Monday, February 06, 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 1930's and 1940's were dominated by the political rise and retention of power by Fianna Fail - * that organisation attracted widespread working-class support and generally had the support of the DCTU for its social and economic policies , particularly their policy of protection of native industries . ( * '1169...' Comment - It is only fair to acknowledge that , in its early days , Fianna Fail did stand for something ; they actually had a 'bottom line' then . But not now - they have been for years simply a political vehicle for snake-oil salesmen to climb aboard and attempt to etch out a career for themselves in . Their representatives and members are one-hundred per cent 'swop-able' with any other Leinster House party , and they with it .)

This period is also marked by the role the trades' council played in all major disputes in the Dublin area : builders' labourers in 1931 ; transport in 1935 ; the building industry for six months in 1937 ; municipal workers in 1940 ; and primary school teachers in 1946 . During this time the DCTU had many of the powers of the present-day Irish Congress of Trade Unions . The DCTU had the machinery for centralised wage bargaining and for handling inter-union disputes . It also took on a more militant political role and when Fianna Fail attempted to bring in a wages freeze and a trade union bill , the Council launched an opposition campaign - massive demonstrations were organised and a special paper , 'Workers' Action' , was produced .

The trades' Council was also in the vanguard of the Dublin movement against fascism and demonstrations were organised against O' Duffy's 'Blueshirts' .

The Irish Trade Union Congress split of 1944 (basically over the national question) had its mirror image in the DCTU and a rival grouping , the Dublin Trades' Union Council , was formed.......


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 .

British 'Lord' Widgery's political objective is even clearer from looking at examples of his handling of the evidence that he did choose to hear - for example , relating to the key moment when British paratroopers opened fire in the courtyard of Rossville Flats and shot dead 17-year-old Jackie Duddy , the young man seen in a much-used film clip being carried dying through British Army lines by a group of men including Dr. Edward Daly .

British 'Lord' Widgery heard from eight members of 'Support Company' , 1 Para , who told of how they had 'come under fire' as they de-bussed from an armoured personnel carrier (APC) in the flats' courtyard , intending to 'arrest' "...hooligans.." - however , every soldier's account of the 'hostile fire' contradicted every other soldier's account ; the 'fog of battle' (!) hardly accounts for the discrepancies . British Sergeant 'O' told of around 80 shots being fired in this enclosed space in the course of two to three minutes from different calibre weapons ; British Lieutenant 'N' , on the other hand , could not recall any civilian gunfire at all .

British Major '236' described "...continuous firing .. " not for 'two to three minutes' but for ten minutes : British Lance Corporal 'V' heard only 'single-shot rifle-fire' . And so on . Some of those British soldiers 'took cover' behind the APC , a 'bulkier' vehicle than , say , a Ford Trasit van . But not only did the 'blizzard' of (incoming) bullets miss the sheltering British soldiers , it missed the APC as well .......


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

But while changing circumstances were forcing the British administration to look to new methods of getting a flow of information from the nationalist ghettos , it was the McWilliams and Kennedy affairs that provided the 'dry run' for the later more widespread use of informers recruited to give 'evidence' in 'court' .

In March 1980 the 'trial' of four men , including North Belfast Republican Martin Meehan , took place , accused of conspiring to kidnap Stephen McWilliams from the New Lodge Road on July 11th 1979 and holding him against his will . McWilliams , a petty thief caught in the act of robbing a bar , had been recruited by the British Army some time earlier (in return for cash and not being prosecuted) to report on the movements of suspected local Republicans , including Martin Meehan .

At the 'trial' , McWilliams' testimony constituted the only 'evidence' for the prosecution , while monetary gain was shown to be his primary motivation for informing . Nevertheless , despite the evidence of defence witnesses , three of the men - Martin Meehan , Chris Doherty and Patrick Burnside - were convicted and jailed for twelve years . Meehan was later to protest his innocence in the H-Blocks by embarking on a 66-day hunger-strike that brought him close to death .

In November 1982 , Stephen McWilliams , abandoned by his British Army paymasters and in hiding in England , and apparently remorseful at his role in framing Martin Meehan and the others , wrote a letter to the 'Sunday World' newspaper confessing that he had deliberately perjured himself on British Army instructions to obtain the convictions .......