Volume 2, Number 2
30 August 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
1. Editorial: Housing in Belfast
2. The Final Insult!
3. Keep Water Public
4. Hunger Strike Commemoration Speech
5. T&G Union Deal at British Airways
6. Letters: IPSC
7. What's On
Last week's Plough had the number 51 after the name. That was
incorrect. Its number was actually Volume 2, Number 1.
EDITORIAL: HOUSING IN BELFAST
98% of working class Belfast is now strictly segregated by religion
according to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Accusations of
ethnic cleansing came from the DUP's Nigel Dodds earlier this week
when a dozen Protestant families in a media event packed up and left
the Torrens estate. They said that they had had enough and that they
could not take any more attacks from "republicans." No republican
worthy of the name republican would be involved in such attacks.
Undoubtedly nationalist youths have been engaged in sectarian
attacks. But the reality is that about 90% of sectarian attacks
emanate from loyalist sources.
A curious fact about the evacuation from Torrens is that it occurred
after the eviction by the UDA of a number of Protestant families from
the Manor Street area relatively close to the Torrens area. These
families were connected to Johnny Adair, who has been involved in
feuding with the leadership of the UDA.
Furthermore the media knew about the evacuation of the Torrens
families before it occurred. (See Irish Independent, page 19, 24th
August 2004.) So what appeared on TV screens and in the newspaper
columns after the 24th was an arranged planned event. The departing
families knew well in advance they were leaving. So did the Housing
Executive. Were steps taken to ensure the empty houses would be
secured from vandalism? Did the departing families simply jump the
housing queue and secure accommodation from the Housing Executive in
more secure "Protestant" areas?
There are huge numbers of nationalist families on the waiting list
for housing while large numbers of empty houses lie boarded up
in "Protestant" areas. This is a disgrace. The current British
overlords, the existing political parties and the Housing Executive
have no coherent plan to tackle the injustices of the housing market.
None of them are prepared to neither challenge the private market nor
halt the sale of public houses to the private market.
Landlords and estate agencies make huge profits from the squeeze on
the housing market from nationalist families. The same profiteers
gain in "Protestant" areas by buying up the publicly built properties
dirt cheap and then after a period leasing the houses to desperate
asylum seekers and economic migrants who know nothing of the history
of this forsaken place. The few remaining Protestants in these areas
seeing to them strange faces taking over what is regarded
as "Protestant" houses thus become easy prey to racist ideology.
THE FINAL INSULT!
Johnny White and Peter Collins break their 35-year silence on the
events of 1969 after receiving invitations to a press conference for
a campaign to clear Capt Kelly's name.
It was 1969 in Derry and the local Officer Commanding of the IRA,
Johnny White, got a request to set up a meeting the next day through
a member of the IRA in South Derry. During this period Captain James
Kelly had been holding meetings throughout the six counties on behalf
of the Dublin regime as a result of the Loyalist and RUC attacks on
Catholic neighbourhoods and the burning of thousands of Catholic
homes. The Dublin regime was coming under increasing pressure to help
the beleaguered population in the North who were virtually
defenceless. Pleas were made by Catholics for the government to help.
We now understand that Captain Kelly was sent north with a mission, a
mission to divide the Republican Movement, and to provide the
traditionalists with money and weapons and to isolate the more
radical Marxist leadership. The twenty-six county regime was afraid
that if the then Dublin leadership stayed in control of a growing and
vibrant movement then that was a threat to the state itself.
The day after the initial contact a meeting took place in Derry City
attended by Johnny White, Peter Collins, Micky Montgomery and Captain
James Kelly of the 'Free State' army. Two of those at the meeting,
Captain Kelly and Mickey Montgomery, have since died. The following
is an account of the meeting given to the Starry Plough by the two
surviving men who attended the meeting.
MEETING SET UP
"The Kelly meeting in 1969 was arranged following a previous meeting
in South Derry. Contacts were made with Johnny White (OC) asking for
a meeting with the Derry Brigade. The following day Johnny White
along with his Adjutant, Mickey Montgomery, and Derry Brigade
Intelligence Officer Peter Collins met with a man who introduced
himself as Captain James Kelly and said he was an intelligence
officer with the Irish Army (Free State). He also said he had the
authority to speak on behalf of the Free State regime at the time.
The meeting lasted only a few minutes. Kelly after explaining his
role offered those present arms, training and money (£50,000).
When those present asked Kelly what the Government wanted in return
Kelly said 'A guarantee that the struggle would be contained within
the six counties.' The OC then pointed out to Kelly that he knew as
well as him that situation was guaranteed already as the standing
orders within the IRA prevented any attacks within the 26 counties.
"At this point the OC then demanded to know exactly what Kelly wanted
in return for these weapons and money and aggressively demanded,
while pointing his finger towards Kelly, that he give him a straight
answer. Kelly then said 'the elimination of certain members of the
leadership of the Republican Movement.'"
"At this point both Mickey and Peter joined into the conversation in
a heated way and Mickey asked 'How many?' to which Kelly
answered 'Six.' Kelly was then told in no uncertain terms to 'F***
off!' The meeting then ended.
"Immediately after this the three members of the Derry Brigade made
contact with the General Headquarters of the IRA in Dublin and
explained that a serious situation had arisen and that they needed a
meeting with the leadership as soon as possible. The following day a
meeting was held at a venue in South Derry where a report of the
previous day's events was relayed to the Chief of Staff of the IRA.
The Chief of Staff told the Derry Brigade OC that he should have got
the £50,000 first then told Kelly to 'F*** off!'"
NO FURTHER ACTION
"The representatives from Derry were then told that as they had now
reported the approach from Kelly to the leadership they should take
no further action and the leadership would take care of it from then
on. After returning to Derry City both meetings were reported to the
local command staff.
"Over the years nothing was said about these events other than to a
very few very prominent republicans and former civil rights
campaigners. We are not, at this stage however, prepared to name
these people but believe that they will come forward in due course."
FREE STATE AGENT
"We would take this opportunity to urge all republicans to have
nothing to do with this campaign to clear the name of this 'Free
State' agent whose only legacy was the division and split of the
"We believe the reason the 'Free State' government was offering this
deal was because they feared less an armed struggle contained within
the six counties than an armed struggle throughout the thirty-two
Counties. They feared a scenario where tens of thousands working
class men and women would take to the streets and challenge their
authority and attempt to change their system into one that put
working class people first.
"As the Republican Movement was to the forefront of that struggle it
would have been important to divide the movement and form a
organisation that would have been prepared to pay lip service to the
Free State government. In order to orchestrate this it would have
been necessary to eliminate those from within the leadership who
would have been considered socialist or communist. This would then
have laid the groundwork for the formation of a right wing and
Catholic leadership that would have been prepared to dance to the
tune of the Dublin regime."
THE PROVOCATION THAT LED TO THESE CLAIMS BEING MADE PUBLIC
Johnny White and Peter Collins both agree that the final insult to
them came when cards dropped through their respective letterboxes
inviting them to attend a press conference that was part of the
Captain Kelly Justice Campaign. So incensed they were that someone
who they had intimate knowledge of attempting to split the Republican
Movement in 1969 should be lauded as an innocent victim of injustice
that they decided to attend the press conference to finally, after 35
years silence, get this information into the open.
The invitation, printed here, proved to be the final insult to these
two veteran republicans. Thirty-five years after meeting Captain
James Kelly and being offered £50,000 for the elimination of six
leaders of the Republican Movement they now found themselves invited
to a campaign press conference that would aim to clear the name of
someone they viewed as nothing more than an agent of the Free State
regime and whose motives in 1969 were to split and divide the
Johnny and Peter have both stated categorically that they would not
have attended the press conference if it hadn't been for the
secretary of the said campaign, Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh, sending
them both personal invitations to attend. But when these invitations
landed on their doorsteps it was then, and only then that they
decided to attend and reveal the full truth behind Captain Kelly's
motivation in 1969. Johnny White commented, "We both took this as a
grave insult to every republican who stood up against the 'Free
State.' It is ironic that if the 'Free State' apologists who attended
the meeting had only listened to what myself and Peter had to say it
could have actually helped the Kelly family find the justice that
they are looking for. Although from our point of view no such justice
was shown to republicans right from the foundation of the state.
Right from Ballyseedy, Drumboe, the Curragh, Enda McGee, Martin
Bryan, John Morris, Ronan MacLochlainn, the list goes on and on of
republicans denied justice by the Free State. These are all prime
examples of 'Free State' justice shown towards republicans and
He went on, "We would also, as former leaders of the Republican
Movement in Derry, categorically refute claims made by Fionnbarra
O'Dochartaigh, that he was a member of the leadership of the
Republican Movement in Derry. At no time was this person ever
anywhere near leadership level, especially during the period in
question. In fact at that time he spent more time in Cork than in
When asked if they would support Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh's call
for a tribunal into these events both Peter Collins and Johnny White
said that they would no problem supporting such an inquiry. That view
has also been echoed by another prominent veteran Derry republican,
Liam O'Comain, who was also prominent at the time. Johnny said, "We
would definitely support an inquiry into these events, not just
Kelly's court cases but also into Kelly's role in 1969 and into the
orders he was given and why?"
© Copyright Starry Plough Publications 2004
KEEP WATER PUBLIC
On 11th March 2003, the direct rule minister for Northern Ireland
announced a 'major public consultation' to discuss the reform of
water and sewage services in Northern Ireland.
From the very start, this document was flawed as it claimed the
people of Northern Ireland did not already pay for water and sewage
provision. The fact of the matter is that water charges are included
in the domestic rates bill -- the average paid per household is
£200. To add another £350 to £400 on top as a separate
charge would mean the people of Northern Ireland would be paying
amongst the highest water and sewage charges in the UK.
The ATGWU is leading the fight against water charges and the threat
of around 600 job losses. To date, led by our new assistant general
secretary Jack Dromey, we have united almost all shades of political
opinion against water charges and job losses and the communities.
Jack led a delegation of Northern Ireland water workers to Downing
Street and the minister in charge of this 'back-door privatisation',
Angela Smith MP, has stood down from this role after admitting she
was 'losing the argument'.
The 'Keep Water Public' campaign, which is led by lead officer Albert
Mills and senior shop stewards Pat Torley, Davey Gordon, Adrian
Gilmore and Harry McBride, will continue to ensure that they continue
to lose the argument!
HUNGER STRIKE COMMEMORATION SPEECH
Comrades, let me first begin by saying that it is an honour to be
asked to come here to speak and to pay homage to the ten brave men
who 23 years ago showed bravery and selflessness in the ultimate. It
swells my heart with pride when I think of the valour and conviction
shown by these men in the face of such pain and suffering.
They are an inspiration to us all. This is reflected in the huge
numbers of you who have turned up here today to pay your respects and
to show solidarity with the families of all the ten hunger strike
Whilst all of us have taken time to come here to commemorate the
sacrifices that these ten men made, if I may be blunt, we are not
doing enough. In 1981, Volunteer Patsy O'Hara asked the poignant
question whilst he was carrying out his hunger strike. "After we have
gone, what will you say you were doing? Will you say you were with us
in our struggle or were you conforming to the very system that drove
us to our deaths?"
These words ring as sorely true today, comrades, as they did in 1981.
Are we resisting the system that drove these men and countless others
like them to their tragic fate? Or are we conforming?
Whilst it is of great importance to remember our fallen comrades we
must not allow ourselves to get comfortable in a tradition of
remembrance. In the 26 counties, the various governments have chosen
to pay lip service to the radical ideals of the great men of 1916 and
they have carried out hollow acts of commemoration such as naming a
train station after James Connolly. This is an insulting token to the
great ideals of Comrade Connolly. We must not fall into the same
sense of self-righteousness through hollow acts.
It is true to say that the nature of our struggle has changed,
comrades. We no longer have the ugly face of imperialism kicking in
our doors or murdering our family in the streets. We no longer stare
down the barrel of the imperialist gun, as do the suffering people in
Iraq and Afghanistan today. No, comrades, the British capitalist war
machine has realised that it cannot baton or shoot down the spirit of
resistance that in the past spurred on the Irish working classes
against imperialism in the streets of the Bogside and Ballymurphy.
The imperialist system has changed its tactics, comrades.
They are no longer trying to beat us down with their armed forces.
No, they are trying to suck us into their system. The imperialists
are trying to transform us into benign cogs of their machine. They
are buying us off with the wealthy rewards of their murderous
endeavors. They are buying us into conforming.
Some are choosing to conform and become part of their system. Some
have confined their resistance to the boundaries set by the
imperialist machine. Comrades, we can under no circumstances allow
this to happen to us.
So how do we resist in these changed times? Our rifles have been put
to rest for now. We will not follow others up the steps of Stormont,
so how do we resist?
I recently heard a recording of an oration by Malcolm X. The words he
used were for the black, oppressed, working class ghettos of the
sixties, but I feel that they reach out to all working class areas in
the world today. He said, "I have heard that in some places in the
world like the Arctic that hunters take a blade and put blood onto it
and they take the blade and they bury it in the snow. Now the wolf it
smells the blood and it comes and it starts licking the blade and it
cuts its tongue. But it tastes more blood and keeps on licking and
the more it licks the more it cuts itself and tastes blood and it
thinks its getting a real good meal and it keeps licking and cutting
itself until, brothers, it bleeds so much that it dies. That's what
the imperialists are doing to us in our communities. We saw the white
man standing with their gold and we wanted the gold so we licked
their blade and when we saw the white man driving their car and
wanted the white man's car so we licked their blade. We wanted the
white man's clothes so we licked the imperialists' blade and we keep
on licking until we are dying, brothers."
Powerful words, comrades. Powerful words. Words so relevant to our
We are being eaten by the cancerous cultures of imperialism. Cultures
that are not only eating at our identity as Irish men and women, but
at our very humanity.
We must begin to cast off these consumerist values. We must radically
change our own attitudes and values if we are to achieve the same
conviction for radical social and political change in this land as
our fallen comrades. For imperialism in its new neo-liberal form is
imposing its cancerous culture of self-gain upon us. We must rise to
meet it and to defeat it by espousing and practicing the very basic
tenets of socialism: community, equality and collective endeavour for
We must push this message into our communities by whatever means that
are at our disposal. No act should be below you. If some of you see
the tasks required as distasteful and petty then let the end goal of
socialism be your motivating force. If this is not enough to motivate
you then you have no place in the republican socialist struggle.
It is time for each and every one of us to take the ideals of
socialism out of the realms of discussion and manifestos and lections
and make it directly relevant to our underprivileged communities.
Stir in them the spirit of togetherness. Then we will see the
symptoms of neo-liberal capitalism, sectarianism, racism, sexism,
homophobia, anti-social behavior, alienation, poverty, drug abuse and
self-destruction crumble away in the path of a united working class
community, a real movement that will sweep away the main barrier to
freedom in Ireland: partition of this island and its people.
The nature of our enemy has changed. Our resistance to it must change
also. The struggle against imperialism fought by our ten brave
comrades and the hundreds like them here in Ireland and indeed all
over the world now lies within ourselves, comrades.
If we truly want to pay homage to our comrades we must discard the
shackles of imperialist culture and carry their fight on.
The days of state corruption and incarceration of political prisoners
are not gone. The family of Seamus Doherty will bear testament to
that. Seamus is languishing in prison on the basis of evidence that
has been rejected by the courts in the cases of two other men. This
is obviously a political decision by the British ruling elite and
must be condemned by all. We offer our solidarity to Seamus, his
family and his supporters amongst us.
We demand that he and all other political prisoners being held in
Ireland and throughout the world are released immediately. Let us not
forget the suffering being inflicted upon the families of Basque and
Catalan prisoners. Basque and Catalan prisoners are being moved to
prisons hundreds of miles from their families in a deliberate move to
cause emotional and financial strain on their families and friends.
Our comrades from the PCE(r) and GRAPO are currently being held in
Paris awaiting extradition to terror camps in Spain, we demand their
immediate release. Our comrades in Kurdistan are suffering state
oppression akin to the fascist states in Europe during the thirties
and forties. They have suffered as we have the loss of loved ones
through hunger strike. Within the last week, 1600 Palestinian
prisoners went on hunger strike against the inhumane conditions being
meted out by the wantonly murderous racist Zionist regime of Ariel
Sharon. Our thoughts are with them all in this difficult phase of
Comrades, be under no illusions, when we have made progress in the
revolution the state will discard the kid gloves and their forces
will rear their ugly head once again in an attempt to undermine us.
Like the ten brave hunger strikers, comrades, we will not shirk! Once
we have regained our resolve and revolutionary fervor we will
struggle on with greater strides towards our goal, a Socialist
Republic that cherishes true freedom for all of its children.
[The above speech was delivered in Derry on Sunday, 22 August by IRSP
member Tomas Gorman.]
T&G UNION DEAL AT B.A.
The T&G and British Airways have agreed a 3-year deal on pay covering
baggage handlers and check-in staff. Brendan Gold, T&G National
Secretary for Civil Aviation, said the deal will be recommended to
the union members and so the strike action planned for next Friday is
"We are pleased that holidaymakers can now relax and pack for their
summer break," he said. "The union is also pleased we've got a deal
on pay which recognises the contribution of our members to BA's
The union confirmed that it had entirely separated the issues of
attendance from pay. In talks involving representatives from all
parts of the company's operations, a framework for attendance
management was discussed. This aims to reduce the sums the company
said it is losing through sickness absence. The detailed issues are
complex and further discussions will take place.
"The T&G has been talking with BA for the last six months on the
complex issues surrounding attendance" added Mr. Gold "It did confuse
the pay talks by linking them to attendance but the company has
listened to our arguments and responded."
The terms of the deal include inflation-rate pay rises on basic pay
for the next three years plus non-pensionable lump sum payments of
£1,000 over the same period. The deal will be backdated to 1st
October 2003 which adds three months' money to the back pay.
"This deal provides the period of stability the company was looking
for" concluded Mr. Gold.
(Press Release 21 Aug 2004)
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Subject: Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Thee Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign have lost a number of
leading activists over the past year and our membership has been
seriously depleted as a result. Our ability to capitalise on the
Féile in particular showed serious shortcomings in our
organisational ability. As a result I think it important that the
Belfast IPSC meet soon to decide on future activity as a branch. I
would appreciate if you could let me know whether you would be
willing/able to attend a meeting on Tuesday 31st August at 7.30pm in
Items for the agenda will include
Review of our work this year
Membership and recruitment
The National AGM and Organisation (to be held on Saturday 4th
September in Dublin)
A possible local AGM to revamp the local branch
Please let me know if you will be attending by emailing our new email
If you will not be attending I would still greatly appreciate it if
you could let me know whether you are willing/able to be involved
with the branch in its work this year and the level of commitment you
may be able/willing to offer. If you want included in our new email
system please respond to firstname.lastname@example.org If you are unable to
make this meeting and would prefer another day please give me an
From: Feilim Ó hAdhmaill
Thursday, September 2nd, 8pm
Cork WSM open meeting
The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism
Independent Workers' Union hall,
55 North Main Street, Cork
Tools For Solidarity Public Debate
"Aid is effective in alleviating poverty in Africa"
Argue for or against
7.00 pm Thursday 9 September 2004
In The Indian Community Centre, Clifton St, Belfast
Speakers for the evening:
1. Mr. Explo Nani-Kofi, of the African Liberation Support Campaign,
editor of the Kilombo Panafricanist journal and a campaigner against
the IMF and the World Bank's fraudulent debt in Africa and Africa's
2. Cllr Carmel Hanna SDLP MLA for South Belfast, Chair of the All
Party Group on International Development and former NI Assembly
Minster for Further and Higher Education.
3. Mr. John Barry, Co-chair of the Northern Irish Green Party and
deputy director, Institute of Governance, Queens University Belfast.
4. Mr. Paul Braithwaite, International Programmes Officer of
Trocaire, MA in Development Studies.
Our chair for the evening is Roisin McLaughlin, Lecturer
(International Exchanges), and UNESCO Centre at the University of
Tools for Solidarity is a non-profit making development organisation
which collects, repairs and ships out hand tools and sewing machines
to skilled trades people in Africa
Saturday September 25th 1-6pm
What sort of anti-racism do we need?
A day of talks and discussion, organised by the WSM, with speakers
from anti-racist and immigrant groups Saturday September 25th 1-6pm
Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin
The Secret war between Britain's Anti-Fascists and the Far-Right.
New book by Dave Hann and Steve Tilzey
For nearly 20 years a secret war has been waged between Britain's
anti-fascists and the extreme far-right. A war fought not with
placards and leaflets, but with boots, bottles and iron bars. For the
first time ever, two leading participants in that struggle tell the
extra-ordinary tale of the militant anti-fascist members of the
Squads and AFA's Stewards Group.
Published by Milo Books. 304pp. Price £7.99. Available on 1st
ISBN 1 903854 22 9
Available from Waterstones, Dillons, and many independent booksellers.
Can also be ordered on-line from http://www.turnaround-psl.com/ --
http://www.amazon.co.uk/ -- http://www.amazon.de/ --
http://www.amazon.co.jp/ or http://www.bookmarks.uk.com/ as well as
many other on-line booksellers.
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