Wednesday, 27 August 2014

FAITHFUL TO THE LAST: HENRY-JOY MCCRACKEN

This Sunday, 31/8/14, the Republican Network for Unity will hold it's annual Henry-Joy McCracken Commemoration and March in Belfast. For the past few years, RNU have held this important event to honour one of the Founding Father's of Irish Republicanism, executed by British Imperialists and buried in Belfast.   
Henry-Joy McCracken (31/8/1767 - 17/7/1798)


Henry-Joy was interested in radical politics from an early age and became inspired in the growth of republicanism after the success of the American and French Revolutions with it's ideology of 'liberty, equality and fraternity'. He was a founding member of the United Irish Society in 1791, committed to 'breaking the connection with England'. 

In 1795, McCracken led a number of comrades including, Wolfe Tone, Samuel Neilson, and Thomas Russell to the top of Cavehill overlooking the town of Belfast where they swore an oath; 'never to desist in our efforts until we have subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted her independence'

Henry-Joy regularly travelled throughout Ireland using his business as a cover to organising other branches of the United Irishmen. He was arrested in 1796 and detained in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, with a number of other Leading Republicans. He fell ill in 1797 and was freed that December. 

In June 1798, McCracken was elected General of the Republican Army in Antrim.  He led Rebel Forces in the County, commandeering a number of towns. His plans met initial success but his army was defeated during an attack on Antrim Town. The majority of republicans including Henry-Joy evaded capture, as they attempted to regroup a British Informer passed on the address of his billet to Dublin Castle and he was subsequently arrested. 

The British attempted to bribe McCracken with an offer of clemency in return for information on his comrades. The 'offer' was rejected by Henry-Joy and he remained; 'Faithful to the Last'.  Within days of his refusal, the prominent republican was court-martialled and hanged at Corn Market on July 17th 1798, aged just 30. 



RNU invite everyone to come along this Sunday and honour Henry-Joy's contribution to Ireland's freedom struggle in our march and commemoration. 


Sunday, 10 August 2014

PRINCIPLED REPUBLICAN EX-POWs' MURAL and ANTI-INTERNMENT MARCH - 2014

Principled Republican Ex-POWs' Group 10/8/14
As thousands of Republicans & Nationalists gathered in Ardoyne for a March ( 10/8/14) to commemorate the anniversary of Internment. With the assistance of the Anti-Internment League, a new group of former Political Prisoners from the area, unveiled a new Wall Mural dedicated to past and present POWs' in Ardoyne Avenue. The name of the group is, 'Principled Republican Ex-POWs' and is an independent collective of former Prisoners, aligned to no Political Party or Group. The Group was established earlier this year by North Belfast Republican Ex-Prisoners

The thirty-strong Ex-POW Group marched a short distance to line-up before the new Mural, where Martin Óg Meehan introduced An Cathaoirleach, Ta Cosgrove to those assembled. Ta then called on Veteran Ardoyne Republican, Luger Maguire to unveil the large image. It was fitting that Luger, a former Internee was chosen on the anniversary of Internment. Ta subsequently read a prepared statement which was warmly welcomed by those assembled. The text of the statement was as follows; 


Principled Republican Ex-POWs' Group 10/8/14

"On behalf of Principled Ex-Republican Prisoners of War, we are gathered here to unveil a new mural. I’m conscious that our comrade, Sean Colligan organised the last mural painted on this wall over a decade ago. He hand-carved the two large stones in the garden over a decade ago. Sean was a dedicated Community Worker, whose tenth anniversary occurs this week and we remember him with pride.  
The Ardoyne man standing next to me was Interned for 3 years in the Cages of Long Kesh. On his release, he returned to Active Service with the IRA and was captured imprisoned in Crumlin Road Gaol by Ireland’s enemies and also spent the next 9 ½ years in the H-Blocks. Would Luger Maguire please unveil the new mural on behalf of our group. This mural is dedicated to all republican prisoners and their families, past and present regardless of their political allegiances. We make no distinction between ex-POWs’ and current POWs’. To our prisoners group, we treat all with the due respect they deserve.

Many thousands of Irishmen and women from working-class communities like this across Ireland made personal sacrifices, some played more active roles than others but all shared the emotional pain of separation from their families in order to achieve Irish freedom. Our families undeniably endured years of hardship, as a result of their steadfast determination to stand by us.

We believe that over the past number of years Republican principles have been diluted to the point of nonrecognition. Our Prisoners group remain wedded to principles that we endorsed when we set out the rid the illegitimate British presence on this island. As principled Republicans, we cannot buy into the stabilising of partition, policies of appeasement and acceptance of political policing and all its corrupt powers including, Diplock Courts, Internment by Remand and degrading treatment of POWs’.

The mural depicts the battle of wills between Irish Republican Prisoners, their Oppressors and Institutions. The verse that stands out and gives us strength are the words of Volunteer. Bobby Sands; ‘It lights the dark of this prison cell, It thunders forth its might, It is ‘the undauntable thought’, my friend, That thought that says ‘I’m right!" 

New POW Mural 
Immediately after the unveiling, the Principled Republican Ex-POWs' Group took their place in the Anti-Internment March with our friends and comrades to remember all those who were interned, their families, expose the continued British occupation and demand basic rights of current POWs' in Maghaberry, Portlaoise and Hydebank. 

Beirigh Bua


Sunday, 3 August 2014

IRELAND SUPPORTS PALESTINIAN RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION

Since the first week of July, television and Computer screens throughout the world and Ireland have been inundated with savage images and ferocious footage from Gaza that have witnessed yet another vicious Zionist campaign of genocide against Palestinian families living there.


A description of Gaza is of nearly two million people corralled into an area half the size of County Louth, which is the smallest County in Ireland. Gaza is surrounded by a heavily-militarised land border brutally enforced by a hostile Israeli Army with contemporary weaponry, tanks and armoured vehicles. Its territorial waters and airspace is patrolled by a huge Navy and Airforce, with access to modern gunships, submarines, jets and drones.
Nearly everyone in Gaza live below the poverty line and are forced to rely on donations from International Charities of medical, food and clothing aid. The vast majority of Gazans are unemployed without the prospects of a proper job. Doctors and Hospitals never have enough medicines to ease peoples suffering. Israel continues to exercise control supplies of water, electricity and telecommunications into Gaza.

If one takes the above into account and actually investigates the campaign of genocide during the past weeks in Gaza. Close to two thousand residents have been butchered with over 5,000 badly injured, half of the victims are children. Their homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, universities and entire infrastructure have been destroyed in relentless attacks. Palestinians already face a huge humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.

The third UN School Attacked with Israeli Missiles 

Despite the situation in Gaza, the United Nations has done little to end the slaughter apart from issuing a number of press statements that Israel just ignores. The organisation clearly has more interest in protecting Zionist War Criminals than their Palestinian victims, in what can only be described as cowardice.

The response from the Fine Gael and Labour Coalition has been equally despicable as it too hasn’t done anything about Israel’s vicious attacks on Gaza. So as, not to offend Zionists Dublin predictably ordered its Ambassador to abstain on the UN vote concerning the onslaught. The abstention proves just how out of touch, Enda Kenny is from the majority of Irish citizens.

Enda Kenny: An Irish Disgrace
In most Irish towns and cities, working-class communities have taken to the streets in spontaneous unity to demonstrate their opposition against the Israeli offensive in Gaza and the mass murder of Palestinian men, women and children. Brutal images on our television and computer screens have rightly caused revulsion and outrage across the country. Ordinary people have organised a mass boycott of Israeli products, countless street protests and effective marches demanding an end to the genocide.



There is a growing need to have the Zionist military blockade by the Israeli Navy, Air Force and Army against Gaza lifted. Irish people can help this take place, if we remain focused and unified against these crimes. My best wishes go to everybody involved in the Gaza solidarity campaigns, keep the pressure up!  

Sunday, 27 July 2014

IMPERIALIST AGGRESSION AGAINST GAZA

As people throughout Ireland enjoyed the recent good weather. Many of us dedicated the summer days to our families, visiting local beaches and coastal villages. The Irish don't often get a heat wave and we've made the most of it. Before the clouds and rain return. It is well-known that us Irish regularly complain about the wind, rain, clouds given the climate which surrounds our island. Hot weather is not immune from complainers. 

On a more serious note, the biggest complaint heard this summer across Ireland has definitely been the targeting, murder and genocide in Gaza by Israel! Gaza is a small territory on the Mediterranean Coast populated by over 1.5 million Palestinians. Ever since the partition of Palestine in 1948 and the creation of Israel and Lebanon by the British government. The indigenous populace has suffered generations of Racism, Sectarianism, Ethnic Cleaning, Famine and Endless Plantations of millions of European Hebrews. Areas inhabited by Palestinians have became smaller and smaller, as Israeli Settlers take more territory. 



The vast majority of Irish citizens sympathise with the plight of Palestinians because of our colonial past, when our ancestors suffered a similar fate. Ireland experienced the same type of British imperialist brutality. The Ulster Plantation, Armed Settlements, Great Hunger, Widespread Imprisonment, Sectarianism, Ethnically Cleansing and Partition are but a few examples. When Ireland resisted British tyranny, Imperialists dealt with us in much the same way as Israel now mistreats Palestinians. As Readers can see from the image above, over five million Palestinians are classed as Refugees by the United Nations (UN). Ireland also has a massive diaspora across the world, descendants of Irish citizens forced to leave their own country because of centuries of social, religious, cultural and economic inequality. 



Over the past few weeks, the Israeli Armed Forces have again attacked Gaza and its people. Where over 1,000 Palestinians, men, women and young children have been massacred in the name of Imperialism! Entire neighbourhoods, Mosques, Schools, Hospitals and even Cemeteries have been destroyed! The whole infrastructure in Gaza is now in tatters as the 'International Community' stands idly-by. The U.N. is a Paper Tiger, afraid to confront Israel over its War Crimes.  

Like Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza also went to the Polls in 2006 believing the election would give them democracy. The opportunity to choose a Government to represent the people. The United Nations claimed the vote would enable Israel and Palestine to avail of the 'Two-State Solution'. The subsequent result surprised Israel and its American funders. Hamas, an Islamic Political Party was elected to govern the Strip for the foreseeable future. 

Since then, Palestinians in Gaza were made to pay the price for not electing the PLO (Fatah) instead. Israel immediately imposed a military and economic blockade around Gaza and demanded its people radically change the outcome and choose a new friendlier Executive. The people in Gaza and Hamas refused to accept the siege and began a campaign of resistance to Zionist aggression. 

Israel responded in three separate attacks against Gaza in 2006, 2009 and 2012, with vicious assaults from land, sea and air forces. That left over 1,500 Palestinians dead in another attempt to destroy Gaza. Israel has scores of nuclear weapons, heavy tanks, modern warplanes, naval vessels, apache helicopters and thousands of Zionist troops to wage war on the Palestinians. Whilst Gaza is only able to defend itself against military aggression with small weaponry. So let's not believe the Media, there is no War in the Middle-East, it is a Campaign of Genocide. 

Irish people can express demands for an end to the Siege of Gaza, Zionist Oppression and a Gaza free from Imperialist Attacks. We do this by taking to our Facebook and Twitter Accounts, Lobby our Elected Politicians, donate much needed finance to charities dedicated to helping Palestinians and of course take to the streets and protest. All of which has been done across the country in the last month. Please don't give up, as the Zionist Regime in Israel will never end its murder campaign against Palestinians! 

For further information about Palestine please contact the; Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Is this the alternative to unwelcome marches through Greater Ardoyne?

As most people are now aware, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) withdrew it's planned protest against the Orange Order's Twelfth morning march through our community. There were a number of issues that influenced GARC's decision in not holding such a protest. One of the main reasons was to help ease tensions within the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community about the Parades Commission to ban the evening parade on the same day. The Collective sough to demonstrate our goodwill toward the Orange Order and express again that GARC do not seek to end their culture and heritage in anyway. Whilst GARC oppose Loyal Order parades through Greater Ardoyne, it does so in the knowledge that there is an alternative route open to the Orders, where NO offence would be caused to local residents.

Last week, GARC held a well-attended Press Conference where a detailed and independent report into it's 2009 Survey of Greater Ardoyne residents views on Loyal Order parades in the area was outlined. The Collective provided maps and copies of a recent recording by Activists to the assembled Journalists and Residents of it's proposed alternative route. A route that could well enable Loyal Orders use for parades, without opposition from Residents Groups whatsoever. The proposal was not really carried by BBC Newsline or UTV News, though a number of Newspapers published it's details. GARC believed it was crucial for it's private position to publicly outlined, given misrepresentation and misinformation by some Nationalist and Unionist Political Parties and Groups. Until  now, it's public position had been No Parades - No Violence. Sadly, that message had been misinterpreted by Unionists and the Media. Obviously, GARC also had a radical private position but did not wish to make it known to wider society. Thus, it was kept private until dialogue between the Collective and Orders took place. Therefore, below are two internet links to two separate videos, GARC's latest press conference and the other of the Harmony Lane/Bridge route. A lane that GARC believe could provide an alternative to years of dispute regarding Loyal Order Parades in Greater Ardoyne. A route that could resolve serious tensions for all communities in this part of North Belfast. The Alternative Route is nothing new to the debate surrounding parades. It was first raised by the defunct, Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group (APDG). However, GARC feel it is the best way to resolve the ongoing issue. Alongside 



Personally, I believe if the Loyal Orders and GARC met it could not only lead to a better understanding of the two positions. It would also end in agreement by everyone concerned, leaving the future for all much brighter. What confuses me is the current unwillingness of the three local Orders to meet GARC and explore a way forward. Dialogue cannot hurt anyone, nor can it hinder anyone. Harmony Lane could present everyone with a much needed alternative to years of dispute, disagreement and of course the unwanted and associated violence. The publication of the Alternative Route video and of course, the Survey Report would not have been needed had the Loyal Orders positively responded to GARC's offer of dialogue in May of this year. Sadly, GARC have yet to receive any direct contact from the three Orders and this is quite regrettable given our genuine attempt to engage.


In the absence of meaningful dialogue, GARC will pursue it's objectives as it has always done in a peaceful, radical and determined manner. Last week, GARC engaged a Solicitor and Barrister and began legal proceedings to take a Judicial Review of the Parades Commission's decision to permit the morning march by the Orange Order through our community. The case did not take place due to the lack of time available and legal costs. Although unsuccessful on this occasion, GARC will continue it's Campaign to end all unwelcome parades. If necessary, the Collective will utilise the judicial avenue again to ensure that the rights of the Greater Ardoyne Community is respected! Since our formation in 2009, GARC have proven time and again that we can mobilise huge numbers to change the dynamic in favour of residents rights to live free from sectarian harassment. Likewise, we can also demonstrate our willingness to suspend mobilisations whenever we choose.

Finally, here are a few pertinent questions which readers of this blog should ponder. How much longer will the Orange Order persist in it's refusal to meet GARC? Would it not be better to begin dialogue now in the aftermath of the Twelfth? When will the Loyal Orders enter into dialogue with GARC? Others within the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist Community are willing to speak with the Collective and to listen to us, why not the Loyal Orders?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

GARC Withdraw Mass Mobilisation Plans for Unwelcome Twelfth March Statement (6/7/14)

The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) has asked me to publish their latest Statement to the Media on the Ardoyne Republican Blog. GARC reiterate it's opposition to sectarian parades through the Greater Ardoyne Community. However, the residents group has withdrew plans for a mass mobilisation on July 12th, 2014 after determinations by the Parades Commission and widespread community consultation...

GARC Protest 2012
"GARC is a non party political residents group that is committed to peaceful, radical activity that will lead to the end of all unwanted sectarian Loyal Order marches through Ardoyne, Mountainview and The Dales.

GARC have demonstrated our ability since 2010 to ensure that residents have the opportunity to participate in mass mobilisations of those oppos
ed to sectarian parades, including sit down protests, whiteline pickets and two counter parades attended by thousands of people. Our analysis that no sectarian parade is welcome in Greater Ardoyne was validated by a survey delivered to every home in the area, with over 90% of 1200 responding homes stating that all Loyal Order parades through our community are unacceptable. Our ability to again call thousands onto the streets to oppose either morning or evening parades should not be underestimated.

This past week has seen two contradictory determinations from the Parades Commission, one rewarding the Orange Order and UVF for putting this community under siege since July 2013, while another came to the logical conclusion that the evening parade was unjustified in seeking to trample over the rights of residents. It is the opinion of GARC, and by extension most Greater Ardoyne residents, that both parades should not pass through our area. We have demanded to meet the Parades Commission to put forward this argument this week, and this will happen in coming days.

The solution to the vicious circle of unwanted parades, loyalist intimidation, community disruption and PSNI violence against the people of Greater Ardoyne is to use the alternative route via Harmony Lane. This would provide the Loyal Orders with the totally legitimate right to express their culture and heritage where they are welcome, while causing no offence to residents and ensuring no need for massive funds being allocated to "security" and away from frontline services such as health and education. While our analysis would be that the route is already viable, any cost to the Stormont Executive of upgrading it to a standard acceptable to Loyal Orders would be minimal in comparison to the £10million it has cost to uphold the 2013 determination.

GARC remain willing to meet and talk with the Loyal Orders directly or indirectly, individually or collectively, to give our analysis and to listen to that of others. With this in mind, and following intensive community consultation since this year's determinations were made public, we have decided to withdraw plans for a mass mobilisation to oppose the 12th morning parade. This will help contribute to what we hope will be a conflict free 12th of July, that will lead to a conducive environment for talks in coming weeks around securing the use of the Harmony Lane route. However, we will have a number of residents present at the 12th morning parade to monitor for any breaches of the Parades Commission determination. Activity open to any resident, as GARC members proved in Court.

We would call upon other residents groups and political parties to support and promote the alternative route as the only viable and sensible solution to the issue of sectarian parades in Greater Ardoyne, rather than entertaining the "morning acceptable, evening unacceptable" argument. We would ask that they help to form a united campaign against the continued denial of Ardoyne, Mountainview and Dales residents to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation".

Signed; GARC Steering Committee

Thursday, 3 July 2014

(EXCLUSIVE) GARC Letter of Invitation to Loyal Orders for Dialogue


The following letter has been published with the approval of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC). It was sent by recorded delivery to the Ligoniel Orange Order Lodges, Royal Black Institution Branch and Apprentice Boys' of Derry Ligoniel Walker Club on May 21st, 2014. 

The above Orders regularly march through the Greater Ardoyne Community without any consultation with local residents. The three letters were posted to the West Belfast Orange Hall requesting talks with the three Loyal Orders to discuss our analysis their position in relation to unwelcome parades. 

Even before today's determination by the Parades Commission, GARC has not received any response. GARC hope that this publication will help everyone understand their current position on the issue. 

Secretary, 
Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective
(GARC)
MAY 21st, 2014



Secretary, 
Earl Of Erne 1932 LOL, 
C/O West Belfast Orange Hall,
Shankhill Road.
Belfast.


Dear Secretary,

Firstly, we would like to explain to your organisation about the origins of GARC and why our Collective was Constituted in 2009.  

After the disbandment of the Ardoyne Parades Dialogue Group (APDG) in 2008, a number of local residents decided to conduct a survey of every household in the greater Ardoyne area concerning Loyal Order parades through the community. As well as, how best to end the negative impact these marches had on the wider community. The survey was pretty time consuming and took over three months to complete. We subsequently complied a report and delivered to every religious, community and political group represented in the locality. The report found that the vast majority, 98% of residents viewed these Loyal Order parades as Anti-Catholic, Anti-Nationalist & Anti-Republican and as such were not welcome in the greater Ardoyne community. The findings were given to a number of Community and Political groups for the purpose of providing a definitive answer to the opinions of local residents on this issue.

Around the same time, another group called CARA was also established. However unlike the APDG, all members of CARA had to reside within a specified couple of streets. Everyone else was deliberately excluded, unless you happened to be a member of Sinn Fein, They are also directed mainly by S/F members that do not even live in Greater Ardoyne. The fact that we had to outline how and why GARC was established proves that there is a clear lack of understanding within your organisation and community.

Over the past number of years, the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective have held a number of peaceful protests and marches opposing Loyal Order parades. We have also issued regular statements to the media and to the internet. In each and every one, we have stated that we do not wish to hinder the Protestant religion, culture and heritage. We reiterate those sentiments again here today. We must however, state clearly that Loyal Order parades through Greater Ardoyne have negatively impacted on both our communities.

In an attempt to foster a better understanding of one anothers positions and explore the possibility of ending the ongoing problems associated with unwelcome parades, we invite your Order to enter into discussions with GARC that may benefit our respective communities.
Yours,
The Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective
(GARC