SHOOTING IRA HISTORY
Photos from Tan War and Civil War
Will only our rivers run free?
JOE BROLLY & THE GAA
Scoring points on the past
Sraith Nua Iml 36 Uimhir 11
November / Samhain 2013
DUBLIN & MONAGHAN BOMBINGS
MIAMI SHOWBAND MASSACRE
UDR, RUC and British Army in the dock with UVF
2 November / Samhain 2013
WHAT’S INSIDE 5 Challenging times – Liadh Ní Riada, bringing a strengthened republican voice to the European Parliament 6 Conor Murphy MP on opinion polls and Border polls 7 ‘Lethal Allies’: Anne Cadwallader’s explosive new book naming names in Britain’s dirty war in Ireland previewed 8&9 ‘We need a fighting, radical and independent trade union movement,’ says Senator David Cullinane | Top US trade unionists ‘In Common Cause Against Austerity’ 12 The struggle for equality in education 14 Mortgage crisis: Homeowners warned against loopy ‘legal protection’ 15 History in Omagh as Tyrone women Sinn Féin councillors elected to two top posts 18 Tragedy and courage as Priory Hall saga ends 19 Housing crisis: Proof that capitalism doesn’t work 20 & 21 Remembering the Past: The centenary of the Irish Volunteers, Óglaigh na hÉireann 22 Tá sé thar am éirí as an euro 23 Mickey Brady MLA on the cold reality of fuel poverty 24
5 Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD with Terry O'Sullivan, General President of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LiUNA), who pulled the winning ticket in this year’s Sinn Féin National Draw (full results on page 29)
5 Medical card protest in Crumlin, Dublin: Parents of children who have had their medical cards revoked in Budget 2014, and their supporters, protest on the road to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin
5 Pat Cusack is presented with the Monaghan Integrated Development Volunteer of the Year Award by Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Conlon in recognition of his work with suicide prevention and bereavement support charity Sosad Ireland
The Basque peace process is under relentless attack from Madrid securocrats 25 MEP Martina Anderson welcomes EU tobacco product curbs 26 & 27 Uncomfortable Conversations: The time is here for unionism to stand up and be part of this debate 28 Book Reviews: The enigmas of Parnell and Kildare in the Tan War 31 Farm Forum’s first meeting in Mayo
5 Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson in Ramallah at prisoners’ release from Israeli jails on 29th October
5 Burma’s pro-democracy campaigner, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi meets Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly, Michelle O’Neill, Paul Maskey and Alex Maskey in Stormont
5 A republican colour party lowers its flags during the unveiling of a plaque in remembrance of IRA Volunteer Thomas ‘Bootsey’ Begley on Sunday 20 October, in Ardoyne
November / Samhain 2013 3
London Irish Centre packed for Sinn Féin conference ‘Towards a New Ireland’
Unprecedented range of speakers ensures Ireland stays on political agenda in Britain BY JAYNE FISHER THE London Irish Centre was packed out by 400 people on 19 October for the ‘Towards a New Ireland – A New Phase of the Peace Process’ conference, hosted by Sinn Féin. The aim of the conference was to provide a platform and forum for discussion on the next steps in Ireland, North and South, some 15 years on from the Good Friday Agreement, and in the relationship between Britain and Ireland. The backdrop to the discussion was the ongoing political difficulties in the North, from the recent flag protests to the fairly negative, disengaged and ill-judged role of the current British Government. It was also in the context of ongoing economic austerity and crisis in both Ireland
Guardian Media writer Roy Greenslade said that, despite the changes wrought by the Peace Process,
‘The only story the media care to tell is always about conflict’ and Britain, and the political impact and alternatives to that, and if and why a future united Ireland would be part of the solution. With an unprecedented wide range of speakers, the conference proved a big success and ensured that the issue of Ireland remains on the political agenda in Britain. With an audience overwhelmingly drawn from first, second, third (and beyond) generation Irish people from across England, Scotland and Wales, alongside progressive Labour movement and campaigning activists, the conference reflected lively and wide-ranging discussions throughout the day. Giving the welcoming remarks at the start, London Irish Centre Chief Executive David Barlow spoke as an English-born Irishman about the advantages and contradictions of having a dual identity. Talking about the impact of emigration and poverty on Irish migrants, he said that some 5,000 vulnerable Irish people are dealt with at the Centre with some thousands each year receiving some help and assistance. Chairing the opening session, Daily Mirror Associate Editor Kevin
5 Participants in the opening session, standing: John Douglas, President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Kevin Maguire, Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror; Jonathan Powell, former Downing Street Chief of Staff and John McAllister MLA, NI21. Seated: Diane Abbott MP, British Labour Party; Gerry Adams TD, President of Sinn Féin and Nessa Childers, Independent Irish MEP Maguire put the discussion in the framework of ‘Where now, some 15 years on from the Good Friday Agreement?’ Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD gave the opening address to the conference, beginning with a reminder that it was the 25th
anniversary of the introduction of the broadcasting ban against Sinn Féin. He underlined Sinn Féin’s core beliefs of social and economic equality and said that “we must cherish all children of the nation equally, regardless of poverty, disability or sexuality”.
John McAllister, deputy leader of unionist party NI21, said that “with a pro-Union member of the Northern Ireland Assembly addressing a Sinn Féin conference in London, times have indeed changed”. He argued that people already live in the new Ireland which is “no
5 The London Irish Centre was pakced with 400 people for the ‘Towards a New Ireland – A New Phase of the Peace Process’ conference
SPEECHES FROM THE CONFERENCE CAN BE FOUND AT
www.londonirishunity.com An extended version of this article will appear on the An Phoblacht website
longer an island scarred by conflict” and there is no more “undisguised hostility between Dublin and Belfast”. But he argued against a Border poll which, he said, there was not support for and that “the will of the people, North and South, has been given clear expression”. He argued: “The perception outside of the republican constituency is that the Border poll campaign, and the continued inability to speak of ‘Northern Ireland’, is suggestive of a lack of vision on the part of Sinn Féin when it comes to the political challenge facing us over the next generation.” Former Irish Labour Party MEP Nessa Childers (now sitting as an Independent MEP) proposed that “Good Friday is not the terminus of peace and normality. It is a bus stop on the road.” In what she described as a very constructive dialogue in the discussion, she called for a new
‘Colonial borders serve colonialists, not the people of those countries’ DIANE ABBOTT British Labour Party MP multi-party agreement “linked to a new inter-governmental treaty”. British Labour Party MP Diane Abbott declared that British colonial policies have left a destructive legacy throughout the world, and that “colonial borders serve colonialists, not the people of those countries. In the final session, Colin Parry made a moving and inspiring speech, and received a huge round of applause, speaking of how he established the Warrington Peace Centre in memory of his son Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball, who died in the IRA bomb at Warrington in 1993. Labour MP and longstanding Ireland campaigner Jeremy Corbyn spoke of the need for solidarity between all economic migrants in Britain, all of whom are there because of economic injustices at home. He also paid tribute, to warm applause, to the work done over decades for human rights and justice by solicitor Gareth Peirce (who has represented the Guildford Four, Birmingam Six, Judith Ward and many others), who was in the audience participating in the conference.
4 November / Samhain 2013
anphoblacht Editorial Collusion: State forces’ death squad allies COLLUSION between unionist death squads and British state forces – the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Ulster Defence Regiment and the British Army, and British Intelligence – fuelled the conflict. The British Government knew this, unionist politicians knew this, and nationalists – who felt the full force of this ‘dirty war’ – of course knew this. As An Phoblacht goes to press, news comes of two events that are thrusting collusion back in the spotlight. Survivors and families of the 1975 Miami Showband Massacre are to sue the British Ministry of Defence and police authorities over their links with the Ulster Volunteer Force death squads and serving British Army soldiers in the UVF (see back page). Anne Cadwallader’s new book, Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland, shows that, between 1972 and 1976, more than 120 people were killed by unionist paramilitaries, many of them working hand in glove with the RUC and the Ulster Defence Regiment of the British Army if not actually serving members of these state forces. Cadwallader (whose parents and sister served
in the British Army, and whose brother is a retired police officer) puts the British authorities in the dock in what Vincent Browne describes as “a revealing and forensic insight” and Susan McKay “a shameful history”. At the publication of Lethal Allies, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD called on the British Government to move speedily to establish the inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane which it agreed to at Weston Park in 2001. The book’s examination of links to attacks south of the Border (including the Dublin and Monaghan bombs which killed 33 people and the attack on Kay’s Bar in Dundalk in December 1975 in which two men were killed) places “a very particular onus on the Irish Government to hold the British Government to account on all of these matters”, the Louth TD said. Anne Cadwallader says: “Breaking the law to defend the law simply does not work . . . For the health of the British politic, quite aside from pressing questions of justice and fair play in Ireland, those in London who have the power to set the truth free should now take the first step.”
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Budget 2014: Fine Gael + Labour = ‘Continuity Fianna Fáil’
Kevin Barry House 44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, Ireland Telephone: (+353 1) 872 6 100 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Layout: email@example.com – Mark Dawson
5 Budget 2014: Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan
MORE CRACKS have appeared in the ranks of the Labour Party as their TDs followed Fine Gael in railroading through a deeply unfair and regressive Budget. Eamon Gilmore’s youth wing, Labour Youth, has passed a motion of ‘no confidence’ in the leadership of Gilmore and the parliamentary party, accusing them of failing to uphold the core values of the party. And Fianna Fáil have been chided by Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin for their posturing and faux outrage at cuts when Fine Gael and the Labour Party are implementing the very Fianna Fáil strategies and polices that they so loudly denounced while in Opposition. The Health & Children spokesperson said:
“This Coalition Government’s treatment of our older citizens in Budget 2014 now proves conclusively that Fine Gael and Labour are indeed ‘Continuity Fianna Fáil’.” There is much focus now on the position of Health Minister James Reilly. Should he resign for his failings? Sinn Féin has long said so, but Reilly is not the only one who bears responsibility for this Government’s actions and the anti-people austerity policies commenced by Fianna Fáil. There is a lot of talk of ‘collective Cabinet responsibility’ by ministers grasping for cover for their cuts. Fine Gael and Labour are collectively responsible – they should collectively go.
Cairde Scotland annual awards CAIRDE na hÉireann, the republican network in Scotland supporting Sinn Féin, held its annual dinner dance and awards in Glasgow on Saturday 5 October with a large turn-out to hear special guests Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane, Robert ‘Dinker’ McClenaghan, and Derry exPOW Paddy Canning. Dinker spoke about the ongoing campaign by the McGurk’s Bar bombing families’ quest for truth before former H-Blocks POW Bik gave a political update and
spoke about the Hunger Strikes and ‘The Great Escape’. Music for the night was provided by the brilliant Gary Óg, with Bik also playing a few songs including the legendary Song for Marcella. Awards for events held throughout the year were presented, with Coatbridge winning both the National Quiz and the 5-a-side football tournament. The individual award went to Cairde na hÉireann’s hard-working secretary, Maria Hughes.
Liadh Ní Riada
November / Samhain 2013 5
on bringing a strengthened republican voice to Europe with Matt Carthy, Lynn Ní Bhaoighealláin and Martina Anderson MEP
5 Liadh Ní Riada and Martin Ferris TD show their opposition to the scrapping of the Telephone Allowance
ANOIS agus mé ag tabhairt aghaidh ar feachtas mar an MEP candidate do Sinn Féin san Deisceart, reality is setting in and the logistics of how to cover nine Counties is somewhat of a challenge. Cé gur mhóir an pribhléid é gur roghnaíodh mé, caithimé rá go bhfuil laethanta ann agus mé ag filleadh abhaile go dtí tigh go bhfuil níochán le déanamh, mar aon le gach rud eile a bhaineann le bheith I bhfeighil tí, ceapaim go bhfuilim beagáinín as mo mheabhair ag samhlú gur féidir an dá thrá a fhreastal. However, when I meet people who are desperate and who are just existing, I am reminded of why I chose this path. I meet the elderly who are frightened and more vulnerable than ever now that they can no longer afford a landline, or a medical card, where they have to make choices between heating, human contact or their health. I meet young people who cannot afford to emigrate and nor can they afford to live on Ř100 a week – damned either way. I meet seriously ill people who no longer have a medical card and then there are those who worry about funeral costs
and how can they bury their loved ones. These are the obvious Budget cuts – the devil is in the detail and, wearing my Gaeilge hat, I see that once again the arts and culture have taken a big hit which will have a direct bearing on local economies as well as the reputation and reality of the life of a nation that boasts to the world a poet as President of Ireland. It is the hidden costs again which will target a people already under pressure. This is not the Ireland that we should have. It is so wrong on so many levels and the present government shows no humanity to its citizens. Now is the time to act and to work hard to ensure that we get as many of our local reps elected, to ensure that we do our very best to help put this country of ours in a better position where equality, fairness, and
5 Dessie Ellis TD with Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Lynn Ní Bhaoighealláin
5 Midlands/North-West EU candidate Matt Carthy (right) at a local launch of Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget social justice prevail. I will certainly do my part to get elected as the European Parliament candidate and to bring a strengthened republican voice to Europe along with Matt Carthy, Lynn Ní Bhaoighealáin and Martina Anderson MEP. We need your help. I certainly need your help and support considering that my back garden is now covering ten counties. It may seem like a long time away yet when you consider that the election will not take place until May, but now is the time to do the groundwork, organise events, organise meetings. I want to hear and listen to our farmers, our fishermen, our unemployed, our health workers, our frontline workers, young people, older people, families, so that I can address their concerns and make a real difference. I want to offer hope to those people who only
Now is the time to act and to work hard to ensure that we get as many of our local reps elected, to ensure that we do our very best to help put this country of ours in a better position where equality, fairness, and social justice prevail
exist, help to give them a real chance where they can realise their full potential instead of being consistently browbeaten. I am not naive enough to think I can do this on my own; we need to affect change collectively as a party and as a community. And so, a chairde, the next time you are out there in all the towns, cities and the byroads soaking wet, cold and miserable, remember why you are doing it in the first place. Our people are relying on us. They need Sinn Féin to stand up for them because the other crowd are certainly not doing it, have never done it and will never do it. I am humbled by the amount of genuine, hard-working activists I meet and who are all willing to take the road less travelled for the betterment of our society. I am honoured to be part of such a team. Someone once told me to never get out of an old comfort zone just to create a new one. I am certainly following that advice and it is truly rewarding – my house is maybe in a mess but the country is in a bigger mess so priorities prevail agus ar aghaidh linn go dearfach. Beart de réir ár mBriathar.
5 Martina Anderson MEP and Cathal Ó hÓisín MLA with farmers at the Ploughing Championships
6 November / Samhain 2013
CONOR MURPHY MP NEWSPAPER OPINION POLLS AND A UNITED IRELAND
Ask a silly question . . . and not confined to the 3% margins in Westminster. An agreed and united Ireland would in all likelihood remain part of the EU and Britain
THE OLD ADAGE of ‘Ask a silly question, get a silly answer’ should be writ large across recent media opinion polls in the North. There have been a number of such polls conducted across media outlets in reaction to the Sinn Féin campaign for a Border Poll as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement. The recent unionist-aligned Belfast Telegraph commissioned a poll which asked “Would you vote for uniting Ireland tomorrow” and found that only 3.8% answered ‘Yes’ is a perfect example of that adage. It is obvious that these polls are conducted with the objective of deterring support for a Border Poll. Anti-unity commentators were quick to point out that this was near the margin of polling error, the inference being that no one at all might vote for Irish unity. This finding was presented as a statistical fact. Does anyone believe there is no support for unity? If those opposed to Irish unity are so secure in these findings, why are they afraid to support a Border Poll which would define the strength of support one way or another? I could point out that the same survey found a minority (44%) favoured continued
If those opposed to Irish unity are so secure in newspaper opinion poll findings, why are they afraid of a Border Poll defining support one way or another? partition or that almost one in three (30%) didn’t know how they would vote. But my concern is with a simplistic question to a complex issue and the premise behind the commentary. For the record, Sinn Féin is not looking for a Border Poll ‘tomorrow’. Nor are we about a sectarian headcount. We are for an open discussion. We are about allowing the people, North and South, to determine if their long-
There are challenges to nationalists and republicans as to how the structures and symbols of a united Ireland would reflect all the identities of those who share this island
5 What has unionism delivered for the Shankill Road? term interests are best served by continued partition or unity. We are about the core democratic principle of discussion and allowing the people to decide. Sinn Féin is seeking to have a Border Poll conducted during the next Assembly Term. This is to provide time and space for a reasoned, considered and informed debate. The playing of a rhetorical ‘United Ireland
Card’ or an ‘Orange Card’ should not form part of the debate. We are about dialogue: listening to and respecting the positions of others, and we only expect the same in return. For too long, political unionism has played up the fear of Irish unity without articulating the basis of their concerns. It is clear that partition has failed the vast majority of our people and the economy, resulting in decades of conflict. I include in this the huge sections of the unionist community and in particular the working classes who have been failed by partition. It is telling that the question as to what the Union has delivered for the people of east Belfast, the Shankill, or Armagh is never raised. Partition locked sections of the community into defending the indefensible and promoted the myth of supremacy among the unionist electorate. Sinn Féin believes that Irish unity will deliver for all our people. It makes political, democratic and economic sense. The people of the North would be an essential part of a national sovereign government
would continue to be one of our largest trading partners. It will also redefine and reconcile the relationship between Ireland and Britain. Irish unity is not about bolting the North onto the existing structures of the South. It would be about determining a new and agreed Ireland. Within this there are challenges to nationalists and republicans as to how the structures and symbols of a united Ireland would reflect all the identities of those who share this island. The Good Friday Agreement enshrined the principle that the constitutional position of the North was changeable and in the gift of the majority of citizens exercised concurrently North and South. It provided for a Border Poll. The only exception was that a poll could not be conducted within a seven-year cycle. Regardless of what people believe to be the probability, Irish unity will remain a possibility (in fact I believe it is more a probability than a possibility) but that’s an issue for the debate. I do not underestimate the opposition to change but it cannot and should not be dismissed out of hand on the basis of uninformed and questionable surveys. Sinn Féin will put the case for an agreed and united Ireland. Let those opposed put the case for continued partition. Let’s have a considered, reasoned and informed debate and let the people decide in a definitive poll.
November / Samhain 2013 7
New book by former BBC correspondent shows crown forces collusion with unionist death squads was known in Whitehall
‘Lethal Allies’: Britain’s dirty war in Ireland BY PEADAR WHELAN DECLASSIFIED official Whitehall documents revealed in a new book by former BBC correspondent Anne Cadwallader show that successive British governments knew that members of the British crown forces were involved in unionist killer gangs responsible for the deaths of 120 people yet failed to act. Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland is written by veteran journalist Anne Cadwallader, who previously worked for RTÉ and the BBC from Belfast and Dublin. She is now a caseworker with the Pat Finucane Centre human rights NGO. Lethal Allies tells the story of how killer gangs killed 120 people, mainly nationalists, on both sides of the Border between 1972 and 1976. The book establishes that a significant number of these killers were serving members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Ulster Defence Regiment of the British Army. At the time, SAS Captain Robert Nairac (captured in 1977 on a spying mission and executed by the IRA) was operating hand in glove with death squads centred on the notorious ‘Glenanne Gang’ based in south Armagh. The book analyses RUC investigations, links the killings through ballistic and other forensic evidence, and explains how the courts dealt with whatever charges were brought.
Captain Robert Nairac
The book analyses the role of the judicial system and names known members of the crown forces involved in many of the killings AVAILABLE FROM
Sinn Féin Bookshop 58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 www.sinnfeinbookshop.com
These include James Mitchell, an RUC Reservist when involved in attacks on two bars which left five people dead. His farmhouse was used in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings in which 34 people were killed. Mitchell was only ever convicted of possession of weapons and explosives, for which he received a one-year suspended sentence. Clearly the counter-insurgency strategies employed by the British in the North were developed in the years after the Second World War as Britain slaughtered it’s way through Africa and Asia attempting to hold onto its colonial empire. Lethal Allies critiques how British generals employed and refined their counter-insurgency tactics against the nationalist population in Ireland. The book demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that there was “systematic collusion” in the deaths of the 120 people cited.
Journalist and author Anne Cadwallader Where legally possible, it names the perpetrators using previously unpublished reports prepared for the families by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), using information from RUC files.
Included in the book is a chapter that analyses the role of the judicial system and names known serving and former members of the crown forces who were involved in many of the killings.
• Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland, by Anne Cadwallader, is published by Mercier Press. As well as the BBC and RTÉ, Anne Cadwallader has also reported for The Irish Press, Independent Network News and Reuters. She is the author of Holy Cross - The Untold Story (Brehon Press, 2004).
Council ‘reform’ Bill an attack on local democracy BY MARK MOLONEY
5 Sinn Féin’s newest South Dublin (Clondalkin) councillor, Eoin Ó Broin, with party spokesperson on the Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD
EIGHTY TOWN COUNCILS across the 26 Counties are being scrapped by Environment Minister Phil Hogan in what the Fine Gael/Labour Government claims is an attempt to reform local government. But Sinn Féin says the move is an attempt to centralise power. The Government’s ‘Putting People First’ Bill will dramatically reduce the number of local councillors from 1,627 to just 949, leaving the Irish state with one of the lowest number of represen-
tatives per head of population of OECD countries. The number of operating councils will drop from 114 to 31 as many are abolished and others merged. Many of the new councils will be larger than general election wards. Speaking to An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Community and Local Government, Brian Stanley TD, described the move as an attack on local democracy. He said the Government proposal falls far short of the reform which he and others have been demanding. “The town councils were at least some kind of democratic forum for
people to represent their local communities,” he told An Phoblacht. “What is replacing them does not have the adequate powers that are needed or functions to represent those communities properly.” The Laois/Offaly TD described the current councils as “not fit for purpose” but added that Government proposals are just window dressing and will do nothing to change that. “We want to see maximum power devolved from central government to local authorities. These powers include economic planning, waste management, water and sewage and housing.”
8 November / Samhain 2013
Mansion House rally and tour organised by Sinn Féin unites
Irish and US trade unions against austerity BY JOHN HEDGES THE RAFTERS of the historic Mansion House in Dublin were ringing on 23 October with fighting words from Irish and North American trade union leaders at a rally organised by Sinn Féin to mark the 1913 Lockout under the banner ‘In Common Cause Against Austerity, 1913-2013’. The event was part of a week-long visit by leaders of some of the biggest trade unions in the United States and Canada to meet their Irish counterparts, rank and file trade union activists and campaign groups to look, learn and exchange knowledge and experiences of austerity. As An Phoblacht was told by Brent Booker, of the Building Secretary-Treasurer Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO) – representing two million craft professionals in 13 unions across the USA and Canada – in an interview to be carried in next month’s An Phoblacht, the similarities between the US and Ireland are “eerily similar”. The significance of the North American trade union visit was officially recognised in a Mayoral Reception for the visitors at the Mansion House the previous evening. This was followed by a working lunch with Irish trade union leaders including Irish Congress of Trade Unions President and Mandate General Secretary John Douglas, SIPTU President Jack O’Connor, with an official welcome by Dublin Council of Trade Unions President Mick O’Reilly of Unite the Union. People attending the Mansion House rally were entertained by Dublin traditional and folk music quartet The Jeremiahs, actor Jer O’Leary performing Jim Larkin’s famous rallying call, and a spellbinding solo singing performance of ‘A Song for Ireland’ by Deirdre Archbold. Among the speakers introduced by Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD were Sinn Féin National Spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Senator David Cullinane, and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD with a republican overview of the all-Ireland struggle against austerity. ICTU President John Douglas proclaimed, within a few hundred yards of the Dáil and the Department of Finance: “You cannot have a little bit of austerity, you cannot have ‘austerity lite’, nor can you manage a system of austerity. Austerity is bad and an attack on basic human rights and decency. Austerity is an attack on the working class, on labour, on the most vulnerable in society, and indeed on the welfare state.” Patricia McKeown, Regional Secretary of public sector union Unison in the North, took the audience down through the years of struggle and the important but often unsung role of Irish women from 1913 up till today.
“I do not believe that when James Connolly spoke of the need to challenge ‘women as the slaves of slaves’ he meant that that was something peripheral to the national struggle or peripheral to the socialist campaign to change this island and rebuild it, but it has been peripheral and it has been peripheral for far too long.” Terry O’Sullivan, General President of the halfmillion-strong Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), covering the United States and Canada, took the roof off the Mansion House with a thundering call to arms and international solidarity between peoples across the Atlantic Ocean and across the globe. Paying tribute to his grandparents’ roots in Kerry and Tipperary, Terry declared that it’s not enough merely to commemorate the Lockout. “We must also understand its relevance to the challenges we face today. It must inspire us to appreciate not only how far we have come, but also how far we have yet to go. “Austerity is the cold, hard boot of the oppressor on the necks of working men and women all around the globe. It’s a devil’s pact with the global forces of greed. It’s the demolition of social services, of government functions, of infrastructure spending, and of the lives and futures of working-class families.
‘Every fibre of my being and every bit of my soul lashes out against austerity, against those who promote it, and against all the spineless, chicken-shit, cowardly politicians who went along with it’ “Every fibre of my being and every bit of my soul lashes out against it, against those who promote it, and against all the spineless, chicken-shit, cowardly politicians who went along with it. “I’m proud that Sinn Féin not only stood up against austerity but continues to resist it. But I am disgusted that so many so-called ‘liberal’ and ‘pro-worker’ politicians allowed it to be shoved down their throats rather than shoving it up someone else’s ass!” he said to huge applause and cheers. “We have a solemn obligation as trade unionists and activists to leave our unions, our organisations, our nations and the world better than the way we found them. “We must be the spark that lights the fire of a new workers’ revolution, a revolution that puts our countries back in the hands of their most valuable asset – and that’s working men and women. “We will raise our voices as one so that every politician and every employer knows . . . if it’s a fight you want, it’s a war you’ll get! “We ourselves must STAND together. “We ourselves must STAY together. “We ourselves must FIGHT together. “And we ourselves must WIN together.”
5 Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LiUNA, took the roof off the Mansion House with a thundering call to arms
5 Hundreds at the 1913 Lockout event heard singing stars Deirdre Archibald and Frances Black
5 Members of the US trade union delegation at the James Connolly statue opposite Liberty Hall in Dublin
An extended version of this article will appear on the An Phoblacht website
November / Samhain 2013 9
Sinn Féin’s new National Co-ordinator for Trade Unions, Senator David Cullinane, says . . .
We need a fighting, radical and independent trade union movement BY MARK MOLONEY 5 David Cullinane at the 'In Common Cause' North American and Irish trade union event
5 East Wall Drama Society recreate scenes from the 1913 Lockout at ‘In Common Cause’
5 Brent Booker (AFL-CIO) Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald TD and Gerry Adams TD, and Terry O'Sullivan (LiUNA) at the ‘In Common Cause’ event to mark 100 years since the 1913 Lockout
5 Unison Regional Secretary for the North, Patricia McKeown
PINNED to the Leinster House office door of Sinn Féin Workers’ Rights spokesperson Senator David Cullinane is the front page of the Mandate Trade Union newspaper Shopfloor with a withering criticism of the Fine Gael/Labour Government’s austerity Budget. The Waterford senator is busy making final arrangements for the ‘In Common Cause’ 1913 Lockout commemoration event to mark the links between the Irish and USA trade union movements. David has recently been appointed Sinn Féin’s National Co-ordinator for Trade Unions. He aims to coordinate and increase co-operation between Sinn Féin in the Assembly and the Oireachtas and the Irish trade union movement. He has already been busy meeting with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and individual unions to get their views on policy and workers’ rights issues. “We need to be part of shaping the future of the trade union movement,” David tells me. “And we need to be involved at all levels. We are part of that battle against austerity alongside the trade unions.” When Mandate’s John Douglas spoke to An Phoblacht following his election as ICTU President in July, John was critical at the lack of solidarity across different sectors of the trade union movement. It’s something David also recognises as a problem. “Obviously trade unions have to represent their members but they also have a responsibility to be part of a broader movement which is about more than just representing their own sectors. We want to see trade unions much more engaged on social, economic and democratic issues. “There’s no reason, for example, why unions can’t be more energised on issues such as the demand for a Border Poll and the implementation of a Bill of Rights for the North, key parts of the Good Friday Agreement. The same goes for economic issues. They have to represent unemployed people as well as those who are working.” He says Sinn Féin activists should ensure they are members of a trade union. “If we want to be in Government in this state, if we want more rights for citizens, and if we want to achieve our objectives, then we have to work with the trade unions. They are very influential so we have to be engaging with them.”
5 David Cullinane and ICTU President John Douglas at the Sinn Féin Oireachtas team 'thinkin' at Carlingford, Louth, in September He also agrees with a point made by Mary Lou McDonald during the Lockout 1913 conference in Liberty Hall earlier this year when she said that some trade union leaders had “lost their way”.
‘We need to be part of shaping the future of the trade union movement’
David Cullinane agrees with Mary Lou McDonald at the Lockout 1913 conference in Liberty Hall when she said that some trade union leaders had ‘lost their way’
“There are trade union leaders who are members of the Labour Party and they’re entitled to that. But what we want is not a Labour Party trade union movement, or a Sinn Féin party trade union movement — we want a fighting, radical and campaigning trade union movement.” David feels very strongly that trade unions in Ireland should be independent with no official affiliation to any one political party. “But they should be working constructively with parties that are active on labour, social and political issues. That is where the movement needs to be. Of course we have legacy issues with the affiliations of some of the big unions with the Labour Party. We don’t agree with that but as long as it’s there we have to work with those leaders.” He tells An Phoblacht that a strong trade union movement is extremely important in putting forward a genuine alternative to the right-wing policies of the current Fine Gael/Labour Government. “In the year of the 100th anniversary of the Lockout we still don’t have collective bargaining or trade union recognition. That is an absolute scandal. “If we look back over the last couple of years – people being locked out of their jobs – it’s not something that ended in 1913. We had Waterford Crystal, Vita Cortex, Game, HMV, La Senza, Lagan Brick – the struggle for workers’ rights goes on. “We are part of that and we have to be encouraging the trade unions to take up issues of social and economic justice and democratic issues which will shape the future of politics on this island. Trade unions must be part of building the new Ireland that we all want to see.”
10 November / Samhain 2013
WATER METERS, CONSERVATION AND PUBLIC SERVICES UNDER PRESSURE
Will only our rivers run free? BY DAITHÍ DOOLAN THERE IS A LINE from a famous Irish ballad that goes “And still only our rivers run free.” If this government’s TDs have their way, it will be only our rivers that run free. Fine Gael and the Labour Party are committed to introducing water rates. Cynically, they have ensured people will not be receiving bills until January 2015 – well after the local elections of May 2014. But it was their predecessors in Fianna Fáil who actually came up with the plan. In December 2010, in the dying days of the last government (which included Mícheál Martin as a senior minister at the Cabinet table), Fianna Fáil produced the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014. Fianna Fáil were very clear: “Water billing for domestic customers will be made on the basis of metered charges. This will require a nationwide project to install meters in domestic residences.” Three months later, out go Fianna Fáil and in come Fine Gael and the Labour Party. Irish Water was to be established, take democratic control from local authorities and impose domestic water rates on householders. Sinn Féin has stopped water rates in the North; we were not going to allow them to be introduced in the 26 Counties without a fight. In May 2012, Sinn Féin launched our alternative to Irish Water. It stated that while we understand the challenges facing the water sector: “Sinn Féin is fundamentally opposed to the introduction of water charges, privatisation of water and sewerage service provision, and any double-taxation as a method of financing these vital public services to achieve this end. Sinn Féin also opposes the establishment of the proposed new utility, Irish Water.” This is still Sinn Féin’s position today. From his experience in the North, Conor Murphy MP explains: “As Assembly minister with responsibility for water services I blocked any attempt to introduce water rates. “Westminster tried to bully us into imposing water charges but we successfully resisted this. We invested £1billion over four years, £1million every day, without ever introducing water rates. This money was raised through inter-departmental savings. Up to 6% was saved through efficiencies. This money was used to upgrade the water system. The Irish Government are wrong to say that all citizens in the EU pay water rates. I can safely say water rates is off the agenda in the Northern Assembly.”
WATER SERVICES BILL The Irish Government introduced the Water Services Bill in May of this year. It established Irish Water as a subsidiary of Bord Gáis Éireann, a company this government said they intend to sell off large parts of. This new company has been given the power to install water meters and then charge households for the water they use. The establishment of Irish Water has noth-
5 Sinn Féin TDs and representatives protest outside Leinster House against domestic water charges ing to do with conservation and everything to do with taking power from local authorities, centralising it and then preparing it for the privatisation of Irish Water. Shine up the family silver and then sell it off to the highest bidder. Speaking to An Phoblacht, Michael Wall, Local Authority Organiser for trade union SIPTU, said: “We are in no doubt that the establishment of Irish Water announced as part of the Fine Gael election manifesto was designed to bring about the privatisation of the Irish water service. What has happened since the election has not allayed our fears that this government is trying to follow conservative governments in Britain and across Europe. “SIPTU along with the European Trade Union Congress are united in our stance to prevent privatisation of water. We are campaigning to ensure that water and sanitation services remain in public ownership for future generations. We want to see water services under local, democratic control and publicly accountable.”
myths about water meters and water charges which need to be challenged. “Myth number one: the public get water for free. This is untrue. People pay for their water through their taxes. The introduction of separate water charges forces the public to pay for water twice – once in their taxes and at a second time through the water meter.
A decade of under-investment means that in some local authority areas more than half the water is leaking away. Clearly it is not the householder but the water distribution network that is the biggest culprit when it comes to water waste
CHALLENGING THE MYTHS Brian Stanley TD, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, says that the establishment of Irish Water is driven by Fine Gael’s right-wing agenda “and supported by a spineless Labour Party”. He says that in their drive to establish Irish Water the Government continues to promote
“Secondly, that all other citizens in the EU pay water charges. This again is not true. Sinn Féin successfully resisted introducing water charges in the North of Ireland. “Finally, the Government would have us believe that water metering reduces consumption. This again is untrue. In England, where water metering has been in place for many years, consumption is at 158litres per head per day; in Dublin, the Dublin Water Supply Report of 2008 showed consumption at 148 litres per head per day.” It transpires that one third of households in Dublin cannot be installed with meters. This will also be the case in apartment blocks and
older houses in many parts of the country. If water meters equal water conservation then the Government have a serious problem. One third of homes in the capital will be on the proposed flat rate with no incentive to conserve water.
TRANSFER OF ASSETS The Government intends to introduce the Water Services Bill II later this year. This will allow for the handing over of all water sector assets from local authorities to Irish Water. The Government had hoped to move the water sector employees from local authorities over to Irish Water. But this was not to be. SIPTU have opposed this and protected the employees in the 34 local authorities. The workers will remain employed by local authorities and Service Level Agreements will be in place between local authorities and Irish Water to provide water to households. This should make it more difficult to sell off Irish Water and will make it easier for a progressive government to reverse the legislation and hand the water sector back to the local authorities to manage.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
Sinn Féin fully understands the challenges that lie ahead for the water sector. Our approach is based on ensuring that water provision remains in public ownership and paid for through progressive taxation. Sinn Féin supports the introduction of district metering as opposed to installing domestic water meters. This is already in place in a number of local authorities and is cheaper
November / Samhain 2013 11
5 Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Brian Stanley
5 Environment Minister Phil Hogan
5 Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy
5 Fianna Fáil’s Mícheál Martin
and is effective in monitoring usage and identifying leaks. We would be far better off investing money from the National Pension Reserve Fund in creating real jobs that have a positive legacy. The money being wasted on meters should be invested in upgrading an ageing, leaking water distribution system. Sinn Féin calls for the establishment of a National Water Service Framework Team overseeing governance of the water sector and capital investment for the sector. We need to develop an All-Ireland strategy on water provision where shared resources, joint capital investment in infrastructure and procurement would clearly prove beneficial on an all-Ireland basis. Consecutive governments have allowed the state’s water distribution network to become antiquated. Capital investment in water was cut by 25% to Ř331million in 2012. More cuts are planned until the budget is reduced to Ř266 million. These cuts will result in a lot more leaks and a lot more wasted water. A decade of under-investment means that in some local authority areas more than half the water is leaking away. Clearly it is not the householder but the water distribution net-
5 One of the first new water meters is installed as part of a blanket roll-out across the 26 Counties work that is the biggest culprit when it comes to water waste. The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government must return to at least the 2011 level of investment. While the Environment Minister’s proposals are focused on the domestic householder, there is no mention of the debt owed by the commercial sector where only 52% of water rates are collected. So it appears that households are being penalised for leaking pipes and poor governance. The Government must take action on the outstanding water rates owed to the state by the commercial sector.
Companies have now been contracted to install domestic water meters. These contractors, including media mogul Denis O’Brien’s Siteserv PLC, will install water meters to
The establishment of Irish Water has nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with taking power from local authorities, centralising it and then preparing it for privatisation – shine up the family silver and then sell it off to the highest bidder
ensure Irish Water can bill households for the water used. If, for any number of reasons, a household does not have a water meter installed they will still have to pay water rates. Their bill will be based on an estimated use of water. Sinn Féin activists are encouraged to take the lead in organising the campaign against this double taxation. Sinn Féin will be identifying when and where water meters are being installed. Sinn Féin will target those areas with information leaflets outlining our opposition to water rates and highlighting our alternatives to Irish Water. We will be working with communities to organise public meetings and protests to show opposition to water rates. Sinn Féin reps will also be challenging Fine Gael and Labour TDs and councillors to debate the issues around water rates, conservation, public services and privatisation. It is only by bringing pressure to bear on this government will we change their direction on water rates and ultimately keep water services in public ownership under the control of our local authorities.
12 November / Samhain 2013
‘Seek out the school you who are homeless, acquire knowledge you who shiver, you who are hungry reach for the book: it is a weapon’ Bertolt Brecht, ‘In Praise of Learning’
The struggle for equality in education BY PEADAR WHELAN THE ideological battleground that is education is an ongoing struggle between Sinn Féin with its progressive approach and that of a reactionary bloc in thrall to an elitist system and mentality rooted in selection and privilege. That battle is nowhere more obvious than in the way Sinn Féin’s attempt to scrap the 11-Plus exam has been opposed by people with a vested interest in academic selection. Most teachers and educationalists believe the 11-Plus should, in the words of Avril HallCallaghan, head of the Ulster Teachers’ Union “be consigned to the rubbish heap of the past”. Sinn Féin Education Minister John O’Dowd’s linking of social deprivation to academic underachievement has met with opposition from the DUP and SDLP. Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on education, Chris Hazzard, explains that Sinn Féin wants to bring about an improved pupil-centred education system in the North, putting pupils first and looking at education in a social context. “It is important to recognise that children from socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods perform less well in school compared to children from better-off backgrounds. “Hunger affects children’s performance.” His remarks are timely. The Common Funding Scheme, which John O’Dowd initiated, saw its proposals published in June. It recommends that more of the school budget be directed into schools from the most disadvantaged areas. A measure of social deprivation is the number of children needing school meals. “This is one of the objective measures used to assess disadvantage,” stresses Hazzard, “yet the DUP’s Mervyn Storey, Chair of the Stormont Education Committee, is attempting to sectarianise the issue, saying the move would be particularly beneficial to Catholic schools”. Storey found willing allies in the SDLP who, according to Hazzard, supported the DUP man’s thesis that free school meals were not an indicator of poverty. During an Assembly debate in September, the SDLP, said Hazzard, sided with the DUP to prevent the targeting of social need within the education system and sectarianised the school meals issue “to the detriment of both Catholic and Protestant working-class children”.
5 Education Minister John O'Dowd meets pupils at St Patrick’s Primary School in Crossmaglen Hazzard likens this negative attitude to that of those wedded to the 11-Plus, saying it is their fear of change and equality that is holding back education reform. Earlier this year, Minister John O’Dowd com-
simply is not true. The levels of under-achievement are far too high. “John O’Dowd is serious about raising the standards and again is attempting to broaden out the framework for this by inviting in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to scrutinise our educational performance and measure it against international standards. “No stone will be left unturned in this inspection and, as far as Sinn Féin is concerned, we have nothing to hide and nothing to fear.” Amongst a number of initiatives funded by John O’Dowd’s department was an announcement in May this year to create 230 new teaching jobs. “This will have a double impact within the education system by giving newly-qualified teachers an opportunity to get experience and
Parties sectarianised the school meals issue to the detriment of both Catholic and Protestant working-class children mitted £30million to support schools whose pupils come from disadvantaged areas. The educational vision that Sinn Féin is pursuing is aimed at bringing the system up to international standards. “There is this myth that we have a world-class education system,” says Chris Hazzard. “This
‘Hunger affects children’s performance’ Chris Hazzard, MLA for South Down and Sinn Féin Education spokesperson
allow children to increase their numeracy and literacy skills,” Chris Hazzard points out. Coupled to this initiative, John O’Dowd has made progress on the thorny issue of retired teachers being re-employed in sub-teaching roles. Says Hazzard: “There are 80% fewer retired teachers being rehired, which clearly provides more opportunities for new teachers coming through.” The news that nearly half the pupils in Irishmedium education are entitled to free school meals will give impetus to John O’Dowd’s plans for the Irish-medium sector. According to Chris Hazzard, John O’Dowd “wants a review of where we are and believes there is a need to think strategically about Irishlanguage provision, especially developing secondary level schools. Experts speak of the value of bilingual learning so it is important we encourage it. With the good network of schools we have it is clear the Irish language is in good health. “That said, despite all the good work we’ve done, there is more to do and we’ll not be found wanting.”
November / Samhain 2013 13
Gan de rogha acu ach glacadh le rún sa Seanad ag lorg leasuithe
An Rialtas ag bogadh go mall ar leasú an Chóireáil Dhíreach
5 Record numbers joined Sinn Féin at Queen's University Freshers Week
MÁS mall féin is mithid, a deirtear, agus is amhlaidh atá maidir le dul chun cinn an Rialtais chun an córas tearmann do theifigh, an Chóireáil Dhíreach, a leasú. Ach, tógadh céim suntasach le seachtain anuas, mar gur glacadh d’aonghuth sa Seanad le rún a mholann athchóiriu a dhéanamh ar an gcóras seo. De réir na figiúir is déanaí, 4,624 duine atá coinnithe sa chóras Cóireáil Dhíreach. Cuireadh an chóras seo ar bun breis is deich mbliana ó shoin le freastal ar na daoine a thagann ó thíortha eile agus iad ag teitheadh, nó ag lorg tearmann ar chúis amháin nó ar chúis eile. Is páistí iad 1732 acu sin, cuid mhór acu a rugadh agus a tógadh san gcóras féin. Córas gearrthréimhseach a bhí in ainm is a bheith ann ó thús. Ní raibh sé i gceist go mbeadh daoine ag fanacht ann ach ar feadh sé mhí ar a mhéid, ach tá daoine áirithe ann le breis is deich mbliana. Fabht eile atá sa chóras ná go bhfuil sé i lámha phríobháideacha a bheag nó a mhór. Rinneadh príobháidiú air faoi cheannas Fhianna Fáil, seachas cupla ionad gur leis an Stát iad ach a bhfuil comhlachtaí príobháideacha i mbun bainistíochta iontu. Caitheadh €63m anuraidh leis na comhlachtaí seo, a chuireann cóiríocht ar fáil i meascán d’árais — sean-óstáin, ionaid saoire, clochair is a leithéad. Is conradh a bhíonn i gceist le áit chodlata, béilte agus cóiriocht theoranta eile a chuir ar fáil. Tá cuid mhór ceisteanna ardaithe maidir leis an gcóras le tamall anuas ag eagrais dheonacha, gníomhaithe pobail, forais idirnáisiúnta, polaiteoirí agus iriseoirí. Díol súntais ab ea an méid a dúirt an Iar-Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly faoin ábhar agus í ag léiriú inmí an-mhór faoi, go h-áirithe maidir le h-easpa córas gearáin agus formhaoirsithe. Thug mé féin agus an Seanadóir Martin Conway (Fine Gael) cuairt ar phéire de na h-ionaid seo i nGaillimh le coicíos anuas. Chuir an éadóchais sna h-ionaid as go mór dúinn. Míchinnteacht maidir le cén uair a dtabharfaí breith ar a gcuid iarratais tearmainn an locht is mó a bhí ag an dream a chas muid leo. “B’fhearr duit go mór fada a bheith ag cur isteach téarma priosúntachta,” a deir bean amháin linn, “mar ar a laghad ar bith le sin, tá fhios agat cén uair a dtiocfaidh deireadh leis.” Bhí bean eile an-imníoch maidir leis an tionchar ar na gasúir. “Tá mise ocht mbliana sa chóras agus tá mo pháiste seacht mbliana,” deir sí. “Ní thuigeann sí aon rud eile ach an choireáil dhíreach. Feiceann sí páisti eile ag imeacht agus fiafraíonn sí dom, mamaí cén uair an mbeidh muid ag imeacht agus níl aon fhreagra agam di. Déanann muid ár ndícheall. Bionn muid ag cur aghaidh gealgháireach orainn féin ach tá mé ag fail bháis taobh istigh.” Chuir na teifigh in iúl go láidir nach dteastaíonn uathu a bheith mar ualach ar an Stát. Tá siad ag iarraidh cabhrú le muid a thógáil as an ngéarchéim eacnamaíochta. Tá
5 Thousands of pensioners rally outside Leinster House against Budget cuts by Fine Gael/Labour targeting senior citizens
scileanna agus oideachas go leor acu — céimithe, lucht gnó, altraí, dochtúirí, ceolteoirí, acadúlaithe is eile. Tá siad ag iarraidh cead oibre. Ach, tá sin ceilte orthu mar nár ghlac an tír seo go fóill le treoir Eorpach a thabharfadh cead teoranta oibre do theifigh tar éis doibh a bheith anseo sé mhí. Tá an treoir seo glactha ag gach tír eile san Aontas Eorpach seachas an Danmhairg, a bhfuil téarmaí níos fábhraí ná an méid atá sa treoir glactha acu. Tá bealach níos fearr leis seo a riaradh. Thug mé cuairt ar ionad do theifigh sa Phortaingéil le mí anuas, i gcuideachta ionadaithe ó Chomhairle Teifeach na hÉireann, Spirasi (eagraíocht a thacaionn le daoine a d’fhulaing spídiúlacht) agus an Seanadóir Conway. An rud a d’fhoghlaim muid ná go n-oibríonn na póiliní ansin go dlúth leis na h-eagrais dheonacha. Go ndéantar próiseáil i bhfad níos tapúla ar iarratais an lucht tearmainn agus go dtosaítear ar an bproiséas comhdhlúthú i bhfad níos túisce. Ach, cé nach nglacaim leis gur chóir an scéala seo a thomhais i dtéarmai eacnamaiochta, is fiú a lua nach gcaitear ach beagán le cois €1m sa bhliain ar an gcóras ansiúd, ait a bhfuil muidne ag caitheamh breis is €73m. Fáiltím roimh bogadh an Aire ar an gceist, ach beidh gá le beart dearfach de réir briathar, go tapaidh, leis an gcóras éagóireach seo a chuir ina cheart.
5 Sinn Féin Newry and Mourne Councillor Mick Murphy with 'Gara' Editor Inaki Soto and journalist Ion Telladria. Ion is one of 40 people facing trial for membership of Segi, the former Basque independence youth movement. If convicted he will face up to six years in prison
‘Bionn muid ag cur aghaidh gealgháireach orainn féin ach tá mé ag fail bháis taobh istigh’
5 Young people protest against cuts to Jobseeker’s Allowance. Members of the 'We're Not Leaving' campaign form an ‘Emigration Queue’ outside Leinster House
14 November / Samhain 2013
Scheme described in Oireachtas to ‘bear all the hallmarks of a scam’
5 Kilkenny gardener Charles Allen, pictured locking receivers out of a stud farm in Kildare, is the founder of the Rodolphus Allen Private Family Trust
Homeowners warned against buying into loopy ‘legal protection’ BY MARK MOLONEY DESPERATE HOMEOWNERS hoping to avoid repossession are being warned against paying a Kilkenny-based organistaion hundreds of euro for ‘a secret loophole’ that does not exist and will not stop their homes being seized by the banks. A new quasi-spiritual trust based in Kilkenny claims it will protect homeowners facing repossession – ‘all they have to do’ is sign over their property to it and pay for the privilege. It may sound like a crazy idea but the Rodolphus Allen Private Family Trust has already received hundreds of thousands of euros in payments from desperate homeowners scrambling to protect their properties from repossession. The man behind the trust, Charles Allen, claims it has accepted assets worth €2billion from at least 2,000 debtors at a cost to each depositor of between €250 and €525 per property. The trust often references Brehon and common law and claims it is taking advantage of a loophole in Irish law to protect properties. Legal experts have politely dismissed such claims as nonsense. The Law Society of Ireland has
advised borrowers in difficulty to avoid groups and individuals that have no formal legal training but claim to have a “secret formula” for circumventing Irish law based on “false imaginings of what the law might be”. It was said in the Oireachtas to “bear all the hallmarks of a scam”. Charles Allen – a gardener with no known legal training or background – is currently living north of the Border
trust has reportedly taken in €40,000 in October alone through events in Newry and Armagh. When confronted by an Irish Examiner reporter during a ‘signing-in’ at a Newry hotel to explain how it works, Allen refused to answer and dodged a string of questions by saying: “I owe you no explanation.” He also refused to say whether he had disclosed the money being taken in to the tax authorities. The trust is reported to have taken in at least €500,000 this year. A copy of the eight-page document signed by those wishing to become part of the trust along with other affirmations and documents marked “Strictly Private and Confidential” has been seen by An Phoblacht. These documents do not explain how the Trust plans to keep the banks from repossessing the properties and do not contain any reference to any particular law. They also include a clause that the person signing over their property will lease it back for a fee of €100 per year. A ‘Certificate of Acknowledgement’ is also included which grants Charles Allen power of attorney and also guarantees to indemnify him against “all claims, losses, costs, expenses,
Karl Deeter, financial analyst with Irish Mortgage Brokers, wrote an article headlined ‘Let the Bullshit begin: The document behind the Kilkenny trust’ after a bench warrant was issued by the Dublin High Court for his arrest. Along with Direct Democracy Ireland leader Ben Gilroy, he is under investigation following an attempt by the Trust to retake a stud farm from receivers in Kildare. The pair are accused, along with another man, of breaching orders not to interfere in the receivership. Despite him being a fugitive, Allen’s
damages or liability” in this capacity. Membership also requires a bizarre affirmation which commits members to “identify, engage, and fulfil our true purpose on this planet, as unique fragments of divine consciousness, in our eternal spiritual quest for self-realisation”. Solicitor Bill Holohan says much of the documentation is nonsense: “If people have liabilities to creditors and if they think that they can avoid
The appearance of this trust coincides with a dramatic increase in the number of ‘Freeman on the Land’ style of defences being used in courts across Ireland. This ideology has its origins in far-Right anti-government groups in the USA and has recently reached Ireland and Britain. Followers often refer to themselves as ‘Sovereign Citizens’. In Canada, a 156-page ruling by Justice John D. Rooke criticised what he described as the increasing use of “Organised Pseudo-legal Commercial Argument (OPCA)” in courtrooms. He described the OPCAs as groups which people often paid for access to, headed by gurus who proclaim to know secret principles and law. “The story and process of an OPCA scheme is not intended to impress or convince the courts but rather to impress the guru’s customer,” the judge said. Are the ‘gurus’ like the green-fingered Charles Allen leading Irish homeowners up the garden path? • Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty TD moved the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment) Bill 2013 in October to offer the family home genuine legal protection against repossession.
The man behind the trust is currently living north of the Border after a bench warrant was issued by the Dublin High Court for his arrest those liabilities to creditors by putting property into a trust utilising a document such as this trust document, then they would be sadly mistaken.” Karl Deeter, a financial analyst with Irish Mortgage Brokers and Advisors.ie, who attended a presentation given by the group in August, is more direct. In an article headlined Let the Bullshit begin: The document behind the Kilkenny trust, he describes it as “a copy and paste job”.
November / Samhain 2013 15
TYRONE WOMEN COUNCILLORS ELECTED TO TOP TWO POSTS
Sinn Féin makes history in Omagh economic development throughout the district. “Closer to home I would like the see the case for a new build for the Dean Maguirc College in Carrickmore advanced. Additionally, I will be working to ensure the same for Carrickmore Primary School and I would like to see the case of the enhanced hospital in Omagh being advanced in my time as Chair.” And as Council Chair Anne Marie is keenly watching how the Westminster parliament’s
ANNE MARIE FITZGERALD has made history for Sinn Féin in Mid Tyrone by being elected first citizen of the Omagh District. And more history was made on Omagh District Council at the meeting when it elected two female councillors to the top two posts — Anne Marie as Chairperson and Omagh Town representative Sorcha McAnespy as Vice-Chair. It’s the first time two women have held the top posts in any of the 26 local councils across the North and only the second time in the whole of Ireland that two females have held the reins. (In 2012, Donegal County Council had Sinn Féin Councillors Cora Harvey and Marie Therese Gallagher as Mayor and Deputy Mayor.) Anne Marie, a paramedic by profession, has been a councillor for the past seven years. She took on the role after the tragic death of her father, Councillor Mickey McAnespie, representing the Carrickmore and Creggan areas in Mid Tyrone. Married to Kevin (Bill) Fitzgerald and mother to her two daughters, Aoife and Cloadgh, Anne Marie leads a busy life. Interviewed by An Phoblacht following her election, Anne Marie explained the strength of Sinn Féin in County Tyrone. “This year, Sinn Féin holds the position of Chair of the four local councils in Tyrone:
Sinn Féin holds the Chair of the four local councils in Tyrone: Omagh, Dungannon, Cookstown and Dungannon – ‘a testament to the strength of Sinn Féin in the county’ Omagh, Dungannon, Cookstown and Dungannon. It is a testament to the strength of Sinn Féin in the county. This was built through many years of hard work and dedication from activists and supporters of Irish republicanism. “Sinn Féin as a working-class party was built up from the grassroots and is in daily contact with local people and the community because
It’s the first time two women have held the top posts in any of the 26 local councils across the North and only the second time in the whole of Ireland
5 The Sinn Féin Chair and Vice-Chair of Omagh District Council, Anne Marie Fitzgerald and Sorcha McAnespy. The late Mickey McAnespie, Anne Marie’s father, is pictured right we are approachable with issues, whatever they may be. Anne Marie recalled the night her father. Mickey, came home to tell the family he was to be nominated by Sinn Féin to the position of Chairperson of Omagh District Council. “He was wondering if he could manage it as he was a farmer. One day he would be bailing hay, the next he would be in bog working on the turf. He was a very honest and hard-working man. He never changed for anyone, even when he became Chairperson. He was the same man everyone knew and loved. He would be in the field looking after the cattle with the chain of office often hanging over a gate post. “He was also very loyal to Sinn Féin and the Republican Movement.” Anne Marie outlined priorities in her time as Chair: “Issues of importance include the speedy resolution of the A5 Dual carriageway project, the Lisanelly Educational Campus in Omagh, and
5 Maggie Donaghy and Rosie McCallan from Carrickmore inspect Omagh’s chain of office
Welfare Reform Bill — including the ‘Bedroom Tax’ — threatens people’s entitlements in Ireland. Her role has already seen many highlights and milestones but she mentions three standout occasions she looks back on fondly. “I recently hosted two schools at a reception for the teachers, staff and pupils of the Dean Maguirc College in Carrickmore and Omagh High School. Both schools achieved the highest level of obtainment in a recent inspectors’ report. They were the two highest-ranking schools in the Omagh District. “The second stand-out occasion was the annual Chernobyl event where the district hosts a group of children from Chernobyl. It was a very touching event. “I was also glad to attend a lung cancer awareness coffee morning. It is something which has affected my own family and many families across the district and is a very worthy and deserving cause. Turning to next year’s election to the new ‘super council’, Anne Marie urged people to use their vote. “People, particularly young people, can take voting for granted but it was hard fought for and if I had one message for the electorate it would be to use their vote. I am confident that our record on Omagh District Council speaks for itself, whether it is larger issues or the bread and butter politics on the ground at grassroots level.”
5 Anne Marie with the village of Carrickmore in the background which she represents on Omagh District Council
November / Samhain 2013
Shooting » history Liberties native and Kilmainham Jail guide Liz Gillis talks to ‘An Phoblacht’ about her new photographic history, ‘Revolution in Dublin’
BY MARK MOLONEY LIZ GILLIS meets me in The Patriots Inn, which sits in the shadow of Kilmainham Jail, on the south bank of the River Liffey. Liz has been working as a tour guide in the jail since 2006, beginning two weeks before the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising. She is the author of The Fall of Dublin, released in 2011 as part of Mercier Press’s ‘Military History of the Irish Civil War’ series. “It was an area I was always interested in because nobody talked about it,” Liz explains. Her latest work, Revolution in Dublin – A Photographic History 1913 to 1923, has just been released. Using archive images, many of them never before published, the reader is brought on a journey through ten years of
‘Revolution in Dublin – A Photographic History 1913 to 1923’ has archive images, many of them never before published, of ten years of momentous events taken in real time momentous events in Dublin, with the focus firmly on the ordinary men and women of the city. “History was always a big thing in our family,” the Liberties native tells me. “My whole area of interest is the 1913 to 1923 period, that stems from my dad. When I was a kid I was being brought around places like the GPO and told what happened there. So to get a job working in Kilmainham Jail was like a dream come true.” Of those involved in the Easter Rising, Tan War and Civil War, Liz says: “These were ordinary people who did extraordinary things, and when it was all over they were expected to be a wife, a husband or a son, but nobody told them how to live that life. “Many of them couldn’t deal with what happened because they were so young. You never hear people talking about post-traumatic stress disorder in Ireland in 1922. People often don’t consider these people as victims, but when you talk to their families you get that side of the story.” As well as Dublin City in turmoil, other images highlight the day-to-day lives of these revolutionaries. One image which stood out to me shows Cumann na mBan Volunteers Ita O’Gorman and Mary Coyle with friends enjoying a picnic in the Dublin Mountains during the Truce. It could have been a picture of any ordi-
5 Volunteer Seán McLoughlin, who was made commandant of the Dublin Brigade by James Connolly just before the surrender, is seen here at the rear of the GPO. The photograph was apparently taken during Easter Week. The books and ledgers behind his head, show what the Volunteers used to barricade the windows of their headquarters
5 Eilís Ní Riain in uniform. She joined Cumann na mBan in 1915 and took part in the Easter Rising. She was based in Reis' Chambers opposite the GPO and carried dispatches between O'Connell Street and Church Street while also carrying out first aid duties
5 After the burning of the Custom House: British soldiers and Auxiliaries reload their weapons. In the background are a number of IRA Volunteers after their capture, hands held over their heads
nary Dublin family; there is certainly nothing in the photo to hint that, only days earlier, these women had likely been involved in military operations and weapons smuggling. The Truce gave them breathing space to return to some of the normality of family life. Liz says it was the inclusion of these types of images which was important. “Creating this book was a huge challenge because so many brilliant photo books are already out there. Look at Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc’s book, Revolution. A lot of the images in that are
‘You never hear people talking about posttraumatic stress disorder in Ireland in 1922’ from Dublin, so it was about making this different. From working in Kilmainham, I’ve met so many relatives of the men and women who took part and that’s why I decided to focus on the people and their stories.” Many of these families helped by either submitting photographs or identifying those in images already held in the archives. Liz even ended up including a relative of her own in the book, something she hadn’t planned to do. “I included my great-uncle, Peter Lynam. I didn’t even know what that man looked like. Last year I managed to get a photo of him with other survivors from ‘A’ Company, 3rd Battalion, Dublin Brigade. He was shot and wounded during the War of Independence and never married.” Modern digital photography makes it very easy to assign dates and locations to images. In the early 1900s, though, unless it was written on the back of the photograph, it was almost impossible to identify who, what and where the
November / Samhain 2013 17
These were ordinary people who did extraordinary things, and when it was all over they were expected to be a wife, a husband or a son Liz Gillis on people caught up in the Tan War and Civil War 5 Author Liz Gillis at the memorial to the executed leaders of 1916 outside Kilmainham Jail image is from. When those who know the history of the image pass away, valuable information can be lost forever. “In some of the photographs it was impossible to identify who the people are. So if anybody knows anyone in the images, please contact me as I’d love to update it for future editions.” Liz says she has already had people contact her to point out relatives who have remained unidentified in the archives all these years. One of the most impressive sections in Revolution deals with the IRA’s assault on the
‘When anybody recalls the Custom House attack, they think it was a disaster; when you begin looking at the witness statements, the Volunteers themselves did not believe it was a disaster’ Custom House on 25 May 1921. As the administrative heart of the British Government’s presence in Ireland, it had long been considered a valuable target for republicans. Liz says the Custom House chapter was a section she was determined to include. “It all started out with a photo album in Kilmainham Jail of 68 men. Who were they? We had little to no information on them.” Further research by the staff in Kilmainham indicated they had all been captured during the
uniforms and photographed themselves engaged in the mock torture and interrogation of one of their comrades. The images were then widely used to depict the British occupation forces ‘questioning’ a civilian. “Do not underestimate the power of republicans to use propaganda,” says Liz. “They excelled at it, particularly the women. That’s why so many were arrested by the Free State early in the Civil War.” Revolution in Dublin provides a fascinating
5 Paddy Rigney, a member of the 4th Battalion, Dublin Brigade, on the roof of the Four Courts in 1922 burning of the Custom House. “When anybody recalls that attack, they automatically think it was a disaster,” she says. “But when you begin looking at the witness statements, the Volunteers themselves did not believe it was a disaster. The objective was to bring international attention on Ireland; that was achieved. And they wanted to destroy the contents of the building; that was achieved. Although 90 men were arrested, the British were not going to execute that many people.” Many historians argue that the attack was the end of the Dublin Brigade IRA as a fighting force. But Liz says information from families and others involved on the periphery show there were far more than 120 people involved, possibly as many as 300. “While the weapons were lost, that very night the IRA were out ambushing the Auxiliaries with incendiary devices. It was psychological warfare, small units carrying out the attacks but making it look like a much bigger operation.”
The IRA were determined to demonstrate that, even after losing 100 men, they were still capable of mounting attacks across the city. The images of the Custom House attack are unique as they are taken in real time. While many other famous photos from the Easter Rising and Tan War were posed by British troops after the events, this massive attack was captured as it happened by a number of different photographers across the city. Similar real-time photos also came out of the Civil War as journalists were embedded with Free State troops for much of the campaign. The British were not the only side capable of producing staged photographs. Two images which are incuded in Revolution were distributed by republicans during the Tan War to reflect the brutality of British forces. While the torture of suspects by British troops was common knowledge amongst the general popualtion, there was no photographic evidence of the brutality. To get around this, IRA Volunteers donned Auxiliary
‘Every revolution has to have leaders but you would have nothing without the ordinary men and women to pursue that revolution’ insight into the momentous events of 1913 to 1923, particularly into the lives of ordinary citizens of Dublin, whether involved as combatants in the conflict or simply spectators to the turmoil unfolding all around them. “Every revolution has to have leaders but you would have nothing without the orindary men and women to pursue that revolution,” Liz notes. The Revolution in Dublin - A Photographic History 1913 - 1923 is in shops now. • Liz is currently working on a photo-book on women in the revolutionary period. Anybody who has material or photographs which they believe may be of use to the project please contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
18 November / Samhain 2013
When Larry O’Toole and I approached Minister Hogan shortly after the Priory Hall evacuation and urged him to meet the residents, his first words were: ‘Would ye fuck off!’
FINE GAEL AND LABOUR GOVERNMENT SHAMED INTO ACTION
Tragedy and courage as Priory Hall saga ends IN OCTOBER 2011, I sat with a resident in one of the doomed Priory Hall apartments discussing the need for a public campaign in support of the families who were at that moment being evacuated from their homes. Cars and removal vans were arriving and leaving on the road outside. They were moving out the victims of unscrupulous developer Tom McFeely – victims of planning laws which allowed developers to sell sub-standard and sometimes dangerous properties to people who needed homes during the grosslyinflated Celtic Tiger property bubble; and victims of local authorities and central government that abandoned them to their fate. Not long after the evacuation I was at an event in Buswell’s Hotel, opposite Leinster House, with my Dublin City Council colleague, Larry O’Toole, another elected rep for the area. Environment, Community & Local Government Minister Phil Hogan was there. Afterwards, Larry and I approached him and urged him to meet the Priory Hall residents. “Would ye fuck off?” were the minister’s first words to us. Little did we think that it would take two years, the tragic death of a Priory Hall evacuee and a national televised appeal from his grieving partner before the Government was finally shamed into doing what it should have done in the first place. In the meantime, there were marches, protests, court cases, national and international media attention, a mediation process by a retired judge that ran into the sand and, through it all, a blank refusal by Hogan to do his job and resolve the issue. From day one, Hogan tried to hide behind ongoing court proceedings as an excuse for not meeting the residents and for not intervening. There was no legal reason to stop Hogan doing what he should have done from the beginning.
BY SINN FÉIN DUBLIN CITY COUNCILLOR
MÍCHEÁL Mac DONNCHA Joseph Finnegan began in April 2012 and was still going on a year later. But the banks and other financial institutions were refusing to step up to the mark by cancelling the mortgage debt of the Priory Hall owner-occupiers and granting new mortgages, or transferred mortgages, on new homes. On 15 July 2013, evacuated Priory Hall resident Fiachra Daly took his own life. His devastated partner, Stephanie Meehan, and their two children led mourners at the funeral
in Howth. Despite her grief, Stephanie remained determined and spoke of the need to keep up the fight for justice. She sent a direct appeal to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and went through the trauma of appearing on the Late Late Show to tell her story. The callous actions of the bank in the wake of the death of Fiachra caused widespread anger. Finally, the Government was shamed into action. Apparently prompted by Kenny, Hogan announced a new short, sharp process to ensure new homes and no Priory Hall debt for the evacuees. Within the space of three weeks the banks had been faced down and on 10 October the residents announced that they were agreeable to the resolution: “After a two-year battle, the former occupants are looking forward to moving on with our lives and to paying mortgages on new and safe homes. We can finally put Priory Hall behind us.”
CLAIMING CREDIT In his Budget speech, Minister Brendan Howlin tried to claim Government credit for the Priory Hall resolution. On the contrary, it took a terrible tragedy, the death Fiachra Daly, to finally move the
SUICIDE The failed ‘resolution process’ under former High Court judge
5 Priory Hall residents Stephanie Meehan and her late partner Fiachra Daly
5 The abandoned streets of the Priory Hall complex in Donaghmede Government to do what it should have done two years ago. The residents had called for direct ministerial intervention at the time of the evacuation. It was the courage of Fiachra’s partner, Stephanie Meehan, on behalf of all the residents, which finally forced the Government’s hand. Only then did the Government put pressure on the banks which had so disgracefully obstructed progress for so long. (It is, incidentally, an indication of what could be done with the banks on wider issues if the political will was there.) As the residents have said: “Finally, we would like to thank Stephanie Meehan. A little over a month ago she made the brave decision to speak out about the death of her partner, Fiachra Daly. It was her strength and dignity that made this Government finally take notice of the national disgrace that is Priory Hall. “The price she has paid is more than anyone should have to bear and every resident owes her a debt of gratitude we can never repay. We have no doubt that Fiachra is proud of her.” The courage and determination and unity of purpose of the Priory
5 Developer Tom McFeely Hall residents won out in the end. During two years of traumatic evacuation from their homes and deep uncertainty about their future, they remained strong and together in their fight for justice. A small committee of young people, with no experience of campaigning, guided the process through to what we hope will be a final resolution. It was a privilege for me to work with them as a public representative.
November / Samhain 2013 19
Proof that capitalism doesn’t work BY EOIN Ó MURCHÚ NEXT TO the catastrophic loss of employment, the crisis in housing is the most serious manifestation of the current dire situation – with thousands facing the loss of their homes, thousands again stuck in negative equity, and increasingly lengthening waiting lists of those who, in the current capitalist system, cannot get housing. Quite simply, the capitalist system has proved itself unable to solve the housing crisis, providing decent places to live for our citizens, because, under capitalism, everything is subordinated to the profit of the few at the expense of the many. In recent weeks, the airwaves have been rocking with dire warnings that another housing bubble is on the way as house prices in Dublin (though not elsewhere) begin to show signs of increase. The problem remains the basic one: more people want houses than are available, and under the capitalist law of supply and demand this leads to an increase of prices – an increase that can only be avoided by building more houses, increasing supply and thereby lowering demand. According to official figures in the 26 Counties, there are over 90,000 families looking for housing but local authorities are no longer building houses. This is part of the neo-liberal mantra that the state should stay out of economic activity. And the result is that thousands are forced into private rental situations where they are ripped off by speculators or left homeless. Thousands more face the appalling stress of their personal lives trying to meet bills – especially high mortgage payments – that cannot be met. What is needed is for the state to intervene.
Even conservative economists acknowledge that we need to build 30,000 housing units now, not just to provide for families but also for the massive numbers of adult single people who need somewhere to live. We know that this is not happening and we know that the investors are afraid that the profits won’t be there so the banks
The problem remains the basic one: more people want houses than are available won’t provide the finance and the vicious circle goes on. If local authorities resume building houses, initially for rent but ultimately for purchase for the average worker but with special emphasis on the needs of young adults, we can quickly end this crisis and produce a stable housing situation.
What needs to be made clear is that housing is NOT a market, but a social need that must be taken out of the hands of the free marketer profit-makers. Building 30,000 housing units will have other positive effects for the economy, not least in providing jobs in the construction sector which was savaged in the bust. The homeless charity Focus Ireland has argued that a €400million investment will create 3,200 jobs alone. Maintaining such an investment annually in social and affordable housing would mean a massive improvement in the job prospects of many unemployed and improve the living situation of thousands of our citizens. Focus was particularly scathing about the ‘taxbreak’ incentives announced by the Government to ‘kick-start the economy’. Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy at Focus, says this scheme was “ill conceived, when what is needed is investment to build affordable and social housing”. Of course, such a programme would not only
5 Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy at Focus Ireland, criticises Government ‘tax break’ incentives
help citizens looking for housing: it would reduce the pressures which banks can put on those with arrears problems, and so improve their situation too. But the Fine Gael/Labour Government is totally wedded to the capitalist way of doing things, in which housing is a market and profit is essential. And they are completely committed to ‘returning the banks to profitability’, which means screwing the general populace in the banks’ interests. Social housing is not on their agenda, so instead they come up with yet another scheme to give entrepreneurs more profit. Governments exist to provide for the needs of the citizens, by direct involvement in economic
In the 26 Counties, there are over 90,000 families looking for housing but local authorities are no longer building houses activity if necessary, and by creating conditions that ensure the needs of the people are met. By stating the issue that bluntly it is obvious that this government doesn’t believe in that, and it is obvious too that Fianna Fáil cannot go ‘back to its radical roots’ (such as they were) for it too is wedded to capitalist orthodoxy. Our choices are simple. We can carry on hoping that things will magically get better and that the housing crisis will ease after sufficient numbers of our young people have been driven abroad in emigration or we can recognise that relying on market forces to provide basic housing needs is a proven failure. Continuing to vote for any of the three Establishment parties is a vote for the continuing catastrophe in people’s personal lives. That is why the Sinn Féin alternative is so compelling.
20 November / Samhain 2013
BY BY MÍCHEÁL MÍCHEÁL Mac Mac DONNCHA DONNCHA
The centenary of the Irish Volunteers – Óglaigh na hÉireann THE FOUNDING of the Irish Volunteers in November 1913 was a momentous event that would help determine the course of Irish history for decades to come. Yet the circumstances which brought about the birth of the Volunteers were very particular to the time and they arose out of the immediate political crisis around Home Rule for Ireland. The political background to the formation of the Irish Volunteers was the violent Tory and unionist reaction against Home Rule. The Tories (official name ‘The Conservative and Unionist Party’, often simply ‘The Unionist
The political background to the formation of the Irish Volunteers was the violent Tory and unionist reaction against Home Rule Party’) seized on Home Rule as the main political front on which to fight the British Liberal Party government which they detested for its reforming agenda. In 1912, the Ulster unionists under Edward Carson and James Craig had pledged to form a provisional government as soon as Home Rule became law. By the time of the Ulster Covenant in September 1912, arms were already being imported in large numbers. The pro-British Ulster Volunteer Force was formed and was financed, armed and officered with the help of the English and Scottish Tories.
(PLUS POSTAG AND PACKAGIN E G)
The Unionist Northern Whig newspaper wrote in June 1913: “The prudence of proceeding quietly with the business of gun-running was self-evident. Rifles – and not only rifles but machine guns and a large quantity of ammunition – have reached Ulster from many sources and under many aliases.” This raised the question of how Irish nationalists should respond. John Redmond and the Irish Party at Westminster placed their trust in the Liberal Government to face down the Tory and unionist rebellion and to ensure that Home Rule came into operation on schedule in 1914. However, many nationalists (and not just the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the IRB) believed that this was not sufficient and that Ireland needed an armed force to vindicate her right to self-government and to act as a counter-weight to the Tory/unionist threat. The separatists of the IRB – while recently reorganised by Tom Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada and Bulmer Hobson – were not strong enough on their own to establish an open Irish Volunteer organisation. But they had influence in nationalist organisations and the advantage of their own tightly-disciplined organisation. The prospect that Home Rule night be thwarted by the Tory/unionist rebellion had the effect of radicalising many nationalists such as Pádraig Mac Piarais, who spoke from a Home Rule platform in Dublin in 1912 and said that if they were cheated again by England there would be “red war throughout Ireland”. While Mac Piarais would go to play a pivotal role, the key man in the formation of the Volunteers was Michael O’Rahilly, known as ‘The O’Rahilly’.
T HBIRTHPLACE E ROTOFUTHE NDA
IRISH VOLUNTEERS Óglaigh na hÉireann
emembering R the
‘Ireland unarmed will attain just as much freedom as it is convenient for England to give her; Ireland armed will attain ultimately just as much freedom as she wants’ PÁDRAIG Mac PIARAIS
SINN FÉIN BOOKSHOP 58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. email@example.com www.sinnfeinbookshop.com Produced bt Republican Publications
November / Samhain 2013 21
IRISH VOLUNTEERS ANNIVERSARY
5 Crowds jostle for a view of Volunteers on parade in Cork City
5 Irish Volunteers in training in 1913 O’Rahilly had refused to join the IRB, telling Constance Markievicz that the only secret society he would join would be one in which every member was required to have a rifle and a thousand rounds of ammunition. He preferred to work in open organisations such as Conradh na Gaeilge and Sinn Féin, in which he was very active. In 1912, O’Rahilly wrote a series of articles for the IRB paper, Irish Freedom, on the need for an Irish army. “In the last analysis, the foundation on which all government rests is the possession of arms and the ability to use them,” he wrote. By early 1913, O’Rahilly, Eamonn Ceannt, Cathal Brugha and others in Sinn Féin were carrying out organised arms training in Dublin. In July, on the proposal of Bulmer Hobson, IRB members were drilling in 41 Parnell Square under instruction from officers of Fianna Éireann, the republican boy scouts. While the exact sequence of events is disputed (some claim Hobson later exaggerated his own role), it is agreed that the impetus for the public call for the formation of the Irish Volunteers came when Professor Eoin Mac Néill of University College Dublin, a prominent Conradh na Gaeilge member and nationalist, was approached to
write an article on Ulster for the Conradh newspaper An Claidheamh Soluis. The paper’s manager was O’Rahilly and it was he who asked Mac Néill to write the article, The North Began (1 November 1913). It excoriated the Tory/unionist rebellion and said “it appears that the British Army cannot now be used to prevent the enrol-
The call for Volunteers succeeded beyond all the expectations of the organisers ment, drilling and reviewing of Volunteers in Ireland”. Coming from Mac Néill, a supporter of Redmond, this call appealed to nationalists beyond the separatists of the IRB, just as the IRB wished it to do. The following week, O’Rahilly published an article from Mac Piarais who wrote: “Ireland unarmed will attain just as much freedom as it is convenient for England to give her; Ireland armed will attain ultimately just as much freedom as she wants.” Two days after that article
appeared, O’Rahilly sent out invitations to a meeting in Wynn’s Hotel, Abbey Street, on 11 November. Among those attending were Mac Néill, Mac Piarais, O’Rahilly, Mac Diarmada, Éamonn Ceannt and Piaras Beaslaí. On 25 November, a public meeting for the formation of Irish Volunteers was held in the Rotunda. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Lorcan Sherlock, had refused the use of the Mansion House. The meeting was held in the Rotunda Rink, a building which held 4,000 people; there was an overflow crowd of 3,000 outside. The call for Volunteers had succeeded beyond all the expectations of the organisers. The manifesto adopted on the night began by stating that the Tory/unionist alliance planned to “make the display of military force and the menace of armed violence the determining factor in the future relations between this country and Great Britain”. This was no empty accusation. Just three weeks earlier, the UVF had held an armed training camp of over 5,000 men at Baronscourt, County Tyrone, estate of the Duke of Abercorn. Leading English Tories such as F. E. Smith continued to stir up sectarianism and resistance to Home Rule. A week before the Rotunda meeting, he said in Manchester: “You can put the whole of the Unionist Party in prison if you dare. We will see what happens if this quarrel is to be fought out on that level.” Despite this, the Irish Volunteers made clear that they wanted no confrontation with the UVF. Their demand was for Irish liberty and it was directed at the British Government. A key passage in their Manifesto read: “The object proposed for the Irish Volunteers is to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to all the people of Ireland. Their duties will be defensive and protective, and they will not contemplate either aggression or domination.” • The Irish Volunteers were founded in November 1913, a century ago this month.
ROTUNDA, PARNELL SQUARE, DUBLIN SATURDAY 16th NOVEMBER SCHEDULE O F EVENTS
» EXHIBITION 11am-4pm, Rotunda Pillar Room, access through Parnell Square East entrance Enjoy the biggest showcase display of historical artefacts devoted to explaining the context and story of the Irish Volunteers 1913-2013. FREE EVENT
» REBEL WALKING TOURS Tours start, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Sinn Féin Shop, 58 Parnell Square West. Cost: 5 ¤ per perrson Hear the story of Ireland's fight for freedom as told by Irish Republicans. You will hear the story of the 1916 Rising. It tells how the forces of the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers came together as the IRA and how they took on the might of the British Empire. Learn how the Rising came about and what happened before and after it.
» OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH & LECTURE 6pm Rotunda Pillar Room, Access through Parnell Sqaure East. The Rotunda - Birthplace of the Irish Volunteers – Óglaigh na hÉireann, by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD. This book and lecture looks at the centrality of the Rotunda in Irish history, including being the birthplace of the Irish Volunteers rebel military force which was to emerge as the Irish Republican Army. FREE EVENT
» DRAMA AND SPEECH 7.30pm Rotunda Pillar Room, Access through Parnell Sqaure East. A reenactment of the Irish Volunteers foundation, written by former Hunger Striker Laurence McKeown, by Kabosh Theatre Group. Followed by a short speech by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD. FREE EVENT
22 November / Samhain 2013
EOIN Ó MURCHÚ
Tá sé thar am éirí as an euro TÁ SÉ THAR am éirí as an euro agus airgeadra dár gcuid féin a bhunu arís le muid a thabhairt amach as an ngearchéim eacnamaíochta: é sin nó glacadh le fiche bliain de mheathlú geilleagair. Sin é an tuairim an nochtaigh an tráchtaire eacnamaíochta Cormac Lucey ag ceardlann eacnamaíochta i Luimneach sa mí seo caite. Dar leis an uasal Lucey spreagadh polasaí airgeadais a chothaigh fiacha is géarchéim rátaí malartaithe de bharr muid a bheith páirteach sa gceantar euro: mar gheall ar gur socraíodh ráta úis ag leibhéil nach raibh oiriúnach don eacnamaíocht in Éirinn. Bhíodar ró-íseal tráth go raibh rátaí níos aoirde ag teastáil is shéid na rátaí ísle sin lasracha an bhaoth-mhargadh tithíochta. Dúirt an t-uasal Lucey freisin gur léir nach bhfuil ag eirí leis an bplean reatha, bunaithe ar dhéine. Tá aird na bpolaiteóirí dírithe ar toradh na géarchéime – dócmhainneacht na mbanc is eile – in ionad a bheith dírithe ar údar na géarchéime: fadb an airgeadais mhí-oiriúnaigh. Sé an réiteach a mholann sé ná athchóiriú na bhfiacha is easpa cothroimis sa ráta malartaithe tré imeacht ón euro agus ‘punt nua’ a bhunú, airgeadra dár gcuid féin a bhunú a cheadódh dúinn fiacha a laghdú, ár gcuid earraí a dhíol
níos saoire thar lear agus srian a chur ar earraí a thabhairt isteach sa tír. Amhdaíonn sé go mbeadh deacrachtaí ag baint leis sin, ach i gcomparáid leis na deacrachtaí gan críoch atá á bhfulaingt go fóill is atá le fulaingt againn go cionn fiche bliain eile, is beag iad dar leis. Luann sé san bpáipéar a thug sé gurb shin an
chaoi gur tháinig tíortha eile as géarchéimeanna den tsaghas seo, agus d’fhéadfadh sé freisin sampla na hÍoslainne a thabhairt, mar thug an Íoslainn droim láimhe don Eoraip ag cur leasa a muintre féin sa túsáit. Tá an Íoslainn as an ngéarchéim; tá muide sáite ann i gcónaí. Tuigeann sé go bhfágfadh an plean seo na bainc gan acmhainní, ach ón gcéad lá ba choir
Cormac Lucey dúinn iad a ligint chun siúil agus banc stáit nua a bhunú a chuirfeadh airgead ar fáil don eacnamaíocht, rud nach bhfuil ag tarlúint faoi láthair. Nach spéisiúil an rud é nach bhfuil aon phlé faoin bpáipéar dúshlánach seo sna meáin oifigiúla in Éirinn. Dá mbeadh saoirse preasa aghainn . . .
BOOK REVIEW BY DAVID CONNOLLY, COMMUNITY AND TRADE UNION ACTIVIST
Dublin Tenements: As told by the people who lived there Dublin Tenements By Terry Fagan and the North Inner City Folklore Project THE publication of Dublin Tenements by Terry Fagan and the North Inner City Folklore Project is an important event not just for the residents of the inner city communities but also for those who want to better understand the social history of Dublin. The book is compiled from interviews with over 40 people who lived in Dublin’s notorious tenements over seven decades, with the earliest resident interviewed born in 1916. The detailed and often graphic descriptions of the atrocious living conditions that had to be endured is mitigated by a deep sense of community solidarity in grossly-overcrowded housing. Most of those interviewed do not dwell on the difficult physical conditions but reflect on the severe challenges faced by their families: the scale of ill-health, the dominant position of the Catholic Church; the varied means, legal and otherwise, to earn a
livelihood; the generally poor experience of school; the constant conflict with the law and the genuine warmth and enjoyment of friendships forged in the neighbourhood. What is particularly informative are the testimonies that expose aspects of the lived experience that are unex-
pected. In many of the tenements, homeless people stayed on the stairwells and basements at night and were cared for by the residents. In the latter years of the 1960s and 1970s, the surviving tenements were controlled by Dublin Corporation who oversaw their destruction and dispersal of the residents to public housing across the city. These memories are important also for the residents of these newer working-class communities, as for many of them this is a vital element of their family history. Reading this book, one is struck by impressive stories of human endurance, creativity and resilience in the face of extreme adversity, but one is left with a deep anger at the unforgivable actions by public institutions that perpetrated these collective cruelties, a privileged class that ignored them and an independent state that maintained these levels of inequality and injustice. • Dublin Tenements by Terry Fagan and the North Inner City Folklore Project is available through Easons, bookshops and online at easons.com.
November / Samhain 2013 23
The Six Counties have very high levels of fuel poverty with 34% of households in distress
The cold reality of fuel poverty THE scourge of fuel poverty continues to affect all levels of society, particularly the old and infirm. From 2001 to 2011, around 2,000 older people died from cold-related illnesses. Many of these deaths were and are preventable if the causes are given priority and tackled in a serious manner. The main causes of fuel poverty are: » Low household income; » Fuel costs; » Energy efficiency; » Thermal quality of the home and the efficiency of the heating system.
increasingly expensive. And a lower income level makes it more difficult to afford fuel, particularly for older people and pensioners. The reality of all of this is that fuel poverty can damage people’s quality of life and health. The likelihood of ill-health is increased by cold homes. Illnesses such as influenza, heart disease and strokes are exacerbated by the cold. Cold houses can also promote the growth of fungi and household dust mites. People with respiratory illnesses are put increasingly at risk. The reality is that people
5 Illnesses such as influenza, heart disease and strokes are exacerbated by low temperatures have to make stark choices about household essentials. This can lead to poor diet and withdrawal from the community with little or no money left to socialise with family and friends.
Compared to places like Britain, the Six Counties have very high levels of fuel poverty with 34% of households in fuel poverty. In my own constituency of Newry/Armagh, 39.2% of households are in fuel poverty.
Energy companies need to play a significant role in alleviating fuel poverty
Older people tend to have lower fixed incomes and as a result they spend a disproportionate amount on essentials such as fuel and food Various reasons have been given as to the high level of fuel poverty. For example, we have a cold climate leading to a greater heating requirement, a more dispersed population, a larger proportion of the population living in the rural areas, and higher gas and electricity costs because we have no indigenous fuels. Up to 70% of social housing homes here rely on oil heating, which is
The risks associated with fuel poverty can apply to any individual but it is accepted that older people, people with disabilities or longterm illnesses are particularly vulnerable. Research has shown that the older population has been hardest hit by the recession. Older people tend to have lower fixed incomes and as a result they spend a disproportionate amount on essentials such as fuel and food. At the Assembly, the Department of Social Development’s committee (chaired by Alex Maskey) has initiated a report which requires all the Government departments to take
5 Older people and people with disabilities or long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to fuel poverty
responsibility for and to act on the continuing problem of fuel poverty. Energy companies need to play a significant role in alleviating fuel poverty and look at introducing social tariffs for vulnerable customers. Innovative measures are needed if we are, as a supposedly civilised society, going to fight the continuing scourge that is fuel poverty. In recent times I have been told of a cancer patient who had to burn old shoes and items of clothing to heat her home as she was unable to afford fuel. This is a sad indictment on the society in which we live in the 21st century. In simple terms, fuel poverty is poverty.
24 November / Samhain 2013
The Basque peace process is under relentless attack from Madrid securocrats
‘The Spanish state still has the boxing gloves on’ BY MARK MOLONEY ARMED SPANISH POLICE SQUADS were smashing in the doors of Basque NGOs and priosners’ rights activists as a delegation of Basque political activists was arriving in Ireland to give an update on the peace process to Irish politicians. Eighteen members of Herrira, the Basque political prisoners’ support group, were arrested in the raids on 30 September. As the NGO (among many others) supports the repatriation of prisoners, the Spanish police use the excuse that because ETA supports repatriation then anyone else doing so is effectivley part of an ETA conspiracy. The Basque delegation meeting An Phoblacht includes Senator Urko Aiartza Azurtza of the proindependence Amaiur party; Sabin del Bado, a former MP in the Basque Parliament who is charged in a case against Herri Batasuna activists of supporting ETA; and Ion Telleria, charged with “mem-
A United Nations Special Rapporteur has been critical of the broadening by the Spanish Government of what it considers a ‘terrorist organisation’ to include any organisation which shares similar aims (such as Basque independence) to ETA bership of a terrorist organisation” in a case against alleged former members of the outlawed youth organisation Segi. It is now two years since ETA called an end to its armed campaign. “For two years the position of the conservative Spanish Government has been to do nothing,” says Urko. “They are demanding the disarmament and disbandment of ETA and if this happens they may be willing to speak about something. But that’s just another excuse. Previous to this they simply wanted an end to the armed campaign. There is not any attempt by the Spanish Government to take a position on the peace process. They are deliberately attempting to spoil the process.” Sabin del Bado was one of 36 members of Herri Batasuna – including 11 members of the Basque Parliament, one senator and a former MEP – who are charged with ETA membership based solely on their political activities with the pro-independence party. The Spanish state accused the party of being the political wing of ETA and outlawed it. When Sabin was arrested in 2000, Herri Batasuna was still perfectly legal. “Years later we have to face these charges. We
5 Senator Urko Aiartza Azurtza and Herri Batasuna accused Sabin del Bado
3 Basque activist Ion Telleria who is facing six years imprisonment for alleged membership of Segi
6 A new mural on Belfast’s International Wall calls for the release of the more than 700 Basque political prisoners being held in Spanish and French jails
are looking at eight and twelve years in prison depending on our positions in the party,” Sabin tells An Phoblacht. Speaking about the recent arrests of Herrira activists, Sabin adds: “We thought this was all in the past but even now the Spanish Government is attacking civil and political rights.” A United Nations Special Rapporteur has been critical of the broadening by the Spanish Government of what it considers a ‘terrorist organisation’ to include any organisation which shares similar aims (such as Basque independence) to ETA. In 1998, staff and contributors to the daily Basque newspaper Egin were arrested and charged. More than one hundred Basque social clubs have being closed down and are facing charges of raising funds for ETA’s ‘network’ over their work on behalf of political prisoners and their families. Ion is accused of membership of Basque youth organisation Segi, a sister group of Sinn Féin Republican Youth. The organisation was outlawed and then declared a ‘terrorist’ group. “We all have served two years already. And now we are facing six years of prison. We were arrested in 2009 in a big raid against the youth movement in both the French and Spanish parts of the Basque
Senator Urko Aiartza Azurtza believes the Spanish Government is more comfortable being engaged in an armed conflict rather than political dialogue Country along with others in Italy. Between 2007 and 2010 they arrested more than 200 people for membership of Segi. Just to be an activist with this political youth organisation is enough to be accused and condemned.” The recent waves of raids are an attempt to frighten people, he says: “It’s sending a message that supporting the peace process is dangerous.” Urko believes the Spanish Government is more comfortable being engaged in an armed conflict rather than political dialogue. “Spain is facing a financial crisis and huge support for independence in Catalonia. So the Spanish Government wants to stop any development of a peace process in the Basque Country. There is an attempt to put us in a corner. There is a strong feeling that all of these arrests are part of a concerted attack on the peace process. “We say that for years we have been boxing with the Spanish Government. Then suddenly we took the gloves off and put a chessboard in front of them. But they still have the gloves on, smashing the chessboard.” Urko tells An Phoblacht that the work to create a strong peace process needs to continue. “The Spanish Government needs to be forced into the peace process. So we need a common position among all parties and unions in the Basque Country, and we need international solidarity.”
Welcome for EU tobacco products restrictions
NEW RESTRICTIONS on the promotion of tobacco products being processed in the EU Parliament are not going as far as I would have liked but are nevertheless to be welcomed as a good beginning. In the ongoing debate around various aspects of this killer product, I believe that it is extremely important that policy makers and legislators hear a loud and clear message
I believe that it is extremely important that policy makers and legislators hear a loud and clear message from health workers and carers as, all too often, their voices are drowned out by the well-paid tobacco lobbyists from health workers and carers as, all too often, their voices are drowned out by the well-paid tobacco lobbyists. In the European Parliament, I have been driving the fight against big tobacco interests and it has been one of my key priorities since taking office, knowing the devastating impact
November / Samhain 25
This is funded by the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)
Aontas Clé na hEorpa/Na Glasaigh Chlé Nordacha Crúpa Paliminta – Parlaimimt na h Eorpa
Another Europe is possible
tobacco use has on the well-being of so many people. » A staggering 7,000 people die every year from tobacco-related diseases across Ireland; » Over 100,000 people across the island are admitted to hospital from smoking-related illnesses, costing hundreds of millions to health budgets and services every year; » Twice as many people die from smoking in economicallydisadvantaged communities than in affluent areas. It has been a challenging and stormy time for tobacco control in Europe. In December last year, the Commission published its draft proposal for the Tobacco Products Directive — the first piece of EU legislation on tobacco control since 2001. From its inception, this piece of legislation has been mired in controversy, not because of anything radical proposed in the text but because right-wing MEPs in particular are up to their necks in tobacco lobbying. Indeed, from internal documents obtained on one of the biggest tobacco companies, Philip Morris International, a disappointing 233 MEPs met
with the tobacco giant before June of last year to discuss amendments to this legislation favourable to the industry. When you hear statistics that 94% of smokers start before the age of 25 and 70% before the age of 18 or that, worldwide, it is estimated that 100,000 children start smoking every day, it is absolutely clear that measures are needed now to protect future generations from taking up this habit which kills half its users. I have consistently urged my colleagues in Brussels to resist the false arguments of the tobacco industry and wake up and listen to the statistics: 700,000 dead every year in Europe and almost six million across the globe due to tobacco products cannot and must not be ignored. What other product if used as instructed by its manufacturer resulted in the death of 50% of its users would be tolerated by governments?
Following the recent European Tobacco Product Directive aimed at reducing the number of children taking up smoking, MEP Martina Anderson hosted an event at the Stormont Assembly which can be viewed on this link: http://youtu.be/Yp3l8R—S98
5 Actor Jer O'Leary, muralist Jason Walsh-McLean, and James Connolly Heron, great grandson of James Connolly, at the 1913 mural unveiled in the LBS Men's Shed, Loughlinstown, County Dublin
Martina Anderson MEP is a member of the GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Athy Sinn Féin Councillor Mick Dunne, who recently stepped down from his role for health reasons, is presented with a slate-stone copy of the Proclamation by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD
26 November / Samhain 2013
U N C O M F O R TA B L E
C O N V E R S AT I O N S
DEALING WITH THE PAST
The time is here for unionism to stand up and be part of this debate
JUDE WHYTE WRITING IN A PERSONAL CAPACITY LIVING in this part of the Empire or the north-eastern counties of Ireland was, in the early 1990s, a very daunting experience. Our jails were full of young men and women serving long and dreary prison sentences in a truly vindictive prison regime. The forces of ‘law and order’ were busy declining to comment on issues of national security while skulking in the corner as they no doubt planned to secure the ‘democratic wish’ of their paymasters in London by bold action against bolder citizens. The place was in many ways at a crossroads. The war, for want of a better word, was at a stalemate and 4,000 souls were in their graves, the vast bulk from working-class backgrounds while it became clear to those who really mattered that this level of ‘acceptable violence’ could be maintained in perpetuity. Peace was not really on the agenda. While rumour, gossip and hearsay dominated the media and chattering classes, on the ground, life was grim, nasty, brutish and unpleasant. The first encounter that I had with loyalism came in the form of David Ervine of the oddlynamed Progressive Unionist Party (an oxymoron if I ever heard one). As part of a teaching unit I delivered to learners in the Belfast Metropolitan College, I invited him to speak on a conflict resolution programme. Let’s be frank here: I had no hope of hearing anything unusual from him. His big words and command of the English language while agreeable to the ear didn’t butter any parsnips in Andersonstown, the Bogside or south Armagh. Just another semi-literate loyalist, I thought, such is division and (I fear) my own sectarianism.
5 Do unionists really believe that the last 40 years of conflict were a criminal conspiracy? He was on his feet only a few seconds when a young woman from Ardoyne asked him: “Why did your organisation murder my father?” Before he could answer, she further asked: “Did he think it a brave act to shoot a man in the head and then in the stomach four times simply because he was seen to be a Catholic? (The man was, in fact, a Protestant from Ballymena living in Belfast with his Catholic wife from the Short Strand.) The atmosphere in the room was very tense. Ervine looked at me. I requested that he answer the question. He rose to his feet and looked at the questioner straight in the eye and said (I am quoting him word for word): “I never knew your father but I know he was a decent man who should be alive today. The failure of us all to deal with our dirty, squalid, brutal and nasty war is a shame to us all and especially to me and the organisation that I
give advice to. I am deeply sorry for your loss and I am working night and day to ensure that these events never happen again. Please forgive me.” As you can imagine, there was a silence that seemed to last forever. The nature of this silence was a moment that I will never forget and it is in fact one of only two occasions that I have ever heard a loyalist apologise in any size, shape or form. So moved was this group of people that they clapped their hands, albeit briefly, and when David Ervine went to the questioner and offered his hand of friendship she accepted with dignity and grace. The point of this story is simply to illustrate the complete lack of remorse and absolute failure of unionism to embrace the spirit and indeed letter of the Peace Process in recent years. The series of articles in An Phoblacht under the banner of ‘Uncomfortable
Do unionists accept any responsibility for the series of macro and micro discriminatory practices that personified this state from partition until the early 1970s?
Conversations’ and reaching out demonstrate this point to any fair-minded person. Where does nationalism and republicanism have to go to convince unionism that their intent is in fact honourable? Do unionists accept any responsibility for the series of macro and micro discriminatory practices that personified this state from partition until the early 1970s? Do unionists really believe that the last 40 years were a criminal conspiracy or perhaps it was a genetic DNA mutation of children born in the 1950s and 1960s that brought havoc to this part of the world for so long? In reaching out to embrace unionism, dare I ask the questions that unionists may find hard to answer from my perspective? Do nationalists throw profanity or urine at young Protestant children on their way to school anywhere? Does the Ancient Order of Hibernians or any other neo-nationalist group demand that they march up and down the Shankill on their way to wherever just because ‘it’s their right’? Can you imagine a situation whereby a republican group took the shortest way to Milltown Cemetery on Easter Sunday coming from Ardoyne . . . via Twaddell Avenue, the Ballygomartin Road, West Circular and up the Whiterock? Well, if you can, you have a great imagination The recent debates up in Stormont reinforce much of the unforgiving nature of unionism and their representatives. The SPAD Bill re special advisers demonises and criminalises ex-prisoners forever. This nasty piece of reactionary legislation puts people on the dole while handing a royal flush to those who wish for the swift return of violence to our streets. It was supported in full by unionist representatives and the SDLP (naturally). This was seen a victory over ‘terrorists’. Wrong language and no reaching out here to nationalism from what I can see. Then again, perhaps I am blind. Another example of the unyielding nature of unionism can be seen in the Maze/Long Kesh project. For the record, Peter, Jim and Mike, we are in the middle of the biggest recession in 100 years. The building industry is in freefall. The project is abandoned as it might mention a hunger strike that took place there. This part of the Empire is defined by prisons. Prisons and prisoners have always taken the lead in both revolution and evolution. The North is run by ex-prisoners while others who are too smart to hear the noise of jangling keys sit on the sidelines, encouraging mean-spirited spite in the face of endless offers of friendship and peaceful co-existence. (987 young Protestants have now been charged with offences related to the flags protest. Their ability to seek work in other countries has gone, as has their ability to enter the workforce in a meaningful way.) 1. Unionism does not wish participate in any meaningful way with nationalists.
Peter will speak to the GAA and tell us we are good boys at Queen’s University but don’t name your clubs after Kevin Lynch; after all, he was a terrorist. 2. The issues facing this society are, in no specific order: unemployment, suicide, emigration, drug abuse and long-term hopelessness, as demonstrated by many of the above. 3. The lack of truth for victims and survivors and the same criminalisation of people who were clearly not involved in any ‘terrorist activity’. Perhaps when unionism decides it right it can explain to 45 orphans in Ballymurphy why their parents and the local Catholic priest are dead, why six men were murdered in the New Lodge and a hundred other unsolved murders that
November / Samhain 2013 27
In reaching out to embrace unionism, dare I ask the questions that unionists may find hard to answer from my perspective? were carried out in the name of the state. This nasty wee conflict seems to be a bit over, but not quite. Peace is not just the absence of violence but a little more, I believe. Politics has replaced the gun and the bomb yet in many ways I feel that we live in a more segregated society than ever. We live apart,
educate our children apart, holiday apart, while sport (the source of such unity in the world) remains sectarian, poisoned and divisive. Bobby Sands said: “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.” Sadly there are fewer and fewer children left. They are all in Perth, Sydney and London looking for work or lying in a graveyard, having taken
Where does nationalism and republicanism have to go to convince unionism that their intent is in fact honourable?
5 DUP leader Peter Robinson and the late leader of the PUP, David Ervine
their own lives in desperation at the hatefilled society they live in but couldn’t get shot of. The time is here for unionism to stand up and be part of this debate. Either we live together or we pass the legacy down to a new generation to deal with what we should be doing now.
JUDE WHYTE is a lecturer in social work in Belfast. He was the elected chair of the pilot NI Victims and Survivors Forum. He currently sits on the same group and writes here in a personal capacity. His family home was bombed twice in 1984 by the UVF. His mother died in the second explosion along with Constable Michael Dawson. He is a Marxist.
28 November / Samhain 2013
BOOK REVIEWS BY MICHAEL MANNION
The enigmas of Parnell and Kildare in the Tan War Parnell Reconsidered Edited by Pauric Travers & Donal McCarney, UCD Press THERE IS a tendency amongst many republicans to sideline Charles Stewart Parnell as something of an interlude between the Fenians and the Easter Rising, when the really important stuff happened. Yes, he was important at the time but what lasting significance has remained? It was not for nothing that Parnell had been dubbed “The uncrowned king of Ireland” (a title previously applied to Daniel O’Connell). His pivotal importance and influence are not readily appreciated in the modern Irish political landscape. Gladstone, himself one of the greats of British politics, described Parnell as the most remarkable man he had ever met. This is all the more impressive when one remembers that Parnell died when only 45 years old. This latest book on Parnell from UCD Press, whilst obviously aimed primarily at the academic market,
nevertheless makes fascinating reading for those of us who would not normally be considered as Parnell scholars. The book consists of a series of short essays, each dealing with a specific aspect of his life and career. Many of the topics covered in each section are on familiar ground but there are others
The War of Independence in Kildare By James Durney, Mercier Press JAMES DURNEY’S new book, The War of Independence in Kildare is a passionate defence of his native county’s often disparaged record. At times the argument switches between explaining that Kildare was really far more active in the Tan War than generally appreciated; that Kildare couldn’t really do much due to its unique geographic and demographic situation; and that Kildare may have performed poorly but others were worse. Looked at purely on the level of headline military operations, Kildare could be seen as ‘under-performing’
5 A republican election team on Main Street, Naas, during the 1918 elections
that are more unusual. The relationship between Parnell and the drinks industry is scrutinised in one section; another provides an insight into the relationship between Parnell and the press in Ireland. A further chapter focuses specifically on the relationship with the United Ireland newspaper. The more traditional examinations of attitudes to Gladstone and Home Rule are also reviewed. This book could so easily have been a dry, sterile and frankly boring collection of disparate essays cobbled together for publication, Instead, the editors have assembled a selection of well-written, impeccably researched, and above all interesting insights into what they describe as “the enigma that is Charles Stewart Parnell”. This is an engrossing book and surprisingly readable. It provides a series of commentaries and insights not normally found in the standard biographies and would be essential reading for anyone studying the period, or merely wishing to find out more about Parnell.
but the author reminds us that Kildare was in fact one big barracks containing more than 6,000 soldiers, RIC and Black and Tans. A third of the total British Army strength in Ireland was based in the Curragh alone. Many of the soldiers were accompanied by their families and most of the RIC were themselves Irish with families. Coupled to this was a huge number of ex-servicemen and their families, all of whom would be seen as being broadly pro-Union. Many non-military members of the population, from farmers to shopkeepers, were inextricably involved with supplying goods and services directly to the military or indirectly (to their extended families). As a result, Kildare was a relatively prosperous county with a broadly pro-Union population. The other problem facing potential guerrilla actions was the large expanse of flat, hedgeless countryside precluding the mounting of ambushes, the action of choice of the IRA during the Tan War. Where Kildare was more successful was in the field of intelligence, supplying Ned Broy to Michael Collins in Dublin Castle as a double agent for the IRA, and the less-well-known Gerry Maher and Patrick Casey in Naas. These last two were RIC members who were able to provide the top secret codes enabling captured encrypted police documents to be deciphered. This is a passionately written book, well-researched and worthwhile reading for anyone with Kildare connections.
A special brochure containing messages of support and solidarity from their comrades, friends and families is being compiled for the night. Adverts to be sent to: Noeleen Reily 087 6336233 or email@example.com. Tickets €50 each, available from: Brian Dowling 087 2301882 or firstname.lastname@example.org 58 Parnell Suare, Dublin 1.
November / Samhain 2013 29
I nDíl Chuimhne 6 November 1969: Volunteer Liam McPARLAND, Belfast Brigade, 2nd Battalion 6 November 1974: Volunteer Hugh CONEY, Long Kesh 6 November 1975: Fian Kevin McAULEY, Fianna Éireann 8 November 1974: Volunteer Gerard FENNELL, Belfast Brigade, 1st Battalion 8 November 1982: Jeff McKENNA, Sinn Féin 11 November 1982: Volunteer Eugene TOMAN, Volunteer Gervase McKERR, Volunteer Seán BURNS, North Armagh Brigade
All notices and obituaries should be sent to email@example.com by Friday 15 November 2013
“LIFE SPRINGS FROM DEATH AND FROM THE GRAVES OF PATRIOT MEN AND WOMEN SPRING LIVING NATIONS.” Pádraig Mac Piarais 13 November 1972: Volunteer Stan CARBERRY, Belfast Brigade, 2nd Battalion 14 November 1974: Volunteer James McDADE, England 15 November 1973: Volunteer Michael McVERRY, South Armagh Brigade 15 November 1974: Volunteer John ROONEY, Belfast Brigade, 1st Battalion
15 November 1991: Volunteer Frankie RYAN, Volunteer Patricia BLACK, Belfast Brigade, 1st Battalion 16 November 1984: Paddy BRADY, Sinn Féin 22 November 1971: Volunteer Michael CROSSEY, Belfast Brigade, 1st Battalion 24 November 1978: Volunteer Patrick DUFFY, Derry Brigade
DIXON, Christy (Noel). In proud and loving memory of our dear friend and comrade Christy Dixon, who died on 11 October 2011. Always remembered by members and supporters of the Christy Dixon Sinn Féin Cumann, East Wall/North Strand, Dublin. TUMILTY Mark ‘Tum’. In proud and loving memory of ‘Tum’ (2nd anniversary). Always remembered by his friends and comrades in the Margaret Skinnider Cumann, Coatbridge, Scotland.
Comhbhrón FINUCANE, Kathleen. Deepest sympathy is extended to the Finucane family on the death of their mother and grandmother, Kathleen. She was a true republican and a great friend to the prisoners. Always remembered by the O’Callaghan family, Glen Road, and Rick O’Callaghan, Dublin. GREY/McCONVILLE, Eileen. Exprotesting POW, republican activist, friend and comrade. Deepest sympathy to Eileen’s family and friends. She will be sorely missed. “These flowers weep in dank cold cells, no sun to light the gloom, they suffer torture’s vilest scorn, to wither in their bloom. But ne’er they yield these lovely things. O hear thy freedom’s mark, they are the light to guide the poor, these comrades in the dark.” Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Always remembered by friends and comrades of Macha’s Legacy exprisoners’ group. HAMILL, Francie. Deepest sympathy
25 November 1992: Volunteer Pearse JORDAN, Belfast Brigade, 1st Battalion 26 November 1973: Volunteer Desmond MORGAN, Tyrone Brigade 28 November 1972: Volunteer James CARR, Volunteer John BRADY, Derry Brigade 29 November 1989: Volunteer Liam RYAN, Tyrone Brigade
Always remembered by the Republican Movement
to the family of the late Francie Hamill. From the Worthington/ Watters/Halpenny, Sinn Féin Cumann, Dundalk. McCLENAGHAN, Margaret. Ex-POW and Sinn Féin councillor, republican activist, friend and comrade. Deepest sympathy to Maggie’s family and friends. She will be sorely missed. “Grieve not for her, speak not a word of sorrow, although her eyes saw not her country’s glory. The service of her day shall make our morrow. Her name shall be a watchword in its story.” Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. Always remembered by friends and comrades of Macha’s Legacy ex-prisoners’ group. McCLENAGHAN, Margaret. Former Sinn Féin councillor and political prisoner. Deepest sympathy to Margaret’s partner Jimmy and the McClenaghan family circle. She will be greatly missed by all her comrades in north Belfast Sinn Féin.
McCLENAGHAN Margaret. Former Ardoyne councillor and ex-POW. A vital member of the McCaughey/ Saunders (Ardoyne) Sinn Féin Cumann, she will be missed by all those who had the pleasure to have known her. Deepest sympathy to Jimmy and the McClenaghan family circle. McCLENAGHAN, Margaret. Deepest sympathy to Margaret’s partner Jimmy and the McClenaghan family circle. Sadly missed by Ardoyne, Bone and Ligoniel ex-POWs. McCLENAGHAN, Margaret. Our deepest sympathy to Jimmy and the McClenaghan family circle on the death of our friend Margaret. Deeply regretted by Mary, Marie, Aoibhe and Turlough. McCLENAGHAN, Margaret. Deepest sympathy to Jimmy and the McClenaghan family on the death of our friend Margaret. Deeply regretted by Seamus and Meabh.
Annual Edentubber Martyrs Commemoration 2.30pm Sunday 10th November. All bands welcome. Main speaker: Martina Anderson. Function afterwards in The Carrickdale. Music by Setanta – See advert on opposite page
Irish Volunteers 100th Anniversary Starts 11am Saturday 16th November, Rotunda, Parnell Square, Dublin. For full schedule of events - see page 21
Annual Dublin Volunteers Dinner Dance 8pm Saturday 30th November 2013. Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street. This yeas Honourees are two life long Republicans Noel ‘Chalky’ Hughes, Colraine Street and Mrs Patricia Ellis, Finglas. A special brochure containing messages of support and solidarity from their comrades, friends and families is being compiled for the night. Adverts to be sent to: Noeleen Reily 087 6336233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets €50 each, available from: Brian Dowling 087 2301882 or email@example.com 58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 – See advert on page 28 RESULTS FOR THE
» Notices All notices should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org at least 14 days in advance of publication date. There is no charge for I nDíl Chuimhne, Comhbhrón etc.
2013 SINN FÉIN NATIONAL DRAW
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SIXTH BRIAN KEENAN MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE
Down pips the rest at the top
5 Jean Claude Ripp and Jeán Francois Robert travelled from Paris
THE 2013 Brian Keenan Mountain Challenge on the Louth/Armagh border on Saturday 14 September attracted more than 70 competitors from all over Ireland and even included two comrades from France who had flown in especially for the event. Jeán Francois Robert and Jean Claude Ripp came all the way from Paris to pay tribute to one of the IRA’s foremost strategists over three decades of conflict who passed away in 2008 following a long battle with cancer. Two walks were held in this, the sixth annual event, one of 12 miles and one of 7 miles. Brian’s son, Seán, and daughter, Chrissie, were guests of honour where Seán presented the Brian Keenan Shield to the winning team and thanked everyone for taking part. Runners-up were Darren O’Rourke, Ruairí Ó Murchú, Eamon Nolan and Paul Mitchell (last year’s winners) in 2hours 29minutes, just 4 minutes behind the winning team from south Down with two John Kellys no less, Martin McKenna and Audey McVeigh.
1st Prize £15,000 Owen Mohan, Lisnaskea, Fermanagh. Ticket No: 33899 2nd Prize £5,000 Teresa Devlin, Loughgiel Nth Antrim. Ticket No: 30007 3rd Prize £1,000 Michael Clarke, Monagh Drive Belfast. 27559
4th Prize €500 Lisa Gleeson, Nenagh Tipperary. 13076
5th Prize €350 Barbra Woods, Gortahort, Donegal. 8085
Seller Prize £500 Kiaran Loughran, Drumintee Armagh. 35745
40 Prizes of €100/£100 €100 winners Eimear Carron, Ballinamore,Leitrim. 24239 Christy Burke, Athenry, Galway. 24605 Patrick Keane, Westport, Mayo. 42910 Theresa Maskey, Belfast. 27058 Anthony Jennings, Clonakilty, Cork . 34639 Breda Brennan, Kilcohan, Waterford City. 12888 Ronan Caggney, Drogheda, Louth . 24710 Natasha Burke, Milford, Carlow. 14645 Joseph Coogan Jnr, Mountrath, Laois. 39919 Lily and Jessica Cotter, Bandon, Cork. 11138 Carmel Finn, Lisdoonvarna, Clare. 14242 Anthony McLoughlin, Tralee, Kerry. 13882 Anne Down, Drimnagh, Dublin. 3154 Jerry Hedderman Snr, Poppintree, Dublin. 3081 Christine Corrigan, Dublin Road, Antrim. 17547 Tony McDarby, Blachardstown, Dublin. 2580 Brian McCafferty, Annagry, Co. Donegal. 8135 £100 winners Hugh McKenna, Maghera, Derry. 16087 Tony Gibson, Kilrea, Derry. 21757
Philip Donaghy, Dungannon, Tyrone. 18060 Eddie Copeland, Belfast. 19818 Dan McKay, Dunloe, Antrim. 21076 Rachel McDonnell, Belleek, Fermanagh. 36176 Briege Carragher, Crossmaglen, Armagh. 29266 Margaret Morgan, Jonesboro, Armagh. 31794 Michael McCartan, Carrickmore, Tyrone. 22699 Harry McLoughlin, Claudy, Derry. 28343 John Quigg, Swatragh, Derry. 15567 Jeff O’Brian, London SE12 OUJ. 34559 Bernie McCrory, Belfast. 23324 Fiona Arbuckle, Strabane, Tyrone. 37124 Jimmy Creaney, Portadown, Armagh. 22031 Caolan O’Kane, Derry. 20503 Vincent Dunnion, Derry. 16774 Brendan McDermott, Carnlough, Antrim. 40360 Ruairi Gallagher, Castlewellan, Down. 34190 Mary T Leonard, Newtownbutler, Fermanagh. 33607 Kevin McAuley, Ballycastle, Antrim. 30376 Sharon Clarke, Newcastle, Down . 31116 Angela Quinn, Kilrea, Derry. 15536
BETWEEN THE POSTS SCORING POINTS ON THE PAST
30 November / Samhain 2013
BY CIARÁN KEARNEY
GAA: SERIOUS ISSUES GETTING LOST IN THE MEDIA FOG AND POLITICAL SPIN
NOT FOR the first time this year, Derry Gael Joe Brolly has found himself in the midst of a public controversy. And, not for the last time, serious issues got lost in the media fog, political spin and superficial analysis. Joe Brolly was speaking about his own GAA club in Dungiven, named after one of the 1981 Hunger Strikers, Kevin Lynch. As an avid Gael and member of the Dungiven hurling club, Kevin captained the Derry team which won the special All-Ireland under-16 title in 1972. He also inspired the club’s motto: “Misneach is Dilseacht” (“Courage and Loyalty”), qualities identified with Kevin Lynch. For Joe Brolly: “That’s the way societies and communities work. Kevin played hurling for Dungiven and for Derry, and the hurling club was named for that reason. We’re very proud of him.” He advised critics of the club name that it was none of their business. Some of the chattering classes decided to beat up on Brolly for speaking his mind. Meanwhile, political unionism belched sectarian slurs about ‘fanaticism’, ‘terrorism’ and the GAA being merely ‘the IRA at play’. For some, it seems, the old paradigms of the past are impervious to peace. These are the preachers of ‘sackcloth and ashes’. They are also the public speakers who have shared platforms with unionist death squads. Nowhere else in Ireland are members of Cumann Luthcleas Gael subject to such menace, threat and demonisation. It has always been this way in the Six Counties. Being a mem-
Casement Park, which was once occupied and fortified. Instead, for the first time in the history of the Six Counties, a huge investment of £61.5million has been approved by the power-sharing Executive, including the DUP. No mention of the fact that the stadium is named after a man convicted by Britain of treason for gun-running.
REALITY AND RIGHTS 5 Roger Casement ber of the GAA was reason enough to be shot dead.
The list is too long to be exhaustive: Aidan McAnespie shot dead by British soldiers as he walked home from a football match; Seán Brown locking the gates of the GAA club he chaired only to be brutally abducted and killed by a unionist death squad; and many more. Involvement or silent approval of state agencies was barely disguised. In Belfast, where the worst of the war occurred, the greatest number of GAA fatalities was sustained. There is little doubt that the development of the GAA in Antrim, especially in Belfast, has been impaired by the impact of the conflict. One club alone, Ardoyne Kickhams, lost the equivalent of an entire football team during the conflict. Young leaders too, like Terry Óg Enright, were slain in their prime.
5 Kevin Lynch captained the Derry team to the All-Ireland under-16 title in 1972 His club, Gort na Mona, named their home ground in his honour. In Ireland’s second city, the affinity between the GAA and the values of the local community is authentic. Those linked to the struggle for national independence are among the names of local clubs: Pearse’s, McDermott’s, O’Donovan Rossa, and Sarsfield’s, to name a few. This reflects the sense of community and belonging commonplace in the GAA in every part of Ireland. The difference is that many of these bonds were forged and formed in the context of the conflict which partition ensured was confined, for the most part, to the Six Counties. Many teams travelled down from the North to sit in changing rooms
after the match only to hear platitudes from the managers of Southern opponents: ‘Keep the game alive up there,’ they’d say. They didn’t have to go home from training through garrison towns and British Army and UDR checkpoints, with their hurl in their hand, their heart in the mouth and the odious and pervasive sense of oppression. It wasn’t the GAA many people had to fight to keep alive: they had to fight for survival. Thankfully, those days are behind us. GAA grounds once confiscated by British forces, like Crossmaglen Rangers, are now free solely for sporting purposes. The same can be said of
The Casement Park project will provide a timely economic stimulus with resultant infrastructural improvement and sustainable employment in the heart of the most deprived constituency in the Six Counties. With the home of County Antrim GAA soon to become the provincial headquarters of Ulster, a renaissance in Gaelic games is possible in Belfast. But the dividends must be visible, accessible and available to local people. For peace to become embedded, government institutions must become realigned to the reality and rights of the nationalist and republican community. That includes the thousands who are involved in the GAA. In ways as yet unimagined, the Casement Park project could become a vehicle for genuine reconciliation. In striving for methods for coming to terms with our past, new thinking and new paradigms are required. For it’s not only the dead, and not just our own dead, who deserve to be respected and remembered: it’s also the living.
5 Sinn Féin Lucan and Palmerstown representative Danny O'Brien, Dublin EU candidate Lynn Ní 5 The Kenna family watch the first staging of the Seán Kenna Memorial Cup in Noel Gorman Park, Dundalk. The match in Bhaoighealláin and Clondalkin Councillor Eoin Ó Broin at the 10km Fun Walk & Run organised by the Ciarán memory of the deceased Sinn Féin councillor, a former Chair of Dundalk Town Council, featured two under-age teams from Carr Foundation to raise money for Defibz4Kidz which aims to put a defibulator in every school in Clondalkin, Seán's electoral area, Redeemer FC and Shamrocks FC. Redeemer won the cup after a penalty shoot-out Dublin
November / Samhain 2013 31
Western Farming Forum’s first meeting in Mayo THE FIRST Sinn Féin ‘Western Farming Forum’ held in Claremorris, County Mayo, in September attracted people from Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Donegal. Organised by Councillors Rose ConwayWalsh, Gerry Murray, Dermot Connolly and Mick Mulligan with EU candidate Matt Carthy, it was hosted by Agriculture spokesperson Martin Ferris TD. In-depth discussions were held on the Common Agriculture Policy, Single Farm Payment and the bureaucracy faced by people dealing with Farm Assist, Rural Development and other aspects of farming. Opening the forum, at the McWilliam Park Hotel, Councillor Conway-Walsh said: “The consistent growth of our party membership in this part of the country in recent years means we need to put rural development and agriculture front and centre in all we do. To achieve our political objectives of Irish unity and a truly socialist republic we must work to invigorate rural Ireland and to do this we need a vibrant farming industry. “The aim of the forum is to create a space to bring farming members from along the west coast together to examine the challenges and opportunities facing farm families in the region. As members of a party that has equality and fairness at its core, we must continue to address the vast inequalities within the farming industry. In order to truly represent our farming communities we need to be knowledgeable and up to speed on all farming issues and all of our policies must be rural-proofed. “We cannot depend on Fine Gael/Labour or Fianna Fáil to protect farm families. We only have to look at how Fianna Fáil closed down REPS 4 with just 24 hours’ notice and how they slashed Farm Assist from €204 to €188. This weekly income support for farm families has continued to be drastically reduced under this government. “The unpredictability of schemes such as the Suckler Cow Scheme, payments of which can rise and fall and the reductions in Disadvantaged Area Payment threaten the very survival of farming. “So far, we have no scheme to replace the ending of AEOS at the end of 2013 and there is currently nothing to replace REPS4 for farmers coming out of REPS3. Only 6,000 of the 11,000 applying to enter AEOS in 2013 were accepted. “We now have an opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past by securing a fairer distribution of single farm payment. EU Commissioner Ciolos recognised this inequity in payments where large rancher-type farms received huge payments while farms in disadvantaged areas fighting against soil and climate restraints received relatively little. This proposal has been opposed by Agriculture Minister Coveney and the main farming bodies.” North Kerry TD and Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Martin Ferris also spoke to the forum, saying: “Sinn Féin is disappointed over the outcome of negotiations on a new farm payment scheme. We had argued for a cap of €100,000 to be reduced to €50,000 over four years.
5 Martina Anderson MEP, Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson Martin Ferris TD and South Ireland EU candidate Liadh Ní Riada at the Ploughing Championships
5 Gerry Adams and EU candidate Matt Carthy at the National Ploughing Championships in Laois
‘The consistent growth of our party membership means we need to put rural development and agriculture front and centre in all we do’ ROSE CONWAY-WALSH
“We also proposed a radical redistribution of payments from higher to lower recipients to increase the viability of lower income farm households. There can be no defence of a scheme under which less than 2% of recipients at the top receive more in total than the amount received by the bottom 40% combined. “Much of the defence of the current SFP was based on the claim that it rewards more ‘productive’ farmers. In fact, statistics on stocking density proves that there is little evidence to support the claim.” “Farmers with an average payment of €282 per hectare in 2010 had an average stocking density of 1.47. That compared to a stocking density of 1.92 for those on average payments
of €1,180 per ha. A stocking density which is only 0.45 higher could hardly justify a disparity of nearly €900 per hectare. It certainly cannot be justified under any claim of higher productivity.” Closing the first forum, Sinn Féin EU candidate Matt Carthy said: “We need to have similar farming forums right across the country. I encourage representatives from other counties here today to bring together farming members and supporters to discuss farming issues. “Farming is integral to my campaign for Europe and if I am successful in becoming a MEP for the region I will make the sustainability of farming a priority.”
Mayo Farming Forum will meet in the Gateway Hotel, Swinford, on Wednesday 20 November at 8pm ALL SUPPORTERS ARE INVITED TO ATTEND
anphoblacht DECEMBER ISSUE OUT – Thursday 27th November 2013 32
MIAMI SHOWBAND MASSACRE
VICTIMS SUE BRITISH OVER COLLUSION found “disturbing evidence” of collusion between the RUC and the UVF leader in MidUlster.? Announcing the High Court legal action on 25 October against the Ministry of Defence and the police, solicitor Michael Flanigan said the legal actions are based “primarily on the
SURVIVORS and families of the victims of the Miami Showband massacre in 1975 are to sue Britain’s Ministry of Defence and police authorities over the relationships between the British Army, the RUC and the unionist death squad killers. At least four serving soldiers from the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment – also members of the illegal Ulster Volunteer Force – set up a checkpoint on a country road outside Newry on 31 July 1975 specifically to stop the Miami Showband after they’d played a gig in Banbridge. Three members of the chart-topping group were gunned down after a bomb being placed in their tour minibus prematurely exploded, killing the two UDR soldiers carrying it, Harris Boyle and Wesley Somerville. The intention had been for the bomb to explode later, framing the band as an IRA unit transporting a bomb or blaming the IRA for the killings. Band members Tony Geraghty, Brian McCoy and Fran O’Toole were shot dead by the UDR/UVF while Stephen Travers was seriously wounded in the hail of gunfire. Stephen Travers said lead singer Fran O’Toole was shot 22 times in the face. Des McAlea (also known as ‘Des Lee’) was injured in the explosion. Two serving members of the Ulster Defence
Case will examine the role of RUC Special Branch and the use of agents in the UVF
Regiment and one former soldier were found guilty of the murders and received life sentences. A report by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) into the Miami Showband Massacre found strong evidence of RUC collusion in the murders. Notorious loyalist killer Robin ‘The Jackal’
Jackson, an RUC Special Branch agent as well as leader of the Mid-Ulster UVF, is said to have been linked to the attack by fingerprint evidence. Jackson (now deceased) later said he had been tipped off by a senior RUC officer to ‘lie low’ after the Miami massacre. The investigation into the attack by the HET
fact that the Ministry of Defence is responsible in law for the actions of its soldiers” before adding: “But it goes much further than that. Documents unearthed by the likes of Justice for the Forgotten and the Pat Finucane Centre show that the British Army knew there was a problem with loyalist subversion in the Ulster Defence Regiment for years before the attack on the Miami Showband and did nothing about it. “The proceedings will also examine the role of Special Branch in vetting membership applications to the UDR and the use of agents such Robin Jackson.” The case is expected to be heard next year.