Monday, 15 September 2014

CAUSES of CONFLICT REMAIN: Cogús POWs' Maghaberry

The following analysis was written by Cogús Republican Prisoners PRO, Connor Hughes who is currently incarcerated in Roe 3, Maghaberry Gaol.


'The 20th anniversary of the Provisional IRA ceasefire has been met in recent weeks with huge media coverage and attention rooted with sensationalism and with political leaders, civic leaders and journalists commenting alike, protracting the clichéd pretence of “look how far we’ve come from those dark days” into a new dispensation.

In reality in 2014 peace walls continue to dominate the skyline across Belfast, unemployment remains rife in working-class areas across the 6 counties, MI5 controlled political policing and a failed partitionist assembly at Stormont. The ceasefires mapped the way to the signing of the GFA, an inherently partitionist and sectarian agreement and the true causes of conflict have remained unaddressed since. The Sinn Fein and Provisional IRA ceasefire of 1994 as a victory on the road to the Republic, in reality in the past 20 years we have seen Sinn Fein dilute Republican principles and ideology in order to divulge in reformism, take seats in Stormont and administer British rule in the 6 counties on behalf of Westminster. They have lambasted and suppressed anyone who has stood in opposition to the usurpation of Irish sovereignty by Britain.

Certainly from a Republican perspective nothing has changed, activists continue to be harassed, arrested, interned by remand in Maghaberry and put through the human rights subverting conveyer-belt which is the British diplock court system, and when imprisoned their human rights subverted and the same old British policy of criminalisation continued. We only have to look at the previous cases of Martin Corey, Gerry McGeough and the present case of Gavin Coyle to consolidate this.

Therefore, as we pass the anniversary date of the Provisional IRA ceasefire of 1994, the causes of conflict remain and at its core is Britain’s continued occupation of the 6 counties'.

Connor Hughes, (PRO) Cogús Republican Prisoners, Maghaberry

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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Latest Statement from Cógus, Cabhair and IRPWA POWs' in Maghaberry: 31/8/14

On Sunday August 31st 2014, Cógus, Cabhair and IRPWA POWs' in Maghaberry Gaol, County Down issued the following joint statement in relation to the current situation inside the British Prison;  



A Chairde, 

"Following a process of on-going discussion and analysis between the representatives of all Republican Political Prisoners in Roe House Republican Wing it has been agreed that the use of all facilities and physical space will be on a shared basis from Monday 1st September 2014. 
The Maghaberry GAOL ADMINISTRATION will be made aware of this new dispensation immediately.


Decisions relating to the utilisation of the limited space available in Roe will be regulated through the agreement of the representatives of Republican Prisoner groups and no-one else. 



In the past GAOL ADMINISTRATION have exploited relationships between Republican Prisoners to foster and exasperate tensions so as to create division and disharmony. This has been to subvert the August 2010 agreement generally but in particular it is a last ditch effort to “legitimise” its discredited and condemned controlled movement policy.




All Republican Prisoners are united in our determination to resist all British State criminalisation efforts. Equally we are committed to taking whatever action we deem necessary to achieve the implementation of the August 2010 agreement; which alone provides the route towards the establishment of a CONFLICT-FREE ENVIRONMENT". 

Republican Prisoners 

Roe House, Maghaberry.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Henry-Joy McCracken March & Commemoration - 2014

Yesterday afternoon, (Sunday 31st August) the Republican Network for Unity held a successful and dignified march commemoration in Belfast for Irish Revolutionary; Henry-Joy McCracken (1797-1798). In bright sunshine, hundreds of marchers made their way through North Belfast to honour Henry-Joy on his birthday. 


Henry-Joy McCracken (1767-1798)
The march was respectful with lots of encouraging support from the residents of Ardoyne, Oldpark, Cliftonville, New Lodge and Carrickhill. As the march entered Clifton Street, the four Republican Flute Bands accompanying RNU, voluntarily stopped playing tunes as we approached the main Orange Hall and the Indian Community Centre next door. 

Vile Sectarian Protest (outside Clifton Street Orange Hall) 
Despite the message of hope, freedom, equality between every Irish citizen which epitomised Henry-Joy and the United Irishmen. Loyalists including, a number of elected City Councillors held a protest facing Henry Place. There was a large RUC/PSNI presence within yards of the cemetery, gathering intelligence/footage and photos, that accompanies every Republican Commemoration. As the march made it's way towards the graveyard, Republicans were verbally abused, had items including, a firework thrown at them by Loyalists. Some of the comments shouted, were quite hurtful and hateful. As a matter of fact, they issued death threats against marchers as well as, yelling about child abuse in my family! That were quite indescribable to say the least. The sectarian abuse continued as we entered Henry-Place, except for a few people marching retaliated in a similar vein which was totally wrong. 
Henry-Joy March, complete with Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter Banner on Clifton St. 
In the cemetery, an introduction was given by former H-Block POW and Republican Network for Unity Political Organiser, Ta Cosgrove. Who called on RNU Activist, Sinéad Adams to address the hundreds gathered. Sinéad spoke of the life and progressive contribution to Belfast by Henry-Joy's sister, Mary-Ann who is buried next to her Patriotic brother. The main Speaker was RNU North Belfast Chairperson, Martin Óg Meehan. The text of my speech follows below; 




RNU's Martin Óg Meehan delivering the 2014 Henry-Joy McCracken Address
The text above will open a new window displaying the video of the speech in Youtube

"Firstly, I would like to welcome everyone here today on behalf of the Republican Network for Unity. For the past few years, RNU has commemorated Henry-Joy McCracken, one of the founding fathers of Irish Republicanism with dignity and respect. Henry-Joy was an Eighteenth Century Radical who envisioned an Ireland free from British occupation, free from religious discrimination, free from imperialism, free from social, cultural and economic inequality.
 

Before going any further, I need to put Henry-Joy into his historical context. The American and French Revolutions, greatly influenced Irishmen like Henry-Joy McCracken. The two successful struggles ended centuries of tyrannical dictatorships by Kings and brought democracy to both countries. On October 14th 1791, a small group of Irish Republicans, Theobold Wolfe Tone, Thomas Russell, Henry-Joy McCracken, Samuel Neilson, Thomas Emmet, William Sinclair, Henry Haslett, Thomas McCabe, William Simms, Robert Simms and Thomas Pearce met in Belfast and established the Society of the United Irishmen.
 

Prior to the formation of the United Irishmen, the British government used religion as a divisive tool to cause conflict. However, the new organisation consisted of Protestant Anglicans, Presbyterian Dissenters and ordinary Catholics alike, as equal members. After Britain declared War with France in 1793, the United Irishmen was treated as subversive and outlawed by the British Government.

 In June 1795, McCracken, Tone, Russell, Neilson and Emmet secretly met on Cave Hill, where they agreed an oath. They swore to NEVER DESIST IN OUR EFFORT UNTIL WE SUBVERT ENGLISH AUTHORITY OVER IRELAND AND ASSERT HER INDEPENDENCE. Tone travelled to France and secured military aid to help an Irish Uprising. Napolean gave his full support appointed Tone a General in the Revolutionary Army and also gave him charge of a large expeditionary force. The flotilla filled with thousands of troops and a massive arsenal for Irish rebels failed to reach Ireland due to bad weather. Tone had been in regular contact with his comrades back home and they still anticipated French help.

The United Irish planned the Uprising for 1798. However, due to infiltration Informers notified their British Masters who the Leaders were and when the Rising would take place. Key Revolutionaries were subsequently lifted and imprisoned, leaving most plans in disarray. Another major problem for the United Irishmen was the formation of the sectarian Orange Order who led widespread persecution of Republicans, radicals and in particular, Catholics throughout the North. They were supported in their brutal atrocities by the local Yeomanry and thousands of British Troops.


Despite British and Unionist oppression across the country, the United Irish rose in Counties Waterford, Tipperary, Wexford, Kildare, Kilkenny, Carlow, Dublin, Meath, Antrim, Down and Armagh. Significant battles occurred in Wexford, Down and Antrim but ended in defeat for the Irish. The Republican Army in Antrim was led by Henry-Joy and after some success, they too were beaten. McCracken evaded capture in Antrim town but was arrested later after he was identified by an Informer.

Henry-Joy was offered clemency from the British, if he testified against other leaders. McCracken refused to turn on his comrades and remained faithful to his principles. He was court-martialled at the age of 30 and hanged on 17 July 1798at Corn Market in Belfast on land his grandfather had donated to the city.  His remains were reinterred here at Clifton Street Cemetery alongside his sister Mary-Ann. Prior to her own death, his sister also raised Henry-Joy’s daughter, Mary Bodell.

As I said earlier, our Network has honoured Henry-Joy McCracken here in this lonely graveyard for the past few years. Before that, no Republican group felt the need to commemorate a local legend. A person who dedicated himself to ending imperialist oppression in our nation, a patriot that did his best to free Ireland from the centre to the sea!
 

RNU is a revolutionary Irish Republican Party, committed to building a socialist alternative to the failed politics of the Dublin and Stormont counter-revolutionary Assemblies, which uphold partition and maintain domestic and foreign capitalism in this country.
 

Our Network provides a political, economic and social vision for Ireland. We desire every Irish person, family and community to have what McCracken and his comrades struggled for EQUALITY, LIBERTY AND FRATERNITY. We actively work towards what the United Irish Society fought for to break the connection with imperialism.

RNU follows the same path as Nora Connolly O’Brien did in her attempts to secure national, social and economic freedom. Our Party advocate the words of Maire Drumm, when she famously said - We will take no steps backwards!

We oppose all the so-called Agreements between disillusioned Irish Representatives and corrupt British Imperialists, including the Belfast Agreement of 1998. As the influential Socialist-Republican, Seamus Costello once stated – the British design Treaties that only perpetuate divisions of Ireland’s national territory and the working-class. RNU do not accept the legitimacy of the Garda Síochána or RUC/PSNI, both organisations are inherently political. Their main objective is not to protect every citizen’s rights but the crushing of revolutionary sentiment, north and south.

We advocate a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic based on the Irish working-class reclaiming full control of our national territory, resources and decision making processes. Although still a relatively young Party, RNU is determined as Republican Icon, Bobby Sands was to witness the young or old join with him and play their part in the Irish Freedom Struggle.
 

We must also remember that are Political Prisoners still inside Maghaberry, Portlaoise and Hydebank that number over 100.
 

Finally, we recall what Liam Mellows said just prior to his execution by the Free State in 1922, The Republic stands for truth & honour and for all that’s noble. By truth, honour, sacrifice and principle Ireland will be set free!"

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