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.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

British Repression Set to Increase

It seems the British police have announced they will step up their campaign against Republicans by launching a major "security operation".

At a time when harassment and intimidation is already on the increase this means it will only get worse.

In the Newry area, Republicans have found themselves on the receiving end of much of this harassment with homes being targeted in dawn raids, republicans being dragged out of cars to be stopped and searched, activists being surrounded at gunpoint to be stopped and questioned under the so-called "terrorist act", republicans family members and friends being stopped and searched etc and despite this, former republicans & constitutionals remain silent and don't condemn it.

Its inevitable that this will now get worse, indeed already across Newry there are checkpoints, machine gun wielding thugs walking around Republican areas shining torches into peoples living rooms and gardens.

Do the British not realise that the more they oppress the people, the more the people will resist them?

It's also interesting to note that this was discussed at great length at today's policing board meeting with former republicans in attendance.

So we need to ask, what was their position on this and how will they hold them to account, given the fact there will inevitably be an increase in stop & searches, checkpoints, armed patrols, harassment of republicans/nationalists?

Did they oppose it?
Where they supportive of the repressive decision?
Or are they powerless to do anything about it?

Who's putting manners on who?