Sunday, 20 April 2014

Mistreatment in Maghaberry

The following was written by Ardoyne Republican, Thomas 'Ta' McWilliams. Ta is a Political Prisoner held captive in Maghaberry Gaol. He is aligned to Cogús and is also a former H-Block Prisoner....

"On Friday the 7th March I went out to see the medic due to having chest pains. I seen the doctor was Waqar Ahmed. He told me my pain was angina and gave me tablets and an ENT spray. My blood pressure was very high 100+. The pains continued over a period of ten days and my blood pressure only dropped when I used my spray. I continued to see the doctor every day to have my blood pressure taken and each day it was very high. I told a medic I was having severe chest pains which were now going into my throat.
On the Friday and Saturday I pointed out to the medic again that my pains were getting alot worse and again I was informed that my bp was sky high and well above dangerous levels. I asked could a doctor refer me to an outside hospital because I knew I was reaching a dangerous point. He told me over the phone that it sounded like I was taking a heart attack but to just keep using my spray.
Maghaberry Gaol
On St Patrick's day I felt very bad and couldn't go to the recreation room as normal. I lay in bed and then after a while and decided that I needed to go down and see the doctor, another Cogus pow seen me and sat me down and sent for the medic who seen me right away. I told her that things were very bad and that I was in a bad place with pain right up to my jaw. She told me to remain calm that I wasn't taking a heart attack as my colour was OK.
I knew at this stage myself that things were far from OK my bp was 220-110. I was told to go back to my cell and lay down and rest again and take my spray. All that day I continued to feel pain across my chest and feel ill it felt like someone heavy was standing on my chest. At 10pm that night I had had enough and hit the in-cell alarm. After a short time the screw got permission to open the cell door and he accompanied now by more screws brought me down to the medic, thankfully the medic on duty was a cardiac nurse, she took my bp and instantly rang for an ambulance. She told me that it was crazy that I hadn't been sent to an outside hospital much earlier and that I was a stroke waiting to happen.


I was stripped searched by prison officers before being placed handcuffed into an ambulance to a screw, it was clear to anyone that I was in no fit state to be a threat to anyone by this stage.
At the A&E I had tests taken and the cardiac doctor told me I had taken a heart attack. The doctor was in disbelief when I told him that these pains had been ongoing for ten days and demanded from the screws to know why I hadn't been brought to hospital earlier. They told him that wasn't there job to know.
The next day I had a stint placed into my heart as I had a blocked artery.
On the Wednesday I was brought back to Maghaberry prison. At this stage I was met by the prison riot team and told to strip, I refused and told them that I had just undergone surgery as I had taken a heart attack. Two screws then grabbed an arm each and forced me to the ground. One held my head and forced my chin into my chest. They forcibly removed my shoes socks and jeans. They then yanked my underwear from me. After a brief search of my clothing they half put my bottom half clothing back on. I was then forced up onto my knees and had my arms stretched up above my head and they took my shirt off me over my head. I was in agony and informed them of my pain and discomfort. They they released my arms and dropped me to the floor. I was told to "get dressed properly yourself" .


While I was naked on the cell floor governor Armour was watching the whole time, I informed him that this was not necessary as I was under guard the whole time, he said that advice from professional health service said I was OK to be stripped, I asked him who in the health service said this and he ignored me.
I have since spoken to the doctor over the phone who treated me and he informed me that this was a lie and this was never communicated to prison officials at any stage. On the Roe 3 landing on my return I wasn't given my medication and it wasn't until the next day at 4.45 pm that I was finally given my medication which stated "to be taken first thing in the morning"!
I first seen a doctor inside prison on the 08-04-14, 3 weeks after my op and I had to ask for him!!! He had no answers to any of my questions including why had it taken him so long to come and see me. I told him that the Prison Service was playing Russian roulette with my life and he need to get answers.
I would like to finish by thanking Cogus and everyone who turned out to my vigil in Ardoyne Ave and in particular to my partner Trisha and my family".

Ta McWilliams. 
Roe 3,
Maghaberry Gaol. 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Greater ArdoyneResidents Collective (GARC) Statement 18th April, 2014



Yet again, this Easter Monday will see a sectarian Apprentice Boys parade trample over the right of Ardoyne, Mountainview and Dales residents to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation. This is totally unacceptable to the vast majority of people in this area, many of whom are forced to endure an ongoing illegal hate camp at Twaddell on a daily basis.

This determination by an incoming Parades Commission does not bode well for a peaceful summer. The consistent theme of Commission determinations, since its inception, has been to acquiesce to the three pronged attacks on this community by Loyal Orders, Political Unionism and Loyalist Paramilitaries. GARC, backed by the vast majority of local residents, were willing to judge the new Commission by it's actions. Unfortunately they seem willing to take up where there predecessors left off.

Their associated determination with regards to Carrick Hill and St.Patrick's Chapel are also nothing short of disgraceful. Both Residents and Parishioners have conducted themselves with dignity, and are to be commended for their proactive efforts to secure a resolution in that area. With this in mind, and to show solidarity with the people oc Carrick Hill, GARC has decided not to mobilise for protest action on Easter Monday morning so that the media focus will centre on the injustice being perpetrated on that community. However GARC members will be present on the Ardoyne Road on Easter Monday morning to monitor any breaches in the PC determination.

This is the second such initiative by GARC in recent months, in a demonstration of our commitment to making this stretch of the Crumlin and Ardoyne Roads a parade and conflict free zone. We also note and welcome the recent decision by Twaddell Residents' Association to remove sectarian banners from their premises. GARC remain willing to meet and have conversations with any and all of the Loyal Orders.

It was the radical approach and strategy of GARC that has effectively brought an end to evening parades through our area, nothing else. This analysis is supported by the overwhelming majority of Residents. In coming months GARC will be introducing a more radical approach to morning parades, to demonstrate this area's opposition to all expressions of sectarianism in Greater Ardoyne. We remain totally committed to a peaceful, radical course of action. However, for generations unwanted sectarian marches have resulted in violence as people see their rights denied and area attacked. The actions of the Parades Commission, PSNI and Loyal Orders in the months ahead could lead to a long, hot and volatile summer for all of us.

Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective

Monday, 14 April 2014

Éirí Amach na Cásca


A Terrible Beauty


On Easter Monday 1916, over 1,200 Irishmen, women and youths led by Prominent Republican, Padraic Pearse of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) seized key buildings around Dublin City Centre to proclaim an Irish Socialist Republic outside the General Post Office (GPO) in Sackville Street. Under the new name of the IRA (Oglaigh Na hEireann) armed Republicans fought British troops over the next week and changed the course of Irish history forever. The Rising was the beginning of the end of the centuries-old imperialist occupation of Ireland amid thousands of killings, executions and injuries.

With vastly superior numbers and artillery, insurgents and civilians in and around Dublin were attacked by thousands of imperialist troops, heavy machine guns, incendiary shells and a British Naval vessel. Whilst their comrades in Counties Galway, Meath and Cork also rose against British rule.

Remember Ireland's Dead
Due to the huge suffering of the civilian population, the IRA ordered an end to hostilities on April, 29th with the agreement of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic. All the participants were arrested and incarcerated by the British, with sixteen senior Volunteers were executed on the orders of the Westminster Government.

Arbour Hill, where the executed Rising Leaders are buried
NA FIANNA ARD EOIN

As part of paying tribute to Ireland's Patriot Dead, the Republican Network for Unity (RNU), will unveil a new Mural dedicated to four members of Na Fianna Eireann on Saturday 20th, April in Ardoyne. Davy McAuley, Josie McComiskey, Josh Campbell and Bernard Fox all died in the year, 1972. All hailed from the Ardoyne area and RNU have organised fitting commemorations for them since 2009. 



This Easter Saturday, some seven flute bands will lead a commemoration march from the top of Ardoyne Avenue through the district before the assembled crowd will be addressed by, Damien Lawlor, Author of; Na Fianna Eireann and the Irish Revolution: 1916 -1923. Everyone is more than welcome to attend and I hope to see you there. Beir Bua. 




Sunday, 2 March 2014

Oldpark RNU Candidate Sammy Cusick Calls on North Belfast Criminal Gang to End its Insidious Activities

Oldpark RNU Candidate, Sammy Cusick has called on a Criminal Gang operating in North Belfast to immediately end it's thuggery against the local community.

Former Cogús POW, Paddy Larkin, New Lodge Resident, Paddy McCloskey and RNU Activist, Sammy Cusick with a large seizure of dangerous drugs handed over to Community Activists to be destroyed in 2011

Sammy Cusick said; 'Over the past few years, working-class communities across North Belfast have been plagued by Drug Dealers, who prey on the vulnerable. It is well-known that Irish Republicans have used a variety of tactics to limit the damage done but it has only scratched the surface.
RNU Ard Chomhairle Member, Ciaran Cunningham, Fr. Des Wilson and Sammy Cusick disposing of Heroin and Chrystal meth in 2012

In recent weeks, the Republican Network For Unity has been contacted by a number of distressed residents in the Oldpark & Ardoyne areas. They have told us of threatening visits to their homes by individuals purporting to be from a republican organisation, wrongly accusing them of being involved in the supply of drugs and demanding money in return for the threats being lifted. Leaving those intimidated under pressure to find large amounts of money, that they clearly do not have! Republicans should under NO circumstances ever demand money in return for threats being rescinded. I will expose anyone who does so! 

RNU Candidate, Sammy Cusick with a number of drug plants outside a North Belfast Primary School in 2013

RNU have however spoken to a number of Republican Groups, all of whom deny involvement in these attempts to extort money from people. From our findings we can only conclude, that the individuals behind these threats are nothing more than Criminals attempting to exploit the vulnerability and fears of local residents. Anyone using the name of Republicanism for personal gain does a grave disservice to the thousands of Patriots who sacrificed their liberty and lives for a 32 County Democratic Socialist Irish Republic and should hang their heads in shame'.  

Sammy Cusick concluded; 'Republicanism is a noble ideology, one in which we desire a better Ireland for all our people. The use of Republicanism to exploit the vulnerable and extort money from our fellow citizens is against everything we stand for. RNU demand an immediate end to the insidious activities of this Criminal Gang'.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

END Generations of Neglect, Misrepresentation, Inequality and Discrimination - Vote RNU

Belfast City Council elections will take place on May 22, 2014. It will be the first chance in a few years that Belfast's electorate will be able to choose who they want to represent them and their communities in the Council Chamber.  Those elected Councillors are entitled to hold the position for a five year period and are allowed to vote on a number of important issues such as, rates, planning and refuse collection. Since the early Eighties, Ardoyne, most of the Bone and Ligoniel has been represented by Provisional Sinn Fein and the SDLP. Over the past three decades, the two Political Parties have promised voters much and delivered little in the way of radical change in a city dogged by discrimination and sectarianism.



As a Socialist-Republican, I am acutely aware of the needs of the electorate and their families in Nationalist North Belfast. That include more, decent social housing, affordable rates and better health and leisure facilities. For over a generation, successive Councillors have ignored and misrepresented people in Ardoyne, Ligoniel. New Lodge, Newington, Ligoniel, the Oldpark and Cliftonville areas. To such an extent that our people endure a severe lack of social/public housing, health/leisure facilities, extortionist rents charged by greedy landlords, unwelcome sectarian marches, political policing and sectarian head-counts. It matters not how many excuses are used by the current crop Nationalist Councillors about why these crucial issues have yet to be addressed. The reality is that these Councillors pretend to care about our communities while Nationalists across North Belfast continue to suffer.

The only way to end generations of discrimination and inequality in our areas is for the electorate to seriously consider the future of their communities. Do they want to cast their votes in favour of Political Parties who have proved beyond reasonable doubt their mistreatment of places like Ardoyne? Do they wish to be represented by Politicians who have neglected our community? Who only speak to voters whenever an election comes around?

Would they not prefer to directly challenge the establishment Parties on the Chamber floor? The Parties who implement cuts to housing, benefits, pensions etc? Would they like to radically change Belfast City Council into a people/community led Chamber? Instead of being profit-driven, focused on Party-Political agendas?

RNU Candidate, Sammy Cusick

If your answer to the above questions are YES, please ensure you are registered to vote as soon as is possible! The Republican Network For Unity (RNU) are fielding local Socialist-Republican, SAMMY CUSICK as a Candidate in the OLDPARK WARD in May's Council elections. RNU has a radical Manifesto to change the CONSTITUENCY for the benefit of ALL! Whilst RNU is a relatively-young REVOLUTIONARY REPUBLICAN POLITICAL ORGANISATION, we are highly-principled and ready to serve the Republican community. Based on our PLAN, RNU Activists will be visiting your homes and communities explaining the need to change to your political allegiances away from careerist and selective politics. 

For further information about the Republican Network For Unity (RNU), please click on the following link;  http://www.republicanunity.org/about-us-2/who-we-are/ 
You can contact Sammy Cusick through Facebook;https://www.facebook.com/sammy.cusick.5?fref=ts . Or through Twitter; https://twitter.com/sammy_cusick .

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Wallet & Lenny Murphy (Shankill Butcher)

I was in two-mind whether to publish the following to my blog, as I did not want to cause any distress to the families of the victims of Shankill Butcher, Lenny Murphy. The only reason I have printed it, is in the interests of recent history and for the readers to make their own conclusions...

As everyone is aware, my late Dad spent over 18 years behind bars in a variety of prison sentences related to his Republican activities from the Sixties right through until the beginning of 1994. He endured many arrests, brutal interrogations, Internment and lengthy sentences. He spent the majority of these years imprisoned at Long Kesh in both the Cages (Compounds) and the Blocks (Maze). Although, he also spent periods in Mountjoy Gaol in Dublin and Crumlin Road in Belfast.

Dad successfully escaped from the 'Crum' in December, 1971 with two Comrades and spent the next eight months 'On The Run'. Operating for the Provisional IRA along the British-Imposed Border between Counties Louth and Armagh, Derry City and in his native Belfast. He was recaptured in Ardoyne in August, 1972 after British Troops conducted a massive search operation. In spite of, successfully defending himself in Court against the original charges, he was rearrested and was the first person convicted of PIRA Membership. He found himself sentenced to three years imprisonment and was immediately transferred to Long Kesh.

Dad and his imprisoned comrades in Long Kesh (including Belfast Hunger-Striker, Kieran Doherty)


At the time, the Cages resembled a POW Camp complete with dozens of Nissan Huts housing prisoners, countless Watchtowers, endless miles of barbed-wire secured by around 1,000 heavily-armed foreign troops. Hundreds of Irishmen were held against their will either through Internment or prison sentences. Not for the first or last time, Martin Meehan was housed there by the British Penal System in a bid to break his spirit. The attempt failed and Dad became more determined to end the centuries of imperialist occupation in Ireland. 
Ceis Fada/Long Kesh (Cages)
 
It was during his time in the Cages, on his daily walk around the exercise-yard that a Loyalist Prisoner by the name of Lenny always wanted to engage in conversation with him. said hello to him. He was baffled by this,as the UVF man was not a senior figure and one that PIRA Staff Officers met from time to time in the Camp. Anyway, both POWs' exchanged pleasantries over the long months of their shared incarceration. My father soon became aware that the UVF prisoner was from the Shankill area and had a confidence about him. Most of the brief conversations through the wire fencing was about the various Belfast Soccer Teams and the odd piece of banter about the IRA & UVF.

On one occasion, Lenny called my Dad over to the fence and handed him a leather wallet he had made in the Cages. As he passed it over the UVF prisoner commented; 'From one soldier to another'. He was somewhat bemused at the gesture, as he had no love for the UVF as Irish Republicans have long considered Loyalist Groups as unofficial Death Squads, given a free hand to ply their sick hatred by the British Government and her Armed Forces. There is ample evidence that the RUC, British Army and Career Criminals have colluded with Loyalist Paramilitaries in hundreds of sectarian killings. My father kept the wallet as a memento of his imprisonment not realising that Lenny went onto become notorious as one of the most brutal murderers of what is commonly referred to as, 'The Troubles'. The wallet has been in my possession for years, as my Dad gave it to me to look after, photographed below,

 
 
Images of the Wallet
Soon after his release from the Kesh, Lenny assumed command of the West Belfast Brigade of the UVF. His Leadership included some of the most brutal killings of the recent Conflict, known as the Shankill Butcher's. Where innocent Nationalists were badly-beaten, kidnapped, tortured and killed throughout North and West Belfast between 1975 and 1979. The sectarian murder-spree left seventeen Catholics dead with many more severly injured including some from Ardoyne. All of who had their throats cut with butchers tools. The killings terrified Belfast citizens at the time including most of his own community, as the UVF Gang also killed over nine Protestants in personal disputes.

Shankill Butcher, Lenny Murphy

Murphy was recaptured in early 1977 after attempting to kill a Catholic woman for which he was given 12 years behind bars. During visits with his friends, he ordered them to continue the cut-throat killings, partly to distract attention away from himself but also to keep sectarian hatred alive in Belfast while he served his time.  As ordered, his UVF Gang continued it's murder spree with a further fifteen killings. Most of the UVF Gang responsible for the butcher murders were eventually arrested and imprisoned for their murderous campaign. Even though Murphy was mentioned throughout the Diplock Trial, he escaped charges and the 'Master Butcher' was freed in July 1982, returning to his native Shankill.

Within days, Murphy had killed again only this time his next two victims were Protestants. One a local man with learning-disabilities and the second a UDR soldier from Ballymena. That October, the Provisional IRA kidnapped a different UDR man close to the Border and while questioning him, Murphy seized a Catholic resident from the Falls Road. He telephoned a senior SDLP Councillor in Belfast and informed him that the UVF would kill the man, if the IRA did not free the UDR man. It was a typical ruse, as Murphy had already murdered the man inside his former home long before the phone call. The man's desecrated remains were found the following day and Murphy was arrested and questioned by the RUC about the murder but later released. The UDR man was also killed by the PIRA.

 
The Scene shortly after Murphy's killing

On November 16th 1982, the PIRA executed Lenny Murphy in the Loyalist Glencairn estate of West Belfast. Murphy was shot multiple times by masked gunmen outside the home of his girlfriend. In a statement, the Provisionals said; 'Lenny Murphy (master butcher) has been responsible for the horrific murders of over 20 innocent Nationalists in the Belfast area and a number of Protestants. The IRA has been aware for some time that since his release recently from prison, Murphy was attempting to re-establish a similar murder gang to that which he led in the mid-1970s and, in fact, he was responsible for a number of the recent sectarian murders in the Belfast area. The IRA takes this opportunity to restate its policy of non sectarian attacks, while retaining its right to take unequivocal action against those who direct or motivate sectarian slaughter against the Nationalist population'.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Dispelling McCausland's Myths

Stormont's Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland has taken to his Blog  The Minister's Pen in an attempt to reject claims made at the North Belfast Civil Rights Association (NBCRA) Rally last Saturday. Prior to the rejection, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA had not posted anything on his personal Blog since December, 7th, 2013. So it is not surprising that the march and rally exposed the Right-Wing Politician's discrimination against the Nationalist Community in North Belfast.
Stormont Minister, Nelson McCausland

In his Blog, McCausland names me and the Republican Network For Unity (RNU) as being 'associated' with Ardoyne Republican Blogspot that reported on the NBCRA march & rally. I can assure anyone with full confidence that I, Martin Óg Meehan, am the Author. The overwhelming majority of posts are mine, although at times, I have published posts for fellow Republicans. Hence, the only email published is, martinogmeehan@gmail.com. Regards RNU, I am a proud member of the Network and also use my blog to promote the Party from time to time.

According to Nelson, NBCRA is a 'front for smaller Republican groups in North Belfast'. In two previous marches, the SDLP and Provisional Sinn Fein also took part alongside Community Workers. He rightly states that the Association is supported by RNU & the Sean MacDiarmada Society. Why wouldn't RNU and the Society support the aims of a group that aims to end discrimination in housing and leisure provision in the area? As for the NBCRA being a front, the Association has been in existence for a number of years and has actively highlighted the need for more decent homes for local people. NBCRA have held a number of events and is supported by various Residents Groups and Community and Political Groups, as is the norm in any community.

The two bands who participated in part of the march left because they did not want to offend anyone in the City Centre or St. Patrick's Chapel. Unlike Nelson's colleagues in the Orange Order and Flute Bands who regularly parade past the church where they are not welcome. I for one thought it was a very mature decision and was welcomed by the organisers. If only the Loyal Orders and Loyalist Bands would adopt a similar approach tensions would not be what they are across Belfast.

Nelson complete with his sectarian Sash
The Minister claims, 'the truth is that there is no discrimination against Roman Catholics in housing in North Belfast - the number of Protestants on the waiting list is roughly the same as the number of Roman Catholics'. A bold statement to make, when homes have three generations living together, young families are have little choice but live in tower-blocks, thousands of residents are forced to pay high-rents to unscrupulous landlords who exploit tenants and the list goes on. Surprisingly his DSD Department of which he leads, handed back over £17million which was meant for new social housing and maintenance. Leaving thousands of families on the waiting list and Housing Campaigners angry at McCausland who has ignored their plight.
 
I notice the DUP MLA failed to address the severe lack of leisure and health provision in his recent post, I wonder why? Maybe he already knows the truth that Nationalist North Belfast have little in the way of decent leisure facilities. Mr. McCausland is a former Belfast City Councillor is well-aware that the best of modern soccer pitches, parks and leisure centres are housed in Unionist districts. The Council has for generations clearly discriminated against Nationalist ratepayers. So long as North Belfast residents, endure the above injustices. The North Belfast Civil Rights Association, RNU and other organisations who are against discrimination will advocate on their behalf.