A HISTORY OF ARMAGH JAIL .......
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 .......
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.
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 ! )