Saturday, 24 December 2011

Vol Eddie Grant Remembered by éirígí in Newry

On Christmas Eve, éirígí in Newry held a solemn commemorative event in the Derrybeg estate to remember local IRA volunteer Eddie Grant.

While many families are preparing for the festive season local éirígí activists came together, with the family of Eddie Grant, to remember and pay tribute to the supreme sacrifice he made in the fight for liberation.

A wreath was laid on the Derrybeg monument by Eddie’s niece Jacqueline in memory of her uncle.

Wreath is laid

éirígí Newry area spokesperson Stephen Murney spoke and paid tribute to Eddie.

Stephen said, “Today we remember IRA volunteer Eddie Grant who was killed in action on Christmas Eve 1973 along with his comrade Brendan Quinn from Cloughreagh.

“We are deeply honoured to have Eddie’s family represented at this wreath laying ceremony today.

“Nicknamed ‘Starchy’ by his mates, Eddie was best known in Derrybeg as a raker, always up to devilment. He grew up with a group of friends who also took the same decision to join the ranks of Óglaigh na hÉireann. They went on to become a very effective fighting unit.

At the Derrybeg monument

“Eddie came from an old republican family. His cousin Paul Smith died at Edentubber and his uncle John McEnerney was a Vice-Commandant of the 4th Northern Division IRA. After attending a few Republican Clubs meetings Eddie made the decision to join the IRA. No task was too great; he was always willing to volunteer for active service.

“On the 24th December 1973, Eddie and his comrade Brendan Quinn were killed in a premature explosion at Clarke’s Bar (Armaghdown) on Monaghan Street. Unfortunately a civilian was also to die with the two Volunteers.”

Murney concluded, “As a new year approaches éirígí remains fully committed to the struggle for a British withdrawal from the occupied Six Counties and the establishment of a 32-county socialist republic.

“éirígí takes this opportunity to thank its members and supporters for the commitment and energy they have displayed throughout 2011. Their sterling work across Ireland has inspired many others to become involved in the struggle for national, economic and social freedom.”

Friday, 23 December 2011

POW DD McLaughlin released today

Damien was released this morning from Maghaberry gaol. While he was incarcerated DD wrote detailed accounts of the savage beatings and strip searches some of which are featured on this blog.

Upon his release he was asked to strip and refused.The riot squad were then called for and forcibly strip searched him.

TSG's were waiting outside the gaol and followed before stopping and searching cars that met him at the gates.

I wish DD and his family well, no doubt they will have a great xmas, the lads inside will miss as he was a great comrade and a strong POW.

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

PSNI Harassment Must Stop

éirígí in Newry have announced that it’s time to up the ante and vigorously counter PSNI harassment in the area.

This comes after a local republican approached the party having been stopped and searched an astonishing 98 times in little over a year.

éirígí’s Stephen Murney explained, “These particular stop and searches are only those where a search record has been obtained, these don’t include the numerous times when no such record was given to the victim, so it’s fair to say the actual number is much higher, well over 100 in the space of a year.

“Most of these are conducted under Sections 21 & 24 of the draconian British Justice & Security Act, which consists of your personal details and movements being recorded and a humiliating search for ammunition and wireless apparatus.

“It has also been brought to our attention that a number of times school kids as young as 14 have also been stopped and harassed in similar fashion.”

Stephen continued, “This man approached us as a result of this incessant harassment. This is just one man and the amount of search records he has received is unbelievable. There are numerous other republicans, including éirígí members, in this area who are also being stopped and searched on a regular basis.

“We have already held a number of events including protesting at the doorstep of the PSNI at Ardmore barracks, erecting banners and posters across Newry and distributed thousands of leaflets across the district. It’s time republicans in Newry took our campaign to a new level. We can’t sit back any longer and let these thugs get away with this; it’s time to up the ante and resist these thugs.

“In the New Year we will be organising several initiatives to counter this relentless campaign of harassment. One of the first things we will do is to convene a public meeting to discuss a number of issues; PSNI harassment will be a major topic at this event and we urge everyone concerned to attend to tell of their experiences and suggest ideas. We will be publishing the final details in the coming weeks.

“By doing this we can put a viable model in place where we can resist, monitor and expose the PSNI at a new level.”

Murney concluded, “I would urge all victims of similar human rights abuses to publicly come forward and expose the unchanged nature of these British paramilitaries. They should log all incidents with their solicitor and are more than welcome to contact éirígí.”

Monday, 19 December 2011

Statement/Photos from the Newry/South Armagh Republican Prisoners Support Group

Sunday December 17 saw upwards of 70 people take to the streets of Newry in a display of solidarity and support for Republican prisoners in Maghaberry.

The independent event, organised by the Newry/South Armagh Republican Prisoners Support Group, brought all shades of republicans together along with community leaders to highlight the serious humanitarian situation with the gaol.

Republican ballads could be heard the length of Monaghan St as the participants, including many young people along with ex-POWs, lined the road with flags, banners and placards detailing various injustices such as strip searching & controlled movement.

Local elected representatives, some of whom were once incarcerated themselves, were notable by their absence despite the event being widely publicised. All who want to see the abolition of this inhumane regime at Maghaberry have a responsibility to speak out on this issue regardless of their political beliefs.

Sarah Murphy read a detailed and harrowing account of what an average day for a republican prisoner entails as hundreds of leaflets were handed out to motorists and members of the public.

Former republican prisoner Joe Harper also spoke and pointed out that 30 years after 10 men died on hunger strike, we have republicans being continually beaten and brutalised while on protest for the same reasons those gallant men gave their lives. Joe also raised concerns about republicans being once again interned by the establishment for their political beliefs.

The notoriously sectarian and thuggish Prison Officers Association is currently setting the agenda in Maghaberry. This situation can no longer be allowed to continue.

The British government needs to recognise that the August 12 agreement of 2010 presents the basis for resolving the conflict in the prison and face down the POA.

It is now more important than ever that the prisoners are accorded their human rights. It is now up to all individuals and organisations to come out publically and support the prisoners.

Like the men of 81, today’s political prisoners will not cooperate with a regime that attempts to rob them of their dignity. Therefore, the struggle for human rights will continue until its successful conclusion.

At present republican prisoners are locked in their cells, and have no access to basic requirements such as washing facilities, exercise, association, education etc. This is a breach of the Geneva Convention on Human Rights.

The Newry/South Armagh republican Prisoners Support Group extends our solidarity to the protesting prisoners in Maghaberry and pledges to continue supporting them until the situation in Maghaberry is resolved. We urge everyone who is opposed to the human rights abuses in Maghaberry to attend any future events which are open to all republicans.

Victory to the Republican Prisoners 

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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Dessie Quinn Memorial Night- Sunday 18th December

This Sunday 18th December, revolutionary singer/songwriter Pol Mac Adaim will be playing at the Thomas Davis GFC, Corrinshego, Newry. It's a memorial night for Dessie Quinn who died suddenly in the club while playing pool aged just 27.

Dessie was a singer and guitar player in the local rebel band JUSTICE and was well known for his good humour during the gigs

There's a pool competition on that afternoon in the club for the Dessie Quinn shield.

It should be a fitting tribute for Dessie

Monday, 12 December 2011

éirígí honour Newry IRA Volunteers

éirígí held a wreath laying event in Newry yesterday [December 11] to remember three IRA volunteers, William Canning, John Francis O’Hare and Peter Shields who were killed in the Egyptian arch ambush on the Camlough Road.
This event marked the 91st anniversary of the ambush.
At the Egyptian Arch
Speaking at the event éirígí’s Newry area representative Stephen Murney paid tribute to the volunteers.
Stephen said, “We are here today to pay our respects to these courageous volunteers and the sacrifice they made on that cold December night 91 years ago. The ambush took place on the 12th December 1920 in the middle of the War of Independence when IRA units throughout the length and breadth of Ireland took on the might of the British Empire, laid ambushes and attacked RIC stations.
“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. Sadly their work remains unfinished and it’s now up to us to continue the fight for liberation.”
Stephen concluded, “As 2012 dawns Ireland, more than ever, needs a radical mass movement that will represent one class in society – the working people – and which will adopt but one attitude to the British occupation – that of uncompromising active resistance.”

éirígí Newry Offers Support and Solidarity to Republican Prisoners

éirígí would like to offer our solidarity and support to the republican prisoners on protest in Maghaberry.

This time of year is usually difficult enough for republican prisoners and their families but given that the prisoners have been on protest for several months makes it even harder.

23 hour lock up, regular beatings, strip searches and controlled movement are just some of the human rights abuses being inflicted on political prisoners in Maghaberry.

All that could be avoided if the Stormont Justice Minister, David Ford, would implement the agreement that was reached in August 2010.

In contravention of the agreement that was reached in August 2010, prisoners are regularly being subjected to humiliating strip searches and face the threat of beatings and the forced removal of their clothing when they refuse to consent to these searches. The prisoners are subjected to 23-24 hour lock-up and many have been forced to begin a no wash protest.

This is an intolerable situation that goes against not just the August 12 agreement but every notion of humane treatment.

On the outside there are regular protests, pickets and various other activities to raise awareness about the serious situation republican prisoners in Maghaberry find themselves in. In Newry a motion was passed by Newry & Mourne council to send a delegation to Maghaberry but this was blocked by British Minister Ford.

 éirígí extends its solidarity to the protesting prisoners in Maghaberry and pledges to continue supporting their struggle and that of their families until political status is secured. All those with an interest in human rights should do likewise.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Whiteline picket/ Leaflet drop

Below is a leaflet which the Newry/south Armagh Republican Prisoners support group has got printed to highlight the ongoing plight of the Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry gaol, it also gives details of the up coming protest in Newry which takes place on the 17th December in Monaghan St.

5000 of these leaflets have been obtained and the group intend to distribute them to all areas of Newry over the next few nights

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Monday, 5 December 2011

PSNI Hold Schoolchildren at Gunpoint

More news from éirígí Newry
PSNI Hold Schoolchildren at Gunpoint
“Educate that you may be free.” So wrote Thomas Davis in 1846.
Yet today in 2011 we have British forces, namely the PSNI, interfering with the education of our children. This occurred during an early morning house raid in the Parkhead area of Newry on Friday [December 2].
éirígí’s Stephen Murney received a phone call from a concerned member of the public and immediately made his way to the scene accompanied by Independent republican councillor Davy Hyland.
Stephen said, “We went not only to show solidarity and support to the victims of this raid but to also actively confront the PSNI gunmen who were responsible for traumatising this family including young children.
“When we arrived the PSNI had just left and we spoke to the mother of the kids. She explained to us that the PSNI placed them all under house arrest including her two daughters aged 10 and 12. As a result of this the children were unable to go to school and one of them missed her 1st year Christmas exam that she was due to sit that morning.”
Stephen continued, “A concerned neighbour also arrived and said she would take the children from the house and mind them so they wouldn’t be traumatised any further by these thugs. The PSNI refused this and held them in the living room at gunpoint.
“In recent times we have seen numerous quarters commenting on the PSNI coming into schools to talk to the pupils about various topics. Yet on the other hand this force is terrifying school children by kicking their doors in and preventing them from going to school at gunpoint, and in this case forcing a young girl to miss her exam.”
éirígí pledge to continue to expose the British police and their tactics. We urge anyone who is suffering similar treatment to contact éirígí and their solicitor.

“You Can’t Ride Two Horses with One Arse”

The latest from the éirígí Newry blog

“You Can’t Ride Two Horses with One Arse”
On Wednesday [November 30] éirígí members in Newry took to the streets with thousands of people in a display of support and solidarity with the working class.
The rally assembled at Daisy Hill hospital and marched through the city centre to the City Hall.
Colourful flags and banners belonging to the various unions were prominent throughout the route along with éirígí flags and our ‘Stormont Isn’t Working’ banner which drew much attention.
Stormont Isn’t Working banner
The night before the rally, éirígí members were busy in the centre of Newry putting stickers up regarding the cuts on public services. While they were engaging in this legitimate political activity the three activists were stopped & searched by the British forces (PSNI). The reason given for this stop and search was “due to the increased terrorist threat in this area”.
éirígí activists across the North marched with thousands of working class people in protest at the anti-social policies being implemented by the London government and its Stormont administration. Yet éirígí members preparing for this rally were held and harassed by Stormont’s anti-working class police force.
There were several main speakers at the rally, most notably the first speaker made reference to the Six-County elected representatives and brazenly told them, “You can’t ride two horses with one arse!” Her comments were met loud cheers with a rapturous round of applause by the thousands of people at the rally. The only ones who didn’t clap and cheer were the constitutional nationalists and Stormont supporters who stood awkwardly in the crowd not knowing where to look.
Speaking after the rally éirígí’s Stephen Murney said, “The sentiments expressed here today are correct. The Stormont politicians cannot ride two horses at once. They have picked which side they are on. They are on the side of the enemy of the working class and should be treated as such.
“éirígí are of the opinion that Stormont is unsustainable and the continued onslaught on public services is evidence of them dancing to the Tory tune and embracing, what can only be described as, Thatcherite politics with their constant attacks on the working class and our communities. Thatcherism, a theory that amounts to nothing less than social and economic vandalism, is alive and well in the halls of power.”
Terrorist stickers?
Stephen continued, “These attacks on public services is yet another example of how ‘Stormont isn’t working’, along with fuel poverty, unemployment, health cuts and benefits cuts all of which are implemented at the behest of the British Tory government.
“The increasingly obvious signal is that a new political, economic and social order is required right across Ireland to bring radical, meaningful and effective improvement to the lives of working class people. Stormont is a clear impediment to that.
“Only by organising in our communities, in our workplaces and on the streets can we build sufficient strength to defeat this attack on the working class.
“The message must be made clear to the British government and those who are prepared to do their dirty work in the Six Counties – they will not get away with what amounts to murder.”

Saturday, 3 December 2011

There's no end in sight for Maghaberry prison dispute- Eamonn McCann

A decent article by Eamonn McCann. Interestingly he is more outspoken about this serious situation than some !!!!

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.


Lord Morrow was mightily miffed on Monday that Maghaberry prisoners have cost us a million pounds.
Justice Minister David Ford told the Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA that: "The total cost of the damage caused by republican separated prisoners during their protest, since it began on Easter Sunday 2010, is £1,007,000." A whole lot of lettuce, right enough.
Of course, if the protest had lasted only a few months, if it had been over and done with by August, the cost would have been far less, and final. This is not a thought likely to mollify the DUP man.
"It's time for a clampdown on costs and those who are controlling this situation from the inside," said Lord Morrow. "If they do not abide by prison rules, such as washing, they should be placed under the same sanctions [as] any other prisoner."
The protest, he suggested, was aimed at recreating the "prisoner-of-war" conditions which obtained in Long Kesh following the hunger strikes of 1980 and 1981.
But what's striking about the Maghaberry protest is the relative modesty of its aims and, consequently, the relative ease with which it might be settled.
Indeed, there was a widespread presumption in August last year that the dispute had been resolved on the basis of an arrangement still available to all sides.
The issue at the heart of the matter is 'full-body searching' of prisoners entering or leaving the separated unit at Roe House within Maghaberry. It was the routine practice of full-body searching which triggered the launch of a 'dirty protest' at Easter last year.
The agreement struck in August, following a 'facilitation process' involving the Prison Service and the prisoners and endorsed by the Justice Department, involved a number of changes to the day-to-day regime and, critically, the replacement of routine full-body searching by an arrangement centred on the installation of a 'Boss chair', designed to detect hidden or banned items on the prisoner's person.
The prisoners accepted that the Prison Service would retain a right to order full-body searches when the Boss chair, or 'intelligence or suspicion', suggested that prohibited items might be concealed on a prisoner's body.
The position of the Justice Department, spelt out to the Telegraph four months ago, is that, "The Prison Service remains fully committed to the full implementation of the August Agreement."
It added, however, that, "We recognise tensions remain in relation to the interpretation of the Agreement." The prisoners and their supporters say that this is code for a refusal by prison staff to put the agreement into practice. They claim, too, that the Justice Department has been unwilling to insist on implementation.
Prisoners' lawyers have suggested that these attitudes can also be seen in a failure by the department to introduce changes in the overall prison regime set out last February in the report of the review team under Dame Ann Owers.
This report called for "a programme of change and transformation of culture, approach and working practices".
Eight months later, the team reported to the department that, "Little has changed in practice, despite . . . a new sense of purpose at the top of the service and support from the Justice Minister. The endemic and systematic problems . . . remain unresolved and public money is being wasted."
The wording can be interpreted as ascribing a share at least of responsibility for the persistence of the "endemic and systematic problems" on rank-and-file elements, as opposed to "the top" of the Prison Service.
Whether the amount of public money identified as having been wasted as a result equals or surpasses the £1m loss exercising Lord Morrow may be a matter of speculation. But it seems likely.
The prisoners enjoy little public sympathy. The actions which they have been convicted or accused of are deeply unpopular.
They may be able, plausibly, to see themselves as the successors, or continuation, of the Provisional and other manifestations of the IRA. But even accepting this designation, they are soldiers who have been deemed surplus to requirements now the war is over.
And former IRA leaders now embedded in constitutional politics, notwithstanding carefully calibrated expressions of concern, have a greater vested interest than most in denying them the legitimacy which they fear might be implied by special prison arrangements. The Maghaberry prisoners have no obvious area of potential support to turn to.
Against this background, irrespective of how obvious a solution might seem when set down on paper, it is difficult to envisage the dispute ending any time soon.
And we all know what the likely next step in escalation will be.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Maghaberry POW Convoy Newry-Dublin

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We are appealing to all organisations/independents to participate in this convoy from Newry to British Embassy in Dublin to demand the full implementation of the 2010 agreement.

All are asked to decorate their vehicles with flags, posters, etc relevant to the convoy theme, "IMPLEMENT THE 2010 AGREEMENT IN FULL". Let the message be loud and clear that we are not going to stand idly by and allow republican prisoners be criminalised.

The convoy will start in Newry and willl pass through Dundalk, Drogheda, Julianstown, Balbriggan, George's Quay, Trinity College and out to British Embassy at Ballsbridge. A one hour protest will take place outside the embassy.

Please forward the word and encourage as many as possible to participate

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Volunteers Black and Ryan Remembered in Two Cities

In this, the 20th anniversary of the deaths of Volunteers Patricia Black and Frankie Ryan, it was a ‘tale of two cities’ with commemorations taking place in both Glasgow and Belfast.
The first of two commemorations organised by the Volunteers Patricia Black and Frankie Ryan Memorial Flute Band (VPBFRMFB) took place in the band’s hometown of Glasgow on Sunday 6 November.
Five bands, representatives of the Black family and upwards of 200 marchers, paraded through Glasgow City Centre in a disciplined fashion, ignoring the provocation posed by loyalist protesters and the inaction of ‘Strathclyde’s finest’.
VPBFRMFB marching in Glasgow
Culminating in a rallying folk night chaired by the band’s leader, Ian Lynch, the large crowd learned of Patricia and Frankie’s selflessness and sacrifice before being addressed by éirígí’s Six-County Chairperson, John McCusker.
Acknowledging the sterling work of the VPBFRMFB, McCusker commended the discipline and determination of those involved in the commemoration, two traits exemplified by those being remembered.
He said, “The determination and disciplined demonstrated today is not only an echo of that exemplified by Patricia and Frankie, but it is also the bedrock upon which the emerging Socialist Republican movement must and will be built.
“If we are to do any justice to the memory of these courageous volunteers then we must not merely lament the losses our enemies have inflicted upon us but plan for the losses we will inflict upon them and their political and economic systems.
“We must continue their struggle against the occupation of our land and the exploitation of our people.
“We must be guided by the words of another great fighter and organiser of the working class, a Cork woman who met her death in America, ‘Mother’ Mary Jones, who instructed us ‘to remember the dead and fight like hell for the living’. Comrades, it’s time to fight like hell!”
Milltown Cemetery
Sunday 20 November witnessed the second of the two commemorations, this time in the Volunteers hometown of Belfast.
The VPBFRMFB, the Black and Ryan families and upwards of 300 republicans assembled in Milltown Cemetery to pay tribute to two of their own. As the sun shone and music strained, the large crowd marched to the graves of the two Volunteers before gathering around the County Antrim Republican plot.
Addressing the gathering was Dublin City Councillor and éirígí activist, Louise Minihan.
“We have gathered here at this historic spot to remember two brave Volunteers with pride. We have gathered to remember their inspirational lives and to rededicate ourselves to the cause for which they died, the cause of Irish national liberation.”
Louise Minihan addresses the crowd
Acknowledging the recent strategic defeats inflicted upon the republican struggle, Louise argued that all had not been lost.
“Despite these setbacks, a vibrant and militant republican movement is in the process of being rebuilt by a new generation who have declared their aim an Irish Socialist Republic.
“Republicanism is back to Connolly and socialist republicanism has emerged as the leading force to challenge British Rule.
“It is the job of each and every one of us, in this graveyard today, to do everything we can to help with the rebuilding of the republican struggle to a point where it can be successfully concluded.”

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

PSNI Harassment

The following was penned by éirígí's Newry spokesperson, Stephen Murney

Tonight myself and 2 fellow éirígi activists were stopped & searched by the British forces (PSNI). The reason given for this stop and search was "due to the increased terrorist threat in this area". Altogether 2 cars and an armoured landrover surrounded us for our henious activitty.

What was our "crime" i hear you ask?

What were we up to to suggest we were involved in "terrorist activity"?

What dodgy activity were we involved in to recieve such attention from our noticably nervous police force.

Well we were involved in putting up highly dangerous stickers regarding the savage cuts being enforced upon the disadvantaged and vulnerable working class in our society. (I've attached one of these dastardly stickers to this note for the readers benefit)

The main thug asked me what was i putting up. I explained i was putting up literature relating to tomorrows public service rally that was taking place. I was then informed that i was going to be stopped and searched under section 21 & 24 of the British Justice and security act and that i would be searched for ammunition and wireless apparatus.

I asked him did he have resonable suspicion that i had those items on my person and he replied no, and that he didn't need to have reasonable suspicion but he was searching me due to the "terrorist threat".

I was then vigorously searched for these invisable items. He took information cards from my pockets, these cards provide information on your rights when you are stopped and searched. I told him he had no right to take any documentation or any personal belongings from me because documents aren't included in section 21 & 24, but he done it anyway.

My 2 comrades suffered the same treatment and were each given a generic white card and told to present ourselves at the barracks.

Tomorrow éirígí activists across the North will march with thousands of working class people in protest at the anti-social policies being implemented by the London government and its Stormont administration. Tonight éirígí members preparing for tomorrows rally were held by Stormonts anti-working class police force.

I'll also add that Last night i posted about a local republican being stopped and searched along with his 15 year old daughter. They were stopped under section 21 and 24 of the justice and security act.

Tonight they were both stopped again, under the same draconian legislation, and held for 20 minutes in the freezing cold. Thats 2 nights in a row this young girl and her father were subjected to abuse and torture from thugs in uniform.

I wonder if any of the local Gaeilgeoirí (Irish speaker) who live amongst us in our very communities brought up the issue of harassment when they were having tea and buns with the PSNI in Newry arts centre tonight? Ironically a few feet away from were tomorows rally will be held.

Victory to the working class

Monday, 28 November 2011

Video - Patricia Black & Frank Ryan Commemoration, 20 November 2011

A video of éirígí's recent commemoration marking the 20th anniversary of Óglaigh Patricia Black and Frank Ryan

Building for November 30

Twenty trade unions representing around 175,000 public sector workers in the Six Counties have voted to strike next Wednesday, November 30. They will join million of workers in Britain for what union leaders there believe will be the biggest strike action since 1926.

This mass strike has been declared in response to the assault by the Tory-led government in London on the pensions of workers in the public sector.

This assault has come in a number of ways. The first is that the Tories wish to change the way pensions are adjusted each year for inflation. They want to change the way this is measured from the retail prices index (RPI) to the consumer prices index (CPI), which will cut 15 per cent from the value of public sector pensions.

The second is that the Tories will increase the pension contribution public sector workers make by 3.2 per cent by 2015. This is taken from workers’ wages and amounts to a new tax directly solely at public sector workers. Traditionally pension contributions are agreed through negotiation but in this instance the British government has decided to ram it through unilaterally.

The Stormont executive voted in September to follow the Tory line and introduce this measure to the Six Counties, though its Scottish counterpart has opposed the increase as long as the pay freeze remains in effect in the public sector.
The third measure is that the age of retirement in the public sector will be increased. So, the Tory-Lib Dem plan for the future of pensions is that workers will have to work longer and contribute more for pensions that are worth less.
Attacking the conditions of public sector workers is merely the thin edge of the wedge. The agenda of the Tories is ultimately to attack all public services – health, education, public transport, social welfare, and more – services that are of no use or importance to the millionaire-filled British cabinet and their capitalist masters.

November 30 will see teachers, classroom assistants, lunchladies and principals stepping out of school to join other public sector workers in rallies all over the Six Counties. Marches and rallies will take place in Belfast, Derry, Newry, Ballymena, Cookstown, Downpatrick, Magherafelt, Omagh, Portadown and more.

These rallies will send a strong message, but more will be needed. The trade unions have all voted in favour of further action beyond the strike on November 30. This ongoing campaign will include work-to-rule actions, lunchtime protests and more, with the possibility of more all-out strike action in the future.

In the end, only a concerted effort by public sector workers and the working-class communities who depend on their services will defeat the anti-social policies being implemented by the London government and its Stormont administration.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Political Policing in Ireland- Ten Years of the RUC/PSNI

Last night a very successful event was held in Belfast to mark 10 years of the RUC/PSNI. This public meeting was addressed by Chris Donnelly (RC/IRSP), Stephen Murney (éirígí) and Ciaran Murphy (RNU).

The 3 speakers gave their opinions of British policing and told of their experiences at the hands of the PSNI.

Below is the account of éirígí's Stephen Murney from Newry

I want to thank the republican congress for inviting me here to speak of my experiences and the experiences of republicans in Newry with British policing.

Firstly i’d like to talk about my childhood when i was growing up in the 80s and 90s. I come from a republican family in Newry were relatives having their houses raided was a regular occurrence. Family members being stopped & searched, sometimes 4-5 times a day was also a regular thing. Members of my family were beaten and arrested and imprisoned in British prisons for their republican beliefs and activities. When i was being taken to primary school in the mornings my mother would have been stopped and searched daily.

These things happened over 20 years ago, today i’m an adult, and i’m experiencing those exact same things.

Just over 10 years ago the RUC changed its name to the PSNI. Republicans knew at the time that this wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to the functions and tactics used by the force. This wasn’t the first time this force had a name change. In 1922 It went from being called the RIC to the RUC and in 2001 it changed its name to the PSNI.

It’s ironic that 10 years after this force was given a lick of paint, the PSNI now has access to more repressive legislation than it ever had. It has ignored the European court of human rights in regards to stop & search legislation, it continues to fire lethal plastic bullets at men, women and children, it has introduced tasers, has CS gas at its disposal, and in 2006 it was confirmed that Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie approved the PSNI policy of using children as informants to inform on their own family members. The PSNI also co-operates fully with the British army and MI5, indeed in the past year in Newry the PSNI have searched entire housing estates in joint operations along with the British army placing these areas under siege.

Another example of the link between the British army and the PSNI is that in 2009 the former PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde gave the order for the covert British army unit the Special Reconnaissance Regiment to be deployed in occupied Ireland. This unit has close links with the SAS, where is the accountability there?

The rebranding of the RUC was described as “a new beginning” and was heralded as a “new era”. In 2007 during what was described as the “policing debate” some people made astonishing claims and promises. We were told that the PSNI would be held to account, we were told that manners would be put on the PSNI, we were told that we would control the PSNI and we were told that things would change for the better.

None of that has materialised.

In the Newry area there has been a notable increase in harassment directed towards eirigi members and other republicans in the past few years. Stop & searches happen on an almost daily basis, house raids are a regular occurrence. I have also had my home raided in the early hours by the PSNI using the excuse of searching for firearms and explosives.

Just a few weeks ago the PSNI using a battering ram, forced their way into the home of a member of éirígí under the guise of searching for firearms in Newry’s Derrybeg estate.

For several hours they searched the home, during which time they harassed residents and refused family members access to the victim’s house. Some of those involved in the raid were dressed in white forensic suits and had sniffer dogs with them. When the victim’s family members arrived at the scene they had assault rifles pointed at them and PSNI gunmen pretended to be shooting at them in a petty display of intimidation, assaults and arrests also take place on a regular basis.

It’s now common practice for republicans in Newry to be assaulted and arrested during stop & searches and then the victim finds themselves facing charges and being hauled before British courts. I myself am currently facing a total of 9 charges after being assaulted and arrested during a stop & search operation even though i was handcuffed and then punched and kicked by several members of the PSNI in front of my mother, sister and neighbours.

Several of my friends and comrades in Newry have also experienced the exact same treatment

Numerous times they have placed entire communities under siege which in turn causes riot situations. In recent years we have seen the worst rioting in Newry in over a decade as a result of these tactics used by the PSNI.

Children have also been targeted by the PSNI in Newry. We have cases of children as young as 14 being stopped and searched under draconian acts. A few months ago the PSNI stopped a bus full of kids just a few miles outside Newry. The kids were returning from what should have been an enjoyable day trip to Dublin to celebrate fathers day but were stopped by the PSNI and British army just outside Banbridge.

A few of us from Newry received a phonecall telling us what was happening, we travelled the short distance to where the PSNI and British army were holding the victims but we were prevented from getting anywhere near them by armed PSNI and British army gunmen.

Crying children, as young 4 years of age, were separated from their parents, the kids were then searched for weapons, searched for ammunition, swabbed for explosives, videoed and photographed. One child wet himself with fear and was forced by the PSNI and British army to stand at the side of the road crying, soaked in his own urine.

This is child abuse

Quite a lot of the attention that eirigi activists receive in Newry is completely unwarranted and is a perfect example of how unchanged and unaccountable this force is and how they pursue a strategy of engaging in political policing. A lot of the harassment has occurred when we are involved in political activities such as delivering leaflets, erecting posters and banners and taking part in peaceful protests and pickets. These activities are widely accepted as legitimate political activities but when you partake in this type of activism in occupied Ireland you find yourself being stopped and searched for munitions and wireless apparatus.

If you disagree with the Stormont administration, oppose the British forces, speak out against injustices and human rights abuses that are carried out by the PSNI, and even though you may not currently support armed struggle, you will automatically find yourself labelled as being anti-peace process, a dissident, a conflict junkie and you then find yourself becoming a target of political policing, stop and searches, house raids and harassment.

We could, however, always go for the easy option and support the British police like our former comrades have. If we did that then our lives would be much easier. We wouldn’t get stopped and searched on a regular basis, nor would we have our homes raided. And i’m certain we wouldn’t find ourselves being assaulted and arrested by armed thugs of the British state. But that’s isn’t an option for us because we are Irish republicans

The PSNI and their supporters might try to present the force as a fresh new beginning but they simply follow the same failed anti-republican agenda and strategy of harassment and intimidation they have always used to try and suppress republicanism.

The PSNI cannot be reformed, just like the RUC and the RIC before it could not be reformed. The issue of policing in Ireland will not be resolved until partition and British occupation is ended. Until that happens we will always have two militias operating in two different states to protect the interests of those states. The PSNI is at the frontline of protecting, those in power, the occupation and upholding the British state it serves and protects.

So what has changed since 2001?

Well it’s clear that for republicans nothing has changed