Saturday, 18 April 2015

Loyalist Bigots Bring Newry to a Standstill 

As éirígí correctly predicted earlier this week, several thousand unionists and scores of bands brought Newry to a standstill on Friday [April 17] as they engaged in what can only be described as an orgy of sectarian triumphalism.
Many residents found themselves hemmed into their own streets surrounded by a ring of steel enforced by the PSNI  with a helicopter constantly hovering over the area. The PSNI’s notorious Tactical Support Group [TSG] were strategically positioned in adjoining side streets keeping a watchful eye on the local population while they facilitated the sectarian bigot fest.
Many people found themselves unable to leave their homes either through fear or because of the massive British security operation that was in place. Motorists attempting to enter Newry, via the Belfast Road, one of Newry’s main arterial routes, found it almost impossible to do so for several hours due to the unionist takeover of a significant part of the mainly nationalist town.
Commenting on the sectarian coat-trailing exercise éirígí’s Newry representative Stephen Murney said, “I was present along with a few other local people to observe this sectarian march. Immediately we found ourselves under close surveillance by the PSNI. A large part of Newry resembled a ghost town as roads were blocked and local people were prevented from going about their normal activities.
“It’s time these sectarian parades came to an end. They are unwanted and unwelcome. In Newry there is a deep sense of anger and frustration from local people who have to suffer year in and year out due to these sectarian marches”.
Murney continued, “This is only the start of the marching season and Friday night’s scenario will be repeated in Newry again and again the coming summer months.
“There is no logic in bussing in thousands of loyalists from across the six counties to march in an area with which they have absolutely no affinity. The only thing it does is to create tension.
Concluding Stephen added, “After a reduction in these parades some years ago, they have managed to resurface in greater numbers and with greater frequency each year which is worrying for the future. “

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Sectarian bigot fest returns to Newry

The news that almost 100 loyalist bands and over 4,000 of their supporters  are due to descend on Newry this Friday [April 17] has prompted the socialist republican party éirígí to raise grave concerns at this annual display of sectarian triumphalism, which will precede other marches throughout the summer.

 Commenting on the upcoming sectarian parade éirígí's Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said "This parade is unwanted and unwelcome in this town, yet year in and year out unionist bigots insist in persisting with this annual coat-trailing exercise.
"On what would normally be a busy Friday evening, many nationalist residents of Newry will have no alternative but to completely avoid the parade route which will effectively close off one of the busiest routes into the city, with the detrimental knock-on effect which this will have on social and commercial life. As usual, the PSNI will also be present in large numbers to seal off roads to facilitate this display of bigotry".

Furthermore Stephen added, “Quite a number of the bands which are listed to take part in this parade are linked to unionist paramilitary groups.

"As per usual we will see unionist bandsmen and supporters openly drinking and urinating in the street. This is what the decent people of Newry have to look forward to".

The local party representative concluded "Sectarianism has no place in our society and these unwanted parades need to be stopped once and for all"

Friday, 10 April 2015

British Army Warplanes in Irish Skies

The socialist republican party éirígí has voiced their concerns following the recent "training mission" conducted by the British Forces of occupation.

On Tuesday an RAF Hercules warplane was spotted taking part in low-flying manoeuvres over several areas of county Down including Newry and Warrenpoint. This type of aircraft is used primarily for  transporting British troops, equipment and vehicles.

Commenting on the issue éirígí's Newry representative Stephen Murney said "Here we have yet another example of the British military using this part of Ireland as a training ground to hone their skills for use in their imperialist exploits in other parts of the world.

"We also currently have the Special Reconnaissance Regiment [SRR] operating in the Six Counties, a regiment who would be regularly trained in deployment from low-level aircraft – exactly the type of manoeuvres which took place over county Down.The fact that this sinister regiment has close links to the SAS should not be lost upon the Irish people. Neither should the fact that the SRR was partially-formed from the 14th Intelligence Company which was responsible for controlling unionist death squads.

“It should also be recalled that the SRR was involved in the shooting dead of an innocent civilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, in London in 2005 and it has also  been linked to a number of  ‘black operations’ in Iraq which resulted in multiple deaths of civilians.”

Stephen continued "In recent years there have been clear attempts to "normalise" the ongoing British military presence in the North. In 2007 when the British Army's so-called "Operation Banner" ended some people wrongly claimed that this was the beginning of the end of British soldiers operating in Ireland. They were clearly wrong.

“There's nothing "normal" about British troops, MI5 agents or British warplanes operating on Irish soil or in our skies, regardless of whether they are doing it to target Irish citizens or training to target populations in other countries.

Concluding Murney said "For our part éirígí will continue to expose and challenge the ongoing British military presence in all shapes and forms. We would encourage all those who agree with our analysis to join us in assisting with that."

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Successful Easter Events in Newry for éirígí

It certainly was a busy day for éirígí in the South Down and South Armagh area yesterday as a political tour of the area coincided with a number of wreath laying ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

The republican struggle from 1798 to the present day was remembered as the tour made its way around an area with a formidable history of resistance to British rule. In Camlough respects were paid by the grave of 1981 Hungerstriker Raymond McCreesh.

At the scene of the Egyptian Arch ambush Gemma Watson laid a wreath in memory of the IRA Volunteers who died there in 1920.

The well-know local republican Pat McNamee, Micheal Doran and the independent Councillor Davy Hyland all laid wreaths in Newry - in Derrybeg, Barcroft and Barley Lane respectively.

The tour concluded with a visit to the republican graves in St Mary's cemetery, including the final resting place of Patrick Rankin, the only Newry man who fought in the 1916 Rising. Patrick cycled from Newry to Dublin to join his comrades in the fight for a Republic.

Also visited was the grave of John Francis Quinn who was commandant general of the IRA and O.C of the 4th Northern Division prior to his death at the hand of Free State forces.

The tour finished at the Republican plot where tributes were paid to all the Volunteers who gave their lives in the fight for liberty. Fair play to everyone who took the time to take part. It was great to see so many people taking an interest in the republican history of the area. And a particular shout out to Stephen Murney, ex-prisoner and local tour guide!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

“Unsung Hero” James Fearon Remembered in Newry

 Despite the adverse weather conditions trade union members, socialists, republicans and members of the local community  gathered in Newry to pay tribute to James Fearon, an early pioneer of trade unionism and socialism, with the erection of a permanent tribute on Merchants Quay on Monday [March 30].

Welcoming the unveiling of the memorial plaque éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney commended those involved in erecting the tribute “It’s fantastic that such important local history is being remembered and commemorated. Newry Trades Council, trade unionists and local people must be commended for financing this tribute which was initiated by the Newry Maritime Association.

“Born in Newry in 1874 he was one of the 'three James' who were the early champions of the socialist cause and defenders of worker’s rights:- James Connolly, James Larkin and Newry's James Fearon. Both Larkin and Fearon have close links to the Newry area with Fearon being born in Castle Street whilst James Larkin and his family lived just outside the town for a period of time.

“James Fearon has been variously described as Larkin's right hand man and his lieutenant. He was instrumental in fighting for workers rights and defending the working class. James Fearon also led the Newry Dock Strike and Lockout in 1907. That was an extremely difficult time for the striking workers with many families starving and facing a harsh winter.

Continuing, Stephen said “A founding member of both the ITGWU and the ICA.  It's also believed that James Fearon’s militant stance was the inspiration behind the formation of the Irish Citizen Army set up to defend the working class. In fact James Larkin actually confirmed that Fearon's idea to set up a workers militia in Cork led to the ICA being formed.  Following James Fearon’s death James Larkin described him as ‘one of the unsung heroes of our struggle’.

“As a socialist and union organiser, Fearon organised direct actions against evictions in the Newry area and stood firm against the RIC, bailiffs and landlords thus preventing local people from being forcibly evicted.”

Concluding Murney stated, “James Fearon’s beliefs and ideals remain as relevant today as they did almost 100 years ago when he led the Dock strike and lockout in Newry in 1907.  Over 100 years later in Ireland, families are still being evicted. Working class families in the Twenty-Six Counties are being penalised by the unjust imposition of taxes on drinking water . Here in the North, health services are being slashed and the local Stroke Unit in Newry is facing closure. We don’t even have to ask where James Fearon would have stood on these issues.”