Category Archives: Hunger strikes

Remembering rubber and plastic bullet killings by ‘Crown forces’

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the civil rights movement as a mass movement on the streets of the north-east of Ireland.

A peaceful movement was met with fierce repression by the Orange state – peaceful protesters were assaulted with police truncheons and tear gas.  Sections of the Special Powers Act, legislation jealously admired by the apartheid regime in South Africa, were used to try to ban marches and other civil rights activity.  Orange mobs, protected by the Royal Ulster Constabulary, were also unleashed on the nationalist population.

In 1971 Emma Groves was blinded in both eyes when a British soldier fired a rubber bullet at her, through her window, as she stood in her living room

As the nationalist working class began to effectively defend its areas with barricades and street fighting, the British government sent in troops to “restore order”, ie put a risen people back in their place.

An array of repression

Over the following decades the British used a whole array of repressive measures against the nationalist people: batons and tear gas, along with stun guns, live rounds, rubber and then plastic bullets, internment, non-jury Diplock Courts, supergrass frame-up trials and shoot-to-kill (ie execution) policies were all deployed.  While the British state widely used terror  Read the rest of this entry

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Miriam Daly – murdered revolutionary

Material in support of the new mass Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike

A couple of pieces on another blog that I’m involved in:

Support the mass Palestinian hunger strike 

Two PFLP statements on the hunger strike

Where to for republicans?

Paddy Browne is 4th from right

Paddy Browne is 4th from right

by Paddy Browne (1916 Societies, writing in personal capacity; I took this from The Pensive Quill, here)

It was a campaign that sent shivers through the British establishment and rocked it to its foundation. The commitment and ingenuity of the Óglaigh in the IRA and INLA – and the price paid by both organisations and the community in general – will never be forgotten. And while they may not have achieved the ultimate goal they most certainly advanced it.

People have been trying to mimic the campaign from 1997 without major success. They need to realise it is not enough to profess to fight a war when it is far from a reality – when your greatest contribution is to send our young men and women to gaol.

I believe the success of republicanism will come from the trust of the community in which we previously relied – heavily – in the past. It is through them that we must present our argument, for approval, and it is them that we need to support in their time of need.

Before we have unity in Ireland, with substance, we need a social revolution that will 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

Remembering Maire Comerford

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Cork Volunteers’ Pipe Band: supplementary editions (#5)

Supplementary Edition (No. 5) of the Cork Volunteer’s Pipe Band Centenary Year Project 1914-2014.

by Jim Lane

Capture the band

Funeral of James Crossan the last IRA Vol to be killed in Operation Harvest.The cortege was led by Jim Lane , piper of the Cork Volunteer’s Pipe Band. At the graveside Eoin O'Connell, Fiianna Eireann bugler from Cork sounded the Last Post and Reville. The oration at the graveside was delivered by T.ÓhUiginn.

In the number four edition of the Cork Volunteer’s Pipe Band on December 2014, Jim Lane promised viewers that” if anything further comes to hand of importance, he will request the relevant websites to make available space put it up online”. With this Supplementary Edition,  published in October 2015, we fulfill that comment.

This is a series of five articles on the centenary year 1914-2014 of the Cork Volunteer’s Pipe Band that was founded by Tomas MacCurtain . With the help of some old band members, we tried our best to bring together what information and photos we could fined.

 1

Tribute to Peggy O’Hara

The following appeared on July 19 on the IRSP site, here.

Saturday 18th July 2015 saw Derry City centre come to a standstill as Republican Socialists from across Ireland assembled to say farewell to Peggy O’Hara, a lifelong supporter and activist in the Irish Freedom struggle and mother to three imprisoned Republican Volunteers, including H-Block martyr Patsy O’Hara, who died following 61 Days on Hunger Strike in May 1981 aged 23.

Peggy’s was a life immersed in the cause for Irish Freedom, a dedicated supporter of the armed campaign against British Imperialism, she balanced the priorities of running a family with those which inevitably come with a National Liberation struggle, in this task she was faced many times with agonising realities and trials, all of which she faced with courage and dignity.

mcguinness-critical-of-inla-funeral-for-peggy-ohara-300x174Earlier in the week a firing party paid tribute to Comrade O’Hara by delivering a volley of three shots over her coffin, on which was placed the Starry Plough and Irish National Flags. The Volunteers then offered further salute in the fashion of military genuflexion, the same salute paid at her son’s graveside in 1981.

Peggy’s death had brought people together from the wider revolutionary republican family with comrades from across the country making their way to Longtower Church in Derry where requiem mass was said before the funeral cortege made its way to Derry City Cemetery.

11760190_921236834581533_3732216738808571363_n-300x200Marching ranks of Volunteers as well as IRSP activists in Read the rest of this entry

Soldier of the revolution and working class intellectual: two tributes to Vol Tony Catney

tonycatneyfuneral

Funeral of Tony Catney

Below is the tribute to Tony ‘TC’ Catney written by republican POWs in Roe House, Maghaberry.  It was read out at his funeral in August 2014 in Belfast by Paul Duffy.  The text is taken from The Pensive Quill blog.

People assembled at the graveside of Tony Catney hardly need an introduction to the life and times of the man being laid to rest. There are so many dimensions to the life just ended that it would be impossible to catalogue them or squeeze them into some easy to deliver package. TC, as we all knew him, was a republican gem, a rough diamond with sharp edges and a razor sharp intellect to match.

People will remember TC in different ways and for different reasons. His friends will remember him fondly. His critics will see him more caustically. But the mischief in him would have enjoyed that. His attitude would be that if he was not annoying those he fundamentally disagreed with then he wasn’t doing his job. And the job of TC, as he saw it, was to bring clarity to matters that others tried to obscure.

For IRA prisoners TC will always occupy a Read the rest of this entry

Commemorating Tony Catney

TCRegardless of which particular socialist-republican group anyone belongs to, or supports, the death of Tony ‘TC’ Catney last August was a loss to all serious socialist-republicans.  The 1916 Societies in Dublin have taken on organising what is intended to be an annual debate dedicated to him.  The inaugural Tony Catney Memorial Debate was organised by the new Cathal Brugha 1916 Society, based in Kilbarrack/Donaghmede, and took place in the Teachers Club in Parnell Square on March 7.  The topic was Republicanism in the Twenty-first Century and the speakers were Dee Fennell, Cait Trainor and Anthony McIntyre.

It attracted a large audience, including sections of the disparate left republican currents, and went on for two-and-a-half hours.  There were still hands in the air when it had to be ended because the club was closing.

Anthony McIntyre’s speech can be read here.

Hopefully the speeches by Cait Trainor and Dee Fennell will be on-line soon or a video will appear.

While, as Anthony McIntyre noted, the Provo leadership cabal around Adams destroyed the struggle to an extent no amount of British repression ever could, this meeting was yet another indication that there is still a significant layer of left republicans floating around wondering what the hell happened and wanting to talk about how the struggle was taken up the cul-de-sac of bourgeois nationalism and republicanism and socialism were both sacrificed.

At the same time, there are too many left-republican groups.  The differences between them are far, far slighter than the common ideas – most particularly that in the 21st century, and after the debacle of the Provos, any real republicanism has to be socialist-republicanism.  The bulk of republicans at this meeting should be in a common socialist-republican organisation, one with a lively internal political life which is also publicly projected.

Well done to the 1916 Societies, especially the new Cathal Brugha 1916 Society, for organising such a lively political meeting.

Given that the 1916 Societies devote a lot of energy to public events such as this, it would be great to see them hosting meetings where representatives of the various left-republican currents were invited to speak.  One of the topics might be on how to work together to ensure the most successful revolutionary celebration/commemoration of the 1916 Rising, rather than having half a dozen different groups all organising their own events, a recipe for being completely overshadowed by the Adamsites’ carnival of blarney.  A combined revolutionary programme, involving all the genuine republican forces, could be attractive and big enough to at least present an alternative to the attempt by the Adamsites to grab ownership of 1916.