Friday, 18 August 2017

For what died the sons of Roisin if not for this?

Guest writing for Damn your concessions Brian Mac Giolla Chomain ( Brian Kilcommins) a Galway based Irish Republican, makes the case for making the re-establishment of the Irish Republic priority number one.

For what died the sons of Róisín if not for this?
The case for the Irish Republic:

The Irish Republican position was never as strong as it was during the period when it had its own institutions under the first and second All Ireland Dáil Eireann and exercised its own laws. This was the ultimate expression of national sovereignty by the Irish people with institutions of our own creation designed for the purpose of improving the conditions of the Irish people as a whole.
Without our own institutions, we cannot exercise our own sovereignty, and sovereignty you cannot exercise is not sovereignty at all. Despite this fact, the emphasis today among Republican groups and individuals seems to be focused on altering the conditions in the six county and twenty-six county states to improve the conditions for people to live under.
While creating better social conditions for people to live with is worthwhile and its importance should not be downplayed in any way, it should not be done at the expense of creating the Republic we seek; where we ourselves will determine the type of society we have rather than have it decided for us by financial markets both at home and abroad.
The focus of Republicans must be the re-establishment of the Irish Republic. Anything less will prolong the status quo and continue to deny the Irish people the right to exercise their sovereignty as they see fit. It is the duty of everyone who calls themselves a Republican to continually push towards the re-establishment of the Irish Republic. Ask yourself what does the Irish Republic mean to you and then ask yourself how you are contributing towards its reestablishment. Organisations that define themselves as Republican must also ask the same questions of themselves. Is their position one that merely gives rhetorical reference to the re-establishment of the Republic; or have they a plan to work towards the creation of the institutions required.
The complexities involved in creating institutions such as these would be far beyond the scope of a blog post such as this, and making any attempt to do so would simply focus people’s minds away from the need for it to be done and instead focused on how it should be done which is putting the cart in front of the horse at this stage.
Any movement forward on this would, however, have to be predicated on cast iron guarantees by all involved that there would be complete non-participation in institutions claiming sovereignty over the territory of the Irish Republic,  i.e. Leinster House, Stormont, and Westminster. Without such commitments, the entire endeavour would be pointless and rightly open to criticism as a waste of time, energy and quite possibly the start of a slippery slope into constitutionalism. We want revolution, not reform.
Irish unification is not the end goal for Republicans nor is the ending of the British occupation. These are steps that need to be taken but our ultimate objective has and always will be the re-establishment of the Irish Republic.

Up the Republic.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

By their valour

Book Review - By their Valour 

The preface sets out the agenda of the entire book very well, giving a clear understanding to the reader of why this subject matter is so important and further the authors explain that this book was written in the spirit of recording history not setting out who are the heroines and villains.

In Ireland with our different political leanings we have a tendency towards understanding and reading our own history and researching the merits of our own ideological heroes. Whilst not preachy or saccharine this book encourages us to examine the lives of women from our own tradition and also those who would most certainly be our political opposites and if not using too strong a language our sworn enemies.

The book covers the last 100 years or so of female political figures in Irish history. Starting in 1911, charting events through the 1913 lockout, 1916 and beyond it gives us information and background on many key Republican women most of which you will have heard of but of course necessary to include. The lesser known women for me are probably more of interest, a Miss Bridie O'Neill dominates a few a few pages as the only woman interned during the border campaign era, this is where the book comes into it's own, providing the reader with exclusive documents that outline the shock and seriousness of a female being interned at that time.

They do not skimp over the female Republican Prisoners in Armagh jail, explaining firmly how their protests and determination matched that of their male comrades held in Long Kesh. It includes also some details of the small number of female loyalist prisoners, their conditions, demands and protests. 

In modern times they are not remiss, the internment of Marion price is included to bring us nearly up to date with current female POW's. 

The next section for me was probably the most enlightening being dedicated to British security forces and women of the Orange Order, McQuaid and Doyle heavily researched this area. While not wishing to provide spoilers they expose the deep seated patriarchal system within, while female IRA volunteers by and large are acknowledged as having an important and equal role within their respective organisations, members of the UDR had to get written permission slips from their husbands!

The book finishes giving an overview of women involved in the good Friday agreement era and beyond , Irish and British constitutional Politicians, for me this isn't particularly interesting but necessary to include and rounds things off nicely.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even with the serious subject matter it's light reading. It was worthwhile reading to gain a female perspective of all sides. This is a good introduction to women in Irish politics and revolution over the last 100 years. 


Note: this book review is an entirely unbiased overview

By their valour is available on Amazon at the following link.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1533606897/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502400368&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=by+their+valour


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Tyrants, hypocrites, liars!

IRA membership charges on the increase

Over the last few months I think we have all noticed the upsurge in IRA membership charges facing Republicans in the 26 Counties, it seems every other day someone is up in the Special Criminal Court; and this year alone we have seen a number Republicans convicted and sent to Portlaoise prison to serve sentences of a few years or more.

As Republicans we keep a keen eye on such developments, many of the people facing these charges will be friends of ours, for some of you, they may even be your family. The general public is apathetic towards such things and is not aware of the high number of people charged, in their mind the war is over, the jails are full of criminals, there are no Political Prisoners. How the truth would shatter their illusions.

In the 32 Counties of Ireland, we have over 70 current Political prisoners; this does not take into account the scores of people on bail awaiting trial. Within this number we have people such as Tony Taylor, interned without trial, no charges levied at him at all, and also the widely accepted miscarriage of justice which is the Craigavon two.
What I don’t see being spoken about too much is the onslaught of IRA membership charges; surely this is a campaign in itself?

A few weeks back I decided to look into the volumes of people facing IRA membership charges, active cases not those who have already been convicted. I found over 20 individuals who had active cases pending. This shocked me, I like to believe that I am very up to date on all cases, I knew about them individually but when they were put together as a group the sheer volume was startling.

It is clear to me that IRA membership charges are being brought against Republican activists in an attempt to censor them, in an attempt to hamper the good work they are doing. Any Republican can be arrested and charged with IRA membership, all it takes is the “belief” of a Chief Superintendent. No evidence need be provided just simply the “belief” of one person.  When the charged person eventually gets to court; and the Superintendent is questioned on their “belief” they have in the past used privilege, in other words, secret information. Essentially you can be arrested, charged and convicted of IRA membership without having any specific allegation or evidence ever given to justify it.

If any such evidence did exist it would, of course, be provided by informers, these class of people who are open to the highest bidder and will say anything a person wants to hear in order to get paid. When information, if it exists at all, is secret, it removes your fundamental right to defend yourself; you cannot address what you do not know.

To add insult to injury the Court used for IRA membership is not a normal court, these cases are heard in the Special criminal court, which is a non-jury Diplock court presided over by 3 judges.  

Let us look for a moment at the Garda Síochána, the police force who brings these charges, the people who we are supposed to believe act with such integrity that their word should be taken on accusations without evidence. 

This Police force has been dogged by scandals in recent years, information from Whistle-blowers have exposed their blatant abuse of power, from annulling thousands of penalty points for influential people to recording nearly  1 million phantom alcohol breath tests on the system,  just to be clear recording test results that never actually took place.

In the not so distant past, the Morris Tribunal was set up to investigate Garda
The tribunal investigated allegations of wrongdoing and corruption in the Donegal division and ran from 2002 to 2008. It concluded that Gardaí in Donegal had fabricated explosives finds and had planted firearms in order to justify the arrests of targeted people. It also found some members had fabricated informants and intelligence received.

This is just a brief mention of some of the more familiar scandals that have emerged about an Garda Síochána, these are the same people who arrest Republicans and put them on trial, the only thing needed is the Word of a Garda Chief Superintendent. Now ask yourself is the “belief” of a Superintendent in this force reputable? If they are prepared to lie about breath tests, they are surely prepared to lie in high profile court cases.

It would appear to me that the onslaught of charges against Republicans is more corruption from the Gardaí; they are once more abusing their position of power to put away those who challenge the status quo, those who are seen to be “dissidents”, those who are seen to be a problem.  In the recent and ongoing Jobstown Trial, had the defendants been subject to the same kind of trial as those on IRA membership charges; Paul Murphy and others would most certainly be in jail.

We must now look at these cases collectively, the people charged may be from different organisations, indeed some are independent Republicans, all, however, are victims of a corrupt Police force intent on quashing any kind of Political dissident.

As more and more cases come to Court I believe we must up the ante in our support, we have to be more vocal and expose what is going on, at any time it could me you or me facing these charges, if we can do nothing for the people currently facing charges, at least we can let the state know we are aware of what is happening and that the jig is up!


Cáit

Monday, 19 June 2017

Lithuania vs Liam Campbell part III

To say the current extradition case against Liam Campbell is farcical is an understatement, the most striking element of this extradition attempt is that Lithuania are attempting to extradite him to a Country that he has never even set foot in.

So you will know by now I am not one to shy away from the realities of the situation, so here is some background. In 2008 Liam's brother Michael was arrested in Lithuania on charges of arms smuggling, he was initially sentenced to 12 years in a Lithuanian prison, however on appeal in 2013 he was acquitted as it emerged in court that he was framed by British intelligence. A very successful campaign opposing Michael's imprisonment was ran in Ireland and thankfully Michael is rightfully back at home.

While Michael's case is a cut and dry case of a good old-fashioned stitch up, it doesn't stop there. Not content with framing Michael and holding him in an unsanitary Lithuanian Prison for 5 years, they have went further and are attempting to extradite his brother Liam to Lithuania to face similar charges to which Michael was already acquitted. 
What is so striking about this extradition attempt is that this is the third time they have attempted it and again most ludicrous of all is that Liam Campbell has never set foot in Lithuania in his life. 

The first European arrest warrant was executed in the 26 counties in January 2009, at the time The Dublin government had been warned that if the extradition was granted it could be in breach of Article 3 the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Liam was released on bail while proceedings where underway and complied with all conditions. 
In May 2009 he was then arrested by the 6 County state police force on foot of the same European arrest warrant, he was not granted bail and was held in Maghaberry prison while extradition proceedings in the north took place. These proceedings took nearly 4 years!  All the while Liam was incarcerated and spent much of that time in 23 hour lock up. Finally in January 2012 the extradition attempt was dismissed, this was then appealed and in February 2013 a Belfast Court upheld the original ruling against extradition stating that Liam would be held in barbaric conditions and that he " would be at real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment by reason of the jail conditions". Liam was finally released in March 2013.

Since that time Liam has returned to family life, a life that has at various time been so terribly disrupted by British state attempts to imprison him for the simple crime of being an Irish Republican. 

The saga does not end there however, on 2nd December 2016 Liam was arrested in Dundalk once again on foot of a European arrest warrant issued by Lithuanian officials. 

He was held in custody by the 26 County state until he was released on bail on 20th December 2016.

At present there are a number of individuals who are actively opposing this extradition and I stand along with them 100%

I object strongly to this latest attempt to extradite Liam to Lithuania for a number of reasons.

1. he has already gone through arduous extradition proceedings in one part of Ireland and was held in custody for nearly four years while it was happening.

2. A court has already ruled against extradition and trying this case over and over is an exercise in torture

3. because of the medieval conditions of Lithuanian prisons that are unfit and inhumane

4. it is clear and it came out in open court that the entire situation and allegations are the construct of British intelligence and this is an obvious fit up 

5. I find it absurd to try to extradite someone to a Country for an offence in that country, when the person in question has never laid foot in it. 

If you agree with even one of my reasons for opposing this extradition, I am asking you to support Liam Campbell and say NO to this latest attempt to take him away from his family and his Country 

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Friday, 12 May 2017

National Stockholm syndrome


So for the last 3 years in a row we have been graced with his Majesty’s presence, HRH Prince of Wales has decided for the last 3 consecutive May’s that he and his good lady wife would visit the poor Paddy’s in the Emerald Isle, to give us all a little pat on the head and let us know we are doing a fine job of not killing each other; and of course much encouragement to keep up the good work! This is exactly the kind of validation we need; because without it we would descend into chaos and savagery.

So quite obviously my opening to this blog is sarcastic as hell; however it is not in jest!
Royal Visits to their colonies and former colonies are filled with spectacles of the native arts and culture. We see time and time again grinning British Royals in pictures wearing hula skirts, while trying in vain to do some kind of native dance. In Ireland, it is Charles Windsor trying his hand at a bit of Hurling, or when the British Queen visited in 2011 mumbled  a few words of our native tongue; met with an overzealous Mary McAleese exclaiming WOW as if Lizzie had just performed the River Dance.

Just when did we Irish pick up this inferiority complex? In 1911 when British King George V visited Ireland he was met in Dublin by enthusiastic crowds and a Dublin Festooned with British Union Jacks. It seems that 101 years after the rising the Pale hasn’t changed too much. The GAA and all sorts of other so-called national organisations have been nauseating the Irish People with their arse lickery, some must be going bald they are pulling at their forelock that much!

Just today Charles Windsor and Camilla Parker Bowles are being Paraded around Glasnevin Cemetery by the great and the good of the Freesatate establishment in a manifestation of National Stockholm syndrome. Of course, their first port of call was to pay respects to Irish Recipients of the British Victoria Cross medal, while also visiting the graves of Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera.

Most importantly they gave their nod of approval to the 1916 rising, heartening for us all to know because without it we couldn’t make up our minds if the 1916 Patriots were madmen terrorists or freedom fighters!  Thank God the British Royals say it was ok, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

The British Royals started their jollies in Derry. Derry which saw 14 men murdered by the Para’s of which Charles Windsor is the symbolic head. Of course, news that he was in Derry was only announced on the day. This was to hamper any kind of protest that would have been planned. Make no mistake had Republicans have known there would most certainly have been a protest. It would seem that next “King of Ireland” cannot visit his little dominion with any notice. We are told that there is peace now and a settled state, the public might believe this baloney but the establishment are not that Naïve, they are fully aware that the 6 counties is far from a settled state.  

The ongoing normalisation process between Ireland and Britain is set to get more boke worthy in the years to come, fawning over British Royalty in Ireland is idiotic, what other Country in the World would be rolling out the red carpet for a Monarchy or Government that holds dominion over part of its own Country. All I can say is - Ireland you’re rearing them!


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Friday, 28 April 2017

Federal Ireland needs discussing

Firstly I think we should dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding the idea of a Federal Ireland. We must understand that Ireland is a 32 County Nation and that is not going to change. In the 6 counties we have a unique issue compared with the rest of Ireland which is British occupation, however the concept of a Federal Ireland does not just answer the question of British occupation and offer a somewhat acceptable future Ireland for the unionists, it should also appeal to the people of the 26 counties who are currently governed in an over-centralised manner leading to deprivation and corruption. No other current proposal for Ireland takes into account the needs and wants of the people of the 26 counties, instead, they focus entirely on the 6 counties just simply joining the free state or hoping that the current status quo is successful.  


There is a belief in some circles that a Federal Ireland is not a united Ireland, it is necessary to point out that a Country can be united through a unitary or Federal state, a lot of people believe united means unitary however there are many “united” countries in existence that are Federal in structure such as Switzerland or the USA.


Criticism has also been made of a four Province Federation, such criticisms have included that it is administratively cumbersome, that Ireland is too small a country to have four assemblies, this to me is an unfounded criticism, Ireland is historically divided among provincial lines, it would enhance Irish democracy, the more power closer to the people the better, this also allows for better accountability and less chance of corruption going unchecked. It would also ensure that there is a just distribution of wealth and power throughout the country and ensure that no one group of people could dominate the other. 


The key element of any proposal is that it is not written in stone, the Federal concept is no different. It is open for all the people of Ireland to have their say on how it would work. Republicans have not been the only people to propose a Federal solution for Ireland, we have had many proposals in the past, from Fine Gael who had a new Ireland Forum where they proposed a two state Federal solution to Desmond Boal, founding chairman of the DUP who suggested a Federal Ireland retaining “Northern Ireland” as a Federal state.


From a policy perspective Republicans who advocate Federalism have generally thrown their weight behind Éire Nua.


Éire Nua was first launched as the policy of Sinn Féin in 1971. Éire Nua is a detailed proposal on how a New Ireland post-British withdrawal could work along Federal structures. Advocating a four state Federal government with a central Government (Dáil Eireann), it is generally seen as the definitive Republican Federal position. In 1982 the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis rejected Eire nua in favour of a Unitary State, formally removing it from the constitution in 1983.Those responsible saw it as a Sop to Unionism, laughable considering that same personnel is today Power sharing with Unionists in Stormont. After the Sinn Féin Split in 1986 around abstentionism in was re-adopted by Sinn Féin Poblachtach (Republican Sinn Féin) and is today their current policy.


With Brexit looming and it set to affect everyone in Ireland people are scrambling to look at political solutions, the idea of an independent Ireland is starting to sink into the Unionist people as a reality of the future. I believe that as Republicans, that we as the people wanting to change the status quo and create a New Ireland it is incumbent on us to create the solution. We need to unify around a proposal for Ireland that can be acceptable to the vast majority of the Irish nation and this, of course, includes those who currently subscribe to British Unionism while not losing sight of our Republican Principles either.


We live in a diverse society, I believe that a Federal Ireland acknowledges and caters for the diversity of our society. The concept of a Federal Ireland is little known. When I bring up the subject a lot of people had never even thought of this idea as a solution. I am not saying that any one idea out there today is the answer, that Federalism is some kind of magic formula to solve all our woes. What I am saying is that it is an answer and at the very least we should be discussing it. I would like to see the day that every person in Ireland at least understood the concept at a basic level. This Blog piece does not go into the nitty gritty of what would be involved, that would be a much longer piece, but I hope it at least serves as a catalyst for discussion.


Cáit

Thursday, 23 March 2017

McGuinness was not part of my movement


Since the death of Martin McGuinness on Tuesday my Facebook newsfeed has hardly been without a picture of him for a minute, many of these pictures are intended to be glowing tributes and show him looking like a great statesman or a young radical Republican, many more are pictures of him shaking hands with the British Queen or standing outside the steps of Stormont with Hugh Orde the RUC Chief as McGuinness notoriously proclaimed Republicans to be “Traitors to the Island of Ireland”
It has been a few days now of the same thing repeated ad nauseam about this man, and a few days of high emotions in Republican circles as differing accounts of who and what Martin McGuinness was come to the surface.

How did I react? I didn’t!

I didn’t make a conscious effort to ignore the death of the former British Deputy first minister in Ireland, I just simply felt nothing.  As a chatterbox with an opinion on near on everything, my silence led various people to privately contact me to ask what my opinion was, when I simply said “ah it is sad for the family” I think they were a bit deflated.

It got me thinking today as to why I am not really interested, I can only think it is because I never actually identified with McGuinness, I was never a part of his movement, with the Sinn Féin split in 1986 and being born in 1984 I never saw this man as part of my movement. I was not reared believing he was a Republican idol, I grew up my whole life seeing the provisional movement and all their members as “them” and then there was “us”.

I can empathise with Republicans who were a part of his movement and later left PSF, many of them older than me who left in 1986 and others who have left in the intervening years. McGuinness’ death has thrown up all sorts of feelings and mixed emotions. Many Republicans who actually worked alongside him or who previously held him in high esteem quite rightly feel betrayed.  
It is worth noting that when Republicans at varying times left PSF they were not simply to be left to their own devices, PSF actively tried to suppress the “dissidents”, this took the form of violence on more than one occasion and these gangs known colloquially as “Dissident hunters” were brutal. Some of the documented attacks by these gangs are that of Michael Donnelly from Derry who was physically assaulted with Iron bars at his home and hospitalised with a broken leg, Michael’s 10 year old daughter was also injured in this attack. Another well-known example is that of Bobby Tohill who was kidnapped from a bar, bundled into the back of a van, severely beaten before being gassed and knocked out, had the van not have been intercepted by the police God knows what would have happened. There are many many more incidents related to these gangs, too many to go into. 

Some “dissident” Republicans  have decided that in death McGuinness’  actions can  be understood, his character rehabilitated, others have gave scathing accounts of his life and criticised others as hypocrites for giving tributes to him in death while they vilified him in life.
When Ian Paisley died I remember hundreds of vile posts, I have no issue with anyone critiquing someone’s life, however I don’t like vulgar and crass posts glorifying the death of anyone, I made a post at the time of Paisley’s death saying that as Republicans we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and not engage in such things, this was met with some agreement but with a whole lot of hostility also. I believe the same about McGuinness, by all means critique him, I have said many things about him in the past and my views on him have not changed one iota.

What is for sure is that Martin McGuinness is gone; his colleagues have claimed he is irreplaceable, that he was one of a kind, I couldn’t disagree more.  Irish History is littered with Martin McGuinnesses, PSF departing from traditional republican principles and taking their seats in Leinster House and Stormont is not a new phenomenon, they are not trail blazers or radical new thinkers, we have seen splitters from the Republican movement pull this same move before from Fianna Fáil in the 20's to the stickies in the 70’s.

McGuinness may have been thought of as a great Republican once, fighting for the people of the bogside in his youth, in reality for me what he was was just another in a long line of Nationalist politicians, who had moved from a radical youth to a constitutional politician.

What we must do as Republicans is to learn from history, including recent history and not repeat its mistakes, focus on where we are going and not where others have went wrong.


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