Thursday, 30 December 2010

Open letter to leaders of all Stormont political parties and Sammy Wilson

Dear Minister,

I am a community worker and watched with interest yesterday as the Assembly political parties reached agreement on a draft budget despite having been at loggerheads for weeks. Given the ambiguity with which the budget was presented and the complete lack of clarity as to how the departmental budgets will function and also your commitment to a public consultation, I’m wondering if you could take a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to answer a constituent’s question.

Firstly, I'm particularly interested to know how this budget will in any way alleviate the deep social and economic inequalities that plague this place. In fact I would be interested to know if the assembly has in any way tried to unite in opposition to the paltry investment from Westminster over the next four years? Given that you and your political party have been involved in bringing the assembly down countless times over other issues, did this one not seem important enough?

Also I would like to know if the health service, which is already massively under resourced where it counts and overburdened with fat cat consultants where it doesn't count, is now set to be dismantled further? Shall I maybe start learning how to do basic surgery at home?

I would also like to know whether you and your family rely on the NHS or have private healthcare and wouldn't be affected by these decisions either way. Not that this would have impacted either way on the execution of your duties as a public servant of course ;)

Furthermore, and I apologise for demanding so much of your time as I know that over a four year term and within an assembly with more staff than Westminster it must be difficult to get a minute, but what way will the budget impact on education? In the area where I live there are kids leaving primary school regularly with the reading age of a seven year old yet it seems kids aren't worth investing in as heavily as banks. Your thoughts per chance?

And by the way, while I’ve got you a minute, will my daughter be able to go to university as I don’t earn enough a year and really cant afford £9000 and given the cuts you all seem set on implementing, by the time she finishes university she will never get a job anyway and will be unable to repay herself. Just gimme a heads up and some ideas on this one if possible.

Lastly, community groups, organisations and activists across the state are the buffer which keeps society functioning whilst you’s guys eat those cheap meals and shake your metaphoric phalluses at each other. So how much money will you be taking back out of those communities? (If I misspelt phalluses I apologise. Adult education is becoming very sparse in my area for some reason).

Oh yes and by the way, shall you all be leading from the front during this dire economic climate by taking wage cuts yourselves and maybe getting some of that expenses money back into the public purse?

Yours in complete contempt

Seán Brady


Saturday, 18 December 2010

PSNI Provoke Riot in Newry

The Derrybeg estate in Newry was once again placed under siege by the PSNI last night [Friday], provoking some of the most serious rioting in the nationalist area in many years.
A convoy of armoured jeeps descended on the working class housing estate yesterday evening and began sealing off the entrance to the area. They also had a large presence in the Carnagat and Parkhead areas, as well as sealing off several other main roads around Newry.

The PSNI claimed they were responding to a bomb alert at the Camlough Road roundabout, which is, in fact, some distance from Derrybeg. However, local residents, éirígí activists and elected representatives were able to walk right up to the roundabout during the ‘alert’, with traffic flowing freely around it.

As expected, the PSNI spent their time goading young republicans who had gathered nearby. Over four hours of rioting ensued as the youths responded to the attempted intimidation with a range of missiles.

As a direct result of the PSNI actions, there was also a car accident, which resulted in a young man being taken to hospital with minor injuries. Despite being in the vicinity, the PSNI did not even respond to the incident and it was left to éirígí activists and local residents to clear the road and remove the damaged car to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.

In a blatant attempt to draw young people into further confrontation, the PSNI then decided to enter Derrybeg itself, a tactic which failed miserably.

éirígí activists and other residents remained at the scene for the duration of the trouble and confronted the PSNI as to why they were even in the estate.

After leaving Derrybeg for a short period, the PSNI returned in armoured landrovers in another attempt to stoke tensions.

This time, however, éirígí activists placed themselves in front of the landrovers and refused to let the political police enter the estate. As the activists were joined by other residents, a standoff ensued before the PSNI were forced to admit defeat and, embarrassingly, withdraw.

When a member of the so-called District Policing Partnership arrived on the scene, she informed the residents and éirígí activists that she had been speaking to a senior PSNI officer. She passed on the information that the officer in question told her that “they would be dealing with the people who had surrounded a landrover”. When an éirígí activist challenged her as to what her colleague in the PSNI meant by saying they would “deal” with people and “Did it mean the PSNI would be using violence?”, she refused to answer, stating “I won’t speak to you” before leaving the area.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “Serious questions need to be asked as to why the PSNI felt the need to be anywhere near the Derrybeg estate in the first place, considering the alleged alert was nowhere near the area.

“A pattern seems to be emerging with incidents like this. Several weeks ago, the PSNI used similar tactics in the exact same area, provoking a riot situation. Each time there is an alleged security alert in Newry, the PSNI use it as an excuse to arrive in force to seal off the Derrybeg estate, close roads, antagonise youths and cause riot situations.

“The blame for this situation lies squarely with the PSNI and we commend our activists and the people of Derrybeg who stood shoulder to shoulder and refused to allow the PSNI, who were intent on causing trouble, to enter their area. People across the Six Counties who are suffering due to the unwanted presence of the PSNI should take a leaf from the book of the people of Derrybeg.

“éirígí will fully support any community that is resisting the repressive tactics of Britain’s police force in Ireland.”

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Maghaberry Protest in Support of POWS


Once again this is an opportunity to show solidarity with the POWS and their families at this important time of the year. In recent weeks a situation has developed were men are being prevented from seeing their loved ones due to a disputed oral search introduced by the NIPS. This search, like the forcible strip search, is another breech of the August 12th agreement which supposedly dealt with these two issues; as the prisoners understood both procedures would be discontinued in favour of a more humane approach based upon new technologies. The children of these men have saw their fathers once in the past month, yet they continue to travel to the jail each week only to be turned way in disappointment and despair. What type of system treats children in such a way. The NIPS is guilty of playing with the emotions of these children who are desperate to see their fathers before Christmas. It is our job to support these families and to add our voices to the call for the immediate implementation of the 'agreement' which is now long overdue. Let us stand beside them on the 19th and show them we care.

Protest organised by members of the family and friends support group.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

éirígí: Fallen IRA Volunteers Remembered in Newry

On Sunday, December 12, around 70 republicans and socialists gathered at the iconic Egyptian Arch in Newry to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of an ambush in which 3 IRA volunteers lost their lives.
The éirígí-organised event entailed the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and was attended by people from across the district and further afield. It was also fitting to have family members of the volunteers in attendance.

During the event, a PSNI helicopter hovered overhead keeping everyone under surveillance, but they failed in their attempts to intimidate those in attendance.

The plaque was unveiled by Jackie Shields, whose grandfather, volunteer Peter Shields, fought bravely in the Egyptian Arch Ambush and died as a result of wounds he received.

A wreath was then laid and a minute’s silence was observed.

The event was chaired by local éirígí activist Stephen Murney.

Murney spoke about the growth of éirígí in the Newry area and the Crown Forces harassment that has come with it.

“The most recent incident occurred just a few hours ago when myself and a fellow éirígí activist were stopped by the British police in Hill Street after we had just collected this memorial plaque,” he said.

“We were surrounded, forced from the vehicle at gunpoint and made to stand with our hands raised above our heads while we were vigorously searched. The vehicle we were in was also extensively searched and the political police attempted to remove the plaque from the boot of the car. We strongly objected to this and lifted it from the car ourselves.

“After roughly 20 minutes, during which time they made snide remarks about the plaque, they let us continue on our way. It’s ironic that we are here commemorating an event in which the then RIC was one of the targets and, now, 90 years on their predecessors in the PSNI are trying to disrupt us and disrupt our commemorative event.

“Let us make one thing clear: no amount of petty harassment and intimidation will ever stop republicans from honouring our patriot dead, nor will it deter us from our political activities.”

The guest speaker for the event was prominent local republican Davy Hyland.

Hyland explained in great detail the history surrounding the ambush and the funerals that followed, which, according to reports, were the biggest ever seen in Newry, with an estimated 20,000 people turning out to pay their respects.

Hyland asked: “What, I wonder, would volunteers Canning, O’Hare and Shields make of contemporary Ireland 90 years on? As staunch Irish republicans, I doubt if they would be enthusiastic or happy with the current state of play.

“In the south, due to the greed of the banks, developers and the corrupt government itself, they have had to be rescued by the IMF and EU at a cost of €85 billion. In their latest budget, their response has been to once again target the most vulnerable in society, with massive cuts being imposed on the young, the old, the sick, the unemployed and those living on the minimum wage.

“Yet the politicians in Leinster House, along with their big business cronies, who were the ones who actually created the crisis, escape with their own wealth intact with their bonuses guaranteed and with their gambling debts paid off by those who played no part in the fiasco.”

Hyland added: “As republicans, we do have a duty, not only to remember the past, but also to organise for the future in a comradely fashion.

“I would like to thank éirígí for organising this commemoration and erecting this plaque for the Egyptian Arch Martyrs. It ensures that volunteers Canning, O’Hare and Shields will always be honoured and remembered.”

Respect Fallen Freedom Fighters

The latest news from éirígí Newry

The following Letter was published in today's Newry Democrat

Since last year éirígí in Newry started planning a commemorative event to remember the 90th anniversary of the Egyptian Arch ambush in which 3 IRA volunteers paid the supreme sacrifice for Irish liberation. For far too long this historic event was largely forgotten about and we felt it would be fitting to pay tribute to the fallen volunteers.

In last week’s edition there was an article regarding éirígí commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the Egyptian Arch Ambush.

The title of the article claimed that the Volunteers were part of an “ambush gang”. As the organiser of this commemorative event, and a proud Socialist Republican, i have to say found this description deeply offensive.

I also spoke to relatives of the volunteers and they too shared the disgust and were hurt that their loved one was described as being a member of a “gang”.

The Newry volunteers were soldiers of the Irish Republican Army who took part in a meticulously planned and daring operation involving over 200 volunteers.

Last Sunday people from all walks of life, both young and old, came together with eirigi to pay their respects to these courageous volunteers and the sacrifice made on that cold December night 90 years ago. They didn’t commemorate members of a “gang”, they commemorated soldiers of an army, an army that was to the fore in resisting British occupation. Despite the odds being stacked against them they nonetheless faced the foe with outstanding courage and bravery. The principles by which the organisation stood and for which many of its members paid the ultimate sacrifice remain relevant almost a century later.

Many people would associate the word “gang” with gangsters and criminals. The use of the term in this instance is effectively criminalising the volunteers and their actions. I doubt that was the initial intention but i think a bit more care and consideration should be shown in future when referring to fallen Óglaigh who gave their lives for our liberation.

éirígí Newry

Friday, 26 November 2010

Republican Congress Public Debate Available for Download

Last night in Belfast, public debate hosted by Comhdháil Poblachtach Ollscoil Banríona, Irish republican socialist student society ( Republican Congress)
Is the cure for Ireland's ills a 32 County Socialist Republic?

Speakers (in this order)

  • Daithí Mac An Mhaistír - Éirígí
  • Eoin O’Broin - Sinn Féin and author of , ‘Sinn Féin and the Politics of Left Republicanism’
  • Brian Hanley - Author of ‘Lost Revolution- The story of the Official IRA and Workers Party’
  • Anthony McIntyre - Author of ‘Good Friday- The Death of Irish Republicanism’
  • Q & A session

Download here:

A very good public debate with éirígí's Daithí Mac An Mhaistír up first

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Belfast Honours Volunteers Black & Ryan

Around 150 people gathered in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery on Saturday afternoon [November 20] to mark the 19th anniversary of the deaths of IRA volunteers Patricia Black and Frank Ryan on active service.

Patricia and Frank were killed in an accidental explosion in England on November 15 1991.

Lenadoon woman and former St Genevieve’s Secondary School student Patricia was just 18 at the time of her death. Frank Ryan, who was born in England of Irish parents but later moved to Belfast, lived in Poleglass. Both are buried in Milltown Cemetery.

Saturday’s commemoration, which was organised by the Patricia Black Memorial Flute Band from Glasgow in conjunction with the Black family, included a wreath laying ceremony at the graves of both Patricia and Frank. éirígí’s Rab Jackson gave the oration.

Peter Black, Patricia’s brother, said the family was glad to see his sister being remembered nearly 20 years after her death.

“We as a family are immensely proud of Patricia’s contribution to the freedom struggle and we are honoured that so many republicans came out to commemorate both my sister and her comrade Frank Ryan.”

Peter added: “Patricia was an uncompromising opponent of British rule in Ireland and it is important that the younger generation are informed of the reasons why she and many others like her chose to become involved in struggle.”

Below is the speech which Rab Jackson delivered at the commemoration.

“Nearly 20 years have passed since the deaths of volunteers Patricia Black and Frank Ryan on active service.

“In that time, republicans have experienced much disappointment and turbulence, but those here at this commemoration today and many more people around Ireland have emerged from this period as committed to the struggle for the Socialist Republic as they ever were.

“Indeed, a new generation of young people has become attracted to republicanism. There is little doubt that many more will join the struggle in the time ahead as the economic meltdown wrecks the lives of working class people across the country.

“And it isn’t simply the traditional avenues of republicanism that people are becoming involved in. Through the language revival, sporting and other cultural activities, trade unionism, projects like the Volunteer Patricia Black Memorial Flute Band, many different community initiatives and éirígí, people are again building community pride and cohesion in working class republican areas.

“Our aim at this time must be to build support for the republican struggle in Belfast and further afield, to encourage people, young and old, to get involved in socialist republican politics and, just as importantly, to educate people about the sacrifice that Patricia, Frank and many, many people like them made in pursuance of their beliefs.

“It takes a special type of courage, diligence and ingenuity to be able to take the fight against oppression right into the power base of the oppressor. These are qualities which Patricia and Frank obviously possessed in abundance.

“This is why people like Patricia and Frank are perfect role models for young people in working class communities today. When their community was under attack, their country occupied and their neighbours exploited, oppressed and imprisoned, they didn’t look the other way or keep their heads down. They decided to take risks, to become involved in struggle because they valued the place where they were from and the people who they loved more than anything else.

“This is why it has been such an honour for me to be asked to speak at this commemoration today. I know I am not alone in extending solidarity to the Black and Ryan families and in pledging that the names of Frank and Patricia and the courage they displayed will never be forgotten. But in remembering our fallen volunteers, we must always keep our eyes fixed on what they died for and what remains to be struggled for and achieved.

“People in our communities today, whether that be in Belfast, Dublin, Derry or Cork are still told they are worthless by the great and the good, they are still seen as, at best, expendable and, at worst, suspect, by the people in power. Exploitation and poverty are still the fate of far too many people in working class areas of Belfast and elsewhere.

“However, if we can instill the pride that Patricia and Frank showed in their community, their class and their country then the struggle for national independence and socialism will reach a successful conclusion. Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.”

Friday, 5 November 2010

Has Society Gone Completely Bonkers?

A close friend and comrade of mine, Sammy Cusick, has made the front page of today's Irish News. Sammy is a well known, North Belfast, community activist and is a member of Concerned Families Against Drugs, the anti-Drugs group.

Now it's not unusual for Sammy to feature in the Irish News, he has been in it numerous times for his community activities, but today's story is slightly different.

Just over a week ago Sammy was in the Irish News after a large quantity of dangerous drugs including Cocaine and Mephadrone were taken off a drug dealer by Óglaigh na hÉireann. The drugs were passed onto CFAD who then destroyed them by flushing them down a drain and a photograph of this was featured in the Irish News on October 20th.

As a result of this the PSNI are seeking to have Sammy charged with possession of Drugs!!

Sammy should be praised, not prosecuted for destroying these dangerous drugs and keeping them off the streets. How many lives have been saved by this action being taken?

Sammy responded to this by saying "that most right-thinking people welcomed the fact that these drugs are no longer being sold to our young people. It's a pity the PSNI don't show the same view"

Sammy continued "In the past we have had mothers, fathers and other members of the public approach us with drugs they have found or removed from young people for us to dispose of. This would mainly be because those people don't have any faith in the PSNI to deal with the problem. When you see this type of action being taken you can understand why the community have so little faith in the PSNI"

CFAD have also issued a statement saying "We view this threat from the PSNI and PPS as nothing more than political policing at its worst. Particularly given the fact that well-known Drug Barons openly live in properties and freely swan about in their flash cars paid for through the proceeds of serious crime.

Since our formation in 2008, the PSNI and so-called Criminal Justice System have failed miserably to tackle the increase in the supply of dangerous drugs onto our streets. CFAD's record speaks for itself and people who live in Nationalist areas of North Belfast know only too well, the positive impact our anti-drugs campaign has had. We will not be threatened by possible hilarious charges from the State and continue to expose anti-community criminals who prey on our youth.

CFAD suggest, that the negative energies of the PSNI and PPS would be better spent questioning their inactivity in seriously combating drugs and related crime in working-class communities across North Belfast."

CFAD have come under attack from many quarters since they were formed including from those who should better. Also the discredited IMC have in past claimed they were a vigilante group who were involved in "punishment shootings", after these claims were made CFAD met the IMC and set the record straight.

It seems some people aren't happy with the great work CFAD are doing, thankfully it's a different story in their respective communities.

A few questions need to be asked regarding the priorities of the PSNI.

Why don't they seek to track down and prosecute the dealers?

Will they also seek to charge priests and other community activists who have in the past destroyed drugs? Indeed i can recall a Councillor in Newry who has also destroyed drugs in the recent past, for which he should be praised, but will the PSNI now be seeking to charge him for possession of drugs?

This is perfect example of how the PSNI are failing Nationalist communities in the 6 counties. Rather than target criminals and drug dealers they are targeting community activists who are taking dangerous drugs of the streets and making their communities safer.

Have they any idea how much this will alienate them from nationalist communities? Thousands of nationalists will be reading today's Irish News and will be left scratching their heads wondering why society is so f**ked up.

I have been speaking to Sammy regarding this and as i expected he will stand firm and continue with his community work.
Maith thú Sammy agus CFAD

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Interview with Óglaigh na hÉireann

 Brian Rowan interviews Army Council and GHQ staff of Óglaigh na hÉireann

Rowan: I’d like to ask about the roots of your organisation, how it emerged — the when and why of that, what you see as the organisation’s role.

ONH: The organisation began with nothing more than a number of conversations between senior republicans across Ireland [in 2005]. They had watched how the anti-agreement republican military world had the perception of [being] badly organised, ineffective and perceived [as] highly infiltrated, and, in some cases, I suppose they were. They decided that after a very lengthy debate to try and salvage a group of republicans and form them into an organisation. It would have taken a year just to agree to the formation of a group. We had agreed the title Oglaigh na hEireann, but hadn’t made it public. We looked at all of the IRAs, including the Provisional IRA. We looked at all their strengths and weaknesses. We picked out what we believed were flaws in structure and operational, and we designed a structure for Oglaigh na hEireann, that while based on the same format as the Provisionals, had sections that were fundamentally different, which we believed offered better security and limited the security services in the event of them being able to successfully recruit agents and informers.

Rowan: [Is it] a new beginning, or picking up where others had left off?

ONH: It was a mixture of both. At that particular stage a number of people had come to our attention as having become disillusioned with the Provisional IRA strategy and approaches were made both ways [from ONH to individuals, and from individuals to ONH]. We believed that some of the people who were starting to form a core structure were people who could offer a formidable military alternative to what was then on offer militarily. It’s a number of people who were former members of other organisations, and that’s across the spectrum – Provisional IRA, INLA, Real IRA. The vast, vast majority of people who were recruited were deliberately selected for their skills, experience and know-how. This is island-wide. There wasn’t an open recruitment procedure.

Rowan: When does this become a first operation?

ONH: There was a number of training operations, and testing the structure, which have never been claimed. [The] first operation claimed was a kneecapping on south link pitches Andersonstown. The victim was shot six times —elbows, knees, ankles.

Rowan: Talk to me about this description of a two-headed beast, used to describe the Oglaigh na hEireann relationship with the Real IRA — two bits of one organisation?

ONH: It simply isn’t the case. Oglaigh na hEireann is a separate entity. The confusion initially in some media and security circles, we assume, came about [because] there was a handful of former senior members of the Real IRA who were playing pivotal roles in the emerging Oglaigh na hEireann. Unfortunately because Oglaigh na hEireann wasn’t doing interviews or statements at that time the water remained cloudy.

Rowan: That suited you?

ONH: No end.

Rowan: What about joint operations — sharing materials, expertise?

ONH: At the present stage there is a friendly and cordial relationship between Oglaigh na hEireann and other armed republican organisations. That doesn’t cross over into joint operations. I don’t believe there is any sharing of expertise.

Rowan: Let’s deal with the tactics and strategy of your own organisation. Describe your immediate aims, and then we’ll talk about what you think is achievable longer term.

ONH: Our fundamentals are about securing the organisation, about credible recruitment and carrying out credible, high-grade operations. We also want to offer working class communities, who have been abandoned, protection from criminals and drug dealers. Every time we are not involved in an operation we are recruiting, developing expertise, gathering intelligence and planning the next operation. All of that is made easier on the back of some of our operations. The Provisional IRA took approximately 15 years to wind down. There is no ready-made IRA pack that can be assembled in a short period of time. An Oglaigh na hEireann capable of having a sustained campaign will take time to develop. It will take time to develop the structures, personnel, finance and weaponry.

Rowan: If Oglaigh na hEireann went full out [now]?

ONH: I think we would be playing right into the hands of the British, who, while the Provisional IRA were winding down continued with their war machine in Ireland unabated. To go at it full steam would increase momentum short term, but we believe ultimately would fail within a very short period of time.

Rowan: As your expertise builds, as you become more successful in your terms, what happens inside and outside the organisation?

ONH: Inside the organisation successful operations increase morale. It also gives republicans increased confidence to carry out more daring attacks. Republicans who acknowledge that Oglaigh na hEireann are doing the right things offer their services. That in turn increases our capabilities even further.

Rowan: Do you have what previously would have been Provisional IRA bomb-making expertise?

ONH: Yes.

Rowan: Do you want to elaborate?

ONH: No. We have found that former IRA volunteers have applied to join Oglaigh na hEireann on the back of those successful operations.

Rowan: Security activity?

ONH: We have noticed a dramatic increase in both overt and covert surveillance. A number of people have also been approached with offers from the security services to work for them — from right across the security spectrum. Four people in the last week have been approached with at least one offered a substantial amount of money. In the aftermath of Section 44 stop and search, with the increased [security] activity and presence, we watched as they tried to increase their presence on the ground, and, likewise, we adapted to counter that threat.

Rowan note: The interview then deals with a number of specific Oglaigh na hEireann attacks including the car bomb at Palace Barracks military base which houses the MI5 Headquarters in Northern Ireland, and the under-car booby trap bomb attack in which police officer Peadar Heffron was critically injured. It also touches on a dissident intelligence-gathering operation in a wooded area close to Palace Barracks. Over an unspecified period of time, digital cameras were used to record images of activity at the base.

Rowan: Did you target Peadar Heffron, or did you target a police officer?

ONH: We never target an individual in uniform. We target the uniform and what it stands for.

Rowan: Did you target him because of his involvement with the GAA — that he speaks the Irish language? Were you making a point?

ONH: No comment on that.

Rowan: Is he not as Irish — more Irish — than those who make up your organisation?

ONH: Absolutely not. Irish history is littered with mercenaries who have worked for and implemented British laws.

Rowan: What is it about new policing that you object to?

ONH: Policing in the north of Ireland is still controlled by National Security — MI5. All its powers, laws and finance come from England, and it is no different today in 2010 than it was in 1994 [the year the IRA announced a complete cessation of military operations]

Rowan: Do you really believe that?

ONH: Yeah I do ? everything that the RUC did — the abuse, harassment and frame-ups — still continues today.

Rowan: How big an operation was the Palace Barracks attack — its timing [coinciding with the devolution of justice powers] and the fact that MI5 Headquarters is on site?

ONH: The timing of it was deliberate. The significance was deliberate, and a major effort was put into that operation.

Rowan: Did you have the base under camera surveillance prior to that attack?

ONH: We’ll not go into details on duration of our surveillance except to say that we garnered significant intelligence.

Rowan: Is it from this that you target the Army Major [in a planned under-car booby trap bomb attack] in Bangor?

ONH: We won’t go into detail on how we garner intelligence except to say that we have shown that we can pinpoint police officers and soldiers very accurately.

Rowan: Security assessments suggest the fingerprint/type of bomb used in Bangor was
different to the make-up of the device used when you targeted a police dog-handler in east Belfast — clearly suggesting more than one bomb-maker.

ONH: Oglaigh na hEireann has developed explosives expertise.

Rowan: It was the dog-handler you were targeting — not his partner?

ONH: Had we been targeting his partner it [the bomb] would have been under her seat. Our intelligence and surveillance showed us that she regularly drove him to work. We deliberately picked areas [for attacks] that were seen as safe zones for security forces. It was to send a direct message that nowhere is safe.

Rowan: I want to talk about some recent developments — the speech by the Director General of MI5, the threat level raised in Britain, Police Federation calls for a thousand more police officers, a stepping up of overt policing. What does all of this say to your organisation?

ONH: It says that they — MI5/British Intelligence — are acknowledging a growing threat, which they admit they played down and ignored, played it down and underestimated it.

Rowan: Is Britain – attacks there – part of your focus and thinking?

ONH: Oglaigh na hEireann will decide when and where it attacks. Sceptics will say, ‘they would say that because they don’t have the capabilities’. Eighteen months ago, they told us we couldn’t even detonate a bomb. Nothing is beyond our reach.

Rowan note: The interview then deals with a claim by Martin McGuinness that the British and Irish governments have been talking to dissident groups. The Belfast Telegraph has been told of a process of contacts — not face-to-face, but mediators talking to representatives of the dissident groups and separately to British and Irish officials, but with all sides knowing who is involved.

Rowan: Has your organisation met face-to-face with representatives of the British or Irish governments?

ONH: No.

Rowan: Let me talk about contacts, quiet dialogue, involving mediators talking both to your organisation and British and Irish officials. Do you recognise that description?

ONH: I recognise the description, yes.

Rowan: I’m told it’s at two levels — alternatives to punishment attacks, and exploring a way forward without armed struggle/activity. Is that a reasonable description?

ONH: We are a people’s army. It’s inevitable that we will be interacting with the community. Some punishment attacks are resolvable, others aren’t. It’s a giant leap to get from that to a perception of engagement with the British or Irish governments. People from all walks of life talk to us about non-violent ways. Again, we don’t see that as direct contact with either government.

Rowan: How do you respond to the description of dissident republicans as traitors — “conflict junkies”?

ONH: We think it’s farcical. Some of the hypocritical comments coming from former armed republicans who are engaged in demonisation of former comrades for upholding the proclamation and the IRA’s Green Book.

Rowan: We hear a lot about senior Sinn Fein figures being warned of threats. Are they legitimate targets in your eyes?

ONH: No. Ireland has seen enough of feuds while the British sit back and happily watch it.

Rowan: The IRA was better armed, supported, resourced, and they acknowledged a military stalemate. So, what makes you think you can achieve more?

ONH: The overview of the structure we pointed to earlier in the interview, we believe has more durability to penetration. We have no desire to replicate or be a morph of the Provisional IRA. They failed — so, why would we want to copy them? There is a fragile Assembly. There is a forging together of political opposites that is much easier to undermine and defeat than the war that the Provisionals had.

Rowan: Do you think a war can be won?

ONH: We think a war can create the conditions where republicans can create dialogue that will fulfil republican objectives.

Rowan: Brits out?

ONH: A 32 county democratic socialist republic. Brits out is simply not good enough.

Rowan: So it’s a pipedream then?

ONH: Some people say that Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness sitting in a room sharing power in a partitionist Assembly endorsing British policing was also a pipedream.

Rowan: Has killing become the cause, just to say, ‘we haven’t sold out’ — killing for killing’s sake?

ONH: As far as we are concerned we are not engaged in killing for killing’s sake. We are engaged in a war against the illegal occupation of our country and usurpation of Irish sovereignty.

Rowan: So you think that killing will work?

ONH: We think that a war will create the conditions for credible dialogue aimed at British withdrawal. Internal settlements are not what Irish republicans fought, died and went to jail for.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Sowing the Seeds of Division

Recently saw the home of Liam Shannon being targetted in an attempted bomb attack in West Belfast, another device exploded nearby.

Liam has a history of being targeted  by Loyalist paramilitaries, most reports are laying the blame at their feet. However whilst listening to Talkback on BBC Radio Ulster yesterday it was clear that the felon setting had started.

The headline of the show was "Were "Dissidents" Responsible?".

Presenter Wendy Austin pressed Liam on who was responsible and she implied that Republicans may have been responsible, Liam immediately rejected that claim and said that the most likely culprits were Loyalists who had targeted him a number of times over the years. Indeed in one of these previous Loyalist attacks they attached a device to a container of fuel, almost identical to last nights attack.

Next up was, former Republican, Maírtín ÓMillionaire, who spoke highly of Liam yet went against him and tried to lay the blame with Republicans, i found it somewhat bizarre that while the victim was rejecting the claim that republicans were involved Mairtin would push the notion that they were.

The Shinners comrades in the British "Security services" have joined them in the felon setting by stating that "it was more than likely dissident republicans than loyalist paramilitaries"

Óglaigh na hÉireann and the CIRA have both denied responsibility, so that rubbishes the constitutional claim that Republicans were involved.

It needs to be asked, why would former republicans try to cause friction and division in the Republican community by falsely claiming Republicans were responsible for this disgraceful attack? Not only is that wrong but it's also highly dangerous.

Why would they try to sow seeds of division in Nationalist/Republican communities?
Who's agenda does that serve?
Who's pulling their strings?

Sunday, 31 October 2010

éirígí Protest Against PSNI Harassment in Newry

Over 40 republicans took to the streets of Newry yesterday [Saturday] to protest against PSNI harassment in the city.

The protest was organised by éirígí in response to a dramatic upsurge in Crown Forces harassment directed towards party activists in the area in recent months. The harassment has included house raids, stop and searches and, more recently, threats and assaults.

The protesters gathered at Ardmore barracks in Newry, where they erected a banner on the fortified sangar situated at the front of the militarised base. They then proceeded to paste posters exposing the unchanged nature of British policing in the Six Counties on the front wall of the barracks.

For the duration of the protest, those in attendance were kept under constant surveillance by the political police, who filmed and videoed the protesters and even went to the lengths of recording the registration numbers of passing motorists who beeped their horns in support.

As the protest was drawing to a close, embarrassed PSNI officers began attempting to tear down the éirígí posters, demonstrating yet again the political priorities of the force.

Speaking after the protest, rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith thanked all those who attended.

“At a time when the PSNI's intimidation tactics in Newry and elsewhere are going into overdrive, those who took the bold step of attending the Ardmore protest are to be commended,” MacCionnaith said.

“Newry republicans have sent out a strong message that they will not sit back and be intimidated by state sponsored thugs. They will resist this harassment with the support of republicans from across Ireland.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “The task now for republicans and socialists is to spread the message far and wide that the PSNI, like its RUC soulmate before it, is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.

“éirígí will continued to stand firm against PSNI harassment. It will take a lot more than the petty tactics of this discredited force to prevent us carrying out our work.”

Penisve Quill; Longer and Stronger

Last weeks Sunday Tribune featured a very instructive article by Suzanne Breen. The paper’s Northern editor interviewed the former Tyrone IRA prisoner Brian Arthurs who up until two years ago was a prominent member of the Provisional Movement. ‘One of the most senior ex-Provisional IRA figures in the North’ Arthurs was a high profile activist who lost a brother, Declan, to the SAS during a compromised IRA operation at Loughall in May 1987.
Given that Provo revisionism has been scaling heights formerly attained by their predecessors in the Sticks the Arthurs intervention helps frame matters in some form of republican context. This adds to our understanding of the conflict rather than serving to detract from it as tends to happen when revisionism distorts the prism through which the conflict is viewed.

An example of Provo revisionism came recently via the perspective of the former Provisional IRA activist Martina Anderson. Commenting on the Real IRA car bomb exploding outside a branch of the Ulster Bank in Derry, Anderson, in seeking to place clear Tory blue water between the former IRA she belonged to and the current IRA, dismissed any resemblance or line of continuity between the actions of the recent car bombers and the car bombers of her day. Mark Devenport of the BBC who witnessed her contribution during a Stormont debate summed up her position as follows:

Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson did all the other Stormont politicians might have asked of her - not only condemning the bombing, but calling on people to give information about those responsible to the police. However the jab at "born again Provos" obviously irked her. She rounded on the other speakers, claiming they were providing "a degree of comfort" for the dissidents by associating them with the Provisional IRA's campaign. Ms Anderson then argued that the dissidents and the Provisionals are completely different because the Good Friday Agreement had changed everything and removed the previous justification for resorting to violence, namely that Northern Ireland had been an unreconstructed "Protestant parliament for a Protestant people".

In arguing as she does Anderson is in effect repackaging the Provisional IRA’s armed struggle, seeking to mask its catastrophic failure, by linking it to a goal the organisation had never set itself - equality within the partitioned British state of Northern Ireland - and was long contemptuous of for its serious limitations in terms of republican ideology. For the Provisionals, during their war waging endeavours, the shortfall was simply too great. Argue as she might that the Good Friday Agreement ‘changed everything’ it in fact changed only the internal political landscape within the North. It changed absolutely nothing in terms of meeting the core demand of the Provisional armed struggle. The question of sovereignty went untroubled by the Agreement.

Any student of the political history of the North conflict can sense immediately that the Anderson case is piffle. The dynamic feeding the conflict arguably had its roots in inequality coupled with state repression. The grievances emerging from that dynamic were weaved into an ideological republican framework by the Provos, the apex of which was most demonstrably not equality within the North but the abolition of the north as a political entity.

Arthurs nailed the piffle immediately with his comment to the Tribune that:

no one can deny that there have been changes in the North but it is an equality agenda being pursued. People did not die, they did not take up arms, for equality. They did so for Irish freedom.

It is this simply stated logic that provides the strong umbilical cord linking the Provisional and Real IRAs. It also explains the difficulty many republicans experienced when they saw their former chief of staff Martin McGuinness denounce armed republicans as traitors. A colleague of Arthurs, Peter McCaughey, also interviewed by the Tribune expressed it:

We were disgusted when Martin McGuinness stood at the gates of Stormont with the chief constable of the PSNI after Massereene and demonised republicans. He did not speak for us.

As he continued to let even more air out of Anderson’s balloon Arthurs articulated a persistent republican sentiment which is far from being exclusive to those republicans who continue to favour armed struggle. Whereas the Derry Catholic advocated that people become informers for the British the Tyrone republican urged that they do nothing of the sort.

It can be argued that an armed campaign is not advisable at this point in time but it will never be right to inform on those who decide otherwise. Informing on republicans will lead to their families being oppressed by the state. It will lead to the arrest and incarceration of volunteers and, at worst, to their death. It was wrong to pass information to the police 20 or 30 years ago and it is wrong now. The graveyards are full of young republicans put there because a small minority of the nationalist community passed information to the British forces.

A poignant, telling comment from a man whose brother lies in one of those graves because someone ‘passed information to the British forces.’

Revisionism as practiced by the Provisionals suffers from the same deficiencies that beset the Sticks when they too tried rewriting history from the perspective of their current needs. Republican memory is longer and stronger than revisionist amnesia. The frailty of forgetting what was fought for finds itself flummoxed each time it arm locks with the muscle of memory.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

British Military Involved in House Raids

32CSM Condemn The Raids of Derry Homes

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement absolutely deplore and condemn the actions of the RUC/PSNI in Derry City over the last two weeks. We believe these actions deliberately coincide with the deployment of undercover British military personnel in the area who have been witnessed in the darkness, in back roads around the city, heavily armed and dressed in black military fatigues.

A total of eight family homes have been raided and plundered by a so called civic police service. Four of these homes belonged to the relatives of four IRA Volunteers who died on active service. Personal effects have been ransacked and personal items have been confiscated. Numerous young children have been left terrified and as a result. Theses raids have been carried out in a highly aggressive and insensitive manner and indeed in the same manner that the RUC showed to the mourners at Vol Eddie Mc Sheffrey and Vol Paddy Deery’s funeral.

Nothing illustrates the continuity of the RUC’s lineage in today’s PSNI, more startling than the fact that they choose this anniversary to invade the homes of the sons of each of those dead Volunteers.

The fact that the date on the warrants authorising these raids predated both raids, proves that this force has deliberately used the time surrounding this anniversary to send an unmistakable message to Derry Republicanism. Our message is equally clear just like the Mc Sheffrey and Deery family, friends and supporters refused to be brutalised by the RUC 23 years ago, so to will we refuse to be brutalised and intimidated today.





Thursday, 28 October 2010

Constitutional Hypocrisy

Interesting hypocritical piece in the, struggling constitutional rag, AP/RN from former republican Leo Green about the hungerstrike and Thatchers policy of  the criminalisation of republicans

Firstly he speaks out about Thatchers criminalisation policy against republicans

"I laugh to myself sometimes when I think of all these super strategists the Brits had who put together their criminalisation policy – and along comes Kieran Nugent and tells them what to do with their prison uniform"

"The stand taken many years ago by republicans against the attempts to criminalise us, our politics and our struggle"

"The task of trying to break the prisoners as part of an attempt to criminalise republicans"

Then he takes a leaf right of her book and uses it against republicans himself !!!!

"The micro-groups are going nowhere. And I’m not even sure they have a desire to go anywhere. From what I know about their activities they are heavily steeped in criminality to the point that any politics that a small few within them may espouse has become totally irrelevant to their actions.

There is no place for criminality in the pursuit of a republican agenda. Nor is there any place for adventurism or ego-driven escapades. They don’t have a strategy. Their actions defy logic."

"I’m sure that when you strip away the rhetoric and look closely at those individuals who were formally involved in the republican struggle and try to understand why they are now associated with micro-groups you’ll find an axe to grind or an ego out of control or a personal interest."

Its also interesting to note that he mentions the first blanketman, Kieran Nugent, who spent his last days drinking cheap cider on a river bank. Kieran was known as a "river rat". It's saddening that men such as Kieran were left to suffer in such a way, whilst others swan around in the armani suit brigade.

Another thing i noticed was that Leo failed to mention the brave man that led the 1st hungerstrike, Brendan "The Dark" Hughes. I wonder why that was?

It makes you wonder who is pulling the constitutionals strings and who's benefiting from their anti-republican agenda and articles?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

éirígí to Commemorate the Egyptian Arch Ambush

Republican History: The Egyptian Arch Ambush

Sunday, December 12 marks the 90th Anniversary of the Egyptian Arch ambush in which three IRA volunteers, William Canning, Peter Shields and John Francis O’Hare, lost their lives.

The plan was to attack the RIC barracks in Camlough and launch an ambush aimed at Crown Forces reinforcements coming from Newry, who would have to pass under the Arch.

The proximity of the Egyptian Arch to the main garrison town of Newry presented some difficulty to the Newry volunteers from the IRA’s 2nd Battalion – to block the road too early would arouse the enemy’s attention. So, just as the attack on the Camlough barracks was about to begin, the Newry volunteers quickly cut down the fir trees on either side of the railway embankment and made a roadblock under the arch, cutting the main road that the Crown Forces from the Newry garrison would need if they were to reach Camlough quickly. When the volunteers had finished blocking the road, they moved into firing positions on top of the Arch and waited.

At 11.30pm on Sunday, December 12, a large number of IRA volunteers, estimated at about 200 men from the Camlough and south Armagh area, moved into firing positions around the barracks. The volunteers had commandeered three of the four small houses opposite the barracks and quickly taken up positions at the upstairs windows.

About eight volunteers armed with rifles and hand grenades moved into position behind a low wall about eight feet from the barracks on the southern side. On the northern side, the volunteers had the most dangerous part of the operation. They had to insert a long gas pipe through an upstairs window in the barracks. The volunteers at this position were Frank Aiken, the officer in charge of the attack, Tommy O’Neill, the Camlough Battalion OC and Jack McIlhaw. At the western side of the barracks, it was not necessary to have any volunteers as there were no windows.

When all the IRA volunteers had taken up their positions at about midnight, the attack was started with the noise of the pipe breaking the window. This alerted the garrison, who immediately opened fire on the volunteers and sent up flares which lit up the whole area. A fierce volley of rifle fire was directed at the windows of the barrack to pin down any RIC men.

The British military garrison in Newry had seen the flares and a large force of 39 British soldiers and RIC personnel in Crossley Tenders and cars were sent to reinforce the Camlough garrison. When the military lorries reached the roadblock under the Egyptian Arch the volunteers on top, who had taken up their positions earlier, dropped grenades on the Crossley Tenders – two or three found their target but were thrown out before they could explode. Others exploded on the road.

As the British soldiers and RIC ran for cover in the fields on either side of the Arch, the volunteers opened up with a fusillade of revolver fire. A British soldier from one of the tenders at once opened fire with a machine gun, raking the top of the Arch. Volunteer William Canning from Ballymaclare, Magilligan’s Point in County Derry, who was employed by Cahill Brothers in Hill Street, Newry, was hit in the throat and head and died instantly. It was later admitted by the RIC that his body was thrown from the top of the Arch as “it was the quickest way to get it down”.

As the IRA unit was withdrawing, volunteer John Francis O’Hare from Needham Street, Newry, employed as a bookkeeper in Quinn’s the Milestone, Hill Street, was badly wounded and captured. He was taken to a British military hospital and kept there until July 15 1921. He died from his wounds on October 5 1921.

Also badly wounded in the withdrawal was volunteer Peter Shields from John Martin Street, but his comrades managed to help him to safety. He was taken to a shepherd’s hut outside Omeath for a while and then moved on to the Alexian Brothers. Shields died from his wounds on Christmas Day 1920 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Omeath.

After the volunteers had withdrawn from their positions on top of the Arch, the British army and RIC cleared the roadblock and went on to Camlough where they started raids and reprisals. Over half the village was burned that night.

In December, éirígí will be holding a number of events to commemorate this historic incident. The main event will include the unveiling on a memorial plaque, to be situated at the base of the Arch. This will be a fitting temporary tribute to the brave volunteers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Irish freedom until the permanent tribute of a 32 County Socialist Republic is achieved.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Protest Against PSNI Harassment in Newry

Over the past number of weeks, as reported by éirígí, there has been a notable upsurge in PSNI harassment being directed towards activists from the party in the Newry area.

Many other republicans and nationalists have also found themselves on the receiving end of Crown Forces intimidation and violence in the city during the same period.

This harassment has come in many forms, from house raids to stop and searches, from threats of arrest to vicious assaults. It’s now time take a stand and resist this intimidation.

It’s clear that éirígí activists are being targeted because of an increase in their political activity and due to the party’s steady growth in the Newry area. This is a clear cut example of political policing in action.

While those in positions of power remain silent, éirígí is calling on ordinary people to join us in protest – to highlight, oppose and expose the unchanged nature of the paramilitary police force in the Six Counties.

éirígí will be holding a demonstration at Ardmore PSNI barracks on the Belfast Road, Newry this Saturday [October 30] at 2pm. Bígí Linn.

Interview with Brian Arthurs

Interesting interview with prominent Republican Brian Arthurs in yesterdays Sunday Tribune

Brian Arthurs and Peter McCaughey left Sinn Féin after the party signalled it was serious about working with the PSNI. They're now leading figures in a growing 'independent' republican movement, writes Suzanne Breen, Northern Editor

One of the most senior ex-Provisional IRA figures in the North has said that the nationalist community should not pass on information or "collaborate in any way" with the PSNI.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Tribune, Brian Arthurs, a former commander of the Tyrone Brigade, said Sinn Féin and "other constitutional nationalist parties" were wrong to say that the PSNI should be supported.

Arthurs, who once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, said he had supported the Good Friday Agreement but had become very disillusioned with the failure to progress towards Irish unity.

Similar comments were voiced by Peter McCaughey, another former senior Provisional IRA member from Co Tyrone. Both men disclosed that they had left Sinn Féin two years ago after a major split in the republican movement in Tyrone.

Five Sinn Féin cumainn, and 90% of the East Tyrone brigade, left in the move. Arthurs said: "No one can deny that there have been changes in the North but it is an equality agenda being pursued. People did not die, they did not take up arms, for equality. They did so for Irish freedom.

"Yet a huge £100m MI5 building has been built in the North and 5,000 British soldiers remain here. A special British military intelligence unit has just been deployed in Derry.

"David Cameron told the Tory party conference that he was prime minister of Britain and Northern Ireland. He stressed the importance of the union and said, 'together is how we must remain'. Republicans cannot see Irish unity in any of this. It should be remembered that, as republicans, we were committed to fight on until Britain made a declaration of intent to withdraw from Ireland."

Arthurs and McCaughey both come from prominent republican families. Arthurs' brother Declan was one of eight IRA men shot dead by the SAS in Loughall in 1987. McCaughey's brother Martin, and another IRA member Dessie Grew, were killed on active service by the SAS in 1990.

A number of independent republican societies – named after the 1916 leaders and other republican martyrs – have now been formed in Tyrone. "We have six societies with around 200 members and we are in the process of forming another six," Arthurs stated.

He said the societies were "committed to upholding the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation and Irish national self-determination" and were made up of new young members and veteran republican activists.

The societies held a rally, attended by 1,500 people, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew earlier this month. Peter McCaughey said he was "extremely disappointed" with Sinn Féin's condemnation of those who remain involved in 'armed struggle'.

After the Real IRA bomb attack on the Ulster Bank in Derry, Martin McGuinness called those responsible "conflict junkies" and "neanderthals". After the murder of two British soldiers at Massereene last year, he condemned the killers as "traitors to the island of Ireland".

Peter McCaughey said: "Was my brother a 'conflict junkie', a 'neanderthal' or a 'traitor to the island of Ireland'? That is what Martin McGuinness would call him if he was killed on active service today. My brother was a freedom fighter. He fought for a united Ireland. That goal is still there and remains deeply cherished by republicans in Tyrone.

"We were disgusted when Martin McGuinness stood at the gates of  Stormont with the chief constable of the PSNI after Massereene and demonised republicans. He did not speak for us."

Brian Arthurs said the nationalist community should not "pass on information or collaborate with the PSNI" as Sinn Féin and the SDLP urged: "Young people now, just like young people during the previous phase of conflict, will continue to be attracted to the republican struggle.

"It can be argued that an armed campaign is not advisable at this point in time but it will never be right to inform on those who decide otherwise. Informing on republicans will lead to their families being oppressed by the state. It will lead to the arrest and incarceration of volunteers and, at worst, to their death.

"It was wrong to pass information to the police 20 or 30 years ago and it is wrong now. The graveyards are full of young republicans put there because a small minority of the nationalist community passed information to the British forces."

Arthurs said the independent republican societies in Tyrone were "non-party political" and were not linked to Republican Sinn Féin, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, or éirígí.

Arthurs and McCaughey said that, despite long-standing reservations about the direction of Sinn Féin's strategy, they and others had remained loyal to the leadership because they didn't want to split the movement.

"Two years ago, it reached the point that we couldn't stay," McCaughey said. "We were told at a meeting in Tyrone that Sinn Féin's support for the PSNI wasn't just a written policy, we had to implement the strategy in full or leave. So we left."

McCaughey (40) had been a Sinn Féin member for over 20 years. He served four years in the H-Blocks for possession of weapons. Arthurs is a former election agent for Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew. In 1995, he was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for possession of explosives. He was released five years later under the Good Friday Agreement. He was arrested in connection with the 2004 Northern Bank robbery and released without charge.

In 2007, he was charged with obtaining money fraudulently in relation to a mortgage application. He was acquitted. He is currently facing the same charges again and has pleaded not guilty. His request to be tried by a jury, rather than a Diplock court, was refused. He is appealing that decision to the House of Lords.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Protest Against PSNI Harassment

Protest against PSNI harassment

Organised by éirígí

Saturday 30th October

Ardmore PSNI barracks, Belfast Road, Newry, 2pm

Friday, 22 October 2010

For Your Future, For Your Class, For Your Community – Act Now

Osborne gets a pat on the back for his dirty workThat, on the day an ailing Margaret Thatcher was being treated in a private hospital, British Tory chancellor George Osborne was rising at Westminster to wield his ideological axe was highly ironic.

While the woman who wreaked such bloodshed and destruction in occupied Ireland, in British mining communities, in the Malvinas and elsewhere is weak in body, her hateful policies are very much alive and well in the halls of power in Westminster, Leinster House and Britain’s papier-mâché parliament at Stormont.

While British New Labour adopted Thatcherism by stealth, leading the woman herself to claim that party’s reincarnation as her greatest achievement, the current British Tory-Liberal Democrat government has no such qualms about being publicly Thatcherite in its policies.

Osborne & Co have set out a plan that will cripple public services, leave millions in poverty and working class communities in despair.

Among the most significant points of what the British government labeled its ‘spending review’ are: nearly 500,000 public sector jobs to be axed across the British state; an average 19 per cent four-year cut in departmental budgets; £7 billion [€7.9 billion] in additional welfare budget cuts; the retirement age to rise to 66 by 2020, which will impact particularly on low-paid workers who start work earlier in life; the increase of the NHS budget by just 0.4 per cent is de facto the biggest cut since the early 1980s.

In terms of the Six Counties, these cuts translate into: a £4 billion [€4.5 billion] cut in public expenditure over four years, which is effectively a 40 per cent cut in the British government’s subvention; the loss of up to 30,000 public sector jobs, which it is estimated will consequently cost 16,000 jobs in the private sector; the education sector, the health service and social housing will all be hit hard by the mass withdrawal of public money.

The alleged opposition of the establishment parties at Stormont to these viscous attacks on working class people amounts to posturing of the weakest kind. While they have described Osborne’s proposals as “unacceptable”, the reality is that their policy of appealing to the better instincts of a British Tory government has failed completely. A British Tory government does not possess ‘better instincts’ when it comes to dealing with Irish people or workers.

Indeed, some Stormont politicians who should know better had the audacity to feign hurt and offence at the “broken promises” of the British government in relation to what capital it was going to provide in the Six Counties. Any politician, particularly one who claims to oppose Britain’s presence in Ireland, who takes a British government at its word is guilty of breathtaking naivety.

Stormont first minister Peter Robinson and his deputy Martin McGuinness weren’t even in the country to lend their desperate howl of opposition to the British government’s financial holocaust. Instead, they were out with their begging bowl in Washington, seeking the benevolence of another imperial power due to the miserly attitude of the British one.

Britain’s Stormont administrators have two choices in the face of Osborne’s announcement: they can either implement the cuts or they can resign and let the British government do its own dirty work. They can no longer claim the role of opposition while dutifully carrying out the role that Britain designed for them – that of local administrators.

The chances of these establishment politicians doing the right thing and resigning is next to none; they have invested too much of their careers and credibilities in a ridiculous set-up they like to pretend is a real government.

Therefore, it falls on working people to do both the right thing and the only viable thing according to their interests – to actively oppose these cuts and the politicians, both native and foreign, who will implement them. This is the alternative, the only alternative, to meekly bowing down in the face of upper-class Tory ministers whose sole aim is to protect the interests and wealth of the business class.

Starting this Saturday [October 23] in Belfast, people must take to the streets and make it powerfully clear that anyone who dares to implement these cuts is signing their political death warrant.

Public sector workers, the low-paid, the unemployed, community workers, young people, pensioners – everyone who stands to lose in this crisis has a role to play in fighting for a future without poverty and greed.

This is our last chance to ensure that the hateful legacy of Margaret Thatcher and her disciples dies with her – grab it with both hands.

The Irish Congress of Trade Union’s march and rally against the cuts will assemble at the University of Ulster Arts College, Belfast city centre at 12.30pm on Saturday [October 23]. Bígí Linn.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

PSNI Assault Newry Republican

The actions of the PSNI in Newry have taken a sinister and worrying twist as they have now resorted to violence in an attempt to intimidate and harass local republicans.
The latest in a long line of incidents occurred last night [Saturday, October 16] as the victim, a lifelong republican, made his way home. Once he reached what should have been the safety of his home, the PSNI immediately sped into the street.

Calling him by his name, they proceeded to assault the republican and threw him against the PSNI car, they then arrested him and took him to Banbridge. Once at the barracks, he was again assaulted and was held there until today [Sunday].

Ironically, an hour before this incident, the victim, a number of whose relatives are éirígí activists, had confided to friends that he had noticed an upsurge in harassment being directed towards him. He told his friends that he felt that it would get worse. Little did he know that, shortly afterwards, he would be on the receiving end of PSNI violence outside his own home.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “Just a few days ago, éirígí highlighted the upsurge in PSNI harassment in Newry, with stop and searches being carried out on a routine basis, threats of arrest, house raids and, now, we can add assaults to the list.

“While constitutional nationalist politicians might try to claim that there has been a sea-change in policing in the Six Counties, the reality of ongoing repressive tactics on the ground belies the harsh truth that little has changed. People in working-class communities across the North are only too aware of that fact.”

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Truth Hurts for Gun Toting PSNI

Harassment of éirígí activists in the Newry area has gone into overdrive in recent times and, once again, local activists were subjected to a humiliating and aggressive ordeal at the hands of the political police last night [Tuesday].
At the time, the activists were, ironically, erecting posters highlighting the unchanged nature of British policing in Ireland when they were stopped by a PSNI patrol in Bridge Street in the town.

The PSNI used sections 21 & 24 of the British government’s Justice & Security Act to detain the activists, who then had their personal details recorded. One activist was also questioned regarding other members of his family and his activities with éirígí; he rightfully protested against these questions being asked and refused to answer them.

As the activists were being interrogated, another PSNI patrol arrived at the scene, heavily armed with assault rifles. The men were then forced at gunpoint to line up with their hands raised above their heads, whilst other members of the political police aggressively searched them for “munitions, transmitters, and wireless apparatus”. For the duration of the search, the other PSNI officers had their assault rifles aimed squarely at the activists.

The search took place in full view of pedestrians and dozens of passing motorists, many of whom slowed down to see why the PSNI had three men with their arms raised above their heads at gunpoint in the centre of Newry.

Two of the activists were then threatened and told they were being arrested and would be taken to Antrim ‘serious crime suite’ for further questioning, the PSNI claiming they needed to “further ascertain their identities”, despite the fact they had been stopped and searched before, as recently as two weeks ago. The activists protested against the threat of arrest and cited they were well within their rights to be doing what they were doing and had answered the questions they were obliged to answer.

This whole episode lasted roughly 40 minutes and, by this time, a large crowd of locals had gathered to see what the commotion was about; once the locals realised what was happening they challenged the PSNI as to why they were harassing the activists and demanded that they be allowed to go about their business. One of the passers-by even asked for some of posters the activists had so he could distribute them in his own area. This deterred the PSNI and, embarrassed, they let the activists go.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “When the British government suspended the use of Section 44 of its ‘Terrorism Act’, éirígí alerted people to the prospect of the PSNI simply switching to the use of other repressive legislation. This has, depressingly, come to pass.

“We would like to take this opportunity to commend the good people of Newry for standing by our activists and for publicly challenging the PSNI. This is particularly welcome at a time when any public opposition to the status quo in the Six Counties is deemed as suspect by the powers that be.

“Last night’s harassment is just one of a number of incidents in recent weeks and months where our activists have been subjected to attempted intimidation by the PSNI in Newry. Other examples include homes being raided, activists’ relatives and friends being stopped and forced out of vehicles to be searched and questioned, activists being harassed whilst delivering leaflets, members being surrounded at gunpoint under the British government’s ‘Terrorism Act’ and, now, activists being harassed whilst putting posters up. This is a perfect example of political policing in action. It is clear that our activists are being harassed because of their political activity.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “It is evident that the PSNI fears éirígí and are worried about the message we are spreading when they have to harass, threaten and intimidate political activists at gunpoint for putting up posters. Last night’s incident is evidence that our activism is having an impact, in Newry and elsewhere.

“All the harassment in the world will not deter us from our legitimate political activities – we will continue to highlight the unchanged nature of PSNI and its role in protecting the British occupation.”

If anyone is subjected to similar harassment at the hands of the PSNI, we would advise them to contact their solicitor without delay to log the incident.

Crime a No Go Area for PSNI

The latest news from éirígí. Its great to see them exposing the PSNI

Last Thursday night [October 7] at roughly 8pm a woman in the Carnaget area of Newry suffered a terrifying ordeal when she was tied up and robbed at gunpoint in her own home. This disgraceful attack has angered the local community and the criminals who carried it out have no place in this society.

The PSNI response time to this incident has been brought into question, with claims being made that the political police refused to enter the area. The PSNI responded by saying that “there are people in the community who are determined to kill and injure our officers, we must approach some calls with caution. Police will assess the situation and will then seek to take the right action to keep both the community and our officers safe.”

éirígí can reveal that, at 7.45pm, a mere 15 minutes before this incident, a PSNI patrol was situated a few hundred yards away in the Derrybeg estate in an armoured landrover. This patrol spent their time antagonising local youths outside a community facility by flashing their lights, sounding horns and waving at them in an attempt to provoke a riot situation just as they did less than a fortnight ago. So, whilst the PSNI were in Derrybeg teasing youngsters, a woman was being robbed and held at gunpoint a few hundred yards away.

The previous night [Wednesday, October 6] a large foot-patrol of up to 12 PSNI members armed with assault rifles patrolled the Derrybeg estate backed up with at least two armoured landrovers. As they walked through the area they shone torches attached to their guns into residents’ living rooms and gardens.

A spokesperson for éirígí in Newry said: “The issue at hand isn’t, as some local political representatives have claimed, that the PSNI is treating nationalist areas of Newry as ‘no go areas’. The issue is that the PSNI isn’t interested in tackling anti-social behaviour and crime, the priority for the political police is to keep areas like nationalist Newry in line, not protect them.

“Not so long ago, when others were opportunistically claiming that nationalist communities needed the PSNI to tackle anti-social behaviour, éirígí argued that lending support to the PSNI would not result in any decrease in instances of crime. This has been proven to be the case.

“The PSNI is a sectarian paramilitary police force whose role remains the protection of the British occupation in Ireland. They should be opposed as such.”

Monday, 11 October 2010

Persecution of Colin Duffy and his family on the first day of committal proceedings

Coleraine court house was the venue for the first day of Colin’s PI. The original venue was Laganside court in Belfast but was changed at the eleventh hour. No reason was given for the change in venue but Colin’s family believe it was designed to inconvenience the family and prevent them and others from attending the hearing.

Court proceedings were supposed to begin at 10.00 am but were delayed until 12.30 pm. The reason for this delay soon became clear after a family member received a phone call from a POW in Maghaberry to say that Colin had been forcibly strip searched and assaulted before being transported on the long journey to Coleraine.

On arrival Colin met with his barrister Mark Mulholland and recounted his ordeal to him. This ordeal included the screws forcibly putting prison clothing on him. Once Colin’s handcuffs were removed Colin removed the offensive clothing. In his opening address to the court Mr. Mulholland drew the judge’s attention to the fact that Colin was sitting in the court with no clothing on underneath his coat. Mr. Mulholland continued, pointing out that this was a result of his clothes having been cut off him during the forced strip search.

Colin’s barrister then addressed the opening remarks of the prosecution where the prosecution stated to the judge that they would not be relying upon the soil analysis report which had been previously submitted to the judge and that they would not be calling the author of the report as a witness in the committal proceedings. Mr Mulholland then asked the judge to consider his own position in relation to continuing with the proceedings after having read a report which the prosecution had stated it wouldn’t be relying upon. This, Mr Mulholland said, could at the very least be perceived as being prejudicial to his client’s case.

The courts then adjourned at 1.15pm and reconvened at 1.45 pm. During the break the judge spoke to both the prosecution and Mr. Mulholland regarding the issue raised. Shortly after recommencing the judge withdrew from the case. The case is scheduled for tomorrow with a different judge presiding.

While leaving the court, Colin’s family were harassed by the RUC/PSNI. Solicitors representing both Colin and his co accused Brian Shivers were called to intervene on behalf of the family. One of the solicitors was told to mind his own business. After the incident had passed Damian Duffy, Colin’s brother said:

“Such behaviour and actions by this force will not deter our family from coming to these courts in support of Colin. We will not be intimidated.”

In a further development, Colin, via a phone call to a family member stated that upon his arrival back at Maghaberry he was once again subjected to a forced strip search. This time Colin also received a busted lip from his assailants and was dragged across the floor while naked. The governor overseeing the search and assault laughed throughout.

Thousands Honour Fallen Volunteers in Tyrone

Yesterday i attended a commemoration in Galbally along with a large number of comrades from Newry. Several thousand Republicans took part (and some say Republicans have no support!) in the event to commemorate Volunteers Dessie Grew and Martin McCaughey.

It was heartening and uplifting to see so many thousands of people turning out to honour these brave men. It was also great to see so many lifelong republicans, Ex-POWs, former combatants, and family members of the volunteers of the East Tyrone Brigade in attendance.

The March was part of a commemorative weekend of events that seen debates a visit to the ambush site an exhibition and the release of a DVD last night over 500 packed into the community centre to watch the screening of the DVD it was very moving and at times funny and not lacking in action as the Ambush of the SAS in Cappagh by Martin and his Comrades was reconstructed.

People from all over Tyrone and indeed Ireland gathered at the community centre in preparation for the march, all the Tyrone 1916 Society’s were in attendance and young people from all the society’s made up the colour party. 

Members of a Republican flute band from kilkeel marched behind the colour party and the society’s fell in behind the band with their banners, an RUC/PSNI helicopter hovered over the parade and earlier that day members of the Grew and McCaughey families had been cautioned by the Crown Forces in regards to the march. 3 other bands that were due to play had been threatened the day before by the Crown Forces who told them that "if they marched in Galbally, they would never march again" and had to pull out of the event. People travelling to and from the event were also stopped and searched by the political police.

The March made its way the mile or so from the hall to the graveyard and a Commemoration was held at Martins graveside were wreaths were laid on behalf of family friends and comrades a local Man spoke about Martins time playing for Galbally Pearses GAA

The main oration was said by, prominent Republican, Brian Arthurs, he spoke of the hardships the area had bore during the war he spoke of Both Volunteers and outlined their lives how they had lived and how they had died.

Brian said that both men were Irish Republicans and that if it hadn’t been for informers they would probably still be with us, he said informers had been the scourge of Irish Republicanism down through the generations, he said it was a total disgrace that former comrades and members of the Provisional Movement were now calling for Irish men to collaborate with the enemy and inform on Irish Republicans.

The Commemoration ended with the singing of the National anthem and tea and refreshments were served in Galbally hall.

All respects to both Families and the PH Pearse society for a very successful weekend.