THE mass escape of 38 PIRA prisoners from the Maze Prison, near Belfast on September 25 1983 in which a prison warder was stabbed to death, is detailed in previously confidential files. Like many files in this year’s releases, that relating to the prison escape is partially closed to 2069.
The official report claims that Gerry Kelly (Old Baily bomber), one of the PIRA escapees and now a Shame Fein MLA, shot a prison guard in the head. Confidential reports prepared for the Secretary of State Jim Priors shed new light on the event and the role of a British military guard at the prison. In a report on the events of that dramatic Sunday, penned the following day, W J Kerr, director of prison operations in the North of Ireland, described how at 16.45 hours he was informed of ‘an incident at the Maze’. He immediately proceeded to the prison where he ‘was informed that H7 Block had been taken over by armed prisoners who had hijacked the kitchen lorry and had proceeded to the main gate.’ There follows a diary of the events on that Sunday. The day began normally with prisoners unlocked for breakfast and exercise. At 11.15 Fr Rooney, the Catholic chaplain, celebrated Mass in the H Block with 54 prisoners in attendence. Dinner was served at 12.15 hours after which all prisoners were returned to their cells. Suddenly at 14.45 hours prisoners in H Block 7 overpowered staff on duty and took control of the block. Various weapons were used including guns.
The prisoners commandeered the prison meals delivery van and 38 prisoners forced the prison officer driver to drive the van from the block through segment gates one and eight to the prison main gate. The escapees then overpowered the staff on duty at the gate and, although eventually the alam was raised, they managed to get out of the prison proper. The prisoners at this point disappeared and fled in different directions.’ Among the prisoners in H7 were Gerry Kelly, aged 30, (the present Shame Fein MLA for North Belfast) and Brendan ‘Bic’ McFarlane who had been a spokesman for the hunger strikers during the 1981 Hunger Strike. Kelly had been convicted at Winchester in 1973, along with Marian Price/Mc Glincy and Dolours Price (The Price Sisters) and Hugh Feeney, for setting off car bombs in London. In all he had made four previous escape attempts. McFarlane (then 31), described in the file as ‘a PIRA leader deeply involved in the organisation’ was sentenced to five life terms for the 1975 bombing of the Bayardo Bar on the Shankill Road in which five people died. The sequence of events at the prison began when prisoner Mead overpowered a senior officer while ‘Prisoner Storey entered the principal officer’s office carrying a gun and pointed it at the senior officer’s head.’ Storey then took charge, “forcing the officer to answer the telephone in a normal manner”. Meanwhile, other officers were being overpowered and tied up throughout the H Block. “Officer Leak was in the toilet when he heard two shots. He left [to see] Prisoner 58 [Gerry Kelly] pointing a pistol into the control room. “Kelly turned the gun on Leak and forced him into the officers’ tea room. Leak was tied up and hooded. Kerr added at this point: “This would establish that prisoner Kelly shot officer Adams who was on duty in the control. It is not clear if the control grille was locked before Mr Adams was shot.” As the IRA inmates gradually seized control of the wings they approached the inner gates where ‘Bic’ McFarlane told the prison guard that he had been “sent to clean the sentry box”. The officer was then overpowered by armed prisoners. Meanwhile, officer McLaughlin was on duty as kitchen van driver and at 15.25 hours had passed through the lock gates of H Block to deliver afternoon tea. “As officer McLaughlin started to unload the meal from the van, prisoner Storey put a gun to his head and forced him into the medical inspection room.
“Whilst there he was threatened by prisoner [Gerry] Kelly who told him to do as he was told or he would be ‘blown away’.” McLaughlin was then forced to drive the van from the block to the main gate through the inner gates. According to the report the van proceeded through the first gate unchallenged to a parking lot where most of the uniformed prisoners ddisembarked. At the main gates they seized the controls and got outside. However, Kerr stressed, the staff in the Tally Lodge “resisted strongly and in the ensuing affray one officer was stabbed and died shortly afterwards. “By this time the alarm had been raised and two officers sitting in their cars outside the gate drove into the area, blocking the exit.” In the resulting melee 10 escapees were captured including a man called Murray who was wounded by an army sentry in a watch-tower. At the time of the report on 26 September, 21 inmates remained “unlawfully at large”. In his conclusion, Kerr highlighted a number of aspects of the PIRA escape which gave him concern. In particular, the fact that the inmates were in possession of firearms suggested that they and their supporters outside were able to breach the security measures at the Maze. He was particularly alarmed at the ease with which prisoners were able to gain access to the secure entrance into the blocks and the main gates. He also questioned how the escaping prisoners were allowed to drive a hijacked vehicle through two inner gates without being challenged and why five officers in H Block 7 were permitted to be off their posts at the same time. Claims by the DUP leader, Ian Paisley that the military guard had failed to open fire prompted a memo to the secretary of state from an NIO official, P W J Buxton on September 28 1983 on the reaction of the soldiers who formed a 150-strong prison guard. He reported that in the watchtower on the main gate had shot an escaper whom he had just seen shot a prison officer. The position of a soldier shooting escapers was quite clear, Buxton noted; ‘the Yellow Card’ applied. Thus, unless the escaper is presenting a direct threat to life, or has just killed or injured someone and there was no other way of arresting, he is not authorised to shoot.
With many thanks to: Eamon Phoenix, The Irish News.
- Gerry Kelly Shot Prison Officer During Maze Escape, Say Nio Papers (belfastdaily.co.uk)
- State papers: Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly told warder to obey or be blown away (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Sands ‘offered to suspend Hunger Strike to reach deal’ !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
Judge rules against suggested media ban
Veteran republicans Padraic Wilson (54), whose address was given as the Sinn Fein Advice Centre on Falls Road, West BBelfast, and Seamus Finucane (56), of Hawthorn Hill, Hannahstown, were two of the five people charged with offences relating to organising a meeting on behalf of the paramilitary group. In the dock alongside them were Agnes McCrory (73), of Dermot Hill Road, Bridge Wright (56), of Glassmullin Gardens and Martin Morris (49), of Wellbeck Road in London. Morris is accused of belonging to a proscribed organisation, namely the Provisional IRA. The others are accused of Provisional IRA membership and multiple counts of organising a meeting on behalf of or in support of a proscribed organisation.
District Judge George Conner agreed that all five defendants had a case to answer and returned them for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed. It is alleged that all five belonged to the IRA on dates between 1997 and 2000. Originally two days had been set aside for a preliminary investigation to be held to test the strength of the prosecution case. However, following private discussions between the pprosecution and defence in judge’s chambers it was decided to proceed with a shorter hearing. The five, who are expected to plead not guilty, answered “no” when asked whether they had any comment to make. All declined to call witnesses at that stage. They were released on £250 bail to reappear in court when a date is set for the case. A ban on publishing the defendants ‘ identities was lifted in October last year. Following yesterday’s hearing the Court Service initially indicated that the reporting restrictions were being reinstated until the case reaches the crown court. However, the judge later decided against the media ban provided that an alleged victim connected to the case is not iidentified.
With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.
- Five to stand trial accused of Provisional IRA membership (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Man in Ireland arrested over killing linked to Provisional IRA (theguardian.com)
- Sinn Fein Feels the Heat Over Haul of ‘Decommissioned’ Semtex (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Accusation of ‘double standards’ over IRA commemoration parade (newsletter.co.uk)
- About Martin Corey ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
The woman who said her drink was spiked, was arrested outside a club after she ran in and out of a road. Officers (apperently) believed she had drugs hidden in her clothing and she was stripped in her cell with the CCTV images broadcast to the custody desk at Chelsea Police Station. The woman complained about her treatment and the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled the search was carried out without justification. IPCC commissioner Derrick Campbell said: “I find it difficult to understand why officers think they have the right to strip a young woman leaving her naked and then expose her to being filmed.” The case has been referred back to the Met and five PCs and a duty sergeant will face a misconduct hearing.
A loyal, determined republican with a great love of life
The eighth republican to join the hunger-strike for political status, on May 23rd, following the death of Patsy O’Hara, was twenty-five-year-old fellow INLA Volunteer Kevin Lynch from the small, North Derry town of Dungiven who had been imprisoned since his arrest in 1976.
A well-known and well liked young man in the closely-knit community of his home town, Kevin was remembered chiefly for his outstanding ability as a sportsman, and for qualities of loyalty, determination and a will to win which distinguished him on the sports field and which, in heavier times and circumstances, were his hallmarks as an H-Block blanket man on hunger strike to the death.
Kevin Lynch was a happy-go-lucky, principled young Derry man with an enthusiastic love of life, who was, as one friend of his remarked – a former schoolteacher of Kevin’s and an active H-Block campaigner: “the last person, back in 1969, you would have dreamed would be spending a length of time in prison.”
The story of Kevin Lynch is of a light-hearted, hard-working and lively young man, barely out of his teens when the hard knock came early one December morning nearly five years ago, who had been forced by the British occupation of his country to spend those intervening years in heroic refusal to accept the British brand of ‘criminal’ and in the tortured assertion of what he really was – a political prisoner.
Kevin Lynch was born on May 25th, 1956, the youngest of a family of eight, in the tiny village of Park, eight miles outside Dungiven. His father, Paddy, (aged 66), and his mother, Bridie, (aged 65), whose maiden name is Cassidy, were both born in Park too, Paddy Lynch’s family being established there for at least three generations, but they moved to Dungiven twenty years ago, after the births of their children.
Paddy Lynch is a builder by trade, like his father and grandfather before him – a trade which he handed down to his five sons: Michael (aged 39), Patsy (aged 37), Francis (aged 33), Gerard (aged 27), and Kevin himself, who was an apprenticed bricklayer. There are also three daughters in the family: Jean (aged 35), Mary (aged 30), and Bridie (aged 29).
Though still only a small town of a few thousand, Dungiven has been growing over the past twenty years due to the influx of families like the Lynches from the outlying rural areas. It is an almost exclusively nationalist town, garrisoned by a large and belligerent force of RUC and Brits. In civil rights days, however, nationalists were barred from marching in the town centre.
Nowadays, militant nationalists have enforced their right to march, but the RUC still attempt to break up protests and the flying of the tricolour (not in itself ‘illegal’ in the six counties) is considered taboo by the loyalist bigots of the RUC.
Support in the town is relatively strong, Dungiven having first-hand experience of a hunger strike last year when local man Tom McFeeley went fifty-three days without food before the fast ended on December 18th. Apart from Tom McFeeley and Kevin Lynch other blanket men from the town are Kevin’s boyhood friend and later comrade Liam McCloskey – himself later to embark on hunger strike – and former blanket man Eunan Brolly, who was released from the H-Blocks last December.
Kevin went to St. Canice’s primary school and then on to St. Patrick’s intermediate, both in Dungiven. Although not academically minded – always looking forward to taking his place in the family building business – he was well-liked by his teachers, respected for his sporting prowess and for his well-meant sense of humour. “Whatever devilment was going on in the school, you could lay your bottom dollar Kevin was behind it,” remembers his former schoolteacher, recalling that he took great delight in getting one of his classmates, his cousin Hugh (‘the biggest boy in the class – six foot one’) “into trouble”. But it was all in fun – Kevin was no troublemaker, and whenever reprimanded at school, like any other lively lad, would never bear a grudge.
Above all, Kevin was an outdoor person who loved to go fishing for sticklebacks in the river near his home, or off with a bunch of friends playing Gaelic (an outdoor disposition which must have made his H-Block confinement even harder to bear).
His great passion was Gaelic games playing Gaelic football from very early on, and then taking up hurling when he was at St. Patrick’s.
He was excelled at both.
Playing right half-back for St. Patrick’s hurling club, which was representing County Derry, at the inaugural Feile na nGael held in Thurles, County Tipperary, in 1971, Kevin’s performance – coming only ten days after an appendix operation – was considered a key factor in the team’s victory in the four-match competition played over two days.
The following season Kevin was appointed captain of both St. Patrick’s hurling team and the County Derry under-16 team which went on in that season to beat Armagh in the All Ireland under-16 final at Croke Park in Dublin.
Later on, while working in England, he was a reserve for the Dungiven senior football team in the 1976 County Derry final.
Kevin’s team, St. Canice’s, was beaten 0-9 to 0-3 by Sarsfields of Ballerin, and he is described in the match programme as “a strong player and a useful hurler”. Within a short space of time after this final, Kevin would be in jail, as would two of his team mates on that day, Eunan Brolly and Sean Coyle.
The qualities Kevin is remembered for as a sportsman were his courage and determination, his will to win, and his loyalty to his team mates. Not surprisingly the local hurling and football clubs were fully behind Kevin and his comrades in their struggle for the five demands, pointing out that Kevin had displayed those same qualities in the H-Blocks and on hunger strike.
He was also a boxer with the St. Canice’s club, once reaching the County Derry final as a schoolboy, but not always managing as easily as he achieved victory in his first fight!
Just before the match was due to start his opponent asked him how many previous fights he’d had. With suppressed humour, Kevin answered “thirty-three” so convincingly that his opponent, overcome with nervous horror, couldn’t be persuaded into the ring.
At the age of fifteen, Kevin left school and began to work alongside his father. Although lively, going to dances, and enjoying good crack, he was basically a quiet, determined young fellow, who stuck to his principles and couldn’t easily be swayed.
Like any other family in Dungiven, the Lynches are nationally minded, and young Kevin would have been just as aware as any other lad of his age of the basic injustices in his country, and would have equally resented the petty stop-and-search harassment which people of his age continually suffered at the hands of Brits and RUC.
The Lynches were also, typically, a close family and in 1973, at the age of sixteen, Kevin went to England to join his three brothers, Michael, Patsy and Gerard, who were already working in Bedford.
Both Bedford and its surrounding towns, stretching from Hertfordshire to Buckinghamshire and down to the north London suburbs, contain large Irish populations, and the Lynches mixed socially within that, Kevin going a couple of times a week to train with St. Dympna’s in Luton or to Catholic clubs in Bedford or Luton for a quiet drink and a game of snooker. He even played an odd game of rugby while over there.
But Kevin never intended settling in England and on one of his occasional visits home (“he just used to turn up”), in August 1976, he decided to stay in Dungiven.
Shortly after his return home, coming away from a local dance, he and nine other young lads were put up against a wall by British soldiers and given a bad kicking, two of the lads being brought to the barracks.
Kevin joined the INLA around this time, maybe because of this incident in part, but almost certainly because of his national awareness coming from his cultural love of Irish sport, as well as his courage and integrity, made him determined to stand up both for himself and his friends.
“He wouldn’t ever allow himself to be walked on”, recalls his brother, Michael. And he had always been known for his loyalty by his family, his friends, his teammates, and eventually by his H-Block comrades.
However, within the short space of little more than three months, Kevin’s active republican involvement came to an end almost before it had begun. Following an ambush outside Dungiven, in November ’76, in which an RUC man was slightly injured, the RUC moved against those it suspected to be INLA activists in the town.
On December 2nd, 1976, at 5.40 a.m. Brits and RUC came to the Lynch’s home for Kevin. “We said he wasn’t going anywhere before he’d had a cup of tea”, remembers Mr. Lynch, “but they refused to let him have even a glass of water. The RUC said he’d be well looked after by then.”
Also arrested that day in Dungiven were Sean Coyle, Seamus McGrandles, and Kevin’s schoolboy friend Liam McCloskey, with whom he was later to share an H-Block cell.
Kevin was taken straight to Castlereagh, and, after three days’ questioning, on Saturday, December 4th, he was charged and taken to Limavady to be remanded in custody by a special court. The string of charges included conspiracy to disarm members of the enemy forces, taking part in a punishment shooting, and the taking of ‘legally held’ shotguns.
Following a year on remand in Crumlin Road jail, Belfast, he was tried and sentenced to ten years in December 1977, immediately joining the blanket men in H3, and eventually finding himself sharing a cell with his Dungiven friend and comrade, Liam McCloskey, continuing to do so until he took part in the thirty-man four-day fast which coincided with the end of the original seven-man hunger strike last December.
Since they were sentenced in 1977, both Dungiven men suffered their share of brutality from Crumlin Road and Long Kesh prison warders, Kevin being ‘put on the boards’ for periods of up to a fortnight, three or four times.
On Wednesday, April 26th, 1978, six warders, one carrying a hammer, came in to search their cell. Kevin’s bare foot, slipping on the urine-drenched cell floor, happened to splash the trouser leg of one of the warders, who first verbally abused him and then kicked urine at him.
When Kevin responded in like manner he was set upon by two warders who punched and kicked him, while another swung a hammer at him, but fortunately missed. The punching and kicking continued till Kevin collapsed on the urine-soaked floor with a bruised and swollen face.
In another assault by prison warders, Kevin’s cellmate, Liam McCloskey, suffered a burst ear-drum during a particularly bad beating, and is now permanently hard of hearing.
Even as long ago as April 1978, just after the ‘no wash’ protest had begun, Kevin was reported, in a bulletin issued by the Dungiven Relatives Action Committee, to “have lost a lot of weight, his face is a sickly white and he is underfed”.
His determination, and his sense of loyalty to his blanket comrades, saw him through, however, even the hardest times.
His former H-Block comrade, Eunan Brolly, who was also in H3 before his release, remembers how Kevin once put up with raging toothache for three weeks rather than come off the protest to get dental treatment. It was the sort of thing which forced some blanket men off the protest, at least temporarily, but not Kevin.
Eunan, who recalls how Kevin used to get a terrible slagging from other blanket men because the GAA, of which of course he was a member, did not give enough support to the fight for political status, also says he was not surprised by Kevin’s decision to join the hunger strike. Like other blanket men, Eunan says, Kevin used to discuss a hunger strike as a possibility, a long time ago, “and he was game enough for it”.
Neither were his family, who supported him in his decision, surprised: “Kevin’s the type of man”, said his father, when Kevin was on the hunger strike, “that wouldn’t lie back. He’d want to do his share.”
In the Free State elections, in June, Kevin stood as a candidate in the Waterford constituency, collecting 3,337 first preferences before being eliminated – after Labour Party and Fianna Fail candidates – on the fifth count, with 3,753 votes.
But the obvious popular support which the hunger strikers and their cause enjoyed nationally was not sufficient to elicit support from the Free State government who share the common, futile hope of the British government – the criminalisation of captured freedom fighters.
The direct consequence of that was Kevin’s death – the seventh at that stage – in the Long Kesh hospital at 1.00 a.m. on Saturday, August 1st after seventy-one days on hunger strike.
R.I.P. ~ Kevin Lynch…
- FAMILIES OF IRA MEN EXECUTED BY THE SAS IN DERRY,TODAY ACCUSE MARTIN McGUINNESS OF BETRAYAL (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Man arrested over 2009 Derry murder (bbc.co.uk)
- The Butcher Of The Bogside: Ulster’s Deputy First Minister And His Bloody Past. (ulsternews.wordpress.com)
- IRA Oglaigh Gervais McKerr, Eugene Toman and Sean Burns RIP (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Press Statement on Behalf of the Family of Sean Dalton (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Repatriate Michael Campbell (irishredstar.wordpress.com)
Steak dinners, 4-star hotels and first-class travel.
WALES SUMMIT COSTS:
- Four star hotel accommodation £13,500
- Flights £7,000
- Flights rescheduled £1,149.55
- Steak dinner supplement £247.40
- Buffet £436.00
- Train first class Cardiff to London £171.82
- Coach from Bristol Airport to Cardiff £688.90
- Car hire £234.61
Talks held in Cardiff in a bid to reduce community tensions ahead of the Twelfth tensions cost taxpayers an extra £1,150 because return flight times were rescheduled. Delegates incurred a £1, 249.55 fee after they changed their return flight times at the end of the disscussions in Wales, bringing the total cost of the trip to £22, 427.48.
Attendees also enjoyed four-star accommodation, dined on steak and buffet dinners and used first-class rail travel between London and Cardiff. Senior police officers, politicians and community representatives travelled to the Welsh capital in May for the weekend-long talks. It was hoped the discussions would improve relations between loyalist and republican communities. But despite the talks, ccommunity tensions have flared over the parading season with parts of Belfast hit by ssuccessive nights of rioting following the Twelfth. A total of 36 people traveled to Cardiff for the discussions on May 17, including representatives from all the main political parties. The bill has been shared between the Northern Ireland Office and the PSNI.
Accommodation at the four-star Mercure Hotel cost the taxpayer £13,500. It included bed and breakfast for three nights, the use of a conference room, lunch on the Friday and Saturday night. Those attending were all informed that any individual costs were to be paid by themselves, according to a Freedom of Information request. The guests incurred a service charge of £247.40 after ordering steak on two evenings, while a buffet dinner cost £436. Police on Tuesday night were unable to disclose whether the accommodation and food bills included drinks. First-class train fares from Cardiff to London Paddington cost a total of £171.82, a return coach from Bristol Airport to Cardiff cost £688.90 and car hire cost £234.61. Flights to and from the talks cost more than £7,000 in total. The majority of flights appear to have been to Bristol Airport at a cost of £3,878.44. A further two return flights to the US cost £1,649.39, return flight between Belfast and London Stansted cost £180.68 and a return flight between Heathrow and Belfast City cost £192.50.
Last month it emerged that delegates including Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly were given mobile phone numbers for some of the north’s top-ranking officers during the Cardiff talks. The contact details – including those of two assistant chief constables – were shared so that issues aa raising during the marching season could be dealt with swiftly. The talks were attended by Assistant Chief Constables George Hamilton and Will Kerr, tipped as a possible successor to Chief Constable Matt Baggott. Loyalist community representatives who took part included UDA leader Jackie McDonald and Winston Irvine of the UVF-linked PUP. Senior nationalist Sean ‘Spike’ Murray and former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Rev Norman Hamilton, also took part. The discussions were led by facilitators from the University of Ulster and Stanford University in California.
With many thanks to : Brendan Hughes, The Irish News
Email : b.hHughes@iris news.com
- The best of South Wales business breakfast networking event in Cardiff in August (maconsultancy.wordpress.com)
- The Cardiff Three have been waiting 23 years for justice. They still don’t have it | Duncan Campbell (guardian.co.uk)
- Cardiff’s Tom Ince transfer collapses.. because the Blackpool winger has just become a father (mirror.co.uk)
Channel Islands Alternative Media Page
UK government set on deeper cuts to welfare
By Julie Hyland
20 July 2013
Earlier this week, Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said unemployed parents should only receive benefit for their first two children, meaning entitlement to child benefit and/or income support and other financial aid could potentially be removed for any children above that number.
Shapps claimed that the plan would place the unemployed on an “equal” footing with working parents. Unemployed parents who decide to have more than two children should “know that welfare is not going to fund that choice,” he said.
He suggested further restricting entitlement to housing benefit by barring all unemployed under-25-year-olds from access to the rent subsidy. Again, Shapps claimed that welfare benefit provided an “incentive” for unemployment. The proposal would affect some 380,000 jobless under-25-year-olds, forcing them to live with parents/friends or face homelessness.
Shapps’s comments came as the government’s cap on the amount of welfare benefits claimed by any household was rolled out across the country.
The scheme, first piloted in four London boroughs—Haringey, Enfield, Croydon and Bromley—means that no jobless household can receive more than £26,000 a year in benefit and other entitlements. It is part of a further £11.5 billion of cuts unveiled by the government in June. This comes on top of the £155 billion austerity measures already passed by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition since its election in 2010. The government’s Spending Round in June for the first time covered a single financial year—2015/2016. It therefore tied any future government (the general election is due in 2015) to the reduction.
Shapps’s statements were once again justified on the grounds that cutting welfare is motivated by “fairness” to taxpayers, as it ensures that no jobless household will receive more than the national average wage, regardless of its family size or circumstances.
The pilot cap has already caused great hardship. Haringey Council reported that 740 families lost income during the trial, with just 34 people finding employment. The government’s own figures calculated that up to 56,000 families will be hit, losing an average of £93 a week, while in London, some 7,000 households will lose more than £100.
London and the south are especially affected by the cap due to high housing and living costs. Families are being forced out of the capital and into accommodation in northern England where rents are cheaper.
Amid reports that Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has requested additional time to legislate for further changes to welfare for next year’s parliamentary session, the government is said to be intending to reduce the benefit cap still further. Conservative MPs are reportedly demanding it should be cut to £20,000. In addition, the Forty Group of Conservative MPs—so-called because they represent constituencies with the slimmest majorities—is demanding benefits be withdrawn from teenage mothers and a host of other measures.
Teenage single mothers should no longer be automatically entitled to help with their housing costs, or be considered a priority for social housing, they argue. They propose deducting fines for school truancy from the child benefit paid to mothers, while restricting access to “repeat” abortions.
Those most affected by the cap—and the additional measures now being proposed—are children. According to the Children’s Society, children are seven times more likely than adults to face hardship as a result of the measures. Matthew Reed said 140,000 children, compared with 60,000 adults, “will pay the price as parents have less to spend on food, clothing and rent.”
The amount of money supposedly “saved” by such measures is paltry. Teenage single mothers account for just 2 percent of all single parents. Similarly, the benefit cap is estimated to reduce social security spending by just £110 million this year and £185 million in 2014, because the vast majority of people already receive far below the cap. Only in May, Duncan Smith was publicly reprimanded by the UK Statistic Authority for publishing misleading figures as the supposed success of the pilot benefit cap. In an open letter on behalf of the authority, Andrew Dilnot said Duncan Smith’s claims on the numbers finding work was “unsupported by…official statistics.”
The Tories’ moves are clearly punitive. They are aimed at stigmatising and punishing the unemployed, while legitimising a broader offensive against social rights—from welfare to education and health care.
Rolled out under the heading “Rewarding Work”, Duncan Smith once again sought to set “working” families, “paying their taxes”, against the jobless, arguing, “The days of blank cheque benefits and people milking the system are over.”
The measures have the wholehearted support of the media, which routinely demonises the unemployed and promotes propaganda blaming welfare costs for the squeeze on spending, enabling the Conservatives to claim that their plans are in response to “public” pressure.
Not a word is said about the criminal activities of the major banks and financial institutions, which are responsible for the biggest economic crisis in 70 years. Billions have been and continue to be paid out to the banks and super-rich, while the majority of the population are put on rations.
Unemployment is nearly 3 million, including more than 1 million out of work and not claiming benefits. Employment is scarce, with much of that available temporary and low-paid. That is why the majority of those on benefits are the “working poor”, those whose pay is so low they need additional state subsidies to survive. Even this bare minimum—which acts as a subsidy to employers—is now being scrapped as the ruling elite seek to overturn all the social gains made by the working class.
A central role is played by the Labour Party, which is committed to maintaining the coalition’s benefit cuts and introducing more of its own. It has jettisoned its verbal opposition to the benefit cap, arguing that it should be determined three years in advance and have a regional component.
This week, Labour attacked Conservative plans from the right, arguing that they were too soft on welfare. Labour’s Liam Byrne denounced the cap for not being hard enough because it would not affect those with very large families and would do nothing to prevent those “living a life on welfare.”
A single-tier “universal credit” comes into effect later this year, which will streamline existing benefits into one, with the obvious aim of further slashing welfare payments. Labour claims that design flaws will mean that single jobless households with seven or more children will “slip through the cap.”
Meanwhile, the Trussell Trust reported that the numbers of people being referred for food parcels increased in the three months since the government’s welfare measures began by 200 percent. The voluntary food aid network reported that more than half of the 150,000 people referred for emergency food aid between April and June were affected by benefit cuts and delays, and financial problems caused by changes to housing.
“The reality is that there is a clear link between benefit delays or changes and people turning to food banks, and that the situation has got worse in the last three months,” said Executive Chairman Chris Mould.
- We’ll Cut The Benefit Cap By £6,000, Says Osborne (welfarenewsservice.com)
- The things Iain Duncan Smith believes (guardian.co.uk)
- UK government set on deeper cuts to welfare (rinf.com)
- Daily Mail corrects misleading benefit statistics as DWP prepares for MPs’ grilling (newstatesman.com)
- Iain Duncan Smith: Why he should look at himself before complaining about people living off the state (davidicke.com)
- No benefit for your third child if you’re on the dole: Tories unveil controversial welfare plan (thisismoney.co.uk)
Neil Doyle O’Donnell
THE RELUCTANT AIRMAN.
An escape route offered from ‘Derry Dole’.
Fancy uniform; sport, some adventure and a life of your own.
Just leave the love for your country and values behind.
Never a normal return to your land and add a new word to your life book, such as pariah.
Controlled leaves, precious holiday times spent in ‘Ebrington Barracks’, sometimes a laundry van for a taxi.
Live in a world controlled by racist right wing idiots, disliked: the reason that your people protested wishing for their ‘Civil Rights’.
Murdered like dogs in the street by red-capped uniformed killers from a gene pool found swilling in the bottom of a bucket of brock.
I this joke trained to fight the ‘Russian Might’, whilst a school friend Jim Wray lies dying in the street.
A best friend’s brother ‘Paddy Doherty’ shot twice in the back.
Jim, Paddy and others lie dead and dying to satisfy a ‘Vicious Tory Spleen’.
Allowing the ‘Masters of Deceit’ to quench and sup at their evil feasts as they feed scraps to the ‘Horsemen’ to fuel never ending evil deeds.
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- London pub removes “sick” ‘Bloody Sundae’ cocktail from menu (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- The Butcher Of The Bogside: Ulster’s Deputy First Minister And His Bloody Past. (ulsternews.wordpress.com)
- Shame Fein Warns Against Disrupting Parades (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
Martin Corey Campaign Dublin
Martin Corey: justice denied .
Martin Corey,a Republican from lurgan ,now 62 years of age is in Maghaberry jail the last 3 years.
Within those past 3 years,Martin has NEVER been questioned, never charged, or never sentenced.He has served what amounts to a SIX-YEAR sentance based on “”secret evidence”” witheld by various unelected British secretaries of state in the Occupied Six Counties.Martin’s legal team is denied access to this secret evidence, and the prosecution claim it too is denied access to it.
This has to be untrue because all arms of the british state are working together to keep this man in jail without charge or trial, ensuring he never gets to know the reason why.Effectively a Political Hostage interned in a British prison on Irish soil.Martin is in a no-man’s land.
In July 2012,a Belfast High Court judge, Judge Treacy –Well versed in human rights–Ordered Martin’s immediate release, which was overturned within hours by the then British Secretary of State, Owen Patterson.This decision was challenged in the High Court and the case concluded unsuccessfully in December 2012 with the three-man panel of judges upholding the directive of Owen Patterson.At that stage, an application was made to appeal the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court in London.
On Thursday, May 2, 2013, Martin received the news that the High Court had overruled the application to take Martin’s case to the Supreme Court in London.This devastating news came without warning.According to one of his Friend’s working hard on his behalf, Jim Mcllmurrey said: “”Martin’s legal team has spent months building his case with such strong conviction that I feel it would have ensured his immediate release under the European Convention of Human Rights.Our attendance at the Supreme Court in London would have given us the opportunity to expose many aspects of this case which i feel would not be acceptable in any English court.The fact that the Secretary of State could hand out directives, dismissing decisions by the High Court judges, would have been highlighted in the Supreme Court in London , exposing the fact that politicians in the North of Ireland rule the judiciary.” On May 3 Martin was told that the Parole Board denied him parole (this was after a wait of 19 months).This was again a body blow.However we will not let this deter us from continuing the fight for Martin’s release.It is a setback, but that is all it is.
We will continue the fight to get justice for Martin Corey.
The families of the victims of Bloody Sunday waitied over 30 years for justice, the Hillsborough families waited 24 years,We cannot let this happen to Martin, ACT NOW !!
- Republican Killer Jailed by ‘People Playing God’ ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- No Justice for Martin Corey (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Message From Martin Corey – Maghaberry Prison (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Martin Corey Detention to Be Challenged in European Court (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- JUSTICE FOR MARTIN CORY, imprisoned in the North of Ireland (incaseofinnocence.wordpress.com)
- Republican Refused Appeal Challenging ‘Closed Material’ ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- IRISH TD’s RAISE CRAIGAVON TWO IN IRISH PARLIAMENT, DURING A MOTION DISCUSSING 15 YEARS SINCE THE BELFAST AGREEMENT ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- North’s ‘Failure’ to Deal With the Past Raised by Amnesty International ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
‘We are just not getting the cooperation we require – Simon O’Brien.
STATE investigators probing alleged Garda wrongdoing have accused the force of not cooperating with them. The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Comnission (GSOC) said it had no option but to go public .th its frustrations over “unacceptable” delays and the refusal of officers to hand over documents crucial to its inquires.
Simon O’Brien, chairman of the watchdog, suggested the behaviour of tProtocols would not be tolerated within police forces in other countries. “I was a senior police officer in London’s Metropolitan Police. I was there for 32 years,” he said. “Certainly if a request for information came to me from IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Commission]…. then boxes of documents would be handed over in the morning to IPCC investigators.” Mr O’Brien said he had been having top-level talks over thei past year and a half which have still not resolved the Garda’s lack of cooperation. He said he would not have gone public if the problem was not widescale but he said it was clear there were “systemic” issues in the force that had stymied the commission’s work. “We are just not getting the cooperation we require,” he said. “The numbers speak for themselves.” The commision’s annual report reveals a number of cases where the Garda refused to hand over documents, gave only limited access to files or delayed giving any requested details.
On one occasion, the commission had to wait 542 days for a peice of information to be handed over during an inquiry. Mr O’Brein said it was often routine requests for basic information that were being obstructed. “We are not just talking about performance, safety, state security,” he said. “This is your mother, your son or daughter making a complaint about the Garda, possibly, and awaiting an inordinate amount of time for that complaint to be resolved.” Protocals agreed in 2007 compel the Garda to hand over documents to the watchdog within 30 days. Mr O’Brien said this deadline was adhered to in only a small number of cases. The commission also said it was greatly concerned that nearly three quarters of the force’s 567 internal investigations into alleged wrongdoing last year were taking longer than the 12-week timeline for such inquires. Of those, 21 have been dragging on for two years or more. Mr O’Brien said the watchdog had powers to enforce its role. He said the commission would rather not arrest officers or raid Garda stations but such action was possible in the furture. “I do not wish to be sitting on this platform again next year saying things have not improved,” he said. Garda commissioner Martin Callinan said he had set up a new office and email address to deal with ombudsman commission requests. On the internal inquires, he said both sides agreed it was usaally not possible to meet the 12-week timeline and talks were continuing about extending the deadlines to between 16 and 24 weeks.
With many thanks to : Brian Hutton, Irish News.
- Shatter intervenes in row between Garda Commissioner and Ombudsman (irishtimes.com)
- Gardaí criticised in inquiry into handling of informer (irishtimes.com)
- Ombudsman’s criticism will do little for troubled relationship with the force (irishtimes.com)
- Paul Reynolds- rte news aka garda spokesperson (politics.ie)
- PAC draws blood from top cop (independent.ie)
PC Rohan Scarlett, 46, who is based in Lewishim, South-East London, has been charged with assault and beating. The alleged incident is said to heve taken place in the rear yard of Islington police station on 20 February. PC Scarlett has been suspended and is due at Highbury Corner Magisrrates Court on 28 May.