Friday, May 05, 2006

Hunger Strike Rally , GPO , Dublin , Saturday May 6th 2006 .
Remembering the Hunger-Strikers 25 years on.
A rally to commemorate the heroic struggle of the ten hunger-strikers : Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Ray McCreesh, Patsy O'Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee, Michael Devine - who gave their lives in 1981- will be held in Dublin on Saturday May 6 2006 . Assemble at the Garden of Remembrance at 2pm for march to GPO on O'Connell Street.

"They will not criminalise us, rob us of our true identity, steal our individualism, depoliticise us, churn us out as systemised, institutionalised, decent law-abiding robots. Never will they label our liberation struggle as criminal."
- Bobby Sands.
Twenty-two Irish political prisoners died on hunger-strike between 1917 and 1981 . The Dublin Rally is being held to commemorate all those Irishmen .

Fifteen years ago , the leadership of the 'Official Republican Movement' (now 'The Workers' Party') stated that their armed wing , the 'Official IRA' , went out of existence .
Today , the 'Official IRA' is alive and well and living mainly in Belfast and Newry . In the days when both organisations were operating in an overt way , the leadership of 'The Workers' Party' and the 'Official IRA' overlapped to a certain degree .
Tomas MacGiolla , the man who led the 'Official IRA' for the last twenty-five years has always maintained the position that the 'Official IRA' went out of existence in 1972 . But the 'Official IRA' still march on , not an army fighting the British , but as a fund-collecting agency .
DEREK DUNNE traces the roots of the 'Official IRA' and 'The Workers' Party' .
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , October 1987 .

Twenty-three out of twenty-four Belfast OIRA Units voted to overturn the ceasefire , but Liam McMillan refused to convey the decision to Dublin on the basis that it was not unanimous ! A loose , fast and liberal interpretation was put on the 'defence and retaliation' clause .

People like Gerry Steenson , who appeared on fourteen IRA Court Martials for breaking the ceasefire , gradually became a law unto themselves . Major criticism of the people in Dublin - MacGiolla , Goulding and Garland - began to emerge and Seamus Costello became the focus for this : he argued for a return to the armed struggle , and for placing the national question firmly on the agenda . He was ousted from the OIRA .

Official Sinn Fein was by now calling for a 'democratisation' of the North ('1169...' Comment - ie like 'this') and dis-agreed with the abolition of Stormont ('1169...' Comment - ie like these) . Dessie O'Hagan , Tomas MacGiolla , Sean Garland and Cathal Goulding were publicly arguing that the armed struggle was sectarian and that class unity had to be built in advance of a British withdrawal . Seamus Lynch , now a Workers Party councillor in Belfast , sided with the Dublin leadership , as did his brother , Martin .......

From 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1997 .
By Brenda Power .

One senior RTE producer said of Eoghan Harris and his Workers Party colleagues : " They were very determined and personally ambitious people , which of course conflicted totally with the dominant ethos in RTE in those days , and so they found it very easy to take over the Workers Union of Ireland . Then Harris brought in John Caden , who was an account's clerk . The NUJ was too lazy and cynical to concern them at the time - the journalists always wanted just more money , but the WUI represented the producers .

Harris and those realised that if they controlled the producers then they could control programming and effectively control the television station , and that was what they set out to do . " To this end Eoghan Harris set up a secret branch of 'Sinn Fein the Workers Party', which was called the Ned Stapleton Cumann , within the Workers' Union of Ireland . Although he was never a member of Sinn Fein the Workers' Party himself , Harris recruited members in 'sensitive positions' who could not openly support the party - " We had people in the IDA , for example , who gave us information for our pamphlets : they could'nt be seen to be members and so people like that could vote through the Ned Stapleton Cumann , " said Eoghan Harris .

Though Mairin de Burca , who was an Ard Comhairle ('Ruling Body') member of Sinn Fein the Workers' Party at the time , says now that she doubts that the Ned Stapleton Cumann ever actually existed within RTE - " Just because Eoghan Harris says he helped set it up does'nt mean that's true , you know , " she said . But the group and its activities still remain a part of RTE lore : a producer who was in the station at the time but does not wish to be named stated - " Essentially , he ran a sort of a left-wing freemasonry within RTE at the time . The agenda was to promote the Workers' Party through the programmes , and they set about achieving this in a number of different ways ....... "

The history of the Free State has been one of progressively solidifying partition : cross-border collaboration is only one aspect of this .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983.
No By-Line.

Today's 26-county state is very different from what it was 62 years ago - very much the stable unit that suits those who rule it and who profit from it : it does , however , lack an essential ingredient for totally solidifying that stability - the ability to portray itself as something more than an apparently independent state ; in short - to portray itself as a nation .

Because of the all-too-obvious contradictions of their true actions on nationalism , the establishment Free State parties have to restrict the national expressions of the people least these flow to their natural conclusions . In verbalising , Fianna Fail allows itself freer rein in this regard , but has successfully created an unwholesome cocktail of rhetoric which includes friendship with Britain and rejection of force even as a conclusion to a traditional rebel-rousing oration .

If this exists as a 'safety valve' to nationalist emotions , underneath the stifling of national characteristics is much more in evidence : thus , the distinctive culture - a keystone of any nation - including the Irish language , is deliberately neglected and allowed to wither . Instead an alien mish-mash of mid-Atlantic culture is imported . Equally , social values of a most conservative type , in keeping not with the historic spirit of the people , but rather with the objectives of the economic system , are used as shackles to development .......

(NOTE : the crew here at '1169...' have not had a break since July 2005 - in order to catch-up with other matters , we will be taking a one-week break from this Friday , May 5th . We will make a 'holding' post during our week off in relation to the up-coming Bodenstown Commemoration . Go raibh maith agat ! John)