Tuesday, February 07, 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 .

Throughout the 1950's , the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and its rival organisation , the Dublin Trades' Union Council , were active on social issues , particularly unemployment , price increases and the provision of free public transport for pensioners . Various attempts to mount joint actions were fruitless until 1955 , when a combined James Connolly Commemoration was organised .

Congress re-united in 1959 but , due to various difficulties , it was'nt until 1960 that the two Dublin Trade Union Councils merged ; the new constitution of the ICTU severely restricted the role of trades' councils in the sphere of industrial relations and inter-union disputes . Correspondingly , the DCTU expanded its activities into an increasingly agitiational role and during the 1960's it played a prominent part in the campaigns of the Dublin Housing Action Committee . Demonstrations were also organised against EEC entry and for the retention of proportional representation .

When the North of Ireland erupted in 1969 the DCTU adopted a position supportive of the Civil Rights movement and when internment was introduced they opened a fund for internees' dependants . At this time , links between the DCTU and the Belfast Council were strengthened ; since 1969 , the DCTU has consistently adopted motions in support of the Nationalist people - it supported the 1981 H-Block hunger-strike and is currently active in the anti-strip-searches campaign .......


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 heard evidence from six civilians about events in the flats' courtyard - they were Father (later Bishop) Edward Daly ; Simon Winchester , a journalist then with the 'Guardian' newspaper ; Mary Bonnor , a resident of the flats ; Derrick Tucker , an Englishman living in Derry who had seen service with both the British Royal Navy and the RAF ; Joseph Doherty , an unemployed man from the Creggan Estate ; and Francis Dunne , a school-teacher , now headmaster of a large primary school . All were adamant that the British soldiers' account of gunfire was total fabrication - no shots had been fired at the paras , they had'nt had to take cover and so on .

Widgery professed himself "...entirely satisfied .. " that the British paras had come under fire and had fired back only in self-defence (!) , and that it was in these circumstances that Jackie Duddy had been shot dead and Michael Bridge , Michael Bradley , Peggy Deery , Patrick McDaid and Alana Burke wounded . Widgery stated :

" Such a conclusion is not reached by counting heads or by selecting any particular witness as truthful in preference to another . It is a conclusion gradually built up over many days * of listening to evidence and watching the demeanour of witnesses under cross-examination . " (* -three days , only !) No-where in his report does Widgery compare the two hugely conflicting stories : the reference to "...the demeanour.." of witnesses is his entire account of his process of 'reasoning' - he offers no explanation for the remarkable level of disagreement between the British soldiers .......


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

The fourth defendant in the Stephen McWilliams informer trial , Kevin Mulgrew , then aged 24 , was acquitted , but remained in RUC custody on separate charges ; he had faced a long concerted effort by the British and their 'police force' , the RUC , to put him behind bars - arrested in 1973 and charged with the ludicrous offence of '... attempted (!) membership of the IRA .. ' , the charges were quickly dropped . In October 1976 he was again arrested and held for five months on remand on charges of carrying out a bombing but , once more , the charges were dropped .

A third time , in November 1977 , he was charged with a bombing and held for fifteen months on remand before being acquitted at his 'trial' in February 1979 . Five months later he was again arrested on the McWilliams charges , and although acquitted in March 1980 he was not released until after a third 'trial' on October 24th 1980 , in which he was acquitted of possession of a weapon with intent .

Ironically for Kevin Mulgrew , despite having faced and beaten no less than five frame-ups and spent almost three years out of seven remanded in custody , he was again to be arrested - in November 1981 - on the 'evidence' of another paid informer , Christopher Black , and held in custody , in what for him had become most definitely a process of internment by remand - indications that Black was deliberately slanting his 'schooled' 'evidence' against Kevin Mulgrew in particular , while testifying in January 1983 , in order to portray him as the prime instigator of acts of Republican resistance in North Belfast , made it certain that the RUC was determined that this time Mulgrew would not escape its clutches , and provided an insight into how the RUC cynically views the role of its informers .......