Friday, November 11, 2005


The women's prison in the North of Ireland is situated in the centre of the Protestant/Loyalist city of Armagh .
It was built in the 19th century , a huge granite building which today sports all the trappings of a high-security jail such as barbed wire , guards , arc-lamps , and closed circuit television cameras .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

A peaceful picket outside Armagh Jail in 1979 had just ended and those present were about to leave ; suddenly , the RUC charged into the 50-strong crowd - eleven women eventually stood 'trial' on charges arising out of the picket . All were fined but two opted to serve prison sentences rather than 'acknowledge criminality' .

A Tribunal exposing the conditions in Armagh Jail and publicising the charges against those arrested on the picket was held ; the Tribunal heard disturbing facts about the conditions of the protesting women - a woman who should have been on an ulcer diet was being treated instead with valium . Another , who eventually had to be hospitalised , was told that the pains in her stomach existed only in her imagination !

Meanwhile , Pauline McLoughlin , a woman who was so ill that she vomited constantly and was rapidly losing weight , was not getting adequate care . On February 7 , 1980 , there was what can only be described as mass assaults by male and female prison officers on the women in B Wing , Armagh Jail ; the resultant bruises and swellings were noted by the prison chaplain , Fr. Raymond Murray , and by Bishop Edward Daly who visited the jail on February 13 , 1980 .

The details of those assaults have been documented in both ' On The Blanket' by Tim Pat Coogan and ' The Armagh Women' by Nell McCafferty : the details are harrowing.......



Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months .
Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more .
From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

As a means of keeping the de jure government - Dail Eireann - in being , the IRA initiated a meeting of Republican deputies who had remained faithful to the Republic ; that meeting was held on September 9th , 1922 and constituted itself as the 'Second Dail' . Eamon de Valera was elected as President and an 'Emergency Government' was appointed . This action , taken by the IRA , was in accordance with a resolution of Dail Eireann which provided for the IRA having the power to proclaim an 'Emergency Government' if enemy action at any time prevented democratic means of securing a Republican government .

This re-constituted Republican government was not able to function - a fact which Liam Mellows was at pains to criticise . Although regarded by a large section of the population as the only de jure government it could do little more than represent the protest against the seizure of power by the pro-Treaty party and place the logical and constitutional facts of the situation on record by means of statements and proclamations .

In May 1923 , the defence of the Republic by armed struggle was suspended : from April 1922 until May 1923 , the fighting had raged throughout the country until the Republican forces , encircled and isolated , were forced to dump arms . The Republican Army had lost some of its best leaders ; the Republican institutions had been smashed and British interests were being protected ".. with an economy of English lives.. " ('1169...' Comment - ...and those in Leinster House have been doing that ever since .)

The Free State government called a general election for August 27th , 1923 ; although 11,316 Republicans were still interned , Sinn Fein contested eighty-seven seats on an abstentionist ticket - because of the oath to the Free State constitution and the English 'king' : the Free Staters moved against the Sinn Fein organisation .......



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.

Prior to Christmas three years ago a row , involving a full-time Official of Sinn Fein The Workers Party , broke out in a Dublin pub , The Dockers, on Sir John Rogerson's Quay . The row resulted in the party Official stabbing a broken glass in the face of one of two of his antagonists , both of whom were former members of Sinn Fein The Workers Party . Inevitably , there were threats of retribution .

These former members , brothers , had been involved on a number of previous occasions in conflicts with other SFWP Officials - indeed , there had previously been a row with the same SFWP Official at the party's drinking club , 'Club Ui Cadhain' , at Gardiner Place in Dublin city centre . Somebody obviously decided that the Dockers Pub incident was the last straw and that the two brothers would have to be taught a lesson : the Sunday morning after the row two cars carrying eight men drew up outside The Dockers ; the men , several of whom were armed , went into the pub and singed out the two brothers , having warned the rest of the Sunday morning drinking crowd to stand back and mind their own business .

They then beat the two brothers over the head with hatchets , causing them very serious injury . A girl who was with one of the brothers and who was then a current member of Sinn Fein The Workers Party , was beaten when she protested . She had been involved with a senior member of the party some time previously and this may have been an aggravating factor in the dispute . Seven of the eight men were members of SFWP - all were members of the Official IRA , some of them from the Dublin Unit OIRA and some from Belfast , including one of the most notorious 'heavies' of the latter organisation in the North , who is now in jail on an arms offence . The other person from that eight-man gang , who is not a member of SFWP , is perhaps the most interesting of that group .

He occupies a very senior position on the GHQ Staff of the Official IRA , and has been involved in numerous robberies over the last several years , and is believed to have murdered a prominent individual in Dublin in the course of the last five years .......


(We would like to wish the Republican Movement well and congratulate them on their 101st Ard Fheis , which is being held in Dublin this weekend : 100 years of unbroken continuity ! )