Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Guaridian: Bloody Sunday Inquiry


Bloody Sunday murder inquiry planned

Police to launch criminal investigation into deaths of 14 people after British paratroopers opened fire on crowd, in 1972
  • guardian.co.uk
British troops behind a wire barricade in Derry, on Bloody Sunday
British troops behind a wire barricade in Derry, on Bloody Sunday, when 13 people were killed at a protest march, in 1972. Photograph: Bentley Archive/Popperfoto/Getty Images
A murder inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry is to begin in the new year.
Senior commanders from the Police Service of Northern Ireland on Thursday briefed relatives of the 14 people who died after British paratroopers opened fire on demonstrators in the city, in 1972.
Earlier this year, police signalled an intent to investigate the incident after they and prosecutors reviewed the findings of the Saville public inquiry into the controversial shootings. Until now it had been unclear when such an investigation would start.
After the 12-year inquiry, Lord Saville found that the killings were unjustified and none of the dead posed a threat when they were shot.
That contradicted the long-standing official version of events, outlined in the contentious 1972 Widgery report, which had exonerated soldiers of any blame.
The Saville inquiry prompted David Cameron to apologise to the relatives. Thirteen people died on the day, with a badly injured man dying a number of months later.
The PSNI's Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie and Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris outlined details of the murder investigation to the Bloody Sunday families in the city on Thursday morning.
Police have said the investigation will be lengthy and complex. It is expected to last at least four years.
Statements given by witnesses to the Saville inquiry cannot be used as evidence in criminal proceedings.
Police have therefore urged those people to come forward again to make official statements.

Loyalist Fascist British Occupied Ireland






 IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS
   

    Friday-Thursday, 14-20 December, 2012

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    We would like to extend greetings to all of our readers for the
    Christmas - and ask you to join with us in thinking of the
    republican political prisoners and internees who are spending this
    festive season behind bars.

    Nollaig shona dhaoibh agus dóibh.
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1.  LOUGHINISLAND REPORT QUASHED
2.  Fresh loyalist disturbances underway
3.  Family's nightmare as retrial expected in 'Micky Bo' murder
4.  Progress seen in Bloody Sunday justice campaign
5.  Pan-unionism returns as Stormont flags talks stall
6.  Family of UDA 'romper room' victim seek answers
7.  Feature: Four martyrs commemorated in Belfast
8.  Analysis: The only credible action for Finucanes is public

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>>>>>> LOUGHINISLAND REPORT QUASHED


 The report of the former police ombudsman into the murder of six men in
 the Loughinisland massacre has been scrapped after a court hearing on
 their judicial review.

 Thursday's High Court ruling represents a victory for the victims'
 families and paves the way for a new investigation into the shootings.

 The six men who died, all Catholics, were killed when UVF gunmen went
 into the Heights Bar in rural Co Down in June 1994.

 The killers opened fire indiscriminately as customers watched Ireland
 play Italy in a World Cup soccer match.

 Those shot dead included 87-year-old Barney Green, one of the oldest
 victims of the Troubles.

 Also killed were Eamon Byrne, Malcolm Jenkinson, Daniel McCreanor,
 Patrick O'Hare, and Adrian Rogan. Five others were seriously wounded.

 No-one has been convicted of the murders although 16 people have been
 arrested in connection with the attack.

 Victims' relatives suspect the police investigation was undermined to
 protect informants.

 In June last year former police ombudsman Al Hutchinson concluded there
 was insufficient evidence of collusion.

 In a highly controversial report, he only identified failings in the
 police investigation, criticising it for a lack of diligence and
 leadership.

 Hutchinson later stepped down amid a scandal over the operation of the
 Ombudsman's office and the manner in which reports were drafted.

 His report on Loughinisland was branded a whitewash by the victims'
 families, who launched judicial review proceedings in a bid to have it
 overturned.

 In court yesterday it was confirmed that Dr Maguire had agreed to the
 move, and to the order that his predecessor's statement be quashed.

 Lawyers for the families described the outcome as a significant
 milestone in their campaign to establish the truth surrounding the
 atrocity.

 Niall Murphy of Kevin R Winters solicitors said it was the first
 successful judicial review of a report by the police ombudsman's
 office.

 "Our clients' strong criticisms, made immediately in the wake of the
 publication of the report in 2011, have been vindicated and they
 deserve credit for their perseverance and dedication to establishing
 the truth about what happened to their loved ones. The decision also
 provides for a brand new reinvestigation," he said.

 Emma Rogan, whose father Adrian was among those killed, said the
 outcome vindicated the families' belief that the original report was
 flawed and irrational.

 "It is a disgrace that the onus was put on us to take the office of the
 police ombudsman to the High Court to drag the truth out of the facts
 that only his office are aware of," she "The conclusion of Al
 Hutchinson's flawed report was that the complaint of collusion was
 ruled out due to insufficient evidence.

 "The reason that there is insufficient evidence is that the RUC kept
 destroying the evidence."

 Sinn Féin Assembly member Caitriona Ruane also welcomed the move. “It was
 clear that the families had no confidence in this investigation and its
 findings," she said. "The conclusions reached were totally incompatible
 to the evidence produced which clearly pointed at collusion.

 "I believe we need to pay tribute to the families for their persistence
 and for judicially reviewing Al Hutchinson's original decisions. There
 are many questions still to be answered into the Loughinisland attack
 including the original RUC investigation, the role of British state
 agents and the destruction of evidence."


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>>>>>> Fresh loyalist disturbances underway


 Loyalists are again attempting to bring the North to a standstill this
 evening with road closures in Belfast and across the north.

 The demonstrations coincide with evening rush-hour on what is also the
 busiest shopping weekend of the year.

 Trouble broke out at similar protests on Monday night as loyalists
 again took to the streets over a reduction in the flying of the British
 Union Jack flag at Belfast City Hall.

 Loyalists have been demonstrating against that decision on an almost
 daily basis for over two weeks.

 Dozens of locations have been listed for protests on a website this
 evening, including areas of Belfast, Bangor, Portadown, Lisburn,
 Newtownards and Carrickfergus.

 Plans to push ahead with the protests came as political leaders held a
 marathon special meeting at Stormont yesterday to discuss the flags
 crisis.

 After almost eight hours of talks the five main parties issued a joint
 statement.

 The collective response condemned the riots that have marred some of
 the demonstrations. However, it did not call for an end to the
 protests.

 Protests are taking place this evening at flashpoints such as Twaddell,
 Hesketh and Crumlin Road in north Belfast as well as at Finaghy and
 Shaw's Bridge in the south of the city,
the Knock carriageway in the
 east and Shankill Road and the
Broadway roundabout in the west.

 Demonstrations are also planned for Larne, Derry, Portadown and
 Ballymena.

 MONDAY MAYHEM

 There are fears that the protests could lead to rioting, as seen on
 Monday night when loyalist mobs erupted into violence in several areas.

 The worst of the disturbances took place in the Sandy Row area of
 Belfast, where a tourist bus was burned out by loyalists armed with
 petrol bombs. Tourists visiting Belfast city centre had to be taken
 back to County Wexford in a replacement coach.

 Clashes also took place at a flags protest near the Alliance Party
 office on the Newtownards Road, where a mob of 200 loyalists ran amok.
 Belfast Telegraph reporter Adrian Rutherford was punched to the ground
 and his phone was stolen by a masked man as he reported from the scene
 in east Belfast.

 In other incidents, a taxi driver was attacked by protesters blocking a
 road in north Belfast. The driver, who did not want to be named, said
 he stopped at a junction when a man who appeared to be orchestrating
 the blockade ordered a gang of youths to attack his car.

 "I keep hearing that these protests are peaceful when they're anything
 but," he said. "Had they managed to drag me from my car I have no doubt
 would have been seriously injured or even killed."

 In the county Antrim town of Carrickfergus, five masked loyalists burst
 into the Town Hall and terrified councillors.

 A veteran Alliance Party politician, Sean Neeson said he was left
 "shaken" after the gang stormed into the council chamber and shouted
 sectarian abuse at him. One of the gang reportedly called Mr Neeson a
 "Fenian c***" while another pointed an object, believed to have been a
 golf umbrella, in the direction of councillors.

 Trouble also flared in Lisburn and Portadown as the blockades closed
 dozens of roads across the North.

 OMINOUS DEVELOPMENTS

 Later in the week, British Union Jack flags were newly erected at a
 number of sectarian interfaces.  The move came as loyalist paramilitary
 groups ended their support for an agreement on the reduction of
 flag-flying in the North.

 As part of the new campaign of intimidation, flags were erected near
 Catholic schools and in dozens of other controversial locations --
 including outside Holy Cross Girls Primary School in north Belfast, the
 scene of a bitter loyalist protest a decade ago which made headlines
 around the world.

 In east Belfast, members of the UVF have been accused of orchestrating
 the protests and being involved in violent incidents sucb as attacks on
 the offices of the SDLP and Alliance parties in the North. On
 Wednesday, five Assembly members from Sinn Fein and Alliance received
 death threats in the form of bullets posted to their offices.

 This week, the PSNI said they had arrested sixteen people across the
 North, nine children and just seven adults. Among those held were
 children aged 11 and 12.  However, it is understood that no loyalist
 paramilitaries have yet been arrested or threatened with the revocation
 of their release licences -- a routine PSNI tactic against former
 republican prisoners.

 eirigi's Pádraic Mac Coitir said the flags protests had confirmed that
 the North remains a hostile place for nationalists.

 "How many times have constitutional nationalists told us the Orange
 state is no more and that we live in a more tolerant society?" he
 asked.

 "The issue of flags is a smokescreen for the wider sectarianism being
 waged by unionists.

 "Sinn Féin and the SDLP bowed to pressure during a debate in Belfast
 city council and agreed to let that flag on certain days, including the
 birthday of the English queen.

 "Already in many parts of Belfast unionists are putting up more flags,
 especially in so-called interfaces."

 He warned that loyalists would be allowed to continue with their
 disturbances thanks to "their allies in the PSNI".

 "This is in stark contrast to the PSNI response to peaceful marches and
 protests held by republicans."

 Just after making this statement earlier this week, Mr Mac Coitir was
 arrested and imprisoned this week by the PSNI. He is currently being
 held at Maghaberry jail in connection with a peaceful sit-down protest
 in north Belfast against a sectarian Orange Order parade in July, 2010.


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>>>>>> Family's nightmare as retrial expected in 'Micky Bo' murder


 A retrial is to be sought in the case of three Ballymena men whose
 convictions were quashed this week for the 2006 sectarian murder of
 Catholic teenager Michael McIlveen.

 The Catholic schoolboy, known locally as 'Micky Bo', was chased and
 beaten in Ballymena in May 2006. He was beaten with a baseball bat and
 kicked as he lay defenceless in an alleyway.

 On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal ruled that guilty verdicts against
 Aaron Wallace, Christopher Kerr and Jeff Lewis for killing Michael were
 unsafe. It said this was due to flaws in how the jury was directed.

 It means only one man is currently convicted of murdering the
 15-year-old.

 The Court of Appeal was told that, in reaching its decision to seek a
 retrial, there had been consultation with the McIlveen family and the
 Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory.

 The Court of Appeal will not make a ruling on whether there is to be a
 retrial until 7 January in order for the defence to make written
 submissions.

 Michael's heartbroken family have said his mother may not be able to
 re-live the tragedy by sitting through another trial. His sister Jodie
 McIlveen said they were "totally unprepared" for yesterday's news.

 "We are just in shock," she said.

 "It's left us reliving the whole thing again. It's breaking our hearts.
 What more do they want from us?"

 Ms McIlveen said her mother Gina and the family would never get over
 Michael's death, but had hoped it would become easier over time.

 "My mum has said she couldn't sit through it again," she said. "The
 rest of us will be there. We'll stick by Michael."

 It will be the third murder trial the family will have to go through.

 The original trial began in 2008 but had to be abandoned after seven
 weeks of evidence and a second trial began the following month.

 Michael's mother Gina and sister Jodie attended court every day in the
 company of other family members.

 The jury heard about tensions between young people from different
 religious backgrounds in the County Antrim town and that Michael and
 two Catholic friends had been chased through Ballymena by a gang of
 young Protestants before being attacked in an alley.

 A postmortem examination revealed that the schoolboy died from a blood
 clot on his brain as a result of skull fractures caused by "at least
 one blow to both sides from a blunt weapon", either by a baseball bat
 or by kicking and stamping.

 Michael also had multiple bruising to the brain.

 In the midst of their grief the McIlveen family called for no
 retaliation.

 But after the four men were sentenced for Michael's murder the McIlveen
 family said they were disappointed at the minimum tariffs they had been
 given.

 "We all believe that life should mean life," they said.

 "Michael lived for 15 years and not one of the defendants will serve
 this length of time for his death."


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>>>>>> Progress seen in Bloody Sunday justice campaign


 The Bloody Sunday families have welcomed news that former British
 soldiers may finally be questioned by the PSNI as part of a murder
 investigation into the killings.

 Relatives of the 14 people who died after British paratroopers opened
 fire on nationalist demonstrators in the city in 1972 were told of the
 development this week.

 Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie confirmed that a detective had
 finally been appointed to head a murder investigation into the Bloody
 Sunday killings.

 A weekend of commemorative and protest events is due to take place next
 month to mark the 41st anniversary of the massacre and to demand 'an
 end to impunity'.

 A number of Bloody Sunday families had launched a campaign for justice
 following the release of the report of the Saville Inquiry in June
 2010. That report forced a public apology from British Prime Minister
 David Cameron and an admission that those massacred had been innocent.

 Efforts to bring to justice those responsible for ordering the killings
 are now finally underway.

 A wide range of witnesses are to be questioned,
including the soldiers
 who carried out the shootings

 A key focus of the investigation is likely to be the small number of
 soldiers directly involved in the gun attacks in Derry's Glenfada Park
 area. One soldier in particular, known as soldier F, is believed to
 have killed Bernard McGuigan, Patrick Doherty, Michael Kelly and
 possibly Michael McKinney.

 The families were told that the investigation could be expanded if
 necessary.

 John Kelly, whose brother Michael was one of those killed, said the
 families were pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

 Bloody Sunday relative Joe McKinney, brother of murdered William, says
 he now has more faith in the process.

 “To be honest, I was starting to feel dejected after the events of 15
 June 2010, to put it mildly. But police seem very positive and say they
 have to follow where their enquiries and the evidence lead. They say
 they have been relying heavily on the information contained within the
 Saville Report and they will now follow those key areas where Lord
 Saville pointed out there was murder committed. After today, I have
 more faith in the process.”

 Sinn Féin assembly member Raymond McCartney welcomed the PSNI
 announcement that an investigation into the murders on Bloody Sunday
 has now begun.

 He said the families had been given a timeline on how the PSNI expect
 that investigation to progress, which would help the families monitor
 how the investigation is progresing.

 “Sinn Féin has supported the call by the families for a proper
 investigation to be carried out into the events of Bloody Sunday," he
 said. ”The announcement today that a full time team of PSNI officers
 have begun an investigation has to be welcomed as a step forward."


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>>>>>> Pan-unionism returns as Stormont flags talks stall


 Multi-party talks on the flags issue at Stormont have been suspended
 until next year following an announcement that a forum to unite
 different forces within unionism has been organised.

 The new 'Unionist Forum' is a reaction to recent loyalist anger at
 Belfast City Council's decision to fly the British Union Jack on
 designated days only.

 The council vote has led to more than two weeks of street protests
 across the north, many of which have turned violent.

 In a joint statement, the DUP and Ulster Unionists said party leaders
 Peter Robinson and Mike Nesbitt would convene the forum at Stormont's
 Parliament Buildings "as soon as is practicable".

 It followed talks involving the so-called UDA 'brigadier' for South
 Belfast Jackie McDonald and other loyalist figures.

 It is expected to address the flags issue, sectarian parades, and
 measures to increase unionist voter registration and turnout. The forum
 will also examine ways of "strengthening British cultural identity" in
 the north of Ireland.

 It is seen as another step towards a merger of the Ulster Unionist
 Party and the DUP, as well as marking the closer involvement of former
 loyalist paramilitaries in mainstream unionist politics.

 "The participants in the forum will be discussed at the first meeting,"
 Mr Robinson and Mr Nesbitt said in their statement. "The purpose of the
 forum will be to seek to engage with the entire unionist community and
 seek to address issues of concern."

 The statement said the forum would seek to "channel unionist efforts
 through political means".

 TALKS SUSPENDED

 Meanwhile, seven hours of multi-party talks at Stormont resulted only
 in a pledge to resolve contentious issues of identity through legal
 means.

 The North's business community has urged politicians to act to end the
 disruption, which has sharply reduced pre-Christmas trade.

 After sitting from 9.30am to nearly 5pm, the parties agreed not to
 comment and instead chose to release a joint statement.

 "Party leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the rule of law and the
 primacy of the political process and deplored violence, attacks on
the
 PSNI as well as threats to elected representatives," the statement
 read.

 The meeting, chaired by First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First
 Minister Martin McGuinness, was adjourned yesterday and is expected to
 reconvene in the New Year.

 Speaking earlier this week, Mr McGuinness MP insisted that the only way
 forward was through cross-community discussions and again called for an
 "unequivocal" message from unionists to end the disturbances.

 "Ultimately, any workable proposals needs cross-community support," he
 said. "These discussions need to address the meaning of mutual respect,
 parity of esteem and how to ensure that symbols and emblems are not
 used to promote division.

 "I am confident that we can map a way forward on this basis."


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>>>>>> Family of UDA 'romper room' victim seek answers


 The family of a Catholic murder victim are calling for a new
 investigation into his death amid claims that his killers were
 informers protected by the police and British intelligence.

 The family of Pat Benstead, who was tortured and murdered by the UDA,
 has called on police ombudsman Michael Maguire to carry out an urgent
 investigation into his death.

 Mr Benstead's naked body was discovered dumped in an alleyway on
 December 2 1972 following one of the most brutal murders in the
 conflict.

 A cross had been burned into his back alongside the letters 'IRA' and
 the number '4'. He had been shot twice in the head.

 Mr Benstead, who had a learning difficulty, suffered a severe beating
 and his attackers bound him hand and foot.

 Horrific burn marks, believed to have been inflicted with a hot iron,
 were later found on the dead man's body, hands and feet.

 From the Short Strand in east Belfast, Mr Benstead was last seen in the
 Falls Road area in the west of the city after enjoying a quiet drink
 with workmates in the Beehive bar.

 He was abducted by an east Belfast-based UDA gang that called itself
 the 'G4 Unit' as he made his way home across the city on foot.

 The number '4' later found burned into his back is believed to have
 been a reference to the 'G4 Unit' which was attached to the
 organisation's 'G Company' in east Belfast.

 The vicious loyalist murder gang was linked to several attacks on
 innocent Catholics which involved the prolonged torture of victims
 before they were shot dead.

 Mr Benstead's family have voiced fears that the hit squad responsible
 for killing the 32-year-old may have been heavily infiltrated by RUC
 Special Branch and British military intelligence which therefore turned
 a blind eye to the attacks it carried out.

 The Historical Enquiries Team, which completed an investigation in
 2010, failed to examine potential links to the murder.

 The full role of former UDA chief Edward 'Ned' McCreery, who ran the
 'G4 Unit' and former SAS member Albert 'Ginger' Baker had never been
 explained fully.

 Both McCreery and Baker are believed to have been British agents at
 various times and were directly involved in other so-called 'romper
 room' murders in 1972 and early 1973.

 Three years before the Shankill Butchers claimed their first victim in
 1975, Mr Benstead's death shocked even the most battle-hardened
 observers because of its grisly nature.

 At the inquest a coroner said the case was among the "most horrifying"
 he had ever come across.

 The Benstead family have labelled a Historical Enquiries Team probe
 into the circumstances of the murder as "flawed" and have called on the
 police ombudsman to review the case urgently.

 Mr Benstead's brother Colum said that despite the family approaching
 the police ombudsman in 2006, nothing had been done to date.

 "We believe the HET report was completely flawed," he said.

 "Two people in the police ombudsman's office said to me that people
 were highly resistant to look into my brothers murder because it would
 open up a huge can of worms.

 "One said to me it had the potential to be massive."

 The campaigning brother said it was essential that the police ombudsman
 begin to investigate as soon as possible.

 "When I first brought this to Nuala O'Loan she said was willing to look
 into it but then Al Hutchinson took over," Mr Benstead said.

 "Me and two of my sons met with him and he told us it could take 20
 years before they would get to it.

 "Most of the people who were in volved in my brother's murder would be
 in their sixties and seventies now. We don't have 20 years.

 "Myself and a close friend of mine, Arthur Fegan, have collected a lot
 of information and I have provided the police ombudsman with the names
 of people we believe were involved and yet they haven't done anything
 to date.

 "We also gave them the name of a man who survived a 'romper room'
 attack an received compensation in 1975.

 "It's obvious given the passage of time they need to speak to him and
 other potential witnesses from that time.

 "We believe there was collusion in his murder and we need them to
 investigate the circumstances now."


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>>>>>> Feature: Four martyrs commemorated in Belfast


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 A commemoration event in memory of Joe McKelvey, Liam Mellows, Richard
 Barrett and Rory O’Connor took place in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery
 yesterday [December 8], organised by the Seán Mac Diarmada Republican
 Society and the Irish Republican Martyrs Commemoration Committee. The
 main oration was delivered by éirígí activist Sharon Pickering. Below
 we carry the text of Sharon’s speech.
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 It is an honour to be invited to speak at this commemoration today. As
 we know this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Harbinson plot. In
 1912 This Celtic Cross was erected on the plot beside us and was
 dedicated to all those from the ranks of the Irish Republican
 Brotherhood who had been imprisoned in Belfast Gaol. It is named after
 William Harbinson a member of the IRB, who died in Belfast’s Crumlin
 Road Jail on Monday 7th September, 1867.

 As we gather here to remember Joe McKelvey, Liam Mellows, Richard
 Barrett and Rory O’Connor on the ninetieth anniversary of their
 execution by Free State forces, we also remember all those died in the
 struggle for national freedom. Including Seán McCartney, Séamus ‘Rocky’
 Burns, Seán Gaffney and Terence Perry who are buried in this plot
 alongside Joe McKelvey.

 The struggle to defend and uphold the Irish Republic declared by
 Connolly, Pearse, Tom Clarke, and their comrades in 1916 was conducted
 by many courageous men and women.

 The four Republicans we remember today were among those. They were
 picked for execution because they had all been officers in the Four
 Courts, were members of the IRB, and each one represented a different
 province of Ireland. Joe McKelvey from Ulster, Rory O’Connor from
 Leinster, Dick Barrett from Munster and Liam Mellows from Connacht.

 They were then buried in four different counties of Ireland. Rory
 O’Connor was to be buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery,
 Joe McKelvey in the Republican Plot, Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, Dick
 Barrett in his home parish – Ahiohill Churchyard, Co Cork and Liam
 Mellow, according to his own wishes, in Castletown Churchyard, Co
 Wexford.

 All four men were born into an Ireland which, just a few decades
 earlier, had experienced the unprecedented ravages of An Gorta Mór – The
 Great Hunger. Between 1845 and 1850, approximately 1.5 million Irish
 men, women and children died of starvation or related diseases. By 1855,
 more than two million more had fled Ireland to avoid a similar fate.

 It was an Ireland where the wealth of Ireland was controlled by a
 landowning aristocracy loyal to Britain where families were evicted from
 their homes at the point of British bayonets. An Ireland where a new
 middle-class was being created as industrialisation commenced.

 It was an Ireland where the IRB and other like-minded individuals sought
 to organise and fight for freedom.

 An Ireland which by the end of the 19th century and the start of the
 20th century was again attempting to rebuild and reclaim its cultural
 heritage through organisations such as the GAA and Conradh na Gaeilge.

 As Ireland moved into the second decade of the 20th century, those
 patriotic stirrings, along with events occurring elsewhere, were leading
 many to question the British presence in Ireland and to set about
 preparing for armed revolt.

 Similarly, Irish workers were also becoming more organised and were
 engaging in major industrial action.

 Those two currents merged together at Easter 1916 when the Irish
 Republic was proclaimed through force of arms. Those who organised and
 participated in Easter Week clearly set out a political agenda based
 upon national self-determination, social and economic justice and
 democracy, of cherishing all the children of the nation equally, of
 claiming the wealth of Ireland for the people of Ireland.

 Although defeated militarily, the men and women of Easter inspired
 others to act.

 But unlike 1916, the subsequent struggle for independence during the Tan
 War saw a greater influence being wielded by those who were politically
 conservative.

 Nevertheless, through the use of guerrilla tactics, electoral
 interventions, civil disobedience and the establishment of alternative
 political structures, Republicans had virtually wrested control of the
 country from the British state. Britain only retained power through
 armed force, terror and repressive laws.

 At the same time, other struggles began as workers and small farmers
 took control of factories and the broke-up large ranches. Workplace
 occupations and land seizures began taking place.

 In the eyes of the middle-class and conservative nationalist elements
 involved in the independence struggle, there was a danger that the
 struggle could become one by the exploited classes against their
 domestic oppressors as well.

 When Britain commenced the Treaty negotiations, it knew that these
 events had scared middle-class Irish nationalists. Britain recognised
 that the best way of securing its interests in Ireland would be by those
 same conservative middle-class Irish nationalists realising that Britain
 would defend their interests too.

 Those conservative elements in Irish society, the middle-classes, the
 church, the press and the business- and land-owning capitalists combined
 to undermine the Republican struggle in favour of the Treaty.

 The Republican demands for national self-determination, for social and
 economic justice and democracy, of cherishing all the children of the
 nation equally, of claiming the wealth of Ireland for the people of
 Ireland were abandoned. No longer was the objective to be securing the
 greatest measures of political, social and economic freedom for the mass
 of the population.

 Instead, these objectives were ditched in favour of a Treaty that would
 see the creation of two partitionist states within the British empire
 where control of the means of production and wealth generation would
 still remain in the hands of a small, but very wealthy, minority.

 The men we honour today recognised that fact and opposed the Treaty.

 As Liam Mellows stated – “It would be folly to destroy English tyranny
 in order to erect a domestic tyranny that would need another revolution
 to free the people. The Irish Republic stands, therefore, for the
 ownership of Ireland by the people of Ireland. It means that the means
 and process of production must not be used for the profit or
 aggrandisement of any group or class.

 “Ireland, if her industries and banks were controlled by foreign
 capital, would be at the mercy of every breeze that ruffled the surface
 of the world’s money-markets...

 “In our efforts to win back public support for the Republic we are
 forced to recognise, whether we like it or not, that the commercial
 interests and the gombeen man are on the side of the Treaty. We are back
 to Tone – which is just as well – relying on that great body, ‘the men
 of no property’. The ‘stake in the country people’ were never with the
 Republic. They are not with it now and they will always be against
 it....”

 The two states on this island which were created through the Treaty and
 partition were, and still remain, hostile to the interests of Irish
 workers and have acted against the struggles of Irish workers time and
 time again.

 The total number of unemployed across the 32 counties is now over
 600,000 people, many thousands of others who are employed are facing
 wage-cuts and are hanging on to their jobs and their family homes by
 their very fingertips. Thousands of our young people are again being
 forced abroad as economic migrants. The working class, the unemployed,
 the ill, the elderly and the young are under attack across the whole
 island.

 Yet the property developers and landlords, the bankers, and the corrupt
 politicians, those who amassed fortunes at the expense of others still
 retain their ill-gotten gains.

 That was not the kind of future which Mellows, McKelvey and their
 comrades had envisaged. They knew only too well that partition would
 lead to the carnival of reaction envisaged by Connolly, and that
 carnival of reaction has been in full flow in recent years.

 The Ireland of today remains controlled by imperialism, all be it in a
 new and more subtle form.

 Liam Mellows was quite emphatic in his view that those who support and
 endorse the structures of partition had placed themselves firmly in the
 camp of the counter-revolution.

 From his prison cell in Mountjoy, he urged Republicans to concentrate on
 politically educating the youth of Ireland.

 He believed that the failure to initiate proper political awareness and
 political education programmes was a major contributory factor that led
 to many former comrades accepting the Treaty: “The reason for so many
 young soldiers going wrong is that they never had a proper grasp of
 fundamentals. They were absorbed into movement and fight - not educated
 into it. Hence, no real convictions.”

 That could still be said today about other treaties and agreements.

 We must again educate others into the nature of the Irish Republican
 struggle; that our struggle is not based on a narrow-minded nationalism;
 it is about achieving real political freedom, it is about delivering
 social justice, it is about economic equality for all.

 The objectives to which Mellows, McKelvey, Barrett and O’Connor and many
 others pledged their allegiance; the objectives for which they gave
 their lives are the same objectives which were clearly and unmistakably
 enunciated through the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme of
 1919. Those objectives have not been achieved.

 Settling for anything less than the complete achievement of those
 Republican objectives was not an option for those whom we remember and
 honour today.

 They sought to establish a free, sovereign and independent Irish
 Republic – a workers’ republic as Mellows called it.

 The goals and objectives of those who were executed have never been
 secured.

 The task for each of us is to help create a modern vision of a new Irish
 Republic and to re-awaken the inherent desire for true political, social
 and economic freedom and justice that exists among all people, young and
 old alike, in our villages, towns and cities, in our workplaces, in
 every one of our communities.

 So as we remember Joe, Liam, Richard and Rory, let their example
 encourage us all to continue to struggle onwards to achieve their vision
 of a free, and truly independent, socialist Irish Republic.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------


>>>>>> Analysis: The only credible action is a public inquiry


 By Jim Gibney (for Irish News)


 So according to Sir Desmond de Silva's report into the murder of a
 leading human rights lawyer in February 1989, there was "no overarching
 state conspiracy in the murder of Pat Finucane".

 Having read Sir Desmond's detailed executive summary report, let me
 offer him my interpretation of it.

 At a minimum he confirms what others discovered.

 There were several, simultaneous, overlapping and complementary
 conspiracies going on which taken together inescapably amount to 'an
 overarching state conspiracy in the murder of citizens through collusion
 between state agencies and loyalist paramilitaries', one of whom was Pat
 Finucane.

 To prove my interpretation I will use Sir Desmond's own words.

 Let us begin firstly with what most people believe is the state - the
 government of the day - that is, those ministers who sit around the
 cabinet table in 10 Downing Street.

 According to Sir Desmond there were repeated efforts made to successive
 British governments by Britain's intelligence agencies, the RUC Special
 Branch and British army for "a proper legal framework for agent
 handling".

 The reason why they sought this was self-serving and self-preservation
 because the agents they had needed to, and did, engage, in Sir Desmond's
 words, in "criminal conspiracies with their terrorist associates". In
 other words agents broke the law. And when they did so did their
 handlers, because they led and protected them. Breaking the law meant
 killing people.

 Successive British governments knew that agents were being run by their
 intelligence and state security services but they blatantly refused to
 give them "any effective guidance or a legal framework".

 This at least amounted to a conspiracy of silence based on knowledge,
 however vague, that the law was being broken. It could also be
 interpreted as encouragement.

 The British government refused to introduce "legal guidance" because
 this could have led to restrictions on the actions of agents and their
 handlers.

 For Sir Desmond this was "wilful" on the government's part and in the
 dictionary wilful means 'done intentionally'. On that basis I think we
 could safely put the main state institution - the government - in the
 conspiracy.

 The purported rationale for agent infiltration into armed organisations
 was to use their information to save people's lives.

 This is what Sir Desmond had to say about saving people's lives: "Taken
 as a whole an extraordinary state of affairs was created in which both
 the army and the RUC SB [Special Branch] had prior notice of a series of
 planned UDA assassinations, yet nothing was done by the RUC to prevent
 these attacks."

 And of the intelligence used in these attacks Sir Desmond said: "85 per
 cent of the UDA's intelligence originated from sources within the
 security services."

 On three occasions, 1981, 1985 and 1989, when the UDA assassinated Pat
 Finucane, the RUC and MI5 had prior intelligence of the attacks, yet Sir
 Desmond states "there is no evidence that any action was taken to warn
 or otherwise seek to protect him".

 Indeed Sir Desmond accepts what others found - "that an RUC officer or
 officers did propose Patrick Finucane as a UDA target when speaking to a
 loyalist paramilitary" and that "the UDA received 'intelligence' about
 Patrick Finucane from a police source".

 Pat Finucane was the subject of what Sir Desmond describes as a
 "security service propaganda initiative". No less a person than the
 chief constable of the RUC, Sir John Hermon and senior officers briefed
 Douglas Hogg that some solicitors were "effectively in the pockets of
 terrorists". In the British House of Commons Hogg said there were a
 number of solicitors "unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA". Four
 weeks later Pat Finucane was shot dead.

 Ten UDA loyalists were involved in killing Pat Finucane, Terrence McDaid
 and Gerard Slane. Three were the agents Nelson, Stobie and Barrett. All
 three were involved in killing Pat Finucane. None of the killers were
 intercepted or arrested.

 It is entirely understandable why Geraldine Finucane, Pat's wife,
 described Sir Desmond's conclusions as a "sham" and a "whitewash", as
 are her son Michael's comments that Sir Desmond's report is part of the
 "jigsaw that can be used to further our case for a public inquiry".

 However sincere Mr Cameron's apology is to the Finucane family, it is
 wholly insufficient. A public inquiry is the only credible response to
 Sir Desmond.


-------------------

Roads blocked by mass flag protests

 5 12 280
Friday, 21 December 2012
Loyalists blocked roads across Belfast as part of a mass protest over flags.
The pickets caused disruption for rush-hour traffic. Bus operator Translink suspended most of its Metro services into and out of the city centre.
Social media websites listed up to 60 protests across Northern Ireland to start from 6pm on Friday. A PSNI spokeswoman reported at least 10 roadblocks.
She said: A number of roads have been closed due to ongoing protests. These currently are Templemore Avenue; Albertbridge Road; Upper Malone Road at the Dub Lane; Crumlin Road at Cambrai Street and Hesketh Park; Limestone Road at North Queen Street and the Boyne Bridge off Sandy Row."


Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/roads-blocked-by-mass-flag-protests-16253507.html#ixzz2FkhtWQ00

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