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. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Inaugural Óglach. Martin Meehan Memorial Lecture

The Republican Network for Unity will present the Inaugural Óglach. Martin Meehan Memorial Lecture next Friday evening, November, 21st at 8pm in the Crumlin Star Social Club in Ardoyne. The Lecture will primarily focus on Martin's remarkable life in the struggle for Irish Freedom

The Irish Republican Icon, served a number of lengthy prison sentences, was Interned twice by the British and Stormont governments and was the victim of a blatant miscarriage of justice during the recent Conflict. The prominent IRA Volunteer, was one of the city's longest-serving Republican Prisoners and spent decades incarcerated in Crumlin Road Gaol, Mountjoy Prison, Cages and H-Blocks of Long Kesh

Martin was a former Hunger-Striker and devoted much of his life to improving conditions for Irish Political Prisoners for over a generation. Therefore, it is fitting that RNU and the Meehan Family have made Republican Prisoners a central theme of the Crumlin Road Gaol Escapee's first Memorial Lecture. With invitations to the Justice for the Craigavon Two and Cogús to deliver speeches on the night. 

The Lecture will be held in Martin's old Club the Star, where he spent many happy occasions with his friends. The former Antrim Borough Councillor was a proud and life-long member of the Club prior to his sudden death in 2007. No doubt there will be a large turn-out in support a chairde. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Hypocrisy and Historical Revisionism

  • I don't often comment on other people's blog posts out of professional courtesy. As every Blogger has the right to express their views on the net. Today however, I feel the need to make a few points regarding Gerry Adams TD's latest post, 'The Good Old IRA' on his Leargas Blog. 

It concerns the legitimacy of what is termed the 'Old IRA' and the 'Provisional IRA'. Adams states that there is little difference between the old and provisional IRAs'. Like Deputy Adams, I too was one of the thousands of Irishmen who attended the proper burial of Irish Patriot, Óglach. Kevin Barry and his nine Óglaigh Na hÉireann comrades dumped unceremoniously into ready made graves after their unlawful executions by the British in 1920. I was there with my brother and nephew to pay homage to the ten courageous Volunteers who gave their lives in the pursuit of Irish freedom. We later met our dad and grandfather in O'Connell Street as we watched sorrowfully as the remains of the ten lads made their way into St. Patrick;s Cathedral for a decent Mass. The entire day was pretty emotional to say the least as they deservedly were given a State funeral. Many Republicans present commented on the hypocrisy of successive Free State Regimes who ignored the ten Volunteers lying inside the walls of Mountjoy Gaol in Dublin, decades after British Occupation Forces had left the city. 

In his post, Adams rightly points out the hypocrisy of Southern Irish Parties such as, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Labour Party in their endorsements of the Old IRA and hatred of the Provisional IRA. There are many examples of dubious public statements by Dublin Government Ministers praising the actions of the 1917 - 1922 IRA during countless commemorations held by the Free State. Any Irish Newspaper have thousands of pages of articles relating to their crass phrases. 

What is confusing about Adams' post is his focus on the Provisional IRA and his holding-up of it as some kind of superior organisation to previous generations of Volunteers. He claims the return of ten out of fifteen of those people disappeared by the Provisionals as some kind of victory secured by Republicans. In my opinion, the disappearing of fifteen citizens in the Seventies is an immoral stain on the Republican community across our country. These acts were disgraceful and only served to undermine the legitimacy of it's Campaign to restore national Irish sovereignty. There was no justification for disappearing anyone, regardless of their alleged crimes. Their families were denied the right to bury their loved ones, in what seemed like collective punishment for relatives. I urge anyone with relevant information on the whereabouts of those still missing to bring it forward and end their families suffering. 

Another baffling aspect of Deputy Adams' post is his chastisement of Free State Ministers about their selective revisionism etc. I'm old enough to recall armed attacks against the Officials by the Provisionals throughout the Seventies that often led to the untimely deaths of fellow Volunteers. Threatening condemnation of Bernadette McAliskey when she stood in the European elections in 1979 and some of the harsh words expressed at the time. Intimidation, harassment and the beatings of SDLP Activists during the Eighties and Nineties by Provies. The demonisation of INLA/IRSP members and supporters both inside and outside the various Gaols, North and South. I also cannot forget the hundreds of British troops and RUC men by the Provisional IRA Units in the recent Conflict. Was it revisionism when Martin McGuinness stood outside Stormont Castle alongside a Unionist Leader and a senior member of the RUC/PSNI called the Volunteers who killed two British soldiers in Antrim; 'Traitors to Ireland'

It is evident from successive Irish elections held since 1918 that the electorate didn't vote in favour of armed attacks against the British State in Ireland. Every single IRA organisation including, the Provisionals conducted campaigns to resist British rule. One cannot support armed struggle between 1916 - 2005 and not endorse similar attacks on occupation forces afterwards! Is it not revisionist of Adams and his Leadership to disagree with the endorse these attacks, they must also agree with the Masserene ambush? According to International Law, the two British soldiers executed in Antrim were part of an occupying force in Ireland and their presence was an act of aggression against the Irish people. Whether we agree or disagree, matters not a chairde. The Provisional Movement like it's counterparts in Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. They have links to the IRA and as such, will always be charged with engaging in hypocrisy and revisionism. It's called Irish politics and we should not shy away from these issues. 

The reality is that ever since English invaded Ireland there has been resistance to its occupation. The Irish people have a legitimate right to engage occupation forces in armed attacks because their presence on Irish soil is aggression. Britain continues to occupy six Irish counties and as such ambushes are inevitable. It doesn't matter if resistance fighters are part of an IRA, INLA or ONH organisation. No amount of Draconian Legislation, Special Prisons, Non-Jury Courts, Criminalisation Policies, Demonisation, Hypocrisy or Revisionism will change that fact. The only way to secure genuine peace in Ireland is for Britain to restore an Irish National Democracy, Free from Foreign Interference. with Social, Political and Economic Freedom. Anything less will only postpone armed resistance campaigns as history has taught us all. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014


Republican Network for Unity (RNU) have been informed that North Belfast Republicans Martin Óg Meehan and Sammy Cusick have received death threats from a group calling itself the ‘Real’ LVF. 

North Belfast LVF Mural

The RUC/PSNI who’s MI5 master’s have set up, facilitated and controlled pro-union death squads in the past, called at both activist’s homes on Wednesday night (28th October) to inform them that they had information that the ‘Real’ LVF would make an attempt on their lives within the next 48 hours.
Both men have been Republican Activists most of their adult lives. Martin Óg Meehan is RNU’s National Secretary and Sammy Cusick is Chairman of his local Cumann. Both men work incredibly hard for their community.
This is a disturbing revelation that comes at a time when RNU’s activity level in the North of the City has significantly increased. While both men will take the threat seriously, it will not deter them from the sterling community and Republican activism both men are consistently engaged in.
Martin Óg Meehan has commented:
‘Once again reactionary Loyalism has raised its ugly head in order to issue a death threat to myself and my friend Sammy. This is not a new phenomenon, with Loyalists often issuing death threats when they fear Republicanism may be on the rise, in order to quell the hard work of Republican activists.
‘The Republican Network for Unity will not be deterred from attempting to improve the lives of every individual on this island. No amount of Loyalists threats will arrest the progression and growth of our movement. ‘
RNU call on the community within North Belfast and beyond to show support and solidarity with both men in defiance of pro-state reactionaries who have no goal other than to strike fear into working class communities.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Máiriá Cahill and the Provisional Movement

I have not been online much nor blogging the past few weeks folks. I've been a little busy with family, local community issues and of course my political work for RNU. The title of this post should be entitled; 'A Week is a Long Time in Politics'. The phrase is widely quoted whenever a Politician and/or a Political Party experiences difficulties in public life. 

There is little doubt that since BBC's Spotlight; 'A Woman Alone With The IRA' which aired on Tuesday October, 14th 2014. That once again exposed the huge failures in Irish Republicanism to properly help and achieve justice for victims. The programme also exposed the real threat to our young people by alleged sex-offenders and others who through their words and deeds only cause victims more pain.  

The popular Current Affairs programme broadcast serious claims by a former member of Ógra Shinn Féin, Máiriá Cahill. That she was raped and repeatedly sexually-abused between the ages of sixteen and seventeen, by an alleged IRA Volunteer and Ex-Political Prisoner. She also stated on Spotlight that senior Provisionals including, a number of Belfast Councillors, Stormont and Westminster Representatives. Who not only knew details of her claims, but incredibly did not notify Social Services but also prevented her family and friends from doing so!  

Máiriá Cahill

Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Dessie Ellis and others have belatedly admitted publicly. The Provisional Movement filled the policing vacuum in Nationalist districts across the Six Counties, throughout the the recent Conflict. The Republican Socialist Movement also used similar tactics in dealing with the dregs of our society. What her Investigators did not do was to notify the Social Services in Belfast regarding the consistent narrative of abuse described by Miss. Cahill. If so, her alleged attacker would not have been able to have freely moved to County Donegal where he could have abused other innocent teenagers. 

Like many local Republicans, I am acutely aware of two similar cases. Both of which took place within the Greater Ardoyne area! One in which a former Political Prisoner abused a number of children during the '70's. Who was permitted to stay in the district afterwards by the Provisionals because he was a Volunteer! The same waster later attempted to violently rape a male friend of his in the late Eighties. Luckily, the resident had the quick foresight to escape his clutches and immediately reported the frightening incident to known Óglaigh. Within days, he was shot in the legs and expelled from the Six County area. The second Paedophile consistently sexually abused a number of including his own children throughout the Seventies but because he held of a prominent role within the local PIRA, he wasn't beaten or shot. Even though, there were detailed complaints made against him by a few courageous victims against him. He was expelled and subsequently forced to live in Dublin until his death last year. 

Neither sicko nor their disgusting crimes were reported to the Social Services North or South by senior Provisionals? Which is incredible, given the fact that sex offenders are known to infiltrate trusting families, organisations that work with children and cohesive communities Devastating criminal actions like these should have been reported to Social Workers, how else could other children, teenagers and/or vunerable adults be protected from these two consistent offenders? Whatever happened to the core principle 'cherishing all of the children of the nation equally', as outlined in the 1916 Proclamation?

The Provisional IRA investigated Máiriá's allegations against one of it's supposed Volunteers. According to An Bunreacht/the Constitution of Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise known as The Green Book. The alleged Rapist was given representation at a convened inquiry, which is the right of every Óglach regardless of what the allegation would be! Who exactly spoke or represented the apparent victim? What rights did she have, is a question that I have? The Republican inquiry lasted some seven months, a long time in a teenagers life and no doubt she was under pressure throughout. The decision to allow an abuser to personally confront his victim was disgraceful and should never have happened! Even though Máiria was notified the investigation had ended, she was informed that na Óglaigh had ruled on the matter and decided their findings had been 'inconclusive'. 

Finally,  anyone who has ever been subjected to sexual abuse and/or rape must contact the Social Services. There are also Counselling Services based across the Country dedicated to helping victims in anyway they can. I will pray for you to gain the much needed confidence in achieving the truth and justice.