Tuesday, December 06, 2005

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 .......


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 .......



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 .......