Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Increase in sectarian parades creating tension in Newry

A marked increase in sectarian unionist parades in Newry will only serve to create tension in the area according to the socialist republican party éirígí.

According to the Parades Commission a total of nine sectarian parades are due to take place in Newry on the 11th and 12th July, an increase from 6 parades on the same dates the previous year.

Voicing the party’s concerns éirígí Newry representative Stephen Murney said “Quite a number of local people from various parts of Newry have contacted us over the past week in relation to the number of parades due to be held next weekend. It must be made clear that the areas in which the majority of these parades will take place are not considered to be unionist/loyalist areas. They are in fact mixed areas and in some cases area considered to be predominantly nationalist.

“The increase in sectarian parades due to take place in Newry on the 11th and 12th July is a very worrying development, particularly as the leaders of Orangeism and unionism are clearly embarking upon a joint strategy of street protests over contentious marches. That strategy is raising concerns that there may be attempts to repeat the the ill-fated unionist actions which were marked by large-scale disruption across the Six Counties during the period around Drumcree in the late 1990's.

"Nine unionist parades are listed to take place in the Newry area over the space of next weekend. The route of some of these parades are scheduled to include main roads and city centre streets, which will only ensure a massive security lock-down resulting in shops losing trade, and members of the general public either being unable to or afraid to venture onto their own streets. This will have an extremely negative impact upon the local economy on two of the busiest days of the summer.

"It’s also clear that some of these parades are totally pointless and includes a number of marches to the city centre bus depot so that members of the Orange Order board a bus to take them elsewhere, then when they return that evening they march from the depot.

"This is clearly marching for the sake of marching. One has to ask why they simply refuse to board these buses outside the Orange Hall instead of insisting upon creating disruption for the whole town."

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Hundreds Protest in Newry against Internment

On Saturday [June 28] upwards of 120 people took to the streets of Newry to protest against the ongoing use of Internment by remand.

The picket was a non-party political event organised by the Anti-Internment Group of Ireland and was supported by the IRPWA. Scores of people, including many éirígí activists, attended the event which drew a lot of attention from shoppers and the general public in Newry
The colourful picket stretched the length of Monaghan St, one of the busiest streets in the city, and the protesters carried many flags, placards and banners. Republican music was also played for the duration of the picket which added to the atmosphere.
The main speaker at the event was éirígí's Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney, who was released from Maghaberry prison 5 months ago after being interned by remand for 14 months.
Stephen began by speaking about the historical aspect to internment and how it’s current day use is a more sinister and deceptive practice as it gives a false impression of “due process”.

Stephen said “All too often we hear of Republican activists being arrested, charged and remanded. And all too often we hear of those charges being withdrawn or the victim being found innocent but only after spending a lengthy period of time in a British prison. If that's not a form of internment, then I don't know what is.”
Murney continued by pointing out the conditions and further punishment political internees can expect to endure “And it's while in those prisons that they are further punished, violated and oppressed by the British state using various means. While this picket today has been organised to highlight and oppose internment, we can't do so without acknowledging the fact that there are numerous other issues that stem from being interned. A few examples are forced strip searches, a brutal practice, the graphic details of which which we are only all too familiar with. Controlled movement which limits and severely restricts the freedom of movement and association between political prisoners. Isolation of Republican prisoners such as Gavin Coyle who has been locked up since 2011 in a small cell for 23 hours a day, he has no contact with any other prisoner. This amounts to psychological torture.”
Stephen finished by thanking the organisers and participants for taking part in the protest and urged everyone to continue to highlight and oppose internment in it’s current day form.

Speaking after the protest the éirígí activist said “What we have achieved here today is very important, we have brought this message to hundreds of everyday people here in Newry. And the message is that internment is still in use and it needs to be opposed by everyone. It’s interesting to note that not one single newly elected nationalist councillor from Newry and Mourne District Council or indeed the new Mayor of Newry attended this event in their home town. In the run up to the elections you would have tripped over them but now they are nowhere to be seen. They portray themselves as champions of human rights, but they must have had more important issues to deal with on Saturday.
Murney concluded “Events like these are vital to raise awareness i would urge everyone to organise and participate in similar initiatives to highlight internment.”