One of the principal reasons, that I resigned as chairperson fo Newry Sinn Fein and later from Sinn Fein itself, was that I suspected a considerable proportion of my colleagues, at that time, were spies and British informers. However as with a good friend or comrade, whom we would give the benefit of the doubt, I was not going to shout it from the rooftops, for obvious reasons. Again when the Bad Friday Agreement was signed, and discussing it later with colleagues, I disagreed, but for the sake of giving peace a chance, I was prepared to wait and see. It is now 20 years since it was signed, and there is far greater clarity, around all of these matters, with solid proof that all of my suspicions were not simply paranoia.
The British Dirty War in Occupied Ireland is still ongoing, in all it' s subtle guise, since 1970, with varying degrees of intensity, in almost every part of British administration in Ireland. Gerry Adams is credited with masterminding the resistance, known as the long war, which is utter rubbish. Knowing this man at close quarters for almost 35 years, believe me, he does not have the intellectual capacity or vision for such an endeavour. However, he does have the manipulative skills, learned, surviving an abusive home, to orchestrate it. The end result of both the British Dirty War and the Long War, was that they both synchronized, to enable collaborators, to rise in the ranks of the Republican Movement, to become the leadership of Provisional Sinn Fein, now known as Sinn Fein, or more accurately in reality, as John Borgonovo termed it, the Anti-Sinn Fein Society.
The proof of this, is that in the last couple of months, we have had Martin McGuinness, the right hand man of it's President, declaring publicly, that his politcal work is inspired by the Queen of England, something any republican child, will tell you is the total antithesis of republicanism, world wide. We also had Gerry Kelly, the chief enforcer of the Bad Friday Agreement on the ground, calling on Irish people to become informers and spies for British Occupation Forces in Ireland. We also had Conor Murphy, their MP from South Armagh, also calling on Irish people to become spies and informers, while a young lad who voiced opposition to the Murphy's, was battered to death, in true fascist fashion, for simply voicing opposition to the Murphys in South Armagh.
During the party’s annual conference, currently being held in Derry, they passed a pro-choice policy on abortion and the party has also enabled a gay rights agenda, which have given it a liberal veneer for the electorate. However, like their Blueshirt fellow travellers in the south, their core policy is Neo-Liberal or Corporate fascism, mirroring the steel fist, in a velvet glove, of Thateherite policies of austerity from the British Tory Party. Deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, tried to disguise this yesterday, in a deceirful speech to the conference, trying to rationalize Sinn Féin opposing austerity cuts in the south of Ireland, shile it was implementing draconian austerity policies from the Stormont Junta. Meanwhile Gerry Adams the President of the 'Anti-Sinn Fein Society' has confessed recently, that he spends his free time, cavorting naked with his dog on a trampoline, while also making love to trees, which are all meant to divert Irish people with"Cuddly Eccentric Gerry,"from the fascist core of his party's neoliberal deception.
Irish Blog believes that under these circumstances, resistance must continue against the British Dirty War in all of its elements within the fascist, sectarian, Orange State and organize the defence of Irish working class people. It needs to be a resistance, that takes extreme care, to avoid at all costs, innocent civilian casualties, to enable the agitation, education and organization of the Irish people, to create the masses on the street of the Civil Rights Campaign. This is what is needed to fundamentally change, this dysfunctional society and gain freedom for our people. Only militant, mass action, will force the conditions necessary, for a total closedown of industry. The principle problem in Ireland is partition, not just north/south but also the sectarianism, that divides working people and the people of no property, by British Occupation Forces, with the help of the 'Anti-Sinn Fein Society,' who as political collaborators, are part of the problem, not the solution, enabling the widening gap, between rich and poor all over the island.
While opposing the British Occupation, we also need to fight the EU state in the south and its various corporate fascist, entities like Irish Water. The Ireland worth fighting for, is the Ireland, for the people of no property, to be materially free in fraternity with every other Irish person. We must become self-supporting through our own contribution and labour of love, for all our people, in liberty, equality and fraternity. The way to Freedom is using the natural resources of Ireland, her land and sea, first for the ordinary people of Ireland and later bartered transparently, with other free people, who have earned their freedom. This is the price and way of freedom, there are no shortcuts. The alternative, is at best, the impending Orwellian nightmare, that extinguishes the Spirit of Freedom or worse, the fascist, nuclear, holocaust, aggression of Imperialism.
SPIES, INFORMERS AND THE ‘ANTI-SINN FEIN SOCIETY': THE INTELLIGENCE WAR IN CORK CITY, 1919-1921
John Borgonovo’s Spies, Informers and the ‘Anti-Sinn Fein Society': The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1919-1921
John Borgonovo is among a handful of international historians to have studied Ireland’s War of Independence with the focus on a specific part of the conflict, in this case the crucial Intelligence struggle in the south-western region of the country, notably in Cork City and County. This revealing new account shines a bright light on this dark and murky covert world of espionage and counter-espionage, of competing spy-rings and networks, and examines in detail the belligerent role played by sections of the British Unionist minority in Ireland, in particular through active collaboration with the British Occupation Forces both as spies and counter-insurgents. With many tens of thousands of Irishmen having served in the British military and paramilitary police forces, both in Ireland and overseas, and with the Unionist minority in Ireland reliant on continuing British rule in order to maintain their `colonial’ privileges, it is hardly surprising that the British found a rich vein of sympathy and co-operation within this frequently militant population, as they struggled to control the majority of the Irish people and their support for Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), mandated as both were by a string of electoral landslides – which of course the British refused to recognise.
Borgonovo’s book will be a revelation to many readers unaware of the activities of the broad Unionist community in `southern’ Ireland during the 1916-1923 Revolution, in stark contrast to their more obviously violent and infamously anti-democratic `northern’ compatriots. While Unionist terrorist organisations like the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) are well known and documented their counterparts in other parts of the country are largely forgotten, and Borgonovo looks at the `Anti-Sinn Fein Society’ as well as several other shadowy groups linked to the British Forces (plus numerous individual informers, traitors and collaborators). Their wide range of counter-insurgent activities, spying, kidnapping, torture, assassinations, house burnings and multiple murders, are presented in detail and with a great degree of fairness and contextual placement. Borgovono goes out of his way to present all arguments, often giving the benefit of the doubt to individuals where circumstantial evidence alone would point to guilt. His use of original source materials is scrupulously detailed and no statement or claim is made without solid backing. Where tentative suggestions are made, or facts remain unclear, he does not hide the fact but rather draws attention to it, clearly leaving it up to the reader to decide themselves based upon the evidence. This kind of academic honesty is highly refreshing and is one of the real strengths of the book.
Borgonovo also addresses the case made by others, most notably the controversial right-wing writer Peter Hart in several of his more infamous publications, that there was a sectarian and racist element to the Irish Revolution in the Cork region, and that the IRA deliberately targeted civilian members of the British Unionist minority in the area. This claim has been taken up by a number of British Neo-Colonial historians in support of Britain’s case that it had the right to rule Ireland, to the benefit of the Irish people, and has been described by them as a campaign of `ethnic cleansing against Protestants’. To Borgonovo’s lasting credit he methodically demolishes this particularly nasty and insidious web of anti-Irish propaganda, stripping it of all pretence to academic integrity, and showing it to be the politically motivated counter-factual history that most rational people know it to be. For taking on the lunatic fringe of British apologist historians, and their Irish offspring, and showing the false and worthless nature of their conspiracy theories we should be eternally grateful to Borgonovo.
We need more studies like this.
For those wanting to know more about the particularly bitter struggle in the Cork region between the Irish Republican Army and the British Occupation Forces during the War of Independence, Meda Ryan’s award-winning ‘Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter’ is an excellent place to start.
Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter
Catholics are leaving the PSNI police in numbers and fewer are applying to join, new figures have shown.
The latest statistics show that, although the population of the Six Counties is 48 per cent Protestant, more than two in three of the current PSNI membership are now from that community.
Three in ten are Catholics, but the rate should be 50% higher than that according to the Patten reforms which converted the old RUC into the current PSNI.
Recruits to the force are once again disproportionately Protestant. after 50:50 recruitment system was scrapped four years ago following sustained criticism by unionists that it “discriminated” against Protestants.
The rebalancing of the PSNI workforce had been a key factor leading to the SDLP, and later Sinn Fein, supporting the new PSNI. At one point, just 8 per cent of RUC officers were Catholic.
SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly said the drop off in Catholic PSNI is worrying.
“It is a matter of great concern that after all the work done to encourage young Catholics to join the police,” she said. “We want exit interviews. We want to know why everyone is leaving, what their reasons are.”
Unionist Policing Board member Ross Hussey has suggested that the flight of Catholics from the PSNI is due to the threat of “republican violence”.
“As was the case with the RUC, any disincentive for Catholics to join the PSNI is due in large part to the ongoing campaign of republican violence and in particular the active targeting of police officers from a Catholic community background,” he said.
“We believe that the best person for the job should be appointed to a job, regardless of colour, class, creed or gender.”
But there is a growing sense that the PSNI remains “a cold house” for northern nationalists. It was revealed this week that plans are afoot to remove the Patten-era requirement for PSNI members to declare membership of the Orange Order and other secret anti-Catholic organisations.
The Orange Order has said a PSNI review of the rule came after “continual and extensive lobbying” by senior Orangemen. The order’s monthly paper, the Orange Standard, also said it believes membership of the GAA (Gaelic sports association) and other ‘nationalist’ signifiers should have to be declared under the present policy.
A spokesman for Sinn Fein said: “The requirement to declare a belonging to a set number of organisations for PSNI officers it is still as relevant today as it was when this was first enacted.”
There have been other signs of declining nationalist confidence in the force recently.
A meeting of the Magherafelt Policing and Community Safety Partnership had to be cancelled this week after it was boycotted by nationalist representatives.
The ‘watchdog’ body - one of 26 across the north - has been at the centre of controversy since the family of murdered GAA official Sean Brown, urged elected representatives not to attend in protest at the PSNI’s handling of his inquest.
And in south Armagh, a sizable protest took place last weekend at the rise of “criminality” in the area and the failure of the PSNI to engage in local policing. Sinn Fein Policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly said he had raised the issue at a meeting of the Policing Board.
He said he also ‘quizzed’ the PSNI about unacceptable delays to coroners’ inquests and stalling tactics in the case of police informer Gary Haggarty.
“I will be demanding answers to these issues from the senior management of the PSNI and will continue to hold them to account until these matters are satisfactorily resolved.”
Arthurs Attacks SF Leadership
One of the most senior ex-Provisional IRA figures in the North has said that the nationalist community should not pass on information or “collaborate in any way” with the PSNI.
In an interview with the Sunday Tribune, Brian Arthurs, a former commander of the Tyrone Brigade, said Sinn Fein and “other constitutional nationalist parties” were wrong to say that the PSNI should be supported.
Arthurs, who once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, said he had supported the Good Friday Agreement but had become very disillusioned with the failure to progress towards Irish unity.
Similar comments were voiced by Peter McCaughey, another former senior Provisional IRA member from County Tyrone. Both men disclosed that they had left Sinn Fein two years ago after a major split in the republican movement in Tyrone.
Five Sinn Fein cumainn, and 90% of the East Tyrone brigade, left in the move. Arthurs said: “No one can deny that there have been changes in the North but it is an equality agenda being pursued. People did not die, they did not take up arms, for equality. They did so for Irish freedom.
“Yet a huge 100 million pound MI5 building has been built in the North and 5,000 British soldiers remain here. A special British military intelligence unit has just been deployed in Derry.
“David Cameron told the Tory party conference that he was prime minister of Britain and Northern Ireland. He stressed the importance of the union and said, ‘together is how we must remain’. Republicans cannot see Irish unity in any of this. It should be remembered that, as republicans, we were committed to fight on until Britain made a declaration of intent to withdraw from Ireland.”
Arthurs and McCaughey both come from prominent republican families. Arthurs’ brother Declan was one of eight IRA men shot dead by the SAS in Loughall in 1987. McCaughey’s brother Martin, and another IRA member Dessie Grew, were killed on active service by the SAS in 1990.
A number of independent republican societies - named after the 1916 leaders and other republican martyrs - have now been formed in Tyrone. “We have six societies with around 200 members and we are in the process of forming another six,” Arthurs stated.
He said the societies were “committed to upholding the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation and Irish national self-determination” and were made up of new young members and veteran republican activists.
The societies held a rally, attended by 1,500 people, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew earlier this month. Peter McCaughey said he was “extremely disappointed” with Sinn Fein’s condemnation of those who remain involved in ‘armed struggle’.
After the Real IRA bomb attack on the Ulster Bank in Derry, Martin McGuinness called those responsible “conflict junkies” and “neanderthals”. After the murder of two British soldiers at Massereene last year, he condemned the killers as “traitors to the island of Ireland”.
Peter McCaughey said: “Was my brother a ‘conflict junkie’, a ‘neanderthal’ or a ‘traitor to the island of Ireland’? That is what Martin McGuinness would call him if he was killed on active service today. My brother was a freedom fighter. He fought for a united Ireland. That goal is still there and remains deeply cherished by republicans in Tyrone.
“We were disgusted when Martin McGuinness stood at the gates of Stormont with the chief constable of the PSNI after Massereene and demonised republicans. He did not speak for us.”
Brian Arthurs said the nationalist community should not “pass on information or collaborate with the PSNI” as Sinn Fein and the SDLP urged: “Young people now, just like young people during the previous phase of conflict, will continue to be attracted to the republican struggle.
“It can be argued that an armed campaign is not advisable at this point in time but it will never be right to inform on those who decide otherwise. Informing on republicans will lead to their families being oppressed by the state. It will lead to the arrest and incarceration of volunteers and, at worst, to their death.
“It was wrong to pass information to the police 20 or 30 years ago and it is wrong now. The graveyards are full of young republicans put there because a small minority of the nationalist community passed information to the British forces.”
Arthurs said the independent republican societies in Tyrone were “non-party political” and were not linked to Republican Sinn Fein, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, or eirigi.
Arthurs and McCaughey said that, despite long-standing reservations about the direction of Sinn Fein’s strategy, they and others had remained loyal to the leadership because they didn’t want to split the movement.
“Two years ago, it reached the point that we couldn’t stay,” McCaughey said. “We were told at a meeting in Tyrone that Sinn Fein’s support for the PSNI wasn’t just a written policy, we had to implement the strategy in full or leave. So we left.”
McCaughey had been a Sinn Fein member for over 20 years. He served four years in the H-Blocks for possession of weapons. Arthurs is a former election agent for Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew. In 1995, he was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for possession of explosives. He was released five years later under the Good Friday Agreement. He was arrested in connection with the 2004 Northern Bank robbery and released without charge.
In 2007, he was charged with obtaining money fraudulently in relation to a mortgage application. He was acquitted. He is currently facing the same charges again and has pleaded not guilty. His request to be tried by a jury, rather than a Diplock court, was refused. He is appealing that decision to the House of Lords.