Category Archives: British state repression (general)

Martin McGuinness: a political obituary

by John McAnultydownload

Many commentating on Martin McGuinness’s retirement as a public representative for Sinn Fein will not be able to resist the cliché of his journey from IRA commander to central architect of the local peace process. Fewer will draw on the metaphor of his present state of ill health and the parlous state of the settlement that was to be his legacy.

My own clearest recollection of Martin is during the attack by loyalist imagesMichael Stone on the funeral of Sean Savage (in 1988 – PF), assassinated by the SAS in Gibraltar. Two grenades exploded at my back and a mourner beside me was shot in the leg. As I retreated with other members of my family I saw Martin and a group of unarmed young men rush past me towards Stone and drive him back.

McGuinness is an extremely brave and determined man. These qualities mean that he will pursue a strategy to its Read the rest of this entry

When gardai brutally attacked march on 1st anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Gardai attacking marchers at Garden of Remembrance

Gardai attacking marchers at Garden of Remembrance

by Mick Healy

There was a march in Dublin on the first anniversary of Derry’s Bloody Sunday.  The march started from the burned-out British embassy in Merrion Row. It included more than a thousand supporters of the Irish Civil Rights Association, including a large contingent from the People’s Democracy group.  The marchers aimed to walk peacefully through the city, carrying black flags to the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, but at the Garden they were confronted with a cordon of over a hundred Garda wielding batons.

The main speaker from the People’s Democracy called for a minute’s silence and asked could the gardai lower the Tricolour in respect to the victims of Bloody Sunday, but the cops refused.  Ciaran McAnally of ICRA told the crowd that the gardai had refused to lower the flag and said they would not interfere with the flag.  He called for a peaceful commemoration, while noting that the Derry dead had been insulted by refusal to lower the Tricolour.

It did not take the Southern state long to get Read the rest of this entry

Willie Gallagher on 40th anniversary of IRSP

This is actually two years old, but I only just came across it.  It is a talk given by Willie Gallagher to the 2014 Irish Republican Socialist Party ard fheis in October 2014.

 

wullie gComrades,

the difficulty I had when first asked to give this presentation was ‘how do I condense 40yrs of our history into a 10 to 15 minute presentation. A definitive and detailed account would take many months, if not years, of research as well as interviewing scores of past activists. The following account is my no means definitive and of course is subject to criticism given the fact that it is laced with my own personal opinion and interpretation.

Even though this year is the 40th anniversary of our birth the Irish Republican Socialist Party can trace its roots back to James Connolly and the Irish Citizens Army.

After the border campaign in the 1950s, serious debate took place within the Republican Movement about how exactly it could become more relevant to the everyday needs of the people in an Ireland vastly different from the times of Connolly and the ICA.

The Republican Movement after the unsuccessful border campaign was not ideologically united and consisted of Read the rest of this entry

David Reed’s 1988 review of Republican POWs’ Questions of History

 

downloadby David Reed

The defeat of the hunger strike in 1981 was a severe setback for the Republican Movement. While initially, in the wake of the heroic sacrifice of the prisoners, certain political gains were made especially on the electoral front, the last few years have not seen any significant political advances by the revolutionary forces in Ireland.

The greater emphasis on electoral work and the decision to reject abstentionism in elections to the Dail has not led to the gains clearly expected. The work around ‘economic and social’ issues has not yet produced any substantial results. The revolutionary forces in Ireland have been unable to halt the growing collaboration between British imperialism and the puppet governments in the Twenty Six Counties. Finally, on the military level, the stalemate which has existed for some time between the IRA and the British and loyalist security forces remains.

Inevitably in such a period every revolutionary movement is forced to reassess and rethink its strategy if the impasse is to be broken. The Republican Movement is no exception. It is in this context that we should welcome Questions of History written by Irish Republican Prisoners of War and produced by the Education Department of Sinn Fein ‘for the purpose of promoting political discussion’. Part I has so far been made available and covers the period from Wolfe Tone to the Republican Congress (1934).

The book is a valuable historical document which uses the history of the Republican struggle as a vehicle for raising crucial Read the rest of this entry

IRSP challenge British capitalist Labour Party’s attempts to organise in occupied Ireland

The article below appeared on the IRSP site on October 2:

Paid activists of the British Labour party (joined by supporters in the pacifist Belfast left) today attempted to use the guise of an anti-Tory austerity protest to promote efforts to organise electorally in the six counties, an intention which flies in the face of basic Socialist doctrine and traditional Labour claims to be ‘Anti-Imperialist’.capture-pngddewSporting a banner proclaiming ‘Ireland did not vote for Tory cuts / break the connection with England’ IRSP activists distributed leaflets to all those in attendance, focusing on the traditional Socialist aspiration of Irish independence and encouraging the Belfast left to return to the cause of National Liberation as espoused by Marx, Lenin and James Connolly.

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British Labour Party banner at City Hall

In recent months British Labour activists have been hosting meetings across the six counties aimed at building support for standing candidates in occupied Ireland; they have been supported in their efforts by the self styled ‘Socialist party’ formerly ‘Millitant Labour’ a dissident Labour party splinter group who effectively support the partition of Ireland and stronger links with the British left as a safe alternative to traditional Marxist aspirations towards Irish Freedom.

IRSP hand out leaflets to the pacifist left, urging them to adopt the socialist position

IRSP hand out leaflets to the pacifist left, urging them to adopt the socialist position

At a gathering at Belfast city hall, the IRSP in a civilised fashion gathered alongside the Labour activists with a view to offering the traditional Republican Socialist message, reminding them that Ireland was a subjected nation which has never had a chance to vote either for or against Tory cuts and promoting the wider cause of Irish independence as the principled socialist response to the continued economic and political oppression of our people.

Paid New Labour workers refused to speak to IRSPers

Paid New Labour workers refused to speak to IRSPers

The IRSP attempted to engage those in attendance in debate on the importance of the issue and while some younger members of the Socialist Party admirably agreed to do so, the full time Labour workers refused, appearing un-confident in their purpose and showing physical distain when told that they were speaking to the IRSP.

capture-pngffeww The Irish Republican Socialist Party holds to the traditional Labour principle of full Irish independence and anti-imperialism and promises that any attempts to dilute that principle under a false flag of Socialism will be challenged and exposed.

The leaflet urging those in attendance to return to the Socialist position.

The leaflet urging those in attendance to return to the Socialist position.

Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc exposes more revisionist myth, propaganda and fabrication

Back in May, this blog reprinted an excellent piece from the Irish Political Review by Manus O Riordan on the revisionist assault on Constance Markievicz (see: The assault on Markievicz: as fact-free as it is malicious).  Below is another excellent piece from the IPR dealing with Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc’s exposure of a chunk of other revisionist – ie professional anti-republican – propaganda masquerading as disinterested historiography.  People have a range of views about IPR and the politics of the small current which produces it.  However, there can be no doubt that these folks perform a valuable service in tackling and exposing the products of the political project of the historical revisionists.  The piece below is taken from this month’s IPR (August 2016).

9781781173855by Manus O’Riordan

The March issue of Irish Political Review published the remarks made by Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc on the occasion of the launch of his book, Truce: Murder Myth and the Last Days of the Irish War of Independence. Ó Ruairc then presented his book as “a challenge to myth, propaganda and fabrication”. Indeed it is. For, from the word go, the author tackles revisionist academia head on: “Eunan O’Halpin, Professor of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College Dublin, stated in a recent television documentary that (RIC Constable Alfred) Needham had married in a church ceremony and was shot dead in front of his new bride just minutes after they had exchanged wedding vows. A common element in most of these accounts is the suggestion that the IRA Volunteers who killed Needham knew a ceasefire had been agreed with the British forces and that was a motivating factor in the attack. The stories about Needham’s wedding are part of a wider narrative about the War of Independence, which claims that the announcement of the Truce on 8 July 1921 led to a wave of unjustifiable ‘eleventh-hour’ IRA attacks before the ceasefire began. Supporters of this narrative claim that republicans launched a determined campaign to kill as many people as possible before the war ended and that these final IRA attacks were made mainly against so-called ‘soft targets’, i. e., unarmed members of the British forces and loyalist civilians… Some of these stories have a grain of truth in them. Others are entirely fictional, or are genuine killings taken out of context and with new details invented for propaganda value.”

Ó Ruairc exposes the Needham tale, which had been related with such feeling by Professor O’Halpin, for the fiction that it is: “There was no wedding ceremony, no teenage bride… Needham, a Black and Tan from London, was shot standing at the door of a stable with two other armed members of the RIC – not while leaving a registry office with his new bride. This tale about Needham being killed immediately after getting married appears to have been invented for melodramatic effect in a propaganda story. Yet different versions of this story continue to surface every few years masquerading as factual history.” (pp 9-11).

In his history of the build up to the Truce itself, Ó Ruairc also makes clear how the war violence of the preceding seven months was solely the British Government’s responsibility, for in December 1920 it had rejected what it would accept in July 1921, Michael Collins’s proposal for a comprehensive bilateral truce, with a commitment that “the entire Dáil shall be free to meet and that its peaceful activities not be interfered with”. (p 31). But, of course, the very reason for the War of Independence had been Britain’s refusal to accept the democratic validity, Read the rest of this entry

Statement from Republican Prisoners Roe 4 Maghaberry 26/07/16

Statement from Republican Prisoners Roe 4 Maghaberry 26/07/16

Over recent weeks Republican Prisoners have noted increasing repression towards Republican Prisoners by the Jail Administration. During this time we have also witnessed the appointment of another Unionist Stormont Justice Minister, with DUP fundamentalists obtaining key positions also on the Justice Committee. Similarly, we have witnessed the appointment of a British Secretary of State with a background in security under a Thatcher style British Prime Minister.

It is against this backdrop that a new Read the rest of this entry

Speech by RNU’s Paul Crawford at July 3 Newry anti-internment rally

13393911_1728270154112192_6645445412543553767_n“I’d like to begin by thanking the organisers of today’s picket for asking myself to represent the Republican Network for Unity and our POW’s department Cogus here this afternoon. It’s a privilege and an honour to address you all.

“The fact that we are here for the 3rd year in a row is evidence that Internment as a tactic to disrupt political activity is very much alive but also that our opposition to Internment is equally alive.

“In order to oppose Internment we must first understand what it is and what it is used for. In many ways the word has been over used and as such has lost much of its impact and meaning. There are those who would say that everyone incarcerated by the British or the Free State are interned. There are those who would state that while all internees are political prisoners, not all political prisoners are internees.

“For our purposes, however, it is enough to state that the original definition of internment is correct. Those who are detained without charge for the political expediency of the state. People like my comrade Tony Taylor, a perfect example of internment by the state to prevent and hamper legitimate political activity.
Tony, like Martin Corey before him, has been remanded in custody at the behest of the British secretary of state. No semblance of a trial, no pretence of a trial. Secret evidence that can’t be disclosed and won’t be disclosed because it doesn’t exist.

“We have miscarriages of justice like the cases of the Craigavon 2, men who have been deliberately framed on the word of informers and Walter Mittys. Set up by the dirty hand of the British security apparatus and practically ignored by the political elite despite a growing realization that these men are innocent across the board. Read the rest of this entry

Maghaberry prison administration steps up aggression

13567179_1025555037513181_8802081204186951436_nStatement by prisoners, July 1, 2016:

Yesterday the naked aggression of the Maghaberry administration toward republican political prisoners was once again exposed. The day of sinister events began at 11am when the notorious riot team raided three cells on Roe 3 occupied by Cogús republican prisoners. The three political prisoners concerned were not present in Roe House during this lockdown raid due to parole, court and visiting arrangements.

The day’s events then culminated during the evening lockup when once again the riot team entered Roe 3 and forcibly removed political prisoner and current internee Tony Taylor from Roe House and moved him to the jail’s punishment block – the SSU.

The prison administration and particularly security governor Brian Armour and Ciaran McGuinness over recent months have been overt in their attempts to fuel conflict through introducing red herring arguments to deflect possible resolutions to the main issues and systematically playing Machiavellian games.

Yesterday’s events can only be seen as a plan to further intensify tensions in Roe House. Cogús republican prisoners will not stand idle and let such antagonistic actions go unchallenged, though in contrast to the bigoted reactionary forces, we will meet their provocations in a disciplined and an organised manner, employing an intelligent and practical strategy to ensure our rights as political prisoners are won.

Cogús POWs
Roe 3, Maghaberry
1/7/16

Get this book!

constance-markieviczAnne Haverty’s updated new edition of her bio of Constance Markievicz is well worth a read (and a buy). Among other things, Haverty disproves the notion that Markievicz shot an unarmed cop at the beginning of the takeover of Stephen’s Green and then ran back inside the Green exulting in the killing. Personally, I happen to think members of the Dublin Metropoitan Police were legitimate targets, but the attack on Markievicz is that she shot him at point blank range when he was unarmed and had no chance to surrender. Various professional anti-republicans (the historical revisionist school, for instance and folks like Ann Matthews, whom I simply can’t take seriously as any sort of historian) have peddled this nonsense, using highly questionable ‘evidence’.

Haverty runs through, for instance, the use of a Geraldene Fitzgerald’s account which revisionists typically classify as being from her diary. Haverty points out that it is actually two typed pages that read like a deposition for a prosecution, one the state did not pursue (which itself says something about the fanciful nature of the claim). Haverty shows how Fitzgerald’s testimony is faulty (different time to when the policeman was actually shot; distance from the shooting and yet Fitzgerald claimed to hear words spoken in the Green!!!) and concludes of Fitzgerald’s ‘evidence’: “Only the Read the rest of this entry