Thursday, February 02, 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 1913 Lock-Out ended in February 1914 with neither side winning a clear victory and the Dublin Council of Trade Unions helping to organise an orderly return to work . However , the spirit of Dublin's workers was unbroken and this was ably demonstrated in a 10,000-strong May Day rally that same year .

One month earlier , in April 1914 , the Dublin Council of Trade Unions approved the formation of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) , described by Lenin as "...the first Red Army in Europe .. " : under the leadership of James Connolly , a Trades Council delegate , ICA Units marched alongside the labour movement to mark May Day 1915 ; it was in that same year (1915) that the DCTU played an important part in opposing the First World War and British government attempts to introduce conscription in Ireland .

Against a massive opposition campaign by the employers and newspaper barons , the DCTU's President , Thomas Farren , contested the May 1915 by-election on an anti-war , pro-trade union , pro-suffragette ticket and came within 600 votes of winning . His manifesto had been written by James Connolly who , by this time , had aligned the Irish Citizen Army with the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Irish Volunteers - in Easter Week 1916 they rose in rebellion against British rule .

The aftermath of 1916 left the DCTU in disarray : James Connolly and Michael Mallin were executed ; Richard O'Carroll and Peadar Macken died in the fighting ; W.P. Partridge died as a resut of prison conditions ; Thomas Farren , P.T. Daly , William O'Brien , Cathal O' Shannon and Thomas Foran were all interned in England . All of the DCTU's and ITGWU's records were seized .......


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 .

The 10 March 1972 memorandum records that "... only 15 .. " of the 700 statements submitted were "...drawn to [Widgery's] attention .. " - it is not clear whether Widgery himself actually read any of these 15 statements but , on the basis of this knowledge , he is recorded saying of all 700 statements that he did not " ...think that the people who wrote them could bring any new element to the proceedings .. " : the statements were discarded .

The NICRA dossier was discovered by writer Don Mullan three years ago , in a plastic bag in the office of a civil rights group in Derry , and forms the basis of his book , ' Eye-Witness Bloody Sunday' . What mostly gave the book its huge impact were the repeated references in the 100 statements reproduced verbatim to shots fired from the City Walls where they 'beetle' over the Bogside . The evidence selected by Widgery had either been unspecific on the point or told only of shots fired from ground level within the Bogside . Campaigners now argue that this factor on its own invalidates Widgery's conclusions and makes the case for a new inquiry .

It emerged that there had been other evidence available suggesting firing from the walls ; in January 1997 , 'Channel 4 News' broadcast tapes of British Army and RUC communications recorded during the shooting by amateur radio enthusiast Jim Porter ; British soldiers clearly identified as being on the walls are heard reporting incoming fire , firing and claiming "hits" : Mr. Porter recalled offering his tapes to the tribunal and being rebuffed on the ground that the recording of radio communications without appropriate authorisation is illegal (!) .......


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

Over a fourteen-month period during 1980 and 1981 , the Belfast Brigade of the IRA was forced to execute six informers , from among a number it had uncovered , who had passed on information to the RUC : four of them were IRA Volunteers , including Maurice Gilvarry .

By mid-1981 the IRA was sufficiently in control of the internal security situation * within the nationalist ghettos to have decided to call an amnesty which would allow informers - most of them initially recruited by the RUC using a mix of physical and pyschological terror - to come forward to the IRA without fear of punishment . However , because at that time the hunger-strikes were taking place , the IRA - so as not to allow the media an opportunity to divert attention away from that - delayed calling the two-week-long amnesty until the end of January 1982 . (* '1169...' Comment - .... if that was the case , it can only mean that this man was not in charge at that time and that this man was not then required to protect him .)

By early 1982 , Christopher Black had himself 'broken' under interrogation and agreed to turn ' queen's evidence ' against an eventual total of 38 North Belfast people he incriminated in statements .......