was an attack with obvious sectarian motivation? How can such media management, misreporting and cover-up by the PSNI be considered to be compatible with the safety of any community.”
In conclusion, Murney said, “Although Sunday Masses are not held there, the explosion beside St Patrick’s church clearly suggests there is a small unionist grouping within the Markethill, Tandragee and Scarva area intent on stirring up sectarian strife. That the PSNI is seeking to downplay that reality is a matter which should be of major concern to all.”
Friday, 10 August 2012
éirígí have announced the details of the public launch of our much anticipated ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign in Newry.
The PSNI, like the RUC before them, habitually abuse the rights of Irish citizens as a core component of its activities. Confronted by these forces, many people unknowingly waive a number of their basic rights. Regrettably, due to the sheer number of repressive laws available to the British state forces, a great number of people are simply unaware as to what their rights are.
For others, these forces are imposing and even intimidating figures of power and as a result they simply do as their told. Whatever the case, we know that the PSNI act in opposition to the interests of the working class and, therefore, it falls to us to defend our own rights.
Speaking ahead of the launch, éirígí’s Newry representative Stephen Murney explained, “Only too often we hear of incidents were people are on the receiving end of harassment, particularly in the Newry area. It can be a very intimidating experience when a person is surrounded by several aggressive heavily armed PSNI members barking questions and making demands. This campaign will enable people to know their rights and defend them.
“By launching this campaign in the Newry area, we aim to dispel some of the myths around a number of these ‘Stop and Search’ provisions and powers, which will empower people to be more assertive in the face of them.”
Stephen concluded “This event will include a panel discussion which will be chaired by independent republican councillor Davy Hyland and will feature éirígí’s Rúnaí Ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith and a legal professional.”
Venue: Newry Arts Centre (Beside Town hall)
Date: Thursday 23rd August
Friday, 3 August 2012
éirígí in Newry have expressed their opposition to yet another sectarian show of strength in the area after it emerged that the city will once again be placed under siege to allow three days of unionist triumphalism at the end of this month.
From Friday 24th August until Sunday 26th August, a total of five unionist parades will take place with over 3,000 participants and 50 bands taking over the streets of Newry, beginning with the sectarian South Down Defenders Flute Band who will be bussing in thousands of unionist bandsmen and supporters into the overwhelmingly nationalist city from across the Six Counties for a sectarian coat-trailing exercise.
Stephen Murney, the local spokesperson for the socialist republican party in the Newry area, said “Just last month we had thousands of unionists accompanied by dozens of bands descending on Newry leaving the area a virtual ghost town. Band members and participants shouted insults at local people observing and even rushed to attack a local photographer.
“A massive security operation sealed Newry off and most people couldn’t go about their daily business. I have no doubt that this upcoming sectarian ritual will mean the same for the nationalist people of Newry".
Murney continued “Before and after the 12th July our party were inundated with complains from local people who are sick and tired of this happening time and time again. The fact that this next disruptive demonstration will take place over a three day period will mean that many nationalist people in Newry will have to endure an entire weekend of sectarian intimidation and bigotry.
“The annual Friday night sectarian procession is well known for bringing Newry to a standstill for several hours with severe traffic disruption; unionists drinking openly in the street, actually outside Ardmore PSNI barracks; the playing of sectarian songs; bands displaying the emblems and flags of unionist paramilitary death squads and nationalists afraid to look out of their windows or venture onto their own streets.
Stephen concluded “Newry will once again be handed over to the bigots, we in éirígí deeply oppose such sectarian rituals and we call for an end to sectarian organisations being permitted to proceed through overwhelmingly nationalist towns such as Newry”.
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Republicans from various parts of the country gathered in county Tipperary yesterday, Sunday July 29, on the slopes of the Knockmealdown mountains at the site of the impressive 60 foot high round tower memorial, erected in 1935, to commemorate ‘the Real Chief’ – Liam Lynch.
Among those who attended the mountainside ceremony was Malachy McCreesh whose brother, Raymond, died on hunger-strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh in 1981.
Liam Lynch was born in Barnagurraha, County Limerick, in 1893, and spent his youth in that county, living with his parents, three brothers and a sister.
At the age of 17, he went to work in Mitchelstown in County Cork, where he later joined the Irish Volunteers after their formation in 1913. From being First Lieutenant, he rose to the rank of O/C of the First Southern Division, commanding IRA units across Munster, during the Tan War.
After the signing of the Treaty, which he opposed, Lynch was appointed Chief of Staff of the IRA.
Despite Liam Lynch’s best efforts over several months to maintain the unity of the Army, Free State forces using British artillery attacked the Republican garrison in Dublin’s Four Courts in a deliberate act designed to foment a bitter Civil War.
The Free State government and its forces showed no mercy against those who stood firm behind the Republic and many Republican graves across Munster bear testimony to that fact.
On April 10, 1923, Liam Lynch was shot and seriously wounded as he scaled the Knockmealdown mountains with his comrades in an attempt to escape encirclement by over 1,000 Free State soldiers engaged in a countrywide sweep of south Tipperary and Waterford. Captured by the Free Staters, he was taken to Clonmel where he died almost twelve hours later from his wounds.
In accordance with his last dying wish, Liam Lynch was buried beside his friend and comrade, Michael Fitzgerald, who died on hunger strike in Cork gaol in October 1920.
éirígí’s Rúnaí Ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith delivered the main oration at Sunday’s commemoration, during which he said:
“Liam Lynch and many like him were born into an Ireland which, just a few decades earlier, had experienced the unprecedented ravages of An Gorta Mór – The Great Hunger. Between 1845 and 1850, approximately 1.5 million Irish men, women and children died of starvation or related diseases. By 1855, almost two million others had fled Ireland to avoid a similar fate.
“It was an Ireland completely under foreign occupation where the nation’s wealth was controlled by a minority landowning aristocracy loyal to Britain; an Ireland where families were evicted from their homes at the point of British bayonets.
“It was also an Ireland where people like O’Donovan Rossa and others in the IRB sought to organise and fight for freedom. It was an Ireland where a widespread popular resistance in the form of the Land League had been organised to effectively oppose the unjust economic system of that time. An Ireland which, by the end of the 19th century, was again attempting to rebuild and reclaim its cultural heritage through organisations such as the GAA and Conradh na Gaeilge.
“People like Liam Lynch saw the injustice caused by the British occupation of their country and by the unjust exploitation of this country’s resources and its people by a small minority and decided to act.”
Mac Cionnaith also pointed out that it was important to reflect on the ideals which motivated Liam Lynch and many Republicans like him.
Mac Cionnaith said that Lynch and his comrades had stood fully behind those objectives set out in the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme of 1919 for national self-determination, for social and economic justice and democracy, of cherishing all the children of the nation equally, of claiming the wealth of Ireland for the people of Ireland.
“Those who fought in 1916, those who fought through the Tan war and who followed the leadership of Liam Lynch in the aftermath of the Treaty and the partition of this country, were men and women of principle; men and women with a vision for a new, equal and free Ireland,” he said.
Alluding to the general strikes, workplace occupations and land seizures which took place across Ireland in the years between 1918 and 1923, Mac Cionnaith continued, “The struggle for independence and national sovereignty also become a revolt of the exploited classes against their domestic oppressors as well. The present-day popular rejection of the Home Tax is, perhaps, an indication that that spirit of revolt still exists but has still to be properly harnessed.
“Today, the total number of unemployed across the 32 counties has reached well over 600,000 people, with thousands of those who are employed facing wage-cuts, and countless families are again struggling to hold on to their homes as the threat of eviction stalks at their doors.
“Thousands of our young people are again being forced abroad as economic migrants.
“Ireland remains partitioned and Britain still remains the occupying power in Six Counties.
“The Ireland of today remains controlled by imperialism, albeit in a new and more subtle form. The livelihoods of Irish people are controlled by external undemocratic capitalist forces which are, in essence, no different to the external undemocratic controlling forces which Liam Lynch and his comrades mobilised against during their life-times.
“The Ireland of today is most certainly not the kind of Ireland which Liam Lynch or any of his comrades had envisaged.”
Liam Lynch, he said, was quite emphatic in his view that those who supported and endorsed the structures of partition had placed themselves firmly in the camp of the counter-revolution.
In reference to the approach of the forthcoming centenary year of the Easter Rising, Mac Cionnaith told his audience that the modern-day forces of counter-revolution will embark upon an unprecedented revisionist propaganda campaign aimed at trying to persuade the public mind that the objectives of 1916 had been successfully secured through partition.
“We must all be prepared to confront and to challenge that revisionist propaganda campaign both north and south.
“We must again educate and inform others, particularly the younger generation, about the true nature of Irish Republicanism; that our struggle is about achieving real political freedom, it is about delivering social justice, it is about economic equality for all. It is about creating a democratic, independent, and sovereign Irish Republic. An Ireland undivided by a British imposed border. An Ireland whose total resources will come under the control of the ordinary working people of this island regardless of gender, religion or race – a truly free Ireland.
“The business of establishing a free, sovereign and independent Irish Republic remains unfinished. The goals and objectives of those who fought, were imprisoned and who were executed remained unfulfilled.
“Settling for anything less than the complete achievement of those Republican objectives was never an option for Liam Lynch who, in his own words, defiantly asserted – ‘We have declared for an Irish Republic and will not live under any other law’.”
Saturday, 14 July 2012
“Orangefest” has once again graced the streets of nationalist Newry, treating local residents to hours of disruption, bigotry and state force harassment.
The centre of Newry resembled a ghost town with many shops opting to remain closed and most residents deciding to stay at home. The ‘benefits for local economy’ we so often hear about to justify such events was nowhere to be seen. The ‘colourful display and enjoyable experience’ didn’t materialise for the people of Newry.
Thousands of Orangemen accompanied by dozens of bands took part in the annual sectarian ritual which also included a large scale security operation mounted by British state forces. Local residents, including éirígí’s local representative Stephen Murney, were stopped, searched and questioned throughout the day by the PSNI who used the occasion to step up their harassment of the local population.
Stephen explained, “I had arranged to meet Councillor Davy Hyland and another comrade beside the Town Hall to observe this coat-trailing exercise. Before I had even reached my destination I was stopped and questioned under the Justice & Security Act. When I eventually met Davy, we immediately found ourselves surrounded by members of the PSNI’s Tactical Support Group (TSG). For a second time I was questioned under the Justice and Security Act, while Davy and another comrade also had their details noted. We were also photographed and videoed by the PSNI for “intelligence purposes” while our comrade was threatened with arrest.
“While standing watching the parade members of the Orange Order were shouting abuse at councillor Hyland and made obscene hand gestures towards us in an attempt to provoke a reaction. They failed, but the PSNI unsurprisingly didn’t intervene. Another more serious incident occurred when members of a loyalist flute band went to attack a photographer who had dared step in front of their band to take a photograph. Again the PSNI stood idly by and did nothing despite being situated just a few feet away from the incident.”
Murney continued, “Shortly after the parade had left the centre of Newry, I was stopped and searched for ammunition for a third time while Davy Hyland, for a second time, had his details recorded. There was no justification whatsoever for the harassment we received today. Many other people, including councillors and members of other parties, were standing observing this march a few feet from us unhindered yet the PSNI took exception to our presence and deliberately targeted us.
“While the people who live in Newry cannot walk freely in their own city, thousands of unionists can indulge in threatening behaviour, intimidation and provocation while being protected by the forces of the British state.”
Stephen ended by saying, “We certainly won’t be intimidated by sectarian shows of strength nor will we be deterred by PSNI harassment. We will continue to campaign for the right of everyone to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation.”
éirígí spokesperson in Newry Stephen Murney has responded to the erection of flags and buntings around the city, including outside Ardmore PSNI barracks.
Murney said, “The ability of unionists to erect flags and bunting unhindered outside Newry PSNI barracks is not in the least surprising.
“It is widely acknowledged that flags and bunting are regularly erected outside catholic churches and shops in various towns and villages. Individual catholic homes in unionist areas are also singled out for this treatment.
“On an annual basis, the PSNI not only turn a blind-eye to such behaviour, our party activists and supporters, as well ordinary nationalists, would argue that the PSNI actually facilitates this behaviour.”
Murney, the local spokesperson for the socialist republican party in the Newry area, added, “Our party members can point to numerous incidents in various areas where the PSNI are actually present as the erection of flags and bunting takes place but do nothing except engage in friendly conversations with those responsible.
“It is notable that, despite the clear intent of those behind this annual sectarian ritual to intimidate and provoke nationalists or to deliberately foment and increase tensions within communities, the PSNI merely publicly respond by saying that ‘no crime was committed’.”
Concluding, Murney said, “It is patently obviously to everyone that the PSNI has a long-standing and unwritten corporate policy, inherited from the RUC, which is implemented each July.
“That policy can be summed up as stating such sectarian provocation by unionists is not to be considered as ‘behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace’.”
Legislation currently going through Westminster will have a major adverse impact upon civil and human rights’ protection in the Six Counties. The British House of Lords this week begins its consideration of the controversial Justice and Security Bill (not to be confused with the already existing Justice and Security Act 2007).
If passed into law, the bill will introduce what are known as ‘closed material proceedings’ (CMPs) which will allow the British government to present secret evidence to a judge without having to disclose it to the rest of the court or, indeed, to a defendant in a trial, or a claimant in a civil case.
Being able to present secret evidence to a judge in any legal case without the other side having the chance to refute it or to even know what it is obviously gives the British Government a huge and unfair advantage in legal proceedings and has the very real potential to present a very one-sided or misleading version of events.
The bill also proposes to extend the draconian secret evidence mechanism to encompass ordinary civil law cases, including employment tribunals.
The draft legislation proposes that the law should be changed so that where a minister decides that certain material, if openly disclosed, would cause damage to the interests of ‘British national security’, that minister can trigger the use of CMP. This means the material will not be disclosed to the other side, yet the British government will be allowed to put the material before a judge and rely on it in defending or pursuing any action through the courts.
If CMPs are implemented, the wide definition of ‘sensitive information’ and ‘British national security interests’ will effectively lead to many controversial cases in the Six Counties being held behind closed doors.
The leading independent human rights’ organisation in the Six Counties, the Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) has already publicly warned of the consequences of the use of these ‘closed material proceedings’.
The CAJ has openly signalled that these secret courts could be used by the British state to thwart any effective investigations into murders which involved either members of the British forces or British agents. Civil actions for damages relating to miscarriages of justice, ill-treatment, unlawful state murders, and failures by the British state to take reasonable steps to protect life are all likely to fall under the remit of these CMPs.
éirígí Rúnaí Ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith said, “This new legislation is clearly aimed at strengthening the existing draconian apparatus which the British state and its various agencies already have access to.
“At a time when MI5 is playing an increased sinister role in the Six Counties, and both it and MI6 are targeting Islamic and black communities in Britain, this legislation undoubtedly will be used against all those deemed to be ‘enemies of the state’.
“What is particularly noticeable, however, is the muted response to this legislation from constitutional nationalist politicians in the Six Counties. Having previously signed up to a policing regime which incorporated a formal role for MI5 in Ireland, those parties’ silence on this latest erosion of civil and human rights is not at all surprising.”
“Once this legislation is enacted, these secret procedures will create processes that may look and sound like a trial or an inquest but in fact will be nothing of the sort. The core element of justice will be noticeably absent.
"Cases such as those relating to the infamous shoot-to-kill policy, collusion and even those like the Ballymurphy Massacre could all fall under the remit of this legislation.”
Many will no doubt be accustomed to the ongoing battle being waged by parties within the Stormont Executive to stamp out dissent and criticism from republican quarters.
Indeed, most observers will be all too familiar with the Stormont parties’ attacks on political opposition to the Executive’s role in the maintenance of partition and union with Britain, its role in maintaining injustices against Irish citizens, and its implementation of right-wing economic policies.
However, an increasing and disturbing trend is emerging whereby any form of criticism of, or dissent from, the Stormont narrative is now coming under attack.
Those at the receiving end of this wider Stormont offensive are not republicans, no matter how far one might stretch one's imagination.
The most recent salvo fired in this offensive against the not-so-usual suspects came from none other than Stormont’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness.
A judgment from a Fair Employment Tribunal hearing in June found that his party colleague, Conor Murphy, had discriminated against a protestant job applicant while Murphy was minister of regional development.
In a BBC interview shortly after the tribunal’s findings, McGuinness attempted to place the Stormont Executive above and beyond the reach of established equality and fair employment legislation by stating, “What this calls into question, in this particular case, is whether or not a minister has a right to make a ministerial appointment or are ministerial appointments going to be dictated by a body which, effectively, is not part of the government?”
A strange question for him to pose. After all, this was the same equality and fair employment legislation that McGuinness’ party had once advocated and had also enlisted the support of Irish-America to reinforce through the adoption of the MacBride principles.
Earlier this year, in February, SDLP environment minister Alex Attwood announced the go-ahead for construction of a £100 million privately-owned golf resort a mile away from the entrance to the Giant’s Causeway world heritage site.
Friends of the Earth warned that building a golf course within sight of the UNESCO-recognised Giant’s Causeway site on the North Antrim coast would be akin to constructing a drive-through burger bar near the Taj Mahal.
The National Trust publicly opposed those plans and initiated a legal challenge against the proposal. UNESCO itself has asked for project to be stopped.
The DUP sent out their attack terrier in the form of DUP MP Ian Paisley Junior, who bluntly stated: “Thanks National Trust, at a time of economic depression, you put the two fingers up to everyone in Northern Ireland and say you’re going to try to hurt rather than help the economy. You are a disgrace to Northern Ireland.”
Paisley’s party colleague, Stormont minister Arlene Foster, said she and her executive colleagues from all parties were “highly disappointed” by the legal challenge.
There is no record of any of the other Stormont parties expressing disagreement with either Paisley’s or Foster’s views.
It then emerged in June that the same DUP minister, Arlene Foster, had previously attacked the Co-operative Group over the showing of a documentary opposing fracking. Fracking is the controversial method of extracting gas from shale rock. Critics of fracking state that the controversial method of gas extraction can pollute water and cause minor earthquakes.
Foster claimed the film, Gasland, was biased, and said the Co-op’s decision to sponsor the screening was misplaced.
The Co-op rejected her criticism. In its response, Co-op regional secretary Gerard Hill told the minister: “The Co-operative is campaigning for a moratorium on the exploration of shale gas, at least until all the risks and impacts are properly identified and addressed. The event comprises a screening of Gasland followed by an open discussion on what shale gas development might mean.”
Obviously, Foster is adverse to ‘open discussion’ or debate on a subject which has widespread implications for thousands of families in Fermanagh and adjacent counties. Once again, there was silence from her ministerial colleagues in Stormont’s Executive.
And, of course, there is the ongoing saga of the Stormont parties’ collective campaign aimed at lowering corporation in the Six Counties while they simultaneously and hypocritically penalise the poor and less well off in society.
At a time when families, the young, the old, the ill, the low-paid and the unemployed are all facing cut-backs as a result of Stormont’s cuts in public expenditure, all parties in the Executive are united in their attempts to secure even greater tax breaks for those large companies, banks and financial institutions that can well afford to pay increased tax rates.
Disagreeing with this policy, however, also means incurring Stormont’s displeasure.
Opposition by many community and voluntary sector organisations to cuts in social welfare benefits were met with a warning from Stormont finance minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson.
“We need to ensure that we do not create unnecessary alarm,” he said.
It might have escaped the attention of Wilson and his other colleagues from all parties within the Stormont Executive that alarm already exists throughout communities and within families in every one of the Six Counties. There is real and genuine concern about the impact all these cut-backs will have.
Alarm also exists within Stormont, but for different reasons.
At the last election, the five parties which make up the Stormont executive polled a total of 608,350 votes out of a possible electorate of 1,210,009. That means just over 50.2% of all those eligible to vote actually cast their ballots for those parties.
As disillusionment and despair increases within working class communities at the failure of the Stormont executive to effect real political, social or economic change, the Stormont parties are keenly aware that, before long, they could well become a minority government in the truest sense of the word.
That is why any and all criticism, from whatever quarter, is collectively viewed by all of Stormont’s parties as not being beneficial to their political project.
And therein lies the real challenge for Socialist Republicans and for all other progressives.
It is the challenge to harness that growing disillusionment, to reverse that sense of impotency among our communities in order to genuinely give them a real sense of empowerment, and to build a real and effective alternative to Britain’s neo-colonial Stormont project – a project which, in most people's daily experiences, is fast becoming a failure.
Saturday, 23 June 2012
Mac Cionnaith said, “The decision by Sinn Féin to meet with the British queen is not in the least unsurprising, unanticipated or unexpected. However, that decision needs to be examined in a broader context.
“The Sinn Féin leadership previously took the strategic decision to gradually and consciously move that party away from its former role as a vanguard of the anti-imperialist struggle in Ireland. That leadership has also proven itself, in recent times, to be a willing ally of modern neo-con imperialists by assisting the undermining and subversion of anti-imperialist liberation struggles in other countries.
“One calculated outworking of that strategic decision in domestic terms has been the unprecedented acceptance and copper-fastening of partition by that party, and its consent to continuing British government control over part of Ireland, to such an extent that the party is now a willing and integral participant in operating the mechanics of partition and injustice.
“Paying lip-service to demands by families of British state violence for justice and truth while simultaneously acting as a prop for maintaining British injustice has now become one of the hall-marks of the Sinn Féin party.
“The reality of the unchanged nature of British control and the inefficacy of the Sinn Féin approach was highlighted on Monday (June 18th) when incontrovertible proof in the form of official British government documents revealed how, in July 1972, the state at the highest levels officially sanctioned the use of deadly force by its troops against Irish citizens and ensured that members of the Crown forces would receive indemnity from prosecution.
“Further evidence that the 1972 policy is not a mere “legacy issue” but an ongoing and central part of current British policy was demonstrated by the revelation on Wednesday (June 20th) that the British government had rejected a request by the families of the victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre for a public inquiry into those state murders.
“Sinn Féin has also moved away from its working class base and from any semblance of even a thin veneer of socialist politics to a position where it can freely and frequently advocate and ally itself with the interests of the domestic and international business and financial communities.
“It has consistently proved to be a willing tool in the imposition of private finance initiatives and the implementation of the British government’s austerity measures which penalise the young, the old, the sick, the unemployed and those workers on low wages. At the same time, that party has the audacity to hypocritically criticise other parties in the 26 Counties for implementing exactly the same policies at the behest of the Troika.
“In many respects, Sinn Féin today is mirroring and replicating the gradual and total abandonment of core Irish republican ideals in very much the same manner as was practiced by Fianna Fáil in its early history.
“Given that Sinn Féin has decided to target Fianna Fáil’s electoral constituency in the Twenty-Six Counties, it should be no surprise for anyone to learn that Sinn Féin’s current primary objective is to re-create and re-brand itself as some sort of 21st century version of Fianna Fáil with all that particular and discredited political direction entails.
“Meeting with and recognising Elizabeth Windsor as head of the British state in Ireland is but another step along the disreputable path of reformism and one more premeditated and calculated step further away from the revolutionary goal of establishing a free, sovereign and socialist Republic in Ireland.
“But then nothing else could ever be expected from a party which, when correctly politically analysed, amounted only to a modern form of old Catholic ‘defenderism’ and militant nationalist hibernianism.”
Thursday, 21 June 2012
The General Secretary of the socialist republican party éirígí, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, has said that the party’s members and supporters will give their full support to the planned “Truth and Justice – Not Jubilation” march and rally in Belfast this Saturday [June 23].
In a statement, Mac Cionnaith said, “It is quite apt that a public event focussing on the victims of state violence should be held in Belfast this weekend – just days before the visit by Elizabeth Windsor to her Irish colony. Our party members and supporters will attend the march and rally in solidarity with those many hundreds of families across Ireland who lost parents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters at the hands of all those forces of which Elizabeth Windsor is the Commander-in-Chief.
“On Monday of this week, further proof was produced in the form of official British government documents which demonstrated how in July 1972, the state at the highest levels officially sanctioned the use of deadly force by its troops against Irish citizens and ensured that members of the Crown forces would receive indemnity from prosecution.
“On Wednesday of this week, the ongoing outworking of that forty year old policy was reinforced when it was revealed that the British government had refused to hold a public inquiry into the murder of eleven innocent people, including a mother of eight and a Catholic priest, in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast by British paratroopers.
“It is therefore highly unlikely that Elizabeth Windsor, whose successive governments, forces and agents were responsible for hundreds of deaths, will be wearing any sackcloth or ashes as she flaunts herself throughout the Six Counties in a display of imperialist triumphalism, designed to underpin and reinforce the partition of Ireland.
“It is also highly unlikely that all those families of British state violence will ever receive the truth and justice they deserve while Britain remains in control of the Six Counties. That is why it is important that Saturday’s march and rally, with its clear and primary focus on Britain’s victims, receives the support it deserves.”
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Below we carry a statement from the organising committee of the “Truth and Justice – not Jubilation” demonstration taking place in Belfast on June 23 against the visit of Elizabeth Windsor, Commander-in-Chief of Britain’s armed forces.
Truth and Justice – not Jubilation
March and rally planned for Belfast as Royal visit approaches
A demonstration is to be held in Belfast just days before the British royal visit to the North. The demonstration on Saturday 23rd June will have as its theme “Truth and Justice – not Jubilation” and the organisers say the focus of the protest will be on victims of British state violence.
The demonstration will take the form of a silent march, led by a solitary piper, from Dunville Park, Falls Road, at 2.00pm on Saturday and conclude with a rally outside Belfast city hall. The rally will be addressed by speakers from each of the 6 Counties who lost close relatives at the hands of the British state, or who were themselves actual victims of state violence.
The organisers believe the event provides a unique opportunity for everyone within the broad nationalist community, those with differing political opinions and those with none, along with other progressives, to stand shoulder to shoulder in an unparalleled show of support and solidarity with victims’ families of British state violence in their ongoing struggles for Truth and Justice.
Announcing the planned demonstration, the organising committee stated, “The forthcoming British royal visit to the North presents a very unique opportunity to publicly highlight the fact that many hundreds of people, of all ages, met their deaths at the hands of British Crown forces and their agents in Ireland during the course of the present British monarch’s reign. Many, many more were injured or endured physical and psychological abuse by those same forces.
“Countless families across Ireland still live with the painful reality of the tragedies, distress and anguish brought to their homes by those forces of which the British monarch is Commander-in Chief.
“During her reign, British forces who have taken oaths of loyalty to Elizabeth Windsor have:
- Implemented internment without trial and perpetrated mass murder against civilian protestors objecting to such human rights abuses
- Tortured, abused and unlawfully detained Irish citizens
- Murdered many innocent unarmed civilians
- Murdered innocent school-children with both lead and plastic bullets
- In conjunction with unionist death squads which Britain trained and armed, conducted a prolonged campaign of murder against men, women and children of all ages from within the nationalist community
- Continued to conceal and obstruct the truth about Britain’s role in the murders of many hundreds of Irish people
- Used the most draconian and repressive laws found anywhere in modern Europe
“Having held discussions with a cross-section of families from different parts of the North in recent weeks, it was clear that those families firmly believe that their loss and pain is far too often ignored or brushed aside by the British state and by the mainstream media.
“In many cases, the families of those who died at the hands of Britain’s Crown forces still find that, decades after the murders of their loved ones, the British state continues to obstruct their quest for truth and justice.
“Those families not are aware of any cause for jubilation.
“The families with whom we held discussions indicated that they would welcome and support a public demonstration highlighting the fact that the British state, of which the monarch is head, continues to wash its hands of the many crimes and injustices which it perpetrated in Ireland.
“Saturday’s demonstration will be completely non-party political and will welcome the participation of nationalists from all shades of political opinion and those with none. All we ask is that the focus and the emphasis is placed solely on the injustices still endured by victims of British state violence.
“We ask people to assemble at Dunville Park on the Falls Road at 2.00pm on Saturday 23rd June for a silent and dignified march, led by a lone piper, ending with a rally outside Belfast city Hall.
“All speakers at the rally will be persons who lost a close relative at the hands of the British state, or who were themselves actual victims of state violence. The speakers come from each of the Six Counties, together with others from the two main cities, Belfast and Derry. They will be joined by a person representing those victims of British state violence which, it must never be forgotten, also extended into the South of Ireland.
“We are also publicly asking families across the country that lost loved ones at the hands of the British state and its agents to attend and to carry with them images of their murdered relatives.
“There will no bands at the demonstration, and no party political banners will be allowed. We simply ask all those attending to bring and carry black flags.
“This is a unique opportunity for nationalists, republicans, socialists and other progressives from across the Six Counties and beyond to show their support for all families of victims of British state violence, and to demonstrate their disdain and contempt for those who continue to perpetuate ongoing injustices and discrimination those same families still face.
“The British state might wish that people would simply forget about the deaths, violence and trauma that its forces and agents wreaked across communities throughout Ireland.
“We are saying to everyone within the broad nationalist community that they also have a choice – abide by Britain’s wishes, or stand shoulder to shoulder with their neighbours and their friends in an unparalleled show of support and solidarity for the families of Britain’s victims, in their ongoing struggles for Truth and Justice.”