Was Gerry Adams an MI5 informer? In his dramatic new book, Harry McCallion tells how senior IRA men died in army ambushes… after mysterious tip-offs

Nicknamed ‘The Executioner’, Lynagh believed well-armed, highly disciplined PIRA men could take the war to the British launching attacks on military installations near the border and denying the security forces control.

◾The identity of the PIRA source who revealed ambush plans remains unknown

  • But a newly-published letter claims that Republicans believed it could be Adams 
  • Adams thought military victory against the British was impossible by the late 70s
  • Sinn Fein described the theory in Mccallion’s new book as being ‘utter nonsense’

When you’re young, life can seem so simple. I was in the middle of my six years with the SAS, and I thought I knew how to defeat the IRA — and so end the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Decapitation was the answer. Go for the head of the beast and cut it off. And for the IRA, that meant taking out its most high-profile spokesman, a Sinn Fein MP and former commander of the Belfast Brigade.

I wanted Gerry Adams dead.

Sinn Fein denies Adams set up IRA Loughgall ambush. The rumour about Adams (left) was passed on to the Department of Foreign Affairs by the highly respected Fr Denis Faul about three months after the Loughgall operation

This wasn’t a sudden urge. I was a former Parachute Regiment veteran with seven tours of Northern Ireland under my belt, and I’d given the matter some thought.

One night in the mess bar, drinking with a serving officer from MI5, I was loudly voicing my opinion. Looking back, I must have sounded naive and spectacularly ill-informed, but I truly believed the best way to stop the terrorists was to target the high command. Like I said, kill Gerry Adams.

The somewhat inebriated MI5 officer’s response was surprising: ‘No! He’s one of ours!’ I cannot confirm whether his claim was true, or whether it had its origins in the kind of drunken bravado that leads to all sorts of tall tales in the mess.

However, the look of shock on the officer’s face immediately after the words came out, and his refusal to continue the conversation, were certainly suggestive — as was the fact that he was unwilling ever to speak with me again outside a formal setting.

I’ve never forgotten that night in the mess. Looking back from today’s perspective, many of the most secret and dangerous operations undertaken by British forces in the province, and their outcomes, make more sense to me if the British security services truly did have an informer right at the top of the Republican movement.

The head of MI5 (inset) was questioned over IRA double agent code-named Stakeknife, (circled in Red) head of the IRA’s nutting squad who is being investigated for 17 murders.

Was Gerry Adams the ultimate mole? He had briefly been commander of the Provisional IRA’s most important unit, the Belfast Brigade, until he was interned in July 1973. But by the late Seventies, he and Martin McGuinness, a senior figure in Londonderry, believed that military victory against the British was no longer possible.

IRA men fire a volley of shots over the coffin of member Jim Lynagh in 1987. Lynagh was nicknamed ¿The Executioner¿, and believed that well-armed, highly disciplined PIRA men could take the war to the British. He was shot dead during the failed ambush at Loughgall

Abandoning the idea of sweeping the ‘foreign oppressors’ out of Ireland by destroying Britain’s ability and will to rule, they formed a new strategy that placed much greater emphasis on the political wing of the movement.

Gerry Adams as guard of honour  at IRA funeral wearing beret and glasses

Not everyone in the Republican movement backed this plan. Many were still committed to a wholly violent solution, the overthrow of British government in the province by force and unlimited bloodshed.

But those who opposed Adams and McGuinness often found themselves in the crosshairs of the British Army — so frequently, in fact, that the trend seems more than a coincidence.

Father Denis Faul

Most dramatic of all these instances was the Loughgall ambush. Some background: in the rural areas of East Tyrone and Fermanagh during the mid-Eighties, there was open rebellion against the idea of a peaceful end to the Troubles. This resistance was led by two veteran terrorists, Jim Lynagh and Padraig McKearney.

One of 12 children, Lynagh joined the Provisional IRA (PIRA) in his teens. He was badly injured in 1973, when a bomb he was carrying exploded, and spent five years imprisoned in the Maze. On his release he immediately rejoined his local wing of the PIRA and rose rapidly through its ranks to become a leading

The Maze/Long Kesh (MLK) prison (H-Blocks)

In September 1983, along with 37 other Republican prisoners, McKearney took part in a mass escape from the Maze Prison. Half of the escapees were recaptured but McKearney made it to safety.

After a series of attacks that shook the British Army, Lynagh and McKearney discussed the possibility of striking out from the PIRA and acquiring their own weaponry — a breakaway that, if successful, would have dealt a blow to Adams’s politics-first vision for the IRA.

As part of this scheme, the rebels planned an attack on the RUC station at Loughgall, County Armagh. Loughgall was a quiet village of some 350 inhabitants, most of whom were Protestants.

Who are the New IRA?

The New IRA is the biggest of the dissident republican groups operating in Northern Ireland.

It has been linked with four murders, including PC Ronan Kerr, who was killed by an under-car bomb in Omagh in 2011.

The group is also linked to the deaths of prison officers David Black, who was shot as he drove to work at Maghaberry Prison in 2012, and Adrian Ismay, who died in 2016 after a bomb exploded under his van outside his home in east Belfast.

The New IRA is believed to have been formed between 2011 and 2012 following the merger of a number of smaller groups, including the Real IRA – the group behind the 1998 Omagh bomb.

It is strongest in Derry, north and west Belfast, Strabane in Co Derry, Lurgan in Co Armagh, and pockets of Tyrone.

This year the group was responsible for a car bomb outside the courthouse in Bishop Street, Derry.

The explosives-laden car was left on the city centre street on a Saturday night in January, and scores of people, including a group of teenagers, had walked past before it detonated.

The New IRA also claimed a number of package bombs posted to targets in London and Glasgow in March.

At least 14 terrorists were involved, with eight armed men prepared to carry out the assault on the station and six more in support roles.

Shortly before the attack, five of them arrived at a farm near Moy in County Armagh belonging to local man Peter Mackle. When Mackle’s wife and daughters pulled into the driveway in the family car, the PIRA men ordered them from the vehicle and informed the terrified civilians that they were taking the car, a mechanical digger used on the farm and a quantity of diesel oil.

Two members of the unit drove away in the stolen vehicle, while two remained at the farm to prevent the family reporting the theft. The fifth drove the digger to a nearby explosives cache to prepare for the attack.

Just before 7pm, the PIRA assault team assembled close to the police station. A 200lb bomb had been placed in the bucket of the digger, which was to be driven by Declan Arthurs, a high-ranking member of the brigade.

Two scout cars, each containing a pair of men, were deployed to warn the assault team by radio of any security forces approaching from the front or rear.

The firefight was to be initiated by Arthurs, using the digger to smash a hole through the perimeter fence of the RUC compound, before lighting a 40-second fuse attached to the 200lb bomb in the bucket.

What the approaching terrorists did not know was that the SAS were waiting for them.

Several weeks before the attack, someone who knew it was going to happen contacted MI5 directly to inform them of the impending operation. More than 20 SAS men responded with a classic ambush.

As Lynagh’s men jumped from their van and began to rake the RUC station with automatic fire, the SAS teams opened up on the attackers with everything they had.

Even the enormous explosion as the bomb detonated did nothing to lessen the intensity of the SAS fire. All the terrorists, including Lynagh and McKearney, were shot dead.

An enduring mystery is the identity of the PIRA source who betrayed the operation to MI5, but a recently declassified letter in the Irish state archives claims that, among Republicans, Gerry Adams himself was rumoured to have undermined the Loughgall attack.

However, a Sinn Fein spokesman described the claim as ‘utter nonsense’.

Father Denis Faul, a Catholic priest with close ties to the Republican movement, wrote to the Irish government in 1987 about ‘intriguing’ rumours in Republican circles that Adams had instigated the Loughgall ambush because Lynagh and McKearney had threatened to assassinate him — such was their hostility towards his political strategy.

Over the subsequent years, the SAS was supplied with a stream of high-level intelligence from MI5 that enabled them to further thwart the deadly efforts of the East Tyrone PIRA.

One of the most crushing blows, delivered thanks to specific intel from a very high-level MI5 informant within the terrorist movement, came after a string of tit-for-tat killings in so-called ‘bandit country’.

According to this source, three experienced PIRA killers were planning the assassination of an off-duty Ulster Defence Regiment soldier in Coagh, County Tyrone, at the centre of Northern Ireland.

One was Lawrence McNally, a veteran on the radar of the security services, whose brother Phelim had been shot dead at the start of the killings. He therefore had personal reasons for being involved in the latest revenge attack. The second man was 21-year-old Tony Doris, who had risen fast through the ranks of the PIRA, impressing the brigade leadership enough to be appointed a commander.

The assassination would be led by a third man, Pete Ryan, who was wanted in connection with a brazen and spectacularly violent raid on a border checkpoint, in which rockets, grenades and a flamethrower were used. Two British soldiers were killed and two more wounded in the attack.

As the intelligence about Ryan’s plans firmed up, the SAS were deployed to Coagh. The commander of the operation opted to use a decoy: a member of the team who bore a resemblance to the target would take the place of the intended victim.

On June 2, 1991, the evening before the attack, the PIRA unit hijacked a red Vauxhall Cavalier in the nearby village of Moneymore.

This hijacking was secretly observed by operators from 14 Intelligence Company who were following the men. Throughout the night they mounted a constant watch over Ryan and his gang, and at 7.30am the following day radioed in the information that they were on the move and heading out of the village.

The SAS ambush party was concealed inside a lorry, parked where Coagh’s narrow Main Street enters the village over a bridge across the Ballinderry River. The decoy, meanwhile, waited in his car nearby, pretending to be following the UDR target’s normal routine.

The PIRA assassination team drove across the bridge, on a route that would bring them within metres of the concealed SAS men.

The soldiers waited until Ryan and McNally wound down the windows on their hijacked car and lifted their weapons. With the decoy’s life in danger, the soldiers opened fire, pouring rounds into the approaching Cavalier.

Struck by some 200 bullets, the car careened out of control, smashed into a VW Golf parked nearby and burst into flames. All three of the terrorists inside were killed in the brief contact.

The PIRA’s propaganda arm later claimed that two of the men escaped the vehicle but were then executed in the street in cold blood and dragged back to the car, which was set on fire to conceal the evidence. Unsurprisingly, no eyewitnesses have ever come forward to support these claims.

One need only consider the narrowness of the road, the fact that the SAS team were firing automatic weapons from a prepared position at nearly point-blank range, and the weight of fire that was poured into the car to realise that the chances of anyone leaving the vehicle alive were zero.

Claims that gunshots were heard following the initial shooting were almost certainly referring to the sounds of ammunition in the car ‘cooking off’ in the flames.

The successful removal of the East Tyrone Brigade’s leading assassination squad ended the cycle of tit-for-tat violence that had blighted the area for more than three years. But the ambush would not have been possible without precise information from a covert source.

That information devastated the East Tyrone brigade, and it kept coming. It seems quite coincidental that so much of this intelligence just happened to be directed against figures in the PIRA who had the potential to threaten Gerry Adams’s path towards a negotiated settlement with Britain.

With many thanks to the: Daily Mail and Harry McCallion writing for the Daily Mail 

The name and price of the book can be seen here: Adapted from Undercover War: Britain’s Special Forces And Their Battle Against The IRA, by Harry McCallion, published by John Blake, £8.99. © Harry McCallion 2020.

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/sinn-fein-denies-gerry-adams-set-up-ira-loughgall-ambush-1.3328744

Sinn Féin needs to become radical again

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.

Universal Credit designed by the Tories delivered to you by Shame Féin and the DUP


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.

Gerry Adams (TD) ex-President of Sinn Féin wearing his Poppy lapel honouring the British army who executed his comrades


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.

Child poverty, Universal Basic Income,

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


(2)-: https://wp.me/p1yfso-kXD

Sinn Féin MLAs Megan Fearon and Mairtin O Muilleoir quit Assembly

Megan Fearon and Mairtin O Muilleoir both served in the last Executive

Sinn Fein MLAs Megan Fearon and Mairtin O Muilleoir have announced they are quitting the North of Ireland Assembly.

Both were former ministers in the Executive.

Sinn Fein’s leader in the North of Ireland Michelle O’Neill paid tribute to both. She said they had worked “tirelessly to deliver for citizens and to build a new, just and united Ireland”.

“They both will remain republican activists and advocates for equality, justice and liberty,” she said.

Mairtin O Muilleoir has been one of the party’s most senior members. He was a former Lord Mayor of Belfast before becoming South Belfast MLA. He was the last finance minister Stormont had before its collapse and set up the RHI Inquiry as one of his final acts in the post.

Mr O Muilleoir had previously served on Belfast City Council for a decade up until 1997 before quitting politics to concentrate on his newspaper business.

The fluent Irish speaker wrote a book, The Dome of Delight, documenting his experiences as a Belfast councillor during the tense 1980s when there were fist fights and bitter exchanges between unionist and nationalist representatives.

He returned to politics in 2011 and became Belfast Lord Mayor in 2013. In 2014, he was co-opted onto the Assembly as MLA.

“It has been the greatest privilege of my life to represent the people of south and west Belfast for Sinn Fein in both City Hall and Stormont,” he said.

“But it is now time for me to hand over to a representative of a newer generation of republican activists.

“I want to thank all of those who have given me their support and assure them that I will remain a determined advocate of a better Belfast and a new and united Ireland.”

Following the General Election results last week which saw the DUP’s Carla Lockhart, the SDLP’s Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna and Alliance’s Stephen Farry win seats in the Commons, there are now six free seats in the Assembly. The parties are expected to begin the co-option process later in the week.

Megan Fearon

Megan Fearon said her time in electoral politics had come to an end and it was time for a new challenge. She has represented Newry and Armagh for the past seven years.

The 28-year-old she was the youngest person ever to enter the Assembly. Prior she studied politics, philosophy and economics at Queen’s University Belfast.

She served as junior minister to Martin McGuinness in The Executive Office and was a member of the Finance, Economy and OFMDFM Committees as well as the All Party Group for Children and Young People and was Vice Chair of the All Party Group on Women, Peace and Security.

She was the party spokeswoman on equality and social justice.

“Representing Sinn Fein and the people of South Armagh has been an honour and one that I never took lightly,” she said.

“I want to thank every single activist and voter for their support and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve.

“It’s been a pleasure to be part of the Sinn Fein team, both locally and nationally both as an MLA and on the Executive. I want to wish my colleagues well in the future and thank them for their friendship.

“Over the years this role has allowed me to meet the most inspiring people, make friends for life and have many unforgettable experiences.

“Working towards a new Ireland based on fairness and equality is a huge part of who I am. I will always be an activist, but my time in electoral politics has ended.

“I am excited to begin a new chapter in life and I want to thank everyone who has been part of this journey.”

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald thanked both for their work and service for the party.

“Both were excellent MLAs providing first class representation in their constituencies and also on the Executive where both served with distinction as ministers,” she said.

“I have known both for many years and they are hardworking and dedicated representatives, committed to improving the quality of life for all.

“I wish both of them well in the future and I’m confident they will continue working to build a new and united Ireland.

“I’m sure whoever is selected to replace them will provide the same high standard of representation for the people they represent.”

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Johnathan Bell for the original story 

Gerry Adams sent me to US to buy rifles for the Provos: ex-top IRA man

SPOTLIGHT: IRA Priest says Thatcher was “right” about him

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.

OC Commder in H Blocks Brendan Hughes and leader of the first hunger strike in 1980

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.

Gerry Adams and Brendan Huhes in Long Kesh

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 

Sinn Fein Lord Mayor revealed as convicted thief – Telegraph


A row has erupted between Sinn Féin and the family of hunger striker Kevin Lynch

One of the brave men of 1981, Kevin Lynch INLA hunger striker who sacrificed his life for Irish freedom.



A row has broken out within republicanism after a flute band was prohibited from attending the annual National Hunger Strike commemoration.

Thousands of people marched along a road bedecked with Irish tricolours from Lifford, Co Donegal, to Strabane on Sunday to remember those who died during the 1981 hunger strikes at the Maze.

It was the first time the event, organised by Sinn Fein, had been held in the Co Tyrone town.

But the family of INLA hunger striker Kevin Lynch announced on Saturday they would be boycotting the event.

Family members withdrew following a row with Sinn Fein over the attendance of the Kevin Lynch Memorial Flute Band (KLMFB).

The band said it had been prohibited from attending the commemoration and claimed it had been told it is no longer welcome at any future Sinn Fein events.

In response, the family said it had withdraw all support for the party.

Sinn Fein has come in for heavy criticism over the decision.

A statement posted on Facebook by the band on behalf of the Lynch family has been liked over 500 times, with dozens of people voicing their support for family.

In the statement, the family said it had been “hurt and disgusted” with the actions of Sinn Fein.

Posting on the EastDerry Sinn Fein Facebook page, a party spokesperson said: “We hold the Lynch family in the highest esteem and we deeply regret the family’s decision.

“This was an issue between the bands association and the Kevin Lynch band.

“Sinn Fein worked to attempt to resolve the issue.”

Alex Kane: Could Sinn Fein’s unity project…
While the SF statement offered no explanation for the ban, KLMFB said: “One definitive reason issued by the Sinn Fein Irish Republican Bands Association is that they view two Scottish bands as anti-Sinn Fein dissident bands, therefore we were breaking the federation rules by marching alongside these bands when attending a Wolfe Tone Commemoration and a Hunger Strike Commemoration recently held in Scotland.”

The band said that, as a consequence of Sinn Fein’s decision, the family would no longer vote for the party, and would no longer support any Sinn Fein events or fundraising.

Kevin Lynch’s belongings have been removed from Dungiven Sinn Fein museum, it added.

The family said it had been “truly humbled” by the support it had received.

The News Letter has contacted Sinn Fein for comment.

Lynch, from the village of Park near Dungiven in Co Londonderry, was arrested in December 1976 and charged with a number of offences including conspiracy to steal weapons from security forces.

He received a ten-year sentence in December 1977. He spent 71 days on hunger strike from May 1981, and died on August 1, 1981.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Newsletter for the original story 

With many thanks to the: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2435622956517464&id=100002093504519

Almost 2,400 people declared ‘fit to work’ were dead within TWO WEEKS


Opinion piece sent to the Derry Journal by People Before Profit (PBP’s) Shaun Harkin on welfare reform but – as often with this issue – it has been blocked from publication:

There is growing alarm and outrage at the impact of welfare reforms across the North. The Department for Communities is now coming under fire for its treatment of people who are terminally ill. DfC officials say they can’t remove the life expectancy criterion without a minister. This is bureaucratic nonsense. The policy can be changed with the stroke of a pen.

As part of the package of welfare reforms, PIP replaces DLA. It’s designed to reduce the number of people receiving benefits. The assessments are being carried out by private companies such as Capita who profit hundreds of millions by denying people – the sick, the disabled, the terminally ill – benefits.

Using austerity as justification, the Tories pushed their corrupt welfare reforms through Westminster in 2012. However, this was part of a long-held goal to destroy the welfare state and privatise public services.

At the time, opposition to welfare reforms went across the political spectrum in the North. Rightly so, given the very high levels of already existing deprivation and lack of decent paying work here. Everyone knew it would be a disaster and encourage extreme poverty. However, we have been stuck with welfare reforms because the DUP and Sinn Féin buckled to Tory pressure in 2015. Cruel welfare reforms were included in a raft of Thatcherite economic policies embedded in the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreement agreed to by the DUP and Sinn Féin Executive.

The DUP and Sinn Féin united for a vote in Stormont to allow the Tories to implement welfare reform. There was a systematic attempt at the time to downplay the impact this would have here. Critics of welfare reforms, including the inability of mitigations to properly protect people, were muffled and marginalised. The nonsense argument ‘nothing else could be done’ because the Tories were going to do it anyway was spread about. Welfare was a devolved matter. Otherwise why would there need to be a special vote in Stormont?

Elites were happy the DUP and Sinn Féin got an agreement to reduce the corporate tax rate and ‘spongers’ would be punished. Elites and the inner circles of big parties believe this will put us on the road to more prosperity – but they can’t be public about their support for Tory trickle-down medicine.

We’re only a year into the full-blown introduction of PIP, Universal Credit and other harmful policies but the damage is already clear. The vulnerable are being humiliated and denied benefits and Universal Credit is leaving people in debt and poverty. From a Tory perspective, it’s a massive success.

There is outcry and concern about more people being forced to use food banks. Everyone is now aware we have a spiralling mental health crisis. This is the expected outcome of destroying the social safety net. The vulnerable and the low paid were sacrificed so that corporations would pay less taxes here. Sacrificed is the proper way to describe what has happened. And what is the justification for this – that Stormont would stay up and running?

Everything possible should be done now to make sure people don’t fall through the cracks.

PIP, Universal Credit, the Bedroom Tax and other harmful policies should be halted and abolished.

It’s the duty of the press, journalists and editorial boards to challenge the smoke and mirrors on welfare reform. There needs to be a full accounting for the decision to introduce it here in 2015 and the impact it is having on the voiceless and the vulnerable – and on the impact it is having on society more generally.

The Tories and elites are waging war to create a more unequal society. When they say ‘more prosperous’ – they mean more prosperity for them not everyone. As the great socialist rebel James Connolly said, passivity from below encourages tyranny from above. Caving to Tory tyrants only emboldens them to grab more. We need a people power alternative that won’t sacrifice the needs of the many for those of the powerful few.

With many thanks to: Eamonn McCann for the original posting.

New Shame Féin Belfast Lord Mayor to consider attending Rememberance Sunday event

Dairdre Hargey said she was mayor for all – a traitor to the republican cause and should hang her head in shame

Sinn Fein’s new Belfast mayor has said she is willing to consider attending this year’s historic Remembrance Sunday commemoration in the city.

Deirdre Hargey said she wanted to be a mayor for all citizens and would reach out to the Royal British Legion and locally-based Somme Association to discuss ways to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Previous Belfast Sinn Fein mayors have laid laurel wreaths in July to commemorate the Battle of the Somme and at the short ceremony at 11am on November 11, the time of the Armistice in 1918.

But they have yet to attend the fuller Remembrance Sunday event, citing concerns over British military trappings.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald attended a Remembrance Sunday church service at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin last year.

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“I am mayor for all, that’s for the unionist community, the nationalist community, new communities that have set up home in Belfast, and I want to reflect that in my year in office,” said Ms Hargey.

“I think Belfast City Council have done good work around the Decade of Centenaries programme and I attended many events which wouldn’t have been from my own background per se.”

She added: “I do think it’s important that we use these events to reach out and to build cohesion within the community, that we learn from them.

“There are political narratives and different narratives on what happened in our past and I think that all of those narratives need to be respected.

“What I hope to do is use the learning of that past in building a cohesive and integrated and shared future in the time ahead.

“I will follow suit with other Sinn Fein mayors in the past in terms of the Somme commemoration in July and I would do the same process in terms of paying my respects to that.

“Other commemorations I want to look at – I will look at all of those in detail.

“I will want to pay my respects to all of those who lost their lives in the wars and indeed other conflicts and indeed the political conflict that happened here in Ireland.

“I will address all of those with sensitivity and also in a way of reaching out across the community and representing the community and I will look at those individual issues.

“I am also keen to engage with the likes of the Somme Association, the Royal British Legion, to see if there are events that we can do collectively, that recognises that we do have a political past with different narratives to that past but with a recognition that we need to move forward together and that’s what I aim to do.”

Asked would she consider attending Remembrance Sunday in November, she said: “I will consider all requests that come into the office, yes.”

Ms Hargey, 38, said she wanted to use her year in office to advance rights issues.

She said she hoped she could play a role in delivering abortion reform, same-sex marriage and protections for Irish language speakers.

“I would like to see my year as the mayor for Belfast to enhance those rights, campaign for those rights and be the mayor for equality and rights in Belfast,” she said.

The Sinn Fein councillor said she did not believe the promotion of issues that were the source of political contention in Northern Ireland undermined a commitment to be mayor for all.

“I am the first citizen for all in Belfast and I do think it’s important to reflect all views in the city,” she said.

“That said, I think issues around rights are non-negotiable and I do think as the first citizen I need to stand with those people who are demanding their basic human rights and as the first citizen I will certainly do that.

“There has been a sea change right across this island and people want a rights-based society, so I do hope over my year in office there will be advancement for Irish language rights, for marriage equality rights and for increased healthcare rights for women in terms of access in abortion.

“I do see there are fundamental human rights that as a society we have a duty to implement and push ahead on.

“I will stand with those citizens.”

With many thanks to: UTV Live for the origional story.

Boundary changes would deny nationalist voters representation

MAJOR changes to proposed electoral constituencies will leave thousands of nationalists without representation, Sinn Féin has claimed.

The latest version of the proposal looks, unsurprisingly, a lot like the changes the DUP wanted.

MICHELLE O’NEILL – Sinn Féin’s leader in the North of Ireland: FIFTY years on from ‘One Man-One Vote’ the nationalist community again faces an appailling denial of equal representation under proposals to redraw electoral boundaries.

A map issued by the Boundary Commission setting out how its revised proposals differ from existing constituencues.

The new boundaries will disfigure and distort the electoral map. Represtation will be denied to thousands of nationalist voters and leave several constituencies without any nationalist representative at an assembly level. The proposals have emanated from a Boundary Commission review established in 2016 to reduce the number of constituencies from 18 to 17 in a fair and equitable way.

The commission initially produced a plan which achieved these objectives, but they were heavily criticised by the DUP because it stood to lose out electorally. The DUP submitted how it would like the new boundary map to look. This DUP proposal sought to maximise the number of DUP elected representatives and minimise the number of nationalists by manipulating (gerrymandering) electoral boundaries.

Then the DUP entered a pact to keep Theresa May’s government in power. Just six months after that deal was signed, the Boundary Commission produced new proposals. Sinn Féin warned the DUP would attempt to insert this issue into their negotiations with the Tories. It came as little surprise – the new proposals were virtually indistinguishable from the DUP’s. The Boundary Commission denies any deliberate gerrymander at the behest of the DUP and stress their independence.

Nevertheless, they do admit to radically altering their plan, as well as applying the controversial Rule 7. This rule is only available in the North of Ireland and gives the commission scope to go beyond the usual electorate quotas in any constituency. The Boundary Commission origionally ruled out its use, but changed this approach after the DUP argued for its implementation. The commission’s revised report overturned every key decision which underpinned their origional proposals, with-out offering any reasonable explaination why.

These changes are unjustifiable and must be overturned. Votes should be equal. Political representation should reflect the population in any given constituency. Instead these proposals effectively deny representation to thousands of nationalist voters. The use of Rule 7, the ‘gerrymander rule’, has allowed this to happen.

When the northern state was created, it was deliberately gerrymandered to try and guarantee a perpetual unionist majority. The last assembly election finally ended unionism’s majority status for the first time since 1921. Demographic changes also indicate a nationalist voting majority by 2022, the year these boundary changes take effect.

It seems the DUP would prefer to re-gerrymander constituencies to hold onto unionist control as long as they can. That is what their submission sought to achieve. The Boundary Commission’s revised proposals effectively produce the same result. It is not too late to change this. The commission is consulting on the revised proposals until March 26th.

Sinn Féin is urging people to register their objections to a plan which will have such an anti-democratic impact. Do so by logging onto http://www.bcni2018.uk or emailing,: review@boundarycommission.org.uk.

My party has also made a detailed submission setting out a number of proposals which represent a fair and equitable approach to boundary reform. If, as the commission stresses, they have not been unduly influenced by any malign intention from the DUP, then we expect our proposals to be reflected in their final revised boundaries.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Michelle O’Neill Sinn Féin’s leader in the north. For the original story. 



Sinn Féin claims boundary changes would leave thousands of nationalists without representation

A map issued by the Boundary Commission setting out how its revised proposals differ from existing constituencies.

daithidb65 • Mar 13, 2018, 1:48 PMGerrymandering alive and well

windyfish • Mar 13, 2018, 6:54 AM
Gets in there before someone makes the « just like their Westminster MPs » comment

Iownthat • Mar 13, 2018, 8:12 AM
Them not going to London represents my disdain for the the union. They are representing me.

TFFTN • Mar 13, 2018, 7:14 AM
Now thousands of SF voters will be denied the chance to see their representatives continue to sit and do nothing!

VigiIance • Mar 13, 2018, 6:59 AM
Was thinking exactly that.

Sinn Fein have no right to complain about no representation when they don’t even take their seats lol.

I don’t see any seat changes from the last Westminster election arising from these boundary changes, Stormont is a bit harder to predict.

Edit – actually there will be a consolidation of Silvia Herman’s seat, if it doesn’t swing DUP it will be a 1 seat loss for the DUP at Westminster.

aodhmacsuibhne • Mar 13, 2018, 8:02 AM
Sinn Fein have no right to complain about no representation when they don’t even take their seats lol.

This is bullshit and you must know it, you can’t honestly believe that surely to god. Just because you don’t like the form of representation someone votes for doesn’t mean a free pass to deprive them of it.

Squattle69 • Mar 13, 2018, 8:07 AM
Hermons not gonna have that seat for much longer.

Bloodshart-Hero • Mar 13, 2018, 7:43 AM
Thank God they’re finally saying something about this. The blatantly gerrymandered borders proposed by the DUP and adopted pell-mell by the Border’s Commission harkened back to the days of Unionist government oppression that I thought were long behind us.

Here’s a cool Belfast wallpaper for your smartphone if anyone is interested.

Ship looks like it’s airborne from Crawfordsburn this morning

Fucking hell, what a shite day!

With many thanks to: https://www.reddit.com/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=top_nav 


Follow this link to find out the complete breakdown of how the Boundarie changes effects the nationalist communities in the north: https://bangordub.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/faha-why-the-boundary-review-needs-to-be-challenged/







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