Monday, July 09, 2007


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

A cloth soaked in a foul-smelling liquid was pushed against their faces while their noses were held . They were thrown on the floor , their arms pinioned , the cloth around the neck was woven tighter and tighter . Then it would be snapped and they'd be told "to confess" . It is also alleged that these men were beaten around the head and body with rubber truncheons , and that these beatings continued in different forms for a full day and until six a.m. the following day .

If there is any truth in these allegations , it is a shocking indictment of the Stormont regime; it is claimed that scores of young men have been arrested , interrogated , beaten , released , re-arrested - and the torture process repeated to force 'confessions' . This is something we would expect behind the Iron Curtain, but to think that such treatment is meted out in the name of British 'law' in the North of Ireland is simply astounding.......

In a jail outside Belfast , republican prisoners have begun smearing their cells with excrement . They are demanding the right to political status . We have been here before.....
From 'MAGILL' magazine August 2003 .
By Niall Stanage.

" Tony Friel and Seamus Doherty , both from Derry , [stated] that they were political prisoners and as such should not be treated as criminals . The actions of the prison authorities were obviously designed to cause aggravation and ill feeling amongst the prisoners and to let them know that they were still going to be treated as common criminals . At seven o' clock the prison was said to have erupted..."

The language seems to belong to another era - an era of graffiti urging 'SMASH THE H-BLOCKS !', of television footage showing men with straggy beards across emaciated faces , of Bobby Sands and Margaret Thatcher and the Five Demands and 'crime is crime' .

But in fact those words come from a press release issued barely a month ago (ie July 2003) - it was authored by the Irish Republican Prisoners' Welfare Association, as they campaigned for the segregation of republican and loyalist inmates of Maghaberry Prison outside Belfast.......


This election is not about the 'economy' . It's about the survival of sectional interests , clearly divided in a broader , simpler way than for many a long day . This election is not about the survival of the country (sic) : it's about choosing who will bear the cost of that survival.

From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine, 'Election Special' , 1987.
By David McKenna.

Fianna Fail, having absolutely no ideological background of any kind whatsoever , are promising a somewhat vague combination of all economic approaches ! Or to put it another way , while Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats seem to have pretty well decided to plump for the taxpayers' vote , Fianna Fail are still making a play for both the taxpayers and the unemployed .

For the unemployed , deciding who to vote for could be difficult - in theory , the trade union parties are on your side but then neither of them stand a chance of forming a government , although thanks to the small wonder of proportional representation that doesn't leave them out of the picture entirely .

For someone who is unemployed to vote for Fine Gael or the Progressive Democrats would seem much like a turkey voting to have Christmas every Sunday : to be sure , both of those parties promise that sometime in the future everything will be stable , secure and blooming but , in the meantime , cuts in public spending is a nice way of saying that people will be hungrier , colder and even more up the walls than they are at the moment , that people will die because there aren't hospital beds available for operations and people will worry themselves sick because they can't afford to bring their children to the doctor.......