The areas with the highest unemployment and the worst health issues are republican heartlands. That equation is a poor reflection on those who have had the votes and the power for enough years to change those statistics, at least partially
SCRIPTURE tells us to “let the dead bury their dead”. Sinn Féin used to call not just for a United Ireland but for a socialist republic.
A policy, if my memory serves me right, most often articulated by Gerry Adams himself. For good reasons, the socialist part of that designation dissipated as the peace agreement became more prominent. With Sinn Féin in government for several years and now the main opposition party in the south, there is a strong argument for resurrecting a dollop of that effective social policy which Sinn Féin claimed was its forté. The claim, unfortunately, sits uncomfortably with the continuing revelation that their most loyal supporters are amongst the poorest and most deprived (and that’s a fact). The areas with the highest unemployment and the worst health issues are republican heartlands. That equation is a poor reflection on those who have had the votes and the power for enough years to change those statistics, at least partially.
The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) report on addiction services, published this week, is only the latest exposé of these realities. The report concentrates on the inadequacies of the department of health and the health trusts. It outlines that the available services are insufficient and that the outcomes of the services are mostly unmeasured. In fact, the data coming from the service is so uncertain that the department cannot publish it and therefore there is little clarity as to whether the services being offered are doing any good. But the most depressing revelation is that the death rate from alcohol and drug problems is four and a half times greater in deprived areas and that hospital admissions for alcohol and drugs is four times greater than in more advantaged areas. The drugs in question are a mixture of illegal and medically prescribed, but alcohol remains the greatest killer.
Put addiction into the middle of unemployment and poor health and the result is a cocktail of problems that would test the commitment and the ingenuity of any political system. But the difficulty and complexity is surely a reason to be more incisive and clinical in response. Following through with the addiction metaphor, recovery only begins when the problem is honestly admitted. Shame Féin shows little inclination to admit that too many of the constituencies that they represent, especially in Belfast and Derry, continue to be the most deprived on this island. Deprived communities need employment and jobs, not just improvements in welfare benefits. Scotland, interestingly, is having a close look at universal basic income as a means of giving people dignity as well as a decent income. It is a scheme whereby each citizen receives a guaranteed minimum income, employed or not.
Deprived communities also need and desire law, order and discipline even more than more privileged communities. It is what provides stability and security. They need political leaders who not only challenge policies that sustain inequality and poverty but also challenge the people themselves to rise above apathy and lethargy. They need leaders who believe in their constituents enough to believe they do not have to be at the top of every negative measurement on employment and health. Sinn Féin are rightly credited with being hard workers. Their local constituency offices are a hive of activity, responding to enquiries and requests from constituents. But business is no substitute for effectiveness. The party has been long enough now to be examined and marked on outcomes. Has the standard of living in working class nationalist/republican areas improved? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding no. Those are the areas that bore the brunt of the years of the Troubles. They should not be expected to also bear the disappointment of the peace. Sinn Féin need to become much more radical in examining their performance.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Denis Bradley for his Opinion piece which was published in The Irish News on Friday July 3rd 2020 for the original posting.
Follow these links to find out more: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/fionola-meredith/a-party-of-the-people-elitist-sinn-fein-shows-no-cause-not-even-health-tops-ira-myth-making-39336405.html
Former top IRA man Brendan Hughes claimed that Gerry Adams sent him to America to buy Armalite rifles for the Provisionals, according to a new TV documentary.
And Catholic priest Patrick Ryan has told the same programme he set up arms deals between the IRA and Libya; that he once stole from church collection boxes to provide funds for the Provos, and that Margaret Thatcher was right to link him to English bombings like Brighton and Hyde Park.
The disclosures come in episode three of the BBC NI series Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History.
In an interview recorded before his death in February 2008, Brendan Hughes, a one-time friend and ally of the former Sinn Fein leader, claims Adams sent him to New York to smuggle Armalites back to Ireland in the early 1970s.
Hughes adds: “I think we did push the war forward more than anyone else did. And I think it was Gerry who was largely responsible for that because it was Gerry who sent me to America to get the Armalites.”
Adams, who refused to take part in the Spotlight series, has always denied that he was a member of the IRA and he has repeatedly said Brendan Hughes told lies about him.
In the same programme about IRA gun-running, former missionary and parish priest Patrick Ryan has no such qualms about owning up to his part in the smuggling of weapons.
Tipperary-born Ryan says Mrs Thatcher was right to link him to a series of IRA bomb attacks in England like Hyde Park and Brighton which almost killed the Prime Minister at the time.
Asked about regrets, Ryan says: “I have big regrets that I wasn’t even more effective. But I didn’t do too badly you know.”
Ryan claims that it was his discovery of a timing device which transformed the IRA bombing campaign and stopped terrorists blowing themselves up as they made their deadly bombs.
Ryan’s admissions run contrary to what he told a Tipperary newspaper in 1988 when he said he had raised cash for nationalist victims of the Troubles but had “never bought explosives for the IRA or anybody else”.
In that year Ryan was arrested in Belgium and was sent back to Ireland but the Irish government infuriated Mrs Thatcher by refusing to extradite him to Britain.
Spotlight: Provo commander says Adams sent him to New York to smuggle weapons
In Spotlight, Ryan says that at the start of the Troubles he took money from mission collection boxes to finance the situation in the north but was later approached by the organisation’s leaders to work for them permanently.
“They asked me to travel the world and try to get help for them,” he says.
The British government was convinced he was the main link between the IRA and Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi who saw the Provos as comrades in arms.
Ryan says of Gaddafi: “He was a fine fella, the best I ever met. And we got on very well.”
Ryan says that in 1973 the IRA dispatched him to Rome to meet their Chief of Staff Joe Cahill who went with him to Tripoli to meet Gaddafi who initially offered 200 tonnes of weaponry but later reduced the shipment on board the boat, the Claudia, to five tonnes because he suspected someone had blown the whistle.
Veteran IRA man Des Long says Cahill had been told the boat’s owner was working with British intelligence.
“He was warned and warned and warned that the whole thing was gone,” says Long, and the Claudia was captured off the Irish coast.
Ryan however continued to travel all over Europe working for the IRA and he says he also spotted Memo Park timers which motorists were using to remind them when their car parking fees had run out.
As footage is screened of terrorists making up a device, Ryan says he saw the timers as a means of preventing bombs going off while terrorists were arming them.
Such was the scale of links between Libya and the IRA, the documentary makers say that in November 1972 the Provos chartered a DC3 aircraft to fly 25 rocket launchers and 400 warheads from Libya to Shannon airport. Days later one of the rockets killed policeman Robert Keys in an attack on Belleek RUC station in Fermanagh.
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Ivan Little for original story
Convicted sex offender Liam Adams – brother of former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams – has died.
Liam Adams, 63, formerly of Bernagh Drive, west Belfast, was sentenced to 16 years in jail in 2013 for raping his daughter.
The abuse scandal put Gerry Adams, then Sinn Féin president, under intense public pressure and political scrutiny.
Liam Adams, a former IRA member, was found guilty of a series of sexual assaults on Áine Tyrell.
She waived her right to anonymity to speak out about the abuse in 2009.
On Monday, the Department of Justice said: “The Northern Ireland Prison Service can confirm the death in custody of a 63-year-old prisoner from Maghaberry Prison.
“The prisoner died on Monday morning…his next of kin have been informed.
“As is standard procedure, the PSNI and Prisoner Ombudsman have been informed.”
With many thanks to: BBCNewsNI for the original story
I’d encourage anyone who questions the rationale behind our policy to have a read:
How can I object to Britain interfering in Irish affairs if I go over and interfere in theirs?
SINN FÉIN won seven seats in the Westminster general election running on an abstentionist ticket that has been the party’s policy for at least one hundred years.
The SDLP (which boasted about sitting in Westminster but had nothing to show for it) lost its three seats – seats held by three former leaders and two of which have now been taken by Sinn Féin.
And yet, despite the wishes of the electorate which had been heavily exposed to all the arguments, Sinn Féin’s critics – including the SDLP and Southern political parties and many in the media (few of whom wish Sinn Féin well) – continue to criticise the party for keeping to its manifesto commitment.
I was at the Belfast election count on Thursday night/Friday morning and was asked by a succession of journalists about whether, in the circumstances of a hung parliament, Sinn Féin would not drop its policy and help Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party or at least make it more difficult for Theresa May to form a government with the help of the DUP.
I said: “No, it was not going to happen.”
Many arguments have been advanced in defence of abstentionism, including that the oath or affirmation of allegiance to a foreign monarch and her heirs presents a difficulty and is inimical to one’s republicanism.
Or that one’s influence is minuscule and dwarfed by the major parties with few from the North able to demonstrate worthwhile achievements commensurate with their attendance.
These arguments, whilst valid, are not at the core of abstentionism.
For example, the oath could be completely removed. Or, imagine Britain a republic.
It might well be possible for some of the parties who take their seats to point to pieces of legislation that they have influenced or initiated.
In the circumstances of a hung parliament, it is undeniable that a tail might be able to wag the much bigger dog for a time. But even if the oath was removed and I was an MP, I would still not take my seat.
Even if Britain was a republic, I would still not take my seat.
Even if I held the balance of power and could get through bits and pieces of legislation (while flattering myself as to the magnitude of my importance), I would still not take my seat.
For me, it is quite simple: How can I object to Britain interfering in Irish affairs if I go over and interfere in theirs?
Once I took my seat (with or without an oath), I have lost the moral high ground on that question of Irish sovereignty and I have conceded Britain’s right to govern on this shore – a claim that was demonstrably rejected in December 1918 by the majority of people in Ireland in a democratic election.
Even though for reasons of pragmatism I support agreements which were passed into law in the House of Commons, this does not mean that I recognise Britain’s claim to rule over me as being legitimate. Leinster House and Stormont, for all their many flaws, are assemblies of the people of this island.
Furthermore, the state I live in is not the state I grew up in. Much has changed, often beyond recognition; much has clearly still to be changed.
I am in the business of building a new society in Ireland out of the two states which currently exist. To do that I need to win over a significant body of support from the unionist community as well as winning over people in the South who have lived for a century under successive partitionist governments who have never acted in truly national terms.
The Establishment in the South distances itself from us by increasingly in its discourse conflating the 26 Counties with ‘Ireland’, although the threat of Brexit to the Southern economy and to the security of the Peace process has suddenly produced fresh (some might say opportunistic) interest in reunification.
On Friday, the day after the general election, I tweeted:
“In interfering in British affairs the DUP will gather many enemies.” I hadn’t appreciated how quickly that would happen nor the scale of the revulsion.
The British, especially the English, deeply resent anyone else telling them what to do. In simplistic terms, it explains their dislike of Europe and the Brexit vote.
As an exercise, imagine that the Labour and Tory wins were reversed and that Sinn Féin’s seven seats would be enough to support a Labour minority government, and that the party, out of the blue, took its Westminster seats.
Make no mistake about it – the British public and the British media would be just as scathing of republicans as they are now of the DUP, although the DUP – because of its homophobic, racist and sectarian proclivities – presents much more fertile ground for ridicule and attack.
And that is because the British, especially the English, do not like outsiders interfering in their affairs. Although the Scottish National Party would also have faced criticism were it to prop up, say, a Corbyn minority government, the criticism and the type of condemnation would not be as visceral as the attacks on the Irish unionists because Scotland and Wales are unquestionably viewed differently from the Six Counties.
Incidentally, those famous Irish politicians who did take their oath and seats in Westminster failed abysmally in their objectives.
Daniel O’Connell failed to achieve the Repeal of the Union. Charles Stewart Parnell and his Irish Parliamentary Party, after decades in Westminster, and his successor, John Redmond, failed to achieve Home Rule but did manage to sacrifice the lives of 50,000 Irish Volunteers in the First World War who were fooled into believing they were fighting for the freedom of a small nation – Ireland.
I’m not including one major success at Westminster by the original Ulster Unionist Party because their exclusion of the Six Counties and the abandonment of the Home Rule Act has proved to be one unmitigated disaster for everyone.
By abstaining from Westminster, Sinn Féin is making a powerful statement – that the people who vote for it reject British rule and British interference.
And that is something that should give British people pause for thought. If you are livid at the prospects of a party from here going over there to interfere and make your laws, how do you think we feel after all these centuries?
This sordid Tory/DUP arrangement (if it comes off) may not last long. It will ultimately damage both parties but, more immediately, will jeopardise the prospects of a return to devolution.
Why would Sinn Féin go into an Executive in which the DUP has a disproportionate degree of influence over the British Government – an alleged joint-guarantor with the Irish Government of the Belfast Agreement?
One perhaps unforeseen consequence of the DUP’s willingness to go into coalition with a British Government is that the DUP is effectively relinquishing any objection it might make in the future to Sinn Féin doing exactly the same in Dublin.
For the DUP I hope that the demonisation they are facing (and which must appear as unjust and unfair to them) is a chastening experience and one which will make them or their supporters reflect on the antediluvian nature of their policies which encroach on the freedom of others.
I also hope it makes them realise that in actual fact they belong here more than over there.
It is here, not over there, they should be entering into a true pact with their fellow Irish people.
With many thanks to: Republican Sinn Féin,
Follow these links to find out more about Danny Morrison: http://www.irishnews.com/news/2016/02/03/news/senior-republican-claims-ira-stood-down-stakeknife-in-1990-404194/
Today Charles Windsor and his wife were imposed on the people of Finglas and Glasnevin in another choreographed play of normality between the 26-County State and their erstwhile royal family from London. Today’s show follows on from the stage-managed pieces in other parts of Ireland, both occupied and 26-County.
The people of Finglas were effectively annexed off from the city centre this morning, 26-County police were present at every junction and by-road from Finglas that lead past Glasnevin. Residents living in close proximity to the cemetery had to wait within their homes for an escort from the same police. Irrespective of where they wished to travel they were denied passage past the cemetery. They were escorted in the direction of Finglas and then had to make their own way around a police cordon that encompassed the cemetery. At the Glasnevin side a barrier approximately three meters high was erected across the road stopping the passage of anyone or any vehicle
Two small protests were held at either side of the entrance to Glasnevin, on this occasion the police stopped all pedestrians and road users far enough from the entrance that no noise interruption would be heard for those “dignitaries” present. Members of the public attempting to go about their daily business were stopped and questioned as to their destinations etc.
The graveyard itself was patrolled in its entirety by uniformed and plain-clothes police. Similarly police vehicles of every kind were to be seen parked at every junction with Transit vans full of police “at the ready” should there be any trouble. As Charles approached the graveyard, the protesters on the Glasnevin side were assaulted by police and a megaphone taken by plain-clothes police. As this statement goes to print it is unsure if any arrests were made, but in line with other protests the police have been ordered to make no arrests at the protests and just issue summonses afterwards.
12.Bealtaine /May 2017.
With many thanks to: Republican Sinn Féin
We laugh with disdain at the propaganda dished out by state media in places like North Korea, Do we realise we are victims of the exact same thing in Ireland. Wake up Question everything! According to RTE today Prince Charles honoured “FALLEN IRISH SOLDIERS” with the Victoria Cross today, What they actually meant was IRISHMEN In the BRITISH ARMY. Then we had a nice harmless programme on Lizzys Garden followed by LORD mountcharles ,that lovely english fella that brings the best rock stars to his CASTLE every year for a concert. On the Late Late along with Paul Costello being fauned over for dressing the Royal Family. YOU are being assimilated, resistance is NECESSARY. We laugh with disdain at the propaganda dished out by state media in places like North Korea, Do we realise we are victims of the exact same thing in Ireland. Wake up Question everything! According to RTE today Prince Charles honoured “FALLEN IRISH SOLDIERS” with the Victoria Cross today, What they actually meant was IRISHMEN In the BRITISH ARMY.
With many thanks to: Pol Ó Muireadhaigh – Irish History folklore Traditions Customs discussion group.
Marking Easter Rising day in Belfast City centre.
History in the making ..what a proud day. To mark the Easter rising in Belfast City Centre in period dress. The march was so dignafied passing a loyalist protest on Royal Avenue they were embarrassed and strangley quiet. Changed Times …. a terrible beauty was born W.B. Yeats Easter 1916….sin ea.
With many thanks to: Fra Hughes and Martin McManus.