Monthly Archives: December 2012
I’ve still to get up a couple of long-promised items: Constance Markievicz’s 1923 pamphlet What Republicans Stand For, which provides some very interesting insights into the early Free State and just how repressive it was and what class interests it defended, and a review of Donnacha Ó Beacháin’s The Destiny of the Soldiers: Fianna Fail, Irish Republicianism and the IRA 1926-1973.
After that, I”ll finally be able to move ahead with new plans. There are some books from a couple of years ago that I want to review as well as more new stuff. Plus I want to start doing some meatier stuff on the Irish economy.
De Silva report: another bucket of whitewash in the Finucane case
The following piece is taken from the Socialist Democracy site, here
by John McAnulty
There is really no excuse for confusion about the role of investigations and enquiries held by the British state into itself. They are given into a safe pair of hands. Where possible, wrongdoing is denied. Where it is not possible a formula is found to limit the damage.
The process is like a set of Russian dolls, each one designed to hide the reality of the British state – an armed body willing to take whatever steps necessary to defend capitalism and currently involved in rendition, torture and the use of drones against civilians.
In the case of the de Silva report into the murder of Pat Finucane the magic words are “no overarching state conspiracy.”
Pat was felon-set by junior minister Douglas Hogg, a member of the Conservative government of the time, who used parliamentary privilege to denounce him in the House of Commons.
Pat was murdered by UDA members who were all British agents. Intelligence was provided by state agents. An agent provided the murder weapon. Police officers promoted the murder and boasted of it to republican prisoners. Police Special Branch had prior knowledge of the attack. Police patrols were removed from the approach roads before and after the attack.
The decades after the death were marked by Read the rest of this entry
Around the blogs: Tommy McKearney reviews Cruel Britannia: a secret history of torture
While the De Silva report has had little alternative but to identify the central role of the British state in the Pat Finucane murder, a new book lays bare the role of torture in the British ‘security state’. The book is Cruel Britannia: a secret history of torture by Ian Cobain and you can read Tommy McKearney’s review of it here.
Bernadette Devlin maiden speech, British House of Commons, April 22, 1969
The text is taken from Hansard; it is, of course, an historical document, a product of its time, thus the references to “Northern Ireland” and the use of male forms to denote both men and women:
I understand that in making my maiden speech on the day of my arrival in Parliament and in making it on a controversial issue I flaunt the unwritten traditions of the House, but I think that the situation of my people merits the flaunting of such traditions.
I remind the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Chichester-Clark) that I, too, was in the Bogside area on the night that he was there. As the hon. Gentleman rightly said, there never was born an Englishman who understands the Irish people. Thus a man who is alien to the ordinary working Irish people cannot understand them, and I therefore respectfully suggest that the hon. Gentleman has no understanding of my people, because Catholics and Protestants are the ordinary people, the oppressed people from whom I come and whom I represent. I stand here as the youngest woman in Parliament, in the same tradition as the first woman ever to be elected to this Parliament, Constance Markievicz, who was elected on behalf of the Irish people.
This debate comes much too late for the people of Ireland, since it concerns itself particularly with the action in Derry last weekend. I will do my best to dwell on the action in Derry last weekend. However, it is impossible to consider the activity of one weekend in a city such as Derry without considering the reasons why these things happen.
The hon. Member for Londonderry said that he stood in Bogside. I wonder whether he could name the streets through which he walked in the Bogside so that we might establish just how well acquainted he became with the area. I had never hoped to see the day when I might agree with someone who represents the bigoted and sectarian Unionist Party, which uses a deliberate policy of dividing the people in order to keep the ruling minority in power and to keep the oppressed people of Ulster oppressed. I never thought that I should see the day when I should agree with any phrase uttered by the representative of such a party, but the hon. Gentleman summed up the situation “to a t”. He referred to stark, human misery. That is what I saw in Bogside. It has not been there just for one night. It has been there for 50 years—and that same stark human misery is to be found in the Protestant Fountain area, which the hon. Gentleman would claim to represent.
These are the people the hon. Gentleman would claim do want to join society. Because they are equally poverty-stricken they are equally excluded from the society which the Unionist Party represents—the society of landlords who, by ancient charter of Charles II, still hold the rights of the ordinary people of Northern Ireland over such things as fishing and as paying the most ridiculous and exorbitant rents, although families have lived for generations on their land. But this is the ruling minority of landlords who, for generations, have claimed to represent one section of the people and, in order to maintain their claim, divide the people into two sections and stand up in this House and say that there are those who do not wish to join the society.
The people in my country who do not wish to join the society which is represented by the hon. Member for Londonderry are by far the majority. There is no place in society for us, the ordinary “peasants” of Read the rest of this entry