Saturday, 10 January 2015

Send a Clear Message to Stormont's Neo-Conservative Politicians in 2015

In less than four months, the North Belfast Electorate will once again be asked to choose a 'new' M.P. for the British Parliament at Westminster. At present, the amount of residents available to cast their votes is well-over 64,000. However, like all previous elections in the area. Only a section actually partake in electoral activity. Ardoyne is but one of the local communities within the North Belfast Constituency. The vast majority of it's North Belfast inhabitants are Working-Class. In previous elections, Provisional Sinn Fein polled extremely-well. 

Since 2010, Nigel Dodds of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has been our local Member of Parliament. Double-Jobbing Dodds is also a Barrister, member of the failed Stormont Micro-Parliament and a Leading Member of the Pro-Imperialist, extremist and sectarian, Orange Order. For the past five years, the current North Belfast M.P. has done nothing to properly represent the Catholic, Nationalist or Republican people in the Constituency. Likewise, Dodds has done little in the way of helping the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community either. The arrogant upper Middle-Class Fermanagh man has little time for the Working-Class electorate. Instead he only has interest in an promoted anti Working-Class and sectarian agenda on behalf of his bigoted Party! 

Nigel Dodds M.P.
For the last few elections, Gerry Kelly of Provisional Sinn Fein has been hot on Dodds' heels. In 2010, Kelly came within two thousand votes of taking the seat. The former H-Block Escapee and Provisional IRA Volunteer has a high public profile and is a member of the Party's Negotiating Team. He is also the S/F Representative to the RUC/PSNI Policing Authority and recently advocated British Informers. Like Doods, Kelly is not a native of North Belfast and many local Voters do not see the MLA unless the Media is present. As a Stormont MLA, he is viewed by many as aloof, elitist and against local community initiative's like the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC). 

Gerry Kelly MLA

Even though, Stormont and it's Spin-Doctors have attempted to mask the huge cuts to the Welfare Budget. Both Dodds and Kelly helped their Parties to capitulate to threats from Westminster for Stormont to introduce it's 'Welfare Reform Package'. In effect, the 'Package' includes punitive cuts to Housing Benefit, negative changes to Welfare and the eventual abolishment of Disability Payments. Altogether, over £750 Million each year will be removed by the Stormont Regime from the pockets of the poorest in the Six Counties. 

It is up to the North Belfast Electorate to open their eyes to the betrayal of Working-Class Families by last month's 'Stormont House Agreement', endorsed by both Parties, Nigel Dodds and Gerry Kelly. It is also the duty of all local Republicans, Socialists and Democrats to ensure that a Political Alternative to the current crop of Politicos is found to give the Working-Class of North Belfast a proper voice. A genuine Irish Socialist-Republican who will tackle these Conservative Politicians in the political domain, once and for all. It is clear that once again the Stormont Elite have been abandoned by this latest 'Agreement, are we going to let them succeed or will we fight for our rights? 

Friday, 19 December 2014

The Missing Peace Dividend, St. Gemma's, GARC, the Survey & Myself.

In spite of years of promises by Stormont's Political Parties who endorse the so-called 'Peace Process'. The Greater Ardoyne and Oldpark (Bone) communities of North Belfast have yet to experience any kind of 'Peace Dividend'

Seventeen years after the Belfast Agreement (Good Friday Agreement) was signed. Local families continue to suffer from high deprivation, low educational achievement, little employment opportunities, hostile political policing and of course second-class citizenship. A number of local schools have closed down and no sign of them reopening. 

St. Gemma's School 

Like the former St. Gabriel's site, many local people wish to see it used to house a modern educational village including, a joint school and decent leisure facilities. Which have been sadly lacking in our community for generations. 

Over the past year, a number of 'Community Groups', (many of which exist in name only) have been attempting to take ownership of St. Gemma's. They believe the site should be used as a 'Community Hub'. Where they and other groups should be housed in the future. Many within these areas view this with suspicion because there has been no consultation between these groups, the Catholic Church and residents. There seems to be no transparency about meetings, discussions and feedback. Likewise, it sadly indicates what is  missing from the wider community sector in Ardoyne and the Bone

In early November, the Nora Connolly Cumann of RNU issued a public statement concerning St. Gemma's and called for the local community to be consulted about it's future use. Community Must Be Consultated on the Furure of St. Gemma's - RNU

Last month, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) changed it's Constitution to allow it to include all issues of concern to the local community. Since then, GARC has commissioned an independent survey seeking residents views, as to what they would like to see the St. Gemma's Site used for. At present, the information is being collated by statisticians and will be published in the New Year. 

GARC Survey
For the past six years, GARC has effectively represented the Greater Ardoyne community against unwelcome sectarian marches. There is little doubt that they will also be successful in better representing ordinary people living here, than some of the groups who claim to be working on our behalf! The survey is a timely, progressive and positive move by GARC. 

After spending over six years with GARC and holding a number of roles on it's radical Committee. As anyone who knows me realises, I also have a number of other commitments in my life. That include a senior position in RNU and of course my family. As a result, I felt the need to leave the Collective's Steering Committee. Although, they will continue to have my full support. Finally, I'd like to wish all my readers the very best for Christmas and Good Luck in the new year. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Fifty Questions for Irish Republicans? William Ennis

During the recent Conflict, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) under this and a variety of other titles conducted an armed campaign to keep the Six Counties part of Britain. That resulted in the killing of approximately five hundred Irish citizens throughout the Country. Including many Ardoyne residents. The organisation was also regularly involved in direct collusion for decades with the British Crown Forces. 

Even though, I strongly disagree with and have deep suspicious concerning the UVF and its colleagues in the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP). They consist of fellow Irish citizens and are entitled to articulate their political opinions. Their views need to be also heard by Irish Republicans. Which is why this evening, I include the following article that was recently published on the 'Long Kesh Inside-Out' website, An online forum for former Red Hand Commando (RHC) and Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) prisoners. 

It was written by PUP Activist, William Ennis from East Belfast. Who admits that Republicans may find some of his questions cheap and predictable. The Author has kindly given Ardoyne Republican his permission for it to be published here..... 

Fifty Questions for Irish Republicans

  1. Do you disagree with the media practice of referring to Republicans who oppose the peace process as dissidents, a reference which cleanly divorces them from pro-peace Republicans, given that this courtesy is not extended to pro-peace Loyalists?
  2. Is Sinn Fein’s desire to slash corporation tax, arguably to the cost of public services, a betrayal of James Connolly?
  3. With the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) acknowledging the British identity of those within our communities who cherish it is Brits out still an appropriate slogan?
  4. Many Irish Republicans supported the Scottish Yes campaign.  Is this an acknowledgement that two states can be a peaceful solution upon One Island?
  5. Can you think of a campaign you’d like Loyalists and Republicans to undertake together?
  6. Do the differing attitudes toward Loyalist culture in the Republic of Ireland (where opposition to orange parades is almost unheard of) and Northern Ireland (were many Loyalists understand it to be cultural within Republicanism) deepen partition?
  7. Is ringing the bell to start trading at the New York Stock Exchange consistent with a Socialist Republic?
  8. To what degree do the reasons cited by dissident Republicans for splitting from main stream Republicanism differ from the reasons cited by the Provisional IRA (PIRA) for doing so in the 1970’s?
  9. Re-read question 5…  Can you name another?
  10. Should trustees of a building/organisation to which rent is being paid from the public purse be aware of such transactions?
  11.  If Irish Republicans oppose hierarchy of victimhood why don’t they campaign on behalf of PIRA victims too?
  12. Why did the PIRA not accept power-sharing in the 1970’s given that its format was very similar to our power-sharing arrangement today?
  13. How much consideration was given within the Catholic/Nationalist/Republican community to the effect the Belfast City Hall flag removal would have upon w/c Protestant areas before that action was undertaken?
  14. Does the Republican understanding of a shared future refer to a future shared between Catholics, Protestants and other faiths, or between Nationalist, Unionist and other ideologies?
  15. Any theories as to why so few Ulster Protestants have been recruited to the Irish Republican cause in Northern Ireland?
  16. During the conflict as Irish Republicanism battled what it considered British oppression of the Irish people, what steps did it take to combat the now clear oppression which was perpetrated upon the Irish people by the Church (via laundry prisons for young women and clerical child abuse)?
  17. With almost unanimous agreement that the Irish language should not be politicised, does it belong in the manifesto of any political party?
  18. Does Irish Republicanism advocate separation of church and state?  If so, given the special position De Valera gave to one religious faith above all others, when did that policy change?
  19. What things would you, as a Republican, like to see happen in Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist areas which aren’t happening at the moment?
  20. Why have SF agreed to implement the austerity plan of the Conservative party?
  21. Do you believe Loyalism has a right to exist?
  22. Do you believe Loyalism has a right to practice its parading tradition?
  23. Do you believe Loyalism has a right to practice its parading tradition in areas which are not Protestant?
  24. Do you support segregated living as two separate communities?
  25. Why are some Republicans still engaged in armed struggle?
  26. To what extent do currently violent Republicans (known in the media as dissidents) influence the policies of Sinn Fein?
  27. With Scotland coming within six per-cent of leaving the UK without a bullet fired, a bomb planted or a prisoner self-starved, has any reconsideration been cast upon Irish Republicanism’s past tactics?
  28. Why is partition a blight of Ireland but a goal in Spain?
  29. Are the Irish people who fought in the two world wars less Irish than those who didn’t?
  30. Was De Valera correct to refuse Churchill’s offer of Irish re-unification in exchange for Ireland’s official recruitment against Nazism?
  31. Is it credible for a party to be anti-austerity in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) whilst implementing austerity in Northern Ireland?
  32. Did the Enniskillen bomb benefit Ireland?  If so, how?
  33. Any theories as to why the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) focused their enquiries overwhelmingly on ex-Loyalist paramilitaries and anti-SF Republicans but very rarely on PIRA paramilitaries?
  34. With the EU bringing together states through trade and dialogue doesn’t this render the 32 county statearguments obsolete?
  35. Would a SF government in the ROI withdraw Ireland from the EU, or set in motion the referendum to do so?
  36. Was the conflict here a legitimate war, or a terrorist campaign?  If the former, why complain when your enemy fired back?  If the latter, why support terrorism?
  37. Why didn’t the PIRA apologise to all innocent victims at the calling of its ceasefire, as Loyalists did?
  38. Loyalist protesters were recently fired upon by police using rubber bullets.  Is it fair to say that Republican protest at their use is not as vociferous as was the case in past generations when the same tactics were deployed against protesting members of the Catholic/Nationalist/Republican section of the community?
  39. If South Africa and India (to name two) can rejoin the commonwealth why not Ireland?  Would it not be the ultimate olive branch to the British section of the community in Ulster?
  40. If you could change one thing (just the one mind) about Loyalism, what would it be?
  41. Would the Parades Commission be legal in the Republic of Ireland?  (see article 40.6.1.ii of the Irish constitution)
  42. If you could change anything about Irish Republicanism, what would it be?
  43. Is mocking the pronunciation of certain words by another working class section of the community consistent with the Socialist Republic?
  44. Is it wrong to say that Sinn Fein’s opposition to super-grass trials is much weaker today that the targets of the tactic are usually Loyalists, than it was in the 1980’s, when the targets were often Republicans?
  45. If Northern Ireland is an occupation then presumably as a Unionist I must be a collaborator of some sort.  In the event of the Republican Ideal of a thirty-two county sovereign Island state, how would my charge sheet read?
  46. Considering the petition of concern facility at Stormont, what are the chances of legislating for a united Ireland referendum?
  47. Is the creation of companies for the purpose of acquiring invoices to draw expense claims from the public purse in keeping with a Socialist Republic?
  48. Will the re-emerging tactics of bombing banks, shooting policemen etc benefit Ireland?  If so, how?
  49. Why did Sinn Fein capitulate to the DUP on the recent budget?
  50. I don’t mean to embarrass the guy, but on the several occasions I have met and conversed with Connor Maskey I found him to be genuinely engaging and progressive.  Have you ever engaged with a Loyalist were the exchange became hopeful rather than adversarial?

Friday, 28 November 2014

Honouring Óglaigh. Gerard and James McDade, Óglaigh Na hÉireann Ardoyne 2014.

Two weeks ago, around 100 Ardoyne residents and Republicans attended a local Commemoration to pay tribute to two brothers, James and Gerard McDade from the same family. Both of who died in brutal circumstances in 1971 and 1974 respectively. They were not just brothers but Ardoyne men and also valued members of the Provisional IRA. 

It was a small but moving ceremony in Herbert Street, with their family, friends and comrades present on the day. It was honour to be there amongst fellow Republicans, paying tribute to two courageous Ardoyne sons'. It was also great to hear recognition being paid to Republican Stalwart, Mary McLaughlin who sadly passed away a few years ago. Another brave Ardoyne person who shall stay in the annals of Irish history. May she rest in eternal peace. Sadly, I'd to leave early because the Chairperson of the ceremony attempted to use the event to slate non-Provisional Republicans for equallying honouring fallen Volunteers in Ardoyne. Although, the only thing he succeeded in doing was to dishonour the two Volunteers being honoured a chairde! As I've often said, no-one Party or Movement owns Irish Republicanism. It belongs to us all!

Óglach. Gerard McDade
Gerard had been active in the local IRA Unit, since the 1969 Pogroms in and around his native Ardoyne. A natural Leader and organiser, Gerard soon rose to the rank of Staff Captain and was admired by his comrades and the local community. Gerard was also a fearless Freedom-Fighter. He had been on the run and hunted by the British Crown Forces since the re-Introduction of Internment that August. 

A few days before Christmas 1971, Gerard had just left a friend's house he had been visiting in Oakfield Street. When he was shot in the back by a British Army Sniper. Residents who attempted to help and treat him were prevented from doing so, by the same Sniper who repeatedly fired upon anyone who got close to the dying Volunteer. Gerard was buried with full military honours and his remains are in Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. 

Gerard's older brother, James was one of the thousands of Belfastmen who were forced to emigrate to England in search of work during the Sixties. He settled in Birmingham, alongside a growing Irish population. James was renowned as a hard worker and an accomplished Singer in the many Pubs frequented at nights by Irishmen after work. 

Óglach. James McDade

In secret, James was also an active IRA Volunteer but unlike Gerard decided to operate in the Lion's Den, England. A diligent and honourable Republican, James helped build a successful network of Irish Republican Activists around England and brought Britain's crimes to it's own doorstep. On November 14 1974, Jim had been planting an IRA device in Coventry when the bomb prematurely exploded killing him instantly. 

The Catholic Bishop of Birmingham refused to bury him, while the British Government banned all IRA displays in England. Aldergrove Airport outside Belfast refused access to his remains and his family were forced to have him transported to Dublin. He was buried alongside his brother, Gerard in Milltown with full honours. 

Six workmates of James, five from North Belfast and the other from Derry enroute to his funeral in Belfast. Were subsequently stopped by the English Police, beaten and terrorised into 'admitting' their involvement in a number of Provisional IRA attacks in Birmingham. Even though, they had nothing whatsoever to do with the IRA, not alone the bombings. The six men soon became known as the Birmingham Six and struggled behind bars for the next 17 years to prove their innocent. All for trying to pay their respects to a close friend. It was not until March 1991, that Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Hugh Callaghan, Billy Power and Richard McIlkenny from Belfast. As well as, Johnny Walker from Derry were set free again! 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Full Report from Inaugural Óglach. Martin Meehan Memorial Lecture

Ardoyne Republican includes a full report on the Inaugural Óglach. Martin Meehan Memorial Lecture. That was held in the Crumlin Star Social Club, Ardoyne on Friday November 21st, 2014. The event was organised by the Republican Network For Unity in conjunction with the Meehan Family. 

An introduction was given by Former Blanketman and RNU National Chairperson, Gary McNally from Strabane, County Tyrone. McNally clarified that although Martin was not an RNU Activist at the time of his sudden death in 2007. His Party's Ard Chomhirle had wanted to commemorate the legendary IRA Volunteer and asked his son, Martin Óg who is also RNU's General Secretary. 

The Republican Network for Unity's Executive asked the Meehan Family for their permission in organising a fitting event in their father's memory. After consulting with the immediate and wider Clann, the Meehans agreed. Finally, Gary also stressed that the family had wanted Representatives of Political Prisoners held in Maghaberry to speak at the Lecture. As well as, the Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaign. Given their late father's dedication to POW issues throughout his life. Particularly those suffering wrongful imprisonment. Therefore, Cogús, IRPWA and Cabhair were invited. Sadly, the IRPWA like Cabhair were not able to attend. The RNU National Chairperson then introduced the first Speaker, Martin Óg Meehan. 

Martin Óg began gave the well-attended audience an emotional and education speech about his late father, from his birth until his death. He detailed his childhood, growing-up in relative poverty, where discrimination and bigotry were a daily occurrence for everyone in the Ardoyne area. How, as a ten year-old boy Martin was beaten, arrested and his Dad threatened by the RUC, After he took a sandbag that was being used to protect Rosebank Mill in Flax Street and brought it his home in Crumlin Street after it was flooded by heavy rainfall.

Martin in 1965
He also confirmed that his father had joined the IRA in 1965, prior to the Civil Rights Movement changed the Six County State and Unionist domination. How Martin a few local Volunteers held a large crowd of bigots from burning the Ardoyne area down with one Shotgun and a battered old-car. Martin Óg explained that the then IRA Leadership had disarmed a number of IRA Units and left Working-Class communities they represented very vunerable to attack. His Dad resigned in protest months before the Provisional IRA was born and how Martin and a fellow Docker commandeered six brand new rifles from inside a British army Ship in Belfast Port to use in defense of Ardoyne. 

Martin being arrested by the RUC, Derry, 1968
He said that his father had endured over eighteen years imprisonment from Mounjoy, Crumlin Road, Long Kesh and the H-Blocks during nearly two decades behind bars. Suffered two torturous Hunger-Strikes, fifty days in 1972 and sixty-six days in 1980. How he had been refused to attend his mother's funeral in 1980 and that of his granddaughter in 1991. About him and Martin Óg spending three years behind bars together in the Blocks in the Nineties. His countless beatings by the British army and RUC over the years.  Martin was anointed on four separate occasions by Priests after these beatings. His long battles with serious illness including, numerous heart attacks, one of which ended his life. 
Martin (centre) honouring PIRA Vol. Michael Kane, 1970 
Martin Óg expressed his and his family's pride in their father and grandfather. About how he had not only defended his small community against oppression. He had also kept the republican flame burning in his spirit throughout his life through a series of important roles. Like the National Graves Association, an Elected Councillor and a prominent IRA Volunteer. That his Dad never overlooked nor sidelined Ex-POWs' no matter where they were. He attended visits in hospitals, funerals despite receiving huge criticism from elitists in the Provisional Leadership for doing so. He also did not condemn fellow Republicans for engaging in Armed Actions. That he had not right to do, given the continuation of British occupation. Martin also kept in contact with Political Prisoners as it was the right thing to do. He often said he would never be a hypocrite and that a new Armed Republican Campaign was inevitable if the Good Friday Agreement did not achieve social, national and political freedom. 
Martin in 1971
Martin Óg finished his speech by stating how and when his Dad had passed away. How his late father had always felt that National Irish Sovereignty was a prize worth struggling for. That the tradition of dedicating oneself to Irish freedom was costly but noble. He then asked everyone to stand for a minutes silence for all those patriots who died in pursuit of Irish freedom. 
Martin defending Ardoyne, 1972
Gary McNally called on Ex-POW, Martin Rafferty from the Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaign to speak.... 

Rafferty spoke of his own friendship with Martin Meehan and how holding differing opinions did not end the respect both men had for one another. He detailed the wrongful imprisonment of Brendan McConville and J.P. Wotten. From their arrests, remand, trial and appeals. At the behest of the British and Stormont governments. The miscarriage of justice against John-Paul Wootton & Brendan McConnville began when the British State in Ireland needed political scapegoats for the Continuity IRA killing of an RUC/PSNI member in Craigavon on March 9th, 2009. 

At the time, JP Wootton was but seventeen years-old, still a teenager. While, Brendan McConnville, a former Sinn Fein Councillor were both arrested within hours of the shooting and held for almost two under special legislation in Antrim Barracks. Remanded to Maghaberry Gaol for nearly three years before being tried in a Non-Jury (Diplock) Court, before being tried in a Non-Jury (Diplock) Court. 

With no physical DNA, Fibres nor fingerprints found against the men. The British Public Prosecution Service (PPS) linked both men to the killing through a process of speculation and hypothesis. Several witnesses were also granted anonymity, which prevented Defence Teams from properly Cross-Examining them. One of who has been described by his own family as a compulsive liar and walter-mitty type individual. In spite of these facts, Wootton and McConnville were 'convicted' and ordered to serve Life behind bars. 

The Justice for the Craigavon Two Campaign Committee member, went onto explain about the so-called Appeal process. As well as, the State's recent Court case to increase JP Wootton's life sentence Tariff from 14 to 18 years. The PPS Chief, Barra McGrory brought the new case because he believed the Court had been; 'unduly leniet'. Even though, the Six Countie's Top Judge admitted that he had 'played no identifiable role' in the CIRA killing. McConnville's 25 year sentence was not changed. 

Finally, Martin Rafferty called on the people of Ardoyne to join the fight to have both men freed from gaol and do all they could to further the campaign. He received loud and sustained applause for his articulate contribution by the audience. 

McNally then called on former H-Block POW and recently-released Maghaberry Political Prisoner, Tony Taylor from Derry City to speak on behalf of Cogús....

Tony gave a detailed account of the daily life of a Republican Prisoner in Maghaberry, about the lack of freedom they have. Little or no association between Political Prisoners, even though the POWs' and Prison Administration had negotiated a compromise in August, 2010. That the agreement had not been implemented but that the Screws had immediately began reverting back to draconian treatment of not only POWs' but of their families also. 

He told us about the intransigence of Stormont's so-called Justice Department, Prison Administration and Screws had caused the protracted protest by Political Prisoners which culminated in the No-Wash Campaign by Cogús and other POWs' last year. Whereby, Tony and his imprisoned comrades asserted the right of all Irish Republican Prisoners to Political Status.  

He also spoke of the brutality of forced Strip-Searches inflicted upon POWs' in Maghaberry and gave a very emotional and moving account about Screws dressed in full riot uniform terrorise defenceless Republicans at the Gaol in what can only be described as sexual assaults. He also stressed the need for this inhuman practise to end inside Maghaberry and also for his female comrades in Hydebank. 

After the speeches, the crowd were entertained with an hour or so with a number of Folk, Traditional, Republican and Popular songs by an acclaimed local Singer, The night was a success and RNU Organisers are already planning for next year. 

RNU Calls on Citizens in the North to Actively Oppose Water Charges!

In recent months RNU have been to the forefront of the fight against water meters being installed across the Six Counties. To date we are the only party who has consistently addressed the issue, leaving behind sound bites and uninformed condemnations.

RNU spokesperson Liam Morrison has called on the people of the Six Counties to follow the example of the Twenty Six and organise today:
‘Over previous weeks and months RNU has exposed the disingenuous nature of NI’s waters claims regarding the work they were carrying out in Belfast and beyond. The consistent hard work of our activists in discovering boundary boxes, functioning meters and future bills has smashed the credibility of NI Water who claimed that these things simply never existed.
‘Our consistency and constant pressure encouraged the Irish News to launch an investigation into the work being undertaken by NI Water, they discovered that 35,000 water meters have been installed across the North of Ireland in the last 7 years, an astronomical number considering NI Water have denied that water meters exist anywhere in the Six Counties.
‘RNU are calling on the public to reject calls from political opportunists to organise only when water charges are announced by the Stormont regime, and RNU plead that we organise now, as an effective unit, capable of abolishing the very notion of water charges that will be on the Stormont table in 18 months time.
‘We cannot allow NI Water to install water meters at every home and expect to win a campaign further down the line. We must learn the lessons from the anti-water charge protests in the Twenty Six Counties and apply them here. This means using direct action, protest and popular mobilisation to ensure that profiteers cant install their meters at ANY homes.
‘Republican Network for Unity will continue to lead the way in exposing NI Water and opposing this profit driven initiative. Over the coming weeks and months we will be exploring further measures aimed at tackling the water meters head on, we encourage all those concerned to join with us.’

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Was Last Week's RHD Gun Attack on an Ardoyne Republican's Home the beginning of a Renewed Sectarian Campaign by Loyalist Gangsters?

A number of weeks ago, a number of Ardoyne Republicans including a former RNU Election Candidate and I were 'notified' by the RUC/PSNI that our lives were under threat from Loyalist Extremists and 'advised' us to update our personal  security. One of those warned of the potential threat by the unreformed RUC was former Political Prisoner, Gerard Lagan.

Gerard Lagan holding fragments left by the blast at his Ardoyne home.
Last Wednesday evening, November 11th at around 9.20 pm. Gerard Lagan's house was shot into by unknown assailants, smashing the Living-Room window and showering him in fragments of glass from his reinforced window. Luckily for them, no-one else was in the room but his daughters', sons' and grandchildren were also in the house at the time. I immediately visited the Lagan Clann within minutes and spent a number of hours with them, relatives, neighbours, friends, fellow Republican Ex-Prisoners and RNU Activists. We searched around in case there was other dangerous items placed outside. As the family waited for the so-called Police. After almost three hours, the MI5-Directed, RUC/PSNI eventually arrived to 'investigate' the shooting. They informed Gerard that; 'a shotgun has been used in the attack on his home and everyone had to vacate the house and garden. So that, in the event of evidence being present, that our presence could contaminate the scene'. After nearly three hours having passed since the shooting, the clueless Peelers conducted a minimal investigation and went through the motions.
'Still the RUC to me!'
Four days have since passed since my friend's house was attacked and he was notified by the RUC/PSNI tonight (Saturday 15th November) that; 'The Red Hand Defenders using a recognised codeword had issued a claim of responsibility for the gun-attack through a Belfast Journalist'. Which is the the norm whenever an Armed Group to authenticate it's bona fides in the British Occupied Six Counties. As a matter of fact, there is no such organisation. Although, the name has been used in a number of killings, bombings and shootings since 1998. Including that of Loyalist Assassin, Frankie Curry, Ardoyne Resident, Brian Service, RUC man, Frank O'Reilly, Lurgan Solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, UDA Informer, William Stobie, Postal Worker, Daniel McColgan, Journalist, Martin O' Hagan, Father of one, Gerard Lawlor and a range of other attacks in the North. In reality is that the RHD, is but a cover-name for the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a vicious gang of sectarian murderers with close-links to British Intelligence Agencies. As well as, the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), an organised Crime Gang that brokeaway from the UVF in 1996. After it's Leader, Billy Wright (King Rat) was dismissed from the grouping.

The existence, arming, training and continuation of Loyalist Armed Groups have since their foundations been directed by the unaccountable MI5, British Military and the Special Branch. Without their assistance, these Criminal Enterprises' would  simply disband. Whereupon,  Protestant, Unionist & Loyalist (PUL) communities could live in relative peace without drug-pushing, intimidation and extortioners. The UDA, UVF, RHC and LVF continue to prey on Working-Class families to fund their lavish lifestyles through the hard-earned money of innocent victims. Each and every time, tensions arise between these disparate organisations, history and experience tells Nationalists and Republicans particularly, in North Belfast. That their guns and hatred will be turned on us and our community!

After the disbandment of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), the Political Wing of the UDA and the demise of moderates in the Party in early, 2001. The UDA launched a serious of attacks on Nationalist across North Belfast. That culminated in that summer's Holy Cross Blockade and associated violence on a higher level than before the 1994 Loyalist Cessations. My own family and I were subjected to a number of gun attacks that January and February. The legacy from the blockade remains with us all in Greater Ardoyne with ongoing trouble associated with unwelcome marches by the sectarian Loyal Orders and bigoted Flute Bands demanding the right to trample over the rights of local residents. 
Red Hand Defenders Logo
What is so disgusting about Wednesday night's gun attack on the Ardoyne Republican's home is that the Loyalist responsible. Could not have known who was in the room prior to recklessly directing his fire at the Butler Walk house. For all he knew, the two young grandchildren could have been right behind the window.