Tuesday, 19 November 2013



t r u t h o u t


Police from England, Scotland and Wales could become a permanent feature of the PSNI’s patrols in the north of Ireland as an alternative to the return of the British Army, it has emerged.
PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott has said he has been forced to rely on British police reinforcements on a regular basis as a result of financial constraints.Baggott called in more than 1,000 “back-ups” from British constabularies this summer to help local recruits cope with the loyalist marching season.
On Friday he told the Policing Board that he may require such support to be “camped here” on an ongoing basis due to budget limitations.
“If we get to the point of reducing numbers, as I suspect we may if the budget continues the way it is, then I will have mutual aid camped here,” he told board members at a meeting in Omagh, County Tyrone.
“Now I don’t want to do that and neither do you - that’s not good for Northern Ireland.”
Speaking later, Baggott claimed that the deployment of officers from British forces had prevented a breakdown in society at the hands of loyalists.
But he still denied that the loyalist paramilitary UVF have “come off ceasefire”.
Despite shooting a 24-year-old woman and orchestrating some of the worst disorder seen in the North in over a decade, the head of the PSNI again claimed the upsurge of loyalist violence in 2013 was due to “some local crime gangs in east Belfast”
Nevertheless, British reinforcements had been the key to prevent the Six Counties “falling over the precipice” into anarchy, he said.
The number of riot police had doubled and dozens of new armoured vehicles and other equipment had been received, but he still had to ask for additional forces “to come over here and support us if things got really tough”.
“Now we couldn’t have predicted where we would believe if we hadn’t put those steps in place just in case, then we would have fallen over the precipice.
“We had to make some really tough decisions at the start of the year - because of the scale of the (flag) protests we couldn’t deal with everything.
“We have 550 parades on the Twelfth [of July] and genuinely we did look at the fact that the year before we didn’t have any real contingency.”
Despite a heavy marketing campaign involving Catholic schoolchildren and the GAA sports association, the PSNI remains an overwhelmingly Protestant police force. Baggott insisted a permanent garrison of British police could prevent a return of the hated British Army to street patrols.
“The [British] army’s gone and I’ve made it very clear the army won’t be back,” he said.

‘Troika’ bailout to wind down
The Dublin government has been told it should not congratulate itself after an announcement that the 26 County state will seek no further bailout loans from the EU and the IMF.
After reaching the point of insolvency three years ago, the decision this week to rely entirely on the sale of sovereign bonds rather than IMF/EU loans means that some economic sovereignty has been restored to the 26-County state.However, under the terms of the existing loan programme, the state will remain subject to ongoing fiscal surveillance and inspections by the central European authorities for years to come.
The bailout and the extreme austerity drive had come at a “huge cost” to the Irish public, said Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams. He said the coalition government “should not applaud itself for decimating public services and leaving families across the state in poverty”.
But Taoiseach Enda Kenny was ebullient. The decision to quit the bailout programme “shows the courage of the Irish people”, he insisted today, even as he warned that the austerity drive would continue. His government would display “the same attitude, the same strategy” despite the new circumstances, he said.
Economists and commentators have expressed concerns that with heavy emigration likely to continue for years into the future, the state’s economy remains ‘top heavy’. Government funds continue to be accumulated by a relatively small number of insider individuals. Tens of millions are paid annually to former politicians and bankers in salaries, pensions and bonuses; routine courtroom procedures can cost millions in legal fees, and Ireland’s public hospital consultants are among the world’s most expensive.
Meanwhile, a number of Irish credit unions have now joined the state’s collapsed banks in requiring infusions of cash to cope with bad debts. One, Newbridge Credit Union in County Kildare, had to be suddenly nationalised last week with a ‘shortfall’ of some 50 million euro.
Amid fears that the country may be ill-placed to deal with a sudden downturn in the economic climate, Kenny insisted that the 26 County state should not have to pay a punitive interest rate on its future debt, and denied his government had made any request for a future credit facility.
“This is uncluttered,” he said. “It shows the courage of the Irish people, it shows the respect and the integrity with which others look at us now. Independent observers, rating agencies and the markets have said, ‘They are moving on’,” he said.
Sinn Fein welcomed the decision not to seek a conditional precautionary credit line, which Mr Adams said would have been akin to a second bailout.Speaking directly to Kenny in the Dublin parliament earlier this week, he said: “We cannot get ahead of ourselves. The Troika may be leaving, but the Troika mindset remains. Your government has introduced many austerity measures that were not recommended by the Troika.
“You have taxed and cut the most vulnerable in Irish society, unbidden by your European masters.
“Next year, whether the Troika is here or not, you will take 2 billion euro more from the economy in water charges, taxes and more cuts to health, education and other vital services.
“On top of that, we are still subject to the terms of the fiscal treaty, which your government and Fianna Fail pushed the people to support.
“For many more years, we will be forced to keep deficits unsustainably low and to reduce our unsustainable debt burden, inflicted on us because of the policy Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail took in bailing out the banks.
“Taoiseach, your government has secured nothing to relieve us of that odious debt.”

MRF gunmen ‘imitated the IRA’
The Six-County Attorney General has been asked to order new inquests into the deaths of people killed by an undercover British army unit following new information uncovered by a BBC documentary.
For the first time some of the British Army’s infamous Military Reconnaissance Force (MRF) have broken their silence, and have spoken about how they “took the war to the IRA, sometimes even imitating the IRA itself”.The ‘elite’ unit was set up in 1971 but disbanded after 14 months amid international anger over the soldiers’ deadly campaign in which a number of innocent civilians were killed.
Among those shot dead by the unit in the 14 months before it was disbanded were west Belfast man Patrick McVeigh, pictured above, a shipbuilder targeted as he stood among a group of residents in May 1972. Eyewitnesses, including a priest who gave the Last Rites to Mr McVeigh, refuted British claims that there had been a ‘gun battle’ with the IRA. The soldiers did not appear at the inquest and it recorded an open verdict.
Pat McVeigh said it wasn’t until six weeks after her father’s death that the family were told it had been carried out by plain-clothes soldiers.
“I want my father’s name cleared and for those responsible to be called to give evidence at a new inquest and tell the truth about what happened,” she said. “History should show my father was an innocent victim.”
A second victim to feature in the Panorama investigation is Daniel Rooney, who was just 19 when he was shot as he stood talking to a friend at the corner of St James Crescent in west Belfast in September 1972.
The six soldiers involved also did not attend the original inquest.
Padraig O Muirigh, a lawyer who represents both families, said: “In light of the new evidence gathered by John Ware we will be contacting the Attorney General calling for fresh inquests and also launching civil action against the Ministry of Defence”.
‘Britain’s Secret Terror Force’ will be shown on BBC One next Thursday at 9pm.

Corey strip-searched for parole hearing
Concerns have been expressed for 63-year-old internee Martin Corey after he was subjected to forced strip-searches both before and after his attendance at a hearing of the Parole Commission this week.
The republican prisoner of conscience is approaching the fourth anniversary of his detention on the basis of “secret evidence” allegedly in the possession of the PSNI police.Despite having served the equivalent of a six year jail term, it has been two years since his last parole hearing.
In July 2012 a High Court judge ordered Corey’s immediate release, stating his human rights had been violated -- but the British government over-ruled the decision and cancelled Corey’s release.
The Lurgan man has said he is being held without trial because he refused PSNI demands to work as an informer against his republican comrades.
Sinn Fein Assembly member Jennifer McCann said Mr Corey’s human and legal rights had been breached.
“It is well past the time that this man be released and this injustice ended. He, like everyone else, should be entitled to due process under the law and anything less is a breach of his human and legal rights.”
The Release Martin Corey campaign became the top trending subjects on the Twitter social network as an anti-internment campaign took to the internet this week. The decision of the Parole Commission is expected to be made known within weeks.
PRISONERS ‘MUST BE MOVED’Meanwhile, there have been calls for five republican prisoners to be moved out of Maghaberry Prison’s punishment block and housed with other republicans.
The prisoners in question are Desmond and Thomas Hamill, Austin Creggan, Martin McGilloway and Gavin Coyle, all from County Tyrone. Independent councillor Angela Nelson said the prison should abide by the terms of the 2003 Steele Report, which recommended republican prisoners be separated from loyalists and criminals.
In the isolation block known as “the boards”, the men are locked up for up to 23 hours every day and are denied access to educational and other resources.
The prisoners’ requests to British officials to be transferred to the jail’s Roe House have been refused on the basis they are under threat from other republicans in Roe House -- a claim that is understood to be untrue.

All-Ireland soccer team proposed
The prospect of an all-Ireland soccer team was dramatically raised by the 26-County Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a sports reconciliation conference in Armagh City this [Friday] morning.
Mr Kenny caused a major surprise when he called for charity matches between a 32-County Ireland team and England. He suggested the money raised from the games would be used to help fund new children’s hospitals in Dublin and Belfast.He made the suggestion in front of his Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, DUP leader Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, who were all attending the reconciliation conference. “It’s just a thought,” he said. “It might be something that could become a reality.”
Also attending were officials from the Irish Football Association (IFA), the Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA) and the Ulster Rugby Football Union.
The Taoiseach made clear that he did not believe the creation of a permanent all-Ireland soccer team was currently possible, but that charity games were.
Dublin officials later said that the idea would need some development, particularly as England’s involvement may require some of the funds from the proposed games going to English charities.
Mr Kenny suggested that the games should take place twice a year, alternately in Croke Park or Wembley. Officials said this idea would need further elaboration, and that annual games might be more likely.
“We have two children’s hospitals in Belfast and Dublin. Wouldn’t it be wonderful when you can’t have all-Ireland soccer teams playing in international competitions that perhaps on a biannual basis there would be a charity match played in Ireland and in England,” Mr Kenny later explained to reporters.
“A charity match for a really good purpose I think would be attractive to everybody,” he added.
Proceeds could go to the two children’s hospitals on the island of Ireland, he said.
Mr Kenny suggested that British prime minister David Cameron could support his idea while stressing that it would be a matter for the soccer sporting bodies in the South, North and England, and also for the GAA in relation to having Croke Park as a venue.
The president of the IFA, the soccer association in the North of Ireland, said the suggestion “came out of the blue. It’s probably one for tomorrow and when we get there we can debate it and discuss it,” he said.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Sport, Sandra McLellan welcomed the call.“The argument for an All-Ireland Soccer team is unanswerable,” she said. “It would be in the interests of soccer development in Ireland and would give the best Irish players a better opportunity to play at international tournaments, and would create a more competitive team for international competition.
“It would also be very significant and useful in terms of peace and reconciliation.”
She said her party had long been of the view that there is no need for two different international teams “on one small island like ours” and that one international team is in everyone’s interest.
“What the Taoiseach is suggesting would provide a welcome opportunity to explore how that might work, and what challenges are there in bringing both associations closer together.”
In 1973 an all-Ireland soccer team, a ‘Shamrock Rovers XI’, came together to play Brazil at Lansdowne Road featuring the likes of Pat Jennings, the incoming Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, Johnny Giles and Don Givens. They lost 4-3.

Widow of victim conned out of compensation
The Pat Finucane Centre has said documents it has obtained show that the British Ministry of Defence knew that a man shot dead by the British Army in November 1971 was innocent, but his family was never told.
Christopher Quinn was shot dead in Belfast’s Unity Flats area when soldiers opened fire.A memo sent by the Ministry of Defence legal department shows compensation of £10,000 had been advised.
However, Mr Quinn’s widow was offered an out of court settlement of only £750. The amount she eventually received was just £500.
A handwritten note from Mrs Quinn lists how the money will be allocated: £300 for funeral expenses and £50 for each of her four children.
A document sent by a British official, dated September 1977, spoke of a ‘gunman’ being seen and that “it is fairly certain that Quinn was not involved... but simply got in the way.”
“We knew that the chances of winning the case were not good, as a jury is likely to be sympathetic with a widow left with a young family to support, however, we felt that the onus should be put upon the plaintiff to prove her case in court. Thus we would be seen to support the soldiers’ action... [The settlement] would reflect well on the MoD from a political viewpoint.”
Paul O’Connor, from the Pat Finucane Centre, a human rights advocacy and lobbying group, said it reflected a “clear policy” of settling out of court in order to avoid judgements which cast the British Army in a bad light.
He said the Quinn family never realised that the MoD had accepted the victim was innocent and as a result they did not receive the money or acknowledgement they deserved.
Mr Quinn’s daughter, Roberta O’Neill, said: “My mummy never got over it. We went to the graveyard every day with my mother after school - a few times we were even locked in the graveyard.
“My mummy worked day and night - she had three cleaning jobs and would queue at the post office at 8am waiting to get money to send us to school.
“She taught us decency and respect which is more than she got. I used to sleep walk all the time because I was afraid of losing my mummy afterwards.
“My dad was shot only yards from our house and we had to walk past the spot every day.
“These documents show they knew he was innocent, but they lied to us all these years.”

Inquest hears overwhelming evidence of collusion
An inquest is finally taking place into the murder of 76-year-old Roseann Mallon, who was killed in 1994 when loyalist gunmen opened fire on her sister-in-law’s house near Dungannon, County Tyrone.
The 1994 murder is surrounded in controversy because it later emerged that the British Army was conducting a surveillance operation on the home at the time.In the wake of the shooting, British army surveillance equipment, including a hidden camera, was found in a field overlooking the house. The unmanned camera transmitted footage to soldiers stationed in a nearby wood.
The arthritic pensioner was gunned down in a hail of bullets while the camera was operating. Ms Mallon was hit multiple times in the back, head and limbs as she tried to flee to safety.
The paramilitary UVF said its mid-Ulster brigade had set out to target relatives of the Tyrone pensioner who they claimed were involved in the republican movement. Even though a number of people including the former LVF leader Billy Wright were arrested and questioned, no-one was ever convicted of the killing.
A former RUC detective told the inquest this week he had requested tapes from the camera from RUC Special Branch but was informed they had nothing that could assist the case, so he dropped the matter. Kenneth McFarland said: “Special Branch operated on a need to know basis. If they felt you did not need to know it, you didn’t know it.”
Ms Mallon’s nephew and godson Martin Mallon told the court he had the equipment tested by a professional cameraman and was told it had been fitted with a night-sight and was capable of filming close-ups of his mother’s house at Cullenrammer Road.
He rejected subsequent British military claims that it could only operate during daylight hours.
“The man that examined the camera had worked for the BBC or UTV and he said that there was a night-sight. He also said that it zoomed in and out,” Mr Mallon said.
The inquest was told that in the hours after the shooting on May 8 1994, Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright and two others known only as ‘suspect four’ and ‘suspect six’ were stopped in a car 15 or 20 miles away from the scene, but were later released.
Three other men who were travelling in another vehicle were also arrested after items including masks and gloves were thrown from the vehicle, but again no one was charged.
Anthony McGonnell, who was an SDLP councillor at the time, told the inquest that it was impossible to move within a three-mile radius of the house without being stopped by military patrols.The British Army had the area in “lockdown”, he said. He also gave evidence about a British Army lookout post in a wooded area on higher ground nearby.
Another local man said he had seen a stash of British Army weaponry and supplies in a nearby building around the time of the murder. Gareth Loughran, who was ten years of age at the time of the killing, told the inquest on Tuesday he had seen this stash in an old mill but the RUC police had pressured him to change his statement.
In court, Ms Mallon was described as an intelligent and devout woman who was well-known and loved by everyone, both Catholic and Protestant, in the local area.
She had been watching television in the living room at the rear of the house when the gun attack happened. She barely had time to get off the sofa before the house was riddled with at least 15 bullets.
Bridget Mallon described how she had tried to warn her sister-in-law to find a place of safety.
“I whispered for her to come on quick. I signalled with both hands to come on,” she said in a statement read to the court.
She also described how she had said prayers and sprinkled holy water over the body.
“I took her hand and shook it. There was no response except a couple of wee sighs,” she said.
The inquest is scheduled to last for up to two weeks. It will also hear evidence from soldiers involved in surveillance operations at Bridget Mallon’s home.
Some of the soldiers have been granted anonymity while others have been allowed to give evidence from behind screens, despite objections from lawyers representing the family.

Address to Republican Sinn Féin Ard-Fheis
The following is the full text of the Presidential Address by Des Dalton at the annual conference of Republican Sinn Fein, which was held last weekend.

A Chathaoirligh, a Theachtaí is a chairde go léir.Fearaim céad míle fáilte romhaibh ar fad ag an Árd-Fheis seo.
You are all most welcome to the 109th Ard Fheis of Sinn Féin. Once more we gather in national conference at a time of great challenges for Irish Republicanism. This weekend allows us to take stock of where we are and to access how best to advance along the road ahead. The past year saw the passing of people who were pillars of the Republican Movement for the past half century or more. These were people who guided our movement through turbulent waters at a time when the very existence of the historic Irish Republican tradition was at stake. However it is because of the life’s work of such people that we are gathered here this weekend to plan for the future of Irish Republicanism rather than to lament its passing. This weekend saw us unveil yet a further stage in our series of 1916 Manifestos, plan ahead for next year’s 26-County Local Elections and prepare to step up our preparations for the centenary of the 1916 Rising in less than three years time. We have much work to do in which all have their own part to play.
In the occupied part of Ireland thee Six-County State displays all the characteristics one would expect of an abnormal. Undemocratic and sectarian statelet. The use of internment without trial and internment by remand tell us that nothing has changed in the daily reality of British Rule in Ireland. The beginning of the year saw the annual Bloody Sunday march – organised by the relatives of the victims of Bloody Sunday - held in Derry. Once again ordinary Irish people as well as international political activists came out in their thousands despite the threats of the Stormont Political establishment and their lackeys. Speaking at the event the veteran Civil rights campaigner Bernadette McAliskey said “We came on the streets to end internment without trial yet here we are 41 years later in a new administration, a new dispensation, new power structures, and new civic collaborators and we still have internment without trial with people in prison on the whim and diktat of the Northern Ireland Secretary of State —the Overlord of this place; And whatever minions of small people who think they have power here... the fact that they cannot have Martin Corey released means they have no power! “She quoted the judge in the High Court in the bail application of Marian Price: “But in the High Court, on a judicial review, the judge said that David Ford’s behaviour and his judgment on not allowing Marian Price out - and not even considering it – for a few hours to sit by the coffin of her sister was unlawful, unreasonable and irrational. That’s what the judge said about the Minister of Justice of this small, misbegotten, corrupt, little, pretending state.” The continued internment without trial of Martin Corey is a resounding reproof to any who claim that the Six-County State is a normal functioning democracy. In Martin’s case he has been held for the equivalent of a seven - year sentence on the basis of ‘secret evidence ‘that remains unsighted by either him, his legal team or the judiciary. We welcome the long overdue release of Marian Price and call for the release of all those currently held under a regime of internment by remand on spurious ‘holding charges’. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome home Michael Campbell. I know it was a relief to us all to see him returned to his family having endured the inhuman conditions of a Lithuanian prison. Failte Abhaile a Micéal.
On December 3 Belfast City Council voted to end the daily flying of the Union Jack flag over Belfast City Hall. Instead a coalition comprising of the Provisionals, the SDLP and the Alliance voted to fly the Union Jack on 17 designated days. This unleashed an orgy of loyalist rioting and protests across the Six Counties but particularly focused on East Belfast. In contrast to the heavy handed treatment meted out by the RUC/PSNI to Republicans and nationalists who have engaged in peaceful protests, the loyalists riots have met with only token opposition from the RUC/PSNI. Indeed Republicans attending the annual Bloody Sunday commemorative march in Derry on January 27 witnessed the RUC/PSNI helping loyalists to erect loyalists flags in the city. Republicans who have been jailed for simply participating in a peaceful protest march highlighting the ongoing internment of Martin Corey. On top of this comes the call from the Provisionals for a ‘Border Poll’ on Irish unity. It is important that all of this is viewed in context so as to properly understand what is going on here. With the securing of British rule the big constitutional questions have been removed from the political agenda and in their place instead we find tribal and sectarian games of one-upmanship led by the two sectarian power blocs at Stormont, the Provos and the DUP.
Sinn Féin warned in 1998 that one of the consequences of the Stormont Agreement would be the institutionalisation of sectarianism. In his Irish News column on December 15 Patrick Murphy described Stormont as: “…a sectarian carve-up of limited autonomy… It is designed to cater for, rather than counter, sectarian differences.” The Provisionals are quite happy to proclaim the vote in Belfast City Council as a victory, however that poses the question; over whom? British rule is firmly entrenched, administered and policed by the Provos and their camp-followers, internment without trial and the attempted criminalisation of Republican prisoners goes on, political policing and repression is the daily experience of nationalist communities across the Six Counties. Little wonder then the Provos would attempt to reduce the issue of Irish freedom to a question of flags and symbols. By doing so they hope to distract from their abandonment of even a basic nationalist, let alone a Republican, position. In 2009 Vincent Browne in his nightly TV3 programme put it clearly. He said in effect that the nationalist view had been rejected and the unionist position had been accepted. The nationalist standpoint was that the people of Ireland as a whole should determine the future of Ireland. He continued: “The Unionist position was that the majority in the Six Counties should decide the future. We have all become unionists.” Having abandoned Republicanism the Provos have embraced sectarianism as the means to consolidate their power base. As Patrick Murphy points out: “With few modern writers, philosophers or even poets saying much about the Irish nation, nationalism in the north has degenerated into what we might call quantitative sectarianism. It uses a sectarian inch tape to quantify the frequency of flag-flying, the number of Catholics in the census results and the volume of music from Orange bands. Unionism is delighted to hold the other end of the British-made tape.” It is working-class Protestants now who are the enemy, not the British government or establishment. Provo leaders queue up to shake hands with the Queen of England while stoking the flames of sectarian conflict. The nationalist community within the Six Counties rightly did not allow themselves to be sucked into this nakedly sectarian circus, despite blatant attempts to provoke a response with attacks on nationalists areas.
Sinn Féin also rightly refused to rise to the bait of Unionist stooge Willie Frazer when a loyalist protest at Leinster House was mooted. Instead leadership is required in keeping the focus on the core issue, which is partition and British rule in Ireland. The Provo’s sectarian alter-ego in the DUP likewise is playing the sectarian card in order to bolster and increase their power. It is the Alliance Party and its Parliamentary representative in East Belfast Naomi Long who was the focus of much of the loyalist protests and this is not unconnected to the fact that it was Naomi Long who took DUP leader Peter Robinson’s seat at the last Westminster elections in 2010. The Provos call for a “Border Poll” is more of the smoke and mirrors designed to give their supporters the illusion of actually doing something to end partition while masking the reality that they have been absorbed wholesale into the machinery of British rule. By rejecting the very notion of an historic Irish nation and swallowing in whole the British definition of Ireland’s histories fight for national independence as a sectarian squabble between to religious tribes, the Provos have undermined any effective argument for Irish unity, reducing their case to one of pure economics. In the late 1940s having lost power after 16 years Fianna Fáil latched onto the issue of partition using the Anti-Partition League as a vehicle to consolidate their base and rebuild support. The waving of the green flag and the platitudes about the ‘fourth green field’ were their electoral stock-in-trade. Now the Provos are playing a similar game. As Patrick Murphy puts it: “…the proposed border poll is clever electioneering for more important polls north and south.”
Another campaign under the title “One Ireland - One Vote” is in clear contradiction of the unequivocal statement contained within the 1916 Proclamation: “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people.” The constitution of Sinn Féin is equally clear in declaring: “That the sovereignty and unity of the Republic are inalienable and non-judicable”. In other words this is not a right that is negotiable or one that can be given away. In the words of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, speaking at the 1986 Ard Fheis: “They are absolutes”. No one generation has the right to abrogate Ireland’s historic nationhood. And nor can such a right be claimed. The exercise of national sovereignty by all the people of Ireland is sacrosanct and one that Republicans have consistently defended and acted on, such as the 1918 General Election, which established the First All-Ireland Dáil. The right to exercise national self-determination should not be confused with holding a referendum to determine if such a right exists in the first place. You cannot put to a ballot something that is fundamental to our very definition as a nation.
For true Republicans the attempts by the Provos to besmirch Republicanism with sectarianism is as reprehensible as those who would try to link it with criminality.Sinn Fein is the only political organisation standing on a unequivocal Republican platform, advocating through ÉIRE NUA a programme that appeals to all sections of the Irish people, Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter. Clear vision, a focus on the real issues; political, social and economic, coupled with resolute Republican leadership is what is called for. On October 8 the new Director General of the British Intelligence service MI5 Andrew Parker warned he would crack down hard on those intent on resisting British occupation, calling them the “ragged remnants of a bygone age”. It appears the British establishment are like the Bourbon monarchy, in that they: “saw nothing, remembered nothing, and forgot nothing.” Our message to Mr Parker and his political masters is a simple one. It is to pledge our eternal hostility to British rule in any part of our nation. Like Pearse we believe that: “ As long as Ireland is unfree the only honourable attitude for Irishmen and Irish women is an attitude of revolt.” Writing in the Belfast Telegraph on July 2 the journalist Ed Curran recorded a conversation that took place between Nelson Mandela and a group of Irish newspaper editors at a lunch held in the home of Tony O’Reilly in 2000 . Mandela was questioned as to whether or not the Provisonals should decommissioning their arms. Mandela’s response was unequivocal: “…my position is that you don’t hand over your weapons until you get what you want.” Needless to say this was a response that was not welcomed nor reported on. Mandela’s attititude contrasts sharply with those who had already at that point in time abandoned the ideological basis for continuing the fight for a free Ireland. Again we are back to Pearse: “Ireland unarmed will attain just as much as it is convenient for England to give her; Ireland armed will attain ultimately just as much freedom as she wants.” Continuity of purpose and intent link two true revolutionary thinkers and activists
Within Maghaberry prison Republican POWs continue to defy all attempts to criminalise them. The statement by the Continuity IRA POWs in Maghaberry prison on November 25 last, announcing the end of their ‘dirty protest’ marked the end of what the prisoners described as: “our current phase of protest”. By ending their protest the POWs have now placed a serious onus on the Six-County Justice Minister David Ford and the Six-County Prison Service to speedily implement in full the August 2010 Agreement. The ending of strip-searching and the establishment of free association for all POWs are cornerstones of that agreement. There is also a responsibility on political activists outside the jail to continue, and indeed step up their protests and lobbying in support of the POW’s demand for political status. The POW Department of Sinn Féin have already reiterated their determination to do so. The IRA prisoners have shown true leadership over the past three years both in the lead up to the negotiation of the August 2010 Agreement and its aftermath. Despite the repeated assertions by David Ford in recent weeks it was the IRA POWs who championed that agreement when the Six-County Justice Department and Prison Service were dragging their heels on its full implementation. In doing so the POWs were referred to in some quarters disparagingly as: “the conforming prisoners”. The IRA POWs showed commendable restraint in the face such prevarication and smears. When it became obvious that the Six-County Prison Service had no intention of implementing the Agreement they led the way again by embarking on a full ‘dirty’ protest. All Irish Republicans are rightly proud of their courage and fortitude in the face of an inhuman and barbarous prison regime. They have nothing to prove to anybody either inside outside the prison walls.
The damning evidence given during the appeal by ‘Craigavon 2’ by the former governor of Maghaberry prison, Steve Rodford on October 15, as well as that given by the former Six-County Prisoner Ombudsman Pauline McCabe, exposes the lengths that the British State were willing to go to convict Brendan McConville and John Paul Woooton. As pointed out by Justice Watch Ireland, what happened to the Craigavon 2 could happen to anyone. But the evidence given by Steve Rodford and Pauline McCabe also shone a light on the atmosphere of outright hostility and hate that Republican POWs experience at the hands of a prison regime that is, as Rodford put it: “…out of control”.
For Irish Republicans our struggle is both political and economic, anything less would be to ignore the reality of imperialism and consequently to dilute our revolutionary programme. As with James Connolly we believe that it is not enough to merely remove the physical presence of imperialism in the form of British military occupation without creating a New Ireland based on real political and economic democracy; an All-Ireland Federal Democratic Socialist Republic. Ninety-one years after the death of Liam Mellows his teaching has never been more relevant: “If the Irish people do not control Irish industries, transport, money and soil of the country, then foreign or domestic capitalists will. And whoever control the wealth of a country and processes by which wealth is attained control also its government.” Writing in the foreword to a briefing paper issued by the charity Oxfam in September the Nobel Laureate in economics and former Chief Economist of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz warned of the consequences of the policy of austerity being pursued by the EU: “The wave of economic austerity that has swept Europe in the wake of the Great Recession is at risk of doing serious and permanent damage to the continent’s long cherished social model. As economists, including myself, have long predicted, austerity has only crippled Europe’s growth, with improvements in fiscal positions that are always disappointing. Worse, it is contributing to inequality that will make economic weakness longer lived, and needlessly contributes to the suffering of the jobless and poor for many years.” The recent 26-County Budget was but another example of this war of economic imperialism that is being waged against working people, the unemployed, the young, the old and the sick.. Once again the Leinster House political elite have targeted the most vulnerable members of society in order to protect the interests of the wealthy. The singling out of the elderly and the young unemployed exposes the harsh reality of the neo-liberal economics that drives the economic and social policy of the 26-County Administration. Cutting access to a full medical card to thousands of people over seventy as well as the renewed targeting of the young unemployed, leaving many with no other option but to emigrate is reminiscent of the ‘Poor Law’ mentality of the 1840s when starvation or the coffin ship were the only options that were provided. The ability to care for the old and provide for the young define define a society that would claim to be civilised. The barbarians have indeed breached the gates. The effects of this economic onslaught are felt in both urban and rural Ireland. The enforced emigration of our youth is robbing rural communities of the very lifeblood they need to survive. This is pointed out by Seamus Boland, Chief Executive of the NGO Irish Rural Link: “The threat of emigration of young people away from rural communities, puts in jeopardy the very future of those areas.” Likewise the cutting of the telephone subsidy cuts another vital lifeline as Irish Rural Link explain: “The phone has become a lifeline for many. As well as providing the security of communications, it also acts as a means of fighting off extreme loneliness often experienced by people living alone.” The steady erosion of rural Ireland is evidenced by the closure of rural post offices, the rolling back of public transport or access to broadband. The hostility to rural Ireland is also to be seen when we witness turf cutters being photographed from helicopters and surrounded by Gardaí as they go about their normal work. While the bankers and financiers whose sharp practice lead to the economic collapse walk free of prosecution, those who seek to protect and maintain a way of life which has endured over centuries and many generations are criminalised. We salute the turf cutters and all those who are prepared to defend their communities against the bureaucrats of Brussels and their lackeys in Leinster House. We once again salute the bravery of the Shell-to Sea activists in their tireless fight in defence of the Irish people’s right to the ownership of our natural resources. The spirit of Michael Davitt is truly alive and well.
The Leinster House political class are collaborating against the interests of their own people in order to prop up the economic agenda of the EU power elites. This budget is just the latest salvo in a war of economic imperialism being waged against ordinary people, workers, the unemployed, the rural and urban poor, the young and the old across Europe. The budget as an exercise is largely a media event, as the major decisions are already made by the political and economic masters in Brussels and the European Central Bank. This is the new face of imperialism and people must awake to the reality that they are now locked in a struggle for the very survival of the concept of a social contract. Oxfam warn that if the current policies continue to be pursued then an additional 15 to 20 million people face the prospect of living in poverty across Europe by 2025 bringing the total to over 130 million. Oxfam points out that the model being adopted in Europe resembles that pursued by the IMF and the World Bank in Latin America, South-East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in the 1980s. As Oxfam says: “ These policies were a failure; a medicine that sought to cure the disease by killing the patient.” The measures proposed by Oxfam echo much that we advocate in Éire Nua and our social and economic policies. They call for greater participation in the democratic process by all stakeholders. The improvement of workplace democracy and shared ownership. An economy that invests in people aimed at creating sustainable economic growth and employment. Investment in public services and the prioritisation of health and education as the cornerstones of a functioning society. According to the OECD almost 1 in 5 (18%) of Irish adults aged 16-65 are at or below Level 1 on the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies). The 26 Counties are placed 17th out of 24 participating countries on the literacy test. 19th out of the 24 participating countries on the numeracy test, significantly below the PIAAC study average. In the Six Counties the figures are equally bleak. According to The Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network the unemployment rate is 8.4% in the Six Counties is higher than the rate of 7.9% within the so-called UK. The Six Counties now has the highest rate for unemployment within the British state . 21% of children in the Six Counties are living in poverty. 44% of households in the Six Counties experience fuel poverty. Many have to make the decision whether to eat or have heat. Six-County food bills are predicted to be joint highest within the British State along with London. This despite the fact that Six-County income is 36.6% being lower than that of London. 21% of pensioners in the Six Counties are living in poverty compared to an average of 16% within Britain. Those who cynically protest so loudly about austerity in the 26 Counties whilst administering a similar cocktail of neo liberal economics from Stormont should be recognised for the political charlatans that they are. The 1916 Proclamation sets out clearly the principles upon which the All-Ireland Republic should rest. It takes no great examination to see that both the Six and 26-County states fall far short of the definition of freedom and democracy set by the men and women of 1916.
It is clearer now than ever the need for a new economic model for all of Ireland. We believe that the model of economic democracy as set out in Saol Nua provides at the very least a starting point towards building a New Ireland worthy of the high idealism of the 1916 Proclamation and the All-Ireland Republic it proclaimed.This year marked the centenary of the beginning of the 1913 Lockout when the workers of Dublin heroically took on the combined efforts of the employers and the British State to not only break an effective trade union movement. But 1913 was also about what the power relations would be in a independent or semi-independent Ireland. As the historian Brian Hanley points out, 1913 was a struggle about “…class and power: with Home Rule on the horizon at last, about which class would dominate self-governing Ireland”. In this respect it carries a serious message about who controls the levers of economic and political power in the Ireland of today. It was a moment in Irish history which would prove to be a signpost to what an organised and politicised Irish working class could achieve and heralded the collective drive of the Irish people for political as well as social and economic freedom in the following decade. It was a crucial moment when the political resolve of the trade union movement, both its leadership and members was tested in the white heat of battle and was not found wanting. Sadly the same cannot be said of the current leadership of the trade union movement in Ireland. They have failed in their duty and fallen far short of the high standards of decisive and visionary leadership set by Connolly and Larkin. In contrast they have embarked on a campaign of containing the righteous anger of Irish working people seeking to dissipate it in meaningless marches with no effective strategy of economic resistance even being discussed let alone formulated and implemented. The weasel words of conciliation have no place in the mouths of those who are in earnest about creating a New Ireland and a better world, instead they must speak with it with a language that will fire the soul and embolden the spirit of the people to resist. James Connolly described Liberty Hall as the: “unconquered citadel of the Irish working class”, it is now time for the entire trade union movement to prove itself worthy of the proud legacy bequeathed to it by its unconquered and unconquerable forbearers. James Connolly’s words are as relevant today as when first penned in 1916: “The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour. They cannot be dissevered. Ireland seeks freedom. Labour seeks that an Ireland free should be the sole mistress of her own destiny, supreme owner of all material things within and upon her soil.”

The Irish people it seems are merely fodder to be sacrificed on the high alter of EU finance capitalism. But not only are our people plundered financially but also culturally. It seems that the denizens of Leinster House, Stormont, Westminster and Brussels are intent on robbing us of our identity as a separate people and nation. Writing in the Sunday Business Post earlier this year, Tom McGurk wrote that because the Irish people have been thaught, over the past forty years or more, that it is wrong to take pride in our history of resistance, our distinct culture and identity, it means that today they are being denied the very tools of a strong sense of national identity required to stand up to the EU Troika in contrast to people’s across Europe who have heroically defended themselves and their societies from the grip of the financial and banking elites. A clear pattern is there to be seen, stretching back over the past decade there has been a steady erosion of our political and cultural identity . Politically and economically it is easy to see where imperialism is at work but a more subtle war of cultural imperialism is also at work. The co-option of Irish sporting and cultural bodies into furthering this campaign is a clever ploy. The inclusion by the GAA of a recruitment advertisement for the RUC/PSNI in the match programme for the Minor and Senior All-Ireland Football Finals on September 22 is but the latest example. Speaking at a function in Queen’s University Belfast on October 17 Peter Robinson indicated that the naming of GAA Clubs or grounds after Irish patriots is next on their hit list. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann were forced to subvert their own constitution in order to hold the annual Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry this year in order to promte the absurd idea that Derry was a so-callled “UK City of Culture”. This is a form of cultural imperialism that seeks to use Irish culture as a weapon against the very concept of an independent 32-County Irish Nation. Sinn Féin held two successful protests in Derry’s Guildhall Square showing that the embers of nationality have not been extiguished. In Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir allowed Belfast City Hall to be illuminated in red on October 24 in order to promote the Poppy Appeal, commemorating past imperialist wars including the Black and Tan war in Ireland and the Paratroopers who carried out Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. With Thomas Davis we believe: “This country of ours is no sand bank, thrown up by some recent caprice of earth. It is an ancient land, honoured in the archives of civilisation.” The Irish nation can never be bound or defined by the artificial borders of the two partition states. The philosopher Dr Mathew O’Donnell writes that nations rather than states, which are simply units of political organisation, bring people together: “For people are not brought together by a state; the state is the subsequent organisation of people who already posses some kind of unity…It is with the nation that one’s loyalty lies. There is no disowning it, no alternative to it. There should be a feeling for the nation, for it is one’s own people. This is the origin for the effective element in patriotism.” Dr O’Donnell warns of the dangers of substituting state for nation: “ An unduly emotional attachment to the state – the organising coercing element – will surely lead to totalitarianism, expansionism, militarism. And an unduly detached critical attitude to the nation could lead to an exaggerated cosmopolitanism, rootlessness, and in the long run, a general impoverishment of the spirit through the loss of the sense of belonging. If humanity is reduced to pure individuality it is a poor and stunted thing.”
The founder of Conradh na Gaelige Dubhghlas de Híde spoke of the need to reverse the process of anglicising Ireland: “When we speak of ‘The Necessity for De-Anglicising the Irish Nation’, we mean it, not as a protest against imitating what is best in the English people, for that would be absurd, but rather to show the folly of neglecting what is Irish, and hastening to adopt, pell-mell, and indiscriminately, everything that is English, simply because it is English.”
He went to set out why we as a people needed to reconnect with our own distinct cultural identity if we were to prosper: “I would earnestly appeal to every one, whether Unionist or Nationalist, who wishes to see the Irish nation produce its best -- surely whatever our politics are we all wish that -- to set his face against this constant running to England for our books, literature, music, games, fashions, and ideas. I appeal to every one whatever his politics -- for this is no political matter -- to do his best to help the Irish race to develop in future upon Irish lines, even at the risk of encouraging national aspirations, because upon Irish lines alone can the Irish race once more become what it was of yore -- one of the most original, artistic, literary, and charming peoples of Europe.”
Bliain na Gaeilge is ea Dhá Mhíle is a Trí Déag. Comóradh aon chéad is fiche bliain ó bunaíodh Conradh na Gaeilge in Ocht Déag Nócha Trí. Tréaslaimid le Conradh na Gaeilge as an éacht a bhaint amach.
Trí Bliana tar éis don Straitéis Fiche Bliain don Ghaeilge a bheith fógraithe ag Rialtas Bhaile Átha Cliath is cúis imní i gcónaí an ciúnas iomlán faoi. Idir an dá linn leanann an ghéarchéim sna Gaeltachtaí, mar shampla b’éigean d’Eagras na Scoileanna Gaeltachta (ESG) éirí as feidhmiú ar fad mar gur cuireadh deireadh scun scan lena mhaoiniú. Stoptar Gaelscoileanna nua á mbunú agus tá baol ann fós go bhfuil polaitíocht Fhoras na Gaeilge ag tachtadh na n-eagras deonacha.
Conradh na Gaeilge, the Gaelic League celebrates 120 years this year and has a special programme of events to put the Irish Language in the centre, where it belongs, in the Centenary Celebrations of the Irish Revolution and the Easter Rising.
Three years on from publication, silence surrounds the 26-County Administration’s 20 year Strategy for the Irish Language. This silence is now approaching shameful levels as the language continues to struggle for survival especially in its heartland, the Gaeltacht. In the last few weeks the Organisation of Gaeltacht Schools (ESG) had to disband due to a unilateral withdrawal of funding by the 26-County Administration.The move away from allowing parents and communities themselves to set up Gaelscoileanna, and indeed other Patronage schools, to the present situation where the State decides the areas where the schools are established and by whom, is a matter of grave concern. In the last five years hardly any new Gaelscoileanna have been allowed commence. In spite of all this hostility on behalf of the state towards Irish we note, for instance, the continuing good work of the Irish Language Commisioner in shining a light on the negativity and hypocrisy of the 26-County Administration towards Irish and of COGG in supporting Irish medium schools.
Today we see a concerted effort to re-anglcise Ireland, to undo all that was achieved by previous generations and to sweep away the last vestiges of disctinct nationality from the consciousness of the Irish people. As the centenary of the 1916 Rising draws near we have the opportunity to fan the embers of that national consciousness, to awaken within the Irish people an awarness of their possibilities as a people. We need to reconnect with high ideals which have in the past inspired us to greater things and a vision of a New and better Ireland. As we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising a battle has commenced for the hearts and minds of the Irish people.
The legacy as well as the essential message of 1916 is at stake for this and future generations. The resources of both partitionist states are being employed in order to sanitise our history to the point that it has been robbed of any meaning. Equivalence is being made between the forces of occupation and the independence movement that no self-respecting nation would contemplate. The 1916 Rising for Irish Republicans is not only an important moment in our history but a beacon to light our way forward. It is an event that not only continues to occupy a central place in our history but also remains relevant due to the simple fact that it remains unfinished business.
The announcement by 26-County Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore on September 7 last that representatives of the British Government and the British Royal family would be invited to events to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising in 2016 is but the latest indication of a drive to rob the centenary of the rising of its significance and in the process further bed down the continued British occupation and partition of Ireland. Our history is being stolen from us because those within the British and 26-County political establishments recognise the power of memory and history in forging identity and self-confidence in a people. The Czech writer Milan Kundera wrote: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”. That is the struggle we are engaged in today. The Irish people must take control of their own history, culture and identity. It is time to stand up to those who would attempt to parody our history to the point that it is process divested of any relevance or meaning. Do not let them rob you of your heroes or of pride in our centuries long struggle against oppression. If we are to draw any lessons from the Ireland of a century ago it is that our destiny lies in our own hands. History and identity are inextricably linked and are not the preserve of a political or academic elite, they belong to the men and women of Ireland.
Irish Republicans view our struggle not just in the context of one of national liberation from British occupation but we also view it as part of the international fight against imperialism in all its forms. Reflecting this we held a very successful Anti-Imperialist Forum in the Conway Mill in Belfast from June 13 to 15. International delegates, academics joined with grass roots activists and members of Sinn Féin in a lively weekend of debate and discussion. Topics such as Republican History: The Challenge of Finding the Truth; Experiences From the Worldwide Anti-Imperialist Struggle; The Anti-Imperialist Struggle & Initiatives in Ireland and Irish Republicanism in the 21st Century ensured that a broad range of issues, both at a national as well as an international level were explored. The forum was organised as a counter to the G8 Summit, held in Co Fermanagh. As an event it represented in microcosm the interconnectedness of our struggle and the possibilities of international solidarity. Culminating with the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration in Bodenstown on June 16 it was truly a weekend suffused with the spirit of anti-imperialism.
We extend our greetings and solidarity to all of our international comrades who struggle for national liberation and the political and economic emancipation of humanity.Irish Republicanism is faced, as it has always been, by many enemies. Most obviously it is faced by the open hostility of the British and 26-County States but we are now faced by a more insidious foe. There are a variety of groups and individuals who have hijacked the flag of Irish Republicanism in order to engage in nefarious activities all of which besmirch our noble and historic cause. In our own case a grouping has, since 2010, attempted to steal our identity and good name. We would urge people to be alert to the existence of such gangs and to draw a clear distinction between them and the legitimate Republican Movement. Sadly as we have experienced, elements within the media have been all too willing to collaborate in sowing further the seeds of confusion by making the deliberate decision not to make such a clear distinction. Gangs such as this fit the criteria of the infamous ‘pseudo gang’ concept, first devised by General Frank Kitson of the British Army. They first made their appearance in British occupied Kenya in the 1950s. Since then their effectiveness has been honed and perfected by the British in various theatres of operation, from the Six Counties to Iraq. The South African apartheid regime used such gangs in an attempt to discredit the ANC. These state-sponsored gangs work to an agenda designed to both discredit the true revolutionary movement in the eyes of the people and at the same time sow seeds of doubt and division in the ranks of the legitimate movement. Frank Kitson has indeed bequeathed a dark legacy to the world and in Ireland it seems there are those who are all too willing to implement his strategy. Vigilance and care are called for as seldom before. We must never lose sight of the high idealism of 1916 because it will always speak to us of a New and better Ireland and with it the possibility of revolutionary social, political and economic change. and should note well the words of Brian Ó hUiginn: “Keep close to them on the road they walked without flinching, the road whose signposts, as Liam Mellows said, are unmistakable, the road of truth and honour and earnestness and courage, the road of no wavering, of no compromise with wrong, of no surrender – the only road that leads to the freedom and happiness of the indivisible Republic of Ireland.”
On June 5 we lost a man whose contribution to Irish Republicanism was unique. It was a life marked by unselfish devotion to the cause of Irish freedom. It was a life set apart by his sense of duty, honour and the intellectual rigour that he brought to the Republican Movement. In his biography of Ruairí, Professor Robert W. White of Indiana University, described Ruairí Ó Brádaigh’s life as: “…a window for understanding his generation of Irish Republicans and how they received the values of a previous generation and are transmitting those values to the next generation.” In his introduction to the same book, the journalist Ed Maloney described Ruairí as the “last, or one of the last Irish Republicans”. Whilst the tribute was well intentioned the case is quite different. It is because of the life’s work of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh that he is not the last Republican but has rather ensured the continuity of Irish Republicanism, passing on the torch to succeeding generations. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was a towering figure of Irish Republicanism in the latter half of the 20th Century. He came to embody the very essence of the Republican tradition, setting the very highest standards of commitment, duty, honour and loyalty to the cause of Irish freedom. Ruairí was a man of immense capability both as a politician and as a soldier. He holds the unique distinction of serving as President of Sinn Féin, Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army and from 1957 to 1961 as a TD, representing Longford/Westmeath.
At critical junctures in the history of the Republican Movement, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, along with his close friend and comrade the late Dáithí Ó Conaill, manned the gap against the forces of reformism who sought to convert a revolutionary movement of national liberation into a mere constitutional political party, first in 1969/70 and once again in 1986. For Ruairí the essential principles of Irish freedom were clear and marked the political course to be followed. He dismissed any cult of the personality warning always of the inherent dangers of following merely the man or woman over the cause of Irish national independence. For Ruairí Ó Brádaigh there could be no temporising on the issue of British Rule in Ireland. Drawing on the lessons of Irish history he recognised that it constituted the root cause of conflict and injustice for the Irish people. In opposing the 1998 Stormont Agreement he rightly viewed it as a flawed document serving only to copper-fasten British Rule while also institutionalising sectarianism, thereby further deepening the sectarian divide. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh’s analysis has since been bourne out by a number of independent studies which have shown an increase in sectarianism in the Six Counties in the years since 1998. The economically and politically oppressed and partitioned Ireland of today is far removed from the vision of a New Ireland, which inspired Irish Republicans such as Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. The sameful actions of the 26-County State at the funeral of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh showed the real face of Free Statism. The actions of the 26-County police evoked memories of the funeral of Frank Stagg and if anything were a testament to power of a revolutionary idea over the seeming might of a corrupt and failed state. In life they feared Ó Brádaigh and the cause which he served and articulated with great skill, conviction and courage and in death they showed that the power of the ideals and ideas he espoused lived on with the same potency as before.
We will be holding a Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Summer School in Roscommon on June 6,7 and 8 next year to mark a very rich life filled with activism and ideas. It wll be a weekend of discussion based on the ideas and themes that inspired Ruairí thorough out his life such as the Irish language, our cultural and political identity as a nation, Irish history, and Éire Nua.

On October 2 we lost another great Republican with the passing of our Honorary life Vice President Joe O’Neill. Joe was a stalwart of Irish Republicanism throughout his adult life and remained an active Republican right up to recent weeks. Joe O’Neill was born into a strong Republican family. His father Frank from Pomeroy, Co Tyrone was active in 1916 with the East Tyrone IRB. They had mobilised outside Coalisland when the order from Headquarters came to demobilise. The order was brought to them by Nora Connolly, daughter of James Connolly, who travelled to Carrickmore on the GNR railway. Joe’s mother Agnes from Dungannon was also steeped in Republicanism and was very active. She was also very active in the GAA, founding the first camogie team in Dungannon.
From the 1950s onwards Joe O’Neill served the cause of Republicanism in a variety of capacities at both local as well as national level. On both occasions when a reformist clique attempted to hijack the Republican Movement, in 1969/70 and again in 1986, Joe O’Neill was steadfast in his fidelity to the All-Ireland Republic of 1916. Taking his place in the leadership of Sinn Féin he was elected to the Ard Chomhairle in 1971, where he was to remain up to his death. He was proud to serve alongside close friends and comrades including Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Dáithí Ó Conaill and Pat Ward. He served as National Treasurer of Sin Féin for many years up to 2009 when he became a Life Vice-President.
The Éire Nua programme for a free and federal Ireland was championed by Joe as the key to bringing about a just and lasting settlement for all of the Irish people. For him it represented the best opportunity of fulfilling Theobald Wolfe Tone’s aim of uniting Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter as Irish men and Irish women.
It was due to the untiring work and sacrifice of Joe O’Neill that the memory of the hunger strikers of 1981 was suitably honoured each year in Bundoran despite numerous attempts by the 26-County State to disrupt it. As a member of the Bundoran Hunger Strike Committee Joe and the committee erected the beautiful Garden of Remembrance as a most fitting and lasting tribute to the hunger strikers.
Joe gave unstinting service to his community for almost thirty years as a local public representative. He was co-opted on to the Ballyshannon Town Commissioners in 1963. He was later elected to Bundoran Town Council where he was to serve for over 25 years. Joe embraced all aspects of Irish culture, including its music and history. He had an enduring love of Gaelic games. Joe was a lifelong member of the GAA.
For Joe O’Neill there was no shortcut to a free Ireland. He believed that as long as Ireland was partitioned and occupied by the British State there could be no lasting peace. He was a man of high principle with a burning sense of justice. It was this sense of justice that informed his political activities at both a national as well as a local level. He leaves a gap in the ranks of Republicanism that will be hard to fill. However like his friend and comrade Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, it is due to the lifetime dedication of such people that there is a new generation there to take up the torch of revolutionary Irish Republicanism.
I would like to conclude by reiterating points that were made at Bodenstown, which I believe bear repitition and reaffirmation. We must look first to ourselves if we are serious about building a credible and effective opposition to the political and economic enslavement of the Irish people. There are those who believe that there is a short cut to this by creating a false unity, a so-called unity based on ignoring fundamental principle. To do so is to build on sand and any movement built on such a foundation contains within it the seeds of its own fragmentation and division. We must instead concentrate our energies and focus our attention on building the Republican Movement into what Dáithí Ó Conaill described as its historic role: “It was the catalyst for the for the progressive forces of this country and abroad who desired the establishment of a sovereign democratic socialist Republic.” We must have confidence in ourselves and our own Movement and not relying on other groups or organisations who may on the surface provide a certain glamour and gloss but who lack the necessary ideological depth and commitment to the task of achieving our ultimate goal, the complete ending of British occupation and the re-establishment of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week. It is our duty to take up the torch of freedom and carry it forward; each person has a key role to play and must be willing to play it if we are serious about completing our noble task.
We have set out what the task is, we are grounded in the priciples of Irish Republicanism and so we must set about our work with renewed vigour and enthusaism. Duty, commitment and comradeship should be our wathwords as we once more go forward holding aloft the proud standard of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week. Be proud of your place in the ranks of the “soldiers of the legion of the rearguard”.

An Phoblacht Abú

Unity makes economic sense
By Gerry Adams (for the Irish Times)
Thirty-eight years ago Seamus Heaney wrote the poem Whatever You Say, Say Nothing. It described “The famous Northern reticence, the tight gag of place”. By the end of the poem all that this reticence had delivered was “the new camp for the internees: A bomb had left a crater of fresh clay”.
Central to the Northern Ireland peace process has been dialogue, which is the indispensable precursor to agreement.Fifteen years ago the Belfast Agreement was endorsed by the vast majority of people on this island. The agreement delivered new power-sharing institutions, put the principle of equality at the centre of politics and established a political process for peaceful, democratic change.
The agreement provided also for constitutional change. The British government veto on change was replaced by an international agreement to legislate for change if it is the will of the majority of people north and south.
The continuation of partition or the alternative of Irish unity are now in the ownership of the people north and south to be expressed in concurrent referendums.
In recent articles in The Irish Times both Andy Pollack and Glenn Patterson addressed the issue of partition. Both articles looked beyond the Border, one highlighting the process of change and the temporary nature of all institutions, the other seeking greater co-operation and integration. Both found it depressingly necessary to go out of the way to attack Sinn Féin and the notion of a Border poll.
SovereigntyAs a republican and a democrat I believe that the logic and benefits of greater north-south co-operation and integration, now accepted by all but a tiny minority, also extend to the political and economic sovereignty of our people.
Greater co-operation and integration makes sense and will benefit all our people. Co-operation is not a threat to any identity and nor is it a route to unity by the back door. It clearly also makes sense for this island to have a single economic unit, managed by a national government accountable to the people.
Unionists disagree, so there is a need for a reasoned discussion on how greater co-operation can deliver for the people north and south: how we can better manage our economy and create jobs and how we deliver effective and efficient public services across the island and along the Border. However, the end point of constitutional change is for the people to determine.
I do not believe that Irish unity is inevitable or solely an outworking of demographic change. Sinn Féin wants to see the maximum level of agreement on the type of new Ireland that could be delivered. This will require work, dialogue and compromise.
LeadershipThe Irish Government needs to take up the leadership on this important issue. Outreach to our unionist neighbours is crucial. So too is the need to implement all outstanding aspects of the Belfast and other agreements and to hold the British government accountable on all these matters.
Sinn Féin has called for a Border poll to be conducted in the next political term. We are not seeking a mere sectarian headcount but an informed, reasoned and respectful dialogue. Sinn Féin is confident as to the benefits of unity and for the first time those who support continued partition will be able to make their case.
Sinn Féin supports and abides by the Belfast Agreement and will respect the outcome of any Border poll.
Since starting this campaign there have been a few dubious polls and the increasingly tired old line that “now is not the time”.
Why not? There is rarely a right time, so while I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge we face to convince a majority of people of the need for change, Sinn Féin is also ready for difficult discussions and the compromises required to deliver an agreed and united Ireland.
The days of conflict are behind us. The days of “whatever you say, say nothing” are gone, replaced by the primacy of dialogue, politics and equality. So let’s have the national discussion on the future. Let us continue the difficult discussions, the process of reaching agreement and peaceful change. Let’s continue with greater co-operation and integration.
As a democrat and a republican I am confident in the ability of our people to engage in an informed and reasoned debate and I believe they should be allowed to express their opinion on the future of this island through a Border poll.

British Army stupidity increased IRA support
Brian Feeney (for the Irish News)
Christopher Quinn was 39 when a British soldier killed him near his home in the Unity Flats complex at the junction of the Shankill Road and Carrick Hill in west Belfast.
He was a member of the St Patrick’s branch of the Catholic Ex-Servicemen’s Association (CESA) which performed unarmed vigilante duty at flashpoints mainly in Belfast.It was November 1971, a dangerous time in a dangerous place. Unity Flats had been the target of sectarian attacks from the Shankill most notably August 2-4, 1969 when, in the words of the then Mr Justice Scarman, the flats were ‘besieged by a vast crowd’ from the Shankill. Since 1969 local men had guarded barricades at the entrances to the flats. CESA had tried to acquire licensed weapons by virtue of their service records in the British forces but the Unionist regime at Stormont and the RUC refused, though there was no problem with loyalist gun clubs being legally armed to the teeth.
However, while sectarian attacks on Catholic districts tended to be confined to assaults and petrol bombing, the real danger to men guarding the barricades came from the British army whose so-called Military Reaction Force or Military Reconnaissance Force (MRF) set up in summer 1971 killed or injured an unknown number of men at barricades. On each such occasion the Ministry of Defence concocted a cock and bull story about the incident. Christopher Quinn wasn’t killed by the MRF who preferred to drive around in cars and fire sub-machineguns at vigilantes but by a soldier on patrol in the district. While in the case of MRF killings and injuries the MoD usually denied any military involvement, the army did admit a soldier killed Quinn but as usual claimed ‘the army opened fire on a gunman’. Equally as usual there is no evidence there was any gunman.
Now thanks to the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), it has emerged that the MoD knew perfectly well that Christopher Quinn was completely innocent. It’s difficult to know which is worse: denying as in the MRF cases any army involvement and thereby dramatically reducing the level of compensation to relatives of the deceased, or admitting responsibility as in the Quinn case and then deliberately doing his wife and family out of proper compensation. All of course to ensure as the MoD document admits, that ‘the settlement would reflect well on the MoD from a political viewpoint.’
In the case of Mrs Quinn they did her out of £10,000 and wrecked her family’s prospects. She got £500, spent £300 on the funeral and gave £50 to each of her four children. Paul O’Connor of the PFC told the BBC of a case in Derry when the army killed a woman the same month and the MoD offered £84.70 which her family refused.
Unjust, dishonest, disgusting, disgraceful and stupid. Stupid because ‘from a political viewpoint’ which the genius writing the cynical note thought paramount, it was disastrous. Everyone in nationalist districts in Derry and Belfast knew the army lied, individual soldiers lied, perjured themselves as a matter of course and swore away the lives of men without a qualm. Everyone in those districts knew which people the army killed were innocent, which were reprisals for a soldier being shot and which were IRA men.
We know now the MoD didn’t care. Their stupidity and callousness meant that more men and women joined the IRA, more people helped the IRA, more of their own men got killed or injured in IRA attacks because of the boneheads in the MoD. By how long did the dishonest, sneaky, secretive unjust behaviour of the MoD prolong the conflict? Who knows?
What we do know for certain is that the researchers of the PFC have demonstrated beyond peradventure that local witnesses to many military misdemeanours were telling the truth and that the army and the MoD routinely lied and in the case of soldiers, lied on oath. However, anyone unfortunate enough to have dealing with the British army knew that. What the PFC has done is to prove it.
What we’ve also learnt as a result of recent court cases and video evidence from Afghanistan and Iraq is that they’re still at it.

The technology used by Britain's intelligence agencies is "out of control", former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has warned.

He said surveillance should be targeted against individuals or groups, not against "the whole nation" as recent operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden were.
In an interview with The Guardian, which has revealed details of the activities of British eavesdropping agency GCHQ based on documents disclosed by US intelligence whistleblower Mr Snowden, Lord Ashdown defended the right of the state to intercept communications.
Recalling seeing spies opening letters with the steam from boiling kettles in the 1960s, he said the state should intercept communications "only in cases where there is good evidence to believe the nation's security is being threatened, or arguably, when a really serious crime has been committed".
It needed to be "targeted on an individual and not classes of individuals or, as at the moment, the whole nation" and ought to be sanctioned by a third party, preferably by a judge or, if not, a member of the Cabinet.
He added: "We need a proper inquiry to decide what liberties and privacies ought to be accorded in the new interconnected world, and what powers of intrusion ought to be given to the state. The old laws that applied in the age of the steaming kettle will no longer do. The old protections are no longer good enough."
Lord Ashdown said the Guardian's reporting of Mr Snowden's leaked National Security Agency (NSA) files " had raised this important issue to the point where sensible people understand this inquiry is now necessary".
He added: "People today seem more casual about their privacy than they used to be. They don't seem to mind when their privacy is breached when they use GoogleFacebook and other social media."
But the peer said he hoped this had not "changed the public's attitude towards the state's power to intrude into their privacy".
He said that he was "frightened by the erosion of our liberties" and attacked Labour's record on the issue in office, including the "disgraceful" Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
There was a "habit of politicians who are lazy about the preservation of our liberties or don't mind seeing them destroyed, to play an old game," he said.
"They tell frightened citizens, 'If you give me some of your liberties, I will make you safer'."
Lord Ashdown said the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which provides parliamentary scrutiny of Britain's spies, was "past its time".
The body, chaired by Tory former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, was "wholly incapable of coping" with the new circumstances.
Former GCHQ director Sir David Omand told The Guardian he was in favour of an inquiry and thought it would be wrong to "dismiss the idea of a royal commission out of hand".
But he said the ISC had to be given the chance to complete its own inquiry into the work of the UK's intelligence agencies GCHQ, the Security Service (MI5) and Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).
He said: "Much now depends first upon the ISC and whether their latest inquiry can rise above the current clamour to a calm and dispassionate examination of the capabilities needed to keep our people safe and secure, and at the same time, how public confidence can be maintained that under no circumstances could these powerful capabilities be used in ways that parliament did not intend."

Who dares to speak for an innocent man whose voice has been silenced behind the wall of 21st Century British repression in Ireland?

Martin Corey has been locked away in Maghaberry Prison since 2010 without charge or trial on the basis of closed evidence. Visit the website to learn more: www.releasemartincorey.com
Nobody knows the reason why Martin was arrested, nor has a reason been given. This is very worrying, indeed all free minded people, all who believe in free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of movement should be worried, all who believe in a democratic society where everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion should revolt to this 63 year old mans defense. As an Irish Republican Martin Corey believes in the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland, he believes Ireland and her people have a right to practice unheeded their own independence. Is this why Martin was interned? When did it become a crime? Was it with the signing of the Belfast Agreement (GFA), is this the new start, the new beginning we were all promised?

The reality on the ground is that not much has changed and so it becomes obvious that Martin Corey is being held Hostage by the British Government because of his Political Beliefs, all those who believe in justice and equality must support this campaign.

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