Wednesday, February 01, 2006

THE DUBLIN COUNCIL OF TRADE UNIONS - founded on March 3rd , 1886 : 120 years ago this year .......
First published in 'AP/RN' , 27th February 1986 .

The forum for the radicalisation of the labour movement during these years was the Dublin Council of Trade Unions , and the progressive grouping around Jim Larkin (which included James Connolly) meant that the nature of the DCTU was utterly changed . Its emergence as the campaigning voice of workers frightened the employers and William Martin Murphy responded by setting up an employers' organisation , the ' Dublin Employers' Federation' .

In August 1913 , the employers tried to suppress Jim Larkin's militant union by refusing to employ any members of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union - this led to a 'Lock-Out' which lasted six months and saw a period of untold hardship and misery for Dublin workers which was marked by street violence , sympathetic strikes and the espousal of revolution by James Connolly . While the struggle was led by the ITGWU , the trades' council played an important co-ordinating role : a strike committee was established to which all unions reported and through which funds and supplies were channelled .

At the height of the Lock-Out , the DCTU's President , W.P. Partridge , accompanied Jim Larkin to England on his 'Fiery Cross' Campaign to rally English workers in support of the Irish union's fight .......


On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British 'Lord' Widgery was highly selective in the 'evidence' he used in his 'official' report on the matter - and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims' families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .

Edward Heath (British Prime Minister) is recorded as saying that the Derry Guildhall building would be unsuitable as a venue for tribunal hearings as it " ..was on the wrong side of the River Foyle .. " (ie - the 'Catholic/Nationalist' side) . British 'Lord' Widgery himself stated that he "... saw the exercise as a fact-finding exercise ; it would help if the inquiry could be restricted to what actually happened in those few minutes when men were shot and killed . This would enable the tribunal to confine evidence to eye witnesses . " ('1169...' Comment - other words : to restrict evidence to as few people as possible.)

In the event , Widgery confined himself to the evidence of some eye-witnesses , refusing to hear the evidence of others . In writing his report , he then ignored much of the evidence that he had heard and distorted a great deal of the rest : an examination of the text rules out the possibility of this having come about through mis-understanding , carelessness or unconscious bias .

In the days after Bloody Sunday , the 'Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association' (sic) gathered more than 700 eye-witness statements from civilians in Derry ; copies of these were presented to British 'Lord' Widgery on 9 March 1972 but , instead of welcoming this reservoir of relevant information , Widgery , according to an internal tribunal memorandum dated 10 March 1972 , "...considered that the statement had been submitted at this late stage to cause him the maximum embarrassment .. " . In fact , the three-inch-thick file of statements had been delivered to the British Treasury Solicitor's Office in London on 3 March 1972 - 34 days after the event and 17 days before the tribunal's final public sitting .

A delay of about a week had been caused by disagreement among relatives and others about whether to co-operate with the tribunal at all .......


INFORMERS : The RUC's Psychological War .......
From 'IRIS' magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.

Deprived first of the 'soft option' of internment and then of the 'luxury' of a comprehensive and unhindered policy of interrogation using torture , and faced with Republicans who , successfully for the most part , adopted a policy of strict silence while under interrogation , the RUC and their political overlords were forced to examine other methods to ensure the imprisonment and sentencing of suspected Republicans .

As always in the Six Counties , the 'primacy' of the 'rule of law' came a distinct second to the entirely pragmatic business of using whatever methods 'necessary' to lock up Republicans . And , for their part , too , the RUC Special Branch faced other problems as well - over the years they had successfully operated a number of low-paid informants within Nationalist areas , keeping them supplied with low to high grade information , reporting the movements of known Republicans etc .

In addition , when occasionally the RUC did succeed in 'breaking' an IRA Volunteer under interrogation , he was sometimes persuaded , in return for non-prosecution by the IRA , to return to active involvement within the IRA and to pass on information on a regular basis . In one notorious incident , a North Belfast IRA Volunteer , Maurice Gilvarry , who had 'broken' and being recruited by the RUC in 1977 , passed on information about a planned IRA operation which resulted in the stake-out/assassination of several of the IRA Volunteers involved .

The IRA , however , had established an Internal Security Department * which had largely succeeded in stemmimg the flow of high-grade information and discovering leaks ....... (* '1169...' Comment - As we now know , any "stemming of information" and "leaks discovered" by that 'Internal Security Department' was done with the permission of Westminster .)