We are in resolution mode HAASS TALKS
Revolutionary Rosie Hackett
Sraith Nua Iml 36 Uimhir 10
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
Warrington bomb victim’s father on ‘making peace with your enemies’
COLIN PARRY talks to An Phoblacht
2 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
WHAT’S INSIDE 5 Pink Floyd agus an Phailistín 6&7 Time for grown-up conversations on the past – Prof Kieran McEvoy responds to Declan Kearney 8 Historical Enquiries Team loses two top figures 9 ‘The Price of Power – Inside Ireland’s Crisis Coalition’ 10 & 11 Food Island, Food Poverty 12 Homelessness out of control 18 & 19 ‘Beyond the Wire’ DVD: Ex-POW issues post-release 20
5 Tour of Crumlin Road Jail organised by Tyrone ex-Prisoners’ group Éirí na Gréine
Remembering the Past: Rise of the Irish Citizen Army 21 ‘Minority Reporter’: The Irish in Scotland 22 & 23 Chris Andrews on why the former Fianna Fáil TD switched to Sinn Féin
5 Irish Congress of Trade Unions President John Douglas is presented with a copy of 'Lockout 1913 – Austerity 2013' by author and Sinn Féin Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha
5 Mairéad Farrell Republican Youth Committee laid a top at a small memorial in Majorca in memory of their late comrade Ryan Brady
24 ‘Fianna Fáil and the Fourth Green Field’ 25 ‘Ballyhea Says No’ with Martina Anderson MEP at EU Parliament 26 & 27 Rosie McCorley MLA: Are GFA promises on the Irish language being kept? 28 Inside stories – Frongoch and Ballykinlar POW camps 30 Between the Posts: Managing into the future 31 ‘Top Ten movies’ about Ireland’s struggle
Sellers wanted An Phoblacht is looking for more sellers at events around the country. Generous commission for sellers or Sinn Féin cumainn.
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5 Dublin Metropolitan Police baton charge strikers at a 1913 Lockout re-enactment on O’Connell Street, Dublin
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 3
THE HAASS TALKS
We are in resolution mode
BY SEÁN MURRAY SINN FÉIN TEAM AT HAASS TALKS THE ‘Haass Talks’ team flew into Belfast on Tuesday 17 September. Led by US diplomat Dr Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan, a former deputy national security adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan and Jeane Kirkpatrick Professor, of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard University, they have the support of an administrative and media team that has been described by the mainstream media as a professional, experienced and impressive line-up. They got down to business right away with a series of bilateral meetings with the five Executive parties and key stakeholders such as the business and church sectors, NGOs and loyal orders. The Sinn Féin delegation was led by Martin
McGuinness and the three Sinn Féin talks delegates — Gerry Kelly, Jennifer McCann and myself. Martin gave an overview of the current political situation in the Six Counties, followed by the other members outlining the general party perspective on the three key issues of parades, flags and emblems, and the past. In media interviews afterwards, Martin articulated Sinn Féin’s approach to the talks. While the issues are difficult and complex, especially in relation to legacy issues, we will address them in a positive and constructive manner. We are in resolution mode. The first plenary session was held on the following Friday (20 September), when all five Executive Parties (Sinn Féin, SDLP, Alliance, DUP and UUP) were in attendance. After a photo-opportunity blitz, Dr Haass and Professor O’Sullivan delivered a report on the flavour of the meetings so far without breaching the confidentiality of the sessions. They also outlined future intentions vis-ąvis the format and time-frame of the process. They referred to meetings being arranged in London and Dublin with a view to engaging with the two governments and other stakeholders. They had already met around 30 groups or parties in total, involving around 100 participants, and had received in excess of a hundred written submissions. This provides us with an indication of the level of interest in the process by key stakeholders and individual citizens. The next formal session with the Haass
group will be in late October, when their focus will centre on teasing out the detail of the party positions while attempting to discern any common ground or the potential for a meeting of minds on any aspect of the agenda. Both the number of meetings and the workload will intensify from that point on as
to October to develop and progress a comprehensive engagement process. We intend to engage with all the main parties in an effort to ascertain the potential for progress. We have already embarked on a productive round of meetings with key NGOs (e.g. Committee on the Administration of Justice, the Human Rights Consortium). An invite will also be extended to key victims and campaign groups to facilitate an exchange of information and analysis. Gerry Kelly in his media address after the first plenary extended an invite to all interested stakeholders or individuals to meet Sinn Féin on the three issues. As the talks develop we should be able to ascertain if agendas of political unionism are still being shaped and driven by flag/parade protest groups, the loyal orders, or victims’ groups inspired by the Progressive Unionist Party and Traditional Unionist Voice as they look over their shoulders at their electoral prospects next May. An indication of that mindset was revealed by the DUP’s media response following the first plenary when they announced their intention to go directly to the loyalist ‘civil rights’ protest camp at the Ardoyne interface. Meanwhile, the Haass team flew back to the United States, pondering on the messages delivered so far and no doubt assessing the potential for movement on any of the issues. They are fully aware that the past remains the most difficult and complex of them all, multilayered while running deep in the psyche of the population.
While the issues are difficult and complex, we will address them in a positive and constructive manner. We are in resolution mode party positions either converge or collide. Two further week-long sessions are planned for November and early December, with a cut-off date set for mid-December. Haass seems determined to hold to this timeframe as he considers the parties’ well-established positions and the potential for movement. As in past talks and negotiations, timeframes help to focus minds. Both the main unionist parties have publicly attempted to dampen down expectations of an early breakthrough in any of the issues. Meanwhile, both the Alliance Party and the SDLP have suggested that in a scenario where no apparent agreement is emerging as we approach the deadline, then Haass should advance his own recommendations to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister. Sinn Féin will utilise the gap in formal talks
4 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
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www.anphoblacht.com 5 Colin and Wendy Parry with Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness at the 2013 Warrington Peace Lecture
Haass Talks and Warrington Leadership and vision THE past few weeks have seen two important events in the Peace Process. The first is the arrival of Dr Haass and Harvard University International Affairs specialist Meghan O’Sullivan. The second is the delivery of the 2013 Warrington Peace Lecture by Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness at the invitation of Colin and Wendy Parry, whose son, Tim, was killed in an IRA bomb attack in Warrington in 1993. At the Haass Talks, as Seán Murray from the Sinn Féin delegation writes in this issue, Sinn Féin is “in resolution mode”. The negativity of people who claim to be the leaders of the “PUL – Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist” community stands in stark contrast to the generosity of spirit shown by Colin and Wendy Parry. The tragedy spurred Colin and Wendy to do whatever they could to build peace and reconciliation, especially in Ireland. They invited Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator and former senior IRA figure Martin McGuinness to deliver the 2013 Peace Lecture in Warrington on 18 September. Previous
speakers include former Prime Minister John Major. Martin McGuinness revealed to his Warrington audience – in a speech titled “Peace Needs Partnership” – that he and Gerry Kelly were due to meet a representative of the British Government in Derry on the day Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball were killed. Two days later, that meeting went ahead. “The British Government could have walked away,” Martin McGuinness noted, “but they knew – as did we – that the only resolution to the conflict lay in dialogue.” Colin Parry gave an unprecedented interview with An Phoblacht in the family home in Warrington on the day of Martin McGuinness’s Peace Lecture. He makes it clear that he does not forgive the IRA but this does not stop him talking to Irish republicans. He told An Phoblacht: “You don’t need to peace build with friends, do you?” Can unionist leaders show some of the courage, commitment and vision shown by Colin and Wendy Parry and the people of Warrington?
Seanad – Vote ‘Yes’ to scrap elitist body THE referendum to abolish the Seanad is on October 4th. Sinn Féin is urging people to vote ‘Yes’ to abolition. The Seanad goes against the most basic principle of a modern democratic electoral system – equality between citizens, ‘one person = one vote’. In the last two-and-a-half years, the Seanad has supported the Government on every single occasion. There is little value in a chamber that
is less about checks and balances and more about rubber-stamping Government policy. The next Seanad election, if this referendum isn’t carried, will likely take place in 2016. There will have been no reform in the meantime. We will be left on the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising with this useless, undemocratic body which even those who want to retain it accept is not fit for purpose. Vote ‘Yes’ to end the elitism of this Seanad.
AN PHOBLACHT is published monthly by Sinn Féin. The views in An Phoblacht are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sinn Féin. We welcome articles, opinions and photographs from new contributors but please contact the Editor first.
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October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 5
Forbairt na síochána mar aidhm ag acmhainn nua oideachais
Pink Floyd agus an Phailistín ‘CAITHFIDH an aos óg aigne oscailte a choinneáil, na firící a lorg agus deimhniú dóibh féin gur fírící iad agus ansin a n-intinn féin a dhéanamh suas maidir leis an réiteach is fearr ar an ngéarchéim’, sin an teachtaireacht a bhí ag an réalt rac-cheoil, Roger Waters, ó Pink Floyd agus é ag seoladh acmhainn nua oideachais maidir le géarchéim na Pailistíne. Tá pacáiste ceannródaíoch oideachais curtha i dtoll a chéile ag an eagraíocht Sadaka, agus thoiligh Waters, a bhfuil cáil na stocaireachta air maidir le cearta daonna, am a thógáil saor ón gcamchuairt domhanda atá ar siúl aige, chun an acmhainn iontach a sheoladh. Is leabhrán oibre atá i gceist agus míreanna físe agus fuaime leis atá dhá chuir ar fáil do chuile mheánscoil ar an oileán. Is acmhainn oideachas shaoránaigh é atá dirithe ar mhicléinn idirbhliana nó ag Eochairchéim 4 agus atá bunaithe ar phrionsabail cearta daonna agus an dlí idirnáisiúnta. I dtuairim Waters tá céim iontach misniúil tógtha ag muintir na hEireann leis an gclár seo. Ní fhéadfaí a leithéad a chuir ar fáil sna scoileanna i Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá dar leis, nó bheadh raic ollmhór ann. Is iad Mary Gannon agus an Dr Elaine Murtagh údair an phacáiste. Is comhphairtíocht atá ann idir Aonad
Forbartha Curaclam Coiste Gairmoideachais Átha Cliath, Sadaka - comhghuallaíocht Éire & An Phailistín agus an Ionad um Staidéar Trasteorainn. Rinneadh é a fhorbairt i gcomhair le múinteoiri agus scoláirí ó thuaidh agus ó dheas. Tugann sé léargas fíriciúil ar stair cheantair na Pailistíne agus na hIosraeile, na teorainn stairiúla, na hathruithe tíreolaíoch agus praiticiúla a tháinig orthu agus an sárú atá ann ar chearta daonna agus an dlí idirnáisiúnta. Cuireann an phacáiste ar chumas daltaí bunús na géarchéime a thuiscint agus na constaicí reatha atá ann don phroiséas siochána. Foghlamaíonn siad chomh maith maidir le ról an dlí idirnáisiúnta agus na Náisiúin Aontaithe maidir le cosaint cearta daonna. Cloiseann siad faoi thaithí na h-eadránaithe siochána, ón Phailistín agus ó Iosrael. Agus, b’fhéidir an rud is tábhachtaí ar fad, forbraíonn siad a gcuid smaointí féin chun teacht ar shíochán buan sa gcoimhlint. Tá cheithre chinn déag d’aonaid sa bpacáiste a úsáideann gníomhaíochtaí foghlamtha, ábhar físiúil, grianghraif, léarscáileanna agus físeáin chun taithí cosmhuintir an réigiúin a léiriú do na daoine óga. Ach, is rud amháin acmhainn chomh h-úsáideach seo a
fhorbairt, rud eile a bheidh ann múinteoirí a fháil chun glacadh leis agus é a úsáid ina gcuid scoileanna. ‘We don’t need no thought control’ a dúirt Pink Floyd san amhrán cáiliúil dá gcuid agus an rud a bhí i gceist leis sin ag Waters agus a chomhleacaithe ná go gcaithfidh muid de shíor a bheith ag ceistiú an bholscaireacht a chloiseann muid. In áiteanna a mbíonn coimhlint ann bíonn bolscaireacht ó fhoinsí go leor agus ní bhíonn se éasca teacht ar an fhírinne, ach seo an dushlán a chaithfidh muid cur roimh an aos óg, mar is iadsan na ceannairí a bheidh againn amach anseo agus ní mhór go mbeadh ar a gcumas an idirdhealú agus smaointeoireacht chriticiuil seo a dhéanamh. Sin an aidhm atá leis an acmhainn oideachais seo. Tarlaíonn go bhfuil sé bunaithe ar chás na Pailistine, ach tá na scileanna a fhorbraíonn sé úsaideach ar go leor bhealaí i saol na ndaoine a théann tríd. Beidh tacaíocht dhá thabhairt do mhúinteoirí a bhfuil suim acu an clár seo a úsaid sa seomra ranga mar tuigeann na h-údair go bhféadfadh an t-ábhar atá idir lámha a bheith conspóideach go leor. Sin ráite, tá na ceachtanna leagtha amach ag oideachasoirí a bhfuil saimeolas sa réimse agus taithí phearsanta ar an reigiún acu, ar bhealach atá éasca le leanúint agus a chothaíonn spiorad comhoibríoch imeasc daltaí. Tá an phacaiste Palestine & Israel - How Will There Be a Just Peace le fail ar www.reconciliation.ie agus www.sadaka.ie. Má tá daoine a bhaineann leatsa ag foghlaim, nó ag teagasc ag an leibhéal seo, is fiú go mór é a fháil agus a thaispeáint dóibh agus iarracht a dhéanamh chun iad a mhealladh chun é a úsáid. Má úsáidtear é sách forleathan beidh muid ag cothú glúin nua d’eadránaithe síochána dúinn féin agus don phobal níos leithne agus b’iontach an toradh a bheadh ansin.
‘Is rud amháin acmhainn chomh h-úsáideach seo a fhorbairt, rud eile a bheidh ann múinteoirí a fháil chun glacadh leis agus é a úsáid ina gcuid scoileanna’
5 Workers’ struggle dominates the Dublin skyline as a 185-foot banner is draped from Liberty Hall to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Lockout
6 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
KIERAN McEVOY TIME FOR
‘GROWN-UP CONVERSATIONS’ ON THE PAST A RESPONSE TO DECLAN KEARNEY I AM GRATEFUL for the invitation to the respond to the interesting article published recently in An Phoblacht by Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney concerning what he termed “a new framework for the unfinished business of the past”. Many of the issues raised in Declan’s article resonate with themes which myself and others have been discussing over the past year and more. In particular, Declan raised the questions of ”justice and truth, whether that can be achieved separately, simultaneously, or not at all; the practical implications of either or both in terms of judicial or non-judicial procedures; effective truth recovery mechanisms and how to secure them with maximum participation and co-operation”. Together with colleagues at Queens University, the University of Ulster and local NGO Healing Through Remembering, we have spent the last year speaking to a broad cross-section of people about the relationship between truth, prosecutions and amnesties. This project grew from a larger international piece of research which we had conducted on such matters in South Africa, Uruguay, Argentina, Uganda and Bosnia Herzegovina. In the local context, we have held discussions with victims’ groups, former combatants, former security forces, politicians of all hues, and a range of statutory and civil society actors on these complex and sensitive issues. Our purpose in these meetings has been to provide anyone who is interested with a range of technical information on the international, the historic and the legal context – present that information as accurately and accessibly as we can – and then let people make up their own minds as to the best way forward.
A number of key themes emerged from our research which we have fed into these discussions.
THE VIABILITY OF HISTORICAL PROSECUTIONS As Declan pointed out in his article, many republicans and nationalists have long argued that a de facto policy of impunity operated for state actors during the conflict. Leaving aside the issue of collusion, the state was directly responsible for killing 363 people (10% of the overall fatalities), half of whom were uninvolved civilians. Less than a half-dozen were ever
5 Republicans and nationalists have long argued that a de facto policy of impunity operated for state actors during the conflict. Less than a half-dozen British Army soldiers were ever convicted of murder
3 Healing Through Remembering have spoken to a broad crosssection of people about the relationship between truth, prosecutions and amnesties
convicted of murder, all of whom were released early, some to rejoin the British Army and resume their military careers. Quite apart from ‘the culture of impunity’ argument for state actors, it is also important to stress that there are significant legal challenges for achieving historical prosecutions (for state and non-state actors) per se. As former PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde himself made repeatedly clear, such obstacles include the unreliability of eyewitness evidence, especially for events that took place years ago; the fact that the IRA bombed the Forensics Laboratory and many police stations where forensics were stored, thereby potentially contaminating evidence held there; the fact that any agents involved often scuppers the chances of successful prosecution; the
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 7
While there are a range of diverse voices across the victims sector, there appears to me to be a common desire for ‘straight-talking’ on all of these issues. If victims can have grown-up conversations about such matters, certainly there is no excuse for our politicians not doing the same
5 There are significant legal challenges for achieving historical prosecutions historical fact that so called ‘supergrass trials’ usually eventually fall apart – these and other factors mean that no one should ‘over-promise’ (particularly to victims) the likelihood of successful prosecutions. Finally, of course, even if non-state actors are successfully prosecuted, if the offences were conflict-related and pre-1998, those responsible will only serve a maximum of two years – which for many victims may be seen as a largely symbolic punishment.
TRUTH AND AMNESTIES If (and admittedly it’s a big if) the current Richard Haass talks lead to a political consensus that some kind of truth recovery process is required, a number of technical issues will need to be addressed. First, as Declan Kearney suggested, it will be important to maximise participation – not only from state and non-state actors who were involved in the conflict but also from important institutional players. International experience tell us that such participation can only be realistically achieved if the threat of prosecution (however remote in realistic terms) is removed. Amnesties, or amnesty-like measures, are the normal method to achieve that objective. Simplifying for the sake of brevity, a number of legal and political facts are relevant when considering amnesties: • Amnesties remain highly prevalent: 530 amnesty laws have been introduced since 1945, on average 12 per year; • Blanket amnesties (such as was introduced by Pinochet in Chile before he handed over power to the democratic government) are unlawful
under international law; However, amnesties which are linked to other issues – in particular truth recovery – can be perfectly lawful; Under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (the right to life), states have a duty to carry out an effective, open and transparent investigation into deaths. However, the case law is clear, Article 2 does not impose a duty to prosecute in all circumstances. In other words, it is perfectly possible to design an Article 2 compliant truth process involving both truth recovery (investigation) and an amnesty (non-prosecution) – this is primarily a political decision, not a legal one; Similar mechanisms have already been used in the jurisdiction, most notably in recent years the decommissioning legislation and the legislation concerning the ‘disappeared’ – both of which involved the use of amnesty-like measures to achieve their respective goals.
CONCLUSION As Declan Kearney made clear, none of us should underestimate the difficult and sensitive nature of these discussions, particularly for victims of the conflict. That said, I have been forcefully struck over the past year that, while of course there are a range of diverse voices across the victims sector, there appears to me to be a common desire for ‘straight-talking’ on all of these issues. If victims can have grown-up conversations about such matters, certainly there is no excuse for our politicians not doing the same thing.
8 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
What the HMIC said
The HMIC found that British soldiers or RUC personnel being interviewed as part of an HET investigation were given advanced knowledge of the case. Killings carried out by the British military were investigated less rigorously than those carried out by ‘non-state actors’. The HMIC described this as illegal, saying “this approach is illegal and untenable as it is inconsistent with the UK’s obligations under Article 2 of the European Court of Human Rights that upholds the right to life of citizens”.
The HMIC report also criticised the HET’s relationship with the PSNI, saying it was not independent as it is directly answerable to the PSNI Chief Constable and comes under his operational command. The HET was initially exposed in research carried out by University of Ulster academic Patricia Lundy. Her 2008 findings were contained in Truth, Justice and Dealing with the Legacy of the Past in Northern Ireland. The HET rejected Lundy’s work out of hand but July’s HMIC investigation vindi-
cated her and her work. Amongst the most damaging of Lundy’s findings was that those tasked with managing the intelligence used by the HET were, in the main, ex-RUC and PSNI personnel. Echoing this finding, Amnesty says: “The HET’s intelligence unit was staffed largely by former RUC or PSNI employees and similarly that staff in the PSNI intelligence branch – effectively the gatekeepers for intelligence passed to the HET – have included former RUC Special Branch officers.”
North’s under-fire Historical Enquiries Team loses two top figures
HET and Matt Baggott: A Coxless pair BY PEADAR WHELAN THE NEWS that head of the Historical Enquiries Team, Dave Cox, was to leave his position on 28 September (days after An Phoblacht rolled off the presses) is a blow to PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott’s authority and leaves the HET holed below the waterline. Cox and the organisation he leads has been under enormous pressure since July when an investigation by policing watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) revealed it was
5 Matt Baggott responds to questioning by Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly
Amnesty concludes that the HET is acting ‘more like an initial case review body for the PSNI’ biased in its investigations into killings carried out by members of the British crown forces. Paul Johnston, the HET’s Director of Military Operations, is also to leave. In the aftermath of the publication of the HMIC report the North’s Policing Board stated publicly that it had no confidence in Cox and the leadership of the HET and wanted him to go. This clearly undermined Cox yet PSNI Chief Constable Baggott backed him and insisted he remain in the job until his contract ended in December. The Policing Board was adamant he go immediately. It was clear before the 5 September private meeting of the Policing Board that there were heated exchanges between the
5 PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott is confronted by relatives of people killed by loyalists and state forces
5 Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice speaks to Policing Board Chief Executive Sam Pollock and Chairperson Anne Connolly
C2 is the Crime Operations Department of the PSNI under the command of former head of RUC Special Branch Drew Harris. It investigates organised crime. Within C2 are the PSNI’s Major Investigation Teams, Intelligence Branch, Special Operation Branch, Analyst Branch,
Chief Constable and board members over Cox’s future. But in the public session Baggott stated that “all options are open” when responding to questioning by Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly. The news of the double departure on Thursday 12 September shows the Policing Board has won this particular battle. The announcement was made after an urgent meeting was convened between the Policing Board’s working group on the HET and the PSNI Senior Executive Team. Sinn Féin’s Pat Sheehan MLA, a member of the Policing Board, told An Phoblacht: “The PSNI knew the Policing Board’s posi-
Scientific Support Branch, Serious Crime Review Team, E-Crime and Central Authorisation Bureau. Also attached to C2 is the PSNI’s Legacy Unit. It is to this unit that the HET refers any evidence it gathers. We now know that four out of the six personnel in
tion was that the leadership of the HET could no longer command the confidence of the Board. “The same sentiment was widely shared by the public, especially amongst the NGO sector and many of those families who have been directly bereaved during the conflict. There should never have been any confusion or indecision in what had to happen.” Thursday 12 September had started badly for Matt Baggott when Amnesty International described the HET in a report published that morning as “a policing mechanism investigating cases arising from the conflict”. The findings of the Amnesty Report (Northern Ireland: Time to Deal with the Past) reinforced many of July’s HMIC’s criticisms. It questioned the HET’s independence, pointing out that it is required to refer evidence to the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch (C2) for criminal investigation. Amnesty concludes that the HET is acting, “more like an initial case review body for the PSNI”.
this unit are former members of Special Branch or RUC Intelligence. Collectively, they have 57 years of experience. Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice confirmed that this information was disclosed at the ‘Shoot-toKill Inquests’ held in Belfast on 31 May this year.
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 9
EOIN Ó BROIN delves into Sunday Business Post Political Editor Pat Leahy’s new book on the Fine Gael/Labour Government
Published by Sinn Féin Centenaries Commemoration Committee Coiste Comóradh Céad Bliain
THE PRICE OF POWER INSIDE IRELAND’S CRISIS COALITION SUNDAY BUSINESS POST Political Editor Pat Leahy’s new book, The Price of Power: Inside Ireland’s Crisis Coalition, is a great read. It’s one of those books that you’d sit down and devour in a couple of sittings if you are lucky enough to have the time. It aims to tell the story of the first half of Fine Gael and Labour’s coalition government. Leahy is not so much interested in analysis or judgement – he simply wants to tell the story. It may seem strange to attempt the story when it’s only halfway through its lifecycle but Leahy has a sensible rationale. He wants to write the first draft of events before they are retrospectively rewritten in the light of the next general election result (which must take place no later than 8 April 2016). Of course, trying to write about a Government while it is still in existence is a difficult task. Sources are less willing to talk, especially on the record. Those that are often have axes to grind or are still raw from their recent disappointments and disputes. Nonetheless, this is the task that Leahy has set himself. In as much as the sources allow, The Price of Power attempts to get behind the spin and silence of a government as it tries to navigate its way through the biggest economic crisis in the history of the state. The book’s narrative starts not with the general election of 2011 or the formation of the Fine Gael/Labour coalition but with the 2010 heave against Enda Kenny and the heady days of the “Gilmore for Taoiseach” campaign. This is where Leahy is strongest. He clearly has a level of access into both the Labour and Fine Gael camps that provides him with more information than has been in the public domain to date. Throughout the book you get a real feel for the discussions and arguments not only within each party but in their respective leaderships. The importance of policy advisers, party strategists and spin doctors emerges as one of the key features of the administration. Leahy also charts the changes at the top of the civil service (though not with as much detail or human interest as this reviewer would like). While the importance of unelected advisers and civil servants is not a feature unique to Irish politics, it is always refreshing to have their role examined and explained.
5 The book’s narrative starts with the heady days of the ‘Gilmore for Taoiseach’ campaign If The Price of Power has one central observation running through its pages it is the significance – indeed the dominance – of the Economic Management Council, the EMC.
Officially a sub-committee of the Cabinet, the EMC brings together the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and two Finance Ministers along with their key advisers. Leahy describes it as the most sig-
The Price of Power is a well-written, engaging read of interest to the general public and the political activist alike
nificant constitutional innovation of the Coalition. By the book’s end it is clear that the EMC is, in fact, the Government. It is the engine of all key political and economic decisions, often withholding information from the Cabinet until the very last moment. Leahy also captures the personal relationships, and at times political battles, between the key Government figures. Again, sources are key. While Enda Kenny has his moments with James Reilly and Lucinda Creighton, it is the Eamon Gilmore/Joan Burton relationship that makes for the most interesting reading. The book does have its weak spots. The chapter on the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note deal is a disappointment. Leahy leaves out significant chunks of the story as well and any detail on the deal that was finally agreed. As a result, the reader is left with a very partial account of what is, by the author’s own admission, one of the most important moments of the Government’s first two years. There are also a few glaring omissions, most notably the Household Charge and Property Tax debacle. This is an issue of real significance for the Government and for the Labour Party in particular, which unfortunately hardly gets a mention. In the end, The Price of Power is a rewarding read and comes highly recommended by this reviewer. But, like all books, it is a reflection of the author’s own personality and prejudices. Pat Leahy is one of Ireland’s most respected political journalists. His reputation for fairness is welldeserved. He is also impeccably mainstream. More than anything else, these facts explain the strengths and weaknesses of his new book. If you are looking for a little more depth or critical edge to your reading then this book won’t do it for you. That said, The Price of Power is a well-written, engaging read of interest to the general public and the political activist alike. It even gives fellow An Phoblacht columnist Mícheál Mac Donncha a favourable mention, and there aren’t many books that you can say that about.
• The Price of Power: Inside Ireland’s Crisis Coalition, by Pat Leahy, is published by Penguin, price €14.99.
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AND COMING SOON
T H E ROT U N D A BIRTHPLACE OF THE
IRISH VOLUNTEERS BY AENGUS Ó SNODAIGH TD Produced bt Republican Publications
10 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
‘One in ten live in food poverty. One in five schoolchildren go to bed and go to school without food in their bellies. It shouldn’t be like this, not in our enlightened, emancipated times.’
THE ROLLING, sonorous bodhrán beat is deliberately sombre in Christy Moore’s On a Single Day:
Food ISLAND Poverty ISLAND
A list of exports from Cork Harbour On a single day The fourteenth of September, Eighteen Forty-Seven Ran as follows: 147 barrels of pork, 986 casks of ham, 27 sacks of bacon, 528 boxes of eggs, 1,397 firkins of butter, 477 sacks of oats, 720 sacks of flour, 380 sacks of barley, 187 head of cattle, 296 head of sheep, and 4,338 barrels of miscellaneous provisions. On a single day The ships sailed out from Cork Harbour With their bellies in the water. On a single day in Partry The great majority of the poor located there Were in a state of starvation Many of them hourly expecting death to relieve their suffering. On a single day The Lady Mayoress held a ball At the Mansion House in Dublin In the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Dancing continued until the early hours. And refreshments of the most varied and sumptuous nature Were supplied with inexhaustible profusion. On a single day It’s time this little country of ours had a bit of peace. Christy’s three-minute interpretation of Peadar Ó Riada’s frightening lyric that marked the 150th anniversary of the Great Famine is revealing. We said we would always remember. We promised. Yet the dispossessed are among us again and we do not want to see them. One in ten live in food poverty. One in five schoolchildren go to bed and go to school without food in their bellies. It shouldn’t be like this, not in our enlightened, emancipated times. Food is no longer scarce in our self-proclaimed ‘Food Island’ yet poverty stalks the land and our response is pitiful. Social exclusion is stigmatic. We seem powerless, like we were once before. Food poverty is the direct result of social exclusion. It has been endemic since the 1980s, in the rural west and among disadvantaged urban communities, and has existed alongside our increasing affluence. The World Bank had warned that the impending food crisis of the early 21st century would push an additional 100million people into poverty. In the ‘00s’ we finally acknowledged the problem. Crosscare, Combat Poverty Agency
and the Society of St Vincent de Paul published a report on food poverty. We watched the dispossessed and we promised to alleviate their suffering but all we have done since is talk, write reports, and fund things called community food initiatives and food poverty indicators. These initiatives are integrated projects — a Da Vinci vision of the future before its time. Scary.
‘I can see it with some of my friends. They haven’t the money they used to have and they are struggling. Although some of them don’t realise it, they are in food poverty. They are living on cheap food but it is not doing them any good’ PATRICK FREW CLOUGHMILLS COMMUNITY ACTION ANTRIM
In Antrim, Cloughmills Community Action’s food initiative morphed out of ‘Incredible Edible’, a town scheme designed to take younger teenagers at risk off the street, growing vegetables, going on fishing trips and the suchlike. They now have two large high polytunnels, a third on the way, numerous raised fruit and vegetable beds, rows of berry trees, a canopied hut, a modern-style yurt and plans for a community kitchen and meeting space
on land they hope to lease long-term from Ballymoney Council. They are encouraging local businesses to promote their produce, going into schools to educate children about food, persuading elders in the community to share their ‘lost’ baking, cooking and preserving skills, showing people how to grow a few nutritional-rich herbs at home and organising ‘Traditional Food Days’.
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 11
WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE »
Promoting local businesses plus their produce and ‘Traditional Food Days’
WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE »
Going into schools to educate children about food and cooking
WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE »
Persuading elders in the community to share their ‘lost’ food skills
WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE »
Showing people how to grow a few nutritional foods and herbs at home
“We spent the summer messing about with a griddle, soda breads, potato farls, stuff we remember our grannies making,” says Patrick Frew, who chairs the group of volunteers in Cloughmills. It sounds like a model project but Frew is concerned. “The writing is on the wall. I can see it with some of my friends. They haven’t the money they used to have and they are struggling. Although some of them don’t realise it, they are in food poverty. They are living on cheap food but it is not doing them any good. “Food poverty is really creeping up on us and we don’t realise it. People are noticing the prices in the supermarkets going up but they don’t understand why (the cost of oil, climate change, etc) but it is all very relevant to us here.” When Patrick says they have been fortunate with funding (receiving money from the Big Lottery, becoming recipients of Healthy Food for All’s Community Food Initiative largesse) and is patient with their approach, he is being pragmatic. As a community development worker he has the ability to handle the idiosyncratic nature of funders, the experience to know how to jump through the various funding hoops. These are necessary skills for communities addressing the issue of food poverty and not everyone has them or can afford to pay for them. In Donegal Town, Kathleen McHugh has a huge struggle making ends meet. She runs the Family Resource Project. Unlike the Cloughmills project, which seeks to involve 600 households in a sustainable vision, McHugh knows exactly what the town’s
12,000 inhabitants need. She knows the cost and the benefit, and the difference it will make to food poverty. It is the same plan (community cafes, cooking workshops, food co-ops, food education schemes, farmers’ markets, growing projects, health programmes) the bureaucrats have admitted need to be implemented to rid the country of food poverty. In Cloughmills, Patrick Frew identifies the dilemma. “At the minute we have seen the value of people coming in and working, some of them suffering from depression, different illnesses, and we have seen how it has improved their health and confidence.” This is social therapeutic horticulture, not a new idea but one Patrick knows might sustain their project. “If we can get money in for that, we can still make this place accessible to people who don’t have any money. Selling off the vegetables cheaply is not going to make this sustainable.” They are, like every community group aware of food poverty, between a rock and a hard place. Without support funding they are stymied and without a sound financial structure to allow them to educate people about food security they are in peril. Patrick Frew has no illusions about this. “We will survive, there’s no doubt about
that, but without funding we would need to be self-sufficient.” Safefood receive €8.5million a year from the health departments in Belfast and Dublin. It is this money the communities fighting food poverty compete for in their battle to combat the health consequences of inadequate diets. But they must prove they are having the ‘desired effect’ and represent ‘good value to the taxpayer’. Sinéad Keenan is project co-ordinator of Healthy Foods For All. They established the community food initiatives programme in 2010, funding seven projects with money from the Safefood bank. This year, ten groups were funded to 2015. She defends their approach. “The funding was provided to existing community groups because we wanted to ensure the greatest chance of sustainability for each of these projects. The purpose was not only to provide funding to the projects but also to identify the support needs of groups trying to set up a food initiative and the challenges they face. “We then use this information to advocate for greater supports at a policy level. We believe it is very important to develop the evidence base around food poverty and have been involved in developing research in this area. This provides us with the rationale for advocating for a national funding stream for community food initiatives.”
In Donegal Town, Kathleen McHugh knows exactly what the town’s 12,000 inhabitants need. She knows the cost and the benefit, and the difference it will make to food poverty
This sounds like a sad refrain. Twenty years ago, Galway sociologist Tony Varley said: “Community action in Ireland owes its marginal position to the stance politicians and the state have adopted towards it.” He suggested the state might consider an alternative option to that of viewing community action as something that is always “under construction” and “give up as a vain quest the search for replicable blueprints, abandon the practice of running pilot programmes, and release adequate resources for learning process-type community action”. Nothing has changed. Politicians come and go but the bureaucrats remain, stuck in their groove, seeing no reason to change track. When Éamon Ó Cuív was elected to the Dáil in 1992 he brought with him a mandate from the impoverished people of the west. It was also a cry for help. He acknowledged it, saying: “When all the figures are put together at the end of the day, we’re judged on how we provide the basic necessities to the community and that is something we must concentrate our minds on once again.” He was naive. He didn’t know what the bureaucrats were like. Concentration has wavered. Everyone who works in community empowerment knows what the fixes are. Giving a small number of groups a paltry sum is not going to create a new social paradigm. Funding thousands of groups will but, without an infrastructure in place to solve the issue of social exclusion, food poverty is going to continue to stalk the land. The dispossessed haunt our nightmares to a somber bodhrán beat.
12 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
Peter McVerry Trust annual report shows number of homeless people has incresed 100% since 1996
‘OUT OF CONTROL’
(estimated) homeless people in the Irish state
“The problem of homelessness can only be solved by providing homes for homeless people and that is the responsibility of the Government”
of homeless people accessing services are between the ages of 18 and 35
of PMVT users are male and female
people provided with temporary emergency accommodation by Peter McVerry Trust in 2012
BY MARK MOLONEY PETER McVERRY says he looks forward to the day when he can introduce his Trust’s annual report for the very last time and simply announce that the problem of homelessness has been solved.
children between 13 and 18 accessed Peter McVerry Trust residential services
people accessed Peter McVerry Trust drug rehab services
hot meals were provided by the Peter McVerry Trust throughout 2012 SOURCE: Peter McVerry Trust Annual Report 2012
“The reality is very different,” he told An Phoblacht. “After 30 years of working to eliminate homelessness, I believe the problem is now worse than ever, perhaps even out of control.” Fr Peter began working with homeless young people in the Summerhill area of north inner city Dublin in 1974. Five years later, he opened a small hostel to provide temporary accommodation. This was followed by setting-up his charity, the Arrupe Trust, now known as the Peter McVerry Trust, which provides a wide range of services ranging from emergency temporary accommodation, under-18s residential services and drug rehabilitation services. The just-published annual report highlights
‘Without a home, it is not possible to live a life with dignity’ FR PETER McVERRY Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD agrees. He told An Phoblacht that, while he accepts that the Government also recognises this as a political problem, “they are unwilling to make the choices which would help reach their target of ending long-term homelessness by
2016 and are instead focusing on the right rhetoric but not the right policies”. Dessie, who regularly volunteers with a souprun for those sleeping rough in Dublin City, also says the last five Budgets have made things worse. “They have cut savagely from the housing budget supports for people experiencing homelessness and social protections to people vulnerable to homelessness. More than Ř1billion has been cut from the housing budget as need soars to a record high of over 110,000 applicants.” He says the Government has offered no real solution to the fact that there is simply not enough housing available for those in need. The key issue, says Peter McVerry Trust CEO Pat Doyle, is the Housing First initiative: “Securing housing as the first step provides a stable platform from which homeless people can access support in relation to the many other challenges that often present in their lives. “Access to a place you can call ‘home’ is a fundamental right,” says Fr Peter. “Without a home it is not possible to live a life with dignity.”
Dessie Ellis, who regularly volunteers with a soup-run for those sleeping rough in Dublin City, says the last five Budgets have made things worse that homlessness has doubled since 1996 while there has been a 100% year-on-year increase in the number of homeless people accessing the various drug treatment services provided by the Peter McVerry Trust. Fr Peter says homelessness is a political problem that needs to be tackled by the Government. “It cannot be solved by charities alone. Ultimately, the problem of homelessness can only be solved by providing homes for homeless people and that is the responsibility of the Government.”
5 Ronan Liddy, Dessie Ellis TD, Natalie Treacy and Paul Donnelly out on a soup run during the Christmas period
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 13
Revolutionary Rosie Hackett
Only bridge over Dublin’s River Liffey named after a woman is in honour of Irish Citizen Army and trade union activist
BY MARK MOLONEY THE NEW BRIDGE over the Liffey in Dublin near Liberty Hall is to be named in memory of Irish Citizen Army veteran and trade unionist Rosie Hackett. For many it was a surprise result – James Connolly and Bram Stoker were just two of the names considered to be frontrunners, so just who was Rosie Hackett?
5 Frank Robbins, Cathal O'Shannon, Mick Kelly, Rosie Hackett, William O'Brien and Tom O'Reilly at the closing of the old Liberty Hall leading an assault on British Army positions, was mentioned three times in dispatches to the Provisional Government for her bravery. After the surrender Rosie was arrested and brought to Kilmainham Jail, where she was held for 10 days before being released. She immediately plunged back into her trade union activities as well as setting up organisations like Fianna Saoirse “to try and keep things going”. On the occasion of the first anniversary of James Connolly’s death, a banner with the words “James Connolly murdered, May 12th 1916” was hung from Liberty Hall. It was quickly removed by the police. In response, Rosie Hackett and Helena Moloney printed up the same banner and hung it from the roof with Tricolours at each end. They barricaded the doors shut and it took 400 police over an hour to remove it. Speaking to the Bureau of Military History, she said: “I always felt that it was worth it, to see all the trouble the police had in getting it down. No one was arrested. Of course, if it took 400 police to take four women, what would the newspapers say?” After the Treaty in 1921, she continued her trade union activities and helped re-establish the Irish Women Workers’ Union which at its height in the 1940s organised 70,000 women.
Born in 1893 in the tenements of Bolton Street of north inner city Dublin, Rosie began working in Jacob’s biscuit factory as a teenager. A member of James Larkin’s Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) she and her fellow workers went on strike in 1911 in support of the workers in the bakehouse demanding better pay and conditions. Conditions in the bakehouse at the time were described by Jim Larkin as being so bad that they were “sending the biscuit workers from this earth 20 years before their time”. She was active during the Lockout of 1913, both on the streets and helping poor families, by running the soup kitchens in Liberty Hall. She was present on Bloody Sunday 1913 when
‘No one was arrested. If it took 400 police to take four women, what would the newspapers say?’
300 strikers were injured and two killed during a Dublin Metropolitan Police attack on the union rally on O’Connell Street as James Larkin began to speak. Having lost her job due to her involvement in the Lockout, she began working in a manufacturing cooperative established in Liberty Hall to provide work for other women who had lost their jobs. Active with James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army she was highly trusted and often given confidential tasks. This included printing the 1916 Proclamation which would later be read aloud from outside the GPO by Pádraig Pearse. She reportedly handed the first copy, ink still wet, to James Connolly. During the Easter Rising she was a nurse with the Citizen Army battalion under the command of Michael Mallin and Constance Markievicz in St Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons. Stationed in the first aid post in the park she recalled: “It was very exciting there. We were under heavy fire from late on Monday evening. Even when we marked out the first aid post with a red sign they did not recognise it and kept firing at us.” She aided many of the wounded, including the Scottish-born radical Margaret Skinnider, the only female combatant injured during the uprising. Skinnider, who was wounded
In 1970, she received a gold medal in recognition of her 60 years of service to the Irish trade union movement. She passed away in 1976 at the age of 84. She was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with full military honours. In her closing remarks recorded by the Bureau of Military History, Rosie said:
Rosie helped re-establish the Irish Women Workers’ Union, which at its height in the 1940s organised 70,000 women
“Historically, Liberty Hall is the most important building that we have in the city. Yet it is not thought of at all by most people. More things happened there, in connection with the Rising, than in any other place. It really started from there.” It is only fitting that the new Rosie Hackett Bridge – the only River Liffey crossing named after a woman – joins the capital together in the shadow of that historic building which she was so closely associated with.
5 A poster for the campaign to name the bridge after Rosie Hackett and (below) the bridge under construction
5 A banner in memory of James Connolly is draped from Liberty Hall in 1917 by a group of trade unionists including Rosie Hackett and Helena Moloney
14 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
‘I’m very, very proud of what we did in the Irish Peace Process,’ Tony Blair’s right-hand man tells An Phoblacht
Alastair Campbell’s ‘Irish Diaries’ out this month ALASTAIR CAMPBELL is publishing at the end of October a newly-edited one-volume edition of his “relentlessly honest, often controversial, occasionally brutal and always razor-sharp” diaries on Ireland and the Peace Process when he was British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Director of Communications and Strategy. With forewords by Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, The Irish Diaries (1994 to 2003) follow the four volumes of critically-acclaimed Campbell’s diaries already published: The Blair Years, Prelude to Power (1994 to 1997), Power and the People (1997 to 1999), and Power and Responsibility (1999 to 2001). Whatever one thinks of Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell’s role in ‘New Labour’ and the Iraq War, credit is due to Tony Blair and his team for the commitment they gave to the Peace Process in Ireland. Their pivotal role is overshadowed by the other political controversies. Alastair Campbell told An Phoblacht that it was while he was writing the previous four volumes of his diaries that he realised how big an issue Ireland was in “the Blair project”. “There was so much to what Tony
Blair did and the Peace Process was a massive part of that.” The Irish Diaries, he told An Phoblacht, covers how Labour got back into power, the important relationship with US President Bill Clinton, and “the really, really detailed stuff of the negotiations”. He added: “I think what also comes across is the amazing collection of characters that were involved in that process, whether it was Adams and McGuinness and Sinn Féin, or Trimble and Paisley, or the Women’s Coalition and the journalists involved. Then there’s all the Secretaries of State: Mo Mowlam, Peter Mandelson, Peter Hain, John Reid, Paul Murphy. “You hear about Jonathan Powell’s and John Holmes’s roles and the team that worked on it. It was a real team effort by everyone. “They were an incredible collection of people that somehow made something happen that most people thought was impossible. “I think the single most important person in all that was Tony. We were obsessed with it but there were times when the rest of us thought it wasn’t going to happen. Tony had worked out what needed to be done
though and he was like a dog with a bone – he was never, ever going to let it go. “I love Ireland and I’m very, very proud of what we did there. Even though things are still not perfect, it’s a completely different place from what it was.” Publishers Lilliput Press say The Irish Diaries explore “the tensions,
all-night talks, adrenalin-fuelled negotiations and heady personality clashes that are such an intrinsic part of democratic politics”. • The Irish Diaries (1994 to 2003) by Alastair Campbell, edited by Kathy Gilfillan, is published by The Lilliput Press, Dublin, on 29 October, price €16.99.
5 1913 Lockout debate ‘Is the Cause of Ireland the Cause of Labour?’ in Magherafelt, County Derry, on 11 September – 5 Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin with a delegation from Derry’s Magee University after lobbying the Department of organised by the County Derry Centenaries Group – heard speakers Basil McCrea MLA (NI21), Mary Lou McDonald TD (Sinn Féin), Jack O’Connor (SIPTU President), Queen’s University academic Michael Pierse, and Brian Campfield (NIPSA) Employment and Learning for the expansion of the campus to help drive economic regeneratioin
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 15
1913 LOCKOUT: Grassroots night of music, drama and poetry trumps bland Government ceremony
5 Andy Irvine performs at the ‘We Serve Neither Murphy Nor King’ event
5 Actors and singers close the night with a rendition of ‘Which side are you on?’
‘We Serve Neither Murphy Nor King’ BY MARK MOLONEY AS I ARRIVE in The Workman’s Club on Eden Quay in Dublin there’s already a stream of people waiting to get in. Marcus Maher, the creator of Lockout 1913: We Serve Neither Murphy nor King, sticks his head out from behind the door an asks me to follow him inside. He is running around like a man possessed, getting final preparations finished before the doors open. Five hours earlier, the official Irish state commemoration of the Lockout took place a few hundreds metres away on O’Connell Street. It wasn’t a particularly enthralling event. “Just a bunch of men in suits shaking hands, wasn’t it?” says Marcus as he plonks himself down on a seat next to me. Actors and performers are on stage getting last-minute soundchecks for Marcus’s concept piece which aims to fuse live theatre and music in an homage to men and women of 1913. “I couldn’t believe they were searching people on the way in,” he says of the heavily-policed and much criticised state commemoration. “An event to remember standing up to oppression and your belongings are being rooted through by gardaí under the supervision of G4S private security guards on the way in! Maybe Eamon Gilmore was worried there’d be a protest banner unfurled or something. I thought it was very insulting.” Marcus comes from a Liverpool-Irish background.
Growing up he says his family were very political. “We were very aware of politics,” he says “especially in a city that was so removed from the parliament in London. We couldn’t help but be political.” It’s standing room only by the time the fantastic The Annulments band take to the stage with their brilliant folk, roots and Irish style. They’re followed by Dundalk’s one and only Jinx Lennon with his ecclectic mix of rap, punk and poetry. He hits the nail on the head when he describes the state commemoration as “the Government’s Gathering-approved” version of 1913.
We Serve Neither Murphy Nor King – the perfect panacea to ‘Government approved’ and sanitised Lockout commemorations
‘I like to use art and politics, fuse it together but without it sounding like a rant or a diatribe’ 5 Marcus Maher speaks to An Phoblacht at the Workman's Club on the Dublin quays
“I wanted to make the show as diverse as possible,” Marcus says as actors take to the stage to deliver scenes from the Lockout and the lives of Connolly and Larkin. “I like to use art and politics, fuse it together but without it sounding like a rant or a diatribe.” He laughs: “I don’t want to say ‘edutainment’ but a way for people to learn through art.” In Marcus’s opinion, the Lockout deserves a greater legacy than the one shown to it this year in Ireland. “It still feels like the elephant in the room,” he says. American singer-songwriter Jimmy Page is a firm fan favourite as the crowd joins in his protest song Over my Dead Body with lyrics like
“We will not be dissuaded and we will not turn around/We will face the barricades and we will tear them down”. Marcus says it’s artists like these he believes best capture the spirit and the message of the Lockout. “I didn’t have any Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil or Labour people – the people I wanted are ordinary men and women who speak for all of us.” Jimmy is followed by the brilliant Ian Prowse from Liverpool (formerly of Indie rockers Pele) who gives us some great working-class anthems such as Raid the Palace. Legendary Irish musician and founder of Planxty, Andy Irivine, puts the focus firmly back on Ireland with such classics as James Connolly. Poetry remembering the Lockout is also read to add to the emotion and atmosphere of the occasion. The night finishes with a powerful rendition of the 1930s US miners’ ballad, Which Side Are You On?, led by Andy Irvine and the entire cast of actors, performers and with the audience heartily joining in. “I wanted to do a show where I had something to say. I wanted to make something that had a bit more of a relevance,” says Marcus. “I couldn’t have wished for a better show.” We Serve Neither Murphy Nor King was certainly the perfect panacea to the ‘Government approved’ and sanitised commemoration. Marcus hopes to take his show to Cork, Clonmel, Derry and other areas in coming weeks and months. Keep an eye on the We Serve Neither Murphy Nor King Facebook page for more info.
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
ON 20 March 1993, the IRA detonated two bombs in Warrington town centre, killing two children. Three-year-old Johnathan Ball died instantly; 12year-old Tim Parry died five days later in hospital. More than 50 other people were injured, four seriously. The IRA said police had failed to act on
warnings. The An Phoblacht Editorial of 25 March 1993 detailed the circumstances of what it called a “tragedy” and said “a child’s death strikes everyone in a most heartbreaking way” but added: “That said, no words of republicans can excuse or explain away the deaths in Warrington.”
I haven’t forgiven the IRA for killing Tim but you don’t make peace with your friends – you make peace with your enemies
COLIN PARRY talks to An Phoblacht BY JOHN HEDGES AN PHOBLACHT EDITOR
COLIN PARRY, I was told at meetings of senior Sinn Féin figures in Belfast and Dublin involved in the ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’ initiative chaired by Declan Kearney, was prepared to give an interview to An Phoblacht. Colin and his wife, Wendy, had invited deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to give the 2013 Peace Lecture at the Tim Parry & Johnathan Ball Peace Centre in Warrington. In more than 30 years, this was my most daunting assignment with An Phoblacht. That paled into insignificance with what Colin Parry and his family have gone through. Colin doesn’t forgive the IRA for taking the life of his son, Tim. Nevertheless, he does recognise the need for dialogue to try and resolve conflict. He tells An Phoblacht, “I haven’t forgiven the IRA for killing Tim, nor has anybody in my family and we never will,” but he adds: “I know it’s a cliché but it’s true that you don’t make peace with your friends; you make peace with your enemies.” WARRINGTON sits on the banks of the River Mersey, 18.5 miles east of Liverpool and 16 miles west of Manchester. It has a population of just over 200,000. I arrive in the Cheshire town almost 12 hours before deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is to give the 2013 Peace Lecture. There’s huge media interest. Colin Parry has been doing non-stop media interviews with broadcasters and newspapers from all over Britain and Ireland. He’s had to take a day off work to manage everything to do with the historic address by the Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator who was once a senior figure in the IRA. “People see him as the face of the IRA,” Colin tells RTÉ News in response to a question about a planned protest by a couple whose sister was among the 21 killed in the 1974 IRA bombings in Birmingham. Peace Centre Chief Executive Nick Taylor and I have been in contact over the previous three days to firm up details of An Phoblacht’s meeting with Colin Parry. I call him from the town centre, not far from where Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball lost their young lives. We have a problem.
Colin’s mainstream media demands mean he cannot meet me in town as we’d hoped. I’ll have to go out to the family home. I take a taxi out to a suburb of Warrington and ring the bell, my heart pounding. Colin answers the door with one hand, his mobile in the other. He beckons me in while still answering media questions about inviting Martin McGuinness and the criticisms of it. Colin asks if I’d like something to drink. My mouth is dry but I’ve already downed several cups of coffee on my way from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and my stomach is in knots with nerves made worse by my desire to be even more respectful of the Parrys and where I am. This is the family home where Tim Parry spent his young life with his parents and brother and sister Dominic and Abbi. It was upstairs in Tim’s bedroom that a distraught Colin and Wendy Parry began their determined campaign for peace and reconciliation, one that grew into the Foundation for Peace and a purpose-built £3million building on the outskirts of Warrington opened by former Secretary of State Mo Mowlam in March 2000. The Foundation for Peace describes itself as: “An
5 Colin Parry signs the Visitors’ Book on a visit to Stormont in March
Martin McGuinness’s Warrington Peace Lecture 2013 – ‘Peace Needs Partnership’
“AS a republican leader it would be hypocritical for me to seek to distance myself from the consequences of armed struggle or the IRA’s role in it. “Nor can or would I attempt to excuse the human loss caused by the IRA bomb in Warrington. “Regrettably, the past cannot be changed or undone. Neither can the suffering, the hurt or the violence of the conflict be disowned by republicans or any
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 17
‘We’ve always said we will speak to anyone. We want to break down barriers’
WENDY PARRY speaking at the Warrington 20th anniversary memorial events at the Stormont Assembly, March 2013
5 Colin Parry listens to Martin McGuinness during a Q&A at the Warrington Peace Lecture 2013 independent global leader in commissioned conflict response, resolution and preventative services.” One of its grassroots initiatives that Colin proudly but quietly tells me about is a schools programme in England addressing inter-racial conflict and the influence of the far-Right English Defence League and jihadists.
INVITATIONS Colin and I sit down facing each other across a dining table. He matter-of-factly brushes away my offer to go through my questions and says to just ask what I want. Colin and Wendy had been invited by the Speaker of the Assembly and the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to address MLAs in March of this year on the 20th anniversary of Warrington. Colin interviewed Martin McGuinness for a BBC Radio 5 Live documentary in April. “The interview had been cordial and productive and when I was leaving the office it popped into my head that we didn’t have a speaker lined up for this year’s
other party to the conflict. “None of this, of course, offers any comfort to the many victims of the conflict, from all sides, including and in particular the many hundreds of innocent victims, including Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball . . .
The full speech can be read at www.sinnfein.ie/contents/27506
“I was once in the IRA. I am now a peace builder. I don’t expect anyone to take me at my word. I expect them to take me by my deeds. I have spent 20 years building the peace. But peace building, like conflict, is a joint enterprise. I challenge all of the parties to the conflict to pledge their commitment to the type of acknowledgement, respect and compromise we need to move forward in the years ahead.”
Peace Lecture. I spontaneously asked Martin if he would he give the Peace Lecture. Much to my surprise, he immediately said yes.” The Peace Lecture was inaugurated in 1993 by former Prime Minister John Major, a patron for the Foundation for Peace charity; subsequent lectures were given by John Reid (former Secretary of State in the North of Ireland) and Justice Secretary Jack Straw. “John Major has been extremely supportive of what we have been doing ever since because he can remember how deeply [Ireland] affected him on his watch,” Colin tells An Phoblacht. I raise Martin McGuinness’s IRA past. “I don’t forgive the IRA,” Colin says, “but many people raise it as precondition for what you do.” He is puzzled that some friends among the 170 guests invited to the Peace Lecture declined. “I said to my wife, why would people who know our position and who are friends say ‘I don’t want to be there to listen to Martin McGuinness’ when we had extended the invitation. “The guiding principles of our Peace Foundation are around the whole notion of peace building and reconciliation and, inevitably, that is done with people who you might not otherwise have a dialogue with. You don’t need to peace build with friends, do you?” Colin and Wendy have had “a difficult meeting” with the brother and sister bereaved by the Birmingham bombs and planning to picket the Warrington Peace Lecture because no one has been convicted for their sister’s death. “My wife and I clearly empathise with them and understand what they are seeking but that is not what we seek. We have never sought to find the people who did the Warrington bombing. And the reason for that is quite simple: if my focus was entirely on who killed my son I think I would have ended up criminally insane and never able to lead a normal life, which would have had implications for the rest of my family,
never mind for Tim. So we’ve always focused on the present and the future, not the past.”
PARADES, FLAGS AND THE PAST Colin Parry welcomes the arrival in Ireland of US diplomat Dr Richard Haass and Harvard Professor Meghan O’Sullivan to chair inter-party talks dealing with parades, flags and the past. “I wish them all the success in the world. “I don’t preach to anybody but it seems to me that if they can break the log-jam on flags, parades and protests then that’s good because — even if people on this side of the Irish Sea think ‘What are they moaning about?’ — these are hot issues that need to be resolved.” Colin adds that although they may be “hot issues” they are “in a sense, side issues which impede the smooth transition to a normal, fully functioning society in Northern Ireland which I think we all hope for. No one wants it to go back to the way it was.” What would Colin Parry like to see happen after Martin McGuinness’s Warrington Peace Lecture? “It would be good if those who still distrust Martin McGuinness — and that might be particularly people in the loyalist community — as less than fully wedded to the Peace Process and less than sincere were to recognise that him coming to our Peace Centre to address a predominantly Warrington and English audience that may still have very little sympathy for him, given his own history, takes some bottle. Us extending that invitation to him, I want it to be seen as the kind of thing that others have to do, that other people have to step over that line if there is to genuinely be progress and movement. “If everybody says ‘You move first and I don’t move’ then little happens, so I would hope that the symbolism of Martin McGuinness being the speaker, invited by me as Tim’s father, is of itself significant and it would be good if it was a touchstone for other things to flow from it.”
18 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
New DVD by republican ex-prisoner groups Coiste na n-Iarchimí, Tar Anall and Tar Isteach raising awareness of POWs’ issues after release
BEYOND THE WIRE BY PEADAR WHELAN THE recently-released Beyond the Wire DVD features courageous contributions to the debate about how former political prisoners have tried to cope with the effects of imprisonment on their emotional and psychological well being as they adjust to life in the post-conflict world of today in Ireland. Produced by republican ex-prisoner umbrella organisation Coiste na n-Iarchimí and Belfastbased republican ex-prisoner projects Tar Anall and Tar Isteach, Beyond the Wire sets out to raise awareness of the impact of imprisonment on the emotional health and well-being of individual ex-prisoners, their families and communities. It also explores how trauma and the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are at the core of many problems faced by political ex-prisoners. Speaking at the launch of the DVD in Belfast’s Mac Centre, Ruth Jamieson (formerly of Queen’s University’s Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice School of Law) likened the experience of former prisoners to that of “other veterans, prisoners of war, or emergency service workers — the big difference is those groups
It is reckoned that between 25,000 and 30,000 people were imprisoned throughout the conflict in the North between the years 1969 and 2000; other estimates put the figure as high as 40,000 have state-provided assistance available but political ex-prisoners here don’t”. Jamieson is a co-author with Professor Peter Shirlow (also of Queen’s Institute of Criminology) and Adrian Grounds (Cambridge University Institute of Criminology) of the report Ageing and Social Exclusion Among Former Politically Motivated Prisoners. She went on to highlight the trans-generational dimension of trauma, saying: “Many families continue to live with the legacy of incarceration without understanding the impact it brings to bear on their lives.” It is reckoned that between 25,000 and 30,000 people were imprisoned throughout the conflict in the North between the years 1969 and 2000; other estimates put the figure as high as 40,000.
5 Launch of the DVD ‘Beyond the Wire’: former prisoner and counsellor with Tar Isteach prisoners’ group Joe Barnes, Ruth Jamieson from Queen’s University Belfast, Queen’s University Belfast Professor Pete Shirlow, Joe Austin of the Still Imprisoned Project, and former prisoner Dr Féilim Ó hAdhmaill According to the research carried out by Jamieson, Shirlow and Grounds “it is difficult to make a precise estimate of their [former political prisoners] current numbers or age profile” as there are few official reports or statistics on the number of people imprisoned. One of those who speaks on Beyond the Wire of her experience of imprisonment is Brenda Murphy from Ballymurphy. Imprisoned during the ‘protest years’ of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Brenda has honed her talents as a popular playwright with many successful productions to her name. Brenda was pregnant when she was arrested in 1976. After she was sentenced she joined the protest in Armagh Prison, refusing to carry out prison work and while on the ‘no work protest’ her daughter was born. On the DVD, Brenda speaks candidly and emotionally about her treatment at the hands of the prison authorities. In an attempt at emotional and psychological blackmail the authorities gave Brenda an ultimatum: she could keep her daughter with her if she came off the protest; if she refused, she would be forced to send her child away to be cared for. An emotionally conflicted Brenda refused to abandon the protest and her jailers made her send her child outside to be looked after by her grandmother. Speaking on the DVD, the west Belfast republican explained that prison rules allowed a mother to keep her child with her for up to a year or, if she was due to be released soon after the year was up, she could her keep baby with her. As Brenda only had about six months of her sentence left she argued she should be allowed to keep her baby with her. The prison authorities
were unmoved. She could only keep the infant with her if she left the protest. Her distress is clear as she relates the story and explains how she had to “sign” her baby out like an item of property. What was more upsetting though, Brenda recalls, is how her daughter once told her, “You loved the Republican Movement more than you loved me.” Although the DVD was the initiative of the republican ex-prisoner groups, the experience of unionist prisoners is also acknowledged. Ruth Jamieson described the case of a unionist ex-prisoner who, when he couldn’t access necessary treatment, “basically drank himself to death”. Not only does this case touch on the experience of ex-prisoners who indulge in what she describes as “hazardous drinking”, it crucially focuses on the legal barriers that are in the way of ex-prisoners seeking therapeutic intervention. She outlines how the unionist ex-prisoner, “a really bad alcoholic”, was referred for counselling and the first thing the counsellor said was: “I don’t want to hear anything about the conflict.” Says Jamieson: “The guy just went home and basically drank himself to death.” To better understand the need for and the reasons behind Beyond the Wire we should study the report Ageing and Social Exclusion Among Former Politically Motivated Prisoners. Although published back in September 2010, the report’s relevance is clearly demonstrated when viewed in the context of hardline unionist MLA Jim Allister’s Private Member’s Bill passed at Stormont to exclude political ex-prisoners from working as special advisers (SpADs) to ministers.
‘The [British and Irish] governments continue to recognise the importance of measures to facilitate the reintegration of prisoners into the community by providing support for both prior to and after release, including assistance directed towards availing of employment opportunities, retraining and/or reskilling and further education’ THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 19
5Ten years after the Good Friday Agreement, the negative and debarring legislation that affects politically-motivated former prisoners remains Commenting on ‘Citizenship and Exclusion’, the report says: “Politically-motivated prisoners are often seen as having primary responsibility for the conflict . . . and are supposed to bear the stigma of a ‘criminal’ status.” Clearly, the ideological cornerstone of Allister’s Bill (which was supported enthusiastically by the other unionist parties) is the need to blame prisoners for the conflict. Needless to say, this thinking is fixed firmly in the debate about who or what is a victim and
‘A key stumbling block is that the law makes no differentiation between criminal activity and political conflict despite the development of a postconflict society that has been tied to the concepts and principles of parity of esteem, mutual consent and inclusion’ lends itself to promoting a hierarchy of victimhood. The report argues that former prisoners have “conditional citizenship [which] is a more or less permanent condition. So, in addition to having to manage a stigmatised identity, former political prisoners are permanently excluded by law from particular occupations or actions (e.g. adoption).” It continues: “Hence many former political prisoners argue that these restrictions on their work and family life amount to a ‘residual criminalisation’, the
5 Ballymurphy playwright Brenda Murphy
5 Brenadan Curran (with microphone) lost his job because of time spent in prison effect of which is to entrench and perpetuate their social and economic marginalisation.” Indeed, the report identifies “continuing criminalisation” as one of the most “powerfully exclusionary processes affecting former politically motivated prisoners”. Comparing the reality experienced by former prisoners to the expectations raised by the Good Friday Agreement, the authors say: “Whilst it is important to be cognisant of the varied emotional and psychological needs of all members of a society emerging from conflict our analysis is centred on the only section of that society that remains legally debarred from full participation in many areas of social and economic life.” The 1998 Good Friday Agreement says in Section 10 on prisoners: “The governments continue to recognise the importance of measures to facilitate the reintegration of prisoners into the community by providing support for both prior to and after release,
including assistance directed towards availing of employment opportunities, retraining and/or reskilling and further education.” More than a decade after the Good Friday
Although Beyond the Wire was the initiative of the republican ex-prisoner groups, the experience of unionist prisoners is also acknowledged Agreement, the negative and debarring legislation that affects politically-motivated former prisoners such as adoption, travel, legal entitle-
ment and employment remained. “A key stumbling block,” say the authors, “in the development of a more inclusive role for politically-motivated former prisoners is that the law makes no differentiation between criminal activity and political conflict, this despite the onset and development of a post-conflict society that has been tied to the concepts and principles of parity of esteem, mutual consent and inclusion.” If the recent debate at Stormont fuelled by Jim Allister’s ‘bad legislation’ Bill tells us anything it is (as Jamieson, Shirlow and Grounds say in their research) that “most of the negativity that surrounds debates about politically-motivated former prisoners has centred on past violent acts and the need to maintain social, cultural, symbolic and legal criminalisation. In effect, the development of the peace and political transformation has been paralleled by the debarring of politically-motivated former prisoners from full citizenship.”
SOURCES LISTED HERE
The research on which this report is based was funded by the Changing Ageing Partnership (CAP) through its research seed grant programme R9162LAW. The Community Foundation NI funded its production. The DVD Beyond the Wire was produced by Coiste Na n-Iarchimí, Tar Anall and Tar Isteach and was funded by the Belfast Strategic Partnership.
20 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
BY BY MÍCHEÁL MÍCHEÁL Mac Mac DONNCHA DONNCHA
The rise of the Irish Citizen Army ONE of the most significant outcomes of the Great Lockout of 1913 was the establishment of the Irish Citizen Army, the first armed force of organised workers in Irish history and one of the first in the world. While a newspaper article and two well-documented meetings marked the beginning of the Irish Volunteers, the earlier genesis of the Irish Citizen Army is less clear-cut. Once established, though, it made its mark in no uncertain terms. During a trade union struggle in Cork in 1908, a defence force of workers had been set up but it was short-lived and local. In his time as a union official and socialist organiser in the United States, James Connolly saw first-hand the use of armed strike-breakers by employers and, on occasions, workers arming in selfdefence. The establishment of the Ulster Volunteers early in 1913, armed and officered with the aid of the British Tory Party, brought the gun directly into Irish politics, in
During a trade union struggle in Cork in 1908, a defence force of workers had been set up addition, of course, to the guns of the occupying British Army and police. Even before the Lockout began in August 1913, Jim Larkin spoke of the need for organised defence by workers. As soon as the Lockout commenced, workers were attacked. On the very first weekend, two workers, John Byrne and James Nolan, were batoned to death on the Liffey quays by the Dublin Metropolitan Police and hundreds were injured in the infamous DMP baton charge on Bloody Sunday, 31 August. Workers and their families were attacked on the streets, on picket lines, at demonstrations and in their homes. In one notorious case, the DMP entered Corporation Buildings, a large tenement block in the north inner city near Amiens Street rail station, and beat up its poverty-stricken residents and wrecked their homes. Veteran republican Tom Clarke condemned the police brutality in an indignant letter to the Irish Worker, the ITGWU paper. He described the DMP’s actions as “downright inhuman savagery”. In the Irish
5 Irish Citizen Army volunteers training on the roof of Liberty Hall
Republican Brotherhood newspaper, Irish Freedom, in October 1913, P. H. Pearse wrote in sympathy with the workers and against the employers, the tenement slums and police brutality. The time was ripe for a workers’ defence force. Citizen Army veteran Frank Robbins in his book Under the Starry Plough (The Academy Press, 1977) recalled: “One night during October 1913 I attended a meeting in Beresford Place and heard Connolly, speaking
from the central window of Liberty Hall, say that as a result of the brutalities of the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police, it was intended to organise and discipline a force to protect workers’ meetings and to prevent such activities – by armed thugs – occurring in the future. This was the first open declaration I heard regarding the formation of the Irish Citizen Army.” It was a former soldier in the British Army who had fought in the Boer War who first organised and
drilled the workers. He was Jack White, son of a British Army field marshal, and he came from a staunchly unionist background in Broughshane, County Antrim. He was, in his own word, a “misfit”, later in life embracing anarchism but in 1913, as a trained soldier with radical politics and an ability train others, he was in the right place at the right time. An Industrial Peace Committee had been formed to try to find a settlement to the Lockout. But most of
5 Dublin Sinn Féin Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha (left) at the Irish Citizen Army Centenary Commemoration organised by Cairde na hÉireann in Liverpool on 7 September
the members, including Joseph Plunkett, the leader executed in 1916, came over to the side of the workers. When the Peace Committee disbanded they formed the Civic Committee and it was at a meeting of this group in Trinity College on 12 November that Jack White proposed the formation of a workers’ defence force. The next day, Jim Larkin was released from prison and there was a victory parade through Dublin. Addressing the crowd, James Connolly said: “The next time we go out for a march I want to be accompanied by four battalions of our own men. I want them to have their own corporals and sergeants and men who will be able to ‘form fours’. Why should we not drill men as well as in Ulster? “When you come to draw your strike pay this week I want every man who is willing to enlist as a soldier to give his name and address,
Even before the Lockout began in August 1913, Jim Larkin spoke of the need for organised defence by workers and you will be informed when and where you have to attend for training. I have been promised the assistance of competent chief officers, who will lead us anywhere. I say nothing about arms at present. When we want them, we know where we will find them.” Soon Jack White was drilling the newly-formed Irish Citizen Army in the grounds of Croydon House, the ITGWU recreation grounds in Fairview (now covered by the Marino housing estate). The Citizen Army spearheaded the fight against recruitment to the British Army when the European War broke out, symbolised by the banner across Liberty Hall “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”. The Citizen Army admitted women equally to its ranks. Under Connolly’s guidance it was increasingly politicised, preparing the way for its central role in the 1916 Rising. • The Irish Citizen Army originated during the Great Lockout in October 1913, 100 years ago this month.
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 21
New book by Phil Mac Giolla Bháin, author of ‘Downfall’, the controversial best-seller on Rangers FC
The Irish in Scotland ‘struggling for respect’ BY NIAMH O’DONNELL IT’S A STRIKING THOUGHT that the Irish in Glasgow achieved occupational parity a full hundred years AFTER their cousins in New York. Moreover, the Irish in Scotland still face a struggle just for recognition and respect. Phil Mac Giolla Bháin’s new book, Minority Reporter: Modern Scotland’s Bad Attitude Towards Her Own Irish, lays out the reality of their experiences, particularly in Glasgow and the west of Scotland, and it makes for sobering reading. The book charts how discrimination has manifested itself in the country and how the approach of slapping a label of ‘sectarianism’ on the problem — as opposed to discrimination against an ethnic group
Mac Giolla Bháin argues that the ethnic element has been swept aside in favour of a narrative of football rivalry mixed up with religion — has made it impossible to tackle with any effect. Mac Giolla Bháin argues that what remains in Scotland is attitudinal discrimination (a view echoed by Professor Tom Devine) and with a referendum on independence due to take place a year from now, there are important issues for the Irish in Scotland to consider. Of course, Scotland’s Irish community played an important part in the Northern conflict. When the Bogside breathed CS gas and the Lower Falls was under curfew, the Irish in Glasgow did not need ‘The Man from the Daily Mail’ to put them right on what was what. The idea of Irish people under a local regime that was hostile to Irishness wasn’t such a leap of the imagination for an O’Donnell in the Gorbals or a Murphy in Greenock. Not surprisingly, the Republican Movement attracted a huge amount of support from probably the most socially excluded part of the Irish Diaspora. But as Ireland moves forward with
5 Rangers failed to sign a single Republic of Ireland international for their first team, making it the only club in Britain with that record a demilitarised political plan, the Irish community in Scotland have, to an extent, returned to their own internal fight for recognition and respect. In three sections, Mac Giolla Bháin explores the root of the problem and puts forth his central argument that the ethnic element of the ‘sectarian’ problem in Scotland has been swept aside in favour of a narrative of football rivalry mixed up with religion. That said, the football element is important. In The Famine Song section and in the final portion of the book, ‘An Illicit Ethnicity?’, Mac Giolla Bháin explores the relationship between Rangers Football Club and
Author Phil Mac Giolla Bháin
the loyalist/unionist culture in the Six Counties. Furthermore, Mac Giolla Bháin uses some thorough research into the team history at Ibrox to debunk the myth that the problem at the former club was one of religious bigotry, thus exposing the extent to which ethnicity was written out of the story. Since the Football Association of Ireland was formally recognised by FIFA at the end of World War Two, Rangers (1872 to 2012) failed to sign a single Republic of Ireland international for their first team, making it the only club in Britain with that record. The author charts several years of
5 ‘Uppity Fenian’ – Neil Lennon has been physically attacked on more than one occasion reaching a terrifying peak when he was on the receiving end of a letter bomb in 2011
campaigning journalism in each section, containing a lengthy intro providing context and history followed by a selection of pre-published pieces documenting Mac Giolla Bháin’s work on the subject since 2008. The middle section of the book is key. The experiences of one Neil Francis Lennon from Lurgan, the manager of Glasgow Celtic, are shameful. Since taking up his role at the club founded by Irish immigrants seeking refuge after the Famine, Lennon has been physically attacked on more than one occasion and the situation reached a terrifying peak when he was on the receiving end of a letter bomb in 2011. Lennon became symbolic and for all the wrong reasons at Ibrox. An
The experiences of one Neil Francis Lennon from Lurgan, the manager of Glasgow Celtic, are shameful Irish Catholic from the North standing in pride of place at the helm of Celtic; an “uppity Fenian” as Mac Giolla Bháin describes him, and Rangers fans’ worst nightmare. Mac Giolla Bháin lays out a compelling case not only of anti-Irish racism in Scotland but the lengths to which the authorities, be it football or government, have consistently failed the Irish community and the continuing reluctance to change the record. For the Irish and Irish descendants in Scotland, the death of Rangers was about more than football. Like the Ibrox club, the superiority of ‘the klan’ over the Irish community is broken. Minority Reporter almost has a happy ending, if a cliché can be used. Plans for a Glasgow city centre Famine memorial are now under way and the Irish, Mac Giolla Bháin says, no longer sit at the back of the bus. • Minority Reporter: Modern Scotland’s Bad Attitude Towards Her Own Irish, by Phil Mac Giolla Bháin, is published by Frontline Noir.
22 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
Fianna Fáil founder’s grandson and former TD talks to MARK MOLONEY on why he switched to Sinn Féin
Committed to change
I MEET Chris Andrews in Dublin city centre. He has just come from his first public event since he’d announced he had joined Sinn Féin. He’d been at St Andrew’s Resource Centre on Pearse Street at the launch of ‘The Junction’, a service for young unemployed people. President Michael D Higgins was officially opening the service. Chris says at the event he got a range of reactions from those present: some were telling him “Fair play, you did the right thing”, others weren’t as approving, asking “What were you thinking?” He chuckles that some of those people who didn’t agree with his decision are the same ones who have been giving out about the Government for almost 10 years. “Nothing happens overnight,” he says of his decision to join Sinn Féin. “For people who don’t know me and just read it in the newspaper it probably seems like a big surprise. But for anybody who was involved in community development projects or international solidarity work with me, it’s not a big shock.” Chris was a regular attendee at the annual Easter Commemoration in Belfast and annual Bloody Sunday rememberance march in Derry. His strong international record is something which marked him out from the rest of the Fianna Fáil TDs. His interest in foreign affairs began in the 1980s when he went to Nicaragua as part of a solidarity brigade to pick coffee beans in the Central American country. Only a few years earlier the left-wing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) had overthrown US-backed dictator Somoza. Since this initial experience, Chris has been an outspoken voice on international issues, particularly the plight of the Palestinian people. Talking about Palestine, I mention Waterford Sinn Féin Councillor John Hearne. Chris immediately
cracks a smile. “I shared a jail cell with him,” he laughs. In 2011, Chris and a number of Sinn Féin and leftwing activists were arrested by Israeli commandos while crewing the MV Saoirse, carrying relief supplies to break the siege of Gaza. During their imprisonment John had asked Chris whether he would consider joining Sinn Féin. He says the whole incident did have some bearing on his decision.
He says there is a serious disconnect between Fianna Fáil and those ordinary people it claims to represent – something which deeply contrasts with Sinn Féin’s grassroots activism “You couldn’t have anything other than the height of respect for John and [Sinn Féin Councillor] Pat Fitzgerald and their commitment to the Palestinian cause. And that obviously has an impact on you at some level. Somebody once told me ‘You fell in love with Sinn Féin in the Med’.” Chris laughs heartily. So what of his decision to join Sinn Féin? What was the reaction like from his former party colleagues and friends? “I got a lot of goodwill from former colleagues from Fianna Fáil,” he says. “I got a fair number of private messages from people within the organisation who don’t want to be seen to come out publicly because the hegemony within the party is that ‘Chris is bad’. Of course, you have the people who are particularly intense and partisan but they seem to play the man
Chris Andrews: ‘Somebody once told me ‘You fell in love with Sinn Féin in the Med’’ (Top right) Chris Andrews supporting the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign which aimed to break the illegal Israeli siege. He is pictued with Fintan Lane (National Co-ordinator of the Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign), Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD (Sinn Féin), Robert Ballagh (Artist) and Freda Hughes (IrelandPalestine Solidarity Campaign)
(Bottom right) Chris Andrews at a Seán Garland Anti-Extradition Campaign event in 2009 alongside SIPTU President Jack O'Connor and Chris Hudson. The campaign opposed the extradition of Garland to America on humanitarian grounds
instead of the ball. You just have to get on with it. That’s politics.” He says instead of focusing on personality-led politics, it would be more beneficial for the Establishment and mainstream media and commentators to have real debates on the social and economic policies that parties are putting forward. He tells An Phoblacht that, over the past 15 years, Fianna Fáil has almost become unrecognisable from the party his grandfather helped found. In particular he
In the 1980s he was in a solidarity brigade picking coffee beans after the left-wing Sandinistas had overthrown US-backed dictator Somoza says there is a serious disconnect between the party and those ordinary people it claims to represent something which deeply contrasts with Sinn Féin’s grassroots activism. He admits he went through a long period of disillusionment before finally deciding to break with Fianna Fáil. “For me, the last five years were a game-changer. I emigrated to England in the late 1980s. When I came back in the 1990s, Ireland seemed to have changed for the better. But then it began to dawn that this was all built on sand. Whatever about who’s to blame, we know now that what was done was wrong. It’s important to identify who is responsible but it is even more important that we change the way we do things. There’s no commitment at all within Fianna Fáil to change or reform. There is a need for change and Sinn
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 23
5 Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe TD Dublin's Catalan community on O'Connell Street for a Catalan National Day demonstration calling for a referendum on independence for Catalonia from Spain
Féin is the party I genuinely feel will bring that about.” Since the 2011 general election, Fianna Fáil have been pushing the self-styled ‘Fianna Fáil Renewal’, claiming the party is getting back to being a grassroots organisation. Chris’s reaction to such claims is blunt. “Personally, I don’t buy it.” He also points to Sinn Féin’s commitment to a united Ireland as being a major factor in his decision. He says Fianna Fáil have abandoned even the pretence of republicanism. His grandfather, Todd Andrews, an IRA
As a Fianna Fáil TD he had to support party positions which sometimes ran contrary to his own views. He has serious regrets about that, describing his support for regressive Budgets as ‘wrong’ Volunteer who served in the Tan War and Civil War, helped found Fianna Fáil and was deeply commited to Irish reunification. His own father, Niall, served as a Fianna Fáil TD and MEP between 1977 and 2004. Chris points out that his father was one of the few TDs to visit the Hunger Strikers in prison. Niall Andrews also attended the funeral of Bobby Sands MP and was strongly involved in the ‘Bring Them Home’ campaign for the Colombia Three, helping raise their case at the European Parliament as an MEP. On Niall Andrews’s death in 2006, Seán Crowe TD said he was a man “who did not let party political affiliations stand in the way of a genuine commitment to human rights in Ireland and further afield”, adding how he was one of the few TDs
to show solidarity with Northern nationalists “a beleaguered community ignored by so many in the South”. Observers have criticised Chris’s term as a TD under Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, noting that he followed the party line right up to the last days of the Fianna Fáil government. Chris points out that he was only a TD for a year under Bertie Ahern. “I was only barely in the door and finding my feet in Leinster House and next thing there was a change of leadership. With Cowen, I was one of the few at the time who stood up and told him he should resign and there should be an election. This was a long time before many others did so.” He also stresses that he was elected as a Fianna Fáil TD and therefore had to support the party position which sometimes ran contrary to his own views. It’s something he says he has serious regrets about doing, describing his support for regressive Budgets as “wrong”. “In hindsight,” he says, looking straight at me. “I should have made a stronger stand or left the party when I saw the way things were being done. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.” There’s been media speculation that he joined Sinn Féin so that he could have a chance of being re-elected as a TD. Chris says he has no burning desire to be sitting in Leinster House anytime soon. “Being a TD isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” the former backbencher says before adding: “If it was all about me wanting to be a TD, first of all you’d go to a different constituency: Dublin 4 — Rathmines and Pembroke — is hardly a hotbed of Sinn Féin support. It would have been personally a lot easier for me to stay indepenent and just work on different community issues. You wouldn’t have got the hassle and the abuse. Instead, people would have had a more benign attitude towards you. But if I’m in favour of collective action and advocating change, then I have to commit to it myself.”
5 Sinn Feein TDs Mary Lou McDonald and Gerry Adams meet with NI21 MLAs John McCallister and Basil McCrea at the Sinn Féin Oireachtas 'think-in' in Carlingford, Louth
5 Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Paul Maskey at the Trades Union Congress in the International Centre, Bournemouth, England, with Jayne Fisher and Cuba Solidarity and Cuban trade union activists
24 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
Fianna Fáil and the Fourth Green Field cussions, position papers and executive actions of Fianna Fáil in isolation. The countervailing manoeuvrings of Stormont (backed
Fianna Fáil, Partition and Northern Ireland, 1926-1971
Several persons now deceased misled one of the most in-depth Dáil investigations and lied during linked court actions. The truth has not emerged
By Stephen Kelly Irish Academic Press €22.45 REVIEWED BY DR RUÁN O’DONNELL THE broad time frame of this book, albeit focussed through the prism of one political party’s perspective, would challenge any author. The complexity of the subject matter, however, renders the task of providing a comprehensive, coherent and insightful narrative virtually impossible. Kelly has furnished much important new information in an accessible format and demonstrated academic courage in tackling a vital theme: the abject failure of constitutional nationalism to resolve the injustice of partition. It is implicit that if the rhetorically republican Fianna Fáil could not significantly engage Stormont and London on the issue, little could be expected of either Fine Gael or Labour. Neither Fine Gael nor Labour rate much discussion in a book devoted to exploring pragmatism within Fianna Fáil on the national question. Given, however, that the natural state of governance in the 26 Counties generally entails coalitions, it would be exceptionally difficult for any writer to appropriately contextualise the internal dis-
when not directed by London) are clearly vital dynamics that the limits of a single book format cannot redress. Blanket official secrecy and
5 Author Stephen Kelly
5 The assessment of the Arms Crisis is curtailed by the silence of key protagonists within and beyond Fianna Fáil
walls of contemporary state propaganda further occlude the reality of the situation facing Fianna Fáil during such flashpoints as August 1969, June 1970 and August 1971. Yet ‘the republican party’ which introduced internment in the 1940s and 1950s did not support the measure in the face of much greater political violence in the early 1970s. The assessment of the 1969-1970 ‘Arms Crisis’, critical to any book on the period, is naturally curtailed by the silence of key protagonists within and beyond Fianna Fáil. Several persons now deceased misled one of the most in-depth Dáil investigations and lied during linked court actions. The truth has not emerged. Kelly has resisted the temptation to flesh out the existing print debate, insofar as it has been conducted, and it is to be hoped that he may yet do so in a second volume dealing with the more manageable period 1972-1998. Some minor omissions are surprising: it is important to know that Cavan landowner ex-BrigadierGeneral Eric Dorman O’Gowan actively assisted the 1950s IRA at the time he was publicly corresponding with Cahir Healy MP et al to urge constitutional assertion. Given the danger of misunderstanding, the identity of the pro-British organisation which assassinated Senator Paddy Wilson should be detailed. If Kelly produces a sequel to this often stimulating and surprisingly original book, the testing of the Fianna Fáil leadership at a time when numerous members of its grassroots were facilitating IRA actions in the 1970s should make fascinating reading.
2013 Sinn Féin National Draw Sinn Féin National Finance Committee 2013 Private Members Draw Coiste Náisiúnta Airgeadais Shinn Féin 2013 Crannchur príobháideach na mball
Total prize fund of over | Duais-chiste thar
€/£25,000 First prize | Céad Duais €/£15,000
Draw will take place on Saturday 19 October 2013 Tarraingeofar an Crannchur ar an Satharn 19 Deireadh Fómhair 2013
National Finance Committee, First floor, 58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Coiste Airgeadais Náisiúnta, Céad Urlár 58 Cearnóg Parnell, BÁC 1.
Available from: www.sinnfeinbookshop.com
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 25
‘Ballyhea Says No’ group greeted at EU Parliament
5 Martina Anderson MEP meets Cathleen Quealey, Fiona Fitzpatrick and Diarmuid O’Flynn of ‘Ballyhea Says No’
Austerity era robbing youth of jobs – EU Parliament debate
THE real way to combat record adequately funded, needs to youth unemployment is for tackle youth unemployment, and Europe to break with austerity, needs to be part of a broader ecoGUE/NGL MEPs reiterated in nomic strategy of investment in jobs and growth.” September’s European Parliament debate on the EU Portuguese MEP Inês Zuber youth strategy and youth joblessadded: ness. “The reason why EU unemI told MEPs during the debate: ployment went up so much after Inês Zuber “The International Labour the crisis is that the crisis is a sysOrganisation states that for the European temic crisis, a capitalist crisis. This system Youth Guarantee to be effective it needs allows massive transfers of wealth from ¤21billion. Therefore, the current alloca- workers to banks. There’s no point in trytion of ¤8billion is clearly not enough. If we ing to promote employment if you are want sustainable jobs for young people pushing policies that destroy it. Young then the Youth Guarantee needs to be people have a right to decent work.”
I WAS PRIVILEGED to welcome the ‘Ballyhea Says No’ campaign group when they visited the European Parliament on Tuesday 17 September to present a petition to the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament on the austerity crisis imposed on the Irish people. The petition highlights the anger that exists among ordinary people at the EU’s role in causing potentially decades of austerity in Ireland through the negligence of EU institutions, including the European Central Bank, the EU Commission and Council. The ‘Ballyhea Says No’ group has been marching every Sunday in Ballyhea in County Cork to protest against the bail-out of bondholders at the expense of the public. In order to ameliorate against the worst effects of the EU’s mishandling of the economic crisis, I support the group’s call on the European Central Bank to write off the ¤28.1billion in sovereign bonds currently held by the Central Bank in lieu of the promissory notes issued in 2010 to cover the ¤31billion pumped into two already insolvent institutions, Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.
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
Irish MEPs’ group proposes Edward Snowden for Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
THE European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in the European Parliament – which includes Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson – has nominated US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden for the 2013 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded annually by MEPs. Parliament’s Conference of Presidents will decide on the 2013 winner in October. The official nomination was presented by French GUE/NGL MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat on Monday 16 September in a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs, Development and Human Rights committees.
The Greatest Escape reunion
Martina Anderson MEP is a member of the GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament
THANKS TO BELFAST CITY COUNCIL STALWARTS
30th ANNIVERSARY AND REUNION OF THE GREATEST ESCAPE EVER Come along and listen to the story of the 1983 breakout
ALL PROCEEDS IN AID OF THE JOHN DOWNEY SUPPORT FUND
Doors open 7pm, Saturday 19 October Devenish Complex, Belfast ENTERTAINMENT AND LATE BAR
5 Sinn Féin’s Tom Hartley (councillor since 1993) and Gerard O'Neill (since 1998) receive presentations from party President and comrade Gerry Adams as they stand down from Belfast City Council
26 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
ROSIE McCORLEY MLA 15 YEARS ON FROM THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT
Are promises on the Irish language being kept? op the Irish language in the east Belfast area. While there has always been a number of unionists who are passionate about the language, the East Belfast Mission takes things in a new direction. Under the stewardship of Linda Ervine, there are now more than 40 grassroots unionists attending Irish classes in their own community.
AS A SINN FÉIN ACTIVIST and MLA I am very proud of the contribution the party has made to the promotion and development of Irish since 1998 and the Good Friday Agreement and also prior to that. The Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements – as well as the European Charter – require the British and Irish governments to take specific actions in relation to the Irish language. In all honesty, there has been very little proactivity from either of them. The Assembly in the North has obligations also but that forum has been prevented from fulfilling its commitments due to the negativity, hostility and downright opposition from political unionism. Sinn Féin, however, has endeavoured to use whatever power and energy it can muster to make progress on the language. The actions taken by the party show that, despite having to operate within a sometimes hostile environment, there has been significant progress over the last 15 years.
IRISH WITHIN THE POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS
In the formal political arenas, Sinn Féin has undertaken to promote and normalise the Irish language by ensuring it is spoken, heard and visible. Actions include: • Encouraging all our members to use as much Irish as possible in Stormont, in the Oireachtas, local councils and the European Parliament; • Holding Irish classes for party members and staff; • Pressing the Assembly Commission to introduce a strong Irish-language policy; • Encouraging Irish schools and organisations to visit the Assembly; • Hosting events promoting the Irish language, particularly during Seachtain na Gaeilge. Within government departments where Sinn Féin holds the ministry, we have promoted Irish by initiating: • Bilingualism within departmental documents, reports and speeches; • Bilingual advertisements; • Bilingual signage at departmental headquarters; • Irish included on websites; • Irish classes available for departmental staff;
BELFAST CITY COUNCIL In Belfast City Council, Sinn Féin established an Irish Language Working Group which produced a small internal guide book for all councillors on how best to promote the Irish language. Actions to date include: • Increased number of Irish speakers within the council group; • Provision of Irish-language tours of City Hall; • Seachtain na Gaeilge events in City Hall; • Support for provision of facilities in the Gaeltacht Quarter; • Arts funding for Irish-language groups.
5 Linda Ervine from the East Belfast Mission with Sinn Féin Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín •
Facility for public to write and receive correspondence and phone calls in Irish.
When Conor Murphy was Minister for Regional Development, he introduced many measures to promote the Irish language, including: • Translink timetables and safety information in Irish; • Bilingual bus stop signage in west Belfast; • Bilingual destination signage on buses going through the Gaeltacht Quarter; • Bilingual signage in new train station in Newry; • Information leaflets and application forms in Irish • Identification of staff with Irish-language competency to receive further training; • Placing of adverts in Irish-language newspapers; • Employment of facilitators with Irish to deliver bus safety training to IME schools. When Sinn Féin took over at the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure, action was taken to promote Irish by:1. Initiating action to bring forward an
Irish-language strategy and an Irish Language Act; Bringing forward the Líofa initiative; Looking at the feasibility of an Irishlanguage academy.
LÍOFA 2015 Líofa 2015 is an initiative launched by DCAL Minister Cáral Ní Chuilin in September 2011 when she publicly pledged to become Líofa by the end of her term in 2015. She also undertook to enlist 1,000 others to do likewise. This target figure was achieved and surpassed within three months and at the last count almost 3,600 had signed up to Líofa, including around 200 members of the PSNI, the broadcaster William Crawley and a DUP councillor. A new target of 5,000 has been set.
IRISH IN THE UNIONIST COMMUNITY
An Irish-language officer has been appointed with funding from Foras na Gaeilge to devel-
For the first time Belfast City Council will be funding capital projects through the Local Investment Fund, namely Glór na Móna Community Facility and An Cumann Chluain Ard.
BILINGUAL STREET-NAME SIGNS Our councillors and local party activists across the city have been working closely with residents in their local electoral wards, feeding requests into the council to have bilingual street names erected. To build upon the work of Forbairt Feirste in making local shop signage bilingual, when he was the local MP in west Belfast, Gerry Adams convinced Sainsbury’s supermarket to use bilingual signage throughout the premises, which has been hugely popular and successful. Asda have now introduced some Irish in their signage.
EDUCATION Irish-medium education is undoubtedly one of the success stories of the Irish Language Revival in the North. When Martin McGuinness became the first Sinn Féin Education Minister after the Good Friday Agreement, 1,461 pupils were being
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 27
Sinn Féin MLA Rosie McCorley, Councillor Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín and John Ferguson erect a bilingual street sign at Kennedy Way in Belfast
5 Broadcaster William Crawley educated through Irish in 18 schools; today the figure is 4,633 in 67 schools and units. Martin established Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta and Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta to enable the strategic coordination and development of Irish-medium education into the future. His successors, Caitríona Ruane and John O’Dowd, have built on that progress by:• Transforming the relationship between the Department of Education and the Irish-medium sector; • New-build investments at Bunscoil an tSleibhe Dhuibh; Gaelscoil na Móna; Scoil na Fuiseoige; Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagáin; Gaelscoil Uí Dhochartaigh; Gaelscoil Uí Néill and Coláiste Feirste; • A £2million investment in classroom resources at pre-school, primary and post-primary levels; • A further £2million investment in Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíochta which has provided new buildings for Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche, Castlewellan and Gaelscoil Éanna, Glengormley; • Approval of statutory status for Irishmedium pre-school provision in ten different areas and providing a significant improvement in funding levels and standards for pre-school provision;
5 Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey joins Sinn Féin Belfast City Councillors Emma Groves, Deirdre Hargey, Conor Maskey, Jim McVeigh and Gerard McCabe at the erecting of the Nollaig Shona Duit sign on Belfast City Hall •
Approval of Irish-medium primary provision in six areas that did not previously have this, including Glengormley, Crumlin and Magherafelt; Increase in the number of positions for trainee teachers in Irish-medium education.
In addition to the above, the Department of Education now also funds: • Irish-medium youth facilities; • Irish-medium resources within Englishmedium schools, including the Léargas project in Derry; • Irish-medium projects within extended schools, including the recent £234,000 per annum Líofa initiative. Despite the overwhelmingly positive developments, Sinn Féin is acutely aware of the outstanding transport issues affecting Coláiste Feirste and we are doing our utmost to assist in resolving these.
FORAS NA GAEILGE Foras na Gaeilge was established under the Good Friday Agreement as the cross-Border funding body for Irish-language projects with a remit also to promote, aid and contribute towards the funding of publications in Irish.
Over 100 books on average are published in Irish each year. They range from academic works to children’s stories, dictionaries, biographies and many others involving over 20 different publishers throughout the 32 Counties. In addition, at least six periodicals have benefitted from Foras support.
5 3,600 people have signed up to Líofa so far media. Because a minimum of 70% of production costs must be spent in the North, this gives local employment a much-needed boost.
IRISH LANGUAGE BROADCAST FUND
THE ROAD AHEAD
Sinn Féin negotiated for the establishment of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund to finance the production of high standard television programmes and also to foster an independent Irish speaking production sector in the North. At least 70 hours of Irish-language programming has been achieved yearly, these programmes going out on TG4, RTÉ and BBC. Training for Irish-speaking production staff is an important element of this work which has supported the expansion of the sector. The expansion of TG4 into the North by 2005 as part of the Good Friday Agreement has been a very popular measure. Sinn Féin negotiated a further £12million for the Irish Language Broadcast Fund in 2010 which has contributed hugely to the visibility, status and promotion of Irish in the televisual
There’s naturally a focus on the fact that we still have no Irish Language Act and while that is the case, it is abundantly clear that much has been achieved without it. We must still call for the Act and lobby for it at every opportunity. But let’s not lose sight of the huge achievements that have been made without it. Ciste Infheistíochta Gaeilge will continue to help build cultúrlanna and Irish-language infrastructure throughout the North and Sinn Féin ministers will support the language where possible through their departments. But the bulk of the work on the language will continue through our schools, community organisations and by our activists on the ground. Let’s see what we can achieve together in the next 15 years. Plenty has been done and there’s still plenty more to do.
28 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
BOOK REVIEWS BY MICHAEL MANNION
Inside stories – Frongoch and Ballykinlar POW camps With the Irish in Frongoch
Prisoners of War – Ballykinlar Internment Camp 1920-1921
Author: W. J. Brennan-Whitmore Mercier Press Price: €14.99 PRISONS and the incarceration of those suspected by the authorities of fostering sedition have always held a special place in the republican consciousness. Jails were regarded as an opportunity to further the struggle in a different theatre of operations rather than ending the prisoners’ participation in the fight. Names such as Long Kesh, Magilligan, Maghaberry, Portlaoise, The Curragh and many others possess a resonance and instill a sense of pride in the courage, determination and the triumphant human spirit shown by generations of prisoners during the last hundred years of struggle. The very first such location was Frongoch. Frongoch was a former distillery and (German) prisoner of war camp rapidly adapted after the Easter Rising to accommodate what Britain considered to be the most dangerous of the rebels. Two thousand men were either arrested under arms or subsequently identified as sympathisers and sent to exile in Wales. Thus Frongoch became the original ‘University of Rebellion’.
Author: Liam Ó Duibhir Mercier Press Price €19.99
5 W. J. Brennan-Whitmore (above) gives a contemporary account of Frongoch internment camp, the original ‘University of Rebellion’
THE British administration in Ireland has a long history of housing political opponents in former military establishments. There they are guarded by soldiers and subject to military discipline yet are constantly told that there is nothing military about their detention. The government assertion is that they are not soldiers – they are criminals or civilian detainees with no possible reason to expect recognition as combatants with political or Prisoner of War status. This is the familiar refrain first developed in Ballykinlar Internment Camp during 1920 and 1921. Liam Ó Duibhir’s new book on Ballykinlar, appropriately titled Prisoners of War, is a fascinating account of the first internment camp for Irish republicans of the 20th century. In an effortlessly readable style, the book describes the British efforts to deny POW status, and the republican strategies to subvert them.
5 Republican prisoners arrive at Frongoch following the 1916 Easter Rising
Without Frongoch, the IRA could not have attained the efficiency and professionalism it was able to demonstrate in 1919. Personal bonds of friendship were established amongst prisoners from opposite ends of the country. Command structures and intelligence networks were established or prepared with strategic planning ready to be implemented as opportunity arose. The GPO may have been the birthplace of the war for independence but Frongoch was its creche. This is not a new book. It is a contemporary account written in 1917 that provides a remarkable insight into the lives of the prisoners. The author, W. J. Brennan-Whitmore, was a product of his time and his writing style is ‘high Victorian’, convoluted with many rhetorical asides and incidental quips. He also includes interminable lists of names and locations in the main body of the text, which in a more modern work would be included as appendices or footnotes. Despite its shortcomings, this book is a valuable historical record of a pivotal moment in Irish history.
5 Within Ballykinlar internment camp, republican prisoners established their own currency, ran their own church (which included a branch of the Society of Vincent de Paul), controlled their own canteen and (seen here) organised their own camp orchestra
Although only active for a 12month period (December 1920 to December 1921), the harsh conditions in the camp gained a notorious reputation. During this period over 2,000 men were detained, three prisoners shot dead, and five more died as a result of inadequate food, cold damp accommodation and medical neglect. The organisational abilities of the prisoners seems to have been vastly superior to that of their jailers, which the author attributes to the diversity of backgrounds of the internees. Whilst the British officer class was drawn in the main from one narrow social grouping, the prisoners included priests, doctors, unskilled labourers, university professors, farm labourers and a myriad of other skills. Thus they were able to maintain their own hospital, establish their own currency, run their own church (including forming their own branch of the Society of Vincent de Paul) and, most importantly, control their own canteen. This is an impeccably researched book, well-written and providing a fascinating account of an often overlooked aspect of the Tan War.
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 29
I nDíl Chuimhne 1 October 1977: Seán Ó CONAILL, Sinn Féin (Parkhurst Prison) 1 October 1996: Pat McGEOWN, Sinn Féin 2 October 1971: Volunteer Terence McDERMOTT, Belfast Brigade, 1st Battalion 2 October 1978: Volunteer Pat HARKIN, Derry Brigade 6 October 1972: Volunteer Daniel McAREAVEY, Belfast Brigade, 2nd Battalion 9 October 1976: Noel JENKINSON, Sinn Féin (Leicester Prison) 9 October 1990: Volunteer Dessie GREW, Martin McCAUGHEY, Tyrone Brigade 10 October 1972: Volunteer John DONAGHY, Volunteer Patrick MAGUIRE, Volunteer Joseph McKINNEY, Belfast Brigade, 2nd Battalion 16 October 1972: Volunteer Hugh HERON, Volunteer John Patrick MULLAN, Tyrone Brigade 16 October 1976: Volunteer Paul MARLOWE, Belfast Brigade, 2nd
All notices and obituaries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 18 October 2013
“LIFE SPRINGS FROM DEATH AND FROM THE GRAVES OF PATRIOT MEN AND WOMEN SPRING LIVING NATIONS.” Pádraig Mac Piarais Battalion; Volunteer Frank FITZSIMMONS, Volunteer Joseph SURGENOR, Belfast Brigade, 3rd Battalion 16 October 1992: Sheena CAMPBELL, Sinn Féin 18 October 1974: Volunteer Michael HUGHES, Newry Brigade 23 October 1971: Volunteer Dorothy MAGUIRE, Volunteer Maura MEEHAN, Cumann na mBan, Belfast 23 October 1979: Volunteer Martin McKENNA, Belfast Brigade, 3rd Battalion 23 October 1993: Volunteer Thomas BEGLEY, Belfast Brigade, 3rd Battalion 24 October 1971: Volunteer Martin FORSYTHE, Belfast Brigade, 1st Battalion
» Notices All notices should be sent to: email@example.com at least 14 days in advance of publication date. There is no charge for I nDíl Chuimhne, Comhbhrón etc.
25 October 1982: Peter CORRIGAN, Sinn Féin 26 October 1990: Tommy CASEY, Sinn Féin 27 October 1970: Volunteer Peter BLAKE, Volunteer Tom McGOLDRICK, Belfast Brigade, 2nd Battalion 28 October 1976: Máire DRUMM, Sinn Féin 28 October 1987: Volunteer Paddy DEERY, Volunteer Eddie McSHEFFREY, Derry Brigade 30 October 1974: Volunteer Michael MEENAN, Derry Brigade 31 October 1975: Volunteer Seamus McCUSKER, Belfast Brigade, 3rd Battalion. Always remembered by the Republican Movement.
FARRELL, James. In proud and loving memory of our dear friend and comrade James Farrell, who died 6 September 2012. Fondly remembered by the members and supporters of the Volunteer Joe McDonnell Sinn Féin Cumann and the Frank Smith/Martin Savage Sinn Féin Cumann, Baile Átha Cliath Thiar. FORSYTHE, Martin. In loving memory of my brother Volunteer Martin Forsythe who died on actve service on 24 October 1971, shot dead by RUC Special Branch. Our Lady Queen of the Gael pray for him. “No matter how I spend my days, no matter what I do, I never let a day go by, without a thought of you”. Deeply missed by your sister Geraldine and family. xxx FORSYTHE, Martin. In loving memory
» Imeachtaí There is a charge of €10 for inserts printed in our Imeachtaí/Events column. You can also get a small or large box advert. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Fógraí Bháis Georges Beriault Canada IT WAS with a great sense of sadness that I learned of the death of our friend and comrade Georges Beriault – ‘Big Georges’. Georges has been a part of our struggle for many years. He was a committed board member of Friends of Sinn Féin and a dedicated socialist and republican activist who was one of the mainstays of the Irish solidarity movement in Canada. (He was also a purveyor of duty free if Ted didn’t get it first. Although Kevin always claimed he paid for it!) Georges used every opportunity to raise awareness about the struggle for freedom and justice in Ireland and successfully connected the Irish struggle into the trade union and nationalist movements in his native Quebec.
I met Georges countless times both in Canada and in Ireland. He was a courageous champion for justice and refused to be intimidated by the violence of the British state. This was evidenced in the assault on him by the gardaí outside the British Embassy in Dublin in 1981 where he was part of a protest over the Hunger Strike. And then later in 1997 when he was one of many injured by the RUC on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown. His bravery and courage was also obvious in his 18-year-long battle with cancer. Georges was a funny, and committed human being and full of craic. He will be enormously missed by all of his friends and comrades in Canada and in Ireland.
REPUBLICANISM in County Tyrone lost one of its father figures when James McElduff from Loughmacrory died on Thursday 5 September after a short illness. Jimmy was interned twice, during the 1950s and the 1970s, and was a Sinn Féin representative on Omagh District Council between 1985 and 1989. Two of Jimmy’s four surviving siblings were also imprisoned for their Republican convictions, Joe in the Curragh and Jack was jailed in England for his IRA activities. Jimmy was 85 years old when he passed away after a life of commitment and service to the republican cause. He had a particular grá for John Davey and Francis Hughes from South Derry as well as J. B. O’Hagan from Lurgan and Jimmy Steele from Belfast. These were mentioned men in the McElduff home, as were reliable neighbours, who ‘helped out’, such as the late Pat McGlynn.
By Gerry Adams TD
Jimmy was married to the late Cissie and they had ten daughters and a son (also named James) who predeceased them. Jimmy himself was born into a republican family. His father, James, was captain of the 2nd Northern Division IRA during the 1920s. Jimmy’s niece, Anne Marie Fitzgerald, is the current Sinn Fein Chair of Omagh District Council and nephew Barry is an MLA for West Tyrone. James was a quarry manager by trade and also a talented carpenter whose speciality was making old-style dressers to order. His funeral cortege was led by a lone piper and a guard of honour was provided by some of his comrades from the 1950s campaign. Jimmy’s coffin was draped in the national flag and a graveside oration was delivered by West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty.
of my uncle Volunteer Martin Forsythe who died on active service, 24 October 1971, shot dead by RUC Special Branch. St. Martin pray for him. Will those who think of him today a little prayer to Jesus say. Always remembered by your nephew Martin. xxx O’HAGAN, Bernard. In proud and loving memory of Councillor Bernard O’Hagan, murdered by pro-British forces on 16 September 1991. Sadly missed and always remembered by his friends and comrades in the McCusker/McMullan/O’Hagan Sinn Féin Cumann, Swatragh. O’NEILL, Diarmuid. In proud and loving memory of Volunteer Diarmuid O’Neill who was killed on active service in London, England. Always remembered by the Republican Movement in Cork. O’NEILL, Diarmuid. In proud and loving memory of Volunteer Diarmuid O’Neill. Always remembered by Bandon Sinn Féin and Cork Sinn Féin.
Imeachtaí » The Greatest Escape Reunion 30th anniversary and reunion of the Greatest Escape ever, Come along and listen to the story of the 1983 H-Blocks breakout. Doors open 7pm, Saturday 19 October, Devenish Complex, Belfast. Entertainment and Late Bar. All proceeds in aid of the John Downey Support Fund.
Charlie McGlade Commemoration THE Volunteer Charlie McGlade Commemoration in Dublin on Saturday 14 September opened with a colour party lowering flags at Charlie’s family home in Mourne Road in Drimnagh before going to Errigal Field where Ian McBride (Cathaoirleach) welcomed everyone to the 31st anniversary event. The Dublin Roll of Honour was read by Jim Monaghan and followed by a minute’s silence and lowering of the flags. Wreaths were then laid by Cllr Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Jim Monaghan. Greg Kelly (Ballyfermot/Drimnagh) spoke of the history of Charlie McGlade from the young man in Fianna Éireann to almost 60 years later as a member on the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle. Greg also
announced that a motion had been passed by Dublin City Council that Errigal Field will be renamed as the Charlie McGlade Memorial Park. Main speaker Daithí Doolan spoke about how men like Charlie had laid the foundation stone and it was up to us in Sinn Féin today to finish their work to give us a 32county socialist and democratic republic. Presentations and medals were given out by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD to the winners of the Charlie McGlade Tug of War Cup, ‘The Patriots’. The ceremony closed with Ian McBride thanking all who took part and the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann by the Rising Phoenix RFB.
5 Over 400 people attended a parade from Heath Church, County Laois, to the site of late local republican Jim Hyland’s thatched cottage where a memorial was unveiled. Jim died tragically there five years ago
BETWEEN THE POSTS
30 October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013
BY CIARÁN KEARNEY
MANAGING INTO THE FUTURE AS SEASONS change, summer is followed by autumn. Darkness begins to crowd out the diminishing daylight hours. Leaves fall like confetti, dancing across the sodden ground. No more than time itself, the seasons cannot be turned back. As with nature, so with sport. The end of the summer season of sport marks change: always irreversible; often unpredictable; sometimes undesirable. County squads demobilise and with it the prospect of team managements being changed. Some want to move on while others sense the wind of change and opt for the drop instead of the chop. For some, however, season’s end brings an unceremonious dismissal. The fate of some managers was decided long before the All-Ireland finals of 2013. Indeed, it was made an issue by many sports reporters and pundits. Never before have so many post-match interviews with managers included the question: “I suppose I have to ask you now, is it time to consider your position?” It was as if television sports reporters, especially in RTÉ, had drawn sweepstakes for which county manager would be the first to fall on a sword. Or out for an emotional breakdown on live TV of some manager at his or her lowest ebb after being knocked out of an important competition. Take, for instance, Conor Counihan, the Cork manager who has been a stirling servant of his county. With saccharin semantics, the RTÉ journalist noted: “You’re obviously very upset, Conor.” But the question of his future tenure was still held to his
Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte throat by the interviewer after Cork’s senior footballers were beaten by Dublin. Conor subsequently announced his departure. It was the same with Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody. After Cork hurlers knocked the Cats (and reigning All-Ireland champions) out at the quarter-final stage, the final question in the post-match interview with Cody was about him: his role as manager and whether he would stay on. Why the zealous pursuit of managers by the media? It wasn’t always this way. Before the historic appearance of Antrim U21 hurlers in their first AllIreland final, I leafed through some past programmes and clippings. Among them was a commemorative booklet produced especially for the 1943 All-Ireland hurling final between Antrim and Cork. It’s a wonderful artefact. Players and panellists were men-
tioned. Names of county officials appeared. But in all 44 pages of this 70-year-old booklet, there is no reference to the team manager anywhere.
Why the zealous pursuit of managers by the media? It wasn’t always this way I had to read it over to be sure. It’s as if there was no manager. The same box file, the same county. Now, it’s the commemorative booklet for the Antrim senior hurlers who appear in the All-Ireland final in 1989. Selectors, physio, kit manager, coach, trainer and
5 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness congratulates Glasgow Celtic manager Neil Lennon on a fantastic 3-0 victory over Shaktar Karagandy in the Champions League play-off
manager all pictured within. The manager then was Jim Nelson and, in my own first-hand experience, one of the best. His last posting was to help Loughgiel to All-Ireland club glory in 2012. Fast-forward to the 21st century and now we see a public focus upon the manager as never before. This year has seen many take a tumble. The Sligo manager, Kevin Walsh, was publicly called upon by a former player to resign after losing to London. A short time later, Walsh did resign. It was not the only change to be subject of news comment. The spotlight was on Jim McGuinness as he tactfully negotiated with clubs and county before agreeing to remain as Donegal manager. However, only two days after this was confirmed, public furore greeted news that three of the Donegal backroom team would be leaving, including
Jimmy’s aide de camp, Rory Gallagher. Many vacancies in other counties have emerged. Red Hand legend Peter Canavan handed back the ‘Banaisteoir’ bib in Fermanagh. Limerick’s well-known hurling manager, John Allen, stepped down. Of all the other counties where changes occurred, the most high-profile was the acrimonious end to the six-year term of Kieran McGeeney in Kildare. Clubs in the county voted the Armagh man out. And in his inimitable way, Joe Brolly added a coupde-grace: “He is not and never will be a great manager. He is instead the classic loner.” Ignore for a moment the questions which have been asked about payments to managers. Surely the value of managers is not a monetary matter. How then, is their worth to be measured? Research in soccer suggests that the team which wins most has bought the best players. If this was true, it follows the manager is merely ornamental. But if there is any rigour to such research, it certainly doesn’t translate to Gaelic games. Good managers can and do help players become great teams. The evidence is in many counties and clubs. We are already past the point where the future of our national games are unimaginable without managers. However, what makes a good manager and how to become one is a science in its infancy. As the mind behind Tyrone’s Gaelic renaissance, Mickey Harte, has said: “It’s not just a football business; it’s a people business.” He ought to know.
5 The newly rededicated Joe Cahill mural at Brittons Parade and Beechview Park, Belfast
October / Deireadh Fómhair 2013 31
Robbie Smyth’s Top Ten movies about Ireland’s national struggle
E H T G N I M L I F
SPIRIT OF FREEDOM
IT SEEMS a simple proposition. Write, cast and direct an accurate, thoughtful portrayal of the Irish national struggle. The books, biographies, archives, locations even, they are all there. There are some films that come close, very close, to capturing the spirit of freedom, and there have been many contenders for cinematic turkey of the year. The collective efforts of film-makers in Ireland and Britain have tried to conquer Irish history, as has the commercial might of the Hollywood elite who jetted in, bought castles, Irish wolfhounds and tweed caps but made some awfully dire movies. My criteria for this eagerly-anticipated rating is that I include any film with an aspect of the struggle in Ireland. The evaluation is a complex algorithm based on accuracy, political depth and narrative strength. Whimsical choices considered for this top ten included The Big Sleep (1946) and The Quiet Man (1952). Yes, I know The Big Sleep is set in the USA and there are no Irish characters in it. But the plot revolves around a missing IRA Volunteer named Regan. This Humprey Bogart and Lauren Bacall film overflows with an obsession in the US at the time with Ireland in the Tan War and Civil War. Where did those disillusioned rebels go? The US/Mexico border, of course (hey, it’s a border). Who could not love the noble Aran geansaíwearing IRA Volunteer in the The Quiet Man? Appearing onscreen briefly, our rebel awaits a higher call. Never forget the line when Victor Maglen (Danagher) accuses the IRA of being involved in his travails. The response is: “If it were, not a scorched stone of your fine house would be left standing.” Yes, we cheered. I haven’t seen the film versions of Michael Dwyer (1919), Rory O’Moore (1911) or Bold Emmet, Ireland’s Martyr (1915) so I cannot judge where they sit in our pantheon. Maybe it’s time for a republican film festival?
IRA steal it as they wreak revenge on the would-be mob godfather. Pierce Brosnan’s closing scenes as the vengeful Volunteer win this one for me.
One of two Ken Loach films on the list, it deals with British human rights abuses and ‘shoot to kill’ policies in the North. The script is clunky in places but watch out for the late former Sinn Féin Councillor Jim McAllister playing himself.
(6) The Informer 1935 John Ford made at least three Irish films. There’s the already-mentioned Quiet Man, a 1936 version of O’Casey’s Shadow of a Gunman, but this is his stand-out film. It won four Oscars and, based on Liam O’Flaherty’s novel, gives an intense view of the seamier sides of the War of Independence as officialdom likes to call it.
(5) Mise Éire 1959
Pat Murphy’s excellent film on one of the overlooked heroes of Irish history and 1798 deserves a reissue most of all the movies mentioned here. It has an eerie steeliness as Murphy depicts Devlin’s resolve when jailed by the British while pretending to work as a housekeeper for Robert Emmet.
(3) H3 2001 Co-written by former An Phoblacht editor the late Brian Campbell, this film gives a first-hand account of the ‘No Wash Protest’ in Long Kesh from the 1970s. Harrowing and inspiring.
(2) Hunger 2008
British visual artist Steve McQueen won the Caméra d’Or (‘Golden Camera’) at the Cannes Film Festival for this intense exploration of the 1981 Hunger Strike. It captures, for me, the spirit of freedom within the jails and the prisoners’ struggle. A powerful film.
(1) The Wind that Shakes the Barley 2006
Harrison Ford’s Patriot Games appears on the worst list. Here there is an upside and Brad Pitt’s accent is almost believable. This gets included partially because of the outcry in the British media at the time over Princess Diana bringing William and Harry to it.
It was supposed to be a London gangster film with Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren but the
(4) Anne Devlin 1984
(9) The Devil’s Own 1997
(8) The Long Good Friday 1980
The Seán Ó Riada soundtrack alone gets this on the list. George Morrison’s documentary seamlessly weaves Seán Mac Réamoinn’s script with old newsreels telling the definitive story of the 1916 Rising. (He followed up with Saoirse in 1961.)
(10) A Fistful of Dynamite 1971
This almost-forgotten ‘spaghetti western’ (also called Once Upon a Time... the Revolution or Duck, You Sucker!) stars James Coburn as an Irish republican explosives expert in 1913 Mexico who, despite misgivings, ends up helping the rebels. It is a great film marred only by the silly flashbacks to his lost love in old Erin.
(7) Hidden Agenda 1990
Ken Loach won the Palme d’Or (the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival to the director of the best feature film of the official competition) for this epic that runs from the Tan War to the Civil War. I defy you not to be moved and angered watching this, even for a second or third time.
anphoblacht NOVEMBER ISSUE OUT – Thursday 31st October 2013 32
Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget PEARSE DOHERTY, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson, will launch the party’s Alternative Budget this month, as the party has done in previous years. The aim is to demonstrate, in practical terms, that a credible alternative to the failed policies of austerity exists. Since taking office, Fine Gael and Labour have continued to strangle the life out of the domestic economy. Despite recent Government spin on GDP and job growth, the domestic economy remains in recession and the jobs market stagnant. The reason is simple — austerity hurts families, small businesses and the domestic economy. There is a better, fairer way. The Government planned to make an adjustment of up to €3.1billion in Budget 2014. Sinn Féin does not accept that an adjustment on this scale is necessary. As important as the headline figure is the nature of the adjustment — what taxes you raise, what spending you reduce, and how you invest in job growth. Pearse Doherty told An Phoblacht: “Sinn Féin’s Budget alternative will detail not only what level of adjustment republicans believe is necessary to stabilise the public finances. We will outline how this can be done in a way that is fair, that assists hard-pressed
families, that creates jobs and gets the economy back on track. “We urgently need a step-change in Government policy which combines the need to reduce the Budget deficit with the need to bring the economy out of recession by
‘Instead of targeting families who have nothing left to give, the Government needs to ask those who have been largely protected over the last seven years to contribute their fair share. This is not fantasy economics. A better way is possible’ PEARSE DOHERTY TD rebuilding the domestic economy and getting people back to work. “And instead of targeting families who have nothing left to give, the Government needs to ask those who have been largely protected over the last seven years to contribute their fair share. This is not fantasy economics. A better way is possible.”
The full detail of the Sinn Féin Alternative Budget will be available to read at
October 2013 edition of An Phoblacht - the Irish Republican newspaper. Published in Dublin.