The lasting legacy of a literary giant

16 October 2004
By Joe McNamee

WE’RE great men and women on the Ould Sod for lionising our literary giants without knowing the first thing about them.

With most of them banned before breakfast in Ireland during their lifetimes and preferring to live and work in exile, it was often only foreign acclaim that alerted us to our clutch of Nobel Prize winners.

And while some of us (rabid Joyceans from the crib) cluck disapprovingly at the tourist fiesta that passes for Bloomsday - ‘of course, de bould Jemmy wud be spinnin’ in de grave!’ - in private, we’ll take the first page of Ulysses over a fistful of sleeping tablets any day.

And then there is Oscar.

Perversely, we are really quite familiar with the most famous fringe in world literature. We have a good handle on the bio - top wit and gadabout playwright takes a shine to some young fella whose Da blows a gasket, it winds up in court, where eventually disgraced, Wilde loses family, fortune, liberty and reputation.

Even more perversely, we are actually very familiar with his work even if we are not always sure it is Wilde we are quoting.

More than a few customs officers must have nightmares about beer-bloated slobs returning from Marbella “with nothing to declare but their genius”.

But familiarity has bred contempt: with the 150th anniversary of his birth today, the general consensus seems to be that Wilde was more concerned with his reputation as a wit and a dandy than with building a serious body of work.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born on October 16, 1854. Following a brilliant academic career at Trinity and Oxford, he married Constance Lloyd and had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan.

His first novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in 1890. His first play, Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892) was a huge success. A Woman Of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance Of Being Earnest (1895) followed.

In the summer of 1891, he met Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas, an Oxford undergraduate and the third son of the Marquess of Queensberry. They became lovers and were inseparable for four years.

Then in April 1895, Bosie’s father publicly accused Wilde of sodomy; Wilde sued. He began the trial in high spirits, facing an old rival from his Trinity days, Edward Carson (later, one of the fathers of modern unionism). But Carson delighted in deflating the flamboyant Wilde and, as the trial collapsed, Wilde was said to be close to nervous breakdown.

He was rearrested and over subsequent trials convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years’ hard labour. Constance took the children to Switzerland and reverted to an old family name, Holland. Wilde never saw his sons again.

Upon his release, he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, an agonised response to his incarceration, but it was his last creative act. Wilde died on November 30, 1900.

The reverberations of the bigotry and homophobia that caused Wilde’s fall from grace still rumble in the Wilde/Holland family to this day.

Grandson Merlin Holland is the keeper of his literary reputation and has often spoken and written of the lasting damage of the scandal to his father, Vyvyan, and uncle, Cyril.

To mark the anniversary, The School of Drama, Trinity College Dublin, will present Irish Peacock and Scarlet Marquess, a dramatic reading from the transcript of the trial of Oscar Wilde with Merlin Holland as Wilde and actor Alan Stanford as Edward Carson. It takes place tonight at 8pm in The Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College Dublin. Box Office: 01-6082461.

Wildean wit ...

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

“Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”

“Friendship is far more tragic than love. It lasts longer.”

“Those whom the gods love grow young.”

“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”

“The way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”

“The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.”

“Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones.”

“Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.”

“An acquaintance that begins with a compliment is sure to develop into a real friendship.”

“I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.” “Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love’s tragedies.”

“The man who says he has exhausted life generally means life has exhausted him.”

“My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don’t know anything at all.”

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune ... to lose both seems like carelessness.”

“The sick do not ask if the hand that smoothes their pillow is pure, nor the dying care if the lips that touch their brow have known the kiss of sin.”

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man’s last romance.”

“The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”

“Rich bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.”

“One should never trust a woman who tells her real age. If she tells that, she’ll tell anything.”

Yahoo! News - UK

UK May Send Troops to Baghdad


LONDON (Reuters) - British troops could be moved to Baghdad to cover for U.S. soldiers battling insurgents in the rebel-held city of Falluja and elsewhere in Iraq (news - web sites), British media reported on Saturday.

The deployment to the Iraqi capital would be the first time British troops have operated outside the relatively quiet Basra area of southern Iraq.

Up to 650 troops would be involved in the move, which would be meant to last for just a few weeks, the BBC said.

A Ministry of Defense spokesman in London said no decision had been made.

The Times newspaper said officers from Britain's Black Watch regiment, currently serving in Basra, had told their troops about a possible move to Baghdad.

Nicholas Soames, defense spokesman for the opposition Conservative Party, demanded more clarity from the Ministry of Defense on the role of British troops in Iraq.

If British soldiers did more in Iraq they should take a bigger role in planning operations and there must be careful coordination with U.S. forces, he said.

"The rules of engagement would have to be very clear because they may well be different to that which the regiment will have used in Basra," he told BBC radio.


DUP 'may accept' transfer date

The Democratic Unionist Party has not ruled out accepting a target date for the transfer of policing and justice powers to a revived Stormont executive, its deputy leader has said.

Peter Robinson said any target would have to reflect opinions across the community about whether Northern Ireland politicians were ready to take on the job.

The DUP has been resisting nationalist pressure for a fixed timetable for the transfer of the powers.

Mr Robinson said: "The target can only be realised if the community has the faith in the process that would follow - not simply because the calendar suggests this is the day it should happen."

He made the comments on BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme on Saturday.

The political institutions in Northern Ireland have been suspended since October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.

On Thursday, Mr Robinson did not rule out the possibility of his party talking to loyalist paramilitaries.

He told the BBC that if he met loyalists he would urge them to end their paramilitary and criminal activity and get rid of their weapons.

He was speaking on the Hearts and Minds programme.

During the programme, politicians were urged by a loyalist leader, Winston Rea, to speak to those with paramilitary and political influence in his community.

Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern claimed at the conclusion of the Leeds Castle talks last month that the thorny issues of IRA disarmament and future paramilitary activity appeared to be resolved.

However, the two governments were unable to get the Northern Ireland Assembly parties to sign up to a deal over power-sharing after unionists and nationalists clashed over future devolved institutions.


PSNI break up Derry gang attack

16/10/2004 - 10:29:00

Police officers were forced to use CS spray after coming under attack by a gang as they went to the aid of an assault victim earlier today.

Police said the incident happened shortly before 2am when officers intervened to stop an attack on a young man in Waterloo Place, Derry.

As the officers were attempting to withdraw, they were attacked by a crowd of around 100 youths, a police spokeswoman said.

A 16-year-old man was arrested for disorderly behaviour and CCTV footage is being examined in a bid to identify others involved.

Twenty minutes earlier, officers had used CS spray to help quell a riot in the nearby Victoria Market car park.

It was also used to prevent another attack on a young man, who was being assaulted by up to 30 youths.

Meanwhile, at around 2.45am, a man was taken to hospital suffering from a broken nose after being attacked by a youth in his late teens in the Sackville Street area of the city.

An Phoblacht

United Irishmen founded

On 18 October 1791, 213 years ago, the first Society of United Irishmen was founded in Belfast.

Its inspiration was a young Dublin lawyer, Theobald Wolfe Tone, who was invited to Ulster by some Presbyterian radicals after publishing a pamphlet entitled An argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland.

In Belfast, Tone, Henry Joy McCracken, Thomas Russell and Samuel Neilson drafted the three resolutions of the United Irishmen that were to guide republicans for the next two centuries.

"FIRST RESOLVED — That the weight of English influence on the Government of this country is so great as to require a cordial union among all the people of Ireland, to maintain that balance which is essential to the preservation of our liberties and the extension of our commerce. SECOND — That the sole constitutional mode by which this influence can be opposed is by a complete and radical reform of the representation of the people in Parliament. THIRD — That no reform is practicable, efficacious, or just, which shall not include Irishmen of every religious persuasion".

In July 1792, Tone became a paid secretary of the Catholic Committee, and in December 1792 he organised a Catholic Convention of elected delegates in the Tailors' Hall, Dublin. The Catholic Relief Act (1793) followed, but Tone was bitterly disappointed by the limited concessions it gave.

The political thinking of Tone and his associates was strongly influenced by the democratic principles of the French revolutionary ideals of 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity', and it was natural that they should turn to France for help.

Early in 1794, a clergyman, William Jackson, came to Dublin on a mission from France to open talks with the United Irishmen. Tone prepared for him a memorandum to show that Ireland was ripe for a French invasion.

The following April, Jackson was arrested for treason. Tone's association with him was known to the authorities, but they agreed not to take any action against him if he left the country.

Tone accepted this condition but insisted that he should not be required to give evidence against Jackson, and in fact remained openly in Dublin until after Jackson's trial.

Before sailing from Belfast to America with his wife and family in May 1795, he met his friends Russell, Neilson and McCracken on Cave Hill, and they solemnly undertook never to cease their struggle for the independence of Ireland.

Tone defined his objects as

"To subvert the tyranny of our execrable government, to break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country — these were my objects."

"To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissensions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter — these were my means."

In Philadelphia, Tone obtained letters of introduction from the French Minister to the Committee of Public Safety in Paris. Arriving there in February 1796, he soon impressed the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Delacroix, with his energy and ability.

The Directory appointed General Hoche to command an expedition, and Tone was made an adjutant-general in the French Army. He sailed with the expedition from Brest on 15 December 1796, with 43 ships and 15,000 men, but it proved abortive.

The fleet was scattered by storms and returned to France. Tone then joined Hoche in Holland, where he was organising another expedition with the help of the Dutch, but this also failed. The sudden death of Hoche in September 1797 was a blow to Tone's hopes, as the two men had a high regard for each other.

When news of the rising in Ireland came, in May 1798, Tone renewed his efforts but because of the disorganised state of the French forces the best that could be arranged was a number of small raids on different parts of the coast.

On 16 September, Tone sailed with General Hardy and 3,000 men and reached Lough Swilly. A powerful English squadron came into sight and after a sharp engagement captured the small French fleet on 12 October.

Tone was taken prisoner to Dublin and tried by court-martial on 10 November. He appeared in his French uniform, was found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged, though he pleaded for a soldier's death by firing squad.

Early on the morning fixed for his execution, he was found with an opened artery in his neck and was pronounced dead on 19 November 1798. He was buried with his ancestors in Bodenstown Churchyard, County Kildare.

An Phoblacht

The Burning of Long Kesh

Photo: Starting top left: Hugh O'Hara, Paddy Mulvenna, Fr. Martin Kelly, Leo Morgan, Brendan Davidson, Manuel Duffy, Peter McCauley, Seán McLoughlin, Joe Doherty, Eddie Larkin, Billy Kelly, Mickey Loughran, Seamus Drain, Seamie Darragh, Kieran Rooney

This Friday 15 October, marks the 30th anniversary of the burning of Long Kesh camp by republican POWs. In an article originally published in the November 1994 issue of Captive Voice, a magazine produced by republican POWs, former prisoner JOE DOHERTY from North Belfast recalls that historic act of resistance.

We cannot reflect on the 1974 burning of Long Kesh without first understanding the circumstances and conditions of the camp, its historic origins as a prison camp — first for internees in 1971 and later on for political status prisoners (special category) — and the overall political situation both inside and outside the prison.

Long Kesh encapsulated the historical prison conflict from the early internment days, the political status phase, and to the H-Block Hunger Strikes of the early 1980s. Britain's renaming of Long Kesh as the Maze served to show their embarrassment internationally. But to nationalists, Long Kesh represents the endurance, struggle and spirit of republicanism over several generations.

Long Kesh was once an RAF airfield, 12 miles south of Belfast. In the post-World War II days, teenagers flocked to its dance hall. British policy makers soon turned the disused airfields and music halls into what reporters would later call a WWII POW-style prison camp: tin hunts, barbed wire, watch towers, guard dogs. In 1971, Stormont Primer Brian Faulkner and British Army chiefs soon filled the secretly constructed corrugated tin huts with hundreds of Irish nationalists — the victims of internment without trial.

Meanwhile, in Belfast's Crumlin Road Prison, republicans were reaping victory from their 1972 hunger strikes for political status. Soon, hundreds of political prisoners convicted through the special courts were being moved to five cages (compounds) at Long Kesh camp adjacent to the internees' camp.

Command structures

The republican cages were soon structured along military lines, each cage representing a battalion company, and a camp battalion staff to direct camp policy. Republicans organised communication lines, escape committees, military training, political lectures and debates and instilled unitary discipline across the camp. While each cage/company staff was in direct contact with the local guard unit, the camp staff dealt directly with the head of the British prison regime, reviewing and confronting the regime on camp conditions.

From its earliest days, Long Kesh was deemed uninhabitable for human beings. International human rights organisations such as the Red Cross protested at the conditions. Even an agricultural report deemed the same huts unfit for farm stock. The huts were damp, underheated, rodent and insect-ridden and grossly overcrowded. Food was becoming a critical issue and was deemed cold and undernourishing. The system of food supply was archaic and inadequate for the number of men and the huge layout of the camp. There was literally no laundry facility in the cages.

Demands, protests and hunger

Soon, the republican camp command, along with the camp staff of the internment phase of the camp, were pressing the prison regime for fundamental changes. Even the small number of loyalists (held in separate cages) joined republicans in a campaign to force change.

The republican camp command handed over a 20-point condition paper to the regime, which included the issues of compassionate parole, British Army searches in the internment phase, visiting, the general structural improvements in the huts and the issue of prison food. The prison regime were negative in their approach.

After months of failed dialogue, republicans were forced into passive action. By mid 1974, bedding was thrown over the wire fences. The prison food containers soon followed. The regime reacted by stopping all incoming parcels. This forced republicans down to four rounds of bread per day, as bread was the only food accepted.

After months of semi-starvation, republicans were preparing for direct physical confrontation. All personal property was sent out to families as the camp braced itself for the pending threat of riots and destruction. Each republican company area prepared riot-style squads and medic teams, drilling in Red Alert exercises, assembling in the yards in military formation, as the whole battalion made ready to move at any one signal.

The spark

The regime did eventually respond to some of the demands, which enabled the camp to come off the protest. But there was a continued tense relationship between the republicans and the prison regime. Eventually this came to head in October 1974. Cage 13 was the spark that lit the fire, literally speaking. A local incident between the republican cage commander and the local guard staff drew fists and batons alike. A mini-scuffle erupted. For reasons beyond imagination, the prison guards evacuated the camp and handed over control of the camp to the British Army, who took control of phase perimeters.

At first the situation was confusing, as each cage sought information from across the camp. No guards were at their posts and the movements of troops could be heard in the distance. This was in violation of the agreement banning British Army incursions into the camp.

The semaphore flag system was in full swing, as both internment and political status phases of the camp sought information and direction. Individual cages took evasive action and sent men over the wire of their cages to scout around. They reported back that all guards were gone and that the British Army had control of the internal post phones.

The line was drawn and the camp moved into action. Smoke and fire were seen far off in Cage 13. Soon the Red Alert alarms and signals were sent out across the camp. The riot drills we had so diligently practiced for months were now coming into play, as each man moved into his position, rushing to put on prepared riot gear and ready-made shields and riot sticks. In hindsight, it is difficult to really understand the reasons for the order. But the war cry went up: Burn the Camp!

Camp ablaze

The darkness of the night soon turned a bright amber red, as hundreds of republicans burned every hut and structure they could lay their hands on. The fires could be seen as far afield as Belfast itself (nine miles distant). No sooner was the place alight than each particular company command was given orders to move into defensive positions around the camp.

The battalion command took up control of the two football pitches situated in the centre of the camp. Soon both internees and political status prisoners met up on the pitches. Some of the internee cages were trapped down camp and were cut off. But the remaining dozen companies of men moved into assigned positions. Republicans awaited orders.

As the camp burned around us, the republican command waited on the British Army to make their move. There was no sign of any movement from the British side. The British Army chiefs realised that it would be futile to enter with such a formidably organised (however crudely equipped) republican force in wait. They waited until dawn to make their move, as thousands of troops were flown into the area for the encounter.

Meanwhile, choppers flew the whole night, harassing the republicans below with hundreds of dropped canisters of CR gas. The whole place was saturated with fire, smoke and gas.

Republicans waited for dawn. It must be noted that CR gas was never used or tested before and this was subsequently covered up by the British. A stream of Ministry of Defence medical teams were sent in to do tests on men the following year — nothing has ever been published.

Attack at dawn

As the fires smouldered and the night faded, the dawn air was cold and dew lay like a damp blanket over the camp. The excited spirit that was so prevalent during the night of fires and war cries was fading too.

The stark reality was settling in, as hundreds of weary republicans were called into position. Formations were set up in relation to the best defence of the pitches. Soon the misty, hidden winter sun had risen and all were on their feet.

The British Army were approached for negotiations. When we captured the prison hospital many non-republicans were taken captive. An offer was made to hand them over. The British Army would not negotiate. They were set on capturing the camp.

The choppers flying in formation over the camp indicated the British Army's first move. CR gas canisters were fired from fixed positions across the perimeter, as out of the gassed mist came thousands of heavily-geared troops, steel helmets, visors, gasmasks, riot sticks and rubber bullet guns. It was an impressive khaki wall of force. It was a starkly cold sight. They were organised and moved at a determined centurion pace.

Soon, all hell broke loose, as the choppers searched out targets on the ground and the troops inched forward, firing rubber bullets and gas. A Saracen armoured troop carrier roamed the place, knocking down all fortified barricades.

The battle lasted most of the early morning. Many small pockets of republicans were cut off and captured by snatch squads. British Army personnel, too, were captured, Gas continued and rubber bullets penetrated the makeshift shields, plunging into heads and bodies.

Last stand

Republicans were forced back, foot by foot, under the massive weight of superior numbers. The British cut off the run-back to the top end of the camp, a prepared escape route out of the pitches. While several hundred men escaped, the remaining 300 were trapped. Huddled into the corner of the pitch, subdued, the mountain of crushed bodies awaited the final assault.

There was one last rush of troops, firing every gas and rubber bullet gun they could muster. The air was so thick with gas that no one could see any possible escape. Batons were thumped across any head that could be seen and rubber bullet guns were fired into selected faces. Blood and vomit were everywhere. Coughed screams were ignored about the victorious and revenge-filled screams of British troops. Several men were seriously injured in this attack, sustaining broken limbs and the loss of eyes.

The bloodletting over, the remaining conscious republicans were dragged and beaten to the surrounding wire, each individually beaten and spreadeagled against the wire. And there they stood spreadeagled for the next eight hours; those who dared to fall were again beaten.

Meanwhile, the top end of the camp had fallen. The whole camp was now secured and in the control of the British Army. Where are they going to put us, we wondered? Nothing stood in the cages, not a stick or brick.

After routine beating sessions and forced marches back into the cages, the British suddenly pulled out, leaving republicans to fend for themselves. Although injured, cold and hungry the republicans pulled together, quickly organising a system of shelter for the night under the rain. Morale was high. The following day, squads of men set about tearing at what was left of the mass of rubble for any wood or tin sheeting construct a shantytown. A mancover was pulled up to create a crude toilet. Sanitation had to be secure, no matter how the conditions were.

This was to be home for the following months. Soon, among the rubble, republicans organised a system for bathing and sharing whatever water they could procure. The badly injured among the men were confined to a special makeshift hut. Republican structures maintained a continuing mode of disciplined resistance and unity.

• Postscript; During that shantytown era, internees in Cage 5, using fallen rubble as a cover, set to tunnel under the main perimeter. On the night of 6 November 1974, republican POWs made their way out under the cover of darkness. Alerted, the British Army post opened up on the escaping men. While three escaped, Volunteer Hugh Coney from Coalisland, County Tyrone, was shot dead.

While Long Kesh burned, other republican commands in Magilligan, Armagh and Crumlin Road Prisons rose to the occasion. They tell their own similar stories.

By Christmas 1974, republicans were relocated in a new phase. A new campaign was under way to better the conditions.

The following year, while the camp settled into normality and as internment was being phased out, a new construction was under way beyond the bottom perimeter of the camp. This was not the accustomed corrugated tin sheets but a mass of prefab concrete sections edging outwards, taking a strange 'H' shape.

Yet again, there entered another phase of republican POW resistance, fought by many of those who took part in the night of 15 October, the night Long Kesh burned for the world to see. Again, the resistance of republicans would prevail.


Christy Keenan from the Short Strand in Belfast was in cage 18. Serving seven years for possession of weapons, he was in charge of communications between his cage and the other cages where republican POWs, both internees and sentenced, were being held.

"The tension in the camp was building up throughout the day," he recalls. "There had been a row in the visits and the screws wanted to take those involved out of cage 13 for punishment and the camp staff refused to send the men out.

"Semaphore messages were going up and down the camp all day before the order came through to burn the camp."

The POWs had been training for such an inevitability. "We were ordered to put together a survival kit with some food and a sharp instrument for protection. We were also in training over obstacle courses to get our fitness levels as high as possible."

"At about 8pm the order was given. Everything was piled up in the middle of the huts and we doused it with the highly flammable floor polish we were issued with and ignited it," says Keenan. "After we torched the huts we went over the wire and formed into our separate companies and marched towards the football pitches."

As the huts went up in flames the prisoners, armed with bed ends, brush shafts and any other makeshift weapon they could get their hands on, awaited the inevitable assault by the British Army.

At dawn the next day, Keenan recalls, the British Army initially used the ploy of asking for negotiations with the camp staff. "Paul 'Dingus' Magee, the camp adjutant, went to talk to a British Army major at the gate at the internees' end of the camp and the Brits tried to snatch him. As this was happening, the British Army moved in behind us. They used Saracen armoured cars to smash through the fences and stormed the pitches."

Like Joe, Christy recalls the injuries received by the men and the choking CR gas that was used against the prisoners to help subdue what had been a spirited battle against all the odds.

"The CR gas was dropped similar to a cluster bomb," remembers Christy. "A large container hit the ground and the small canisters were scattered about, clouding the whole pitch area in gas.

"Gradually, the British Army regained control of the camp and rounded us all up and we were spreadeagled against the fences".

Keenan also recalls the injuries inflicted and remembers that some British soldiers, serving in Belfast, went in search of prisoners they knew and beat them up in revenge attacks.


An Phoblacht

The ceasefire that never was

A few weeks ago, this paper marked the tenth anniversary of the 1994 IRA cessation and examined the army's subsequent positive contributions to the Peace Process.

Wednesday 13 October marked the tenth anniversary of the loyalist ceasefire. Unfortunately, we cannot document the progress loyalist paramilitaries have made in the last ten years. Because we would be fooling ourselves if we even suggested for one minute that the unionist death squads had ever taken their announcement seriously.

In the last ten years, attacks on nationalist and Catholic areas, homes and people have been sustained. Sinn Féin has taken to producing an annual document listing the attacks. They reveal a litany of orchestrated sectarian intimidation and human suffering.

In 2003 alone there were 160 separate incidents. This included 54 pipe and petrol bomb attacks; a number of shooting incidents; and 43 physical attacks on people, including a man stabbed eight times, a pregnant women beaten so severely that she lost her baby and several attempted abductions.

There were scores of attacks on Catholic houses and property, with families forced to leave their homes. There were attacks on Catholic schools and churches.

During the last ten years, among the victims of unionist killers have been Daniel McColgan, Ciarán Cummings, Gerard Lawlor, Robert Hamill and Rosemary Nelson, and Protestants Gavin Brett and Trevor Lowry, who were mistaken for Catholics. In July 1998 the three little Quinn boys were murdered by loyalists who petrol bombed their home during the Drumcree standoff.

In the run up to the fatal fire bombing of the Quinn home, over 140 families living in predominantly Protestant estates had been targeted in similar sectarian attacks.

Infighting amongst the UDA and UVF has resulted in further deaths and Protestant communities have been left in tatters as loyalist gangs fight for territorial control.

Loyalist paramilitaries are up to their necks in drug dealing and ethnic minorities have also suffered at their hands. Only this week, it emerged that the UVF boss in South Belfast has decreed that there is a 'quota' of Chinese families that would be 'acceptable' in his area.

Loyalist violence has never ceased and mainstream unionist politicians on the whole have failed to show leadership and in some cases have actively incited sectarian and racist violence.

Meanwhile, the two governments, the media, and other establishment elements attempt to keep the focus on the IRA, which is no threat to the Peace Process.

This appaling situation sees sectarian racist criminal thugs, with whom British state forces have colluded in killing hundreds of nationalists and republicans, being given free rein. It is just one example of the sickness that is at the heart of Britain's continued occupation of Ireland.


We Say

It is difficult to conceive of a more cynical and grubby abuse of process than the experience to which local man Bill Tierney and his family have been subjected over the last year and a half.

Mr Tierney is a fifty-nine year-old, widely respected family man who up until eighteen months ago was running his own successful computer company.
He was on the cusp of finishing a world-class PC software programme that was almost ready for marketing on the global stage.

But Bill Tierney’s world changed in May 2003.

A cadre of senior PSNI detectives took a decision that this upstanding member of our community was fair game for a pathetic stunt dressed up under the guise of policing, when they chose to charge him with ‘possessing information likely to be of use to terrorists’.

This charade continued for almost a year and a half, until all the charges were sheepishly dropped last week – without any explanation of any kind whatsoever to the accused.

Bill Tierney’s name has been dragged through the mud by the PSNI, on foot of which one learned Diplock judge commented that he is potentially dangerous.
Mr Tierney was cruelly forced to experience the inside of Maghaberry prison, twenty years after leaving the H-Blocks of Long Kesh where he had bravely endured the suffering of the Blanket protest.

His business – which he had painstakingly built at a modest enterprise unit in West Belfast – has been badly damaged.

And his family have been emotionally savaged, with Bill’s wife, Emily, never working again after the day of his arrest.

Yet no-one in authority has had the personal dignity or professional courtesy to tell him why any of this started or why it suddenly ended. (Three other local men, Denis Donaldson, Ciaran Kearney and Billy Mackessy are today attending a court hearing under a similar shadow – over two years after their arrest as part of the so-called ‘Stormont investigation’ and the same prosecuting authorities are now applying to the same courts for permission to with-hold alleged evidence currently in the hands of the same Special Branch detectives!)

It’s hard not to agree with Mr Tierney (see interview page 15) that his eighteen months of hell at the hands of this PSNI/NIO Star Chamber occurred because he refused to act as an agent for the Special Branch/Major Investigation Team.

Nor is it hard to agree with him that there are negative elements in key positions which are pursuing a concerted agenda against the peace process.

We have seen this process in action too many times over recent years: violent house raids; high-profile arrests; orchestrated media leaks; spurious investigations; strenuous opposition to bail; Public Interest Immunity Certificates; and then the subsequent dropping or reduction of very serious criminal charges – all without explanation.

There are those within the PSNI whose hearts will always yearn for the Crown and Harp of the RUC. These are the RUC Untouchables who gave us the Stevens Report, the Sampson Report and, of course, the Stalker Investigation.

Despite his experience, Bill Tierney is lucky in one sense: he has a strong family, a supportive community and a steady commitment to the cause of peace, socialism and justice in Ireland – which these RUC Untouchables will never break.

But clearly, adequate mechanisms of accountability, transparency and impartiality do not yet exist within the PSNI or the north’s criminal justice agencies to prevent such cynical people asserting their power.

The Good Friday Agreement set forth the way towards a peaceful country but, equally, the case of Bill Tierney sets out the obstacles we face along that road. On that basis, our key question this morning is this: do the Irish and British governments have the capacity to remove such obstacles and guarantee that the gross abuse evidenced in Bill Tierney’s case is rooted out once and for all?

Based on the experience of the last few years, this community won’t be holding its breath.



The UDA/UFF has said it is to draw an “Orange line around all Protestant areas” in an unprecedented move that has sparked outrage among nationalists in North Belfast.

A statement received by the North Belfast News this morning carried the get tough message, but also revealed the group had sought out a series of meetings with the British government and had held an “internal review” of the organisation.

The developments have fuelled mounting speculation of a decommissioning move by the UDA.

The UPRG statement says: “We have declared an Orange line around all Protestant areas, whilst we realise that one community is growing faster than the other we cannot allow another garden, another house or another street to be attacked.

“We can ensure to the utmost of our ability that loyalists will not breach the Orange line, will republicans do the same.”

But Sinn Féin’s Danny Lavery hit out at the statement branding it a “Derry’s walls mentality”.

“What happens if people have to legitimately cross this Orange line to get to the shops and the doctors?

“The UDA have been attacking nationalists for years on the interfaces in North Belfast. Some attacks have been carried out by nationalists and Sinn Féin have condemned these and been out trying to stop them.
The UDA have been on the ground forcing nationalists from their homes.”

Pat Convery said though any move away from violence should be welcomed it “must not be unconditional”.

“This statement talks about establishing an ‘Orange line’ around what it (UDA) considers to be loyalist areas. It is clearly taking upon itself the job of policing the line.

“This is utterly unacceptable. We want an end to orange lines or green lines and self-appointed defenders who end up lining their own pockets,” he said.

DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said he wanted to study the statement further.

“I welcome that there are discussions going on within loyalism on the way forward.

“As far as community leaders are concerned within our respective communities, whatever influence they have to provide must be through political and community involvement and not paramilitary involvement,” he said.

The UDA statement went on to say it welcomed decommissioning by the IRA.

“During the last few weeks an internal review has taken place within the organisation.

“To this end we have instigated a series of meetings with our government in an attempt to make real progress to play a part in providing that final settlement. There are a number of hurdles to overcome but we have a timetable for our agenda.

“It is now ten years since the (Combined Loyalist Military Command) issued their statement on their cease-fire.

“Since then there have been internal feuds within loyalism and numerous deaths have taken place on both sides of the community.

“The UDA have indicated more than once that they want a final settlement with Northern Ireland, secured through peace and dialogue.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter



An infamous drug dealer from North Belfast is again swamping the area with drugs.

And in a sinister twist scores of young people have become embroiled in his evil empire by getting drugs “on strap” and then being recruited to work for him when they can’t pay back the money.

Several groups that work with young people have joined forces this week to reveal the damage being inflicted on impressionable young people who fall foul of the drug lord and his close associates.

Community Restorative Justice (CRJ), Ardoyne Youth Club, Youth Congress and the Young People’s Providers Forum say they have been dealing with youngsters affected by the new drug recruitment drive that came to light this week.

And Fr Aidan Troy also confirmed the problems facing the young people could have an effect on efforts to stop suicide and self harm.

The dealer is a former associate of Paul Daly, a notorious dealer who was gunned down in Carrickhill in 2001.
Holy Cross rector Aidan Troy said he supported the efforts by the community to help troubled children and young people in an area blighted by self-harm and suicide.

“In trying to help to tackle things like s self-harm and suicide, if drugs are not tackled and this problem is not addressed the consequences are further deaths and suffering,” he warned.

Brendan Clarke of CRJ said all the groups had come across “half a dozen” young people in these circumstances in only the last few days.

“These are only the ones we’re aware of. Over the last few days we have been dealing with some young people who have ventured into alleged criminality. When we asked them why they told us they had got drugs on strap from this dealer. They are then recruited as drug dealers to pay off the debt. All the groups here had experiences of young people having to deal with these issues,” he said.

“We would ask anyone finding themselves in this situation to come forward to community representatives in strict confidentiality,” said Brendan Clarke.

Meanwhile Sinn Fein Councillor Carál Ní Chuilín has expressed her concern about issues raised in a leaflet that was posted to homes in the New Lodge area.

The leaflet highlights several people who are accused of drug dealing in the area and operating with loyalist paramilitaries.

“While we have to be careful about anonymous letters this leaflet raises concerns about alleged drug dealing in North Belfast,” Cllr Ní Chuilín said.

“Infiltration of drugs into any area is a worrying development and must be opposed but it is a particular worry in areas such as Carrick Hill and the New Lodge where there is a higher than average percentage of the population who are children.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Taxi driver stabbed in face

Injured driver managed to return to depot after being attacked

The owner of a County Armagh taxi firm which had a driver stabbed believes the attacker meant to kill his employee.

The taxi driver was attacked by a passenger at Parkmore Avenue in Lurgan at about 2145 BST on Thursday.

Jim Roycroft, who owns Check Cabs, said the attacker made no demand for money but stabbed the driver in the face with a knife after asking him to pull the cab over to the side of the road.

The driver was badly injured but struggled with his attacker who fled on foot.

The injured man was able to make his way back to the taxi depot where another driver, who was a former nurse, administered first aid.

He was then taken to hospital where he is still being treated.

Police said they were keeping an open mind as to the motive for the attack.

They are appealing for witnesses to contact them tel: 028 9065 0222 or Crimestoppers tel: 0800 555111.


Belfast bomb alert

FRIDAY 15/10/2004 10:27:44 UTV

A bomb alert in south Belfast has caused chaos for
commuters this morning.

The security forces have sealed off an area around
Sandy Row and the Lisburn Road, as well as part of
Bradbury Square and Shaftesbury Square.

A number of buildings have been evacuated and army
bomb experts have carried out a controlled explosion.

Meanwhile, there`s another alert at the police station
in Downpatrick.

Irish Street has been sealed off as the army examines
a suspect package found close to the station.


Unacceptable change to the basics cannot bring progress

Gerry Adams, Irish News
14 October 2004

Each negotiation within the peace process presents its own particular and peculiar set of difficulties. It also presents opportunities. The current negotiation is no different and in many ways it is probably the most challenging any of us have had to face so far.

Speaking at Bodenstown in June I outlined Sinn Féin's objective going into these discussions. It is a 'comprehensive and holistic package, which deals with all of the outstanding matters in a way that is definitive and conclusive'.

Later in August I said that in my view the spine of any agreement would have to be progress on the vexed issue of policing. These are significant goals to be achieved not just for Sinn Féin but also for the other parties, especially the DUP and the two governments.

Sinn Féin has repeatedly said that we are up for a deal; we want to see the institutions restored and the outstanding issues resolved.

There is also a general acceptance that the IRA is prepared to make an unprecedented and historical contribution to the peace process in the context of a comprehensive agreement between the two governments and the political parties.

It must be obvious that the IRA will not be convinced to do so in the context of any dilution of the Good Friday Agreement.

Inevitably, however, there has been some confusion about the positions of the parties in the negotiations. On the one hand the two governments, and the DUP, have been saying that the DUP is not seeking changes to the fundamentals of the agreement. But then what are the fundamentals?

They include power-sharing between nationalists and unionists with legally entrenched checks and balances, protections and safeguards.

These are enshrined in the agreement and were designed to prevent a replay of unionist abuses.

They also include the all-Ireland institutions, equality, human rights and an acceptable and accountable civic police service.

When the Unionist government was collapsed 30 years ago that did not mean an end to unionist rule. That continued within the direct rule system, and particularly within the NIO. In addition, in local councils where unionists still exercise majority political control, unionist parties refuse to engage in any power sharing arrangements.

On the contrary their approach remains one of excluding Sinn Féin and SDLP councillors from even the most unimportant and inconsequential of council positions.

The cost of this has been second class citizenship for nationalists.

That has been the nationalist experience in the north since partition, along with institutionalised and structured political discrimination.

It is this experience which demands that we defend the checks and balances in the agreement which are the safeguards against future abuse.

What then are the issues of concern within the current negotiations?

Firstly, the DUP are demanding that republicans do everything; and that only then will they talk to Sinn Féin. This refusal to talk to Sinn Féin is an attack on the rights of our electorate and a denial of our democratic mandate. It is unacceptable.

Secondly, the DUP time-frame for the re-establishment of the political institutions – in the context of an agreement – is much too long and is premised on their demand that we be tested! This is undemocratic, offensive and unacceptable.

Next the DUP are demanding as a precondition that Sinn Féin endorse the current policing arrangements. Sinn Féin has been absolutely clear on this issue. The transfer of powers on policing and justice are an essential element to any delivery of democratic accountability of policing.

So far the DUP position on a target date for transfer is so vague and aspirational, and so far off, as to be meaningless. Nor has there been any negotiation around the modalities or the departmental model which is necessary for the legislative process to begin.

Finally, the DUP is also demanding changes to the Good Friday Agreement which would provide unionism with a veto over the work of republican and nationalist ministers. This is not acceptable.

All of this is evidence of a party – the DUP – which has not changed its opposition to the core values of the Good Friday Agreement.

More worryingly, the governments have been less than frank in telling the DUP that these changes to the fundamentals of the agreement are not up for change.

The reality is that time is fast running out if we are to achieve a comprehensive agreement.

In the short term, if there is to be a successful outcome to the current negotiations, then the governments and the DUP have to match the willingness of republicans to take initiatives and find compromises. For the DUP especially this is a huge challenge.

Are they up for it? And are the governments making it clear to the DUP that the process of change will continue anyway?


Sinn Féin

West Belfast case demonstrates again Special Branch control

Published: 12 October, 2004

Commenting after the DPP decided to drop charges of collecting information against a West Belfast businessman Bill Tierney, Sinn Féin Assembly member Michael Ferguson said that the case once again highlights the nasty anti-republican cadre which still dominates the core of the PSNI.

Mr Ferguson said:

" Bill Tierney and his family have been put through 16 months of hell. He was remanded in custody and his business was forced to close. One of the Diplock judges at an earlier bail hearing branded Mr Tierney a highly dangerous man, a remark widely reported in the press.

" These bogus charges followed a failed attempt by the PSNI Special Branch to recruit Mr Tierney as an informer. When this attempt failed they colluded with the DPP and created a bogus against Mr Tierney resulting in his imprisonment.

" It will be interesting to hear what the SDLP and others who defend the PSNI Special Branch day and daily have to say about this case. It is obvious to any impartial onlooker that Mr Tierney has been victimised as the result of the work of a nasty anti-republican, anti peace process cadre which continues to dominate the PSNI from within.

" This case and others like it demonstrate in a real and tangible way the distance which still must be travelled before we reach the stage were we have an acceptable policing service and an impartial criminal justice system."



Bombing the Panhandle
Fighting the Pentagon in Rural Florida


I have just returned from a one-day trip to Perry, Florida to speak to a
gathering of concerned citizens who are organizing to stop the placement of
a new bombing range in their rural community. It was one of the most
inspiring trips that I have ever made.

Perry is up in the Florida panhandle, just south of the capital city of
Tallahassee. The region is called the nature coast as Taylor county touches
the Gulf of Mexico and has several key rivers that run through its pine
tree forests to the gulf. The county has a relatively small population as
Florida goes and that is one reason the Pentagon sees it as a good place to
put a bombing range.

There is a bombing range already in the region, just further west at Eglin
AFB near Ft Walton Beach. I lived there while in high school when my father
was stationed at Eglin and I hiked through the middle of the bombing range
as an explorer scout. It is one of the largest military bases in the nation
but population has grown near the base to the point where the noise from
the bombing range has begun to draw complaints. Most recently the Mother of
all Bombs (MOAB) was tested at Eglin. The MOAB is the most powerful
non-nuclear bomb ever created that creates a mushroom cloud and shockwaves
similar to a small nuclear explosion.

Rural Taylor County already has huge problems. The Buckeye paper mill has
been contaminating the Fenholloway River that flows into the Gulf. Long ago
classified as an industrial river, it is essentially dead and dumps toxic
pollution into the Gulf. Groundwater contamination in Perry has long been a
result and one local activist, Joy Towles Ezell, has been working to
organize people in their company controlled town for years. Joy is a fifth
generation Taylor County resident who has now taken on the military over
the bombing range.

I met Joy years ago when I worked for the Florida Coalition for Peace &
Justice. We tried to support her work around the paper mill and she
supported our efforts to alert people when cruise missiles were fired from
Navy ships in the Gulf that flew over the panhandle and then crashed into
the Eglin bombing range. Before the meeting Tuesday night Joy showed me a
letter she wrote to then Gov. Lawton Chiles in 1991 on our behalf
protesting the cruise missile tests. Years later when I organized a
700-mile Walk for the Earth from the Everglades to Tallahassee we camped on
her land outside of Perry and held a rally at the paper mill. My son had a
great time riding one of her prized mules while we were there.

Fifty local residents gathered Tuesday night in the back room at the
Chaparral restaurant. The first thing Joy did when we arrived was make two
of us go out front and put up on the portable advertising sign the words
"Don't Bomb Nature Coast Meeting 7:00 pm" just below the words "Country

The first speaker was Dr. Ronald Saff from Florida State University in
Tallahassee who is an expert on coal fired power plant pollution. In
addition to the paper mill and the bombing range, there are also plans to
build a coal power plant in Taylor County. The decision has been made to
turn the county into a wasteland, a sacrifice area.

Taylor County is your basic southern, rural, conservative place. People
vote Republican and they don't take to outsiders very well. They don't do
radical politics either. That is what made the meeting Tuesday night so

These 50 folks who gathered were retired school teachers, good church
goers, the local industrial development officer, well dressed, quiet and
concerned. One of them, a refined southern woman, Republican and
Episcopalian, had been in the group that the Air Force recently flew to
Eglin so they could see how nice the bombing range looked. The Taylor
County delegation was promised that depleted uranium would not be used in
their county. Joy was not invited to go along on the trip.

The Eglin AFB bombing range has been testing depleted Uranium (DU) and
since 1973 over 220,000 pounds of DU penetrators were expended there.
Cruise missiles that crashed on the Eglin range carried DU as ballast in
the nose cones in place of a warhead. After so-called "clean-up" a public
health assessment at Eglin estimates that 90-95% of the DU remains in the soil.

People in Taylor County have been told that cruise missiles will be tested
over their heads and that the weapons will circle around in Alabama and
come back to the proposed bombing range to crash land. The military "needs"
the Taylor County range they say because they need to practice flying
cruise missiles off ships in the Gulf of Mexico. The Pentagon has been
telling the residents that the tests are practice for "missile defense" as
part of homeland security. A pro-bombing range group called "Citizens for
Homeland Security" has been set up but residents say it is just a couple of
those who are involved in the money trail behind the bombing range and the
coal plant.

I told the residents that it was time to redefine the term "homeland
security." I asked how secure they were when their water, air and land was
becoming so contaminated that they future generations could not live there?
I also told them cruise missiles were first-strike, sneak attack weapons
that have nothing to do with "defense." I told them cruise missiles are
part of a preemptive military policy that violates international law. I
asked them how they'd feel if another country launched sneak attack weapons
onto the U.S.?

The local Rotary Club has been offered a gift of $10,000 if they will
support the bombing range. The county government has been offered $40
million. Local hunters have been promised continued access to the range so
they can hunt deer and wild boar on the land. In spite of all that the
local residents are organizing and have forced a non-binding referendum on
the question on the November ballot. They think they will win the vote but
fear the county will agree to the range anyway.

The folks have yard signs, buttons, bumperstickers and will have a booth at
the up-coming forest service "Forest Festival" and draws 20,000 from the
region. They keep letters to the editor flowing into their local paper in
order to combat new rumors put out by the military.

The meeting ended with Joy calling Vieques, Puerto Rico and getting one of
the leaders of their long and successful campaign to close down the
military bombing range on their beautiful island. I can't describe the
feeling to listen to Robert Rabin as Joy held the microphone up to her cell
phone. I looked around the room at the people as they deeply listened as
Robert told the story how the Navy dropped a bomb on a Navy building
killing one of their own security guards. A moan went through the room like
a knife through the heart. The Taylor County community had been promised by
the military that they never have accidents. It was incredible to hear
Robert use the word love a dozen times to describe the core of their
campaign against the Navy and how they used non-violent civil disobedience.
The people just listened and after his 15 minute talk they applauded with
great vigor.

There is nothing like life experience to change people. The folks in Taylor
County are changing rapidly. One woman, a life long Christian and good
Republican, told me she'd never vote for another Republican again. (I
couldn't help but think how stupid the Bush administration is to bring this
bombing range issue up right before the November election in a state where
EVERY VOTE really counts.)

At the end of the meeting the people asked me two things. What more can we
do and do you think we can win? I told them that the people in Vieques won
because they became a "pain in the ass" and they had to do the same. I also
told them they could not do this alone, that they needed to send folks out
around the state to educate others about the issue. I acknowledged two
people in the audience from the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice (John
Linnehan from Jacksonville and Bob Tancig from Gainesville. Bob is the new
director of the organization. John had picked me up at the Jacksonville
airport and drove me to Perry.) They pledged the support of the Florida

I urge others to send a message of solidarity to Joy and the folks in
Taylor County. They could use some encouragement and some hope. I know they
have just given me a bunch of it. You can reach Joy Towles Ezell at

This is how America will change.

Belfast Telegraph

Spain holds IRA suspect
Police fly out to bring home wanted man

By Chris Thornton
14 October 2004

PSNI officers were preparing today to bring suspected IRA bomb plotter Michael Rogan back to Belfast seven years after he skipped bail.

Rogan, who was arrested in Tenerife on Monday, is considered by police to have been a member of the IRA's Northern Command - considered the Provos' elite unit - that bombed the Army's Northern Ireland headquarters in 1996.

He was also identified in court in 1996 as a member of Sinn Fein's international department. Sinn Fein declined to comment on that claim but called for Rogan's immediate release.

The Republic's government confirmed that he was an Irish passport holder when he was arrested, although the identity he used on the passport was not disclosed.

Spanish police said he had been living on the island for some time with a partner of UK origin.

Rogan appeared in Madrid's Criminal Court last night after being flown out of Tenerife yesterday afternoon.

He did not oppose extradition proceedings, which means he will be handed over to PSNI officers as soon as they can travel to Spain and complete paperwork.

Initial reports said Rogan was on holiday on the island, but Tenerife police said yesterday that he had been living there for at least several months.

Braulio Palomares, a spokesman for Tenerife Police, said Rogan had been arrested on information received from Ireland.

"We received information some time ago from the authorities in Ireland alerting us to the possibility that Michael Rogan was living or staying in south Tenerife, in the Arona area," he said.

"Our inquiries led us to an apartment in Arona and we set up surveillance. As a result of that surveillance we moved in to detain Rogan on Monday."

Rogan was charged with plotting to bomb Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn in 1996.

He was linked to the two Volvo cars used in the bombings that hit the Army headquarters on October 7 that year. Warrant Officer James Bradwell was killed and 30 others were injured by the attack - the first major IRA assault in Northern Ireland after they abandoned their ceasefire in February that year.

Rogan was granted bail in 1997 against police objections, but immediately left the jurisdiction.

Reports from Spain said that one of the charges on Rogan's extradition warrant also related to supplying information to terrorists, a charge he did not face in 1996.

After he left the jurisdiction, police named him as being part of a major IRA spy ring that collected information on senior police, soldiers and judges during the first ceasefire.


**HELLLLLLOOO! Isn't thisa bit like talking to yourself???

DUP 'may talk' to loyalists

Peter RobinsonPeter Robinson made the comments to the BBC

The deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party has not ruled out the possibility of his party talking to loyalist paramilitaries.

Peter Robinson said if he met loyalists he would urge them to end their paramilitary and criminal activity and get rid of their weapons.

He was speaking on the BBC's Hearts and Minds programme on Thursday.

During the programme, politicians were urged by a loyalist leader, Winston Rea, to speak to those with paramilitary and political influence in his community.

Rea, who helped bring about the 1994 loyalist ceasefire said: "I feel that those politicians (in the DUP), in particular, should talk direct to the loyalists and help the loyalists, and especially help get them out of the jungle.

"Because out of the jungle they will come, but they need help."

Mr Robinson told the programme: "We're discussing it at the present time, so clearly we haven't ruled it out, and how best it can be done is something that we'll have to consider.

"But I think we have a responsibility to use our influence... how best we use that influence is something that the days and weeks will perhaps reveal."

Winston Rea: Challenged DUP to talk to loyalists

Mr Robinson said there had to be a "complete end" to all paramilitary and criminal activity as well as a "handing over of all illegal weapons".

He said his party needed to exert an "influence" within the process and that would have to be considered in the short term.

"I think it's also worth indicating that within the process we've been strenuously pressing the government for what we describe as 'confidence building measures' for the loyalist and unionist community," he said.

"There is massive deprivation in unionist areas ignored by the government."

Thorny issues

At the weekend, Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine said he believed there would be "serious movement" from the IRA in the next few months.

But, he said, republicans needed to "publicly reassure" loyalists that the "war was over".

Mr Ervine said that in six months the focus would be on loyalism, with Protestant working-class communities needing help from the British and Irish Governments to shake off paramilitarism.

The political institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended in October 2002 amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Mr Ahern claimed at the conclusion of the Leeds Castle talks last month that the thorny issues of IRA disarmament and future paramilitary activity appeared to be resolved.

However, the two governments were unable to get the Northern Ireland Assembly parties to sign up to a deal over power-sharing after unionists and nationalists clashed over future devolved institutions.


Hope As Oonagh Opens Her Eyes

The sister of battling schoolgirl Oonagh O’Reilly – knocked down by a hit and run driver in Turf Lodge over a week ago – says the family have been given new hope after the little girl opened her eyes on Tuesday.

No one has been charged as yet with the hit and run that left the little girl critically ill and fighting for her life.

Her sister Laura says the family have been given new hope after what has been a traumatic week.

“On Tuesday Oonagh opened her eyes for the first time and although it is a good sign, at the same time it was just awful to watch her struggling,” said Laura.

“She looks so confused and is in so much pain. Her ribs are broken and she is having difficulty breathing on her own. Her wee pelvis is completely shattered.

“She is still on morphine, although the doctors have now started to reduce her medication.

“She’s fighting so hard. Last week they were telling us to prepare for the worst, it was touch and go for the first few days.

“But every day there are small changes for the better. On Monday she gripped my finger and I just felt that she was going to wake up soon.”

Oonagh was hit by a blue van last Tuesday afternoon as she played with her friend in Norglen Road. This week the PSNI visited the scene to appeal for further information on the hit and run accident.

A blue van has since been taken away for forensic examination
The family are still hopeful that the person responsible will come forward and hand themselves in.

“At the minute my parents’ main concern is for our Oonagh,” said Laura.
“They are trying not to think about the person who did this and instead put all their energies into getting Oonagh on the mend.

“But we would hate to think the person who did this is going to just walk away.

“They have had a week now to come forward, they must have read about how badly injured she is.

“They must have no conscience.

“It is so hard for us to watch her lying on the bed the way she is.
“You can see how confused and in pain she is and there is nothing we can do for her except be there.”

A spokesperson for the PSNI said, “Police have carried out follow-up investigations in relation to a number of vehicles as part of an ongoing investigation into the road traffic accident at Norglen Road on October 5.
“The thoughts of the investigating officers continue to be with the family of the young girl injured.

“We would reiterate our appeal for information and ask for members of the public who have information to contact officers at Woodbourne.”

Journalist::Staff Reporter


The Guardian

'I was part of it. I killed your father'

"The big lesson is that if you see people as human beings, how can you possibly hurt them? Then you think of all the barriers to that simple relationship occurring - political, social, economic. When people are marginalised or excluded they are left only with their anger. So do everything to remove the blocks and let people be human with each other. That's the lesson from my meeting Jo."
--Patrick Magee--

Twenty years after the Brighton bomb, the IRA man responsible and the daughter of one of the victims came together in an extraordinary meeting. Simon Fanshawe took the chair

Wednesday October 13, 2004
The Guardian

Simon Fanshawe: Jo, what compelled you to explore this path of reconciliation?

Jo Berry: It's a choice I make every day. I mean, I woke up this morning and had to make a choice to carry on because today is a difficult challenge. Part of me just wanted to say: enough is enough. I just want to be quiet today. So it's a choice to carry on this journey, to build bridges. But actually I have no choice. If I do not do this then I feel I choose to stay a victim.

SF: When you said that you wanted to meet Patrick Magee, what did you want to get out of that meeting?

JB: The year before I met Pat I did a lot of raging. I was ready, if it was right, to meet Pat. I wanted to hear his story. Why he planted the bomb, what had happened before and after. To meet each other as human beings.

SF: Describe the scene when you first met.

JB: It was Friday morning and I was going to Ireland. I was leaving my three daughters for the weekend and I remember I was making soup and cleaning the house. The phone rang. It was Ann Gallagher, a friend of mine since 1985. She said, "Jo, do you want meet Pat tonight?" and I said, "Yes, see you later." I put the phone down. Then thought: no, it's the wrong day. I felt so uninspired. I wasn't interested in conflict. I just wanted to be a mother. I didn't want to leave my children.

When I got to Dublin I felt so scared. Ann just said, "You cook." Then the doorbell rang and it was Patrick. I remember getting up from the table thinking I just wanted to reassure Pat that it was going to be OK to meet me. I thought maybe he was more scared than me. [To Magee] Do you remember? I got up from the table and shook your hand and said, "I am really pleased you have come." Do you remember what you said?

Patrick Magee: Something to the effect of, "Thank you for inviting me." I certainly was scared, I'll tell you that. I sought assurance from the people who proposed the meeting that it wouldn't be confrontational. Once I was satisfied on that point I was happy, but I do not think I had really thought it through. I mean, I think it was more a kind of political obligation. So I stood at that door and became very nervous. I had this overwhelming urge just to talk to you directly alone. We needed to get away and sit down and talk. I felt a strong urge to be as open and frank as possible. I have no real recollection of everything we went through but it was absolutely from the heart, open, and one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Opening up to another human being. And nothing can prepare you for that.

JB: Do you remember the moment when you stopped being there to justify and opened up? Because you actually stopped talking.

PM: I do. I had this political hat on my head ... the need to explain. But then I had to confront something that I have to confront every time I meet you and perhaps more so now because of where we are and the day it is, and that is that I am sitting with someone whose father I killed. Here in Brighton. Twenty years after your father's death. I do not shirk my responsibilities for that. It was an IRA action, but whatever the political justification for it, I was part of it and I killed your father. And every time I meet you that is at the forefront of my mind. It is full of profundity and it's shattering. Quite honestly, there's no hiding to be done behind politics. The rehearsed arguments and the line might be sincere, but it's inappropriate. We were communicating as two human beings.

SF: What was the sign to you, Jo, that Pat had opened up?

JB: That political hat came off and I think, Patrick, you took your glasses off; there was a tear. And you said, "I have never met anyone so open, with such dignity" - is that what you said? You said to me, "I want to hear your anger, I want to hear your pain." And that is when I knew that we were going on a journey. That this was not going to be one meeting. And as you say, we were meeting as two human beings. My need to meet you matched your need to meet me. I did not expect that because I heard from other ex-prisoners who said to me, "Jo, you may need to meet Patrick, but he doesn't need to meet you."

But together we opened up your commitment to hear even my most difficult feelings. You have never shirked away from the times when I have been really angry or hurt or frustrated or cried. You heard it.

PM: If anything, that was a relief to me. It is probably harder when someone who I have hurt is prepared to listen and try to understand. Dealing with anger almost seems easier in some way. If that makes sense to anybody. I'm not sure it makes sense to me.

SF: What have you both got out of it?

JB: It is not easy, for either of us. I think we both have been courageous to meet and that courage has carried on. I am not an easy option for Pat. When Pat talks about the other choices not being there, not just in Ireland but around the world, that helps me understand why people resort to violence. It makes my passion stronger to find other choices. That is what this is about. Nothing is going to bring my dad back. Caring for Pat makes it easier to get some of my humanity back.

PM: The big lesson is that if you see people as human beings, how can you possibly hurt them? Then you think of all the barriers to that simple relationship occurring - political, social, economic. When people are marginalised or excluded they are left only with their anger. So do everything to remove the blocks and let people be human with each other. That's the lesson from my meeting Jo.

SF: Is there something that you'd like to say to each other that you feel would be important for people to hear?

PM: I was talking about how tough it is - and it is tough we both know that - to meet you. But also I know I will keep on meeting you as long as you're prepared to meet me. And I thank you, Jo, for being prepared to be as open as you are to me after what I did to you.

JB: I appreciate that. [Pause.] For me, meeting you today, 20 years after you planted the bomb that killed my father, is part of something I have yearned for and worked hard for. [It has taken] years to reach this point, where I can sit with you and listen and understand. It means so much to me. I feel us being together brings something positive out of what happened 20 years ago. Every time we meet you are more open and vulnerable. And on days like this I really appreciate that.

· This is an edited transcript.


Man walks free after DDP drops 'IRA' case

Sharon O'Neill, Irish News

A west Belfast businessman, accused of possessing documents linked to
the IRA, last night (Monday) said he was 'relieved, but angry' after
the case dramatically collapsed.

It came amid fresh concerns that three men charged two years ago
over 'Stormontgate', the most sensitive police investigation since
the peace process began, have still to stand trial.

Last Friday a charge of possessing documents likely to be of use to
terrorists was withdrawn against William Tierney (59) from
Coolnasilla Close, west Belfast, who strenuously denied the

Although the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not comment,
Mr Tierney's solicitor Oliver Kelly said the 16-month-old charge was
withdrawn because of insufficient evidence.

"The arrest and charging of Bill Tierney was a calculated injustice,"
he said.

Mr Tierney – a former republican prisoner who, since his release more
than 20 years ago, has worked in computers – was remanded in custody
on June 7 2003.

At a bail hearing, the court heard that details about an alarm and
camera systems at the by-then defunct Maze prison were found on a
computer seized from his west Belfast business premises.

It was also alleged information relating to alarm systems at court
buildings as well as suspected IRA organisational documents and code
words were found.

Before his arrest Mr Tierney claimed police attempted to recruit him
as an informer.

Last night he said: "I am relieved it (the charge) was dropped. Why
did they charge me in the first place?

"My business is gone. It has been very difficult, for me, my wife and

Meanwhile, the 'Stormontgate' case – relating to an alleged IRA spy-
ring within government – will also return to court on Thursday when
the crown will attempt to prevent the disclosure of documents.

Former Stormont porter William Mackessy (45) from Wolfend Way,
Ligoniel, Belfast; Denis Donaldson (53) from Aitnamona Crescent in
Belfast, who was Sinn Féin's head of administration at Stormont and
his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney (32) of Commedagh Drive, Belfast are
accused of possessing documents likely to be of use to terrorists.

In February, a charge of possessing documents of a secret,
confidential or restricted nature originating from the Northern
Ireland Office – central to the executive's collapse – was withdrawn.

Charges against a fourth person were dropped last December.

Solicitor Kevin Winters, representing Mr Kearney, said: "It is an
ongoing concern that wide-ranging, unjustified allegations can have a
profound political impact and remain unsubstantiated. A trial date is
unlikely this year."

Solicitor Peter Madden, who represents Mr Donaldson and Mr Mackessy,
also said he had complained about the delay.

"We now have to apply for disclosure of all evidence relating to the
covert surveillance operation. This information is essential for my
clients' defence."

October 13, 2004


FBI shuts down 20 antiwar web sites: an unprecedented act of Internet censorship

By our correspondent
13 October 2004

The US government move to shut down nearly two dozen antiwar, anti-globalization web sites on October 7 is an unprecedented exercise of police power against political dissent on the Internet. The World Socialist Web Site denounces the attack on the Indymedia sites and demands a halt to all such attempts at suppressing political criticism of the US government.

The shutdown was carried out by Rackspace, a US-based web-hosting company with offices in San Antonio, Texas, and greater London, in response to an order from the FBI requiring it to turn over two of its British servers that were hosting dozens of Indymedia sites. There are conflicting accounts of the legal process, with Indymedia attributing the order to a US federal district court, while the Electronic Freedom Foundation, which is supplying legal representation to the group, describes it as a “commissioner’s order” directly from the FBI itself.

At least 20 national web sites, including those for Brazil, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Uruguay were taken down when the hard drives for the servers were given to the FBI. Most of the sites were restored to service by the end of the weekend, but they may have lost significant digital content because of the removal of the hardware.

The seizure appeared to be politically timed. It came just one week before the start of the third session of the European Social Forum (ESF), a large gathering of antiwar and anti-globalization activists, scheduled to take place in London October 15-17. The ESF was to be broadcast live via streaming video on many of the Indymedia sites.

The FBI said the action was taken at the request of Italian and Swiss authorities, under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which provides for cooperative efforts by various national police agencies against international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering. According to a statement issued by the web-hosting firm, “Rackspace is acting as a good corporate citizen and is cooperating with international law enforcement authorities.”

The invocation of such a treaty against a group of left-wing web sites with no link to any form of terrorism is an outrageous smear. Indymedia was formed in 1999 to provide live on-the-spot coverage of the anti-globalization protests in Seattle. It has expanded into a worldwide network of 140 locally based sites that provide extensive coverage of political activities that are frequently blacked out by the corporate-controlled media.

According to a statement issued by the Indymedia network, the group was asked by the FBI last month to remove a story posted on one its member sites about Swiss undercover police. The story included photographs of two secret police officers who had acted as agents provocateurs during anti-globalization protests last year outside the G-8 summit meeting in Evian, France. The FBI conceded that the posting of this information did not violate any US law, and Indymedia did not take down the information.

The two policemen had engaged in violent actions in the center of Geneva, the Swiss city adjacent to Evian, where most of the anti-globalization protests took place. These provocations became the pretext for police attacks on peaceful demonstrators. The Indymedia report gave the names and addresses of the undercover cops as well as their photographs.

Indymedia said it could not be sure that the FBI action was related to the Swiss police exposure “since the order was issued to Rackspace and not to Indymedia.” Two other possible motives have been suggested: one relating to the politics of Italy, the other relating to the US elections.

According to some Internet reports, the federal prosecutor for the Italian city of Bologna, Marina Plazzi, has begun an investigation of Indymedia for possible “support of terrorism,” claiming a link between the group and attacks on Italian soldiers in the Iraqi city of Nasiriya last November. Plazzi claims to have contacted the FBI as well as the Italian Department of Justice.

Several leaders of the neo-fascist National Alliance party have demanded the outright shutdown of Indymedia, including Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the fascist dictator. National Alliance leader Gianfranco Fini is the deputy prime minister in the coalition government headed by billionaire Silvio Berlusconi, and a fervent supporter of Italian participation in the occupation of Iraq.

According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which condemned the Indymedia shutdown, this action may be related to a court case heard September 30 in San Jose, California, against some Indymedia activists who helped expose security flaws in the electronic voting machines that will be used by tens of millions of voters in the November 2 US elections.

Aidan White, general secretary of the IFJ, declared, “We have witnessed an intolerable and intrusive international police operation against a network specializing in independent journalism.... The seizing of computers and the high profile nature of this incident suggest that someone wanted to stifle these independent voices in journalism.”

A representative of the US-based Electronic Freedom Foundation said, “The Constitution does not permit the government unilaterally to cut off the speech of an independent media outlet, especially without providing a reason or even allowing Indymedia the information necessary to contest the seizure.”

Reporters Without Borders, an international group defending freedom of the press, also condemned the seizure of computer equipment in an open letter to David Blunkett, the British Home Secretary. The letter declared: “This intervention is the responsibility of the British authorities because it relates to a hosting company operating on their territory. Closure of websites is a serious step, the reasons for which should definitely be made public.”

This intervention by American police to shut down antiwar web sites has been widely reported in Europe, with accounts carried in the British Guardian and Independent and by the French news agency Agence France-Presse, among others. But nothing has appeared as yet in the American mass media. This silence only underscores the role of the American corporate media as the accomplice of the Bush administration’s attacks on democratic rights, both at home and abroad.

The suggested connection between the Indymedia shutdown and the US elections is especially significant. At the September 30 court hearing in northern California, federal judge Jeremy Fogel ruled in favor of two Swarthmore College students and the Online Policy Group, an Internet service provider that hosts an Indymedia site, in their suit against Diebold Election Systems, a leading manufacturer of electronic touch-screen voting machines.

The two students had web-posted internal Diebold company memos describing flaws in the software of the voting machines that would permit vote rigging and alteration of vote totals. The Online Policy Group was a party to the suit because it served as the Internet service provider for the San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia web site, which posted a link to the memos.

Diebold had brought lawsuits against several other groups that posted the memos, but the two students, active in the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons, filed a civil suit against Diebold claiming that it had unfairly used provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Judge Fogel ruled that Diebold had violated provisions in the act that make it illegal to knowingly misuse copyright law to stifle free speech. He ordered the giant manufacturer to pay damages as well as court costs and lawyers’ fees.


George Harrison
1915 - 2004
An Appreciation

Sandy Boyer • 12 October 2004

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
photo credit: Kevin Noble



Loyalist disarming 'years away'

A decade on from their 1994 ceasefire and loyalist decommissioning is still "years away", according to a group linked to the UDA.

The Ulster Political Research Group - which gives political analysis to the UDA - wants to talk to the government about the future of the organisation.

But David Nicholl of the UPRG said arms would be the "last thing" addressed in terms of any movement from the UDA.

"In reality, if you are talking about loyalist decommissioning, we are years from that," he said.

BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan said: "For a while the ceasefire was disciplined - surprisingly so when the IRA ended its 'complete cessation of military operations' and bombed London in February 1996.

"But there is no longer a Combined Command and, in the past 10 years, loyalists have turned their guns on each other, have been behind a number of sectarian murders, and elements inside the main paramilitary organisations have become identified with drugs and other criminal activities.

"Not one weapon has been decommissioned by any of the major groups."

One source familiar with what is happening in loyalism told BBC News Online: "If the IRA says the war is over and if they make a dramatic decommissioning act and if the political institutions are up and running, then people have to ask: What is our future role?"


NI 'terror arrest' in Tenerife

The man was arrested in Playa de las Americas

A man from Northern Ireland has been arrested by police in the Canary Islands, the Spanish news agency Efe has reported.

The arrest took place on Monday in Playa de las Americas, in Tenerife.

The man has been named by Spanish police as Michael Gerard Rogan.

The 44-year-old is suspected of taking part in a bomb attack near Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn eight years ago.

One soldier, Warrant Officer James Bradwell, died and several others were injured in the attack.

He was detained on an international arrest warrant after failing to appear at a Belfast court in 1997.

Monday's arrest was the result of the close anti-terrorist collaboration between Spain and the UK, according to General Police Headquarters.

He is one of a number of people, known as "on-the-runs" whom Sinn Fein is bargaining to have allowed to return to Ireland as part of the on-going political process.


**Posted by Danielle Ni Dhighe

Seamus Costello Commemoration Speech

10 October 2004

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Delivered in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland by Irish Republican Socialist
Party Political Secretary John Martin

Friends and comrades, once more we gather to pay homage to Seamus
Costello, republican, socialist, revolutionary. Seamus in life was a
giant of a man politically. He stood out among his contemporaries for
his belief, energy, ideas, and charisma. In death he stands out for us
as an icon, a hero to emulate and a leader to mourn. As founder member
of the IRSP and the INLA he played his part in ensuring that the
authentic ideas of republican socialism would endure. The ideas of
Connolly and Mellows, the radical tradition of the Republican
Congress, and the more progressive ideas of the Republican Movement
were all encapsulated in the person of Seamus Costello.

But in paying tribute to Seamus we do not make the mistake of mindless
hero-worshipping. Irish republicanism has played a progressive role in
Irish society because of its ability to renew itself in each
generation and become relevant to the lives of the people from which
it had sprung. Seamus Costello was a catalyst in renewing the
republican tradition in the latter part of the 20th century. Seamus
played a major part in convincing many in the mainstream Republican
Movement that the time for clichés, flags, and faded memories of
old men was long past.

He pointed the way by standing for elections, taking his seat, playing
a full part in the community he came from while never forgetting the
national question and the crime of partition. Seamus saw a role for an
army of the people prepared to both defend the interests of the
working class whilst also prepared to challenge imperialism and its
hold over the whole of Irish society.

That is what we must learn from the leadership of Seamus: the ability
to adapt, to renew, and to avoid becoming stuck in the old ways. After
all the world he lived in has all but disappeared. The Soviet bloc no
longer exists, there is only one super-power, the Officials have
become irrelevant while the Provos of the seventies are but a distant
memory and dreams of the year of victory have become replaced with
that 'radical' revolutionary cry: implement the Good Friday

Those who claimed to have smashed the old Stormont now want to rebuild
it and look forward to working in a coaliation with the party of Paisley.
So much for the strategy of fragmenting unionism.

I wonder what Seamus would have made of it all?

Internally he would have been disappointed at the way his movement
lost its way in the aftermath of his death, particularly in the
eighties and early nineties. Since 1995 we have painfully examined our
past failures, held our hands up to past mistakes, and have taken this
movement back to the ideals, ideas, and beliefs that first motivated
Seamus and his fellow comrades to set up this movement. We have tried
to instil confidence, self-respect, loyalty to the movement, and a
fundamental belief in the primacy of politics. These attributes go to
the very heart of our ideology. Confidence in the class, self-respect
for our values of socialism, loyalty to our own movement but not
uncritical loyalty, and of course the primacy of politics.

But Seamus would not have been satisfied with just that. There is so
much more to be done. A huge emphasis must be placed by the incoming
leadership of this movement on political education, on activity, on
discipline, on democracy, and on being revolutionary agitators.

The days of the loud mouth in the pub are gone. The days of using this
movement as a flag of convenience for personal gain are gone. The days
of bullying working class youth are gone. The days of policing working
class communities are gone.

Those things were never on the agenda of the Republican Socialist
Movement but unfortunately some scum floated towards the top of this
movement in the past aided by the British. Their day is done.

Republican socialists must be servants not masters of the working
class. That's what we are about: taking the message of liberation, of
class struggle, of republicanism to the vast majority of people on
this island.

Externally I have no doubt that Seamus would have continued to be
anti-imperialist and socialist and republican. Seamus had beliefs. Not

Seamus's advocacy of the broad front was premised on the belief that
the coming together of radical and progressive forces was in the
interests of the Irish working class. Not for him or any republican
that adhered to Connolly socialism a reactionary alliance with the
most conservative forces in Irish Society. For how else can you
categorise the pan-nationalist front of Sinn Fein (Provisional), the
SDLP, and the coaliation of Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats:
an alliance with the every people who demonised republicans, who split
with gold the Republican Movement, who supported the most repressive
laws against republicans, who framed our comrades over the Sallins
affair, and persistently and consistently demonise this movement?

What republican in the tradition of Tone can accept an agreement that
reduces the anti-imperialist conflict of over two centuries to a
sordid little sectarian war between two "communities", for by signing
the GFA the signatories accepted the internal conflict argument that
British imperialism had been promoting for years: that the conflict in
Ireland was religious. The Good Friday Agreement has led to increased
sectarianism as the working classes are pressured into identifying
with the two sectarian blocs. Partition has been solidified.

We reject the notion that there are two separate divided communities.
Republican socialists reject the two community approach. There is one
community and a divided working class and while elements of that self
same working class clash those who benefit from the divisions of the
working class pocket their profits and come July jet off to quieter
and sunnier climates.

Was that what the conflict was about? That is no victory, nor indeed
an honourable draw. That was a crushing defeat for the progressive
forces in Ireland. Was it for this that men and women sacrificed the
best years of their lives in struggle, in prison, in exile, and in

Is it not time to call a halt to the endless round of talks about
talks about talks especially when the two main groups can not even
meet in the same room?

What kind of government can work when the leading partners don't even
talk to each other? And in relation to parliamentarism Seamus had it
right when he said, "Before the Republican Movement can achieve power,
we must succeed in breaking the confidence of the people in the
existing parliamentary institutions, and I would suggest that this
should be one of the main functions of our TDs. They should also be
full time revolutionary organisers in their own areas, thereby
demonstrating to the people who elected them the fundamental
difference between ourselves and the other parties."

Don't misunderstand what we are saying. The IRSP with the full support
of the INLA are in favour of dialogue. We emphatically re-state that
armed struggle is not the way forward today. That road may lead
somewhere but most assuredly not to the Republic. Yes, dialogue is
possible, but not with those who think we are lesser human beings. Why
should republicans seek to be talked to by right wing bigots of the
DUP? They don't represent the real interests of any section of the
working class. Let's reach out to the working class on the basis of
principled political positions not for temporary expediency.

Seamus Costello, a man before his time, pointed the way forward, and I
quote, "We maintain that any co-operation with the Protestant working
class must be on the basis of a principled political position. It must
be on the basis of explaining fully to the Protestant working class
what all our policies are. We must try and politicise them,
simultaneously with conducting a political campaign to get rid of

There is no permanent solution possible that envisages the continued
existence of the sectarian six county state. Those who pretend
otherwise fool not only others but themselves.

Unless and until the six county state is either totally abolished or
totally transformed, sectarianism will dominate politics here and the
imperialists can continue to present our conflict as a religious

Well, my friends, it is not. It is a political conflict against the
imperialist imposition of foreign rule on any part of this island.

Similarly the conflict in Iraq is not about fundamentalist Muslim
terrorism but about the imperialist exploitation of the resources of
Iraq. Those who are against that war should have a simple clearly
understood slogan for the British and US invaders: "Out of Iraq, Out
of Ireland." Any other position ignores the reality of the naked
brutal power of imperialism and lets them of the hook.

To those on the left who merely raise the slogan "Stop the War," catch
yourselves on. It is only by a consistent and principled opposition to
all forms of imperialism that wars can be ended. The bounden duty of
the left is not to patronise liberal opinion with platitudes but to
stand by the anti-imperialist fighters and extend critical support to
progressive anti-imperialist fighters. And it that offends the liberal
classes, well, tough.

Nobody, especially not an administration of Brits, whose hands are
covered with the blood of thousands of innocent Iraqis, has the right
to call republicans, who oppose their claim to rule this island,
criminals. We are not and we never have been terrorists. Seamus
Costello was a freedom fighter, patriot, anti-imperialist, and

So it is only right to express our full solidarity with current
republican political prisoners in Maghaberry and reiterate our call
for the immediate release of Dessie O'Hare and the other qualifying
republican prisoners arising from the Belfast Agreement. We make no
distinction between different republican groupings when it comes to
solidarity with republican prisoners. Do not forget there would be no
republican prisoners in jails if there was a final settlement to the
national question. And so long as the national question is unsettled
then so will there be republicans who will wage a struggle to
establish a Republic on the island for all the people of the island.

But, comrades, while we right emphasise the so-called bigger picture
of the political dispensation we must never forget the day to day
struggles of working people. We need to take the ideals of socialism
out of the realms of discussion and manifestos and elections and make
them directly relevant to our underprivileged communities. Poor
health, low wages, substandard housing, class-based education
services, crime, and anti-social behaviour are neither republican nor
loyalist, Catholic or Protestant, North or South, six or 26 county
issues. They are class issues and affect us all. We need to arouse in
our class the spirit of fraternity. That's the way to take on the
symptoms of neo-liberal capitalism: sectarianism, racism, sexism,
homophobia, anti-social behaviour, alienation, poverty, drug abuse,
and self-destruction. A real movement built on the values of
fraternity, solidarity, cooperation, and democracy will crumble away
these barriers to freedom in Ireland.

Our movement to be relevant must update its republican socialism. Too
close a concentration on the national question and an unquestioning
approach to the nature of imperialism in Ireland has distorted and
held back the struggle for socialism in Ireland and also incidentally
is the antithesis of the approach that Seamus would have taken.

>From this platform today, may I appeal to all those progressive
republicans, republican socialists, or Connolly socialists to do as
Seamus did, get involved in the day-to-day activities of the class.

It's fine and useful to reminisce about the past, to write the
histories, to tell the tales of past heroic deeds, but, comrades, it
does not challenge the future.

These are glorious days to be alive and see the stirrings of class
struggle in the world. There is a growing anti-imperialism worldwide:
in Iraq, Nepal, the Phillippines, Pakistan, India, Venezuela, Bolivia,
and the former Stalinist states, the working class is moving into
battle. Now ask how you can aid this struggle. Everyone has something
to contribute no matter how small. Participate in your union branch,
join or set up a community group in your area to organise people,
protest, agitate, organise. Remember, to beat the system, you do need
comrades. From this platform we appeal to all genuine republican

Look around at the world we actually live in and I defy you not to be
angry at the injustice and inequality and not have the wish to change
things. There are enough resources in our world to feed and clothe
everyone. Yet every day thousands die from disease, famine, and
hunger. Why? Because of capitalism.

We have called in the past for the convening of a Republican Forum
where republicans and socialists of all hues can dialogue together to
map out a way forward for the future. That's in the tradition of
Seamus Costello's call for a broad front and building anti-imperialist
unity. But we recognise that many on the left think they can go it
alone and don't need to relate to any section of the republican left.

It will be part of our task to persuade not only the left but the
working class, by the things we do, by the actions we take, by the
examples we set, by the calibre of the comrades we attract to our
banner of the Starry Plough, that there is merit in working together.

For, comrades, many people still harbour illusions that Sinn Fein in
government North and South can make a difference to the social and
economic conditions in this country. They can not. They will not. At
best they may put a more human face on capitalism but it will still be
capitalism and that's a system that exploits, brutalises, and also is
destroying the world. It itself needs to be destroyed, not reformed.

Let us follow that example of Seamus Costello. Stand with the
marginalised, the downtrodden, the victims, the poor, and all who are
voiceless in the modern Ireland. Strive for equality, solidarity,
working class unity, human rights, and justice for all. Let us daily
work towards the socialist republic. In the end that's the only
fitting memorial to all our dead comrades, Seamus included.

Comrades, there is much work to be done. Let's do it.

Thank you.


Irish Republican Socialist Movement

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?