Thursday, 29 September 2011

Newry éirígí Activist Arrested & Beaten

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has said yesterday’s [Wednesday] assault and arrest of a party member in Newry is the culmination of a long campaign against republicans in the area by the PSNI.
Stephen Murney, éirígí’s Newry area representative, was held for seven hours and charged with a string of offences after he intervened to check on the welfare of a neighbour who was having his car searched by the PSNI.

Mac Cionnaith said: “Republicans in Newry, including éirígí activists and supporters, have been suffering incessant harassment at the hands of the PSNI for some time now. This harassment has included assaults, arrests, house searches and constant stop and searches. In the last number of weeks, the PSNI has decided to add to this list the policy of harassing parents outside schools when they are dropping their children off or picking them up.
“Yesterday, the PSNI began yet another day by raiding homes on the Derrybeg estate and, later, searching cars in the area. éirígí representative Stephen Murney was present in both instances to offer solidarity to the affected residents. However, the PSNI decided to take exception to his presence and moved to arrest him, punching, kicking and threatening him with further violence in the process.

“After seven hours in custody in Armagh barracks, in the course of which the political police demanded unsuccessfully that he document political activities in Derrybeg, Stephen was charged with a string of spurious offences. We will be challenging these charges and are confident they can be beaten.”
The charges are:
  • Two counts of assaulting PSNI officers
  • Two counts of resisting arrest
  • Two counts of disorderly behaviour
  • Two counts of obstruction
  • One count of fraud, as the date of birth on his provisional driving license was wrong

Mac Cionnaith added: “There is no longer any doubt that the PSNI is both incapable and unwilling to transform itself into a civic police service. The force is nothing more than a sectarian unionist militia, dedicated to protecting the British occupation.

“While incidents like yesterday’s are habitually greeted with silence and indifference by the PSNI’s nationalist cheerleaders on the Six County Policing Board, people in working class communities are increasingly willing to stand up to these thugs in uniform. This was witnessed in Derrybeg yesterday when many residents left their homes to challenge the PSNI when they were assaulting and arresting Stephen.

“éirígí will not take the mistreatment of its membership by state forces lying down. The PSNI should be aware that the party will not be deterred by any amount of harassment or beatings. Anyone who is suffering similar behaviour at the hands of the PSNI should contact their solicitor or éirígí.”

Below is Stephen Murney’s account of yesterday’s arrest.

“At roughly 9am, a large convoy of armoured landrovers and cars descended on the Derrybeg estate. They raided a home in the area and took the usual from the house, including a child’s X Box. I visited the victims during the raid to see how they were and to see if they needed anything.

“At 12pm, I was in Main Avenue, Derrybeg when I observed a neighbour getting his car searched by the PSNI. A small crowd of residents had gathered to watch and I went over and asked my neighbour if he was okay.

“The cops came straight over and told me to “Fuck off up the street” and mind my own business. I told them I was concerned at the treatment my neighbour was receiving as well as them tormenting the residents of Derrybeg on a regular basis and that I would stay to observe what was happening.

“I was then grabbed by both arms by two of the thugs, who then assaulted me. They took me over to a wall and pushed me into it with such force one of the coping stones came off. They twisted my arms up my back and placed the handcuffs on me. I was then punched in the ribs several times and kicked in the legs while I was handcuffed. On two occasions, one of the officers told me he was going to break my jaw.

“This happened in full view of numerous residents, including my mother and sister, who were all disgusted with the cops and challenged them. The PSNI then aggressively pushed and shoved them out of the way.
The residents of Derrybeg should be commended for challenging them.

“I was then taken to Armagh barracks where I was photographed and had my fingerprints and DNA taken.

“At the barracks, a doctor examined me and noted cuts, marks and swelling to my wrists and arms and bruised and sore ribs. I was held for roughly seven hours, during which time the PSNI attempted unsuccessfully to conduct an “intelligence interview” with me. I was then released on bail to appear in court on October 26.”

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Irish Republican Socialist Congress

The Peace and Neutrality Alliance presents "Imperialism Kills: Libya; Iraq; Afghanistan; Ireland.", a public meeting on the role of British and American imperialism. 

The meeting will be addressed by: 

  • Roger Cole (PANA)
  • Philli Mc Nally (Republican Congress)
  • Barbara Muldoon (Belfast Anti War Movement) 
  • Saeb Shaath (Palestinian Aid)
  • Patricia Campbell (Independent Workers Union).

The meeting will take place this Wednesday (September 28th) at 7pm as the Elmwood Learning and Teaching Centre, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast. This building is besdie the Students Union.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Martin Rafferty: “they will not break us”

Interview with Martin Rafferty 
Martin Rafferty, 32Csm, speaks openly on the internment of Marian Price. A timetravel inside the Republican Movement and what prospect for a united Ireland

How’s Marian Price? 
Gerry – Marian’s husband – was visiting yesterday, and said her spirits are high, but he could see strain on her. Given the fact the all studies show how solitary confinement is the worse form of torture within jail, this is not surprising. But Marian is strong and an inspiration to us all and we know no matter what they try they will not break her.

Republicans took to the streets all over Ireland with passion and dignified protests. What are the next initiative to support the immediate release of Marian Price? 
At the moment a lot of our energies have been putting into wider protest within Maghaberry but we plant to incorporate the protest for Marian within her framework. Obviously we do not want to go into much detail. But along with the white line pickets and poster campaigns, we will be embarking on other actions.

The only female detainee in a male prison in Europe. Is there any jurisprudential action to bring her case to the international European human rights court (EcthR) ? 
Giving the response from Hillary Clinton, the British administrations and Church leaders to the incarceration of an Iranian woman in an all male jail in Iran, last year, you would think that morally, never mind legally, the case would be won, meaning that is totally wrong to have any woman held in these conditions. But Marian’s legal team are exploring the legality of the British actions. Not just holding her in an all males jail, but also the circumstances of her arrest and the revoking of her license.

Marian has declared that “the ongoing policy of criminalization of the republican struggle has intensified in the last few years; as it is always the case, the republican prisoners in Maghaberry jail being at the coal face of this; well tried but failed policy’’ (see letter on the picture). How would you comment?
In 1981 Thatcher tried a criminalization policy implying that all republican actions where deemed to be a crime and all us republicans where nothing more than criminals.
The policy failed then, and today the Brits feel that if they get former comrades to criminalize the republican struggle today, they may somehow succeed where Thatcher failed. No matter who is pronouncing the words: Thatcher, Cameron, Ford, McGuinness or Kelly; Republicans never were criminals and today it remains the same. As long as there is an occupied part of Ireland there will be Republicans willing to oppose it and given that 75% of Irish people voted for a United Ireland and the British responded by creating a Six Counties State, it is not surprising that today there are still republicans willing to stand and defend the right of Irish people to self-determination.

Her license immediately revoked despite a pardon conferred in the 1981. Can you see the possibility that the pardon she received for her offences prior to 1974 could be restored during next month hearing? 
The toll the British State is using at the moment is one of fear and intimidation against all republicans, active and no-active; the no-active republicans, most of whom have life sentences hanging over their heads, in the form licenses, have been warned not to re-engage in any form of republican activity or they too will have their license suspended. In this context the British will do everything in their power to keep Marian in jail. Not because she is a threat to society or is engaging in any activity to justify the treatment she’s receiving, but as a warning to others to keep their heads down.

Interned, marginalized and criminalized. How far is the battle in order to restore the political status? 
As it happened in 1981, the British have miscalculated the mood of Republican community. In ‘81 they were told by constitutional nationalists and securocrats that the republican movement was on its knees and almost defeated. At that time they thought the criminalization policy would defeat the republican movement: they were wrong then, and today, as in ’81, the Brits have been told that the Republican Movement is almost defeated and they are again trying to roll out the policy of criminalization inside and outside the jail. But instead to having the effect of demoralizing and breaking the Republican Movement, it has once again galvanized and spurred the Republican Movement on.

During a recent commemoration of Brendan Hughes in County Louth, Martin Galvin prayed Republicans, all Republicans today, to forge a unity and strategy which can break through once more, and get the struggle back on the path of the united and free Ireland which “unrepentant Fenians and so many others sacrificed for and so much to win for us”. Can you see today that opportunity for a shared or a single platform with Republican Network for Unity? 
Throughout history of Ireland, and further afield, the British have engaged in a tactic of “divide and conquer”, and today a lot of energy has been put into this tactic. In 1974, during the Sinn Fein split, there were running battle in the streets between former comrades and lives were lost. The Brits and their agents, have been trying to create a similar situation today by releasing misinformation and trying to foment confrontation between different groups. We all acknowledge we are struggling for the same goal and we will not be manipulated by anyone, British or former comrades, into any kind of confrontation with each other. Today we see the hemorrhaging of Sinn Fein and understandably a lot of the people leaving the party do not feel confortable joining with other groupings just yet. We understand and respect this but we are able to have a working relationship with them on matters relating to the jails and other issues. We also have a good working relationship with Republican Network for Unity and we have learnt that if you impose people to accept your interpretation and position on issues, then we will always be divided.

Do you believe in a referendum? And in the perspective of a referendum on national unity, how will the Irish Republican strategies change? 
In my view we cannot trust either the British or Government in the free State regarding any form of referendum at the moment. Giving the Irish Government attitude to the Maastricht treaty, when they held the referendum and did not get the answer they wanted the first time, subsequently engaged in an vicious campaign of lies and threats in order to achieve they outcome they wanted. I do not think they have any credibility in organizing a referendum that would remove them from well paid jobs and powerful influences.

Some republicans are asking the “equality of arrests” in regard to the case of recent riots in loyalists and republican areas as well as the use of plastic bullets in England, in line with the “50/50 formula” that can be considered the dorsal spine of nationalist revisionism. Dup’s Nigel Dodds, in the aftermath of Ardoyne ‘s riots, called the people opposing the Orange Order parade through the district as Republicans, while Sinn Fein called them “thugs”.  
How do you see the issue in the wider Republican Movement and what are the differences today between being a Republican and a Nationalist and when does it become a thug? 
Regarding the recent events of the marching season, and the actions of the police, it is a fact that no matter how hard they try to paper over the cracks, the cracks will always come through. James Connolly said that until the constitutional question has been addressed there will never be equality. Be it in housing, employment, administration of justice, or any other area of a “normal society”, the things will never be dealt with until the outside interference has been removed. In the Six Counties, sectarianism, equality and injustice are all symptoms of the problem and not the problem itself. People tend to forget that the police role here is to uphold the State and we expect nothing else from them but what we have seen over the marching season. As regarding Kelly and Dodds, as long as there will be Republicans, there will also be people trying to criminalize them. Michael Collins said of the De Valera that he was an illegitimate republican, De Valera said the same of Tom Barry and Gerry Kelly says it of today Republicans. In order to hide the fact that Sinn Fein has now become a constitutional nationalist party, they have to try and discredit Republicans who are engaged to opposing the British presence, be it in Westminster or Stormont.

Sometimes it seems a war under the pillows with Republicans absolutely protagonists over their divisions. “An Irish disease” has been called this chronically split. Unrolled by intelligence and counterintelligence, it appears that the only defeated are Republicans themselves. Are “dossieraggio” and agitprop activities influencing this moment in time of the Irish Question? 
The British have always used the tool of informers not only to gather intelligence but also to lead the republican movement in the direction of their liking. As can be seen today through the cases of Stakeknife and Denis Donaldson, they have perfected this art and they are continuing with this strategy. The recent building of the new MI5 headquarters just outside Belfast (Holywood) shows their intent. It is estimated that have hundreds of plain-clothes agents working flat out trying to recruit informers into the ranks. I myself have been approached three times in the recent past with offers of money or threats to my life and my family to make me become an informer. I am more than confident that this practice is widespread and unfortunately some people are giving in to the threats. I spent three years in jail due to a paid informer who engaged in the activities of the State provocateur.

Pearse said- “If we today are fighting for something either greater than or less than the thing our fathers fought for, either our fathers did not fight for freedom at all or we are not fighting for freedom”. 
Martin Rafferty, who owns today that inheritance? 
Today Republicans, from wherever organization or grouping, are Republicans. We all identified that the problem is the same today as it was seven hundred years ago and until the foreign interference has been removed from our country all the other problems cannot be addressed. As a republican, if you believe this, then it doesn’t matter who holds the mantra as long as the ideal stays the same.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Newry & Mourne District Council Maghaberry Delegation Refused

éirígí in Newry have expressed their deep disappointment and anger at the decision by the British prison service to decline a request by Newry & Mourne District Council to send a delegation to visit republican prisoners currently on protest.

In July the council unanimously agreed to send a delegation to Maghaberry to investigate the prisoners’ concerns, the instigator of the successful motion was Independent republican Councillor Davy Hyland who has expressed his disappointment at the decision.

Davy said “It’s disgraceful that the NIPS, under the auspices of the so-called “Justice” minister, have refused the councils request with no reason being given. It would have been an important opportunity for councillors and council officials to hear at first hand what republican prisoners have to endure. I will continue to highlight the situation in Maghaberry and promise to do everything in my power to make people aware of the human rights abuses being carried out against republican prisoners in the gaol on a daily basis”

His sentiments were echoed by éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney.

“When it was first announced that Davy’s motion was passed we, and the families of the prisoners, were jubilant, and were of the opinion that this would bring more attention to the issue as well as more pressure on British minister Ford. However it soon became clear that David Fords office were dragging their heels on the issue and didn’t want the council delegation to go to Maghaberry.”

“The British prison service didn’t even give a reason for refusing the councils request. I would personally like to commend Councillor Davy Hyland and also former Councillor Martin Connolly who both raised the issue in the chamber. If it wasn’t for them it would most likely have never been mentioned in the council chamber”Stephen said.

Stephen concluded “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 September 2011

Tony Taylor POW

Tony Taylor from Derry , refused to be strip-searched the day he arrived in Maghaberry Prison, citing that he was an Irish republican prisoner of war. He was brutally and forcibly stripped by the prison search team. At his adujaction for refusing to strip at the SSU was told by the same search team to strip before going into see the Governor, he refused and was again forcibly stripped. He was told by the governor that this wasn't the H-Blocks anymore and that Tony would have to comply with the Maghaberry regime. Tony told the Governor that he didn't care were he was held, that he wouldn't be treated like a criminal nor would he allow Maghaberry to criminalise the republican struggle.

Last night 04/09/11 Tony asked the S/O on the committal wing, when was he getting moved to the republican wing? he was told after some consultation that they hadn't got a date for him or his co-accused to transfer over yet. From 8pm last night Tony began a dirty protest on the committal wing. He was taken out to speak with the Governor this afternoon, the Gov told him "Tony there was no need to go on that dirty protest, we were going to move you and Mark in a day or two anyway", Tony pointed out that only the night before he wasn't for being moved at all and now suddenly he was to be moved. The Gov asked him to end the protest and agree to clean his cell and that they would move him to the republican wing.

Tony told them there wasn't a chance in hell of him cleaning the cell nor was he ending the protest! He was returned to his cell to find that his co-accused had be moved and they wouldn't tell Tony were he was moved to.( we now know Mark was moved to the republican wing while Tony was in taking to the Governor) Later Tony was visited in his cell and offered the use of a prison phone to contact his "reps" outside to see if a compromise could be reached to end the committal protest. Tony told them that it didn't really matter because he was going to protest either on the committal wing or the republican wing and it would be better for all concerned if they just moved him over.

*UPDATE*   Tony has now been moved onto Roe house, were he has begun a protest with his comrades, he was also refused bail yesterday    

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Successful Information Stall in Newry

Latest news from éirígí Newry

éirígí held a very successful information stall in Newry city centre yesterday [September 3].

The stall was in place for several hours in Hill Street and attracted much attention from many people on this busy shopping day.

Several éirígí activists manned the stall and distributed almost 2,000 éirígí publications highlighting a number of issues including the socio-economic situation, the unchanged nature of Britain’s locally recruited militia, the PSNI, and the blight of sectarian intimidation and harassment endured by the people of Newry in recent times. Badges, flags, stickers, proclamations and posters were also available on the stall.

Newry information stall

Speaking at the stall éirígí’s Stephen Murney commended the local activists for holding the event.

Stephen said, “We are here today to engage with the people of Newry at a grassroots level, on the streets. Many of them are deeply angered and worried about the draconian cuts being imposed on them by the Tories through the Stormont administration as well as the impeding rise in electricity and coal prices.

“It was very heartening to see both young and old showing an interest in éirígí. Several relatives of fallen volunteers also approached us and commended us for the great work we have been doing.

Newry information stall

“Today we showed working class people that there is an alternative and that it doesn’t have to be this way. The wealth of this country belongs, of right, to the people of this country, not to the British government, their accomplices in Stormont, multinational companies or a small class of native capitalists. It is time to recognise what has failed the working class people of Ireland. Capitalism has failed, British rule has failed, partition has failed and Stormont has failed. It is time to start laying the foundation stones of a new society, a society based on socialism and national independence.

“The starting point is fighting back. Fighting to defend the public services and workers’ wages and conditions; fighting against unemployment and British government-Stormont cutbacks.”

Stephen concluded, “We would like to thank the people of Newry for the warm welcome we received. Such was the success of this community engagement initiative we are now exploring the possibility of making this a regular event.”