Thursday, December 08, 2005

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 ....... "


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 .......



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.)