Vol. 4- No 3
Tuesday 30th January2007
E-mail newsletter of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party
1) A Mark of its Failure
4) What’s On?
On 28 January 2007, a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis voted to support the PSNI and the criminal justice system; appoint party representatives to the Policing Board and District Policing Partnership Boards; and actively encourage everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the police services in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the criminal justice institutions.
In November 2006, the party already signed up to the 26 counties new policing committees. Mr Adams insisted that
"Republicans have always been for policing. Republicans have always been for law and order."(1)
The decision was hardly suprising. In a recent editorial the Irish News noted:
"If Sinn Fein is to complete its transition from a revolutionary group to a constitutional party which seeks to achieve positions in government on both sides of the border, support for policing has always been essential."(2)
The Provos had to end what DUP MEP Jim Allister called their "schizophrenic approach to the rule of law". The contradiction revolves around the fact that while the party was prepared to administer British rule, it refused to accept British policing structures in the north.
The party cannot have Ministers making the laws and at the same time refusing to endorse the forces in charge of implementing them.
"This was an absurd and illogical political position. One either rejects the legitimacy of a state or accepts it. One cannot reject the legitimacy of one arm of the state and accept the legitimacy of another. Sinn Fein was trying to have its cake and eat it." (3)
The 1998 Belfast Agreement made it quite clear that signatories would have to accept new internal policing arrangements. The Provisional movement had to accept the state's monopoly of legitimate violence.
Some weeks back, Prime Minister Blair stated given that Republicans
"have spent a lifetime fighting it",
a move to support the PSNI and the criminal justice system would be of
"There is no doubt that the Sinn Féin leadership wants to make the commitment on policing (...) I recall time and again being told that the IRA would never decommission; they would never give up violence; they would never commit to exclusively peaceful means. But they have done all these things. Sinn Féin has demonstrated one of the most remarkable examples of leadership I have come across in modern politics. It has been historic and it has been real." (4)
In an article written just before his death earlier this month, UVF leader David Ervine underlined the magnitude of the shift:
"The endgame was always going to shake up the republican movement and its supporters. It is, after all, the final acceptance by republicans of Northern Ireland as a viable and integral part of the UK. It is also the final acceptance by republicans that no authority other than state authority is either practicable or tolerable. It is worth consideration that if Adams pulls it off at the Ard Fheis, a real line in history will have been drawn."(5)
A triumphant Ian Paisley jnr already claimed late last year:
"We couldn't kill them but we can destroy them and their ideology".
A republican who accepts the police is no longer a republican, he says.
"Look whose (sic) under pressure tonight - the traitors in Sinn Féin, traitors to republicanism! Rejoice, our enemy is turning against themselves."
In an email to a convicted loyalist, Jeffrey Donaldson writes:
"These decisions are a million miles away from 1916 and the declaration of a 32-county republic. In short, the IRA has lost the battle for a United Ireland."(6)
Alex Kane of the UUP wrote in the pro-Unionist daily News Letter:
"The IRA has ended the futile 'armed struggle'. Partition has been recognised. Republicans will co-operate with unionists in Stormont. The ongoing British presence (along with the new MI5 centre) is accepted as a fact of life. The PSNI and the British justice and judicial systems will be given the thumbs up from Sinn Fein in a few days' time. Short of burning the tricolour and hoisting the Union Flag over Connolly House, there isn't much more that Sinn Fein could do to admit that Northern Ireland, Unionism and the present United Kingdom are here and here to stay."(7)
Yet for a faction of Unionism, this is not enough. The East Derry DUP MP Gregory Campbell insisted that formal recognition and participation in policing structures was not enough, the Provisional party would be judged on its work with the police to stamp out any remaining republican organisation still engaging in armed struggle against the British state. When asked if he would call on Sinn Fein to report so-called 'dissident' activity to the police, he replied:
"That will be a part of our test for them after the Ard Fheis, we have a series of things to put into practice to test them to see if their support for policing means anything. "They can't turn a blind eye on criminals because they are former colleagues,"
he said. And that applies to all crime in the republican community. In particular, Mr. Campbell said that Sinn Fein must finger anyone known to be behind fuel laundering and similar crimes, as well as reporting the killers of Belfast man Robert McCartney who was murdered in January 2005. (8) DUP MEP Jim Allister insists that any "mere verbal commitment" should be "tested and tried over a credible period". Among those tests he suggested disbandment of the IRA as an indispensable part of proof of support for the rule of law, the return of 'ill-gotten gains', including the deeds of the Northern Bank robbery, encouragement to join the PSNI and an increased conviction rate. (9)
The Provisional leadership tries to sell the decision by telling its grassroots that its move into policing structures represents a new site of struggle, that it is a strategic advance which will enable it to wrest power from 'the securocrats' and by pointing to the possibility of a Sinn Fein Minister of Policing or Justice when those powers are devolved. (10)
However, the transfer of 'counter-terrorist' intelligence from the police to MI5 means at present that any such minister would have no effective control over counter-terrorist operations in Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin is colluding with the British state to hide the fact MI5 has been given an expanded role in the North to take supreme control of all counter-terrorist intelligence with virtually no accountability or outside control.
The SDLP's Mark Durkan correctly points out that the Provisional agenda is in fact allowing the British Government to set the clock back on policing. Under the Patten reforms (132 of its 175 recommendations have already been implemented), the PSNI is obliged by law to open all its files to the Ombudsman in any investigation, whereas under the Blair-Adams deal, the police Ombudsman will not be able to investigate MI5. (11)
In fact, the Patten reforms and the Belfast Agreement offered even less than the Sunningdale Agreement in failing to provide an all Ireland authority on policing.(12)
The appointment of Lord Carlile, who supported no-jury Diplock courts in the North for each of the last five years and backed the 90-day detention without trial of terrorist suspects in Britain vigorously opposed by civil liberties groups, to a role in annually reviewing MI5 in the North, was bizarrely hailed as a victory by Sinn Féin. (13) Tony Blair”s statement on MI5 this month isn’t
"a very major step" towards getting MI5 out of Ireland as Sinn Féin claims. In fact, far from leaving Ireland, MI5 is building brand new £100m headquarters in Palace Barracks in Hollywood outside Belfast.
'MI5's role will undermine the whole point of Patten, which was to grant some democratic control and scrutiny over security policies'
declared Mark Durkan.
'If the status quo remains, any future Minister of Justice or Policing will have no access, let alone control of, a crucial part of security policy'
the Foyle SDLP MP said. (14)
A policing minister won't have sweeping powers like running the security apparatus. His/her greatest power will be introducing legislation, such as a bill to end 50% remission for sex offenders; but the policing minister can't give orders to the chief constable.
There hasn't even been a new breakthrough on the controversial plastic bullets -there still needs to be a total ban on those weapons. So-called 'civic policing' under the new arrangements will not end 'political policing'. (15)
The Provisional movement's attempt to change the policing and justice system from within is congenitally flawed. An active Republican and former member of the Provisional movement writes in the Communist Party of Ireland journal:
"In many instances of political action it's a case of not what you do but why you do it. The Sinn Fein Ard-Chomhairle motion that republicans back An Garda as well as the PSNI without any equivalent Patten type reforms is an indication that a republican endorsement of 'law and order' is being sought for all the wrong reasons. (...) Any notion that Sinn Fein or anybody else can enter the most reactionary institution of power in the Six Counties while the British maintain ultimate control and subvert its reason for existing is naive. (...) As Karl Marx once stated, 'the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purpose'."(16)
Experience shows that once you attempt to create change from within, the parameters of the system create constraints which prevent political actors from transforming it. Once in, the party's room of manoeuvre will become much more constrained than if it were applying pressure from without. It is not the British state which will have to obey Republican rules but the other way around. Accepting and endorsing the policing and justice system is not a Republican strategy - it is a British state and Unionist demand. They have already determined the rules of the game. Attempts to change the system from within will only result in Republicans being stuck on the other side of the barricade. As Anthony McIntyre recently remarked, the paradox at the heart of the Sinn Fein position, is one of claiming to be Republican while at the same time being prepared to support political policing that will put republicans in jails for armed resistance to the British state. If the party is not prepared to perform such functions at the behest of the British state and the DUP, then it will never attain the justice ministry. Sinn Fein embracing the British PSNI is not a sign of republican success but is a mark of its failure.(17)
Liam O RUAIRC
(1) Gerry Adams, Time is Right for Policing Decision, The Sunday Life, 21 January 2007
(2) Editorial, Sinn Fein right to move on policing, The Irish News, 29 December 2006
(3) Paul Maguire, Provo Poachers Turn Gamekeepers, New Republican Forum, 4 January 2007
(4) Prime Minister Blair, Good faith is key to breaking current peace process impasse, The Irish Times, 8 January 2007
(5) David Ervine, Let's finish the job, The Belfast Telegraph, 9 January 2006
(6) Suzanne Breen, Revealed -Bizarre DUP emails to loyalist murderer, The Sunday Tribune, 10 December 2006
(7) Alex Kane, The DUP has nothing to fear, News Letter, 22 January 2007
(8) Campbell's "pro policing" test - Sinn Fein "must turn in dissidents", Derry Journal, 5 January 2007
(9) Jim Allister, Sinn Fein must prove it supports the rule of law, The Belfast Telegraph, 9 January 2007
(10) Sinn Fein, A New Beginning to Policing, leaflet included with The Belfast Telegraph, 26 January 2007
(11) SDLP, The Truth About MI5: what they don't want you to know, http://www.sdlp.ie/documents/MI5Truth-jan07.doc
(12) Jonathan Tonge, Northern Ireland, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006, p.82
(13) Suzanne Breen, Sinn Fein bizarrely claims MI5 appointment as victory, Sunday Tribune, 14 January 2007
(14) Henry McDonald, Call for more scrutiny of MI5's role in Ulster, The Observer 19 November 2006
(15) Liam Clarke, Covert policing will endure, so we must learn from errors of the past, Sunday Times, 21 January 2007
(16) Reader's Reply, Sinn Fein and Policing, Socialist Voice January 2007
(17) Cfr. Vincent Browne, Sinn Fein marches onward into cul-de-sac, Sunday Business Post, 28 January 2007;Henry McDonald, Today the Provisionals embrace 'Northern Ireland', The Observer, 28 January 2007; David Sharrock A momentous day for both the IRA and law and order, The Times, 29 January 2007
So the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland, Nuala O’Loan has produced a report that shows that there was collusion between Special Branch officers of the then Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and members of the loyalist outfit the Ulster Volunteer Force. Lordy Lordy! What a shocking state of affairs. The only shocking thing about it has been the response of the political leaders of Unionism. Apart from the PUP’s Dawn Purvis, the leaders of Unionism talked about the good work of the RUC, the many lives saved and how all this was plot to rewrite history. They are scared to face up to the ugly face of their own history.
The report only dealt with North Belfast where a UVF unit carried out 10 murders, 10 attempted murders, 10 punishment shootings, 13 punishment attacks, a bomb attack in Monaghan and 72 other criminal offences while simultaneously working as informers for Special Branch during the 80’s and 90’s. Republicans have known almost from the year 1969 that the Special Branch saw Ulster Loyalism as another weapon in the struggle to subdue the demands for a united Ireland. In the 1920’2 and 30’s an Inspector Nixon of the RUC led a loyalist murder gang. There has always been a close relationship between police and loyalism in the Northern state.
The cold reality that needs to be faced up to by all who have been involved in the conflict is that the actions of the loyalist paramilitaries were part and parcel of the British occupation of Ireland. The bombing of catholic owned pubs, the burning out of Catholics from previously “mixed” areas, the cold blooded butchery practiced by the Shankill butchers, the firebombing of catholic areas, the bomb attacks on people and property south of the border and the assassination of political leaders within nationalism and republicanism were all carried out by loyalism as part of the British war machine. Over 200 weapons from the UDR/RIR (the local official militia of the British army) found their way to the UDA/UVF/RHC (the unofficial militia of the British Army). In 1973 the British Army itself estimated between 5% and 15 % of the soldiers in the UDR were connected to the loyalist murder gangs.
The collusion took different forms at different times. For example the RUC denied the existence of a sectarian murder campaign for many years during the 1970’s. Instead they were motiveless murders or random murders. These murders were rarely fully investigated. Files went missing. Suspects were not questioned. Forensics investigations were not carried out and relatives kept in the dark about the progress of investigations. Files on republican suspects were copied and given to loyalist murders.
Leaders within republicanism were targeted for harassment by the security forces and then details of cars homes etc fed to the murder gangs. In a number of cases agents of MI5 trained loyalist murder gangs in the skills of assassination and also set up a number of pseudo gangs to carry out random acts of violence as they had done in Aden, Cyprus and Kenya during those countries struggle for freedom. British army activity or rather lack of activity during the Ulster Workers Council (UWC) in 1974 was a clear example of collusion with loyalism. They idly stood by while fascist thugs through a lock out brought down the power-sharing executive. Of course this was nothing new for in 1914 the officer class of the same army refused to obey their orders to move their men to the north from the Curragh.
The result of this collusion can be seen in the statistics of deaths. Loyalist gangs killed 864 civilians mostly Catholics with no connections to republicanism. The Stevens inquiry found that
‘UDA had access to a large number of security files on republicans’
Most of the loyalists involved in the murder of Pat Finucane worked for one or other branches of the security forces as paid informers and also active murderers.
Al of this was approves at the highest level of the British Government. Someday when all this has passed, historians will conclude that the evidence shows that the murders of IRSP members, Miriam Daly, Ronnie Bunting and Noel Little were approved in committee rooms in Number 10 Downing Street.
Of course in time history will also uncover episodes of agents within Republican groups being allowed to get away with murder because it suited the long term plans of their masters in MI5 MI6 or the Special Branch.
The report by Nuala O’Loan allows the British to say
“Yes there was some bad things done by a few bad apples and it was wrong, we apologize and now it is time to move on as that can not now happen, given all the reforms we have introduced.”
That report plays into the politics of today. It allows the pro-policing Sinn Fein (P) to claim that all this is because they held out for so long from endorsing policing and now it is time to get in and change from within as real chance has taken place.
Do they really believe that MI5 will have no connection with policing? All policing is political. Just ask the minority communities in British cities or talk to the families of the miners of Britain.
British enquires into British activity in the North are to all intents and purposes a waste of time. Good for the lawyers, good for the media but bearing little or no relation to the truth. They have only been set up to create a context within which nationalists can be encouraged to work the sectarian six county state. It is not about the truth. Truth is not exactly a virtue one associates with the British Prime Minister Blair. All the enquires of the day will not chance the fundamentals of the Irish question. No amount of spin will change that fact. British Imperialism still rules the six county state.
The British state coldly and calculatingly armed trained and unleashed murder gangs against Catholics as part of their campaign to subdue republican resistance. There were not a “few bad apples” morally compromised by colluding with brutal murder gangs. The British were not a neutral force standing between two warring sectarian tribes. They were the instigators of sectarian violence just as they have been in Iraq.
Tony Blair and the New Labour project are not squeaky clean. They are as guilty as Thatcher and every other British Government that presided over the occupation of Ireland.
The struggle goes on but in a changed political context. Republicans need to be wary of reacting emotionally to the events of the day and mounting short-term electoral challenges that ignore the social and economic issues of the day. Republican socialists have always argued that the class and national questions cannot be separated Now is not the time to abandon that core belief. Instead we must take our message into all arenas of conflict and raise the banner of class struggle high.
Anti Social behaviour
Over the weekend we have received reports of a number of incidents in the Shantallow area in which cars were broken into and vandalised in the Drumleck Drive area of Shantallow. We are aware that these incidents are linked and were carried out by criminal elements within the community who are well known. It was also noted that these people are regular offenders and have been arrested and released from RUC/PSNI custody on many occasions.
We have also recieved reports that a community facility and a shop in Leafair Park were targets of vandals over the weekend.
This then begs the question of why they are allowed to carry out these attacks on the community. To us the answer is obvious; they are being paid by the RUC/PSNI to spy on their community and in return are allowed, or even encouraged to carry out attacks on that community.
The IRSP have been approached by members of the community who are concerned that the RUC/PSNI have once again allowed their paid informers to act with impunity. This is hardly the new beginning to policing that Sinn Fein and others have promised. Within hours of yesterday’s decision at the RDS in Dublin ordinary people in Shantallow were the indirect victims of the RUC/PSNI.
We say loud and clear that the RUC/PSNI are not the answer to the anti-community activities within working class estates. Despite Sinn Fein's support for this British police force there is no magic formula that overnight transforms this discredited force into something that is acceptable to working class people. The answers to these problems must come from within the community and the IRSP will support the community to sort out these problems, not the British police force
We call on the community to reject the criminals from within their midst, to isolate them and a let them know in no uncertain terms that the community will not, and indeed, can not, allow this activity to continue.
Irish Republican Socialist Party
Bloody Sunday Riot
Republican Socialist Youth Movement
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
Following last night's riots in the Bogside area of Derry following the annual Bloody Sunday commemoration there are facts we would like to place on record.
The PSNI were already in position donning full riot gear with camera surveillance in the area surrounding the Tower Hotel prior to the commemorative proceedings being drawn to a close. This was a clear attempt to provoke youths in the vicinity. There was one arrest that we know of by the time the commemoration had ended, this only served to further aggravate the youths who attacked the PSNI with anything at their disposal.
Not once did we witness the destruction of property belonging to ordinary working class people but a consistent and determined young people who attacked their oppressor. As the riot reached it's height, materials for petrol bombs were seized by local members of the Provisional Movement and removed from the area. We view this as an unrivalled act of collaboration with those who occupy our country and an indication of their newly found positions within British rule here which they are forced to defend. It is not the first time they have actively assisted the PSNI and will not be the last by any stretch of the emagination.
The PSNI were seen to load plastic bullet guns before swarming the Bogside estate with the assistance of an already airborne helicopter unit. They were attacked with fireworks at this point and found easy scapegoats in people not involved in the riot.
Athmhachnamh ar an Bhóthar
Reflections on the Road Mórthaispeántas saothair le Geraldine Gallagher.
A major exhibition of work by Geraldine Gallagher
Iniúchann an taispeántas grianghraf seo na tuiscintí difriúla de Bhótharna bhFál. Le cúnamh doimhne eolais mhuintir na háite, tá taispeántas curtha le cheile ag Geraldine Gallagher, a chaitheann amharc anamúil annamh ar shaol 'an bhóthair'. Thug sí faoi dhearcadh na nglúine a cheapadh le scéal an áitritheora, ag obair, ar sos agus ag súgradh, aríomh. Trí bliana ó shin a thug Geraldine faoin ghrianghrafadóireacht agus tá sí páirteach anois sa chomharchumann Íomhá 10+. Seo an chéad mhórthaispeántas aonair aici.
This photographic exhibition explores the different perceptions of the Falls Road. Using the depth of knowledge and memories of local residents, Geraldine Gallagher has put together an exhibition that takes a spirited and extraordinary look at life on 'the road'. She has endeavoured tocapture the views of numerous generations to depict inhabitant at work, rest and play.
Geraldine took up photography three years ago and is part of the collective Image 10+. This is her first major solo exhibition. Aoine 2ú Feabhra Friday 2nd February 7:00in -9:00in
Leanfaidh an taispeántas go dtí 1ú Márta This exhibition continues until 1st March
Tíceid go foill ar fáil do: / Tickets still available for: Oíche na mBan Ceolchoirm le: / A Concert with :Roisín White, Laura Kerr, Mary Ryan and Féile Women's Singing Group
1/02/07 8:00in £7/£5
Padraig Rynne, Tola Custy agus Paul McSherry 24/ 02/07 8:30in £8
Louis de Paor , Saol i bhfocail / Louis de Paor a Life in words 8/03/07
The Legend of Luke Kelly 10/03/07
East Down Migrant Workers Support Group
Sveiki – Olá – Cześć / Dzień dobry – ЗДраствуй
The newly formed EDMWSG would like to invite you to their afternoon launch in the
Down County Museum
Thursday 1st February
Guest speakers in attendance followed by a light lunch and refreshments.
For more information-see press release below.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
07919137349/07801189971 by Friday 26th January
The last number of years has seen a welcome increase in the numbers of migrant workers coming to Down District to play an increasingly important role in meeting the labour needs of local businesses and industries. Unfortunately they have at times met various levels of exploitation, prejudice and indeed physical attack.
In response to the above The East Down Migrant Workers Support Group seeks to tackle the exploitation and prejudice faced by migrant workers in the Down district and where possible to offer assistance in accessing local services, offering advice on employment and trade union rights and assisting then in playing an active role in local communities.
A spokesperson for the group commented, “I am very pleased to announce this hands-on project for the betterment of all the community. The migrant community provide a rich cultural addition to our area and it is our duty to provide practical support to them wherever necessary”.
The EDMWSG is comprised of community activists from across the political spectrum, migrant workers themselves and trade unionists. The EDMSWG is being launched at the Down County Museum on the 1st February at 1pm. All are welcome, especially migrant workers, political representatives and civic leaders. A guest speaker will be in attendance, followed by lunch and refreshments.
For further information contact 07919137349/ 07801189971
COMMUNIST PARTY OF IRELAND.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY CELEBRATIONS
Dear comrade & friends.
The CPI has invited ZAHRA KHAZEM KHALDI a representative of the
Palestinian Peoples Party to speak in Ireland for International Women's Day
8th March. Comrade Zahra Khaldi (Member in the Women Department of PPP)
and lives in Jerusalem. We hope to have her in the country from the 6th -
She will be speaking in Dublin in the New Theatre as well as in Belfast.
We hope to get her to a number of other venues around the country. Check
our website for further details in the near future.
Of course her visit depends upon the Israeli government allowing her to
leave and granting her a visa.
Yours in solidarity
Eugene Mc Cartan.
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The Republican Socialist Youth Movement have re-launched their website.
It can be viewed at
An Glór / The Voice
News sheet of Belfast Republican Socialist Youth Movement
- Brit police never acceptable
- Maghaberry Prison protest continues
- Assets Recovery Agency, a question of money
- Support the Turkish death fast
- Ard Fheis rejects any move towards INLA decommissioning
- Volunteer Davy McNutt RIP
The Republican Socialist Youth Movement have produced a short video on the situation concerning Shannon airport and its continued use by American troops and the CIA. The video can be viewed at
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