Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Relaunch of the Friends Of Colin Duffy campaign

Kilwilkee Support
The family and friends of Colin Duffy wish to announce the relaunch of their campaign. The campaign was "put on hold" in order to allow the family and friends of Colin to focus their attention on the recent protest in Maghaberry involving all republican prisoners of which Colin was a part of. As a result, Colin's family and friends played a significant role along with other families and ex-prisoners in forming the successful Families, Friends and Ex-POWs campaign group. The successful outcome within Maghaberry has allowed the space for Colin's campaign to get back on track.

While the relaunch of the campaign will mainly involve highlighting issues and lobbying specifically on Colin's behalf, Colin's family are also mindful of the volatile situation which still exists within Maghaberry and pledges to continue to assist all republican POWs and their families in the future.

Colin's family would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have campaigned on behalf of Colin since his incarceration over a year and a half ago and also acknowledge the recent highlighting of Colin's situation by republicans. It is the hope of the campaign group that all those involved will redouble their efforts in the coming weeks and months.

Mural in the Derrybeg Estate, Newry, painted by friends of Colin Duffy
Colin's family's involvement in the Families, Friends and Ex-Pows campaign allowed the family to come into contact with many republicans during that campaign. We would appeal to those who were involved to assist Colin's campaign in the future by emailing us at friendsofcolinduffy@googlemail.com or by using the contact us page on the website at Contact Us - E-mail address: friendsofcolinduffy@googlemail.com


Monday, 30 August 2010

Newry Handed Over To The Bigots

The latest from éirígí Newry's blog

Newry Handed Over To The Bigots

The freedom of Newry was handed over to sectarian bigots on Friday night [August 27] as thousands of unionist bandsmen and supporters were bussed into the overwhelmingly nationalist city from across the Six Counties for a sectarian coat-trailing exercise.

Putting the impact of this march in its proper setting, during the most recent census in 2001, Newry was found to have a population of 27,433, of whom almost 90 per cent would be viewed as from a catholic/nationalist background.

In the run up to this display of naked bigotry, the organisers proclaimed that “All genres of music will be on parade, which should provide entertainment to suit all musical tastes”.

They forgot to mention Newry being brought to a standstill for several hours with severe traffic disruption; unionists drinking openly in the street, actually outside Ardmore PSNI barracks; the playing of sectarian songs; bands displaying the emblems and flags of unionist paramilitary death squads and nationalists afraid to look out of their windows or venture onto their own streets.

Despite its failure to intervene in any instance of the above, the PSNI was also out in force, sealing off all main roads, which prevented residents and motorists from travelling anywhere near the town centre.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “It’s unreal that, in 2010, nationalists are either hemmed into or are too afraid to leave their homes because of unionists indulging in sectarian intimidation in a predominately nationalist area.

“In recent weeks, unionists erected provocative flags on the outskirts of Newry in an attempt to intimidate nationalists and now they are coming into Newry in their thousands from all across the Six Counties in an exercise of intimidation against nationalist residents.

“The parading of this bigotry by unionism all too often ends in violence, as was seen with the sectarian assault on a middle-aged woman in Ballymena at the weekend. This is the reality that the promoters of sectarian processions need to face up to.

“éirígí will continue to campaign for the right for everyone to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation.”


Thursday, 12 August 2010

Victory to the POWs

Family & Friends of Maghaberry POWs Statement

The Concerned Families and Friends group welcome the latest developments in the ongoing dispute within Maghaberry prison. After three weeks of intensive negotiation the British have agreed to change the punitive and vindictive regime republican prisoners were forced to endure.

We are relieved that our prisoners are no longer hostages to the whims of the Loyalist Prison Officers Association and share in the joy and relief of the prisoners’ families who have endured years of stress and turmoil and vindictive harassment at the hands of the screws.

We pay tribute first to the courage and integrity of the republican prisoners who took a stand and challenged the Thatcherite policies of the Stormont regime and endured the punishments of a vindictive British prison system which tried in vain to crush their spirits.

We also pay tribute to all those people who worked away quietly in the background and lobbied intensively for a resolution to the prison crisis. A diverse collection of community, political, religious and business people took time out of their busy schedules to devote time and effort to contribute to finding a resolution to the crisis in Maghaberry; they done this privately away from the publicity of the camera.

We are particularly indebted to the herculean efforts of the negotiation facilitators who have spent practically all of the past three weeks in Maghaberry prison working to bring this day about. They were at times frustrated and at other times angry with the slow and obstructive pace of events but they held in there and created the space where a deal could be constructed. For their efforts we are truly grateful and appreciative.

To all those people who marched, protested, attended pickets and registered their support for the prisoners’ plight: go raibh mile maith agat! It was you who made this day possible.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

éirígí Issues Challenge to Sinn Féin

éirígí general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith has issued a challenge to the leadership of Sinn Féin to engage in a public debate with the socialist republican party.
MacCionnaith was speaking at éirígí’s Divis Mountain demonstration on the outskirts of Belfast on Saturday [August 7]. His comments came after Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams claimed to be interested in dialogue with a number of republican organisations.

MacCionnaith said: “There are those in Ireland who want to see éirígí go away; who seek to misrepresent and criminalise us out of fear of the challenge we are presenting to the political, social and economic apartheid that continues to exist in the Six Counties.

“In the past week, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams claimed to have contacted a number of groups, including éirígí, to request discussions. As party general secretary, I can confirm that so such request has been made of éirígí by Gerry Adams or anyone else in Sinn Féin.

“However, if Sinn Féin want a debate, let’s have one. But it should be an open public debate. We have no interest in behind closed doors discussions. Let éirígí and Sinn Féin put their political, social and economic agendas to a public republican audience, in west Belfast for example, and let them decide who has the most radical, realisable manifesto for change.”

MacCionnaith continued: “There are those who fear that we will damage the substandard political settlement which they have negotiated. Well, they should be afraid, because that is exactly what we intend to do.

“éirígí is not going away. We will continue to build across Ireland to complete the reconquest of this country by the working people of this country.”


Monday, 9 August 2010

éirígí hold Successful Mountain-top Protest

Around 100 people participated in éirígí’s demonstration on the Divis Mountain in Belfast on Saturday [August 7].

The demonstration took place in opposition to the British Ministry of Defence laying claim to a section of the mountain, where they have maintained a military communications post.

Speaking at the protest, rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “Today we are standing at another example of the British misuse of Irish resources. The Divis Mountain is a piece of natural heritage that should be the property of all the people of Belfast, to be appreciated and enjoyed.

“Instead, this part of it has been misused by the British war machine in Ireland, at times through sentry boxes and at times through use as a communications post. Every person who has a concern for human rights or national independence should actively be opposed to the presence of such outposts in Ireland.”

Mac Cionnaith spoke of the history of the mountain, noting that the protest was taking place not far from the spot where the United Irishmen first came together in 1791 and pledged to oppose British rule in Ireland. He also commented on recent remarks about éirígí in the corporate media, challenging Sinn Féin to a public debate with the party in west Belfast.

Following the embarrassment caused to them by a similar éirígí demonstration last year, the PSNI had a more low-key presence this time around. Two PSNI helicopters hovered above the demonstration while three land rovers sat in the car park taking vehicle registration details. This was used to stop and harass a number of people as they left in their cars, though this attempt to isolate people in smaller numbers proved futile.


Friday, 6 August 2010

Maghaberry Talks Breakdown

After weeks of intensive lobbying from a wide variety of community, business, political and religious representatives, all seeking a satisfactory and humane resolution to the appalling conditions in Maghaberry Prison, a dialogue was commenced between prisoners and the prison administration on Friday 23rd July 2010.
This dialogue continued through to Friday 5th August when the British dug in and insisted they would not move on the core issues. Controlled movement coupled with strip searches are the main points of contention in the prisoners’ dispute with their captors.

Colin Duffy and Brendan Conway led the prisoners delegation in the talks; and the prison administration was represented by Austin Treacy, Gary McClean and Julie Wilson.

Commenting on these latest developments The Concerned Families and Friends Group said:

“The approach of the British representatives is disappointingly obstructive and reflective of past British bad faith towards prisoners. As some sort of spurious progressive move forward they offered to “suspend” strip searching until a review of its use is completed in a few weeks time. Then it’s back to strip searching.

If they can suspend it they can abolish it as there is no rational nor security justification for its use in today’s world. It is and remains a weapon of degradation and isolation employed exclusively to demean and debase prisoners.

The British are playing at brinkmanship, they have not engaged in good faith negotiations with the prisoners in Maghaberry and we note with despair the apparent unwillingness of the Stormont regime to intervene and remedy this issue in good faith coupled with their willingness to let this opportunity to resolve the problem of Maghaberry pass.

The prisoners presented the British with a set of proposals which are reasonable and non-threatening to anyone and which could be phased in over a period of time: for some reason the British have thrown this offer back in the prisoners’ faces.

All the prisoners are asking for is humane and dignified living conditions, this is not an insurmountable problem but it is one the political classes clearly don’t want to touch.”

Monday, 2 August 2010

éirígí Newry Blog launched

In a welcome development, éirígí in Newry have launched a blog to keep the community up to date with relevant Republican news.

Local éirígí activists have also been distributing a local monthly newsletter every month without fail since April.

This newsletter provides the working class communities with invaluable up to date republican news, most of which the mainstream media and those in positions of power would rather keep out of sight. PSNI harassment, rise in unemployment figures, POW issues, continued British occupation, local activism and anti-social behaviour have all been covered to date.

These are all important issues and éirígí should be commended for keeping us up to date with important news.

This type of activism gives republicans a chance to interact with the ordinary working class people regarding ordinary everyday issues. There is nothing better than LOCAL Republican activists bringing local issues to the doorsteps.

July's edition which has just been distributed features articles about recent PSNI harassment, rising unemployment figures and the recent arson attack in Derrybeg

It's clear that this group is growing and gaining support and long may it continue

You can visit the the blog here http://eiriginewry.blogspot.com/