" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Friday, December 30, 2005

1169 And Counting ..... : Irish history , Irish politics - from today and yesterday : all 32 Counties !

Bhi an saoire caite inne , Deardaoin 29 Nollaig 2005 .
The holiday was over yesterday , Thursday 29 December 2005 .

Now it's time for the New Year break ... !

We will re-commence our posts on WEDNESDAY , JANUARY 4th , 2006 .
Enjoy your own break , have a good start to this New Year ....and check-back here on January 4th !
Slan go foill anois ,
Good-bye for now ,

John , Sharon and 'Junior' .

Thursday, December 22, 2005

NOLLAIG SHONA DAR LEITHEOIRI !



Ar eagle an dearmaid ....

Ba bhrea an rud e siochain bhuan bunaithe ar an gceart a bheith againn in Eireann . Is i an bronntanas is fearr a d'fheadfaimis a thabhairt duinn fein agus dar gclann .

Coinniodh an ceart agus an tsiochain uainn le breis agus ocht gcead bliain , de bharr ionradh , forghabhail agus miriaradh na Sasanach . Socru ar bith a dheantar in ainm mhuintir na hEireann agus a ghlacann le riail Shasana agus a dhaingnionn an chriochdheighilt , ni thig leis an ceart na an tsiochain bhuann a bhunu .

Ni dheanfaidh se ach la na siochana buaine a chur ar an mhear fhada agus an bhunfhadb a thabhairt do ghluin eile . Tharla se seo cheana nuair a siniodh Conradh 1921 agus cuireadh siar ar mhuintir na hEireann e in ainm na siochana . Is mor ag Sinn Fein Poblachtach Eire a bheith saor agus daonlathach , an cuspoir ceanna a bhi i gceist ag Wolfe Tone agus ag na Poblachtaigh uile anuas go dti 1916 agus an la ata inniu ann .

Rinne a lan fear agus ban croga iobairti mora , thug a mbeatha fiu , ar son na cuise uaisle seo .

CEART . SAOIRSE. DAONLATHAS .


A PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS TO OUR READERS !

Least we forget ....

A just and permanent peace in Ireland is most desirable . It is the greatest gift we could give to ourselves and our children . We have been denied justice and peace for more than eight centuries , because of English invasion , occuption and misrule of our country .

Any arrangement which , in the name of the Irish people , accepts English rule and copperfastens the Border , will not bring justice and lasting peace . It will only postpone the day of permanent peace , handing over the basic problem to another generation .

This happened before when the Treaty of 1921 was signed and was forced on the Irish people in the name of peace . Republican Sinn Fein cherishes the objective of a free , democratic Ireland , as envisaged by Wolfe Tone and all Republicans down to 1916 and our own day . Many brave men and women sacrificed a lot , even their lives , for this noble Cause .

JUSTICE . FREEDOM . DEMOCRACY .

1169 And Counting.....


29th Christmas Morning Swim : 1976-2005.

SPONSORED SWIM - CHRISTMAS DAY , 12 NOON .

Venue : Grand Canal (opposite Kellys Pub/Blackhorse Inn) Inchicore , Dublin 8 .

15 swimmers , turf fire , Rebel music , lemonade for the kids , 'soup' for the adults...

ALL WELCOME !

Organised by CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund) , 223 Parnell Street , Dublin 1 .

Back after our Christmas break. Or.......

..... (MORE LATER).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The '1169...' crew will be 'closing up shop' later on this week for our Christmas break ; we will probably be absent for about one week , but it could be less : depends on when the funds run dry !

TIME MARCHES ON .
The Easter Commemoration Parades took place this year in the North as usual . At the regular venues - Belfast , Derry , Crossmaglen , Newry - the same Proclamation was read , the usual speeches were made and the routine Army Council message was delivered to the faithful .
The only difference this year was that by Good Friday the North's death toll since 1969 had reached 2,500 and Ireland's longest period of civil disturbance appeared no nearer an end .
Behind much of the violence stands the Provisional IRA , organisers of most Easter Parades and , by their own claims , direct lineal descendants* of the men of 1916 . But how strong are they and for how long can they continue the military and political struggle ?
PATRICK MURPHY reports from Belfast .
First published in 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , May 1987 .
(* In 1986 the Provisional IRA abandoned that lineage and offered their support to what was to become a Leinster House-registered political party.)

As the North of Ireland heads towards yet another long hot summer and political solutions appear as remote as ever the one constant factor in 'the province' is the level of violence ; already this year's death toll looks like being twice that of 1986 and , apart from the INLA feud , most of the 'violence' has stemmed from the Provisional IRA .

Now in its 17th year * since its origins as yet another Republican splinter group , the Provisional IRA have in 1987 stepped-up their military campaign and if success can be measured in terms of casualties , this year (ie 1987) so far has been one of their most successful since the mid-1970's . (* SIC : 1987 was , in fact , the first year of operations carried out by the PIRA after they had left the Republican Movement the previous year .)

The success has been brought about by a new military strategy and by an increasing political urgency to deliver the military 'goods' at a time when some elements within the organisation have feared its drift towards conventional politics . The new military strategy is simple - dead bodies represent military progress and the greater the number of dead bodies which can be achieved with the minimum risk of apprehension then the better the success rate . In Provo terms , dead bodies fall into two categories - British Army personnel and UDR/RUC personnel .......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Present at a meeting in the Sinn Fein Office in Belfast on July 28th 1981 were Fathers Denis Faul , Murray and McIldowney (from Dungiven) , a group of people who accompanied Fr. Faul but who had no apparent role , relatives of most of the hunger-strikers , Gerry Adams , Eamonn McGrory and Jim Gibney of Sinn Fein and two representatives from the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) .

Not only was Fr. Faul's assertion about Gerry Adams proved to be untrue but the circumstances in which he alleged it had been made to him by Brendan McFarlane were equally proved to be entirely bogus . Firstly , the conversation that Faul had had with McFarlane had taken place weeks previously and not , as he (Faul) had been inferring to the relatives , within the few days prior to the Toombridge meeting .

Secondly , the conversation was only in the context of the role prescribed by Bobby Sands for Gerry Adams and Danny Morrison (Sinn Fein) during the Charles Haughey-inspired intervention by the European Commission on Human Rights in April 1981 . At that time Bobby Sands had stated that he was not prepared to meet members of the Commission unless two external nominees , Adams and Morrison , and the prisoners representative , McFarlane , were present .

All of this was proved to the mutual satisfaction of all present , and strangely with no obvious embarrassment to Fr. Denis Faul , by a communication from Brendan McFarlane which was in the files of the H-Block Information Centre and which detailed the contents and timing of that conversation weeks earlier . Fr. Faul himself assented to the correctness of those details when they were read out .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

THE MURDER OF SEAMUS COSTELLO , OCTOBER 5 , 1977 : continued...
The person who is believed to have been directly responsible for the shooting of Seamus Costello held no personal animosity towards Costello and the belief is that he was specifically ordered to kill the IRSP leader by a very senior person in the Official organisation .

There was an earlier attempt made on Seamus Costello's life in Waterford on May 7th , 1975 : Costello had spoken at a meeting in the city that night and on his way to the home of one of the organisers , the car in which they were travelling was raked with machine gun fire by a passenger on a motorbike . The motorbike keeled over and it was this which saved Costello's life at the time .

We have been informed that both men on the motorbike were senior members of the Official IRA in Dublin , who were attached to the GHQ Staff of that organisation . It is believed that the gun used in the attempted murder was later found by Gardai but not identified by them as such .

There is no question but that that attempt on Seamus Costello's life was a fully authorised Official IRA operation .
(Next - 'The Murder of Hugh Halloran' , September 8th , 1979 .)
(MORE LATER).


29th Christmas Morning Swim : 1976-2005.

SPONSORED SWIM - CHRISTMAS DAY , 12 NOON .

Venue : Grand Canal (opposite Kellys Pub/Blackhorse Inn) Inchicore , Dublin 8 .

15 swimmers , turf fire , Rebel music , lemonade for the kids , 'soup' for the adults...

ALL WELCOME !

Organised by CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund) , 223 Parnell Street , Dublin 1 .







Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The '1169...' crew will be 'closing up shop' later on this week for our Christmas break ; we will probably be absent for about one week , but it could be less : depends on when the funds run dry !

BRITISH 'JUSTICE' : THE EMERGENCY LEGISLATION AND THE INFORMER SYSTEM.......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

So far , all the informers have been men , but no doubt attempts are being made to recruit women .

Strip-searching can also be seen as an attempt to break the morale of women held on remand on the 'word' of informers - the aim being to persuade the women to plead guilty , thus corroborating the informer's 'evidence' .

Finally , for a male prisoner , the thought that his mother , sister or wife may be arrested and imprisoned if he refuses to inform , is made additionally persuasive in the knowledge that women prisoners are currently been subjected to the harshest prison regime in Armagh for many years .

If we look at the treatment of prisoners in Armagh Jail in its full political and legal context , then two vital points emerge : firstly , most of the women in Armagh Jail have arrived there via a system of 'justice' which denies them the legal rights which , outside the Six Counties , have always been regarded as fundamental to British 'justice' ; secondly , it is likely that the increasing harshness of the prison regime , including the use of intensive strip-searching , is closely tied in with the policy of using informers in show trials .

[END of 'BRITISH 'JUSTICE' : THE EMERGENCY LEGISLATION AND THE INFORMER SYSTEM' .]
(Tomorrow - ' TIME MARCHES ON' : from 1987.)



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Within one day of having met Sinn Fein re the hunger-strike issue , Fr. Denis Faul was 'spinning' that meeting to suit his own anti-Republican agenda : another Catholic chaplain to Long Kesh prison , a Fr. Murphy , having being 'briefed' by Faul , was telling Thomas McElwee , then about forty days on hunger-strike , that at the meeting the Sinn Fein rep , Eamonn McCrory , had described the hunger-strikers' situation as "...hopeless.. " : when challenged on this , Fr. Denis Faul dismissed ever having said such a thing to Fr. Murphy ...

But the circumstances of the meeting with Fr. Denis Faul where this challenge was made would tend to indicate that he may not have been truthful ; that meeting itself , beginning at about 11.30PM on the evening of Tuesday July 28th 1981 , and continuing into the early hours of the following morning , was called on the basis of a proven lie by Fr. Faul which was told simply to bring that meeting about and in circumstances most favourable to his purpose - earlier that evening , at a meeting in Toomebridge with relatives of most of the hunger-strikers - relatives whose emotional and moral exploitation was the other 'prong' of Fr. Faul's offensive - he stated that in a conversation he had had with Brendan McFarlane , Officer Commanding of the IRA prisoners in the H-Blocks and representative of all protesting prisoners , McFarlane had said that Gerry Adams , Vice-President of Sinn Fein , had the power and authority to call off the hunger-strike . Faul urged the relatives to press Adams into doing that .

That untrue assertion led to the meeting late that night in Sinn Fein's offices in Belfast .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

THE MURDER OF SEAMUS COSTELLO , OCTOBER 5 , 1977 :
There continues to be speculation about this act and there have been suggestions that Seamus Costello may have been killed by members of his own organisation : certainly there had been talk among Belfast members of the INLA in the months prior to this killing about "...getting rid .. " of Seamus Costello , by which at least some of them meant killing him .

This was because of Costello's failure to acquire arms and explosives in the quantities that he repeatedly promised and his refusal to allow anybody else take over responsibility for it or even to be jointly involved . However , we have been informed by a number of people who were members of the Official IRA at the time that Costello was in fact shot by a senior member of the Official IRA .

The only doubt that surrounds the operation is what degree of authorisation did it have : certainly , when the IRSP feud broke out in 1975 and especially after the killing of Billy McMillan in Belfast on April 28 , 1975 , plans were made by the Official IRA to kill Seamus Costello and the OIRA Army Council gave explicit authorisation for that . We have been informed of this by people who were members of the OIRA AC at the time .

It also appears that there was no countermanding order made to the OIRA AC but there may have been a general 'understanding' ' to let sleeping dogs lie .......'
(This piece on the killing of Seamus Costello will conclude tomorrow.)
(MORE LATER).


29th Christmas Morning Swim : 1976-2005.

SPONSORED SWIM - CHRISTMAS DAY , 12 NOON .

Venue : Grand Canal (opposite Kellys Pub/Blackhorse Inn) Inchicore , Dublin 8 .

15 swimmers , turf fire , Rebel music , lemonade for the kids , 'soup' for the adults...

ALL WELCOME !

Organised by CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund) , 223 Parnell Street , Dublin 1 .







Monday, December 19, 2005

The '1169...' crew will be 'closing up shop' later on this week for our Christmas break ; we will probably be absent for about one week , but it could be less : depends on when the funds run dry !

BRITISH 'JUSTICE' : THE EMERGENCY LEGISLATION AND THE INFORMER SYSTEM.......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

Those named by an informer are immediately arrested and held on remand in Armagh and Crumlin Road gaols ; thus , although the sole 'evidence' against them is the 'word' of one individual , and the 'truth' of the 'evidence' has not yet been decided by a 'court' (a juryless one) , those named people lose their freedom .

Women are immediately subjected to the full harshness of Armagh prison life : regular strip-searches , stringent discipline and the punitive use of prison rules . Overall , 400 people have so far been charged on the 'word' of an informer , and 80 have been convicted . The Show Trials have put so many people on remand - some for periods of up to two years - that in effect they have led to the reintroduction of internment , which was 'officially' ended in 1975 .

Of the 35 women currently imprisoned in Armagh , several are on remand having been named by an informer , but to date no woman has been convicted on informer evidence . It seems probable that there is a connection between the Westminster policy of using informers and of intensive strip-searching - the informer 'system' began in 1980 , getting fully underway in 1982 ; the strip-searches began in earnest in November 1982 ; the more intolerable that prison life becomes , the easier it will be for Westminster to find prisoners willing to turn informer .......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

In July 1981 , Fr. Denis Faul requested a meeting with Sinn Fein ; his declared purpose in doing so (with people whom he would later call "thugs" , to advance his 'case') was allegedly to acquaint himself with Sinn Fein's then current attitude to the hunger-strike situation . At that stage six hunger-strikers were already dead and Kevin Lynch and Kieran Doherty were rapidly deteriorating .

Eamonn McCrory , from Sinn Fein , put the position that Republicans believed that the hunger-strike would continue and that prisoners would continue to die while the people whose co-operation and collaboration Britain depended on to maintain its rule in Ireland - the Free State Government ,the SDLP and the Irish Catholic hierarchy - withheld their active support for the prisoners' five demands . That took about ten minutes : the rest of the meeting , which lasted about forty minutes in total , was used by Fr. Faul to expound on the "...hopelessness.. " of the situation .

At one point Faul described the hunger-strikers' determination and self-sacrifice as being no more that a "...lemming-mentality.. " , saying that "...they must be helped to help themselves by getting them off the hunger-strike .. " . He spoke of a "...suspension.. " of the hunger-strike and , with an insight into his intentions , of the hunger-strike ultimately breaking down in recriminations . Within twenty-four hours , this conniving and treacherous Catholic priest was to 'spin' the facts regarding that meeting .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

OFFICIAL IRA/PROVISIONAL IRA FEUDS (1975 and 1977):
The Official IRA seems to have been the victim , certainly in the 1975 feud with the Provisional IRA , for the same reason that the IRSP was the victim in the feud with the Official IRA earlier that year if only because it was the more vulnerable party .

Altogether eleven people were killed in the 1975 feud and five in the 1977 feud , when the Officials seemed to have wreaked some sort of revenge . We are not delving too deeply into those feuds here because of the enormous complexity of them and because of the existence of thuggery on both sides .
(Tomorrow : 'The Murder Of Seamus Costello' , October 5 , 1977 .)
(MORE LATER).


29th Christmas Morning Swim : 1976-2005.

SPONSORED SWIM - CHRISTMAS DAY , 12 NOON .

Venue : Grand Canal (opposite Kellys Pub/Blackhorse Inn) Inchicore , Dublin 8 .

15 swimmers , turf fire , Rebel music , lemonade for the kids , 'soup' for the adults...

ALL WELCOME !

Organised by CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund) , 223 Parnell Street , Dublin 1 .







Friday, December 16, 2005

BRITISH 'JUSTICE' : THE EMERGENCY LEGISLATION AND THE INFORMER SYSTEM.......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

Some of the recent victims of the British forces' 'shoot-to-kill' strategy had , prior to their deaths , complained of such threats while in RUC custody . Informers are offered the inducement of a lifetime's immunity from prosecution or a reduced sentence if they will inform on others .

Often , they are also offered large sums of money (up to £100,000) and told they will be set up in a new country with a new identity , a job and a home for themselves and their family . The money offered comes from the 'Northern Ireland (sic) Office' and MI6 makes the international security arrangements .

The 'NIO' denies that such sums are involved and the British Attorney General has given an undertaking that any sums paid to an informer during a 'trial' will be made public - such details have , however , not yet been made available , and it is particularly important to note the reference ' ...during a trial..' , which precludes information being given about financial settlement after a 'trial' .

Once a prisoner has agreed to the 'deal' , he names the people on whom he is going to inform.......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

It is only fair to deduce that , given the Catholic hierarchy's total support of the Alison/ICJP agreement , and their total lack of response to the prisoners' appeals , that they were , in fact , politically opposed to the granting of the five demands .

It was on this basic premise of broad political agreement with the Catholic Church hierarchy's political attitude - despite his own declaration of support for the five demands , which never manifested itself in actively mobilising similar support within the Catholic Church - and against a background of Free State and SDLP slavish co-operation with Westminster - that Fr. Denis Faul set about actively mobilising against the hunger-strike .

A prelude to Fr. Faul's first major offensive against the hunger-strike - on July 28th 1981 - took place the previous week : a meeting with Sinn Fein , at Fr. Faul's request , took place during that week ; present were Fathers Faul and Murray (chaplain to Armagh Jail) , a member of the ALJ , and Eamonn McCrory of Sinn Fein . Though inconsequential in itself , the meeting and its immediate aftermath were indicative of what was to follow .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

THE BILLY WRIGHT MURDER , OCTOBER 2 , 1975 :
Although in no sense was this an authorised Official IRA operation we are including it in this list because it arose directly out of an Official IRA robbery in Heuston Station in Dublin in September 1973 , when £17,000 was stolen .

Billy Wright was accused of having taken part in this robbery but was acquitted ; however , he later made a statement to the Gardai in connection with the robbery and in this statement he implicated a very prominent member of the Official IRA who had been Officer Commanding of the Dublin Unit OIRA and who had also been prominent in the 'research division' of the OIRA set up by Cathal Goulding in 1972 .

This person had absconded to the Continent following the robbery but , it is widely believed by the Gardai among many others , that he returned specifically to 'even the score' with Billy Wright .

Wright knew he was in trouble once he made the statement : " I am a dead man .. " . On October 2 , 1975 , he was mowed down in a hail of machine-gun fire in his barber's shop on Cabra Road , Dublin . He died in hospital on October 19 , 1975 .
(Monday , 19 December : 'Official IRA/Provisional IRA Feuds' .)
(MORE LATER).







Thursday, December 15, 2005

BRITISH 'JUSTICE' : THE EMERGENCY LEGISLATION AND THE INFORMER SYSTEM.......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

The 1978 'Amnesty International' report on physical torture of detainees by the RUC and the subsequent international reaction caused the halt of routine physical abuse ; the sexual abuse of women , however , continued and would seem to be escalating .

The Diplock Courts and the bulk of emergency legislation remain . Since 1980 , the RUC and the British Army have turned to the use of informers to secure the 'convictions' they are told to achieve . They have refined their psychological techniques to the point where selected people are used to give 'evidence' against their peers .

The use of informers in what have become known as 'Show Trials' is the latest and current phase in the British government's attempt to contain dissent in the North of Ireland : most informers are recruited after having 'broken' under interrogation and incriminated themselves , in many cases of things they have not done , or after being told there is sufficient evidence against them to convict them on long sentences .

Some have agreed to inform under the threat that members of their family would be arrested , framed or shot if they refused to co-operate .......

(MORE LATER).




FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

The Catholic hierarchy's attitude to the hunger-strike campaign was stated on March 1st , 1981 , the day Bobby Sands embarked on hunger-strike , by Bishop Edward Daly of Derry .

At a conference on Catholic youth held in Derry city he attacked the hunger-strike as not being "...morally justified .. " and urged the nationalist youth not to support hunger-strike protests by H-Block action groups unless such groups dissociated themselves from "...groups which have a policy of guerilla warfare .. " .

Bishop Edward Daly also attacked the continuation of the no-wash protest , which , when it coincidentally ended the next day , drew no commendation from him , or immediate call on the British administration to reciprocate . On several occasions throughout the hunger-strike both Cardinal O' Fiaich and Bishop Daly called for an end to the hunger-strike whilst of the British government they asked only "...flexibility.. " or the implementation of the Alison/Irish Commission for Justice and Peace (ICJP) agreement .

That agreement , reached in early July 1981 , which they knew to be far short of the prisoners' five demands , but which , indicative of the Catholic Church's political attitude , was the agreed position on the hunger-strike of the Irish political 'establishent' .

Despite appeals from the hunger-strikers on several occasions to the Irish Catholic hierarchy to support their five demands , no response was ever forthcoming .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

THE LARRY WHITE MURDER , JUNE 10TH 1975 :
One of those convicted of this murder was Barry Doyle who had been Sinn Fein The Workers Party Organiser in the Munster area .

The others convicted were Bernard Lynch of 30 Charles Day Road , Togher , County Cork ; David O' Donnell of 147 Rosewood Estate , Ballincollig , County Cork ; Larry White , associated with Saor Eire in Cork , having previously been involved with the Official Movement .

There was a great deal of aggro between Larry White and Sinn Fein The Workers Party members ; it is not clear whether this murder was authorised by the leadership of the Official IRA .

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, December 14, 2005

BRITISH 'JUSTICE' : THE EMERGENCY LEGISLATION AND THE INFORMER SYSTEM.......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

From 1975 onwards , large numbers of people were arrested and taken to interrogation centres at Castlereagh and Gough Barracks ; here , women were sexually abused , both verbally and physically , and often threatened with rape . Men were tortured : the 'confessions' thus extracted were used to convict them .

In the Diplock Courts , set up under the Emergency Powers Act , trial for 'scheduled offences' (ie political offences) is before a single judge sitting without a jury ; statements made involuntarily are admissable as 'evidence' , provided they are not made as a result of "...torture , inhuman or degrading treatment.. " . It is notoriously difficult to prove that a statement was made as a result of coercion . In England , Scotland and Wales , trial for serious offences is always by jury , and statements made involuntarily are inadmissable as 'evidence' .

During the late 1970's , 94 per cent of cases brought before juryless Diplock Courts concluded with a prison sentence , and between 70 and 90 per cent of these convictions were based upon self-incriminating statements obtained during interrogation . Independent evidence is rarely used by the prosecution . Note that for 1976-1979 , the average acquittal rate for contested jury trials was 58 per cent , compared to the average acquittal rate for contested Diplock trials of only 19 per cent .......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

The deaths of all the hunger-strikers and all the other evils which have flowed from the partition of Ireland lie squarely on the shoulders of imperial Britain . But the Irish 'establishment' , whose craven acquiescence in the British partition of Ireland , and its maintenance , have made - are making - and will continue to make a major contribution to the general evils of partition as well as to the specific circumstances whereby Westminster was permitted to murder ten young Irishmen in the hospital wing of the H-Blocks rather than make five simple concessions to them .

It was against this background of slavish acceptance by the Irish 'establishment' of Britain's 'right' to do what it will in Ireland , and after the deaths of six prisoners on hunger-strike , that the campaign of demoralisation , instilling of defeatism , undermining the prisoners and vilification of their supporters , got underway in July of that year (1981) .

'Chief Advocate' of that campaign was Fr. Denis Faul , an assistant chaplain to Long Kesh and civil rights activist , who is prominent in the activities of the respected 'Association for Legal Justice' (ALJ) : however , his hunger-strike breaking activities cannot be ascribed to those of an individual . Faul , like Fianna Fail leader , Charles Haughey , or Sinn Fein President , Ruairi O' Bradaigh , cannot be viewed as having taken unilateral action on this most acutely political situation in isolation from the body of which he is a prominent member , the Irish Catholic Church .......

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .......
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

The Official IRA/INLA Feud , 1975 :
It is impossible to apportion blame in such incidents but because the Official IRA was then the largest organisation and its interests most immediately threatened , it is not unreasonable to assume that it was the major culprit in this feud .

Certainly the Official IRA was the first to kneecap an opponent and then it was the first to murder a member of the opposing party , Hugh Ferguson . The 'final tally' ended up with two deaths on each side .

Then the Official IRA Officer Commanding , Billy McMillan , was shot dead by the INLA on the Falls Road in Belfast ; this shooting took place after a truce had been negotiated .......

(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, December 13, 2005

BRITISH 'JUSTICE' : THE EMERGENCY LEGISLATION AND THE INFORMER SYSTEM.......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

When internment became politically impossible , the British government substituted it for the policy of 'criminalisation', which continues today . Those suspected of involvement in political resistance are processed through the courts , but RUC and court procedure are governed by emergency legislation that has substantially changed the rules of British 'justice' .

Many of the traditional principles that safeguard the civil rights of the citizen have been taken away in the emergency legislation , such as the right to silence and the right to trial by jury . The first phase of 'criminalisation' has come to be known as the 'conveyor belt' system of 'justice' : under the 'Emergency Powers Act' you can be arrested and held for three days without being suspected of any specific offence , other than "...(suspected of) being a terrorist.. " .

Under the 'Prevention Of Terrorism Act' , the 'suspicion' must be of a particular offence - then you can be held for seven days . A detainee has no right to see a solicitor .......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .......
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

The actual and intended medical intervention by their relatives precluded both the threat and the actuality of on-going deaths in the H-Blocks , removed the pressure being maintained on the British government , and negated the effectiveness of hunger-strike as a prison protest weapon .

But ten prisoners had already died on hunger-strike and their families had not intervened ; their relatives loved them at least as much as did the families who did intervene or declared their intention to do so . Their families wanted to prevent their deaths at least as much as the families whose actions and intentions did prevent the death of their loved ones .

Not one of those twenty families was not fully behind and actively supportive of the hunger-strikers five demands . So why did a situation arise where those families did take the steps which effectively brought an end to the hunger-strike by nagating its value as a protest weapon ....... ?

(MORE LATER).



THUGGERY : THE UGLY FACE OF SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

The image which Sinn Fein The Workers Party presents to voters in the South of Ireland as the party of "...peace , justice and class politics .. " and as "...the party you can trust.. " is very different to the reality of the Official IRA , which has been responsible for some of the most horrific atrocities in the North in the past decade .

Below we list the most salient examples of thuggery for which the Official IRA have been responsible . We list only those incidents , apart from the murder of David Walker , that have taken place since 1975 ; this is because the Official IRA seemed intent on a ceasefire since that time .

The Murder Of David Walker , June 21 , 1973 :
We are including this incident in our list of Official IRA atrocities because of its particular awfulness , even though it happened before the effective end to the Official IRA military campaign . David Walker was aged 16 and was mentally handicapped ; he was kidnapped by the Official IRA on his way to school at about 8.35AM and was found with gunshot wounds in his head and chest at 11.25AM . He died 20 minutes later .......

(MORE LATER).







Monday, December 12, 2005

BRITISH 'JUSTICE' : THE EMERGENCY LEGISLATION AND THE INFORMER SYSTEM.
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

Women come to be prisoners in Armagh Jail via a judical system which is substantially different from that whereby women living in England , Scotland and Wales can be convicted of offences and imprisoned .

Since Partition in 1922 , which set-up 'Northern Ireland' as a 'State' , its people have always been controlled by emergency legislation which severely compromises civil and human rights . The 'Special Powers Act' of 1922 was replaced in 1973 by the 'Emergency Powers Act' and the 'Prevention of Terrorism Act' was introduced in 1974 . The 15 years since 1969 have seen internment without trial , juryless courts and routine physical , sexual and psychological torture of detainees .

During the most recent period of the British Army being in Ireland there have , since 1969 , been three distinct phases in the strategies used by the 'security forces' and judiciary to repress political strife . First , internment ; secondly , criminalisation using 'confessions' obtained by beatings ; and thirdly , criminalisation using informer 'evidence' .

Internment was introduced in 1971 and , for the next four years , thousands of Irish people , mainly Catholic men , were held without trial in Long Kesh ; the often flimsy 'evidence' against them went unchallenged since they were never brought to court .......

(MORE LATER).



FR. DENIS FAUL : A CONNIVING AND TREACHEROUS MAN .
First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

The hunger-strike begun by Bobby Sands on March 1st , 1981 , ended two-hundred-and-seventeen days later on October 3rd , 1981 .

Between 1.17AM on Tuesday May 5th 1981 and 7.50AM on Thursday August 20th 1981 , ten young Irishmen - the youngest , 23 : the oldest , 30 - died on hunger-strike . Their sacrifice was as much aimed at gaining for their comrades on the blanket protest the overt physical conditions of political recognition as it was individually a personal testimony of their refusal to be branded 'criminal' by the foreign and oppressive British regime which occupies the six north-eastern counties of Ireland by armed might .

The hunger-strike ended after four families had intervened medically to prevent their loved ones from dying and six other families had intimated that they would do likewise . The prisoners had not entered into the hunger-strike protest lightly ; they fully realised that only their deaths or the threat of their deaths would create the political conditions which would force the British government into conceding their five just and reasonable demands .......

(MORE LATER).



IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

Bank Levies , SFWP style :

CIE TRAIN ROBBERY :
This happened on Thursday February 5th , 1981 but where we are not exactly sure . Neither do we know what , if anything , the raiders got .

Two train hold-ups occurred on the same day ; one on the Dublin-Belfast train , which left Connolly Station in Dublin at 17.30 . It appears that there were just two women involved in this raid and they held-up five crew members on the train and threw out 5 mail bags onto the tracks . These bags were later found by Gardai on the line between Skerries and Balbriggan , County Dublin .

While at least some of the bags contained registered mail , it is not known what , if anything , of value , the raiders may have got . Incidentally , the two female raiders got off the train when it came to an unscheduled halt at Balbriggan.

The other train hold-up occurred later that same night at Ballybrophy , County Laois on the Dublin-Cork mail train . It appears that there was no money on this train and the raiders left the scene in a state of some agitation . The Gardai linked the two incidents together , believing that the same organisation was responsible . However , we have discovered that one of the raids was conducted by the Official IRA and the other by the Provisional IRA , but we are not sure which was responsible for which .

[END of ' IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN ' .]
(Tomorrow - 'Thuggery : The Ugly Face Of SFWP' .)






Friday, December 09, 2005

" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .
The Official Response.

In response to the many letters of protest sent by concerned members of parliament , members of the European Parliament , local councillors , members of the public and concerned women and men from elsewhere in the world , this official version of the strip-search procedure has been faithfully reproduced , together with further comforting phrases :

" The (British) government is satisfied , having gone into the whole matter very carefully , that there is a need for the present procedures and that they are carried out in as sensitive a manner as possible by the staff concerned . To describe what is done as 'inhuman' is a gross exaggeration . " Compare this with the following , which actually happened - " Eight screws were present , standing silently , waiting to see , hoping to see , another one break . Then the dreaded words - "Right ! Strip !" "

And this - " She is briefly visually examined while still in the cubicle to ensure that she has not 'hidden' any item on her person .....as I felt a hand slowly moving down the calf of my leg my flesh crawled . They were'nt content to jibe at my naked state , they had to 'search' me . A 'skin-search' , aye . It sounds ridiculous , but it is true... "

The British government is "...satisfied.. " , despite the fact that metal detectors , which are available , are not used to search prisoners at Armagh , that these degrading procedures are "...necessary.. " . The British government is also "...satisfied .." that sometimes as many as 28 strip-searches a month are "...necessary.. " to make sure that one prisoner is not smuggling anything into the prison or out of it .

Yet , if the British government is concerned about 'security' why do they not use the metal detectors ? Surely the imposition of anything so traumatic as the strip-searches , which are unnecessary , constitutes 'inhumanity' and is a contradiction of British 'Lord' Gowrie's 'principle' of "...proper consideration.. " ?

[END of " DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .]
(Monday , 12th - 'British Justice' : from 1984.)


THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .

On the outside , the Irish 'establishment' has been exposed and lost credibility and electoral ground . British 'criminalisation' policy has been smashed . Anti-imperialist feelings have been awakened from their slumber throughout Ireland . The struggle for Irish freedom has gained world-wide publicity . And , more important perhaps for the future , the youth of Ireland stood up to be counted .

Some joined the ranks of the IRA , others worked tirelessly in their action groups , organising pickets , drafting leaflets , painting wall murals , the photographs of which went all over the world , as the most beautiful proof of the existence of a living popular struggle . All this was , first and foremost , what Bobby Sands and his comrades were in jail for , and what they died for .

[END of ' THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE ' .]
(Monday , 12th - 'Fr. Denis Faul ; A Conniving , Treacherous Man.' From 1981.)


IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

Bank Levies , SFWP style :

ALLIED IRISH BANK HEAD OFFICE site - £6,000 :
This robbery took place in 1977 when the AIB headquarters was under construction . Two armed men forced their way into the site office of Crampton's , the builders , and got away with £6,000 - a third man was waiting for them in a car opposite the Royal Dublin Society building in Ballsbridge , Dublin . Specific details of this robbery were not available from Crampton's - the foreman at the site at the time was able to remember only the above details . Sources connected with the Official IRA have informed us that they were responsible for the robbery .

INTERNATIONAL MEAT PACKERS , DUBLIN - £30,000 :
This , according to the Gardai , was "...a particularly well organised job .. "
The payroll arrived in the factory on Lower Grand Canal Street , in Dublin , at 9AM on Friday , July 22nd , 1977 . Forty-five minutes later two raiders , dressed in white coats and protective helmets (the uniform of workers on the site) arrived ; they held up the cash office at gunpoint as the staff there were in the process of filling out wage packets . They opened fire on a member of the staff who pursued them , and got away in a white Ford Cortina which had been stolen and was later found abandoned .
(Monday , 12th - 'CIE Train Robbery'.)
(MORE LATER).







Thursday, December 08, 2005

" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .
The Official Response.

" Anyone with long hair is ordered to gather her hair up in her hands and hold it on top of her head . This , say the women prisoners , makes the entire sordid affair seem like a slave trade market . When the strip-searching is finished , clothes are returned and we are allowed to dress .

Next , we are brought into an RUC van and from there on we are in RUC custody ; after arriving at court we make a brief appearance and , I should stress , have
no contact with the public . Most women are returned to Armagh Prison from the local court in Armagh in less than half an hour , and are again subjected to strip-searching .

The women are searched on their return to prison from court , even though they have been in RUC custody and have had no contact with the public - where would they get anything to conceal on themselves in a high security court ? Also , what could possibly be the justification for searching the women on
leaving the prison to go to court ?

Harassment , rather than security , is obviously the purpose ....... "


(MORE LATER).



THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .

Bernard Fox ended his hunger-strike on September 25th , 1981 for health reasons , similar to the health issues suffered by Brendan McLaughlin . The hunger-strike finally crumbled as an effective weapon when all but one family of the remaining six hunger-strikers indicated that they would intervene eventually .

What the British and Free State governments had been unable to achieve , directly or through various 'official' bodies , the Catholic hierarchy had succeeded in bringing about - an unconditional end of the hunger-strike . The prisoners , in their October 3rd 1981 statement , were not slow to draw the lesson from the fact . Having won international recognition for their status as political prisoners , but having failed to wring the formal admission of that fact from an unyielding British government , the Republican prisoners were given their own clothes and promised some restoration of remission for 'good behaviour' .

About two-thirds of the prisoners are now on a 'no-work' protest , like their women comrades in Armagh Jail , and the rest have decided to conform to prison rules . It will take them months , maybe years , to overcome the emotional and physical strain of four-and-a-half years of gruelling protest and ill-treatment , and a year of hunger-strikes .......

(MORE LATER).



IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

Bank Levies , SFWP style :
Cork CMP Dairies raid - £10,000 : cont/d .......

During a raid on the Cork CMP Dairies , a handgun was discharged at a clerk , Maura Collins - she was wounded in the lower back . The Special Branch moved in on the premises and a gunfight ensued , resulting in the capture of the five raiders . Those five men were :
Thomas Patrick Cosgrave , Cork .
James Martin McKevitt , Newry .
Rory O' Hagan , Dundalk .
David Russell , Belfast .
Hugh Gorman , Newry .

Legal counsel for the men stated at their trial in the Special Criminal Court on October 9th , 1978 - " ...while there were members of the Official IRA (sic- "present" ?) the incident in question was of the nature of a maverick operation for themselves.. " .

That statement , which of course was given in good faith by the legal counsel , was designed to minimise the political embarrassment caused by the incident . It was , however , untrue , according to a variety of sources attached to the Official's . In addition , one of the men involved gave an alias - this man was a prominent operative for the Official IRA over the previous number of years .

(Tomorrow - raids on Allied Irish Bank Head Office and International Meat Packers , both in Dublin.)

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, December 07, 2005

" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .
The Official Response.

British 'Lord' Gowrie (Deputy Secretary of State for 'Northern Ireland' , with responsibility for prisons , for two years until 1983) stated : " I do accept that there is legitimate concern that no prisoners , especially women , should be treated other than with proper consideration . Neither I nor Jim Prior (present British Secretary of State for 'Northern Ireland') nor any of my officials , would tolerate a system which did not operate under this principle . "

Yet very little consideration is shown to women when they are menstruating , as can be seen from the prisoners' account : " While you are naked you are asked if you have a period and , if you have , you are forced to remove your sanitary protection . A paper bag is provided for your tampoon or towel ; the bag is then opened and the contents examined . Your body is then inspected , and you are told to turn completely round so as no part of your body is left unseen . "

Why wait until the woman is naked before asking if she has her period ? Why not ask this before the strip-search begins ? It is obvious that the whole process is designed to humiliate and degrade the women prisoners and that 'Lord' Gowrie's words are meaningless . The contradiction between 'official' statements and the reality of what the women prisoners go through can be seen from further statements .......

(MORE LATER).



THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .

Mrs Quinn's intervention to save her son , Paddy's life , on July 31st 1981 , was heralded as " ...an example for all Christian mothers.. " by various clerics , increasing the already unbearable pressure on the families of Kevin Lynch and Kieran Doherty . Through public statements , Catholic priest Fr. Denis Faul began to describe the hunger-strike as "...hopeless.. " , accusing Republicans of using the hunger-strike to "...gain control.." . The mask was down .

The Catholic hierarchy's real fear had been , all along , the collapsing of their power base . And if their power rested on British rule , then support British rule they must . Pat McGeown's wife intervened on August 20th 1981 as his condition suddenly worsened . Apart from Brendan McLaughlin , who had voluntarily called off his fast on May 27th 1981 after fourteen days on hunger-strike , after it had become clear he would soon die of a perforated ulcer , now two hunger-strikers had ended their fast through family intervention .

Fr. Denis Faul by then was paying frequent visits to the hunger-strikers' relatives , calling meetings or seeing them individually . On September 4th 1981 , Matt Devlin's family signed for medical intervention : on the 6th September 1981 , Laurence McKeown's family did likewise . On the 26th September 1981 , Liam McCloskey voluntarily ended his hunger-strike after his mother convinced him that she would intervene the minute he became unconscious .......

(MORE LATER).



IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

Bank Levies , SFWP style :

Allied Irish Bank , North Wall , Dublin - £11,000 .
Three armed men entered the bank at 10.14AM ; two jumped over the counter and one of them shouted - " Give us the rent ... " - they got away in a car which was driven by the fourth man . Two of the men involved visited the scene on the following day to point out the location to their girl friends . One of these ladies is a prominent trade unionist today .

Cork CMP Dairies - £10,000 .
This was probably the most embarrassing robbery for Sinn Fein The Workers Party because the people involved were caught and many of them were very well-known members of the Official Movement . Five men , all armed , held up the wages office of the CMP Dairies and took £10,000 ; one of the raiders fired a shot at a wages clerk , a M/S Maura Collins , who failed to comply swiftly enough with their orders : she was hit in the lower back .

The sound of the gunshot alerted three Special Branch men who were investigating a break-in at the rear of the premises . They rushed around to the front and exchanged shots with the raiders - when one of the Branch men produced a machine-gun , the five raiders surrendered .......

(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, December 06, 2005

" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .
The Official Response.

" You are then told to hand over all your clothes , which are taken away and searched . Once your clothes are gone you are asked if you want a 'gown' - this garment comes in two parts : the top consists of a strip of material which slips over the head and consists of two panels , back and front , which are not joined .

The bottom part is similar to a mini-skirt - the purpose of this is to enable the prison staff to raise the material and inspect your body . No woman has ever agreed to wear these distasteful garments . Apart from adding to the already tense embarrassment , they would only tend to prolong the strip-search . After the 'gowns' have been refused , a bedsheet is offered - if you accepted this sheet you would have to wrap it round yourself and then open it to have your body 'inspected' . This also only serves to prolong the strip-searching , so the sheets are also refused . "


From this woman's account , it is obvious that there is no privacy and that , instead of one prison screw , there are sometimes up to ten present . Also , the offer of a 'gown' is used to prolong the strip-search ; not to make it as brief as possible . It does nothing to preserve the woman's dignity or to prevent her from being humiliated .......

(MORE LATER).



THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .

The main advocate of the anti-Republican campaign which was carried-out by the Catholic hierarchy was Long Kesh assistant-chaplain Fr. Denis Faul , with the approval of Cardinal O Fiaich and Bishop Daly .

As early as 1st March 1981 , Bishop Daly of Derry had condemned the hunger-strike as " ...immoral.. " and advised young people "...not to be used by certain groups.. " . The Catholic church broke its silence a few times , asking for compromise and an end to the fast ; on April 28th 1981 , the Catholic Pope's envoy , Fr. John Magee , was despatched to plead with the hunger-strikers to unconditionally end their fast . To no avail .

After the death of Francis Hughes, Cardinal O Fiaich had sent a telegram to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher begging her to negotiate with the prisoners , but his plea was ignored . This was to be the last effort by the Catholic hierarchy to act in favour of the prisoners . Through the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace , the Catholic hierarchy willingly played the British game of deceit .

By then , after six deaths in the H-Blocks , those anti-Republican forces clearly saw the prisoners' 'Achilles heel' to be their distressed relatives , and began a concerted effort in that direction ; repeatedly through the last week of July 1981 , and into August , Fr. Faul , by a series of lies , tried to undermine the trust the families were putting in the H-Block campaign leadership . Although always publicly exposed , Fr. Denis Faul forged ahead , with various meetings of prisoners' relatives - in Toomebridge , Belfast etc , hoping to provide a public platform for any frustration or resentment the families might have had against the whole campaign , or against the Republican Movement .

But the relatives remained united , and even issued a joint statement at the end of such a meeting in Belfast , on August 7th , 1981 .......

(MORE LATER).



IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

Bank Levies , SFWP style : Dundalk Jewellers (cont/d)...

Two of the men who were involved in the May 9th 1980 robbery of a jewellers shop in Dundalk , County Louth , were caught and sentenced to eight years imprisonment by the 'Special Criminal Court' : they were Leonard McAteer of Newry and James Tracey of Horn Drive , Suffolk , Belfast . Two of the Gardai involved in the incident were decorated .

Bank of Ireland , Westland Row , Dublin - £25,000 :
This robbery took place on November 22 , 1977 , while security men from Brinkmat Security Firm were making a delivery to the bank . Three armed men accosted them at the door of the bank and forced them inside ; one of the raiders was armed with a shotgun and the other two had handguns . They got away with £25,000 but missed a larger sum of money which was still in the security van .

Two of the raiders escaped on a motorbike while the third made off on foot . The Gardai later apprehended a man and interrogated him but it was found that he was a barman in a local pub who was confused by locals with one of the raiders .......

(MORE LATER).







Monday, December 05, 2005

" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

The women prisoners in Armagh Jail cannot appeal to you , so I do so in their name . They are imprisoned because they denied the British Government the 'right' to invade their country . For their 'audacity' , that same government has sought to invade both their bodies and their minds .

The Armagh women deserve every accolade laid on them ; they suffer and endure , resolutely , continual strip searches , cell-raids , and internal lock-ups . They expect nothing less and they deserve so much more .

The Official Response.
In response to criticism in the press , the British 'Northern Ireland (sic) Office' issued a circular in February 1983 describing the strip-searches thus :

" The prisoner is shown into an enclosed cubicle where , in complete privacy , she removes her clothing and passes them out to a woman prison officer for searching . While she is in the cubicle , she may put on prison-made top and skirt or , if she prefers , a sheet which she wears while her clothes are being searched .

She is then briefly visually examined while still in the cubicle by one female prison officer to ensure she has not hidden any item on her person . "
This 'official' statement paints a picture of a discreet , perfunctory and private search , carried out by only one prison screw while the prisoner is in the cubicle . It should be compared to a statement made by the prisoners themselves :

" We are told to go into the cubicles and strip . A curtain is fastened across the cubicle about waist-high to the floor . You are always in view of the prison staff who sometimes number as many as ten . As you strip , you become very aware of how little protection the curtain affords you . When you are naked , your body from the waist up is visible to all the prison staff in the room ....... "

(MORE LATER).



THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .

On August 2nd 1981 , Kieran Doherty , TD for Cavan/Monaghan , died after seventy-three days on hunger-strike ; the flag flew at half mast on Leinster House to mark his passing , although the few people left in the building at the beginning of the summer recess were at pains to point out that it was done "...for any TD .." In fact , arch-bigot and Unionist MP Robert Bradford was to be bestowed that same honour less than four months later .

The last two hunger-strikers to lose their lives in this heroic struggle were Thomas McElwee , who died on August 8th 1981 after sixty-two days on hunger strike , and Micky Devine , who died on August 20th after sixty days on hunger strike . On that same day a by-election took place in Fermanagh and South Tyrone ; no hunger-striker candidate this time - the British government had seen to that by hastily concocting and passing a bill through Westminster which would bar people convicted of 'terrorist offences' in Britain and the North from standing for election at Westminster .

That bill , widely known as the 'Sands Bill' , demonstrated how respectful of the ballot box the British really are . In the event , Owen Carron , local member of Sinn Fein , H-Block activist and former election agent for Bobby Sands , was chosen to stand as a ' proxy political prisoner candidate ' against ex-UDR man and Official Unionist Party candidate Ken Maginnis . Owen Carron polled 31,278 votes , increasing Bobby Sands' majority by almost eight hundred . This was another body-blow to Margaret Thatcher's government , a further indication of the height of support the prisoners enjoyed .

Yet , at that stage , the Brits' worries were soon to be over , as their old ally , the Catholic Hierarchy , was on an all-out campaign to put pressure on the hunger-strikers' relatives .......

(MORE LATER).




IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

Bank Levies , SFWP style :

CIE Pay Office , Inchicore , Dublin : £150,000 .
This was one of the Official IRA's most successful operations and it took place on November 1 , 1978 . Five armed men held up the cashier's office ; they were armed with shotguns and they were wearing scarves and balaclava helmets . They locked the wages staff in the canteen after they got the money and then drove away in a CIE van , which was later abandoned as the raiders got away in another vehicle . Nobody was ever caught for the operation - we have been informed by several sources connected with the Official Movement that this robbery was conducted by the Official IRA to provide finance for Sinn Fein The Workers Party .

Dundalk Jewellers : £60,000 .
This robbery took place on May 9 , 1980 , and could have proved a major embarrassment to Sinn Fein The Workers Party because the men involved got caught and were identifiable as being associated with the Official Movement ; however , the media missed the story at the time and the Gardai do not seem to have realised the significance of the incident .

The jewellers that was raided was owned by John Walsh and jewels to the value of £60,000 were taken . A garda on duty nearby gave chase to the raiders but failed to catch them ; however , two men who corresponded to the description given by that garda were later spotted by other gardai who also gave chase and , this time , caught them . The car involved in the incident had been hi-jacked in Belfast the previous day , with the hi-jackers telling the owner that the car was being taken over by the Official IRA and would be returned later that day . When this did not happen the man went to the Provisional Sinn Fein incident centre on the Falls Road in Belfast and a man who liaises with the Official IRA for the Provisionals contacted the local Official IRA Officer Commanding in the Cyprus Street Republican Clubs drinking haunt .

He was told that the car would be returned the next day - but the car was then found to have been involved in the Dundalk jewellery robbery .......

(MORE LATER).







Friday, December 02, 2005

" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

The prison Governor states that strip-searches are carried out on a " spot-check" basis ; my repeated ordeals denied that as true . The ordeal of being strip-searched continually had a pronounced and adverse effect on many of its victims , both physical and psychological .

I saw girls being physically ill on the morning of their court appearance and I saw others biting back tears upon their return , and heard them stifling their sobs in the 'privacy' of their cells . I saw their anger and their revulsion , and I felt their pain .

Within a few months I was released from Armagh Jail , when the British Crown 'witness' became unwilling to perjure the lives of so many innocent people . Within me I carry the memory of the Armagh women , their joy when we heard that the British government would have to release me : I think of Marie , who felt everyone's troubles of any nature .

I think of Siobhan , five feet of sheer resilience : I think of all the women who maintain their dignity throughout each assault upon their bodies .......

(MORE LATER).



THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .

A member of Na Fianna Eireann , John Dempsey , was shot dead by British soldiers in Belfast and a young housewife , Nora McCabe , was fatally wounded by an RUC plastic bullet .

On Friday July 10th , 1981 , as Joe McDonnell was being buried with full military honours , British soldiers and RUC men attacked the mourners and the IRA Firing Party both with plastic and live bullets , coming close to creating another 'Bloody Sunday' . The premature death of Martin Hurson after forty-six days of fast , on July 13th 1981 , further stunned the relatives and supporters of the prisoners .

Six of their comrades had now died , yet the prisoners battled on , with grim and heroic determination ; the British government's last attempt to give the illusion of progress and demoralise the prisoners took place as Kevin Lynch and Kieran Doherty were entering the critical stage of their fasts , and involved the International Red Cross (IRC) . The IRC delegation was given a 'brief' by the British government - this 'brief' was so thin as to be invisible , but the prisoners condemned this new ploy and the IRC people faded away to prepare some vague report on ' Northern Ireland (sic) Prisons ' .

On August 1st 1981 , Kevin Lynch died after seventy-one days of fast . Then , on August 2nd 1981 , Kieran Doherty , TD for Cavan/Monaghan , died after seventy-three days .......

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IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

Bank Levies , SFWP style :

Glens of Antrim , £229,997 .
On April 26 , 1977 , a Securior van was halted on its way from Limavady to Coleraine by a spiked chain thrown across the road . Twenty-three bags of money were taken from the van by five armed men - this gang was later arrested by an RUC patrol as it was packing the bags of money into meat carcasses in a disused quarry , four miles from the scene of the robbery . Those five men were convicted of the robbery at Belfast City Commission on December 14 , 1977 - four were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and one to four years .

The convicted men were - James Michael Feeney of Seapark , Banbridge : Hugh Murphy of Richmont Gardens , Lurgan : John Paul McGeown of Ridgeway , Craigavon : Andrew Murnin of Drumbeg North , Craigavon : and William Barr of Belmont , Derry . The latter , William Barr , was the manager of Securicor Ulster Ltd , in Derry . Feeney and Murphy admitted to being members of the Official IRA .......

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .......
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

As I felt a hand slowly moving down the calves of my leg , my flesh crawled . They were'nt content to jibe at my naked state , they had to 'search' me - a 'skin-search' . It sounds ridiculous , but it's true. I was ordered to turm around , and I managed to totally ignore that command and the following ones . They could strip me , but no way was I going to assist them . They were forced to move behind me and , as I steeled myself , they searched my hair .

Eventually , they could draw out the search no longer - they told me to re-enter the cubicle and dress quickly , but I remained where I was , silently staring at each one of them in turn , wanting them to look at my face . These were women - women who did this to me . I am 5ft 1inch and weigh 6st 9lbs , and it took eight of these prison screws to be present . I slowly returned to the cubicle and started to dress , feeling drained , and I noticed a tremble in my hands . I felt violated , invaded , victimised . And very , very angry .

Within the next 48 hours I was to be strip-searched five times . I wrote numerous letters of complaint to the Board of Visitors , calling into question their empty excuses that strip-searching is necessary on 'security grounds' . Each time I left the prison I was under joint British military/RUC escort , and was taken to the court (two minutes journey away) in a steel-reinforced van , locked into a steel 'pig-sty' within the van and dragged out of it and hustled into the courtroom for a 30 second appearance in the dock , and returned immediately to the prison .

Both before getting into the van and when leaving it back at the jail I was strip-searched , stripped naked twice within twenty minutes , having had no contact at all with the public .......

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THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .

On June 23rd 1981 , as Joe McDonnell was beginning his fifty-seventh day on hunger-strike , the 'Irish Commission for Justice and Peace' met the British Under-Secretary for Prisons in the North , Michael Alison . At that meeting he told them that he saw no problem in the prisoners wearing their own clothes : from that day to July 8th , when Joe McDonnell died , the British government was to engage in yet another exercise in brinkmanship with the prisoners' lives , letting the Commission meet the hunger-strikers , but not their Officer Commanding , Brendan McFarlane , allowing the Commission members to raise the relatives' hopes only to crush them , as on July 3rd , when Michael Alison renaged on the clothes issue .

All along , Garret Fitzgerald , the Fine Gael Free State 'Taoiseach' , was monitoring the situation , and even met the families of the hunger strikers on July 3rd 1981 , impressing on them that they should get their sons to accept the Commission's statement ; but the British government's 'about-turn' on the clothes issue , followed by their stalling , ensured that the Commission was shown as a 'puppet' in the hands of the British . On July 8th 1981 , Joe McDonnell died after sixty-one days on hunger-strike .

Never at any time had the Republican prisoners stated that the Commission's proposals were acceptable to them yet , in spite of a lengthy and crystal-clear statement by the prisoners , on July 14th 1981 , the Commission , a creation of the Irish 'establishment' , had lent itself willingly to the cynical manoeuvres of the British government : the streets of the Occupied Six Counties echoed once more , for the fifth time in less than ten weeks , with the fracas of bin lids and of angry rioting .......

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IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

It appears that many of the Official IRA's arms were dumped around 1975 : one of those arms dumps was discovered in Monaghan by the Gardai in September 1980 : among the items found then were six handguns , 10,000 rounds of ammunition , walkie-talkie radios and a quantity of silver coins - left overs from a bank raid . Training manuals and other documents were also found , leading Gardai to conclude that weapons training had been carried out by the Official IRA some short time previously .

Sinn Fein the Workers Party strenuously denies that any of its finance comes from robberies ; in spite of these denials , however , we have identified the following robberies as having been carried out by members of the Official IRA since 1975 . We have been able to identify robberies that amount to only about half a million pounds in all and much of this was recovered afterwards . But we are aware that these represent only the tip of the iceberg - that much more money has been robbed by members of the Official IRA over the last several years . One former member of the OIRA Army Council estimates that the Official IRA robbed a total of about £2 million since the 1972 ceasefire .

We have also been informed that two major robberies were conducted in the run up to the June 1981 general election campaign , one of which took place in Belfast in early 1981 when a bank on the Ormeau Road was raided . The other robbery took place in the South and the takings were very considerable . We are not aware of the precise details of either of these operations and have therefore left them out of this narrative ; however , we wish to point out that there was a major jewellery robbery in McDowells Jewellers in O' Connell Street , Dublin , on April 24 , 1981 , when jewellery valued at £100,000 was taken . We have no evidence that this was stolen by the Official IRA but this is the only robbery of its size undertaken in the run-up to the 1981 election .

Also , as outlined below , the Official IRA was involved in another jewellery robbery in May 1980 and therefore must have the means of disposing of jewellery on the black market .......

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