Saturday, 30 June 2012

Reflections on the British Queen protests

Belfast éirígí activist and republican ex-prisoner Pádraic Mac Coitir reflects on the week leading up to that British “visit”.

When it was announced by the British government on May 31st that Elizabeth Windsor was to visit her Six-County colony, we, in éirígí, along with other republicans, discussed the most effective manner to protest against this ‘visit’.

We met with like-minded republicans from other parts of the Six Counties and the first thing all agreed on was to involve those most affected by the British presence – the families of Britain’s victims.

Consultations with a number of families who had lost relatives at the hands of state forces were central to the format, date, and location of any protest. This again required several meetings over a period of time in order to reach consensus and finally agreement was reached on holding a march and rally in Belfast on Saturday 23rd June.

Although the Windsors, their hangers-on and their cronies, would be meeting their supporters in Enniskillen and Belfast, it was decided to concentrate our energies in Belfast where it was felt the protest would have greater impact.

Over 20,000 leaflets were printed, as well as numerous posters, asking people to attend a march starting on the Falls Road and ending with a rally at the City Hall. Given that there were only five days to deliver the leaflets, most parts of the city were covered – and this despite the heavy rain, PSNI harassment and in one case, an activist being bitten by a dog. Luckily, it wasn’t a corgi!

Although many statements were repeatedly issued to all media outlets in the week leading up to the march and rally on Saturday 23rd, few were prepared to report or afford any type of pre-publicity to the planned protest.

Truth and Justice, not Jubilation

It was obvious that a conscious and collective decision had been taken by the media to ignore victims of British state violence and to whitewash over the many injustices which Elizabeth Windsor’s forces had been responsible for.

Instead, the media maximised on the propaganda of ‘normalisation’ as they focussed on the artificially constructed “will they/won’t they” saga being churned as Sinn Féin attempted to portray Martin Mc Guinness’ handshake with Elizabeth Windsor as being ‘a positive thing for Ireland’.

éirígí, meanwhile, had earlier published its own incisive analysis of the Sinn Féin position on Friday June 22nd. (Mac Cionnaith responds to announcement of SF/British queen meeting)

While delivering the leaflets advertising the protest across Belfast, there was a palpable sense of anger and dismay being expressed by ordinary people at the Sinn Féin publicity stunt, with quite a few saying the McGuinness/Windsor meeting was a step too far. Many felt that the injustices and suffering inflicted upon our communities by the British state were being deliberately ignored by the re-branded constitutional nationalist party.

On the day of the Belfast march and rally, many families from across the Six Counties who had lost mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters turned up. They were joined by several hundred others who stood with the families in their demand for truth and justice.

Although it had been raining heavily and the weather conditions were atrocious, the organisers and, more importantly, the families were delighted with the turn-out with reports putting a figure of between 1,000 to 1,500 participating in the actual march.

At Belfast City Hall, which had a large union jack flying, we listened as family members of those killed by the British Army and by the British police force addressed the crowd. The speakers came from each one of the Six Counties and some denounced McGuinness for meeting the commander-in-chief of an army that was responsible for the killing of their loved ones and hundreds of others.

Tricolour on Sliabh Dubh

On Tuesday 26th June, the day Elizabeth Windsor arrived in Ireland, a group of community artists and political activists erected a massive tri-colour measuring 120ft x 60ft on Sliabh Dubh overlooking Belfast.

Many unionist politicians reacted to this act of defiance by encouraging a gang of their paramilitaries to attack those on the mountain.

Inevitably, this did happen when a unionist gang attacked the protest and seriously assaulted one of the protestors, leaving him in a serious condition. The man, a former H-Block prisoner and blanketman, was very lucky to escape with his life.

As word circulated out about the attack, many republicans responded by going to the mountain to join the protest and strengthen the show of defiance.

Time for Truth

The following day, Wednesday 27th June, the flag was once more erected and many more protestors joined with those already on the mountain. Both the PSNI and the unionists were deterred from taking any further action to disrupt the protest because of the presence of so many on the mountain.

Later that day, we gathered in support of a vigil outside Belfast City Hall organised by victims of British state violence, including relatives of all those killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre, who handed out leaflets to passers-by calling for an independent investigation into the killing of their loved ones.

This vigil was held outside a building which was then flying the “armed forces” flag in support of the British army – an army that murdered hundreds of Irish people, an army which continues to carry out massacres in Afghanistan; the same army of which Elizabeth Windsor is the commander-in-chief and whose hand a representative of constitutional nationalism thought fit to shake politely.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Britain Out Of Ireland

As you will have no doubt learned by now, the British monarch, Elizabeth Windsor, is currently in the north of Ireland.  These types of 'visits' have traditionally engendered the righteous indignation of republicans, socialists, victims of British state violence and their families.
On this occasion, however, different forces are at play.  A part of a normalisation process, driven by the British establishment, it is being cloaked in language of 'reconciliation'.
I, for one, cannot be reconciled with such a system.  Elizabeth Windsor is not only the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces but the mother and grandmother to some of the most enthusiastic participants in these forces and their unjust wars and occupations - seen Andrew in the Malvinas, Harry in Afghanistan and William in...the Malvinas again.
She rewarded those that murdered Irish civilians on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday and in the communities of Springhill and Ballymurphy in Belfast.
She continues to be the chief patron and proponent to those that obstruct and deny the truth about what happened in Ireland and elsewhere.
On top of this, she is the embodiment of what is wrong with the social system under which many toil.  She is the holder of an office which reinforces sectarianism, believes in blood line superiority and upholds the right of inherited power and privilege.
Some spin meeting such a person as progression rather than regression.  
I am not one of those and I trust neither are you.
Please take a few minutes to the watch the following video and listen to the words of others who feel likewise - families of the victims of her murderous forces.

Having watched this, pass it on to your friends and family.  These are the words that should ring most loudly over the next two days.


The British Queen, the Commander-In-Chief of Britain's armed forces, has arrived in the Six Counties.

For more than 40 years, in her name and during her reign, those forces have murdered, injured, tortured many Irish citizens.

For their part in the murders of our loved ones in Ballymurphy these same soldiers were honoured by the Queen

The attorney general recently reopened all original inquests with the evidence the families of the victims put before him

last week British sectary of state denied the families a proper investigation into the 11 inocent victims even though with new evidence and the fact that there has never been any police investigation in the past 40 years, Peter Robinson by this fact was shocked by this when we met him last year

This is why the Ballymurphy massacre families took to the streets to protest this week, to continue their search for a proper and just independent investigation

these protest are not against our unionist neighbours ,far from it there was two Innocent civilian's shot dead by same parachute regiment in September 1972 on the Shankill Road Belfast

The State and their agents are responsible for ten percent of the murders in the conflict but have yet to acknowledge and apologise to the families effected for the part they played.

we ask



Monday, 25 June 2012

Video of the Truth and Justice – not Jubilation March/Rally

Over 1000 people attended a rally in Belfast on Saturday, 23 June 2012 in support of victims of British state violence and against the visit of Elizabeth Windsor, commander-in-chief of Britain's armed forces.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Mac Cionnaith responds to announcement of SF/British queen meeting

éirígí’s Rúnaí Ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith has responded to the decision by the Sinn Féin leadership to endorse a meeting with the British queen, Elizabeth Windsor, commander-in-chief of Britain’s armed forces.

Mac Cionnaith said, “The decision by Sinn Féin to meet with the British queen is not in the least unsurprising, unanticipated or unexpected. However, that decision needs to be examined in a broader context.

“The Sinn Féin leadership previously took the strategic decision to gradually and consciously move that party away from its former role as a vanguard of the anti-imperialist struggle in Ireland. That leadership has also proven itself, in recent times, to be a willing ally of modern neo-con imperialists by assisting the undermining and subversion of anti-imperialist liberation struggles in other countries.

“One calculated outworking of that strategic decision in domestic terms has been the unprecedented acceptance and copper-fastening of partition by that party, and its consent to continuing British government control over part of Ireland, to such an extent that the party is now a willing and integral participant in operating the mechanics of partition and injustice.

“Paying lip-service to demands by families of British state violence for justice and truth while simultaneously acting as a prop for maintaining British injustice has now become one of the hall-marks of the Sinn Féin party.

“The reality of the unchanged nature of British control and the inefficacy of the Sinn Féin approach was highlighted on Monday (June 18th) when incontrovertible proof in the form of official British government documents revealed how, in July 1972, the state at the highest levels officially sanctioned the use of deadly force by its troops against Irish citizens and ensured that members of the Crown forces would receive indemnity from prosecution.

“Further evidence that the 1972 policy is not a mere “legacy issue” but an ongoing and central part of current British policy was demonstrated by the revelation on Wednesday (June 20th) that the British government had rejected a request by the families of the victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre for a public inquiry into those state murders.

“Sinn Féin has also moved away from its working class base and from any semblance of even a thin veneer of socialist politics to a position where it can freely and frequently advocate and ally itself with the interests of the domestic and international business and financial communities.

“It has consistently proved to be a willing tool in the imposition of private finance initiatives and the implementation of the British government’s austerity measures which penalise the young, the old, the sick, the unemployed and those workers on low wages. At the same time, that party has the audacity to hypocritically criticise other parties in the 26 Counties for implementing exactly the same policies at the behest of the Troika.

“In many respects, Sinn Féin today is mirroring and replicating the gradual and total abandonment of core Irish republican ideals in very much the same manner as was practiced by Fianna Fáil in its early history.

“Given that Sinn Féin has decided to target Fianna Fáil’s electoral constituency in the Twenty-Six Counties, it should be no surprise for anyone to learn that Sinn Féin’s current primary objective is to re-create and re-brand itself as some sort of 21st century version of Fianna Fáil with all that particular and discredited political direction entails.

“Meeting with and recognising Elizabeth Windsor as head of the British state in Ireland is but another step along the disreputable path of reformism and one more premeditated and calculated step further away from the revolutionary goal of establishing a free, sovereign and socialist Republic in Ireland.

“But then nothing else could ever be expected from a party which, when correctly politically analysed, amounted only to a modern form of old Catholic ‘defenderism’ and militant nationalist hibernianism.”

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Mac Cionnaith pledges support for victims of state violence

Breandán Mac Cionnaith
The General Secretary of the socialist republican party éirígí, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, has said that the party’s members and supporters will give their full support to the planned “Truth and Justice – Not Jubilation” march and rally in Belfast this Saturday [June 23].

In a statement, Mac Cionnaith said, “It is quite apt that a public event focussing on the victims of state violence should be held in Belfast this weekend – just days before the visit by Elizabeth Windsor to her Irish colony. Our party members and supporters will attend the march and rally in solidarity with those many hundreds of families across Ireland who lost parents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters at the hands of all those forces of which Elizabeth Windsor is the Commander-in-Chief.

“On Monday of this week, further proof was produced in the form of official British government documents which demonstrated how in July 1972, the state at the highest levels officially sanctioned the use of deadly force by its troops against Irish citizens and ensured that members of the Crown forces would receive indemnity from prosecution.

“On Wednesday of this week, the ongoing outworking of that forty year old policy was reinforced when it was revealed that the British government had refused to hold a public inquiry into the murder of eleven innocent people, including a mother of eight and a Catholic priest, in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast by British paratroopers.

“It is therefore highly unlikely that Elizabeth Windsor, whose successive governments, forces and agents were responsible for hundreds of deaths, will be wearing any sackcloth or ashes as she flaunts herself throughout the Six Counties in a display of imperialist triumphalism, designed to underpin and reinforce the partition of Ireland.

“It is also highly unlikely that all those families of British state violence will ever receive the truth and justice they deserve while Britain remains in control of the Six Counties. That is why it is important that Saturday’s march and rally, with its clear and primary focus on Britain’s victims, receives the support it deserves.”

Cllr Hyland Harassed by PSNI

Independent republican councillor Davy Hyland has slammed the PSNI after he was stopped and questioned by them last week along with a number of other members of the public.

The elected representative was stopped and questioned by the PSNI using section 21 of the Justice & Security act outside Newry City Hall after he had checked on the welfare of three members of the public who were being harassed.

Davy explained “I noticed a man, his wife and sister in-law being harassed by the PSNI outside Newry City Hall. As an elected representative and friend of the victims i approached to check on their welfare.

“I was then harassed and questioned, my movements were recorded and my identity noted. The PSNI members in this patrol were very aggressive and bullish. I’d like to know what was achieved by harassing those people and myself ?”

Davy continued “No doubt the PSNI will come out with the usual generic response about tackling “crime” etc. I’d like to know what “crime” was prevented by taking the details and recording the movements of an elected councillor? If anything it’s blatant harassment and also an intelligence gathering exercise.”

“In Newry we have éirígí members being tortured as well as men, women and children being regularly stopped and searched, arrested and assaulted and now elected councillors can be added to the list of victims.

Hyland concluded by saying “It’s obvious that the PSNI can do as they please and harass people at their leisure, they are a completely unaccountable force and should be treated with nothing but contempt.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Republicans from Newry to mobilise for Vol. Seán O'Callaghan Commemoration

Republicans from across Newry will be mobilising for this Sunday's commemoration in Crossmaglen for Vol. Sean O'Callaghan.

A bus will be going from Newry to this event. Leaving the sorting office, Upper Edward St at 2pm. £3 per head

Monday, 18 June 2012

Truth and Justice - not Jubilation Demonstration

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On June 26th and 27th, the British Queen will arrive in the Six Counties to view her Irish colony.

A major demonstration is to be held in Belfast just days before the British royal visit to the North. The demonstration on Saturday 23rd June will have as its theme “Truth and Justice – not Jubilation” and the organisers say the focus of the protest will be on victims of British state violence.

The demonstration will take the form of a silent march, led by a solitary piper, from Dunville Park, Falls Road, at 2.00pm on Saturday and conclude with a rally outside Belfast city hall. The rally will be addressed by speakers from each of the 6 Counties who lost close relatives at the hands of the British state, or who were themselves actual victims of state violence.

The organisers believe the event provides a unique opportunity for everyone within the broad nationalist community, those with differing political opinions and those with none, along with other progressives, to stand shoulder to shoulder in an unparalleled show of support and solidarity with victims’ families of British state violence in their ongoing struggles for Truth and Justice.

Announcing the planned demonstration, the organising committee stated, “The forthcoming British royal visit to the North presents a very unique opportunity to publicly highlight the fact that many hundreds of people, of all ages, met their deaths at the hands of British Crown forces and their agents in Ireland during the course of the present British monarch’s reign. Many, many more were injured or endured physical and psychological abuse by those same forces.

“Countless families across Ireland still live with the painful reality of the tragedies, distress and anguish brought to their homes by those forces of which the British monarch is Commander-in Chief.

“During her reign, British forces who have taken oaths of loyalty to Elizabeth Windsor have:

• Implemented internment without trial and perpetrated mass murder against civilian protestors objecting to such human rights abuses
• Tortured, abused and unlawfully detained and imprisoned Irish citizens
• Murdered many innocent unarmed civilians
• Murdered innocent school-children with both lead and plastic bullets
• In conjunction with unionist death squads which Britain trained and armed, conducted a prolonged campaign of murder against men, women and children of all ages from within the nationalist community
• Continued to conceal and obstruct the truth about Britain’s role in the murders of many hundreds of Irish people
• Used the most draconian and repressive laws found anywhere in modern Europe

“Having held discussions with a cross-section of families from different parts of the North in recent weeks, it was clear that those families firmly believe that their loss and pain is far too often ignored or brushed aside by the British state and by the mainstream media.

“In many cases, the families of those who died at the hands of Britain’s Crown forces still find that, decades after the murders of their loved ones, the British state continues to obstruct their quest for truth and justice.

“Those families not are aware of any cause for jubilation.

“The families with whom we held discussions indicated that they would welcome and support a public demonstration highlighting the fact that the British state, of which the monarch is head, continues to wash its hands of the many crimes and injustices which it perpetrated in Ireland.

“Saturday’s demonstration will be completely non-party political and will welcome the participation of nationalists from all shades of political opinion and those with none. All we ask is that the focus and the emphasis is placed solely on the injustices still endured by victims of British state violence.

“We ask people to assemble at Dunville Park on the Falls Road at 2.00pm on Saturday 23rd June for a silent and dignified march, led by a lone piper, ending with a rally outside Belfast city hall.

“All speakers at the rally will be persons who lost a close relative at the hands of the British state, or who were themselves actual victims of state violence. The speakers come from each of the Six Counties, together with others from the two main cities, Belfast and Derry. They will be joined by a person representing those victims of British state violence which, it must never be forgotten, also extended into the South of Ireland.

“We are also publicly asking families across the country that lost loved ones at the hands of the British state and its agents to attend and to carry with them images of their murdered relatives.

“There will no bands at the demonstration, and no party political banners will be allowed. We simply ask all those attending to bring and carry black flags.

“This is a unique opportunity for nationalists, republicans, socialists and other progressives from across the Six Counties and beyond to show their support for all families of victims of British state violence, and to demonstrate their disdain and contempt for those who continue to perpetuate ongoing injustices and discrimination those same families still face.

“The British state might wish that people would simply forget about the deaths, violence and trauma that its forces and agents wreaked across communities throughout Ireland.

“We are saying to everyone within the broad nationalist community that they also have a choice – abide by Britain’s wishes, or stand shoulder to shoulder with their neighbours and their friends in an unparalleled show of support and solidarity for the families of Britain’s victims, in their ongoing struggles for Truth and Justice.”

Friday, 15 June 2012

Construction of New Wing at Maghaberry

The Construction of a new Wing in Maghaberry Gaol indicates the future intentions of the British and Stormont Governments. 

The Wing is being built beside Roe House, which houses Republican Prisoners. The number of Political Prisoners in Roe has been steadily increasing since the beginning of 2012. To cope with the numbers, the Prison Administration has 'ordered' POWs' there to 'double-up', with two POWs' allocated to one cell.

In August 2010, the POWs', Prison Regime and Stormont's 'Justice' Department collectively agreed to end controlled movement and strip-searching. Within a few months however, Republican Prisoners were still forced to endure the indignity of stripping and constantly being surrounded and escorted by four to five Screws to intimidate them. As a result, the POWs' had no choice to resume protest action in opposition to the above injustices. Since then, the vast majority of Political Prisoners (apart from those who have existing medical problems) in Maghaberry have been involved in a dirty protest. In recent months, David Ford (Stormont's Justice Minister) announced that his Department is piloting a new Technological Alternative to physical Strip-Searching. Hopefully, this new Scheme will be implemented soon.

Maghaberry and it's Regime has been criticised by numerous British officials and Human Rights organisations over the years. In the way it treats it's prisoners and their families outside. The Gaol is manned by sectarian Screws who are organised through it's racist Prisoner Officers Association (POA). Who regularly brutalise and mistreat Prisoners in particular, POWs'.

The construction of a new Wing/House in the complex is not to alleviate overcrowding in Roe House. It is because, the British and Stormont Governments are expecting a huge increase in the number of Republican Prisoners. In spite of, empty rhetoric from Politicians that the Nationalist and Republican community in the Six County State now have equality. The same people still have to suffer under Special Political Police, a special detention centre, special legislation, Internment and Diplock (Non-Jury) Courts. All used to quell legitimate opposition to British rule, Partition and the denial of Irish national sovereignty.

Obviously, Maghaberry's new Wing will 'greet' future POWs'. Who will be Interned without Trial, Interned on Remand, facing Political charges based on secret 'evidence' collected by MI5, RUC/PSNI and British Army Operatives. A clear indication of what the future intentions are of the British Government, fourteen years into a so-called Peace Process.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

PSNI Assault Newry Republican

Sunday [June 10] was just a normal evening for the colonial forces in Newry with the continuation of an ongoing campaign of harassment, intimidation and violence being waged against the local population by the PSNI.

In the most recent incident a local republican was viciously assaulted and arrested by the PSNI during a stop and search operation in Monaghan Street. As a result of this assault, the victim had to seek hospital treatment for his injuries which included serious bruising and swelling to his arms, back and side.

Such was the ferocity of the assault that several bystanders pleaded with the PSNI assailants to stop what they were doing as the victim was clearly injured and in a lot of pain. Their pleas were ignored.

The PSNI also ignored the fact that this man was injured and in need to medical treatment. Instead, they handcuffed the man before bundling him into a patrol car which took him to a barracks. On top of being assaulted, injured and arrested he then found himself facing spurious charges of disorderly behaviour and resisting police.

éirígí’s Stephen Murney, who witnessed the incident, explained, “This man, who I know personally, was simply walking down Monaghan Street when he was singled out by this PSNI patrol. I was standing just a few feet away and, along with numerous other members of the public, witnessed the unprovoked assault and subsequent arrest.

“I also know that the particular PSNI officers behind this attack are notorious in the Newry area for targeting republicans. Indeed, I also have personally been targeted by these PSNI members.

“This is totally unsurprising behaviour from the PSNI and yet again it proves what we have been saying all along. They are unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.”

Murney continued, “In the past three years alone over 76,000 people have been targeted by the PSNI using the British government’s so-called “Justice and Security Act”. While PSNI harassment and brutality shows no sign of stopping, that does not mean we should accept it as normal, it is far from normal.

“To help victims of harassment and to dispel the myths surrounding the various repressive legislation éirígí will be launching the party’s “Know Your Rights” campaign in the Newry area in the coming weeks. This may not stop incidents like this from happening but it will empower people as to what rights they have when they are on the receiving end of such human rights abuse.

“As well as launching this campaign locally, we will also be launching several other initiatives to counter and defy the paramilitary police, the details of which will be publicised in the near future. éirígí won’t be found wanting when it comes to exposing the abuse of rights by the state forces.”

Stephen concluded, “We urge anyone on the receiving end of similar treatment to feel free to contact éirígí and their legal representatives to have the incidents logged and recorded.”

Annual Brendan Hughes Commemoration Omeath

The annual Brendan Hughes commemoration will take place on Sunday the 17th June at 1.30pm, Long Woman's Grave, Omeath ,Co Louth. Main speakers will be Nuala Perry (Belfast) & Pat Mc Namee (Crossmaglen) chaired by Terry Hughes. All republican groups and individuals welcome to attend

Monday, 11 June 2012

Vol. Seán O'Callaghan Commemoration

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"Maghaberry crisis reminiscent of the blanket protest" - Hyland

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Independent republican councillor for Newry & Mourne, Davy Hyland, has commended the organisers of Tuesdays [June 5] peaceful and dignified protest in Newry which was organised to highlight serious human rights abuses being inflicted upon republican prisoners in Maghaberry.

Despite the extreme weather over 70 people took part in the event which called for an end to forced strip searching and internment of republican prisoners such as Marian Price and Martin Corey. Indeed recently UN appointed human rights doctors were refused access to Hydebank to examine Marian Price who is seriously ill.

Despite the event being peaceful and dignified the protesters found themselves being surrounded by scores of PSNI members with a number of the participants being threatened for trying to walk on a public footpath.

Speaking after the protest Davy said “I would like to commend the organisers for holding this peaceful protest. The situation in Maghaberry could be best described as a crisis. We have republican prisoners on 23 hour lock-up, and being beaten and forcefully stripped naked by riot clad screws, on top of that they are protest with beards and long hair which is reminiscent of the blanket protest. There are also numerous political prisoners being effectively interned by remand and by having licenses revoked.

“These type of human rights abuses were wrong in 1971, they were wrong in 1981 and they are wrong today in 2012.

Hyland continued “While the protest was a success it was unfortunate to see Mayor Casey’s comments of condemnation. He has no problem condemning a peaceful and dignified protest against human rights abuses, yet he remains noticeably silent about the torture and suffering which led to the protest being organised.

“During his term the Mayor has done absolutely nothing to highlight the internment, torture, strip searches and beatings that are commonplace in Maghaberry, i haven’t seen one single statement from him about this serious situation nor have i seen him attend any of the many events that have been organised in the Newry area over the past few years”.

Davy concluded “I pledge to do everything in my power to raise awareness and to highlight the dire situation that republican prisoners find themselves in. I would urge everyone who is opposed to, and concerned about, these serious abuses to attend any events that are organised in their areas and to speak out against the torture.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Martin Luther King Jr