Saturday, 4 October 2014

Boundary Boxes - Water Meters and Misleading Working-Class Communities

Over the past few months, work has begun on Water Mains across North Belfast including, Ardoyne, New Lodge, Oldpark and Cliftonville communities. There is no doubt that water-pipes under our roads and streets are well-over a century old and are badly in need of being replaced by the Agency with responsibility for their upkeep; 'NI Water'. There may well be that type of much-needed work being conducted right across Belfast City. However, NI Water has also employed Outside Contractors to NOT only replace existing pipes but to also install Boundary Boxes outside each and every residential home along the way. 

Diagram Demonstrating a Boundary Box 
A number of Community, Political Groups and Political Parties including the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) voiced concerns and publicly challenged 'NI Water's' official version regarding Boundary Boxes and Water-Meters. Prior to this week, the Water Board officially denied it had been installing Boundary Boxes at all in Belfast. However, it issued a statement 
on October 2nd, 2014  finally confirming that its Contractors had indeed been installing Boundary Boxes outside residential homes in Working-Class Communities across the City.

Inside a Boundary Box
As can be seen from both illustrations above. There is a wealth of evidence that manifold connections coupled with Boundary Boxes are a necessary component for the installation of water meters. I know the Water Board, Stormont' Executive and Elected Political Representatives have denied that Water Meters are the charges which follow their installation will not be implemented. All the evidence thus far refutes these charges. The actual implementation programme for the Six Counties has indeed been deferred by Stormont but only until 2016. 

Like every Government in every State, Stormont will attempt to wriggle out of the truth about Water Meters as best it can - until, they can no longer do so! The reality is that water charges’ were not 'blocked' as a number of Politicians have claimed. These unjust charges will be brought to bear on Working-Class families as part of austerity policies conducted against the most vunerable in our society. 

A number of questions need posed to those Parties who endorse Stormont. Is why are Boundary Boxes being installed across North and West Belfast? Are Boundary Boxes an essential component for Water Maters? Will Stormont Politicians stand with the people in opposition to this policy or will they help implement another unfair tax upon ordinary families? 

I know the Republican Network for Unity will strongly oppose Water Meters and Charges. As our fellow comrades have in Dundalk, Dublin and |Meath. Many have endured arrest and harassment from An Gardai for their activism on behalf of local communities in those areas. RNU will also do our best in Belfast also and beyond to ensure Boundary Boxes, Water Meters and Charges are stopped. We urge residents to contact RNU, whenever you realise these boxes are being installed in your district and/or street. This will allow us to provide advice and offer our assistance on how we can all stand together and defeat these measures.

The people of North Belfast have always rallied against draconian measures. During the days of the Orange State, people manifested themselves in political struggle to end decades of neglect, discrimination and poverty manufactured by the Stormont Regime. Now is the time to mobilise again and assert our rights. A community-based Campaign is needed against water meters and charges is required! RNU seek to work alongside your community and help defeat this unfair scheme! 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Is There a Need for a New Republican Congress?

Ever since the 1994 IRA Ceasefire, the strategy of the Provisional Movement has adopted a British approach to the Unionist Veto, Partition and the occupation. Objectives changed dramatically with its ditching of socialist policies, approval of the Mitchell Principles, Belfast Agreement, ending the Armed Campaign, decommissioning, disbandment of the IRA and endorsement of British Policing. Throughout this period a significant number of Provisionals, most of whom had devoted much of their adult years in honourable service expressed objections to these changes but faced dismissal, expulsion or forced resignation. 

Between 1997 and 2000, a number of new Irish political groups emerged.  All of which advocated core Irish Republican and Socialist objectives. The first was the 32 County Sovereignty Movement with a strong focus on the lack of Irish sovereignty. Secondly came Eirigi, initially founded in Dublin with socialism as its cornerstone. It later became a Political Party. Next was the Republican Network for Unity who mobilised against the endorsement of British Policing. Like Eirigi, RNU also became a Political Party with a distinct revolutionary republican and socialist outlook. The most recent group established was the 1916 Societies 

Prior to what became known as the Peace Process, the Provisional Movement had split in 1986. After the Provisional Leadership decided to take seats if elected to Leinster House. Dozens of members including, the former President and Vice-President left the Ard Fheis after the vote. Those who walked-out held their own Conference at a different venue. Where they voted to continue the long-held policy of abstentionism. In order not to confuse the public, the Party was renamed Republican Sinn Fein. RSF correctly predicted that the Provisionals would also erode other principles and they would also enter Stormont and accept Partition. 

Apart from the Irish Republican Socialist Party, RSF held firm and against the reformist policies of Sinn Fein. Both Parties were consistently demonised and criminalised by Provisional Leaders. They were also heavily censored by the media in Ireland, Britain and America because of their positions on the continued occupation of the Six Counties. A few Provisionals who dissented from their Leadership after the PIRA Ceasefires in 1994 and 1996 joined the IRSP and RSF. While both Movements held legitimate objectives, most former members felt they couldn't commit to a different Leadership. 

INLA Chief-of-Staff, Gino Gallagher
In addition to strong feelings of betrayal by the Provisionals. A few months had only passed since the Republican Socialist Movement survived a determined attack against it by former members with key people assassinated. The same Republicans felt unable to join RSF as not only was fellow Activists targeted, threatened and beaten in a concerted campaign by former comrades in the Provisional Movement. On one occasion Óglach Joe O'Connor was brutally executed by the Provisional IRA in front of his family outside their home in Ballymurphy on October 13th, 2000. Which a British Government Minister described as; 'internal housekeeping'. A number of Belfast Republicans were subsequently 'arrested and detained' by the Provisionals and threatened with the same type of death as Joe's, if they became involved with; 'other groups'. 
Óglach. Joe O'Connor
It has been over five years, since I last used this blog to propose the establishment of a new Irish Republican Congress. You can click on the following link to read; A Proposal for a Republican Socialist AlternativeAt the time, my analysis was based on the need for a democratic, unified republican and socialist umbrella body that would consist of representatives from each of the above Parties and Groups and Independents. A Congress based on the ideas and ideology of the 1934 model, founded by Peader O'Donnell and Frank Ryan over seventy years ago. Two working-class heroes who dedicated their lives to secure the 32 Socialist Irish Republic. A Congress that could assist the various organisations in their quest to secure a revolutionary movement.  

A number of attempts to create republican unity between the above Parties, Groups and various Individuals. I accept and fully understand that there is much ground and suspicion between everyone concerned. Based on the very nature of revolutionary politics and the years of attrition by the British and Free State Governments against Irish republicans, it is hardly surprising that we find ourselves primarily protecting ones own Party or Group. However, that should not prevent us from exploring ways in which we can build a truly equal and shared overarching body that could help us all reach out to the majority of Irish citizens. Who demand an Ireland free from imperialism, partition, poverty and occupation. A sovereign Irish socialist republic, where single person can enjoy religious,  political, civil liberty, equality and freedom. 

Two of the best examples of unified activities by Republicans in recent years, has been the Irish Republican Forum for Unity (IRFU) and the Anti-Internment League. The IRFU consisted of the IRSP, 32CSM, RNU and a number of respected Independent Republicans. Although the IRFU got off to a great start, one of the main setbacks was the failure of RSF and Eirigi to join the forum. Most of Eirigi's and RSF's analysis were already shared by everyone represented. Their inclusion would have benefitted everyone including both Parties. Again its understandable that RSF has a policy against becoming involved in 'broad fronts'. Whilst I accept their right to hold that particular position, I would urge them to investigate the Anti-Internment League and witness what could be achieved. Another problem faced by the forum was a couple of concerns expressed by the IRSP. Unfortunately, the IRSP felt the issue was insurmountable at that time and left the IRFU. Whilst the forum was indeed short-lived, everyone remain comrades and it did present an alternative to GFA advocates. 

The Anti-Internment League has led to increased confidence and cooperation between a number of Republican Groups, Parties and Individuals. Working as a Collective, it has held two very successful and large demonstrations in Belfast recalling the detention of thousands of Irishmen and women by Britain between 1971-1975 and to also highlight the ongoing incarceration of Political Prisoners. The League consist of RNU, 1916 Societies, Eirigi, 32CSM, Cabhair, Cogus, IRPWA and Independent Republicans. As with any such body, there have been teething problems between the various groups who make up the Anti-Internment League. We have seen thousands taking to the streets demanding an end to Political arrests, Diplock Courts and Internment by Remand.  

Anti-Internment March: August, 2013

What I propose should be in the interests of all Irish Republicans, Socialists and Democrats. Though, I stress that they are only suggestions and can be amended, altered and changed to suit everyone. Each City, Town, Village and County could have its own Congress to meet regularly, discuss ideas and educate one another on how best to develop our own communities. Each Province would also have its own Congress applying the same methods. Then, there would need to be a National Congress made up of each Party, Group and/or Independents. The National Structure could help build confidence between one another, mobilise numbers and chart the way forward for Republicanism. 

Think I have written enough for now readers, I welcome positive contributions to my suggestions and I look forward to them until then, Adh Mhor.....

Monday, 15 September 2014


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


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


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' 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