Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Hyland Slams Onslaught Against the Working Class

The savage onslaught against the disadvantaged and vulnerable continues unabated according to independent councillor Davy Hyland.

This comes after it was announced there would be an increase of 18.6% in electricity prices from October 1st.

If that’s not bad enough it also been revealed that coal prices will rise between 4-10% next month

Ordinary people are already suffering immense hardship and with fuel poverty on the rise this means it is only going to get worse.

Figures released earlier this year show that more than 44% of people in the Six Counties are already living in fuel poverty and simply cannot afford to heat their homes properly. With the introduction of these new increases in electricity and coal prices, it is patently obvious that even more homes and families are going to fall into the bracket of being 'fuel poor'.

As usual it’s the poorest and most vulnerable in our society who will suffer while the Stormont politicians are powerless to do anything about it.

Indeed, under the Stormont administration, fuel poverty has actually worsened. In 2004, it was estimated that around 24% of all households in the North were experiencing fuel poverty. Seven years later that figure has almost doubled. That shocking statistic is a scathing indictment of the failure of the Stormont administration to effect real and meaningful change to the everyday lives of the less well-off in our society.

In contrast, the political parties at Stormont are united in protecting the wealth of the most affluent in this society by seeking a reduction in the level of corporation tax paid by large businesses and multi-national companies.

It’s ridiculous that, at a time when working class people have to pay such vast amounts for basic household essentials and when many are already struggling to make ends meet, the Stormont adminstration prefers to protect the rich and ignore the plight of the poor.

The reality is that those very people who are struggling to survive will end up using less fuel to heat their homes. The result of this will mean increased fuel poverty and the inevitable increase in cold related illnesses and deaths.

Slum Landlords We Don't Need You !!!

I see the capitalist loving constitutionals found themselves in quite an embarassing debacle recently over the removal of a republican mural in West Belfast.

The mural was removed to make way for an advertisement for landlords, this was placed ( in very bad taste) above the mural of socialist republican icon James Connolly.

Indeed Connolly once proclaimed "We are out for Ireland for the Irish. But who are the Irish? Not the rack-renting, slum owning landlord; not the sweating, profit-grinding capitalist; not the sleek and oily lawyer; not the prostitute pressman - the hired liars of the enemy . . . but the Irish working class . . . The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland. The cause of Ireland is the cause of labour. They cannot be dissevered . . . Therefore, on Sunday, April 16th, the Green Flag of Ireland will be solemnly hoisted over Liberty Hall." James Connolly, Commander of the Citizen Army

The company that owns the sign seems to have a very close relationship with Sinn Fein, advertising in their papers and attending fancy fundraising events. Sure why wouldn't they have a good relationship considering the many senior members of "the movement" who own numerous properties, holiday homes etc, including the MP Pat Sheehan who owns several houses.

After a very public backlash in which a number of former POWs and blanketmen expressed their outrage at the replacement of the mural, it has now been restored to its former glory.

Let's not forget they are also bottling and selling Irelands natural rescources to make profits.

And to top it off calling for people to boycott Israeli goods but at the same time meeting with the Israeli ambassador to discuss the sending of trade delegations to Israel!

It seems that the constitutionals have abandoned socialist republicanism completely, in favour of wealth, power and greed.

I think Connolly was right when he said that "Ruling by fooling is a great British art, with great Irish fools to practice on"

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Newry Handed Over To The Bigots, Again

latest from the éirígí Newry blog

Sectarian bigotry has once again graced the streets of Newry as tens of thousands of unionist bandsmen and supporters were bussed into the area two days in a row.

On Friday night [August 26] over 50 bands and over 2,000 supporters descended on the city which is almost 90 per cent nationalist.
In an almost routine example of bigotry, intimidation and disruption, Newry was brought to a standstill 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.
It was also reported that in the run up to this “bigotfest” event the PSNI had sealed roads and stopped traffic to facilitate the erecting of loyalist flags.
éirígí’s Stephen Murney was at the scene to observe these sectarian coat-trailing exercises on Friday and Saturday.

Stephen said, “I was standing watching on Friday evening when I was immediately targeted by heavily armed members of the PSNI, one of which was a notorious thug called Sgt Wright. He made reference to the fact that we recently exposed their true nature and seemed quite annoyed about it. A TSG gunman standing beside me then quipped, “At least I get paid to watch the parade.”
“It’s unreal that citizens of Newry are being targeted by this militia who are facilitating a sectarian parade through a nationalist area. It’s bad enough being on the receiving end of sectarian intimidation without having to be subjected to PSNI harassment too.”
On Saturday it was much worse. It was reported that an estimated 110 bands many of which were displaying UVF and YCV flags, 115 preceptories and 50,000 “supporters” were on the streets of Newry as well as a massive British “security operation” to facilitate the bigots.
Widespread disruption lasted for two full days, affecting businesses, shoppers, resulting in the harassment and intimidation of local people as well as costing thousands of pounds. Anyone Walking down Hill Street on Saturday afternoon would have noticed many shops were closed and many restaurants were empty on what should be one of their busiest days of the week.
At one point an ambulance responding to an emergency call was stuck in traffic due to the disruption.
It’s high time the people of Newry took to the streets to oppose this blatant naked sectarian intimidation.
éirígí will continue to campaign for the right for everyone to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation.

Friday, 26 August 2011

éirígí Information Stall in Newry

éirígí in Newry will be setting up an information stall in Hill Street on Saturday 3rd September.

There will be various publications available to shoppers highlighting a number of issues such as the “Stormont isn’t working” leaflets which focus on the how Stormont has failed society, “Different Name, Same Aim” leaflets highlighting the unchanged nature of British policing in Ireland, and the latest issue of Poblacht na nOibrithe, the monthly éirígí newsletter which highlights issues that éirígí are actively involved in locally.
Local independent republican Councillor Davy Hyland along with local éirígí activists will be at hand to engage with the community in Newry and address any queries or concerns people might have.
This initiative will give local people the chance to engage with socialist republicans at a grassroots level, on the streets where the fight back will begin.
The information stall will be in place from 12pm-3pm on Saturday 3rd September and will be situated across from Newry Credit Union (weather permitting).

Thursday, 25 August 2011

End the Brutality in Maghaberry! POW Letter on the forced strip search.

The 1981 Hunger strike saw 10 brave men fast to the death to end the process undertaken by the then British Tory government in their attempt to criminalise Republican POWs with their removal of Political status.

The sacrifice of the 10 and the impact around the world brought about a U Turn by the British government who  reintroducted political status thus removing the criminal tag with which they had wanted to brand the Republican volunteers.

Some 30 years later,the status which had been so hard won, has been sold down the river whilst the British take carte blanche in allowing and actively encouraging the brutalisation and violation of Republican POWs within Maghaberry gaol while subtly reintroducing Internment through license revocation.

POWs in Maghaberry are involved in an ongoing protest at the removal of political status and face daily beatings at the hand of sectarian screws in Maghaberry while remand prisoners face 2 forced searches every time they have to make a court appearance.

The forced strip search is a wholly brutal practise designed solely to humiliate the POWs and the agreement reached in August 2010 which was designed to end the practises has been reneged on by the regime and now lies in tatters.

We ask that people who were opposed to the ritual humiliation and brutalisation of Republican POWs while last opposing the removal of political status to lend your voice to the campaign to reinstate it and end the Brutality by the sectarian regime on Irish Republican prisoners.

What follows here is a letter written by Damien "DD" McLaughlin which describes the brutality which is part and parcel of the forced strip search.

Support the Republican POWs on Protest!

Beir Bua!

POW torture in Maghaberry –Letter from D.D Mc Laughlin-Emotive, upsetting & graphic
Hello everyone. I’m just back from the court. I was twice subjected to forced strip searches today. That was my tenth forced strip in the last twelve weeks . I’m also out to court next Tuesday so that will be another two.
Today I was brought to the reception where the search team were waiting and forced into a 3ft x 3ft cubicle by two of them where I refused to strip. They laughed at me and said “He’s ready for it!”
I was then brought to a holding cell and kept in there for about 50 minutes with a governor coming in twice to tell me their so called prison rules. (He could talk all day, I wasn’t for stripping and won’t be at any stage while I’m incarcerated in this place)
All the while outside the cell the riot squad are getting ready. Suddenly the Cell door bursts open and in they come in full riot gear, Helmets, shields, body protection, the works.
They ram the shield into my face, 2 of them grab my arms, another grabs my head, I’m forced to the ground - Arms forced up my back, 2 knees forced into my head to hold it down , 2 knees in the back of my legs… Then another one of them starts to force off my shoes, socks and trousers off. I’m then moved into a forced position so that my boxers are ripped down and my frontal private parts can be seen by them. I’m then forced back into a position where my boxers are completely forced off me and a hand held metal detector is ran over my backside.
At this stage, it’s hard to breathe with their gloves covering my face and mouth. I’m still being held by four of them on the floor, my private parts exposed… Naked! Lying there!
They then grab my boxers and jeans and force them up, hurting me .. leaving my private parts still exposed – They then move me into another awkward position to take my t shirt off… I think my arms are about to break in two ! It’s agony at this stage.. My wrists are just numb... Being twisted the whole time this is going on.. My shirt is now off.. I’m lying now with both my arms are forced up my back towards the roof while the riot squad run out of the cell.. My arms just drop to the floor.. I try my best to get onto my feet using my elbows , trousers hanging off me, boxers still below my private parts.. I’m aching all over !
I try to get dressed as the riot squad stand smirking at me. I just stare back at them. I think of the other things they have done to me in the past.. Forced strips, cut my clothes off, broke my nose, stood on me, forced me into squat positions, forced my mouth open by trying to break my wrist… I could go on!
Well, that’s me on the way to court! As soon as I get to Laganside ( where I’m already an hour late because of the forced strip ) I’m brought straight to the court, cuffed, and haven’t seen my solicitor.. Adjourned again ! That’s me down now to a 6ft x 6ft cell to wait for a few hours.Then I’m brought back to the gaol where I go through the whole strip search ordeal again.
Sitting in my cell now – My wrists, knees, ankles, neck, back, head, shoulders are aching.. One image going through my head is the faces of my friends who were waiting patiently for me to come back.. Colly, Harry, Brendy, Gerard, Kevin … It’s hard to explain the look on their faces but I can tell you that it’s one of the worst feelings in gaol seeing one of your friends coming back from a forced strip search, seeing them in pain !
I would take all of their forced strip searches rather than see them in this agony.. pain .. and I know they would do the same for me.
That’s friendship that won’t be broken !
Well, slan for now, another Republican forcibly strip searched.
D.D McLaughlin, POW, Maghaberry gaol

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Raids ‘putting safety of local Republicans at risk’ - Monteith

You'll recall this incident occurred a few weeks ago when the republican community in East Tyrone and South Derry were placed under siege by over 200 members of the British forces. You will also recall that at the time Martin McGuinness came straight out and defended the PSNI and offered them his full support, within 24 hrs Martin "changed his mind" and condemned the PSNI operation. Obviously he learnt that the republican community in Tyrone didn't share the same view as he did and were rightly very angry. It seems the Stormonteers will ony condcemn raids and harassment when it suits them and their anti-republican agenda.

Its great to see that there are sound republican elected reps who don't suffer from foot in mouth syndrome (unique condition for those in supposed positions of power)

Also great that he dosent use selective condemnation ie. good raids Vs bad raids

Maith Thú Barry Montieth

DUNGANNON Independent Republican Councillor, Barry Monteith, has strongly criticised what he called the “unacceptable harassment of Republicans by the PSNI/RUC” in recent weeks.

Questioning the purpose of the raids, which included homes in the Coalisland area, Cllr Monteith said: “The raids which took place recently in the East Tyrone/South Derry area involving over 200 armed militia are not isolated incidents. These raids have rightly been publicly challenged.

“They are not, however, as a result of misinformation or lapses in judgement. They took place in the context of British policing policy to intimidate, criminalise and marginalise Republicans. Unfortunately sections of Irish society aid and endorse this felon-setting of Republicans. Other Republicans have been similarly targeted in recent times yet those who talk of heavy handedness now, were strangely silent then.”

Pointing to the presence of media at one address in Coalisland, the local councillor also said the safety of some of those whose homes were visited by police.

“These raids follow a pattern”, claimed Cllr Monteith. “They take place in blaze of publicity. The media are undoubtedly tipped off by the Crown Forces. Indeed on one occasion in East Tyrone the Media arrived at the house to be raided before the PSNI!

“I would call into question the relationship between the media and the PSNI. Are there similar underhand exchanges of information like those recently uncovered in London between police and media.

“This has the added sinister aspect of setting Republicans up for Loyalist attack. A number of Republicans targeted in the East Tyrone area by these Propaganda Raids have subsequently received Loyalist death threats. During the raids, people’s homes are declared a Scene of Crime in order to prevent access by family and friends who want help those in distress.

“As part of the raid it is now standard procedure to remove ALL clothing from the house and ALL mobile phones and computers from the house. This includes phones and computers belonging to any children in the house. Despite the fact these computers hold important school work they are not returned for months, even years.

“I know of some people who have not had their property returned after several years having gone by and no charges brought. These raids combined with the continued stop and search harassment and MI5 harassment by the Crown Forces are all part of the British policing strategy in Ireland.

“This harassment is totally unacceptable, yet it is unfortunately not surprising. The legacy of British Policing in Ireland is one of repression, discrimination, abuse and victimisation against the Irish people. Someone claimed these raids are like a return to the bad old days as if they were a bolt from the blue. When in reality they are a continuation of British policing policy in Ireland. For grass roots Republicans the bad old days never went away.”

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

King Cuckoo

From the Pensive Quill

I wonder if Martin McGuinness ever casts an eye back over the devastation he helped to wreak in the North and further afield that culminated in his appointment to the British administration that now assists London in running the place.

The British state might be home to a strange lot but it sure does know how to co-opt and neutralise an erstwhile dangerous adversary. It can even use that one time aggressor as a stalking horse to draw the invective from republicans that would in other circumstances be lobbed directly at the British themselves.

A visitor to the country with little in the way of knowledge about its turbulent political history would be excused for believing that throughout the years of political violence Martin McGuinness was a colleague of David Ford in the Alliance Party. The visitor may even conclude that the partnership between the two has lasted to this day culminating in an active policy aimed at repressing republicanism.

McGuinness is nothing if not outlandish. He has labelled those currently engaged in armed republican activity against the British as ‘living in cloud cuckoo land … the disgraceful ongoing activities of those people that believe the use of guns and bombs brings solutions to problems.’ He called on the people involved to ‘go away and recognise, not only are they not making a contribution to making life better for our people, they're actually damaging it.’

It seems self-evident that armed republicanism is on the road to nowhere and that its guns and bombs are not solutions to the type of problems that republicans feel exist. But they never were. Armed republicanism failed because, while it may have been the answer to some things including British repression, it could never hope to effectively answer the question of British sovereignty over the North. But Martin McGuinness fails to address any of this and behaves as if guns and bombs were something that he was never associated with. He refuses to acknowledge that guns and bombs catapulted his political career if not much else.

Those of us who have lived in the country and are not subject to visitor’s unfamiliarity nor press amnesia will take a different view. We can recall him castigating a previous republican leadership on the basis that it wanted peace and was willing to stop the war. He encouraged the anti-peace lobby with the promise of more war; a war that would never, never, never stop until British rule was ended. A year after that speech one of the actions in the war that would never end took the lives of many innocent people at Enniskillen.

In his recent outbursts McGuinness, without seeming cognisant of it, passes a damning judgement on the violent campaign he directed. His criticism of current armed republicans could as accurately be applied to his own band. The Provisional IRA’s armed struggle failed lamentably in its core objective. It produced an outcome that few republicans – apart from those who willed and helped secure it - envisaged and certainly none professed to desire while the war was in full swing. The disparity between aims and outcome has never been addressed by Sinn Fein. Until it is done so with the bluntness it requires, current armed republicans are always going to feel they were cheated rather than defeated, and will carry on in the hope that somehow things can be turned around militarily.

The Provisional IRA volunteers who died trying to bring solutions to problems with guns and bombs have now been posthumously awarded the order of the cuckoo by their one time chief of staff.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

éirígí - PSNI Harassment on the Rise

Latest news from éirígí

Saturday, August 6, was a busy day for the British militia in Newry who went into overdrive harassing, assaulting and arresting numerous republicans in what can only be described as an harassment spree.

Within the space of an hour the PSNI had stopped and searched at least 15 republicans in the centre of Newry.

Amongst those targeted included a 14-year-old child, at least 5 éirígí activists and supporters along with local independent republican councillor Davy Hyland.

This comes just a few weeks after éirígí took to the streets at Ardmore barracks with over 70 people opposing the PSNI and their repressive tactics.

We also predicted that éirígí’s campaign to confront British policing would be met with a fierce response from the PSNI; that prediction has become reality.

One of those stopped & searched on Saturday was éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney.

“I was stopped and searched just after two of my comrades suffered similar treatment including Cllr Davy Hyland. They were particularly aggressive and were demanding my details despite not notifying me which legislation they were using.”

“They then proceeded to search me and attempted to take my mobile phone and wallet from me. I protested against this, explaining that they were personal property and they had no right to take them unless they had a warrant, I also pointed out that under section 21 and 24 it does not state that they can remove personal items,” Stephen said.

“I was then physically grabbed by two PSNI thugs who twisted my arms and bent my wrists with such force that i had to let go of my wallet and phone. They then went through my personal items and threatened me with arrest for “assault” and being “aggressive” despite me remaining calm and peaceful with numerous witnesses.”

A few hours later another republican was assaulted and arrested by the same patrol, who used the exact same tactics of trying to take his personal property during a stop and search. This republican is now facing several trumped up charges.

It’s clear that the PSNI area commander Davy Beck is sticking to his recent promise that they will continue to target republicans.

We urge anyone on the receiving end of such harassment to contact their solicitor to have the incidents recorded.”

Stephen continued, “I have a message for Davy Beck and his band of PSNI thugs. If they think they can harass and intimidate republicans without provoking a reaction from us then they can think again.

“They can beat us, harass us and arrest us but they better get used to republicans openly challenging and resisting them because we won't be going anywhere.

“We are in it for the long haul.”

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Policing Problems : The Fault Lines Exposed

The past few months have not been good ones for the PSNI. One PR disaster after another has followed, each one decreasing public confidence in the force as either an impartial one or even a competent one. However it is no longer republicans voicing their discontent to the silence of those unaffected by the actions of the PSNI. The scale of their errors have now brought the debate about policing back into the mainstream media. This is a welcome development but it must be understood in its context by republicans if we are to capitalize on it. The debate must be framed by republicans and engaged with ideologically.
Post GFA policing remained a major problem for those pushing the normalization process. The provisional movement recognized that trust in the “reformed” service was nowhere near the levels required for it to be effective. They refused to engage with the new policing structures. PSNI, it was declared stood for “Patten Still Not Implemented”. Murals highlighted the widespread view that the PSNI were merely the RUC in new uniforms. There was a rational analysis behind this objection. Aside from the republican standpoint of refusing to be policed by an occupational force the PSNI was and is full of RUC veterans. Given that the reputation of the RUC was atrocious in every nationalist area after 30 years of harassment and state sponsored intimidation it became imperative for a rebrand.

However the Provisional movement was forced by events to speed up its long term plans. St Andrews was to be the death knell of provisional resistance to total acquiescence to British plans. The acceptance of policing was no longer a choice. Adams and co duly delivered albeit losing many activists who went on to form eirigi. Republicans had never enjoyed any honeymoon period with the rebranded RUC and from 1998 onwards had been treated in the same fashion as they had prior to the signing of the agreement. However the provisional movement had been content to label those who opposed the sell out as fringe groups, thugs and criminals. The republican political opposition was not engaged with. A problem now emerged. There were many who supported Sinn Fein but were not so keen on the PSNI. They were willing to give the benefit of the doubt but it was not clear would they hold their tongue.

This dynamic produced a twin track process. Republicans were consistently vilified personally and politically. This was then used as the justification for PSNI harassment against them. The PSNI were also held up as a totally new, shiny, equal opportunity and fun for all the family force. They even hired Catholics and some of them spoke Irish! The retreat into sectarian justification for support of policing was ultimately to backfire. However the death of Ronan Kerr highlighted the approach that Sinn Fein took to policing and politics. The furore over the execution of a police officer became imbued with a sickening sectarian slant. He was described constantly as a “Catholic officer, GAA player, nationalist” as if those terms precluded the fact that he was a serving police officer in an occupational force. In short the arguments brought forward by Sinn Fein and their supporters was that he shouldn’t have been targeted because he “was one of us”. identity politics had reached its zenith!

It is within this context that recent developments have created a major headache for Sinn Fein. The recent cycle of raiding in republicans area, the handling of rioting and the stances of the PSNI towards loyalists have caused a schism within the ranks of nationalists supporting the force. First there was the orchestrated attacks by the UVF on the short strand. The PSNI stood by and allowed loyalists to invade and attack a republican area. Their response to hundreds of masked loyalist rioters was tame and muted. The residents were by no means anti agreement hardliners. They were simply people being attacked by mobs. The condemnations of the PSNI response began to trickle out of Sinn Fein as the anger of their constituents was relayed.

The loyalists were placated and the UVF was thrown a few crumbs from the executive. In the run up to the 12th things became even more blatant. After loyalists rioted over the PSNI removing flags they had illegally erected the PSNI apologized to the loyalists. This enraged even moderate nationalists who pointed to the total disparity in response from the PSNI to loyalists and republicans. However it was not the apology that was most telling. It was the lack of arrests following the rioting. Without fail the PSNI had followed up any rioting from republicans with mass arrests and swamping republican communities with land rovers and police. There was no such response to the loyalists.

In Derry the scale of abuse of residents in the Creggan area resulted in independent community groups holding a meeting to discuss the abuse suffered at the hands of the PSNI. Over 200 residents, community groups and even an SDLP councillor attended. Yet Sinn Fein sent no representative, nor condemned any of the atrocious antics of the PSNI that prompted the meeting to be held. This was because the area was perceived by Sinn Fein to be a “dissident stronghold” . The stance was made clear. When the actions of the PSNI affected Sinn Fein supporters they would be challenged. When they affected republicans still challenging the occupation they would be brushed over.

The PSNI highlighted their biased approach even further when they invaded Ardoyne on the night of the 12th of July. After hours of attacking residents with plastic bullets and water cannons they sent in land rovers and hundreds of their baton wielding thugs. Residents were terrified as the invasion swept through the area attacking anyone suspected of defending their community. In the days following dozens of arrests were made and continue to be made. To date there have been no arrests over the rioting by loyalists in Ballyclare and elsewhere in South Antrim. Pictures were released of the rioters in Ardoyne. No pictures have been released of Loyalists.

Gerry “these dissidents are outsiders” Kelly was forced to condemn the PSNI and their shocking treatment of Ardoyne residents. The complaints were coming thick and fast about the behaviour of the police and no longer could they be brushed aside as the howls of dissenters refusing to move on. Sinn Fein were becoming increasingly exasperated with the openly sectarian displays by their police force. Rather than give the poor shinners a breathing space the PSNI promptly created a fresh headache for the party in Tyrone.

Amid massive publicity the PSNI launched a series of massive raids in Tyrone. Over 200 of their thugs tore apart family homes across the county. All of this was “intelligence led policing”. Martin MacGuinness was tripping over himself to welcome the raids as a response to the execution of Ronan Kerr. Martin really should have learned to choose his words carefully but enthused by the supposed arrest of republicans he had no problem welcoming the arrests and stated “we must support the police in their investigations”. Now unfortunately for Martin the police had arrested nobody remotely linked to militant republicanism. Worse again the local Sinn Fein councillor began condemning the raids. Francie Molloy condemned them also. Martin got the familiar feeling of having firmly shoved his foot in his mouth and started back pedalling furiously. Now the arrests were wrong. Martin didn’t even need to await the police investigation, despite having welcomed it 24 hours earlier he now demanded the release of one of the men arrested. The familiar whiff of hypocrisy emanated from Martin but this time it wasn’t republicans pointing it out. A furious row began between the PSNI and Sinn Fein. Matt Baggot and his minions don’t like being criticized. Neither does Martin or his bearded cheerleader in Leinster house! An impasse has now been reached between Sinn Fein and their police force. Having accepted, endorsed, promoted and cheer leaded them they have had a falling out.

Republicans are no doubt tempted to sit back, laugh and say well we told you so. Now is not the time for that. What these incidents really show is an ideological fault line being exposed within the provisional movement. They may have abandoned republican principles but many of their grassroots supporters have held onto the hope that progress has really been made. Two strands of this trust are the judicial system and the police. The ongoing horrific treatment of the POWs in Maghaberry and the internment of veteran republicans has raised question marks for many of them. The PSNI over the past few months have managed to undo a considerable amount of the work that the Sinn Fein leadership put into presenting them as a impartial force. Sinn Fein cannot withdraw their support for the PSNI, they hold no cards in this dispute and they know it. They are being kept on a tighter and tighter leash. Increasingly the antagonisms between their day to day actions and the aspirations of their traditional support base are being exasperated. It is up to republicans to make our case against policing firmly and more importantly publicly.

Debate and dialogue must be encouraged independently of republican groups. There is an uneasiness amongst many Sinn Fein supporters who are disillusioned with what the GFA has delivered but are wary of being left in the wilderness, rejected by those they have opposed. This is why republicans must organize meetings, debates and events to make our case against British policing. It must be made apparent that the problem with the PSNI is not how many of them carry rosary beads or can kick a decent point but the fact that they wear the uniform of the occupation. We must link the anger that many supporters of the agreement feel about their recent actions to its historical context. They are not impartial, they are not acceptable and they are not welcome in republican communities. We must spread this message and do it quickly!

Beir Bua
Frank Ryan society

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Successful POW Picket

Roughly 100 people attended Saturdays POW picket in Monghan St, Newry, organised by the Newry/South Armagh Republican Prisoners Support Group. Despite the harsh weather people from all walks of life took to the streets including many ex-prisoners.

This picket was organised to highlight the continued suffering and injustices inflicted upon republican prisoners in Maghaberry at the hands of the prison administration.

Assaults are a regular occurrence, degrading strip searches are rife, harassment of the families of the POWs is never ending and republican prisoners are being subjected to physical and psychological torture on a daily basis.

We call on all republicans to rally behind republican prisoners in Maghaberry. Remember the 10 men who gave their lives 30 years ago to remove the label of criminalisation.

Republican prisoners are not criminals. they are political prisoners. These men would not even be in jail if it wasn't for the ongoing British presence in Ireland. They are clearly political prisoners and they should be treated as such.

The British government needs to realise that the 12th August agreement of last year presents the basis for resolving the conflict in the prison and face down the Prison Officers Association.

The only way the conflict in Maghaberry will be resolved is for the 12th August agreement to be fully implemented, for political status to be restored for republican prisoners and for the harassment and degrading treatment of prisoners and their families to be ended immediately.

Victory to the POWs

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

POW Whiteline Picket, Newry 6th August

Newry and South Armagh Republican Prisoners Support Group will be holding a whiteline picket on Monaghan street Newry on Saturday 6th August at 3pm, meet at Iceland carpark. This is an Independent event and is open to all Republicans.


Monday, 1 August 2011

Hundreds March for the POWs

Several hundred people attended Saturdays march for the POWs in Repubican West Belfast. The march commenced from Dunville Park on the Falls road and made its way to the Busy Bee carpark on the Andersonstown road

Republicans from all over Ireland took part in the rally in which several flute bands took part along with a large section comprising of the Tyrone Independent Societies.

Local republicans also took part in the with local Independent Republican Councillor, Davy Hyland, being one of the speakers.

Other speakers included former hunger-striker Tommy Mc Kearney, Roisin Lynch partner of Brendan Lillis and civil rights activist Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh. Colin Duffy's brother Paul Duffy chaired the meeting which also heard messages of solidarity from Sweden, France, Italy and Germany being read out.

Many former hungerstrikers, ex-POWs and blanket men took part in the march and its clear that support is growing for the POWs

Here are a few videos and photos:

Frankie Quinn from Tyrone from the independent societies