Category Archives: Repression and resistance in the six counties today

Prisoners statement on Maghaberry prison regime

Image may contain: text
 STATEMENT FROM REPUBLICAN PRISONERS, ROE 4 MAGHABERRY. 31/05/17

Over the past number of months Republican Prisoners have been consistently gathering Freedom of Information statistics regarding the regime in Republican Roe House.

This has been undertaken to dispense with the false claims by NIPS (Northern Ireland Prison Service) spokespeople and unionist politicians that the restrictions in place here are due to threats.

These statistics showed that in the 6-month period between 1st September 2016 and 1st March 2017 there were no alarms hit on the wing, whilst 621 alarms were activated in other areas of Maghaberry, including over 100 in certain houses. Despite this our regime remains among the most restrictive in Europe.

These statistics have been shown to all the relevant oversight bodies, groups and political parties, some of whom had previously stated that a period of calm would leave room to open discussions with the Jail Administration regarding increasing numbers out on the landings.

These statistics were further reinforced by media coverage of a tribunal involving two former governors which revealed that the restrictive closer of a stair grill on the wing was contrived by reactionaries, and NIPS lied to a Stormont committee regarding this.

Reactionaries in the Jail Administration have responded to all of this with increased restrictions on movement and a variety of punitive measures. They are determined to demonstrate that they will not abide by the August 2010 Agreement and their actions go unchallenged by the aforementioned parties.

It is clear to us that Maghaberry Jail remains a bastion of the Orange State which refuses to heed pragmatism for a reason.

Republican Prisoners
Roe 4
Maghaberry
31/05/2017

Read the rest of this entry

Republican POWs’ statement

Image may contain: text

Statement from Republican Prisoners, Roe 4, Maghaberry. 02/05/17

NEW AGREEMENT BETWEEN ROE 3 AND ROE 4 REPUBLICAN PRISONERS.

In 2014, Republican Prisoners announced that the Republican Prisoner communities within Roe House (Roe 3 and Roe 4) would be sharing several facilities on the wing. These facilities had previously been used separately to facilitate space for distinct prison communities; although it was agreed at that time that certain facilities would be shared. It was also agreed that the canteen and yards would remain subject to separate use.

Republican Prisoners Roe 4 are now pleased to announce that these facilities (including the canteen and yard) will now be shared by both Republican Prisoner communities as of 2nd May 2017.

This comes after discussion and agreement between both communities that the sharing of these facilities is both practical and beneficial for all. This also lays to waste recent claims by NIPS spokespersons that the ludicrously restrictive controlled movement policy was necessary due to tensions on the wing. This is of course nonsense.

This move represents a progressive development for Political Prisoners and highlights the emptiness of NIPS excuses for their reactionary policies.

We look forward to moving on with this new arrangement with mutual respect for the distinct communities on the wing.

Republican Prisoners
Roe 4
Maghaberry
02/05/17

After the Stormont election: the way forward

by John McAnulty

The common assertion arising from the latest election in the North of Ireland is that Sinn Fein now has the upper hand. That reform of the local settlement is now inevitable and Gerry Adams has gone so far as to assert that a united Ireland is now back on the agenda.

However the loss of the overall unionist majority is largely a profound psychological shock rather than a practical issue. The seats are:

DUP SF  SDLP  UUP ALLIANCE OTHER
(inc 2 Green, 1PBP) 
28  27  12  10 8 5

 

So The DUP remains the largest party and would nominate the first minister. The loss of the overall majority relies on the dubious idea that Alliance is not a unionist party – they have in the past designated themselves as unionist to save the assembly and until recently fulfilled a role as lynch pin for the sectarian setup by holding the justice ministry position.

In addition in the coming negotiations Sinn Fein will be facing the British government. They themselves have complained that the pro-unionist positions of the British secretary, James Brokenshire, should make him unsuitable as chair.  They will also be appealing to a Dublin government hostile to Sinn Fein that acts as an agent of reaction in both parts of the Island. 

The settlement in Ireland is not designed to lead to a united Ireland and the issue depends entirely on gaining permission from Britain to hold a vote restricted to the six-county area – permission that will not be forthcoming.  Read the rest of this entry

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

Derry’s ‘March of the British Death Squads’ a calculated insult to Bloody Sunday dead

pol-torboid-on-extreme-right-at-recent-event-to-highlight-british-army-recruitment-in-irelandThe following was written before the Brits decided to call off their grubby imperialist parade: 

Éirígí has branded a planned march through Derry on Saturday, March 4 as “deliberately provocative” and a “calculated insult”. It is estimated that 100 serving and former members of Britain’s military forces will take part in the march.  The event is one of a series which will take place across Britain and occupied Ireland in opposition to any prosecution of British soldiers who have committed serious crimes in Ireland.

Commenting on the contentious march, Éirígí spokesperson Pól Torbóid said, “It is absolutely no coincidence that this event on the streets of Derry was announced just days after another very successful march commemorating the deaths of 14 innocent civilians on those same streets.”

“There is no doubt that the organisers of the March of the British Death Squads are being deliberately provocative to generate publicity for their event. This is nothing less than a calculated insult to the dead of Bloody Sunday and their families, as well as all the other victims of British brutality in Ireland.”

He continued, “Let us not forget that the British Army killed 14 civilians and injured another 12 in one afternoon in Derry. Many more have been killed and injured in Derry City and the surrounding areas by Britain’s official and unofficial death squads.  Éirígí is totally opposed to the March of the British Death Squads going ahead and is now consulting its members and others to identify the best way to oppose it.”

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

Support the POWs this Christmas

Sean Bresnahan, Chair of the Thomas Ashe Society in Omagh, calls on people around the world to support initiatives for prisoners and their families over the Christmas season.

Today, December 12th, is the International Day of Action for Political Prisoners. With that in mind, the Thomas Ashe Society extend solidarity to all political prisoners, worldwide, who share our understanding of the wrongs in this world and who face ongoing detention accordingly. We remember especially those here in our own country, in Maghaberry and Portlaoise, where the issue of political prisoners and their unjust treatment remains a blight on society.

We encourage the wider Irish public to better inform themselves of the situation in the prisons and to donate, where possible, to the various campaigns that seek to highlight this issue and to support the families of those impacted. To those families – most especially at this time of year: our thoughts are with you and we extend our full support over the Christmas period and beyond. To the prisoners themselves: your cause is a noble one and we commend your ongoing sacrifice. Know that there are still those who respect and recognise your endeavour.

The gaols of our country have for too long been filled with those who seek nothing more than the legitimate goal of an Independent Ireland, free from British rule. May that All-Ireland Republic, our shared objective, some day soon be won, bringing an end to the wretched phenomenon of the political prisoner in Ireland.

Sean Bresnahan
Chairman, Thomas Ashe Society Omagh

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

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