Statements from prisoners in 26-county state and six-county state to Saoradh ard fheis, November 18
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Statement From Portlaoise Republican Prisoners, read by Ger Devereux
We the Republican Prisoners incarcerated in E3/E4 Portlaoise Gaol send solidarity greetings to our Revolutionary comrades in attendance today, and Revolutionary Socialist activists internationally, engaged in their numerous campaigns. We particularly applaud the unilateral declaration of independence by the Catalan parliament, but as the Catalonian people have now witnessed, colonial powers will never relinquish their illegal occupation voluntarily. History has thought us that it is not sufficient to affirm your independence through symbolic declarations or demonstrations- you must be prepared to defend them.
We would also like to commend our imprisoned comrades in Maghaberry Gaol for their continued resolve and discipline in the face of a sectarian aggressor. The oppressive measures being implemented against our comrades needs to be highlighted, but more worrying of late are the increased physical attacks occurring on a weekly base. As a small token of solidarity with our comrades, the Republican Prisoners in Portlaoise will embark on a 72 hour fast commencing this week, to highlight the ongoing sectarian attacks that they face.
Like all emerging Revolutionary organisations we have had our teething problems, but the party’s emphasis on principles rather than personalities has allowed us rise above any attempt to deflect us from our political ideology. Those that do not have the stomach to continue this struggle may just stay at home, while we that remain will continue to move forward regardless of the distracters sniping from behind their screens and enemy forces massed against us. As James Connolly said on establishing the Irish Citizen Army regarding what would be required in the struggle to supplant Capitalism and replace it with Socialism “we know our duties as we know our rights, we shall stand by one another, through thick and thin …”
We commend Saoradh’s outgoing National Executive for the sterling work they have carried out over the past year. The party has gone from strength to strength under the guidance of our National Chairperson Davey Jordan. This is evidenced by the establishment and staffing of three party offices situated in Derry, Tyrone and Belfast, with the prospect of more offices in the coming year, including Dublin. We the Republican Prisoners pledge our unwavering support for the incoming National Chair and National Executive.
We commend Saoradh members and their supporters for their excellent work during this past year and we particularly welcome the establishment of committees and campaigns to fight the extradition of Irish Republicans to British torture camps, to abolish the non-jury Special Criminal Court and to stop supergrass/show trials in Dublin. Ciaran Maguire, Sean Farrell (DUBLIN) and Damien Mcloughlin (TYRONE) all face extradition at this present time, with both Ciaran and Damien being held in Portlaoise Gaol with High Court proceedings imminent. We the Republican Prisoners call on the subservient Minister for Justice and Equality to end the extradition of ALL Irish Republicans at the request of British crown forces.
Discredited Supergrass witness Dave Cullen, who was already used to incarcerate two Dublin Republicans for life, has recently been re-activated to give evidence in a show trial involving at least five more men, with charges ranging from “membership” to “murder”. This paid perjurer is facilitating the wholesale round up of Irish Republicans, after he spent significant time with his Special Branch handlers, crafting and fabricating his testimony.
Republican Prisoners have on numerous occasions condemned the use of the non-jury “Special Criminal Court” for their use of Gestapo type powers in “political” show trials. This military tribunal, that can best be described as a “factory of lies” continues to enjoy a “low threshold of evidence” necessary for conviction and of course often relies on the “word” of a Chief Superintendent to convict and Gaol Irish Republicans. In this year alone five men have been incarcerated by this kangaroo style court with the “word” of a garda central to the evidence against them. This draconian out dated non-jury farce, needs to be abolished NOW.
We note the pivotal role played by Saoradh members and activists in support of the “Jobstown 22”, whose trial collapsed under the combined weight of efforts by Saoradh, political activists, garda lies and conflicting evidence and by the farcical testimony of former Labour party leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton. Had it not been for the presence of some elected representatives amongst the accused, we have no doubt that this trial would have been moved to the “Special Criminal Court”, with the subsequent convictions of all concerned. We have grave concerns for all political activists challenging corruption or abuse of power within this state, who could now face the stark reality of been subjected to so called “special powers” currently been deployed by a corrupt regime desperately clinging to power by using a new style of political policing against any perceived threats to their capitalist cartel.
We acknowledge the Trojan work undertaken by Saoradh activists and their supporters in the effort to tackle Dublin’s Housing Crisis. The necessity for “Soup Runs” and nightly voluntary support services are a damming indictment of the Free State Government’s austerity policies and Dublin City Council Housing Committee’s complete failure to respond in any coherent way to the crisis. We remind this Ard Fhéis that homelessness is, in the main, caused by inequality, social deprivation and poverty. Capitalist Ireland creates and indeed exacerbates inequality and all the ills that flow from it. As James Connolly said” Yes, friends, governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class”.
The Free State partitionist government, made up as it is by an unholy alliance of two far right Capitalist parties, supported by a cabal of self-serving power-hungry independents will never posses the political will or the moral conscience to address the issue of homelessness in this state. With the main opposition party, being former Republican’s who are nothing more than British quislings, moving to the centre-right, there is no prospect of any possible challenge to the status quo. Their greed, reformist ideology and desire for the merest sniff of political power mirrors their “Marriage of Connivance” with Unionists in Stormont, manifests itself in support and implementation of austerity policies and serves without any doubt to copper fasten partition of this island.
The continued need to distribute soup and sandwiches exposes an uncaring, ineffective sterile Capitalist state and while Saoradh’s involvement in “Soup Runs” is a wholly creditable short term emergency response we believe it is time for more “Direct Action” inspired by the events leading up to the occupation of “Apollo House”.
As Republican Prisoner’s we pledge to utilise our incarceration in assisting the building of an educated and politicised activist base. As Irish Republican Political Prisoners it is our view that a legitimate, credible voice is essential to advance our Republican cause. This has led us to develop a Craobh of Saoradh within the walls of the Gaol. This party has been developed from grass root activists up and is the only revolutionary Republican Party we endorse.
We are a Revolutionary party, we will take our Republican Socialist ideology to the streets, As James Connolly once said “We believe in constitutional action in normal times; we believe in Revolutionary action in exceptional times”.
Republican Political Prisoners
Statement From Republican Prisoner Christine Connor, read by Sharon Jordan
Hydebank Gaol has undergone an overhaul. Gone are the days of relative calm, and in its place, a power equation.
I have heard it said that time will bring a resolution but time is not a remedy. In the 4 months since my return to Hydebank. I have battled daily with an administration who possess the domesticity of assiduous bigotry. The intractable position of Gaol authorities has culminated in a practice of blatant discrimination and unfair treatment.
Visits that were previously allocated to Republican Prisoners have been significantly reduced, with the current stance being that the statutory entitlement is to 1 visit every 4 weeks, and anything beyond this, is at the discretion of the governor.
Educational opportunities are non-existent and access to craft is not comparable to those on offer to fellow Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry.
By virtue of being the only Republican Prisoner in Hydebank, essentially held in defacto isolation; an environment confounded further by the deliberate disregard for my welfare.
The well established principles of the Steele Report, clearly states political prisoners most remain at all times separated from the gaol population, but on several occasions now, I have been placed in situations that potentially could have jeopardized my personal safety.
To date the prison service has been unwilling to provide a comprehensive policy regarding separated females and of defined practices, decisions that have been disproportionate and ad hoc at best.
I have been met with an iron fist; an approach that is undoubtedly a custom of criminalization but this behaviour is of futile utility.
The security measures that are in place for external hospital consultations are excessive and degrading, resulting in the cancellation of all appointments.
I am one prisoner but the failings of the prison service, will only serve to fortify my determination to succeed in challenging the sectarian mentalities of those intent on continuing on this projectory of marginalization and equality.
The hostile attitudes from those facilitating my imprisonment, is a daily occurrence and despite efforts by my legal team to elicit constructive engagement, the situation is further crystalized with each passing hour.
The presence of governors on the wing is simply intolerable and I refuse to barter for my rights. I expect nothing, other than what I am entitled to and I will not settle for less. The “numbers game” that seems to be at play means nothing to me because whether I remain the sole Republican woman in Hydebank or not, I will not allow anyone free rein to diminish my rights.
The changes in Hydebank are punitive by nature and have been designed by a pernicious administration with an axe to grind.
To end, I would like to send solidarity greetings to Maghaberry and Portlaoise, and to wish Saoradh the best of luck in their political endeavors in the year ahead.
Statement From Roe 4, Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry, read by Stephen Murney
Republican Prisoners, Roe 4, Maghaberry wish to extend our solidarity to Saoradh and to express our respect and admiration for the work which the party has undertaken and the progress it has made over the past year.
Just over a year ago Republican Prisoners wrote a statement to the first Ard Fhéis outlining our hope that this party would develop into an effective Revolutionary vehicle. Needless to say, we have not been disappointed.
Whilst it would be naïve to imagine that Saoradh would have a flawless and impeccable existence it has none the less excelled.
The task which the party has ahead is one of immense difficulty, particularly given the circumstances in which we find ourselves in Ireland today. Yet the party has expanded and grown and has engaged in activism throughout the country.
There can be no doubt that there will be many challenges ahead, there could well be setbacks and there will be those who will seek to exploit such setbacks and use them against the party but undoubtedly the determination and commitment which has come to characterise Saoradh will be pivotal in overcoming such challenges.
However, the characteristics alone will not suffice in the process of ultimately attaining our goals.
Revolutionary vehicles such as ours cannot progress based on enthusiasm alone.
Only through defining our ideological position can we hope to truly achieve our objectives.
Our ideology is our guide to every aspect of our existence without which we will risk falling into the same cul-de-sacs of economic and political immaturity.
Being a non-electoral party does not mean that we must be a non-professional party.
To set about achieving a Socialist Republic we need a definitive ideological position and a definitive Revolutionary strategy. Anything short of this will inevitably result in failure.
The above is taken from the report on tyhe ard fheis that appears on the Saoradh site, here.
Posted on November 22, 2017, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, British state repression (general), Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Housing, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Irish Citizen Army, Irish politics today, national, Partition, Prisoners - current, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Repression in 26-county state, Revolutionary figures, Saoradh, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, Workers rights. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Statements from prisoners in 26-county state and six-county state to Saoradh ard fheis, November 18.
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