anphoblacht Sraith Nua Iml 34 Uimhir 10
MINISTER FOR EVICTIONS?
November / Samhain 2011
FUNDING FEARS FOR RURAL TRANSPORT NETWORK
PRIORY HALL HOUSING SCANDAL
NIGHTMARE LEGACY OF THE CELTIC TIGER
McGuinness made the difference JULIA CARNEY ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
| November / Samhain 2011
ON THE CANVASS WITH THE PEOPLE’S PRESIDENT Castleisland, Kerry
Sligo Town Aranmore Island
Baile Bhuirne, Chorcaí
Philly Maguire, Gerry McClory and Donal Óg Cusack at the October 8th memorial Gaelic football challenge between a St Teresa’s Select and Kevin Lynch’s Select to honour the Hunger Strikers (SEE AN PHOBLACHT ONLINE FOR REPORT)
Lanterns were launched across Derry City in October to mark the end of the 1981 H-Block Hunger Strike
Galway City Moore Street, Dublin
Dublin vigil on the 30th anniversary of the end of the 1981 Hunger Strike
anphoblacht www.anphoblacht.com |
November / Samhain 2011 | firstname.lastname@example.org
We must face the reality of eurozone chaos 11
Ní leór plean Keane don Chothromas Diúltach 16-17
PAT FINUCANE ASSASSINATION 5 Mary Lou McDonald TD speaks to the media during the ‘Stop the Handover’ protest at Leinster House on November 1st
Stop the Handover ON NOVEMBER 2nd, the Fine Gael/Labour Government handed over €711million of taxpayers’ money to an unguaranteed bondholder in the toxic Anglo Irish bank. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD raised the issue in the Dáil well before the deed was done. Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his advisers signed off last month on a 50% cut on debt for Greece. Gerry Adams said then: “The Government is now on a plane home to get a cheque for €700million ready to hand over to unguaranteed Anglo Irish bondholders. There is no political, legal or moral obligation on the Government to pay this.” Gerry Adams explained that Sinn Féin is not opposed to the write-down in Greek debt. “But what is good enough for Greek citizens should be good enough for Irish citizens. Irish taxpayers are being forced by this government to endure extreme hardship while paying billions of private banking debt to unguaranteed bondholders. The only people arguing that this should happen is the Government and the Anglo bondholder.” Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD
returned to the issue yet again on November 1st, on the eve of the bondholder bonanza: “This pay-out comes just one month before an austerity budget which will inflict hardship on children, on carers, on the disabled and on the working poor. In January, a further €1.2billion will be paid out – tomorrow is only the first payment of billions of taxpayers’ money. She pointed out that there was still time to stop the outrageous handover. Sinn Féin has launched a campaign to halt the handover of billions of taxpayers’ money to toxic banks beyond November and against swingeing cuts and austerity up to and after the Budget. You can help stop this banking bonanza madness by getting involved in Sinn Féin’s ‘Stop the Handover’ campaign. Lobby your TDs – email, write, phone them – get out and protest and let your voice be heard, sign the online petitions and get everyone you know who feels angry to do the same. Follow the campaign at www.sinnfein.ie People power can force the Fine Gael/Labour Government to do what it should do – stand up for citizens, not toxic banks and bondholders. Raise you voice – join the fightback.
MARTIN McGUINNESS’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN see Pages 5 to 9, 21 and 30 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.
AN PHOBLACHT www.anphoblacht.com Kevin Barry House 44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, Ireland Telephone 8726100 Email email@example.com
Cameron’s Downing St Dishonour 19
Trying to break the chains of the past 22
PALESTINIAN FATAH LEADER SPEAKS TO AN PHOBLACHT 24
THE MIAMI FIVE
STILL FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE 14 YEARS ON 27
CORK’S TADHG BARRY REMEMBERED 31
MATT TREACY’S ‘MORE THAN A GAME’
SOVIET SOCCER SATURDAY
| November / Samhain 2011
ECONOMIC CRISIS | AUSTERITY IS KILLING THE PATIENT
face reality €urozone chaos THE
» BY MAIRTÍN Mac EOIN IF IT WASN’T all so serious – and if the consequences weren’t so dire for ordinary Irish citizens – the shenanigans in Brussels with finance ministers and heads of state trying to square the circle of Greek indebtedness would be amusing. It is obvious that the debts imposed on Greece by European banks looking for extravagant investment returns during the boom cannot be repaid. The huge austerity programme that Greece has been forced into is destroying the economic potential of the country before our eyes, with its debts now set to reach twice the gross domestic product of the country. No one can repay debts of that magnitude. But instead of recognising that the austerity package is killing the patient, the European Union and the IMF call for more. No wonder the markets – those arbiters of capitalist good taste and proper order – are less than impressed. Here at home, with austerity biting deep into employment, with widespread fear about the economic future for those who have lost or face losing their jobs, the Fine Gael/Labour Party Government is actually preening itself that we are ‘the good boys of Europe’! Those bold Greeks apparently take to the streets and rally and resist in their tens of thousands, but not us. We are taking our medicine and swallowing it, albeit with bad grace. But just as the austerity is killing off the Greek economy, austerity in Ireland will take a decade or more to recover from. And, once again, it is the ordinary Joe and Mary Soap
who will carry the burden while the rich remain untaxed. Otherwise, in the immortal words of Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesperson (yes, they haven’t gone away you know), Michael McGrath, these delicate creatures will flee the country. Michael seems unperturbed by the fact that thousands of young Irish working people are already leaving the country in their droves but boasts instead that Fianna Fáil’s austerity plan, now being faithfully implemented by Fine Gael and Labour, is working. But it isn’t working. Revelations that the Greek debt crisis is worse than even previously thought just emphasise how ludicrous the efforts to save the euro are. Ludicrous because it just cannot be saved. For us this is urgent because the powers that be are continuing to pour our billions into zombie banks that are serving no useful purpose in the economy just so that European investors will not be hard hit, that their banks can be defended and, so they hope, the euro resuscitated. We need to devalue our currency against our major trading partners (Britain and the US) but the political dogma of the state is that immersing ourselves in Europe is the only way we can be free of Britain. It’s a strange freedom that leaves us marginalised and impotent, indebted and poor. The dogma is that Europe is a pooling of sovereignty but the angst of the talks between Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s
5 Being ruled to impoverishment by Britain or Europe is not the new Republic that so many talk of
36 Trade unionists take part in an anti-austeriy rally in Athens' Syntagma (Constitution) square
Nicholas Sarkozy shows that sovereignty is not pooled but surrendered wholesale to the new masters of Europe. Our rulers should remember Connolly’s old slogan (particularly the Labour Party, which blasphemously pretends to be his heir): “We serve neither king nor Kaiser.” Being ruled to impoverishment by either Britain or Europe is not the new Republic that Michael D Higgins waffles on about. What we need is a radical break with subservience to European financial interests to get out of the burning building before it comes crashing down.
November / Samhain 2011 |
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2011 | MAKING SENSE OF THE NUMBERS
SOME MEDIA COMMENTATORS CAN’T COUNT » BY ROBBIE SMYTH FIRST OFF it was Harry McGee writing in The Irish Times the Saturday after the Presidential election, as the count was being completed, who said that the vote for McGuinness “reflected traditional Sinn Féin voting patterns, with none of the party’s breakthrough constituencies in the general election shoring up his support. He performed poorly in some Munster constituencies, including Kerry North”.
increased from 6.3% in February to 11.9% for McGuinness. In Tipperary South, the vote more than doubled, from 4.5% to 13%. In Waterford too, the vote went up; and in Clare, where Sinn Féin didn’t run in February, McGuinness took a 10.5% vote share. But, yes, Harry you are right here: in Kerry North, one of 13 Munster constituencies, the vote share fell, though there is the small matter of increases in the other 12. In constituencies with new TDs such as Donegal North East, Laois/Offaly and Sligo/North Leitrim, the Sinn Féin vote share
increased on the February result. Eoghan Harris, writing in the Sunday Independent, claims that the Sinn Féin vote only increased by 1%. He chose to compare vote totals rather than a percentage turn-out, which is the method used in most other media outlets. It’s part of a statistical idea called “comparing like with like”. In the 2004 and 2009 EU elections, Sinn Féin took 11.1% and 11.24% of first preferences respectively. So this 13.7% is more than 2% above the party’s previous best.
Okay, let’s do the maths. Sinn Féin had new TDs last February in Sligo/North Leitrim, Cork East and North Central, Donegal North East and South West, Laois/Offaly and Meath East. The five Cork constituencies had higher shares of first preferences than February 2011, with four of them registering higher total votes than February despite the lower turn-out. In Kerry South, the party didn’t run in 2011 and this time took 14.9% of the vote. In Limerick City, the vote increased; and in Limerick County, where Sinn Féin didn’t run in February last week, saw McGuinness take a 10.6% vote share. In Tipperary North, the vote share
Then enter Odran Flynn, writing in The Irish Times on November 1st. Like some other media commentators writing about Sinn Féin, Flynn makes claims about party strategies and intent without actually quoting a representative or hinting that he actually had made contact with any. Flynn claims that Sinn Féin made no headway in the Presidential poll, as when you compare the 220,661 votes won by the party in the Presidential election in the same 38 constituencies they contested in February, McGuinness won only 222,051 in these constituencies. Like Harris, Flynn forgets to mention the little issue of turn-out – that it was over 70% in February and just 56% last week. He also overlooks the fact that, in 21 constituencies, Sinn Féin’s votes cast figure increases compared to February and that in 31 of the 38 constituencies the party’s vote share increased on February. Have a look at the tables on page six and maybe post a copy to Messrs McGee, Harris and Flynn.
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| November / Samhain 2011
CONSTITUENCY LEINSTER HOUSE PRESIDENCY 2011 VOTE | % 2011 VOTE | % CARLOW/ KIKENNY CAVAN/ MONAGHAN CLARE
7,033 9.5% 18,452 25.9%
CORK EAST CORK NORTH CENTRAL CORK NORTH WEST CORK SOUTH CENTRAL CORK SOUTH WEST DONEGAL NORTH EAST DONEGAL SOUTH WEST DUBLIN CENTRAL DUBLIN MID-WEST DUBLIN NORTH DUBLIN NORTH CENTRAL DUBLIN NORTH EAST DUBLIN NORTH WEST DUBLIN SOUTH
6,292 11.1% 7,923 15.2% 3,405 7.4% 5,250 8.2% 3,346 7.3% 9,278 24.5% 14,262 33% 4,526 13.1% 5,060 11.85%
DUBLIN SOUTH CENTRAL DUBLIN SOUTH EAST DUBLIN SOUTH WEST DUBLIN WEST DÚN LAOGHAIRE
2,140 5.6% 5,032 12% 7,115 21.7% 1,915 2.6% 6,804 13.4% 1,272 3.6% 8,064 17.2% 2,597 6.1%
GALWAY EAST GALWAY WEST KERRY NORTH/ LIMERICK WEST KERRY SOUTH
3,635 6.1% 3,807 6.3% 9,282 20.3%
2,896 5.7% 2,308 6% 8,039 10.8% 3,711 8.6%
KILDARE SOUTH LAOIS OFFALY LIMERICK (CITY) LIMERICK LONGFORD/ WESTMEATH LOUTH MAYO MEATH EAST MEATH WEST ROSCOMMON/ SOUTH LEITRIM SLIGO/ NORTH LEITRIM TIPPERARY NORTH TIPPERARY SOUTH WATERFORD WEXFORD WICKLOW/ EAST CARLOW
4,339 7.5% 15,072 21.7% 4,802 6.5% 3,795 8.9% 6,989 17.4% 4,637 9.8% 5,911 13.3% 3,034 6.3% 1,860 4.5% 5,342 9.9% 4,353 5.8% 7,107 10.1%
7,257 12.4% 11,471 20.6% 4,950 10.5% 6,193 13.8% 8,201 20.0% 4,329 11.6% 7,496 14.1% 4,608 13% 9,085 32.2% 8,738 28.4% 4,485 16.1% 5,374 15.9% 4,097 10.4% 3,678 11.2% 4,484 13.2% 4,985 19.9% 4,186 6.5% 6,803 16.6% 2,289 7.5% 6,006 16.6% 4,278 11.9% 3,335 6.9% 4,489 10.4% 5,392 10.7% 5,739 16.8% 4,723 14.9% 3,796 8.8% 3,553 11.5% 7,663 13% 4,150 12.1% 3,854 10.6% 5,885 13.1% 11,499 20.0% 6,300 11.9% 4,095 11.7% 4,865 14.9% 5,286 14.6% 5,464 16.1% 4,459 11.9% 4,188 13% 5,737 13.6% 8,112 14% 6,664 11.6%
MARTIN McGUINNESS – VOTE SHARE AT A GLANCE 243,030 votes
13.7% of first
31 out of 38
constituencies higher vote share than February’s Leinster House election
21 constituencies higher total vote than February despite lower turn-out
10% and higher in four of the five constituencies not contested by Sinn Féin in February
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2011 | THE NUMBERS
5 Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams arrive at the Dublin Castle results centre
Record vote performance breaks new ground IN FEBRUARY 2011, 220,685 people voted for 41 Sinn Féin candidates in 38 constituencies in the Leinster House election, electing 14 TDs, a record performance for the party who won 9.9% of first preferences. The turn-out was 70.1%. Martin McGuinness running in the Presidential election campaign polled 243,030 votes, a 13.7% share of first preferences. The turn-out was 56.11%. Of the 38 constituencies contested by Sinn Féin in February, 31 showed increases in percentage vote share, while Martin McGuinness also took double-digit vote shares in four out of the five constituencies that Sinn Féin didn’t run candidates in for the Leinster House election. In 23 constituencies. the vote total for Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness was higher than the party vote in February despite the substantially lower turn-out. The high-performing constituencies were: Carlow/Kilkenny, Cork North Central, Cork North West, Cork South
SINN FÉIN VOTE SHARE (26 COUNTIES) 1997 TO 2011 YEAR
1997 1999 1999 2002 2004 2004 2007 2009 2009 2011 2011
Leinster House Local EU Leinster House Local EU Leinster House EU Local Leinster House Presidency
% SHARE OF FIRST PREFERENCES
2.5% 3.5% 6.3% 6.51% 8% 11.1% 6.94% 11.24% 7.3% 9.9% 13.7%
Central and Cork South West. In Dublin, it was Mid West, North Central, South, South East, and West, which had higher total votes. Galway East and West were higher, as were Kildare North and South, Limerick City, Longford/Westmeath, Mayo, Roscommon/South Leitrim, Tipperary North and South, Waterford and Wexford. In Tipperary South, the vote jumped from 1,860 first preferences for Sinn Féin in February to 4,188 in the Presidential poll an increase in vote share from 4.5% in February to 13% for Martin McGuinness. Martin McGuinness won 14% of first preferences in Wexford, taking 8,112 votes compared to a 5.8% share in February and 4,353 first preferences. The five constituencies not contested in February were Clare, where Martin won 10.5% of the vote; Dublin North 10.4%; Dún Laoghaire 6.9%; Kerry South 14.9%; and Limerick 10.6%. Sinn Féin polled 178,224 votes in the Assembly elections last May - combined with Martin McGuinness’s vote, it shows an island of 421,254 republican voters.
November / Samhain 2011 |
REFLECTIONS ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION | THE CHALLENGE TO SEÁN GALLAGHER
MARTIN McGUINNESS – TRAIL BLAZER » BY GERRY ADAMS TD PRESIDENT OF SINN FÉIN MARTIN McGUINNESS is a trail blazer. That much must be clear. Even to his detractors. A life devoted to struggle has seen many examples of this. Martin, in good times and bad, has had many opportunities and occasions to draw on these pioneering qualities. The net outcome has generally benefited the people he struggled alongside. It has also, particularly in this time of peace, assisted those, in time of war, who would have been or seen themselves as his enemies or opponents. Rarely has this been acknowledged by ‘the great and the good’. But no matter. None of this is done to win favour with them. They know that. They have their values; we have ours. The Presidential election brought all this to the surface. Martin is the first Sinn Féin person ever to contest a presidential election. He fought a six-week campaign. And as a result of this,
Martin challenged Seán Gallagher in the knowledge that, at that stage in the campaign, depending on how Seán Gallagher responded, Michael D Higgins would be the main beneficiary of any such challenge
despite the short time involved, many of the issues he argued for are now firmly on the public agenda. These include the voting rights for Irish citizens. The need for a new Republic based on genuine core republican values. The fact that there is an alternative to greed and corruption and austerity. The need for and merits of Irish unity. The imperative of an ongoing process of reconciliation. For reunification through reconciliation. The issue of victims was also raised legitimately by relatives of some victims. This is a matter which needs to be dealt with, properly and in a manner acceptable to all victims. There has also been huge attention and comment on the RTÉ TV Frontline debate and Martin’s outing of Seán Gallagher’s involvement with Fianna Fáil leaders and with
its former leaderships’ corrupt practices, fund-raising activities and with policies that have brought the Irish people into the awful economic and social mess that is the cause of so much distress and hardship. Seán Gallagher’s problem wasn’t that he was involved in this - it was that he was denying such involvement and presenting himself as a casual and occasional volunteer from the Fianna Fáil grassroots, alongside many other good and decent people who undoubtedly work for that party. At the time of the Frontline debate, opinion polls indicated that this stroke might work and that the premature rehabilitation of this type of unacceptable politics was almost upon us. Hugh Morgan had contacted our campaign office and given us a breakdown on Seán Gallagher’s approaches to him. He had already spoken to the media about this. He turned to us when this failed to get traction and we asked Mr Morgan to brief Martin in advance of the Frontline programme. We also decided that Martin should challenge Seán Gallagher on this. And Martin challenged Seán Gallagher in the knowledge that, at that stage in the campaign, depending on how Seán Gallagher responded, Michael D Higgins would be the main beneficiary of any such challenge. Martin was and is entirely satisfied that this was the right thing to do. So am I. Michael D Higgins will be a very good President. I wish him and Sabina and their family well. I gave Michael D my second preference vote. The tally people tell me that many of his voters returned the favour to Martin a thousandfold. Martin McGuinness’s entry into the Presidential election was bound to lead to a reaction from the Dublin Establishment. Our campaign team knew that. A small cadre of the usual media suspects, particularly (although not exclusively), in the Irish Independent group of newspapers led the charge. Some of these at least have been consistent over the years. Revisionists, two-
5 Before the Frontline debate, Seán Gallagher was the frontrunner
nationists, supporters of Section 31, the odd hard-boiled, old-fashioned partitionist and opponents of the Peace Process, were provoked into action once again. Nothing but the same old story. We should not tar all the media with the same brush or rail against robust scrutiny, even if we suspect the motivation. Good, fair and balanced interrogative or investigative journalism is to be applauded. And RTÉ should be especially encouraged to provide such a public service. After all, the taxpayer foots that particular bill. There was a certain hysteria within the wider political establishment. This hysteria was led by Fine Gael, best personified by Gay Mitchell’s strident negativity, and most memorably represented by the attack on Martin by
Many of the issues Martin argued for are now firmly on the public agenda
Fine Gael ministers and Chief Whip Paul Keogh via Twitter. Their contribution was entirely self-serving and cynical. And arrogant. That is an emerging and growing trait of that party, especially in Leinster House. Little wonder Fine Gael did so badly in the by-election and particularly the Presidential election. They obviously need to be given time to come to terms with the new dispensation that now exists across this island. Like the unionist leaderships, most of them, though maybe not all of them, will come around. Until then, this infuriating and self-serving negativity is just something they have to go through. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for them to play catch-up. The rest of us can get on with narrowing the political gap between north and south. That gap was considerably closed in the course of this Presidential election campaign. For that and for many other achievements, thank you, Martin.
| November / Samhain 2011
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2011 | WHAT THE PAPERS SAY
‘CALLING ALL columnists, opinion writers, radio and TV presenters and pundits, we need to know how many ways there are to downplay the performance of Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness in the Presidential election and where possible marginalise their role in the whole campaign’.
It’s McGuinness wot won it lived in by Harry McGee of The Irish Times is dealt with in a separate article; Eoghan Harris and Odran Flynn are dealt with there too. Paul Cullen reports that Sinn Féin “plans to build on its relative success”. Fintan O’Toole keeps up the war language when he writes of “Martin McGuinness’s controlled explosion on the Frontline debate”. Stephen Collins also talks of Seán Gallagher being “ambushed” by McGuinness in an article titled “Gifted amateur no match for seasoned professional”.
FROM the reporting of the first tallies on Friday morning, October 28th, to the publication of Monday’s daily papers on October 31st, large sections of the Establishment Irish news media were making conceRTÉd efforts to recast not just the actual result of the Presidential election campaign but the last days of run-in to polling on the 27th. It wasn’t just newspapers. It was the tone of RTÉ’s TV and radio commentary on the results and the various talk shows over the weekend across the commercial media. The themes offered (in no particular order of bias) were: (1)
Sinn Féin hadn’t done that well in the election, though it did perhaps cause bile in presenters’ mouths to have to continually acknowledge that Sinn Féin had come third in the election contest. 26-County – or ‘Southern voters’ as they like to describe themselves – were not ready for the ‘harsh edge’ of a Sinn Féin President. Martin McGuinness’s one question on the RTÉ Frontline programme after four other live TV and radio debates was proof of an orchestrated dirty tricks campaign by the party during the presidential election contest.
It is undeniable that Martin McGuinness’s questions to Seán Gallagher in the final TV debate of the campaign changed the course of the election. As one Twitter follower of An Phoblacht said, parodying a famous Sun headline: ‘It’s McGuinness wot won it.’
THE RED TOPS AND IRISH MAIL ON SATURDAY Not all the news media fell into these ruts but many slipped easily into the old mantra of ‘Sinn Féin bad, everyone else good’. The Irish Sun can’t tear itself away from the language of the battlefield. So we are told that “Former IRA commander Martin McGuinness” was deemed to have come in “a credible third place”.
5 It is undeniable that Martin McGuinness’s questions to Seán Gallagher in the final TV debate of the campaign changed the course of the election The questioning between McGuiness and Seán Gallagher on the Frontline debate is described as McGuinness having “put the boot into Gallagher’s image” and that Gallagher had accused McGuinness of “mounting an ambush to take him out”. This language continues in The Sun editorial titled “It’s D Day” and they claim that Gallagher “allowed McGuinness to shoot him in the foot”. “Shot down on Frontline” was an inside page headline splashed across two pages in the Irish Mirror. It was good and bad in a separate commentary by Pat Flanagan who wrote that McGuinness had “laid a landmine question” to “blow his [Gallagher’s] Presidential election dreams to kingdom come”. But at least Flanagan did acknowledge that “Sinn Féin will be happy enough with its support and will be celebrating taking out a proxy Fianna Fáil President”. True on both counts, Pat. The Star editorial pronounces that “Sinn Féin would have hoped to do much better” but doesn’t tell us what that measure would be. The Daily Mail lost the run of themselves and had cartoon images on their front page of a Celtic Higgins on a horse with an Irish wolfhound by his side. “Higgins Slays the Dragon” is the headline, brushing over the fact that it was, in fact, McGuinness, while Michael D stood watching like a damsel in distress. Inside, the Mail tells us that
McGuinness finished a “distant third” and also talked of a Frontline “ambush”. Suzanne Breen declares that the result was “a good, though not great result for Sinn Féin” and takes a whole column analysing the party’s performance without one quote or reference to having interviewed any party members to complete her piece. Though at least the strapline does declare that “McGuinness’s stunning intervention put Sinn Féin on the map”.
THE BROADSHEETS ON SATURDAY It is the Irish Independent claiming they led the way on Seán Gallagher’s link to “secret FF fund-raiser” and they reproduced the October 20th front page that made the initial claims. Interestingly, this is not mentioned in any other news media as being an ‘ambush’. The Independent also recognises that “Martin McGuinness’s third place ranking has given Sinn Féin an electoral boost” and makes the point that the party are “up almost 4%” compared to the February general election. Caroline O’Doherty in the Examiner writes in an article headlined “McGuinness bags the Áras for rival candidate” that Sinn Féin “can be reasonably satisfied”. The weird world of vote counting
The outpouring of sympathy for Seán Gallagher (crocodile tears to you and me) continued in the Sunday Independent. Gallagher and his wife, Trish, are pictured on the front page of a photo titled “Rising above dirty tricks”. It’s mentioned in the article also: a “dirty tricks campaign by Sinn Féin”. John Drennan writes inside of “The SF strongholds that imploded”. He too like Eoghan Harris, McGee and Flynn refuses to introduce the idea of turn-out to his analysis; and, yes, he doesn’t actually quote any Sinn Féin representatives and, no, the increased vote share, the gains in 31 out of 38 constituencies . . . We could go on. Eoghan Harris is obsessing about RTÉ for daring to report that “Sinn Féin polls well”. I wonder even if he was made head of RTÉ, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Independent News and Media Group would that really make him happy? No, I didn’t think so either. Brendan O’Connor, like others, uses the language of war and one of his articles is headlined “TV bomb was explosive, decisive . . . and dodgy”. Maybe someone should show him the Irish Independent front page that claims responsibility – was that “dodgy”, Brendan? The red tops on Sunday are all about Michael D Higgins but The Sunday Times still finds space to write about Seán Gallagher being “ambushed” by McGuinness, both in an article and the editorial. I’m particularly liking the headline to a whole page inside article by Sarah McInerney and Stephen O’Brien. It has a large photo of McGuinness in conversation with Higgins under the title: “You owe me one”.
November / Samhain 2011 |
DUBLIN WEST BY-ELECTION | INCREASED VOTE FOR SINN FÉIN
SEÁN GALLAGHER AND HUGH MORGAN
» THE TIMELINE
FINGAL COUNTY COUNCIL SEAT TARGET
DUBLIN WEST Vote
% of poll
2011 (Feb) 2,597
2011 (Nov) 3,173
» BY ROBBIE SMYTH PAUL DONNELLY’S performance in the Dublin West by-election showed further growth for Sinn Féin in Donnelly’s second outing for the party here. The 8.9% vote share signals a strong likelihood of the party winning back the Fingal County Council seat won here in the 2004 local elections. An Phoblacht spoke with Seamus Hazlett, the Dublin West campaign PRO, who said that although every candidate obviously likes to win elections “it was good to get an increased vote”. He said there was an even better reception on the doors this time around compared to last February in the general election. Hazlett said the party polled well in both the Castleknock and Mulhuddart local election areas. He was also pleased as this campaign had spread into new areas such as Carpenterstown and Castleknock with “new people joining up through the
canvass and some old hands coming back” – good for the party’s future growth in the constituency. The main issues raised on the door included bed closures and fears for a greater rundown of services in Blanchardstown Hospital as well as unemployment and emigration. Hazlett said that jobs were the key issue door-to-door, wherever they went during the canvass.
THE CAMPAIGN SAW NEW PEOPLE JOINING UP and some old hands coming back – good for the party’s future growth in the constituency It was a big effort in the campaign with Northern Assembly members and MPs such as Michelle Gildernew and Conor Murphy coming out to canvass for Paul Donnelly while Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams were also on the campaign trail in the constituency.
THE FACT that Seán Gallagher had canvassed business people for substantial donations to Fianna Fáil with the promise of meeting Taoiseach Brian Cowen was known by the media for several days before the RTÉ Frontline debate on October 24th. Seán Gallagher knew the story was out there but no media took it up. That is why Martin McGuinness challenged Seán Gallagher on it and why Gallagher was taken by surprise and caught out. Then the media could no longer ignore the story that many of them were sitting on. Hugh Morgan says this is what happened with Seán Gallagher and Fianna Fáil.
JUNE 6th 2008 Seán Gallagher contacted Hugh Morgan by phone and invited him to attend a Fianna Fáil fund-raiser in the Crown Plaza Hotel in Dundalk on July 1st. Gallagher requested a €5,000 donation and was promised that in return he would get a “private audience” with the Taoiseach and a photograph taken with him.
JUNE 9th 2008 Seán Gallagher contacted Hugh Morgan, again by phone, to ensure his attendance at the event. Morgan confirmed he would be attending and that he was prepared to give the requested donation. Gallagher also provided two mobile-phone numbers on which to contact him.
JUNE 27th 2008 Seán Gallagher visited Hugh Morgan’s business premises at Killean, County Armagh, where he personally collected a €5,000 cheque. The cheque number is 13014. This cheque was declared in Morgan’s company accounts and was cleared on July 1st 2008
JUNE 30th 2008 Fianna Fáil accounts confirm that the cheque for €5,000 was lodged in the party account on June 30th.
JULY 1st 2008 Hugh Morgan attended the fund-raising event at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Dundalk. As guests arrived at the hotel,
SINN FÉIN BOOKSHOP
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SINN FÉIN ART & CRAFT SHOP 5 Gerry Adams and Paul Donnelly addressing the media
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Hugh Morgan Seán Gallagher greeted them and directed them to a room in the hotel where the event was being held. During the evening, Morgan was introduced to Taoiseach Brian Cowen by Seán Gallagher who also facilitated a photograph being taken of Morgan and the Taoiseach.
JULY 8th 2008 (approx) Approximately one week after the fundraising event, Seán Gallagher called to Morgan’s business premises at Killean, South Armagh, to deliver the photograph.
| November / Samhain 2011
A HOUSING SCANDAL THAT MAY BE REPLICATED IN OTHER PLACES AROUND THE COUNTRY
PRIORY HALL NIGHTMARE LEGACY OF THE CELTIC TIGER » BY MÍCHEÁL
Mac DONNCHA SINN FÉIN DUBLIN CITY COUNCILLOR
AS WE approach the centenary of the 1913 Lock-Out, we might have hoped that the sight of families being moved out of their homes because they were living in dangerous buildings was a thing of the past. But memories of the crumbling tenements of Dublin have been revived as scores of families and individuals were moved out of the Priory Hall apartment complex in north Dublin, many to emergency accommodation in hotels. “Refugees in our own country” is how residents describe themselves - and it is no exaggeration. Shortly after they moved in, I visited the Regency Hotel and it was a very sad sight to see parents with young children having to
PARENTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN ARE HAVING TO LIVE OUT OF LUGGAGE IN CRAMPED HOTEL ROOMS live out of luggage in cramped hotel rooms. For young people who had made their homes in Priory Hall, many paying very large mortgages, it has meant shattered dreams. These people are victims of the worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger and the property bubble. Unscrupulous developers, Coalport, were allowed to build unsafe, sub-standard apartments in what was presented as a showcase for the new Dublin, the ‘Northern Fringe’ of the city north of Donaghmede, with its hundreds of apartments and houses. Priory Hall apartments are on both sides of what was supposed to be a main thoroughfare linking one end of the new suburb with its main street of shops, small businesses and a DART station. Today, the ‘Northern Fringe’ stands halffinished. While there are many sound houses and apartments and an award-winning park, the area is still without even a supermarket and many of the units designed for shops and businesses are empty. The DART station is a fine piece of architecture but it was to be the focus of a thriving urban space which is now more empty than thriving. One side of what was to be the main street is a derelict building site. But for the residents of Priory Hall the nightmare is far worse than an incomplete townscape. There were problems with these apartments from the beginning. The problems with
fire safety and construction led Dublin City Council to move out its social housing tenants in 2009. This left hundreds of residents who were either owner-occupiers paying mortgages or tenants of private landlords. The owner of Coalport, Tom McFeely, is one of the worst developers of the Celtic Tiger era. Major problems surfaced with his development at Áras na Cluaine in Clondalkin also. Much has been made in the media of the fact that he is a former republican prisoner and participated in the 1980 Hunger Strike. But, as I have pointed out at meetings and a rally organised by a determined residents’ committee at Priory Hall on October 29th, McFeely has betrayed everything Irish republicanism and his comrades stood for by his treatment of the residents of Priory Hall. This has been reiterated by Martin McGuinness and Mary Lou McDonald. If the prime culprit in all this is McFeely and Coalport, much responsibility must also be shared by successive governments and the local authority, Dublin City Council. Thanks to cronyism between ‘official Ireland’ and the developers and speculators, there has been totally lax regulation of construction. Fire safety certificates have been issued solely on the basis of paper exercises with very few inspections. Similarly, construction standards are ‘enforced’ almost solely on paper and on trust. As one of the speakers at the October 29th rally asked: “30 years on, have we learned nothing from the Stardust tragedy?” It was the danger of fire that led the High Court, at the request of Dublin City Council, to order the evacuation of Priory Hall. But beyond the immediate fire safety issues there are major construction problems at Priory
5 Residents of the Priory Hall apartment complex in north Dublin, which comprises 187 units, are being forced to vacate the complex due to fire and safety issues Hall. These have been identified in an inspection report commissioned by the City Council. A report under building control legislation is due to be given to the Council soon. With other councillors representing the area, I have called for the publication of these reports. As all speakers pointed out at the rally, people should not have to pay mortgages on the Priory Hall apartments. The Government should call in the lenders and require them to come up with a plan which will allow people who are willing and able to pay mortgages to have a home to show for their hard-earned money. The High Court gave Coalport five weeks to rectify the fire safety issues. No one believes
THERE WERE PROBLEMS WITH PRIORY HALL FROM THE BEGINNING 5 Coalport owner Tom McFeely
5 Many residents have to pay mortgages on homes which they cannot live in
that the work will be completed in that time. Many believe that, ultimately, Priory Hall may be facing demolition. As I said at the rally, the residents face a long struggle for justice but with the support shown on October 29th, and if they stay united and strong, they shall overcome.
November / Samhain 2011 |
THOUSANDS AT RISK OF LOSING THEIR HOMES | DUP, UUP AND ALLIANCE BACK TORY PLAN AND OPPOSE SINN FÉIN FIGHTBACK
‘Minister for Evictions’ known as a “Prayer of Annulment”, a lastditch attempt to stop Statutory Rule 293 from being endorsed by appealing to the House. Fra McCann said: “Men under the age of 35 will be the most adversely affected: the same social group that carries the highest risk of suicide here in the North. Many of those who will lose their homes do not have the kind
» BY LAURA FRIEL NELSON McCAUSLAND is in danger of becoming “the Minister for Evictions”, according to the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Fra McCann. The West Belfast MLA was speaking after the DUP, backed by the Ulster Unionist Party and the Alliance Party defeated a “Prayer of Annulment” motion by Sinn Féin in the Assembly which would have stopped thousands of people from losing their homes. Around 6,000 people living alone and currently in receipt of the single accommodation rate of Housing Benefit are at risk of eviction after the DUP minister refused to challenge a British Government directive to raise the age threshold of entitlement from 25 to 35 years of age as part of the Welfare Reform Programme. To date, single people over 25 were entitled to Housing Benefit for a one-bedroomed, self-contained flat while those under 25 could only access help with rent for a single room in shared accommodation. Now, with one stroke, thousands of people already living in private rented flats will see their rent relief reduced by half. For many, a 50% reduction in housing benefit is tantamount to a notice to quit. Fra McCann told An Phoblacht: “If they were housed in social housing their rents would be paid but years of official failure means there isn’t enough social housing. Our homeless hostels are bursting at the seams and if we are forced to resort to emergency accommodation in B&Bs and hotels, it will be more costly than the Housing Benefit it replaces. The spectre of rough sleeping stalks this issue.
AROUND 6,000 PEOPLE LIVING ALONE
Iain Duncan Smith “British Works and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith argues this ruling has nothing to do with cuts. He claims providing public support for single-occupancy tenancy for those under the age of 35 ‘erodes the incentive to work’. He is wrong. “Homelessness, insecure housing and rough sleeping undermine the ability of a person to secure work. It renders them less employable, not more. Why does the current British Government persist in peddling the notion that to incentivise the rich you must make them richer but, by the same token, the poor must be made poorer.” Last month, at the suggestion of Fra McCann, the Committee for Social Development agreed to take the matter before the Assembly by triggering what is
and currently in receipt of the single accommodation rate of Housing Benefit
ARE AT RISK OF EVICTION of family ties that might support them in a crisis. The figures for women are less but, for those affected, the loss of their home will be just as traumatic. “No longer eligible for support as a single person, people are being told to seek shared accommodation. But there isn’t enough multiple occupancy housing (HMOs) in the Six Counties! Unlike London, we have no tradition of shared accommodation and few Victorian town houses to convert. There are only 4,000 registered HMOs and they are mostly earmarked for students. In rural areas, it is even worse with only 87 shared houses
‘This new regulation relies on an arbitrary change in definition of who constitutes a young person from 25 to 35 years of age’ FRA McCANN SINN FÉIN ASSEMBLY HOUSING SPOKESPERSON
available. But even if sufficient shared accommodation magically became available, would it really be suitable? “I know one thing for certain: the experience of students sharing a house while at university or young professionals sharing while saving to buy their own home will not be mirrored by the experience of the poorest in our society. Image the plight of a woman or vulnerable man driven by the threat of destitution into accepting a room in a house where they don’t feel safe.” A recent report conducted by academics from universities in York and Edinburgh has warned the combination of insufficient shared accommodation and an increase in the number of people seeking shared accommodation will push the youngest out of the market, into hostels and onto the streets. The report concluded that, as a direct result of the British Government’s imposition of this change, many single people will be forced into accepting a room in unsuitable even unsafe accommodation which in turn will lead to greater insecurity of tenancy, repeated periods of homelessness and an increase in the incidence of rough sleeping. Fra McCann also told An Phoblacht: “Nelson McCausland publicly accepted that this ruling would result in particular hardship here but he still refused to do anything about it. The DUP argued that to reject this would risk the British Government imposing cuts elsewhere. The UUP and Alliance Party voted in support of the DUP minister. “This new regulation relies on an arbitrary change in definition of who constitutes a young person from 25 to 35 years of age. In the words of American folk singer Woody Guthrie, ‘some will rob you with a six-gun and some with a fountain pen’.”
| November / Samhain 2011
Women’s Aid ‘Safe Place’
www.anphoblacht.com Feall eile ó Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre
Ní leór plean Keane don Chothromas Diúltach » LE MÁIRTÍN Mac EOIN
SOUTH ANTRIM Sinn Féin office in Randalstown has become the first party office in Ireland designated by Women’s Aid as a Safe Place for people suffering from domestic violence to obtain information for help. Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Marie Logue reports the achievement came after an extensive training course received through Women’s Aid and Policy and Training Officer Lindsay Harris by staff and party activists. By signing up to be a Safe Place, Sinn Féin in South Antrim will support the campaign pledge:
1 2 3 4 5 6
Never to commit, condone or stay silent about domestic violence; Acknowledge domestic violence is a problem that impacts on all of us as a society and we will be prepared to play our part in supporting victims and sending a clear message to perpetrators that domestic violence is intolerable; Ensure a safe place for victims of domestic violence to confidentially access information; Ensure that we can effectively respond to disclosure of abuse and how to seek support; Ensure that a victim of domestic violence will not be disadvantaged within the terms and conditions of their employment and will take all reasonable measures to facilitate any needs in the workplace; Commit to working/participating with other organisations to facilitate best support for victims
Following the successful Árd Fheis 2011 motion by South Antrim Sinn Féin, all Sinn Féin constituency offices and advice centres will now be encouraged to sign up to the Safe Place initiative.
BÍONN A LÁN cainte ann na laethanta seo faoi chothromas diúltach, ach is beag plean atá ann le tabhairt faoina fadbanna sóisialta a leanann é. Tá díomá fairsing ann faoin Tuarascáil Keane a foilsíodh an mhí seo caite, mar cé léirigh sé cé chómh trom-chúiseach is atá an fhadhb – pointe, ar ndóigh, ar leag iaruachtarán Mheiriocá Bill Clinton béim air i gcaitheamh na míosa freisin – ní dheachaigh na moltaí réitigh sách fada. Go bunúsach faoi téarmaí Keane, choinneódh daoine a gcuid tithe ach d’íocfaidis cíos le húdarás áitiúil nó le comhlacht speisialta tithíochta éicínt. Ach bheadh na fiacha fós ar dhaoine – fiacha atá ann mar gheall ar bhoilsciú phraghas maoine le linn an Tíogair Cheiltigh. Tá na brábúis ag na bainc, nó ag na díbhintiúirí taobh thiar dena bainc atá
Is léir go bhfuil sláinte na mbainc níos tabhachtaí don Rialtas ná sláinte ghnáthshaoránaigh le cosaint ar aon chostas agus is cuma an dochar a dhéantar don ghnáthshaoránach nó don choras eacnamúil. Sa mhéad is nach gcuirfí daoine as a gcuid tithe is maith an scéal é, ach ní réiteach ar an bhfadb é mar sin fhéin. Deireann an rialtas go bhfuil sé i gceist acu na rialacha a bhaineann le féimheacht (duine a bheith baincbhriste) a leasú. Faoi láthair, fiú i gcás duine a bhfuil fiacha tithíochta air ní féidir fáil réidh leis an bhféimheacht go cionn dhá bhliain déag. Agus tá an scéal seo ceangailte le scéal na riaráistí morgáiste sa gcaoi nach féidir le daoine – fiú faoi mholtaí Keane – ealó ó fhiachais. Is léir go bhfuil sláinte na mbainc níos tabhachtaí don rialtas ná sláinte ghnáth-shaoránaigh. Agus amhdaíonn an rialtas nach feidir leo na fiacha seo a fhágáil leis na bainc mar gurb é an stáitchiste – na saoránaigh – a líonfaidh aon pholl a bhéas ann sna cuntais. Ach, mar a déarfadh an Ciarraíoch, ní thosódh sé anseo dá mbeadh sé ag iarraidh taisteal ansin. Ní feidir linn daoine a shábhailte toisc go bhfuil muid ag sabháint na mbainc.
Arís, mar a mhol Sinn Féin ag an am, nach mbeadh sé níos ciallmhmaire ón tús airgead an stáit a infheistiú i mbanc úrnua de chuid an stáit agus ligint do shealbhóirí na ndíbhíntiúir dul tí diabhail. Tá dhá chineál daoine i gceist leis an bhfadhb seo: ar dtúis an mionlach a chuir airgead infheistíochta i dtithe is
árasáin; agus an móramh a cheannaigh áit chónaithe. Faoi rialacha an rachmais, is cóir ligint don chéad dream seasamh lena bpriacail fein agus a gcuid caillteanais fein a sheasamh. Ach is cóir cúnamh fírinneach a thabhairt don dara dream – go háirithe do dhaoine a chaill a gcuid postannaí agus ata i bhfiacha mar gheall ar an tubaist a bhuail an eacnamaíocht, tubaist a tharala mar thoradh ar shaint lucht an airgid. Fillimid ar na ceisteannaí bunúsacha arís. Tá Pairtí an Lucht Oibre ag tabhairt cluas bhodhar do oidhreacht Shéamuis Ui Chonghaíle is ag cloí go dílis le beartas déine na hEorpa a chuireanns an t-ualach ar an ngáthdhuine is a thuganns an bhuntáiste don duine saibhir. Agus sin é an fáth go bhfuil fíorréiteach do fhadhb an chothromais dhiúltaigh dhá chur ar an méir fhada, agus sin é an fath go gcaithfí an chéim tarrthála a theorannú ar fhaitíos go gcuirfeadh sé isteach ar lucht an airgid.
Ceannaire Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre Eamon Gilmore
November / Samhain 2011 |
FINDING TRUTH IN CONFLICT THE 4th McCLUSKEY CIVIL RIGHTS SUMMER SCHOOL | SINN FÉIN MLA MITCHEL McLAUGHLIN MLA
THE establishment of an Independent International Truth Commission - independent of the state, combatant groups, political parties and other vested interests is the best way of dealing with what happened during the conflict, the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Victims, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, told the McCluskey Civil Rights Summer School. As a result of independent investigation, such a commission should be enabled to:• Deliver the truth to bereaved families; • Encompass all the victims and survivors; • Analyse the policies and practices that sustained and fuelled the conflict; • Address the responsibility of all the protagonists. “Grief and pain recognise no political or geographical boundaries and affects all who were part of the armed conflict and many non-combatants,” he said. Mitchel was addressing the 4th McCluskey Civil Rights Summer School in Carlingford, County Louth, on September 24th. Over the past four decades, British Government legislation, institutions, agencies and personnel have fashioned structures, practices and procedures to ensure that the truth about its activities during the conflict is withheld from public scrutiny, he said. “So far, the approach of the MITCHEL British Government McLAUGHLIN has been to challenge, Sinn Féin MLA frustrate and drive up the cost of inquiries so as to make them politically unacceptable.” He acknowledged that truth recovery can be a very complex and difficult process. It entails those involved “reliving and revisiting the terror and trauma of the original incident which resulted in the death of a loved one or serious injury and pain for survivors”. But it can work, he said.
‘Grief and pain recognise no political or geographical boundaries and affects all who were part of the armed conflict and many noncombatants’
“The Saville Inquiry heard evidence from a significant number of witnesses. Some of that testimony was vivid and explicit despite the passage of three decades. An interesting dynamic was the divergence in the detail of the testimonies of survivors of the Bloody Sunday massacre. Even though they were at the time standing within yards of each and were describing the same incident.” Mitchel McLaughlin said this is, apparently, a commonplace dynamic, particularly when experiencing events of high drama and danger.
Nevertheless, inquiry chairperson Lord Saville and his expert colleagues were able to assemble the ‘Mosaic of Truth’ and his findings were accepted by the British Government as the definitive account which demolished and exposed the fraud of the infamous Widgery Tribunal, held in the aftermath of the
5 The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was hailed as a great success
massacre and dubbed the ‘Widgery Whitewash’ for its exoneration of the British Army and its blaming of the victims. He said: “Sinn Féin is very mindful of the difficulties involved in truth recovery, particularly for victims and their families, but we believe that as a post-conflict society there is a requirement that all of us address the tragic human consequences of the past. However, Sinn Féin rejects any attempt to create a hierarchy of victims and survivors. All must be treated on the basis of equality. “Sinn Féin would argue that if you only seek evidence from some of the protagonist groups, or if you only ask some of the questions, then you will only establish some of the truth.” In Sinn Féin’s opinion, he said, the establishment of an I n d e p e n d e n t International Truth MITCHEL Commission is the McLAUGHLIN best way of taking this issue forward. “This would be the responsibility of the British and Irish Governments. However the critical issues of independence and credibility require that there should be maximum involvement from the United Nations or a similar international organisation in the process.” “This is the most effective way to harvest all of the fragments of recoverable truth and assemble the ‘Mosaic of Truth’ for everyone in our community.”
‘If you only seek evidence from some of the protagonist groups, or if you only ask some of the questions, then you will only establish some of the truth’
| November / Samhain 2011
WHAT THE McCARTHY ‘BORD SNIP NUA’ REPORT SAID:
WHAT THE CENTRAL STATISTICS OFFICE REPORT ON INCOME AND LIVING CONDITIONS SAID:
Given the availability of private sector bus alternatives, the high level of car ownership and the under-utilisation of synergies with other publiclyfunded local transport services support the view that the level of direct Exchequer assistance can and should be eliminated, particularly in light of current budgetary circumstances this programme should be ended
The most significant factor in determining access to services was the geographic location of the household. Households living in rural areas were consistently more likely to report difficulty in accessing basic services when compared with those living in urban areas Just over half of all households in rural areas reported difficulty in accessing public transport compared with just 11% of households in urban areas
FINE GAEL/LABOUR ‘VALUE FOR MONEY’ REVIEW COULD SEE FUNDING TO VITAL TRANSPORT LINKS SLASHED
FUNDING FEARS FOR RURAL TRANSPORT NETWORK » BY MARK MOLONEY SINCE 2006, the Government-funded Rural Transport Programme has provided accesible local transport for rural communities in areas where there are inadequate transport services. Now there is a real fear among rural communities that funding for the scheme is to be axed due to pressure on the Government from the EU/IMF to cut costs. The scheme is run by not-for-profit and community-based groups. Currently there are 36 rural transport groups operating across the state, providing 1.2 million passenger journeys a year with many of those who use the scheme being elderly people who have no other means of transport. As well as being a vital link allowing people to attend college, training courses and medical services, the scheme also helps to tackle isolation by ensuring that those without access to private transport can attend social events and functions. In their Programme for Government, Fine Gael and Labour said that they were commited to retaining and expanding the rural transport network system. Indeed, both groups had opposed proposals made by the McCarthy ‘Bord Snip Nua’ Report in 2009 which recommended that the then Fianna Fáil/Green government cease funding the scheme in order to save €11million. The report argued that, due to the “availability of private sector bus alternatives”, there was no need for the initiative yet a Central Statistcs Office survey that same year
indicated that 50% of rural households had difficulty accessing public transport. Many people in rural areas are worried that Fine Gael and Labour will renege on their position due to pressure from the EU/IMF, as they have already done in other areas. In response to questions put forward by Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD this July, Fine Gael Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said “a value for money and policy review of the rural transport scheme” had been completed and that it would be published “later this year”, adding that the findings of the review will be incorporated into the plans for the future of the rural transport scheme. This answer, coupled with the Government’s PAUL HAYES unwillingness to publish the SINN FÉIN CORK SOUTH-WEST REPRESENTATIVE report has led to suspicion by many service providers who fear that there is to be a cut in funding, and it could be on a dramatic scale. Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis asked in the Dáil for the Transport Minister to “clarify the position and meet with rural transport providers to
There is very real concern that funding for rural transport services will be cut as part of this Government’s upcoming Budget proposals. This service is a vital link to older people and those with disabilities who require assistance in getting to urban centres for shopping, paying bills and to socialise
hear their concerns and make them aware of the plans arising from the review of the network initiated by the last government”. When quizzed three months later as to when the report would be published, Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly (Labour) said it would be published “in the coming weeks”, adding that the transport scheme had been “quite successful in some areas and less successful in others”. Kelly went on to say: “It is necessary to examine how we can bring together bus services, whether provided by Bus Éireann or community or voluntary groups, and examine all other services in an area so there can be greater connectivity while we make the money we have go further.” Such a statement seems to indicate that the Government is intent on cutting funding to the rural transport scheme. Speaking in the Seanad on the issue of possible cuts to funding, Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, who spent a number of years on the Bealach Connemara rural transport initiative, said: “Bealach was always inundated with applications and we never had enough money to service every group that required it. I am not just referring to older people but also to young people attending sports events and youth clubs and to people who were travelling between villages and trying to connect with other services.
November / Samhain 2011 |
WHAT THE FINE GAEL/LABOUR PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT SAID:
WHAT LABOUR JUNIOR TRANSPORT MINISTER ALAN KELLY IS NOW SAYING:
The rural transport network is vital for rural communities as a reliable and sustainable transport service. We will maintain and extend the Rural Transport Programme with other local transport services as much as is practicable
The rural transport scheme has provided great services in rural Ireland, which have been quite successful in some areas and less successful in others. Many of the people who operate these services are determined to provide rural areas with good transport services. However, it is necessary to examine how we can bring together bus services, whether provided by Bus Éireann or community or voluntary groups, and examine all other services in an area so there can be greater connectivity while we make the money we have go further
Wait on a bus? Not when you have a Ministerial Merc
Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh “The last cut saw a reduction from €11million to €10.62million. The difference equates to half the pension recently paid to a senior civil servant. How many could have been serviced through the use of that money or an
even larger sum? We are told repeatedly that we must take cutbacks and tighten our belts. The Government is tightening its belt in some respects but not in others and it us unfair that this money is not being spent on rural transport and the like.” This previous €380,000 cut to rural transport funding resulted in major difficulties in many parts of Ireland. In July of this year, Donegal North-East TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn highlighted the fact that some notfor-profit rural transport schemes which employed assistants to aid elderly and disabled passengers were being forced to charge these passengers due to cutbacks. The possibility of much more serious cuts to rural transport services is worrying rural communities right across the state. Sinn Féin’s Cork South-West representative, Paul Hayes, told An Phoblacht there is a very real fear that rural transport services will suffer devastating cuts as part of the upcoming budget. “The proposal to axe the Rural Transport Programme, as per the McCarthy Report, is short-sighted and callous and takes no regard of the needs of the people of rural Ireland.
5 There is a real fear that funding to the Rural Transport Scheme will be cut to appease the EU and IMF
“When I canvassed the rural areas of West Cork during last February’s general election campaign, I met with many carers and homehelps who told me how their hours had been cut and that the elderly were essentially being cut off and left to fend for themselves. “We had a terrible case last winter when an elderly man living alone on the Beara Peninsula died of hypothermia after having slipped outside his house and he wasn’t discovered for several days! “This is shocking treatment of people who worked through the tough times, paying their taxes and raising their families. These are the human stories behind the Government’s gloating about being on target with their budget cuts and austerity measures to appease their cronies in Europe.” Speaking to An Phoblacht, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said that the position of rural communities is clear. “The Government needs to realise that people in rural areas have the same rights to public transport services as those living in urban areas. These people should not be targeted to appease the EU and the IMF.”
| November / Samhain 2011
PAT FINUCANE ASSASSINATION | PRIME MINISTER STONEWALLS FAMILY OVER INQUIRY
Cameron’s proposal is ‘Widgery 2011’ SAYS SEAMUS FINUCANE » BY PEADAR WHELAN
THE British Government has pointblank refused to hold a public inquiry into the UDA assassination of defence lawyer Pat Finucane at home in front of his family in 1989. The killing is engulfed in widespread beliefs that British Government security services, the British Army or the RUC - or all three - and British ministers themselves were involved. The Finucane family received the dev-
astating news at a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street on Tuesday 11th October. Refusing to allow a public inquiry into the 1989 killing, Cameron instead proposed an 18-month examination of the case carried out by Sir Desmond de Silva QC. So angry were the Finucane family on being informed of the refusal that they walked out of the meeting. Geraldine Finucane said afterwards: “I am so angry and so insulted by being brought to Downing Street to hear what the Prime Minister had on offer.”
The Finucane family went on to accuse Cameron of reneging on commitments to open a public inquiry. John Finucane, Pat’s son, explained that up until a matter of weeks ago the family was still engaged in negotiations with Secretary of State Owen Paterson aimed at finalising the terms of reference for a full public inquiry into Pat Finucane’s execution. Indeed, the plans for that inquiry were believed to be so far advanced that the British Government was reportedly briefing those senior political and security figures who were likely to be called to give evidence.
PAT FINUCANE ASSASSINATION | PAPERS EXPOSE BRITISH DECEIT
British Prime Minister is a ‘dishonourable man’ » BY PEADAR WHELAN GERALDINE FINUCANE, widow of assassinated defence lawyer Pat Finucane, has described British Prime Minister David Cameron as a “dishonourable man”. Addressing a packed and highly-charged press conference on Friday 14th October in Belfast attended by An Phoblacht, she accused Cameron of reneging on a promise to the family to hold an open, public inquiry into the 1989 killing of her husband. Still angry over how she and her family were treated by Cameron and Secretary of State Owen Paterson at their Downing Street meeting on Tuesday 11th October, Geraldine Finucane explained her family’s decision to go public on their contacts with the British was to set the record straight on how the British government “misled my family”. Pat’s widow rubbished claims by Secretary of State Paterson that the family were brought to Downing Street “to allow the Prime Minister to apologise personally”. Also present at the press conference was the Finucane family solicitor, Peter Madden. Madden outlined, in great detail, the contacts he’d had with
5 John and Geraldine Finucane and Peter Madden address a highly-charged press conference in Belfast legal representatives of the British Government as they thrashed out details of the type of inquiry that would best serve the interests of the family in their pursuit of the truth of Pat Finucane’s killing. Documents provided to the media proved that the negotiations between the family, their representatives and the British Government’s legal team were about establishing the type and remit of an inquiry. The review that Cameron proposed in the Downing Street meeting was not detailed anywhere. In fact, the Northern
Ireland Office (NIO), in one of its documents, outlined three examples of current inquiries “as an aid to discussion to assist the family
British soldiers in Basra, was one that, “we could participate in”. This statutory inquiry appears to have “a procedure agreed between the Inquiry and the Ministry of Defence for the production and onward disclosure of material”. What is also significant, from the Finucanes’ point of view, is that Paragraph 29 of the protocol for the production of documents in the Baha Mousa Inquiry allows the inquiry chairperson to decide what should be restricted. This is a move away from the Inquiries Act of 2005 which
‘My family and I have no confidence in this process. We cannot be expected to take the British Prime Minister’s word that it will be effective when he is reneging on a Government commitment in order to establish it. His actions prove beyond doubt that the word of the British Prime Minister is not to be trusted’ GERALDINE FINUCANE in making representations to the Secretary of State”. Of these three examples the family believed that the Baha Mousa Inquiry into the killing of an Iraqi man, beaten to death by
allows the relevant minister decide what documents should be made available to an inquiry. The Finucanes have continually rejected an inquiry under the terms of the 2005 Act, believing the Minister of Defence, for example, would hide behind it and refuse to hand over any relevant material. While the Finucane family and their legal representatives were clear that the final decision on an inquiry would be made by David Cameron, “the indications from Government officials was encouraging”, said Geraldine Finucane. “In a recent telephone conversation between a senior NIO official and Peter Madden, we were told the Prime Minister was confident we would be happy with what was on offer.” The opposite turned out to be the case. Dismissing the proposed Da Silva Review, Geraldine Finucane said: “My family and I have no confidence in this process. We cannot be expected to take the British Prime Minister’s word that it will be effective when he is reneging on a Government commitment in order to establish it. “His actions prove beyond doubt that the word of the British Prime Minister is not to be trusted”.
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Colonel Gordon Kerr
“Over the past 12 months we have Buchanan and Harry Breen (killed by the been in talks with the British Government IRA in South Armagh) as well as the about a public inquiry and what form it Finucane killing. might take,” John said. “Not once during Retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory that time was this review process even investigated these cases and supported mentioned calls for inquiries. Speaking to An Phoblacht, Seamus The Nelson, Hamill and Wright Finucane, Pat’s brothinquiries have coner, who attended the cluded. The meeting in Downing Buchanan/Breen Street, said he told inquiry is underway. David Cameron that The British his apology was “holGovernment has now low” and that the stonewalled the process Cameron sugFinucane family with a gested “only dealt with decision that clearly the needs and conkicks any hope of the cerns of the British British Government Government and taking part in an open Establishment and not inquiry into touch. the family. It was Cameron, in his another attempt to meeting with the neutralise the conFinucane family, cerns within the admitted that Pat’s nationalist community killing was the result of GERALDINE FINUCANE about collusion.” collusion. But that was WIDOW OF PAT FINUCANE Seamus Finucane only stating the obvialso told Cameron that ous. his refusal to instigate a public inquiry was The Stevens Inquiry - consisting of “a retrograde step from what he had three inquiries set up by the British achieved through his apology to the Government and led by Sir John Bloody Sunday families”. Stevens, Metropolitan Police chief Another concern for the Finucane fam- from 2000 to 2005 - established that ily is that, by his actions, Cameron has there had been collusion between the reneged on the Weston Park Agreement British security and military which accepted the need for inquiries into forces, the RUC and loyalist the deaths of Rosemary Nelson, Robert death squads. Hamill, Billy Wright, RUC members Bob Judge Peter Cory’s
‘I am so angry and so insulted by being brought to Downing Street to hear what the Prime Minister had on offer’
findings underpinned that conclusion. The real questions in all this are about how far up the British Establishment chain of command does the evidence about the Finucane killing, in particular, and collusion, in general, go? Four weeks before Pat Finucane was assassinated, Conservative Party Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg took to the floor of the British parliament to declare that some solicitors in the North were “unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA”. Three of the principal participants in murdering Pat Finucane were agents operating with the British crown forces: Ken Barrett and William Stobie were RUC Special Branch agents while Brian Nelson was an operative with the British Army’s elite and highly secretive ‘Force Research Unit’, one of its ‘dirty tricks’ units. The FRU, under Colonel Gordon Kerr, was based in the British Army HQ in the Six Counties, Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn. Former British Tory Defence Minister Tom King, who also served as Secretary of State in the North, described Nelson in a letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions as a “valuable agent”. Nelson was facing charges connected to the Finucane and other killings but after a plea bargain received 10 years. The growing suspicion now is that this British Government, the one that has engaged in a protracted process of negotiations with the Finucane family about the scope of a public inquiry, has been ‘nobbled’ and what happened on October 11th, according to Seamus Finucane, “reinforces our belief that the responsi-
bility for Pat’s killing goes to the heart of the British Government and Establishment”. Questions are already being asked about the independence and objectivity of Sir Desmond Da Silva, who has been named as the man to carry out David Cameron’s review of the evidence in the Finucane case. According to the Conservative website www.politicshome.com, which is lobbying Cameron to have Da Silva nominated to the British House of Lords, he held elected office from 1980 to 1995, has been involved in the Conservative Party in the past through the Centre for Policy Studies and the centreright Bow Group. He is described as “a loyal Conservative”.
Seamus Finucane says the process Cameron suggested only dealt with the needs and concerns of the British Government and Establishment and not the family
4 Assassinated defence lawyer Pat Finucane
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www.anphoblacht.com FEARGAL O’HANLON MEMORIAL LECTURE 2011
SEÁN CRONIN IRA strategist, historian and journalist
ganda and management skills made him a valuable ally to successors at the helm of the Republican Movement.
THE 2011 Annual Feargal O’Hanlon Memorial Lecture was a tribute to the late Seán Cronin, who was the strategist of the IRA’s Operation Harvest – the Border Campaign – as well as a distinguished author, historian and journalist. Seán Cronin died in March of this year in the United States, where he spent much of his life. His ashes were returned to Ireland for burial in Kerry, his childhood home, on 17th September. A number of his old comrades as well as younger people from across the generations gathered in Teach na nDaoine, Cortolvin, Monaghan, on 9th October for the Memorial Lecture.
THE WRITINGS OF SEÁN CRONIN The second part of the lecture was given by Dublin City Sinn Féin Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha.
SEÁN CRONIN AND OPERATION HARVEST The first part of the lecture was delivered by Dr Ruan O’Donnell of the History Department, University of Limerick. ournalism was Cronin’s main professional calling and he migrated to Canada and the US in 1948 to pursue this interest. He lived in New York City in the early 1950s and was already an active member of the pro-Irish republican Clan na Gael organisation when the IRA Army Council announced its intention to resume its campaign against the British presence in the North of Ireland. On returning to Ireland in 1955, Cronin was, as arranged, inducted into the IRA under its effective Chief of Staff, Tony Magan. Paid work on the Evening Press covered other endeavours as a Training Officer in the IRA. By 1956, Cronin was the Director of Operations and, as such, made a key input into the ‘Operation Harvest’ document which outlined IRA strategy and was adopted by the Army Council in July 1956. Cronin devised and ran a series of ‘battle schools’ in which some of the largest training programmes ever organised by the IRA were held in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. The under-rated ‘Border’ or ‘Resistance’ campaign commenced on 12th December 1956 with leading IRA figures such as Seán Cronin and Charlie Murphy playing active roles in the first phase of attacks on barracks and infrastructure. Although arrested and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment in Mountjoy in January 1957, Cronin remained one of the most dynamic members of the IRA leadership. He and Murphy persevered in directing the campaign in July 1957 when the introduction of internment badly disrupted the Republican Movement. Pamphlets and article written by Cronin helped sustain an effort which, if serious in intent and comprehensive in scale, had failed to ignite the anticipated level of public support. Problems arising from factionalism within the Curragh Camp, where Cronin was held from September 1958, complicated the
eán Cronin’s writings spoke initially and in a special way for the generation of republicans that carried out the Resistance Campaign. Cronin produced much of the publicity material for the Resistance Campaign both as a regular writer and sometime editor of the Republican Movement’s monthly newspaper The United Irishman/An tEireannach Aontaithe and as the author of pamphlets and other publicity material. His most significant production from that period was the book ‘Resistance – The Story of the Struggle in British-Occupied Ireland’ (republished in IRIS magazine, Number 20, 2007). In 1972, Cronin joined with Wexford republican and journalist Richard Roche and the Belfast republican and journalist from a Protestant background, Jack Bennett, to produce a collection of Wolfe Tone’s writings entitled ‘Freedom the Wolfe Tone Way’, which was published by Anvil in 1973. This was an influential book for the republicans of the 1970s and 1980s and is still the best short collection of Tone’s writings. The introduction by Jack Bennett is a brilliant argument against the two nations theory advanced by Conor Cruise O’Brien and others at the time as their excuse for abandoning the nationalists of the Six Counties and for opposing Irish unity. It was in 1972 also that Cronin published a landmark work of Irish history – ‘The McGarrity Papers’. This was the fruit of his two years’ research of the treasure trove of documents left in the care of Clan na Gael in America by Joe McGarrity, the County Tyrone republican who died in 1940 and spent most of his life in the United States. One of Cronin’s most significant works was his study published in 1980 entitled ‘Irish Nationalism – A History of its Roots and Ideology’. This analyses Irish nationalism and republicanism from the United Irishmen up to the 1970s. I will conclude with a passage from Seán Cronin that I think is especially relevant today as we take up the task of national reconciliation, reunification and building a new Republic. With our new imperial masters the IMF and EU in mind we recall what Cronin wrote in 1972:
task of waging an unequal armed struggle against vastly more numerous and resourced British forces. Following the closure of the camp in early 1959, Cronin retained sufficient confidence among the IRA to be reinstated as Chief of Staff. Rearrested in June 1960, the Kerryman had lost favour with elements of
the trans-Atlantic support base by the time of his emancipation. While an IRA Court of Inquiry cleared him of false allegations, he believed his presence within the upper leadership was counter-productive to the conduct of the campaign. He remained, however, a popular figure with many Volunteers and his rare combination of military, propa-
Sinn Féin Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha and Dr Ruan O’Donnell
In Tone’s Republic, the resources of the nation would be used for the benefit of all the people of the nation. Education would not be the preserve of a few, and poverty and emigration the lot of the many. In Tone’s Ireland this land would not be merely a tributary for foreign finance, a base for foreign forces or a bridgehead for imperialism, political or economic.
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION | DEALING WITH THE LEGACY ISSUES
POLITICAL EX-PRISONERS MOTIONS PASSED AT THE 2011 SINN FÉIN ARD FHEIS This Ard Fheis calls for the establishment of an Independent International Truth Commission as part of an effective truth recovery process to address legacy issues related to the past conflict, and for those who contributed to this conflict to engage with this Commission to assist victims, victims’ families and survivors to secure the closure they demand and deserve and also to contribute to genuine national reconciliation and an inclusive healing process.
TRYING TO BREAK THE CHAINS OF THE PAST
This Ard Fheis calls for: • The immediate release of those prisoners currently held in Maghaberry on the basis of a revocation of licence, and who were originally sentenced for conflict-related charges. • The release of those prisoners sentenced for conflict-related charges prior to the signing of the Good Friday agreement, including Gerry McGeough.
» BY MARK MOLONEY WHEN political prisoners were released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement it was hoped that no more young Irish men and women would be forced to endure jail sentences for conflictrelated actions. But while prisoners were released from 1998 onwards, it was not unconditional. Many prisoners are technically released “on licence”. This means that should a prisoner breach the law, even for a minor offence, they may have their licence revoked and be sent back to prison to serve the full length of their original sentence handed down by a non-jury Diplock court. In other circumstances some prisoners, such as Gerry McGeough, have been forced to serve up to two years in prison after being charged with conflict-related incidents which occurred before the Good Friday Agreement. Political ex-prisoners also face regular discrimination in employment. Much of this comes down to that when applying for a job an applicant must tick a box as to whether or not they have any “criminal convictions”. Those who served time for political reasons are required to tick this box.
Gerry McGeough In 2007, the Office of the First Minister Commenting on the motion, and Deputy First Minister issued guideStrabane Sinn Féin Councillor Kieran lines for employers to assist them in McGuire said that while it “will not solve recruiting people with conflict-related all the outstanding issues, it represents convictions. The document advises another important step in ensuring that employers that any conviction for a conformer political prisoners are not discrimflict-related offence which pre-dates the inated against”. He said: Good Friday Agreement should not be “Foremost of these outstanding issues taken into account when dealing with job is the need to fully ‘expunge’ all political applications. convictions relating to the conflict which Meanwhile, the Sinn Féin teams on are still used as a discriminatory tool Strabane and Omagh councils put foragainst former political prisoners.” ward a motion which committed the Speaking to An Phoblacht, Martin councils to ensuring that “former political McGuinness said that the motions were “hugely important”. prisoners are allowed to compete for “This is something which employment on exactly the needs to be addressed in same terms as every other citorder to allow people to play a izen”. full role within society and to Despite opposition from the gain jobs. DUP and UUP (who branded the “The majority of ex-prisonmotion “offensive”, “outrageous” ers are hugely and strongly supand “divisive” — with Omagh DUP portive of the Peace Process Councillor Bert Wilson going as and are people who work far as storming out of in their communities. the council chamber), both councils But for them to be passed the forbidden from motion. achieving other Councillor Kieran McGuire
jobs within society is an injustice which needs to be corrected. “If we are to move forward, reconciling people within society and within the community, it’s very hard to do when people have convictions for pre-1998, political-related incidents which can lead employers to be discouraged from employing them, and I think that is wrong.” Sinn Féin has also criticised comments made by Secretary of State Owen Paterson who attempted to rule out a truth commission to deal with the legacy of the conflict. Sinn Féin MLA Mitchel McLaughlin said: “For Owen Paterson to attempt to rule out a truth commission style of approach to truth recovery is arrogant and completely ignores the fact that the British Government were parties to this conflict.” Martin McGuinness said that the reason the British are ruling out the possibility of a truth commission is because “they have a huge amount to hide”, particulary “in relation to their intelligence agencies who were involved in the killings of nationalists in the North”.
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ETA ENDS ARMED STRUGGLE | GERRY ADAMS ON SINN FÉIN’S ROLE IN DRAMATIC DEVELOPMENTS IN BASQUE PEACE PROCESS
A good day for peace »
» BY GERRY ADAMS TD PRESIDENT OF SINN FÉIN THE decisive and positive terms of ETA’s response on October 20th to the ‘Declaration’ in Donostia-San Sebastian by the International Conference Group in October is to be welcomed, as is the response of the Spanish Government and others. It has taken many years of patient work to get to this point and every effort must be made to build momentum into the process. I first became involved in the efforts to build a peace process in the Basque Country at the time of our own peace agreement in 1998. An Irish priest, Fr Alex Reid, who I have known for almost 40 years, had played a key role in creating the Irish Peace Process and he was asked by a priest in
5 Gerry Adams at a press conference in 2006 with Arnaldo Otegi, leader of Batasuna, who is currently in prison that region to bring his expertise to bear. In the years since then, Sinn Féin leaders, including myself, have travelled regularly to the region and met representatives from the Basque Country and the Spanish state. It is obvious that many of those in the Basque region who we met are committed to peace and that they have consciously sought to learn from the Irish
experience. Almost two years ago, a new group, Abertzale Left, which includes the banned Batasuna party, agreed a new political strategy for progress. For those familiar with the peace process in Ireland, the language used by Abertzale Left is strikingly similar to that used in Ireland. Abertzale Left committed itself to using “exclusively political and democratic means” to advance its political objectives. And it seeks to advance political change “in a complete absence of violence and without interference” and “conducted in accordance with the Mitchell Principles”. These principles were devised by US former Senator George Mitchell, who was chair of the peace negotiations in Ireland. On October 17th, I returned to Donostia-San Sebastian in Euskadi for an ‘International Conference to Promote the
lenging. It demands that we seek to understand what motivates, what inspires, what drives our opponent. Each conflict is different but in the course of our efforts Irish republicans learned that there are general principles of peace making and methods of conflict resolution that can be applied elsewhere and which can help end conflict if applied properly. These elements include:» Dialogue; » Tackling the causes which lie at the heart of the conflict; » A good faith engagement by all sides; » An inclusive process - with all parties treated as equals and mandates respected; » All issues must be on the agenda;
PARTICIPANTS IN A PEACE PROCESS must stay focused and be prepared to take risks in initiatives and confidencebuilding measures Resolution of the Conflict in the Basque Country’. An international group of leaders (myself, Kofi Annan, Jonathan Powell, Bertie Ahern, Pierre Joxe, and Gro Harland Bruntland) had been asked to speak on that issue and to set out our view of the next steps needed to encourage a step change in the Basque peace process. In my contribution I pointed out that violence usually occurs when people believe there is no alternative. Transforming a situation from conflict to peace requires therefore creating an alternative. This is hugely chal-
Father Alex Reid
There can be no preconditions, no vetoes and no attempt to predetermine the outcome or preclude any outcome; There should be timeframes.
Most importantly, participants must stay focused and be prepared to take risks and engage in initiatives and confidence-building measures. But if there is a starting point it must be dialogue. I emphasised this again and again. This is the foundation upon which any progress will be built. Following our deliberations the International Group expressed the opinion that “it is possible to end, the last armed confrontation in Europe”. We called upon ETA to “make a public declaration of the definitive cessation of all armed action and to request talks with the governments of Spain and France to
CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES INCLUDE prisoners, demilitarising the environment and respecting the democratic rights of all political parties and treating them as equals address exclusively the consequences of the conflict”. ETA’s subsequent statement meets that requirement. The Spanish Government has also welcomed the statement. So, a breakthrough has been achieved but it must be built upon quickly if its potential is to be achieved. The next steps should now focus on promoting reconciliation, addressing the issue of victims and recognising that a serious effort has to be made to heal personal and social wounds. There are other issues which will need to be addressed and which can act as confidencebuilding measures within the process. For example, among these are the issues of prisoners, demilitarising the environment and of respecting and acknowledging the democratic rights of all political parties and treating them as equals. And there is for the Basque people the key issue of the right of the people of that historic region to self-determination. As we learned from our own experience, making peace is very difficult. But as the peace processes in Ireland and in South Africa demonstrate, no conflict is intractable. If there is political will and imagination and a preparedness to take risks for peace it is possible to rewrite the script, make progress and achieve agreements.
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HE WAKES SCREAMING Twitterati) seriously organised themselves, pushing the republican message across Twitter and owning Facebook, something noted a couple of times in the mainstream media. A big ‘maith thú, comrade’ to @nicolapking and the rest of the crew, ninjas who move like Jagger. Most disappointing performance: Like most women in the Irish media, I have a bit of a girl-crush on Miriam O’Callaghan, probably the country’s finest broadcast journalist. But her chairing of the RTÉ Prime Time debate, her vicious personal attack on Martin, and her general desperate air to be as ‘controversial’ as Vincent Browne was well beneath her. When an English journalist friend of mine who has never had a good word to say about Shinners admits ‘she went a bit over the top’, you know a line’s been crossed.
E LIES THERE, in the quiet, pre-dawn darkness, with the sweat cooling on his big, baldy, robot head. Over and over again the moment plays in his mind. He stands before the Irish people, proud, confident, mere days away from becoming the President of Ireland. He is master of all he surveys, a leader, a man destined for greatness. And then a soft Derry accent quietly says, “I have to say, you’re in deep, deep trouble,” and it all comes tumbling down. Poor auld Seán Gallagher - from President-to-be to has-been in about 20 minutes of prime-time television that revealed he’s nothing more than a Fianna Fáil bagman, a mobile Galway tent. And he would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for one meddling Martin McGuinness and one gutsy punter, Glenna Lynch. The people of this wee state had a choice. Mere months after the election in February we could have taken a step back to the world of mysterious accounting practices, cash-bulging and chequefilled envelopes, the gombeen men and cute hoorism. But, at the last minute, after a quick glance into the abyss, we turned away, electing the mostly harmless and always charming Mickey D instead. Something to celebrate in that, and in Martin’s performance overall: the highest republican vote since the 1920s, third place in a statewide election for the first time. But in the Carney household we celebrate a different kind of success: Fine Gael’s worst election performance in the history of the state. Worst election performance. Ever. Six point four per cent of the vote. Mitchell’s own family must have turned against him. In Wicklow, where the party won three seats out of five in February, Mitchell polled 4.8%. In Mayo, the Taoiseach’s own constituency where they won four seats out of five and an eye-watering 65% of the vote just eight months ago, Gay Mitchell could just about scramble 9%. Beaten into fourth place in 40 of the state’s 43 constituencies, hammered across all 26 counties (or was it 22, Gay?). Media reports indicate that Mitchell spent more than €700,000 on his campaign - that’s a little over six euro a vote. For a family who can trace our hatred of the Blueshirts back to the Civil War, this is like Christmas, Easter and the death of Michael Collins all rolled into one big celebration. Before I go, some special mentions for a very special campaign. Best newcomer: During the Frontline election debate I couldn’t help but notice this tweet from Ireland’s least funny satirist, Newton Emerson: “Dear Sinn Féin: When this election’s over, can we have the Internet back?” Dear Newton: Where you’re concerned, we’re still thinking about it. This year was the first time online Sinn Féin activists (aka #shinnerbots to the
Seán Gallagher would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for one meddling Martin McGuinness and one gutsy punter, Glenna Lynch
MOST determined Shinner-hating performance: Only one winner here after disappointing campaigns from Kevin Myers and Andrew Lynch. Step forward, Eoghan Harris, whose determined refusal to engage with reality gave me a chuckle every week. From claiming RTÉ is biased in favour of Sinn Féin(!), to using hilariously dodgy figures after the election to claim Martin’s campaign had been a failure, Eoghan never let the real world intrude on his analysis. Oddest comment: Jody Corcoran of the Sunday Independent writing about the shape and mould of Martin McGuinness’s buttocks. The same man once fantasised in the paper about burying his face in the hair of a woman in front of him on the escalator. Risky to let him out unaccompanied, I would think. Best new voter: Complete bias here. Pa Carney has voted in every election since 1961 - technically he also voted in 1957 but it wasn’t in his own name as he was under 18 at the time. A staunch Fianna Fáiler, he has voted the party ticket in every election or referendum, parting company only over EU treaties. In February, for the first time, he gave a transfer outside of Fianna Fáil, to us, I’m delighted to say, but he went one better last week and gave Martin McGuinness a Number 1. Most valuable players: It’s one thing to spend half an hour of a Saturday sharing a smoke with some Shinners, huddled under a tree to escape a downpour, it’s another when those Shinners drove almost three hours to get there and face the same return journey. Whether it was Tyrone activists being soaked in Roscommon, Belfast ones unused to a big city getting lost in Dublin, or Derry ones who drove all of 20 minutes to Buncrana, a big go raibh míle to our friends in the North.
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www.anphoblacht.com FADY ABUSIDU OF FATAH’S FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMISSION AT THE SINN FÉIN ARD FHEIS
Palestinian leader speaks to An Phoblacht ‘The solution is ready. The problem is a lack of political willingness on the Israeli side to accept responsibility for certain actions that have happened and the injustices that have happened to the Palestinian people’
ON the historic occasion of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis held in Belfast in September for the first in its history, An Phoblacht’s PEADAR WHELAN spoke to FADY ABUSIDU of Fatah’s Foreign Relations Commission. Peadar began by welcoming the London-based representative to the Ard Fheis and expressed how honoured we as republicans were to have a spokesperson of the Palestinian people with us at this crucial time in the Palestinian struggle. What is your experience of the solidarity shown by the Irish people for the Palestinian struggle? The relationship between Sinn Féin and Fatah and the Irish people and the Palestinian people goes back many decades. We have similarities in history and in struggle. The fate of our two parties is linked in terms of developing a peace process and fighting for the rights of our people. Personally, I was in Ireland about 10 years ago, during the second intifada, and witnessed the support and solidarity of the Irish people. Some months ago I was part of a delegation that was here to explain and promote our campaign for recognition and admission of a Palestinian state to the United Nations. We received a warm welcome from Sinn Féin and the Irish people and were given support for our call for the recognition of a Palestinian state. Can you outline the situation in Palestine now, especially in light of recent attacks by the Israelis on Gaza? The Palestinian territories are all under occupation.
Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem all suffer various degrees of occupation. Gaza has the media focus because of the severity and the inhumane conditions the Palestinian people are suffering. The West Bank, or areas of the West Bank, have become centres for civil resistance against Israeli occupation. East Jerusalem is undergoing a rigorous campaign of de-Arabisation by the Israelis who are trying to change the demographic make-up of the city. Gazans have been the victims of Israeli military might for a long time. We have been trying to reach some sort of understanding, a stable ceasefire to end the siege of Gaza, trying to promote a non-violent solution through international means with international support. It has been a very difficult task over the last two years to change the mind of the current Israeli government to get them to engage in mean-
‘The relationship between Sinn Féin and Fatah and the Irish people and the Palestinian people goes back many decades’ FADY ABUSIDU FATAH FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMISSION ingful, productive negotiations that would lead to a lasting peace. What we are seeing in Gaza and the West Bank is a result of this very strict Israeli position. Is it easier to deal with one Israeli party than the other? Negotiations with the Israelis are always very difficult. There were times when Israeli leaders meant what they said, times when they didn’t mean what
5 An armed Jewish settler and an Israeli soldier fraternising – under international conventions such contact between an occupying army and armed settlers is illegal
November / Samhain 2011 |
5 Palestinian civilians have long been the victims of Israeli occupation forces Palestinian state and an Israeli state. The international community has been patient waiting for the two parties, us and the Israelis, to reach that stage through negotiations. During the past few years we have proved the Palestinian capability, ability and readiness for statehood through developing security forces, implementation of development projects and building institutions on the ground. There have been various international reports published proving our readiness for statehood. Parallel to that there is a lack of willingness on the Israeli side to engage in a process that will lead to the two-state solution. The international community recognises the situation, understands the difficulties and wants to see an end that will lead to the two-state solution. Therefore our bid to go to the United Nations to get recognition is in line with all these process-
‘The Palestinian territories are all under occupation. Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem all suffer various degrees of occupation’
5 Gerry Adams in the Gaza Strip they said, and times when they didn’t say anything at all. The difficulty with different administrations, and this one in particular, is they are composed of fundamentalists, hardliners and ones who want to take the conflict back to disengagement from the Palestinian issue and promote the land of Israel. This has been very costly to the peace process. You mentioned earlier that the Palestinian people are engaged in a campaign to end the occupation through non-violent methods. How is that being received internationally and would it be looked on more favourably in Europe than in the United States, regardless of what administration is in power? It has always been the understanding that the end result of peace agreements, of negotiations of the process, would be a two-state solution: a
es, in line with the two-state solution and has gained a lot of momentum. European countries and Latin American countries are taking very clear positions for the first time in support of the two-state solution, so we have decided to take matters forward, take a positive step, go to the UN make clear the two-state solution is our strategic choice and it will eventually be a way back to negotiations. This means that even if we are successful at the UN we would still have to negotiate a lot of matters with the Israelis. We will not reach a magic solution and impose a solution on the Israelis. On the contrary, we will go back to the negotiating table as two states. We will talk about borders, about security arrangements, about refugees, about water resources because these are matters that will not change with a UN resolution. The issues of water, settlements and refugees are important as it’s about the rights of the Palestinians to go back to their land. It seems the Israelis are adamant the refugees will not return and they seem to be showing no willingness to stop building settlements. What is your response? The issues of refugees and settlements have been discussed thoroughly throughout the course of the
5 There is no Palestinian flag at the United Nations
FADY ABUSIDU is a representative of the Fatah Foreign Relations Commission. He is PhD researcher at the University of Bradford where he focuses on regional security of the Middle East. He worked with the Palestinian National Authority on matters of arms control and regional security where he acted as part of a negotiating team representing the Palestinian position at various international gatherings.
peace process. The solution is ready. The problem is a lack of political willingness on the Israeli side to accept responsibility for certain actions that have happened and the injustices that have happened to the Palestinian people. The right of return can be resolved in many ways.
‘Gaza has the media focus because of the severity and the inhumane conditions the Palestinian people are suffering’ The settlement issue has been discussed; land swap is a method to overcome the settlement issue. However, it should all be done through a process of negotiation. We cannot accept the continued grabbing of our land while we negotiate — it’s just politically not viable. We cannot go to the negotiating table while our water resources, our land is being taken from our hands — it doesn’t work.
| November / Samhain 2011
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WHO ARE THE MIAMI FIVE? THE Miami Five (also known as the Cuban Five) are five Cuban men handed down four life sentences and 75 years collectively after being convicted in US federal court in Miami on June 8th 2001. They are Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernández and René González (René González has just been released on parole from federal prison). The Five were accused by the US Government of
committing espionage conspiracy against the United States and other related charges but the Five pointed out vigorously in their defence that they were monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba. Campaigners point out that the Five’s actions were never directed at the US Government, they never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any weapons while in the United States.
CUBAN ANTI-TERRORIST AGENTS IN JAIL | PAROLED PRISONER MADE TO STAY IN FLORIDA
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Miami Five still fighting for justice 14 years on » BY SIMON MCGUINNESS NATIONAL CO-ORDINATOR, CUBA SUPPORT GROUP IRELAND
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ON OCTOBER 7th, René González, one of the five men known as the Miami Five or Cuban Five, was released from a federal prison in Florida after more than 13 years in prison. The remaining four members of the Miami Five have just begun their 14th year of unjust imprisonment in US jails, for the sole crime of struggling to prevent terrorist acts against Cuban civilians by Floridabased militant gangs. They did this successfully by infiltrating these gangs and collecting information on their plans. Their convictions were the result of a manipulated trial and are unsafe. That is the opinion of former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson, along with Amnesty International and the United Nations panel on Arbitrary Detentions. Even the Atlanta District Court of Appeals formed a similar opinion, until its decision was hurriedly revised following pressure from the US Attorney General. The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal against the convictions (following pressure from President Obama) in spite of an unprecedented number of international petitions delivered to the court, including one from 54 Irish parliamentarians. Numerous international appeals from parliaments, government ministers, citizens’ groups, trade unions and legal experts for justice and fair treatment have also been unsuccessful. While in prison, they have been subjected to additional punishment with two of their wives being repeatedly refused visas to visit their husbands — an additional and unnecessary
5 Simon McGuinness, Eleanor Lanigan, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD, Maureen O’Sullivan TD, Finian McGrath TD, Des Bonass, Eddie Glacken, Bernie Dwyer and Eugene McCartan pictured at Leinster House in support of the Miami Five burden described by Amnesty as “a form of torture”. As a final, last-ditch attempt to have the US legal system deliver some semblance of justice, US lawyers have presented compelling arguments for immediate Habeas Corpus relief. Using the Freedom of
THE MIAMI FIVE CONVICTIONS WERE THE RESULT OF A MANIPULATED TRIAL and are unsafe. That is the opinion of former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson, along with Amnesty International and the United Nations panel on Arbitrary Detentions Information Act, it was revealed that the US Government had paid thousands of dollars to Miami TV, radio and print journalists to write and print prejudicial and biased articles against the Miami Five at precisely the same time they were conducting a legal
prosecution against them in the Miami courts. This delivered a prosecutorial atmosphere described by the US Appeals Court as “a perfect storm of prejudice”. The case of René González, the first of the Miami Five to serve his full sentence (and who was released on October 7th) is revealing. René was sentenced to three years’ parole after his custodial sentence and is required to fulfil this in the USA, where his life will be at risk from those same militant gangs he infiltrated. In the interests of safety, we ask that he be allowed to return to Cuba and join his family. We urge you to support the Miami Five at this critical juncture and join us in calling on President Obama to use his Presidential powers to release these men and facilitate their safe return home to their homeland and their families.
CUBA SUPPORT GROUP IRELAND 15 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Phone 087 678 5842. Text 087 236 0234. Website www.CubaSupport.com
November / Samhain 2011 |
Another Europe is possible LE EOGHAN Mac CORMAIC
Is fiú cuairt ar chartlann nua
AS AN GHEIBHEANN, ISTEACH SA CÉ GUR gheall mé cúpla uair go raibh mé chun éirí as an nós, tá mé fós ar Facebook agus ag caitheamh cuid de m’ama luachmhaire gach lá ag féachaint ar cad atá daoine eile ag déanamh (nó ag rá go bhfuil siad ag déanamh) agus ag smaoineamh (nó ag rá go bhfuil siad ag smaoineamh). ‘Sé an rud a bhí ag cur as dom ná na céadta tagairtí do dhaoine ag bailiú ainmhithe agus féir ar Farmville nó 14K Gold Morganite Ring ar Gemswap II. Cá bhfuil an fhuascailt, arsa mé liom féin, sa teicneolaíocht seo mura bhfuil ann ach cluichí faoi dhomhain fhíorúla? Nach bhfuil áiteanna níos fearr ná “5362nd place in Vitalyte Sports Nutrition's Bouncing Balls contest” le baint amach? Lán de fhrustrachas, thosaigh mé ag dumpáil ‘cairde’ as mo leathanach – ach níor thug siad faoi deara, fiú. Bhí siad ro-ghnóthach, is dócha, ag freagairt ceisteanna tábhachtacha faoi cén bhróg a chuireann siad orthu féin ar dtús gach maidin, nó a leithéid. Agus ansin, tháinig mé ar leathanach Facebook atá in ann mé a mhealladh ar ais arís agus arís eile, agus beagnach gach lá bíonn rud éigin nua, agus úr le feiceáil ann. Nua agus úr? Bhuel, thiocfadh sean agus níos sine a rá ansin, nó is minic go mbíonn na rudaí ‘nua’ agus ‘úr’ sin, thuas le fiche, tríocha, nó fiú céad bliain d’aois cé nach bhfaca siad solas an lae le blianta fada anuas. Níl aon dabht ná gur taisce den scoth é an l e a t h a n a c h Facebook seo, Magilligan Ex Pows, ina bhfuil grianghraif, cáipéisí agus eolas faoi chimí poblachtacha ó gach glúin ó 1798 ar aghaidh. Tá
an cuma ar an scéal gur thosaigh an leathanach amach mar shuíomh ina mbeadh roinnt iarchimí ó Champa Mhaigh Ghiolla Uí Chathain in ann teagmháil a dhéanamh lena chéile ach a d’fhás ó shin go bailiúchán d’ábhair ó na príosúin eile, ó thréimhse Chill Mhaighneán ar aghaidh. Tá riarthóir an leathanaigh i ndiaidh ábhar a rangú de réir tréimhsí staire, de réir na bpríosún éagsúla agus de réir grianghraif, caipéisíocht agus lámhcheardaíochtaí. Ní fios fós cé mhéad duine san iomlán a chuaigh tríd na príosúin ar son na cúise, ach thig leat a bheith cinnte go raibh na mílte, mílte acu agus go bhfuil a scéal féin ag gach glúin acu siúd. Ar leathanach Magilligan Ex Pows insítear an scéal sa bhealach is simplí, is neamhchlaonta: tríd na pictiúir féin. Bhí na haghaidheanna óga céanna ag breathnú amach ar an cheamara i bhFrongoch i 1916 a’s a bhí ag breathnú amach as cásanna Magilligan nó an Ceis Fhada i 1972. Déanann úinéir an leathanaigh iarracht an suíomh a choinneáill saor ó ionsaithe pearsanta nó polaitiúla ó ‘cara’ amháin ar ‘chara’ eile níl ach aon chuspóir ag an leathanach agus is é sin go n-inseofaí scéal na gcimí féin. Is fiú cuairt a thabhairt ar an chartlann nua seo, atá ag fás agus ag líonadh le hábhar stairiúil agus spéisiúil. nó b’fhéidir go mbeidh cuid ‘memorabilia’ agat féin, leagtha go domhain ag bun cófra nó i bhfolach san ailéir a bhfuil mar mhír eile i míreanna mearaí na staire s’againne. Tóg amach é. Tá ardán agus spás ag fanach dó anois, ar Facebook, ar an leathanach tiomnaithe seo.
EU governments delaying more maternity leave ONE YEAR AGO, the European Parliament adopted a very clear position on the revision of the Maternity Leave Directive. MEPs voted to increase the minimum period of maternity leave from the current 14 weeks to 20 weeks fully paid and also introduced two weeks’ fully paid leave for fathers. We sought more, of course, but welcomed the vote at the time as “a boost for mothers and fathers across Europe”. Portuguese GUE/NGL MEP and gender policy co-ordinator Ilda Figueiredo said that MEPs’ approval of proposals to guarantee decent maternity leave would support pregnant workers and aid efforts to narrow the gender pay gap. “In recognition of the social, economic and health benefits of decent maternity leave with full pay, the European Parliament has shot down shameful rightwing attempts to damage the status of maternity and paternity as fundamental social values,” said Figueiredo following what was a major victory for the Left in Strasbourg.
Ilda Figueiredo Unfortunately, EU governments in the European Council have since blocked the dossier, refusing to accept the proposals of the Parliament regarding these minimum standards. For the European United Left / Nordic Green Left, Council’s position is unacceptable. Decent maternity leave provision benefits child development, child and maternal health, reduces the costs of childcare, increases productivity and helps to achieve better work and family life balance. In short, it makes social and economic sense.
Decent maternity leave provision makes social and economic sense
BAIRBRE DE BRÚN MEP is a member of the GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament
THIS IS FUNDED BY THE EUROPEAN UNITED LEFT/NORDIC GREEN LEFT (GUE/NGL)
| November / Samhain 2011
REMEMBERING THE PAST |
BY MÍCHEÁL Mac DONNCHA
The Compton Report – a whitewash for torture TORTURE of detainees by NATO forces has been widespread during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Forty years ago, torture by the government of a supposedly liberal ‘Western democracy’ required a hasty cover-up. The government in question was ‘Her Majesty’s Government’ in London and the torture victims were Irish citizens detained without trial in the Six Counties. Internment without trial was imposed across the Six Counties on 9th August 1971. The internees were taken initially to various barracks and camps before being detained in Crumlin Road Prison and on the Maidstone prison ship in Belfast
Sir Edmund Compton
Sir Edmund Compton’s committee of inquiry sat in secret Harbour. However, a number were singled out for special attention and these were the men who became known as the ‘guinea-pigs’. They were experimented on with techniques of torture, including ‘sensory deprivation’. This mainly took place in Palace Barracks, Hollywood, County Down. Many of the internees were beaten and ill-treated in a variety of ways during and immediately after the internment swoop by the British Army in the early hours of 9th August. But for 14 men in particular this was the beginning of a prolonged nightmare. They were picked to be experimented on with the principal techniques of ‘sensory deprivation’. These were:1. Hooding of prisoners prior to interrogation. Black hoods were placed over their heads and shoulders. 2. Use of ‘white noise’ produced by a machine, a constant, repetitive, intensely irritating sound. 3. Forced immobilisation in a
my hands and legs were beaten whenever this happened and the insides of my feet were kicked until my ankles were swollen to almost twice their normal size . . . The noise was insistent, driving mental resistance to its utmost. I thought I was going mad.” Paddy Joe McClean, a teacher from County Tyrone, described his ordeal: “I stood there, arms against the wall, feet wide apart. My arms, legs, back and head began to ache. I perspired freely, the noise and heat were terrible. My brain seemed ready to burst . . . Are they coming to kill me? I wished to God they would, to end it. My circulation had stopped. I flexed my arms to start the blood moving. They struck me several times on the hands, ribs, kidneys and my knee-caps were kicked. My hood-covered head was banged against the wall.” The British Army tried to conceal what was being done but word soon got out that men were being tortured. Press reports and
All but one of the 342 men interned on 9th August boycotted the ‘inquiry’ British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling position of stress – feet wide apart, leaning against a wall with only finger-tips touching the wall. 4. Little or no food or drink. 5. Being forced to wear loose overalls several times too big. 6. Deprivation of sleep for days on end. The treatment continued for hours and days, turning the men to mental and physical wrecks. Internee, Joe Clarke, then aged 19, described what happened: “There then followed a series of collapses – I could not say how many times I collapsed. Initially
protests from relatives and political organisations forced the British Government to act to limit the political fall-out. On 31st August 1971 British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling appointed Sir Edmund Compton to chair a committee of inquiry. The committee had no power to compel witnesses to attend or to have documents produced. It sat in secret. Detainees were at first allowed no legal representation; when they were, their lawyer was not allowed to see, hear or question British Army and RUC witnesses who were themselves legally represented. As a result, all but one of the 342 men interned on 9th August boycotted the ‘inquiry’.
The Compton Report was a classic whitewash, designed to cover up the real actions and intentions of the British Army. Compton admitted that there had been ill-treatment of detainees but denied there was brutality or torture. In the most notorious passage of his report, Compton essentially argued that it was only torture if the torturer enjoyed it: “We consider that brutality is an inhuman or savage form of cruelty, and that cruelty implies a disposition to inflict suffering, coupled with indifference to, or pleasure in, the victim’s pain. We do not think that happened here.” But by the time Compton was published, the brutality inflicted
on internees was widely known and the report was greeted with disdain and ridicule. In September 1976, the European Commission on Human Rights found that, in its treatment of the detainees, the
Compton essentially argued that it was only torture if the torturer enjoyed it British Government breached the European Convention on Human Rights “in the form, not only of inhuman and degrading treatment, but also of torture”. The Compton Report, discredited even before it appeared, was published on 16th November 1971, 40 years ago this month.
UNITING IRELAND CONFERENCE NEWRY TOWN HALL 7pm SATURDAY 19th NOVEMBER 2011
Towards a New Republic I dtreo Poblacht Nua
Key figures participating: Sinn Féin party president Gerry Adams TD, Martin McGuinness MLA, John McAllister MLA, economist John Bradley and Ruth Tallion, Centre for Cross Border Studies.
November / Samhain 2011 |
CAMPAIGN TO COMMEMORATE CORK TRADE UNION AND REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST | COMRADE OF CONNOLLY SHOT DEAD AT BALLYKINLAR INTERNMENT CAMP
‘Tadhg Barry Remembered’ » BY TREVOR QUINN SIPTU, Cork TADHG BARRY was to have the ominous distinction as one of the last people killed by the British forces in the revolutionary years. Just some three weeks before the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, he was shot through the heart on November 15th by a British sentry at Ballykinlar internment camp in County Down. Born to a working-class family in 1880, around 1909 his interest in journalism was becoming recognised. He began to write for the newly-established Cork Accent and later became a staff writer on the Cork Free Press (1910-1916) as a direct competitor to the Redmonite Cork Examiner. Barry specialised in GAA affairs and wrote under the pen-name of ‘An Ciotog’. Tadhg was to commit himself to the idea of a free Ireland and the ideals of James Connolly. He would be a founding member
Tadhg Barry was elected to the first republican Corporation of Cork on a joint ITGWU/Sinn Féin ticket alongside his comrades Lord Mayor Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney
lished, Hurling and How to Play It. Barry also wrote poetry and had several collections published, including Songs and Rhymes of a Gaolbird, published shortly after his release from prison in 1917 for delivering a seditious speech (he was released early after a hunger strike). By early 1918 he had a weekly column with The Southern Star. In May 1918, he was arrested again by British forces as part of Dublin Castle’s so-called ‘German Plot’, which falsely claimed a rising was being planned between Sinn Féin and Germany. Barry was one of the senior republicans picked up across Ireland and the only republican lifted in Cork. Upon his release in 1919 he became full-time branch secretary to the ITGWU in Cork and was to the fore in the farm labourers’ widespread actions for a decent living wage between 1919-1920 and also the docks strike of 1920. Elected an alderman in the 1920 municipal elections which achieved the first republican Corporation of Cork, he won on a joint ITGWU/Sinn Féin ticket, representing the Sunday’s Well and Blarney Street areas, alongside his comrades Lord Mayor Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney. 1920 also brought new British tactics and the Auxiliaries (Black and Tans) were set loose on Cork City. Both the now ‘republican City Hall’ and the ITGWU offices on Camden Quay were targeted and gutted. Following the cowardly murder of the Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtain, in
5 Back Row: David Cotter, Seán Murphy, Donal Barrett, Terence MacSwiney and Paddy Trahy. Front Row: Tadhg Barry, Tomás Mac Curtáin and P O’Higgins
the family home and the death of Terence MacSwiney on hunger strike in Brixton Prison in London on October 24th, the Corporation gathered at the Courthouse to elect a new lord mayor. Barry and eight other councillors were arrested. He was transported to Ballykinlar internment camp in County Down.
Tadhg’s funeral was the largest ever seen in Cork and en-route over 30,000 marched behind his coffin in Dublin
6 The funeral of Tadhg Barry leaving Cork rail station
of and secretary to Sinn Féin in Cork (190608) and prominent within the Cork branch of the Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union. As a founding member of the Cork corps of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, he became an officer, having had previous experience from training of the Fianna in Cork from 1911 alongside Tomás MacCurtain and Seán O’Hegarty. Tadgh shared a platform with Connolly in Cork on two separate occasions and was on active service during the 1916 Rising. Barry was selected Cork delegate to the historic October Sinn Féin convention in the Mansion House in 1917. During this period he kept up his writing and was a regular for his union paper, The Voice of Labour on topics of workers’ rights and the way forward for society. In 1916, he had the first descriptive book on hurling pub-
Here he was in the company of 2,000 other freedom fighters, including Seán Lemass. Even though he was incarcerated, he kept busy and spent much of his time teaching fellow detainees Irish. He was noted for flying the red flag over his barracks, to the great annoyance of the British. On November 15th 1921 whilst saying farewell to comrades leaving the camp, Tadhg was slow to walk back and was shot through the heart by a sentry. Tadhg’s funeral was the largest ever seen in Cork and en-route over 30,000 marched behind his coffin in Dublin. Almost all public bodies in Ireland passed a resolution of sympathy. Cork was closed down and the cortege was led by the Cork IRA with bishops, priests, TDs, lord mayors and representatives from many other cities in attendance. Michael Collins was there too even though he was the chief negotiator for the Irish delegation in the peace talks taking place in London. This incredible mark of respect leads you to understand the importance of Cork’s Tadhg Barry in the political and military struggles in Ireland at the time. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the untimely death of one of Cork’s most prominent and largely forgotten citizens.
THE CORK COUNCIL OF TRADE UNIONS, ALONG WITH CORK CITY COUNCIL INVITES YOU TO A TALK ON OUR
‘Forgotten Hero: Tadgh Barry’ by Dr Donal O’Drisceoil (School of History, UCC) AT TRISKEL CHRISTCHURCH ON FRIDAY 18th NOVEMBER AT 7pm.
| November / Samhain 2011
Peter John Caraher
South Armagh THE lanes and hills of Cullyhanna came to a standstill on Wednesday 12th October when South Armagh said ‘slán abhaile’ to one of its most well-respected leaders, a giant in the republican community, Peter John Caraher, who died the previous Monday morning. The wake and funeral were attended by thousands of people who wished to pay their own quiet tribute to Peter John and to sympathise with the Caraher family on the loss of a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend. Following the funeral ceremony in St Patrick’s Chapel, Cullyhanna, a moving and personal tribute was paid to Peter John by long-time family friend Gerry Adams, who began by extending solidarity to Peter John’s wife, Mary; to their daughters, Maria, Therese and Joanne; and their sons, Francis, John, Miceál, Phelim, and Cathal; to Peter John’s surviving siblings; his 19 grandchildren; the wider Caraher family; and to Peter John’s friends and neighbours. Gerry outlined Peter John’s background: “He was born, the eldest of seven children, not far from here on 9th May 1928 on Creenkill Hill, Crossmaglen. His was a republican family. His father, John, a member of the 4th Northern Division, was imprisoned in Newbridge, County Kildare, in the 1920s. He escaped and was recaptured and received such a severe beating that he died at the early age of 44, leaving 14-year-old Peter John as head of the household. “Peter John went to Kildare to work as a bricklayer and when his brother, Francie, contracted polio he returned home to help with the farm. Francie died in 2005 at the age of 73, a Volunteer of Óglaigh na hÉireann. Another brother, Owen, was imprisoned in 1959 during the ‘50s campaign. “Peter John married Mary on 4th September 1962 and they had a family of 9 children. Like his father before him, Peter John was a Volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. “South Armagh in those days was part of the Orange state: oppressed and under British military occupation. It was a very
2011 Annual Dublin Volunteers Dinner Dance A night of
Celebration and Remembrance
Bhliantúil 2011 Átha Cliath Oibrithe Deonacha Damhsa dinnéar
5 Peter John Caraher, speaking at the 2007 Special Sinn Féin Ard Fheis proud republican heartland and Peter John was rightly proud of the actions of the volunteer soldiers of the IRA. In the early years of the conflict he was adjutant to Michael McVerry, who was killed in action while carrying out an attack on Keady Barracks in 1973. Mickey McVerry and Peter John were firm friends and his death had a huge impact on him. There was never a day went by that he didn’t speak of him. The flag on Peter John’s coffin today is the same one that was draped on Mickey McVerry’s coffin. “In the aftermath of Mickey McVerry’s death, Peter John took on the role of O/C and he instigated the building of the monument to his comrade and friend which was opened a year to the day after his death. “Peter John was always very keen that people should recognise the central role played by his wife, Mary, and he always valued her opinion and advice. “The family suffered a great hurt when in December 1990 Fergal and Miceál were the victims of a shoot-to-kill action by the
British Army. Fergal was killed and Miceál was severely wounded. Peter John refused to be daunted by this huge personal loss and was instrumental in the setting up of a public inquiry into the events surrounding the shootings.” Gerry Adams also commended Peter John’s community involvement in groups such as the Pioneer Society, the Lourdes Committee, the Michael McVerry Sinn Féin Cumann, the Cullyhanna Band, Cullyhanna GFC, and South Armagh Green Cross. Describing the esteem in which Peter John was held, Gerry Adams said: “He was a giant in our struggle. He was like a tall tree in very turbulent times in the centre of his own family and the republican community.” In South Armagh we know the legacy which Peter John has bequeathed to us. The vibrant Republican Movement, thriving in our area and our strong communities, are a testament to a proud man who gave 100% to the struggle for unity and freedom.”
5 The funeral of Peter John Caraher took place in Cullyhanna
THE funeral of veteran Belfast republican Seamus Loughran took place on Thursday 29th September. He had passed away the previous Sunday. Loughran, from Andersonstown, played a central role in republican politics in the early 1970s as the war in the North intensified. In 1972 during a stand off between the IRA and the British army in Lenadoon, West Belfast, Loughran acted as a go-between. However the situation in the area deteriorated leading to massive gun battles between the IRA and the British which saw the collapse of the 1972 truce. Loughran was later interned and held in the Cages of Long Kesh. When he was released, the west Belfast man took on various senior roles within the Movement and was part of a delegation of senior republicans who met Protestant clegrymen in Feakle, County Clare, in 1974. The talks between the then republican leadership figures and the clergymen lead to the IRA instigating its 1975 ceasfire. However due to ill-health Loughran, who was holding down the position as Sinn Féin’s Ulster organiser, resigned. Speaking to An Phoblacht, Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey, who knew Seamus Loughran well, praised him as someone “who was ahead of his time politically”. Alex explained: “Seamus was very prominent in the early 1970s. He was always looking for ways to promote grassroots, community based projects. He was one of the first people I heard encouraging people to set up credit unions and promote the idea of a peoples’ parliament because he was committed to the idea of workers becoming empowered and taking as much control of their lives as possible. “He wanted the people to be as self-sufficient as they could. He was all for workers rights.” He described Seamus Loughran as a republican who stood against the injustices he witnessed on the streets of Belfast and throughout the North. “He came from a very solid Irish family tradition, he loved his family and I would like to take this opportunity to pass on my condolences and those of Sinn Féin to Seamus’s wife Josie, his sons Kieran, Seamus and Brendan and his daughters Christina and Gráinne.”
8pm Saturday 26th November Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street SPECIAL HONOUREE: ROSE DUGDALE CHAIR:
Seán Crowe TD
3 course meal, entertainment and special guests. Táille €55 Contact: Pamela Kane | firstname.lastname@example.org | 086 2420906 | Niall Binead | email@example.com | 087 6184010
November / Samhain 2011 |
I nDíl Chuimhne “Life springs from death and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations.” – Pádraig Mac Piarais 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 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 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 MEEHAN, Martin. In proud memory of Volunteer Martin Meehan, whose fourth anniversary occurs on 3rd November. Remembered always by the Clarkes (Ardoyne). MURPHY, James. In proud and loving memory of Volunteer James Murphy, who died on 26th November 2007. Always remembered by his loving family, parents Jimmy and Sandy; sister Áine, Conor and Conor Óg; brother Pearse and
Michelle; sister Roisín and Andy. MURPHY, James. In proud and loving memory of Volunteer James Murphy, who died on 26th November 2007. Always remembered by the Republican Movement, Munster; Sinn Féin Cúige Mumhan; Republican Movement, Cork; and Sinn Féin Chorcaí. MURPHY, James. In proud and loving memory of Volunteer James Murphy, who died on 26th
November 2007. Always remembered by Tom Hanlon, republican prisoner, Portlaoise Jail. MURPHY, James. In proud and loving memory of Volunteer James Murphy, who died on 26th November 2007. Always remembered by his friends and comrades Mick, Kieran, Paul and Tony. O’MAHONEY, Liam. In memory of Liam O’Mahoney, Portarlington (5th anniversary), a friend and comrade. Always remembered by
Comhbrón CARAHER, Peter John. Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Peter John Caraher, Cullyhana, South Armagh, who died recently. From Conor McLaughlin and family, Cork. CARAHER, Peter John. Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Peter John Caraher, Cullyhana, South Armagh, who died recently. From Sinn Féin Cúige Mumhan and the Republican Movement, Munster. DIXON, Christy. It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Christy Dixon, a good friend and comrade. My condolences to his family and friends. From Councillor Noel
Councillor Noel Harrington, Kinsale. O’SULLIVAN, Timmy. In memory of Timmy O’Sullivan, Passage West (2nd anniversary). Always remembered by Councillor Noel Harrington, Kinsale. QUIGLEY, James. In proud and loving memory of Volunteer Jimmy Quigley, whose 39th anniversary occurred on 29th September. Always remembered by his brother Tommy and family.
Next issues of An Phoblacht out on . . .
DECEMBER – THURSDAY 1st Harrington, Kinsale. DONAGHER, Teresa. County Wexford Sinn Féin extends heartfelt sympathy to our friend and comrade, Colum Donagher, his sons Daniel and Johnny; and the extended family on the death of Teresa. She was a much loved wife, mother, daughter and sister who bore her suffering with dignity and spirit. God rest her soul. DONAGHER, Teresa. Deepest sympathy is extended to our colleague Colum Donagher, his sons, Daniel and Johnny, and the extended family on the death of Teresa, a beloved wife,
mother, daughter and sister. May she rest in peace. From the Fr Murphy/Keegan/Parle Sinn Féin Cumann, Enniscorthy. FLEMING, Colum. Deepest sympathy is extended to the Fleming family on the sad passing of their brother Colum. From the Pádraig Pearse Sinn Féin Cumann, Bogside and Brandywell, Derry. FLEMING, Colum. Deepest sympathy is extended to Nuala and all the Fleming family on the sad passing of their brother Colum. From the Eamonn Lafferty Sinn Féin Cumann, Creggan, Derry.
All notices should sent to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 days in advance of publication date. THERE IS NO CHARGE for I nDíl Chuimhne, Comhbhrón etc. There is a charge of €10 for inserts printed in our Imeachtaí/Events column you can get a €30 small box advert or €50 large box advert. Contact: email@example.com for details
Rose Doyle (Stagg) Mayo and Meath ROSE DOYLE (née Stagg) passed away suddenly on 14th September at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, after a short illness following her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. A lifelong, committed republican, she has left behind her husband, James, and her six children: Kevin, Neil, Robert, Trevor, Roisín and Darina. Rose’s brother, Frank Stagg, died on hunger strike on 12th February 1976, in Wakefield Prison in England. Rose was born on 4th March 1943 in Hollymount, County Mayo, a village halfway between Claremorris and Balinrobe. She was the sixth child of a family of 13 and effectively headed up the younger half of the siblings. She emigrated to Britain and settled in Coventry, where she became a qualified nurse. In 1961, she met James Doyle, another emigrant, from Killarney, County Kerry. They were married in October 1965 and six children came along thereafter, with the four boys being born in Coventry and both girls born in Trim, County Meath, in the 1970s. Times were turbulent in the early 1970s for a republican family living in the British Midlands during the IRA campaign. Two County Mayo Hunger Strikers lost their lives
in British prisons: Michael Gaughan in 1974 and Frank Stagg in 1976. Especially difficult for Rose Stagg was that her first daughter was born on 7th February 1976, five days before her brother passed away. The most distressing of all was when the Fine Gael/Labour Party Government at the time did not hand over the body of Frank Stagg to his family on arrival at Shannon Airport. Instead, against Frank Stagg’s dying wish to be buried in the Republican Plot next to Michael Gaughan, The Government chose to bury him elsewhere in the cemetery, thereby avoiding what they saw as a ‘republican’ funeral. In fact, such was their fear that his dying wish would be carried out, a few days before leaving office in 1977 they arranged for six feet of concrete to be poured over the coffin. Some 20 months after his burial, a team of six IRA Volunteers in the dead of night carried out Frank’s dying wish. A grave was dug adjacent to where he lay and his coffin moved to the Republican Plot and buried there as he had wished. Rose Doyle, due to unbearable circumstances, moved from Coventry in April 1975 and settled with her family in Navan, County Meath. Despite difficult financial pressures,
she made regular visits to her brother in prison in various prisons all over Britain during 1975. Rose did not miss one commemoration of the two Mayo Hunger Strikers or indeed the 10 Hunger Strikers from 1981, until this year, when she was too ill to travel. Her funeral on Saturday 17th September would be one that she would have been proud of. An eight-strong colour guard and
a lone piper escorted her remains to St Oliver Plunkett’s Church in Blackcastle, Navan, before burial at the Old Kilcarin Cemetery, Navan. At her graveside, Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín gave a speech on her commitment and steadfast loyalty to the cause of Irish freedom. Her like is a rare breed and due to her support and love, her family will have the fondest memories of her for all time to come.
| November / Samhain 2011
Na meáin agus páirtithe Rialtais easnamhach
McGuinness Abú! LE
TREVOR Ó CLOCHARTAIGH
AGUS MÉ dhá scríobh seo níl vóta ar bith caite i dtoghchán na hUachtaránachta, ach tá bua mórálta faighte ag Martin McGuinness agus Sinn Féin cheana féin sílim. Leathnaigh ainmniúchán an Leas Chéad Aire an díospóireacht maidir le ról agus roghnú Uachtarán na hÉireann, ach chomh maith leis sin d’ardaigh sé ceisteanna maidir le seasamh na bpáirtithe agus na hiarrthóirí ar cheisteanna maidir le Éíre Aontaithe, an chríochdheighilt, oidhreacht na dTrioblóidí agus an phroiséas síochána. Rud a d’fhág na meáin agus ag páirtithe an Rialtais easnamhach ina gcuid freagraí ach go háirithe. Bhí fhios againn go mbeadh toghchán na hUachtaránachta salach, ach measaim nach raibh súil ag aon duine againn le cuid den suarachas a bhain leis an tráchtaireacht agus an dioscúrsa poiblí ó na polaiteoirí - ní amháin i leith Martin McGuinness ach maidir le gach iarrthóir nár bhain le páirtithe an Rialtais dar liom. Seans go ndéarfaidh daoine go bhfuil mise claonta, agus b’fhéidir go bhfuil an ceart acu, ach ní mheasaim gur chuir na tráchtairí an oiread brú ar Gay Mitchell agus Michael D Higgins agus a cuireadh ar na h-iarrthóirí eile ar fad. Ach, an aiseolas a fuair mise ar an gcineál tráchtaireachta sin, ná dá déine is a bhí na ceisteanna agus dá mba mhó an claontacht a bhain leo, is ea is mó gur thaobhaigh an gnáthdhuine le Martin McGuinness, mar shampla. In áit daoine a iompú ina aghaidh is ea is mó a bhrú an tráchtaireacht seo daoine i dtreo fhear Dhoire. Bhí an rud céanna le feiceáil freisin i lár an fheachtais leis an ardú a tháinig ar thacaíocht do Seán Gallagher sna pobalbhreitheanna nuair a bhí sé faoi bhrú maidir lena ghaol le Fianna Fáil. Tabhair faoi deara nár tháinig aon méadú suntasach ar thacaíocht iarrthóirí Fhine Gael agus an Lucht Oibre le linn an fheachtais, in ainneoin –– nó b’fhéidir mar thoradh air, na meáin a bheith ag dul go bog orthu. Le fírinne, is é an rud is mó a ndearna mé féin suntas dó maidir leis an toghchán seo ná go bhfuil páirtithe an Rialtais sna fiche sé chontae thart ar cúig bhliana déag ar gcúl ar mheon an phobail maidir le proiséas na síochána. Bhí na hargóintí a bhíodar ag cur chun cinn sna meáin agus i dTithe an Oireachtais, aineolach agus míthuisceanach ar chomh fada agus tá muid tagtha chun cinn ó thaobh cothrom na féinne do shaoránaithe na sé chontae agus ról lárnach Sinn Féin sa phroiséas ar fad.
Caithfidh chuile dhuine a n-intinn féin a dhéanamh suas ar cleasaíocht polaitiúil atá anseo nó an é go bhfuil siad fós lonnaithe thiar sa stair ó thaobh dearcadh agus cur chuige de. Níl aon dabht faoi ach gur bhain na pobalbhreitheanna agus an tacaíocht láidir do
Mhartin McGuinness stangadh aisteach ó na páirtithe seanbhunaithe sa Stát seo. Níl aon dabht ach oiread ach go ndearna Sinn Féin an cinneadh ceart iarrthóir a chur chun cinn agus go raibh Martin McGuinness mar sár-iarrthóir don phost. Tá an-aiféal léirithe ag ionadaithe poiblí i Fianna Fáil go príobháídeach liom nár sheas siadsan iarrthóir mar shampla agus gur botún a bhí ansin, ach níl aon dabht ná go bhfuil siad ag glacadh go fonnmhar le Seán Gallagher mar fhear ón ‘gene pool’ - go príobháideach muna bhfuil siad dhá rá go poiblí. Tá ardmholadh ag dul do gach duine a bhí páirteach ar fhoireann McGuinness chomh maith as feabhas na h-ócáidí poiblí a eagraíodh le linn an fheachtais seo. Bhí sluaite móra ann agus go leor daoine ag cloisteáil scéala Mhairtín den chéad uair agus iad ag fáil tuiscint faoi leith ar chéard a spreag é chun dul i mbun feachtais chun cearta sibhialta a bhaint amach dá phobal. Bhí suas le seacht gcéad duine ag an gcomhdháil ag d’eagraigh muid i nGaillimh mar shampla agus shínigh cuid mhaith acu sin suas linn chun tacú le Máirtín agus chun a bheith páirteach i ngníomhaíochtaí Sinn Féin i gcoitinne. Chaith mé roinnt ama ar an mbóthar le Martin agus an fhoireann toghchánaíochta freisin, mar bhí muid ag ullmhú don díospóireacht ar TG4. In ainneoin na dúshláin éagsúla atá tagtha roimh McGuinness ina shaol – an strachailt, bagairtí báis, proiséas na síochána, comhrialtais le hAontachtóirí agus araile – sílim go raibh níos mó drogall aige roimh sliocht a dhéanamh i nGaeilge ar an teilifís ná go leor eile acu seo! In ainneoin sin, thug Martin faoin dúshlán seo ar an mbealach is dual dó – le fócas agus le díogras. D’oibrigh sé go dian chun an sliocht Ghaeilge a fháil i gceart mar gur thuig sé an tábhacht a bhain leis. Cuma cén toradh a bheidh ar an toghchán seo, níl aon dabht ormsa gurb é Martin McGuinness an duine ab fhearr sa rása agus tréaslaím leis as ucht an fheachtas a rith sé agus an mhisneach atá aige féin agus ag gach duine a thacaigh leis ar aon bhealach. McGuinness abú!
November / Samhain 2011 |
‘Soviet Soccer Saturday’
More than a game MATT TREACY
HOSE OF US of a certain vintage and who used to go to dodgy parties with people who had congealed Guinness foam in their beards will recall the sort of singsongs that Dublin republicans and lefties used to have before they started to go to late-night wine bars and eat tofu.
like the holes in Trotsky’s head, are inseparable from the Soviet era
If there were Stalinists present then you were certain to hear Red Fly the Banners, O! It is one of those songs that everyone can join in and seems never to end as extra lines are added. A bit like The Bog Down in the Valley Oh actually now that I come to think of it. So at some point one of the Stickies [Ed’s note for younger readers who haven’t yet grown beards to congeal Guinness in: Stickies = the Workers’ Party] or a Communist Party tankie would leave off for a moment telling a nurse from Roscommon why her Da should be forced into a collective farm and her brothers sent to cut turf in Offaly to start off the verse: I’ll sing you one-O! Red fly the banners, O! What is your on -O! One is workers’ unity and ever more shall be so. And so it went on. Three was The Rights of Man. As in: “Three, three the rights of man.” Then you went back to the start and added more. Usually, the biggest audience participation came for the verse about 13 being for the holes in Trotsky’s head. And if there were any Trots present they might have to hide in the kitchen for a while behind parcels of stout until the Stalinists had forgotten their mental note to give them a slap with a copy of Eoghan Harris’s The Irish Industrial Revolution. Anyway, the reason for all of this nostalgia and what brings me back to sport (sort of) is that one of the lines was about the Moscow Dynamos. ‘The what?’ you say. Dynamo Moscow (Dinamo Moscow or Dinamo Moskva, back in the USSR). They finished seventh in the Russian Premier league last year and played Celtic in something or other but have
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5 The Starostin brothers in 1934; clockwise from top left: Aleksandr, Nikolai, Petr and Andrei
never recaptured their glory days when they won the league eleven times and the cup six times. The Soviet league and cup, of course. Because they, like the holes in Trotsky’s head in fact, are inseparable from the Soviet era. Although the club was founded in the 1880s, it came under the control of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the head of the Cheka, the Soviet security agency, in 1917, and adopted the title Dynamo in 1923. The club’s motto, “Power in Motion”, was coined by the author Maxim Gorky who was a member of the sporting club that was attached to the Ministry of the Interior. There is no record of Stalin having been a big football fan (which is probably just as well) but his chum Lavrenty Beria, who was the main man at the NKVD secret police, was a big Dynamo fan and technically chair of the club. He took revenge on their rivals, Spartak, who beat Dynamo in the 1939 Cup semi-final by having the four Starostin brothers, who were involved with Spartak, and several players arrested in 1942 and charged with conspiring to murder Stalin! (If only Pillar Caffrey had put his position within the Garda to such purpose for the Dubs.) That charge was later dropped but they were
SINN FÉIN NATIONAL DRAW NOW NOVEMBER 12th Tickets are still available for Sinn Féin's 2011 National Finance Committee – Private Members Draw. There is a €25,000/£25,000 Prize fund with a top prize of €15,000 or £15,000 (Prizes paid in currency the ticket was purchased).
found guilty of “lauding bourgeois sport and attempting to drag bourgeois motives into Soviet sport”. That earned them ten bowlers a piece in the gulags. It all got a bit weird then. Stalin’s son, Vassily, got Nikolai Starostin out early to manage the Soviet air force team in 1948 but they were so afraid of Beria that they used to sleep together in the same bed. (Now there’s an excuse that might come in handy some time: ‘So why are you two in the same bed?’; ‘Well, you know that Beria chap . . .’) After the Greatest Leader of the World Proletariat passed on (just reading from a legal letter I have here before me ) and his chum Beria got his comeuppance, Starostin was rehabilitated and returned to Moscow where he coached the Soviet team and became President of Spartak. His autobiography is called Football Through the Years. Now that’s what you call masterly understatement! Dynamo, meanwhile, is currently mainly owned by the state VTB bank. Worth a line in an oul song, I suppose. All of this, by the way, was brought to mind by talking to someone in The Flowing Tide who was wearing a blue jersey with a large cryllic ‘D’ on it. She had never heard of Red Fly the Banners, O! And you don’t talk about Stalin in polite company these days . . .
MORE TIME TO SELL YOUR TICKETS
DUE to the hard work being put in by all Sinn Féin activists during the Presidential election campaign, the National Fundraising Committee has changed the date of the National Draw from October 22nd to November 12th. This gives activists an extra three weeks to sell their tickets and will hopefully give everyone enough time to reach their targets if they have not already been met. Go raibh maith agat. Tickets can be purchased online at the Sinn Féin Book Shop: www.sinnfeinbookshop.com or can write to: Sinn Féin National Finance Committee, First floor, 58 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Telephone: + 353 1 873 5546 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
November / Samhain 2011
anphoblacht DECEMBER ISSUE OUT . . . Thursday 1st December | JANUARY ISSUE OUT. . . Thursday 5th Janruary
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NORTH’S POLICE OMBUDSMAN ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE | THREE DAMNING REPORTS
HUTCHINSON TO GO IN JANUARY
NOVEMBER 2011 PAGE 32 - POLICE OMBUDSMAN = 670 WORDS
SUGGESTED PIX:* Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson * SF MLA Gerry Kelly pic with pull quote * McGurk’s Bar/Loughinisland family press conference about Police Ombudsman report/s
» BY PEADAR WHELAN POLICE OMBUDSMAN Al Hutchinson has finally bowed to the inevitable, announcing he will resign from office in January 2012. Despite three damning reports and pressure from families of victims, campaign groups, Sinn Féin and the SDLP, Hutchinson had previously dug his heels in, insisting he would not relinquish his post until June 2012. In one of the reports that fuelled calls for Hutchinson to go, independent human rights organisation Committee on the Administration of Justice raised concerns about the capacity of the Police Ombudsman’s office to investigate historic cases and questioned the quality of the reports it published. Recent revelations over his conduct within the office and accusations that he showed a lack of leadership forced the Canadian policeman’s hand. On Tuesday 25th October, the BBC Spotlight programme interviewed Sam Pollock, Chief Executive of the Ombudsman’s Office, who resigned in April saying he had lost confidence in Hutchinson. One of the issues that prompted Pollock’s decision was Hutchinson’s failure to investigate the RUC’s handling of their agent codenamed ‘Stakeknife’. Then PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde asked Hutchinson to investigate the RUC’s use of Stakeknife, alleged to be west Belfast
republican Freddie Scappaticci. Despite this request, no action was taken. It has also emerged that Hutchinson gave misleading evidence to the Stormont Justice Committee. According to Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Raymond McCartney, when Hutchinson met the Justice Committee in September he gave evidence that was “misleading and factually incorrect”. McCartney said that Hutchinson’s claims that his office’s proposals for dealing with the past had already received positive acknowledgment from the Criminal Justice Inspectorate are “not true”. In the aftermath of Sam Pollock’s resignation, the Criminal Justice Inspectorate carried out its own investigation into the Police Ombudsman’s office and concluded that the independence of the Ombudsman’s office had been lowered by the nature of its conduct regarding historical cases. It also highlighted concerns over the handling of sensitive material and the divisions within senior management. In a separate development, a Sinn Féin
delegation, including Policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly and Raymond McCartney, met with the Criminal Justice Inspectorate on Thursday 20th October. According to Kelly, the meeting “clarified that the claim made by the Police Ombudsman concerning his proposals for dealing with the past has not in fact been acknowledged or endorsed at this time by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate”. Kelly also outlined Sinn Féin’s position on the Police Ombudsman’s office. “We want to see the Police Ombudsman’s office return to being an independent, effective and credible mechanism for holding the police to account. “The Ombudsman’s office is a powerful and critical accountability mechanism in the new policing arrangements but those powers were misused, suffered from inter-
‘WE WANT TO SEE THE POLICE OMBUDSMAN’S OFFICE RETURN TO BEING AN INDEPENDENT, EFFECTIVE AND CREDIBLE MECHANISM FOR HOLDING THE POLICE TO ACCOUNT’ GERRY KELLY, SINN FÉIN MLA
ference and were contaminated. There are already a number of recommendations made by Nuala O’Loan which could be used to strengthen the independence and credibility of the office.” It has also emerged that the reporting on as many as seven investigations has been suspended after questions were raised about the independence of the initial investigations. At the heart of the Police Ombudsman’s failures is the unwillingness to tackle head-on the issue of collusion between the British state forces and loyalist gangs, effectively letting the RUC in particular off the hook. In two reports — into the 1971 McGurk’s Bar bombing and the 1994 Loughinisland massacre — Hutchinson never used the word collusion, leading solicitor Niall Murphy to rubbish the Loughinisland report. According to the Committee on the Administration of Justice, the Police Ombudsman has no clear definition or application of the term collusion, which leads to the belief that the Police Ombudsman’s office is restricted from making a proactive finding that the police have collaborated in the past with loyalist death squads even in circumstances where the evidence points to the inevitable conclusion that there was collusion.