Cumann na Saoırse Náısıúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

Irish Republican Information Service 


In this issue: 05/08/2013
 

1. Clarification of position of Continuity IRA POWs in Maghaberry
2. Support Bangladesh's workers rights
3. Easter commemoration in Liverpool
4. Easter Rising commemorated in Connecticut
5. NIFC replies to the Dalai Lama
6. Loyalists picket Holy Cross school again
7. Former DUP candidate jailed for sectarian bomb attack
8. Boston College tapes to be handed to RUC/PSNI
9. British army lobbied British Attorney-General not to prosecute soldiers
10. Judge to be given Finucane documents
11. Thatcher and the UVF
12. Thatcher on the Irish: ‘They’re all liars’
13. Campaigners criticise Shell for failing to make incident public
14. Property tax database to be used for new 180 levy
15. OAP behind anti-property tax letter
16. Welcome for all-Ireland study on smoky coal
17. Councillors urged to seek right to be consulted over British nuclear plant
18. Celtic chieftains graveyard discovered in France holds key to unanswered questions
19. Fight against strip-searches reaches France
20.
We are fighting for all Palestinians’

21 Republican Sinn Féin supports Dutch Republic


1. Clarification of position of Continuity IRA POWs in Maghaberry

THE following statement was released on April 26 by the POW, Republican Sinn Féin:

“In a statement [regarding the POWs in Maghaberry jail] released on April 26 the word “aligned” was used.

“This has been misunderstood as an amalgamation of Continuity IRA POWs
and Roe 4 POWs. Continuity IRA POWs will continue to maintain their own
independence and integrity but both groups will in future cooperate on
the prison wing with respect to prison conditions etc.


2. Support Bangladesh's workers rights

GERALDINE McNamara, National PRO for Republican Sinn Fein, on April 29 called on all workers to express solidarity and sympathy with the workers at the garment factory in SAVAR, Bangladesh. This terrible tragedy in which over 400 workers were killed is a sad indictment on the capitalist western world that uses and exploits those in the world’s poorest countries to avail of cheap mass-produced garments.

It was the worst tragedy to hit Bangladesh's massive garment industry, and focused attention on the poor working conditions of the employees who toil for $38 a month to produce clothing for top international brands.

While it is good to see people in the Third World working and producing goods for the world market we must ensure their basic human rights. No worker should have to work for a wage which keeps them living below the poverty line and in conditions that are detrimental to their health and well-being.

Geraldine called on all workers to be mindful of these conditions when purchasing goods from retail outlets here. We should demand a fair-trade agreement between countries and we should not expect workers in Bangladesh to endure long working hours in hazardous conditions just so that we can have cheaply-produced items. The employers in Third World countries are making vast profits, as are the retailers in Ireland and it is grossly unfair that the workers many of whom are only children are living and working in deplorable conditions.

Bangladesh's garment industry is the third largest in the world, after China and Italy, having grown rapidly in the past decade. The country's minimum wage is the equivalent of about $38 a month.

Among the garment makers in the building were Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms. Altogether, they produced several million shirts, pants and other garments a year.

The New Wave companies, according to their website, make clothing for several major North American and European retailers.

Britain's Primark/Penneys Ireland acknowledged it was using a factory in Rana Plaza, but many other retailers distanced themselves from the disaster, saying they were not involved with the factories at the time of the collapse or had not recently ordered garments from them.

Geraldine said that last year a fire in a factory in Bangladesh killed 111 workers and although there were pledges to improve working conditions nothing was done. If the people in the western world don’t speak out and say “not in my name” to these companies nothing will be done and the deplorable working conditions will continue.
Speak out now and let your retailers know that all workers have the right to be respected and should have human dignity and decent working conditions.


3. Easter commemoration in Liverpool

IRISH Republicans assembled on Easter Monday at the Fenian Monument in Ford Cemetery, Liverpool to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916.

The event, which was well supported was organised by the John Whelan Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin, Liverpool.

Pat McDonnell read the Easter Statement and Debbie Grew laid floral tributes at the foot of the monument. Donncadh Aghas then read the Easter Proclamation with his usual powerful delivery.

The weather was bitterly cold but the mood of the commemoration was cheerful and positive. The group then held a social get-together at a city centre hotel.


4. Easter Rising commemorated in Connecticut

ON April 20 the Monsignor Slocum Div 1, AOH, Waterbury CT, USA held their annual Easter commemoration to honour Ireland’s patriot dead, and remember the men and women of 1916.

The programme began with the Starry Plough and Sunburst flags being placed, as bagpiper Greg O’Brian played in the background. Master of ceremonies Seosamh Ó Flatharta opened by inviting Michael Ó Coisdealbhach to read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, Amhrán na bhFiann and the Star Spangled Banner were then sang by all in attendance.

WB Yeats famous poem 1916 was read by Daithí Mac Gearailt, followed by Peadar Ó Cléirigh who gave a stirring rendition of PH Pearse’s Oration at the grave of O’Donovan Rossa. A moment of silence was then observed.

Guest speaker Dónal Pádraig Ó Loingsigh gave a short talk on commemorating the centennial of 1916. The programme was concluded with a speech given by Seosamh Ó Flatharta highlighting the All-Ireland Republic of 1916 as a living entity, and encouraging true Republicans, the faithful, and true heirs of that Republic to remain steadfast in the fight for Ireland.

A special thanks goes out to all involved in the planning and execution of this most important remembrance.


5. NIFC replies to the Dalai Lama

ON April 26 Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta/the National Irish Freedom Committee (NIFC) responded to the Dalai Lama’s comment that there is no alternative to the current, so-called “peace process” for Ireland.

“On a recent visit to Derry, in Occupied Ireland, the Tibetan Buddhist leader urged the people in the North of Ireland to stick with the peace process. ‘There is no other alternative to the peace process, there is no other choice,’ he said.

“The NIFC views the GFA as merely a restatement of previous British-imposed agreements. Specifically, it is or ‘Orange, voted, and which established the so-called Northern Ireland statelet, a gerrymandered sub-set of the Irish province of Ulster. This latest agreement allows the London government to retain sovereign control over a devolved six-county Northern Ireland, and requires the Dublin government (and the 26-County Irish state), to relinquish its constitutional claim to these six Irish counties.

“The NIFC promotes an alternative peace plan called ÉIRE NUA (New Ireland) as a better way to achieve Irish national unity and justice within the framework of a sovereign, independent Irish Republic. It is intended that the ÉIRE NUA plan be offered for consideration by an all Ireland constitutional convention, convened without foreign let or hindrance – analogous to the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia in 1787.

“In brief, the ÉIRE NUA programme proposes a decentralised, four province, federal government, with devolved, self-governing parliaments in each province, and with a maximum devolution of power to the local level, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. The intention is to redress the economic and political imbalances of the current, foreign-imposed, structures.

“For the Dalai Lama’s edification, the NIFC has mailed him a copy of its new book, Éire Nua: A New Beginning, that incorporates the NIFC's input to the original Éire Nua document authored by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Daithí Ó Conaill in 1972.
“For further information about Éire Nua, see www.irishfreedom.net.”


6. Loyalists picket Holy Cross school again

ON April 25 a group of loyalists gathered outside Holy Cross Primary school in Ardoyne, north Belfast after incorrect information began to circulate on Facebook that the red, white and blue paint on the kerbstones outside the school was going to be removed by Roads Service officials.

The loyalist stand-off was sparked by a “misunderstanding” circulating on social networking sites, it was claimed.

The school's principal Maura McNally insisted she was not concerned by recent developments which saw loyalists erect Union flags and paint the kerbstones red, white and blue outside the Catholic school.

Loyalist community workers and politicians said that the recent incidents were not leading up to a “Holy Cross II” – referring to the 2001 loyalist pickets outside the school that made headlines across the world.

7. Former DUP candidate jailed for sectarian bomb attack

IT was reported on April 18 that a former DUP council candidate was sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in a sectarian pipe bomb
attack in Antrim. The incident happened in October 2011.

John Smyth Junior, of Rockfield Heights in Connor, near Ballymena, was sentenced to three years in prison and five years on licence.

He admitted his part in making the pipe bomb after he was confronted with “overwhelming forensic evidence”, but denied planting it.

The device was left at the home of a young Polish couple in the Steeple estate, just months after Smyth junior had run for election to Antrim Borough Council. It did not go off and it was later defused.


8. Boston College tapes to be handed to RUC/PSNI

IT was reported on April 15 that tapes containing testimony from Dolours Price, who died earlier this year) are to be made available to the British colonial police after the US Supreme Court ruled against an appeal seeking to keep them private.

The court ruled on April 10 that the Boston College tapes, which contain interviews with members of the IRA and loyalist death squads, should be handed over.

The project director, Ed Moloney, and his researcher, Anthony McIntyre, resisted the attempts, and had hoped the Supreme Court would overturn a Boston federal court decision to hand the tapes over.

The tapes were part of the Belfast Project which was supposed to provide students and historians studying the Six-County ‘Troubles’


9. British army lobbied British Attorney-General not to prosecute soldiers

THE online news outlet The Detail reported on April 15 that the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Six Occupied Counties could be asked to reopen hundreds of cases involving killings from the 1970s following the discovery of statements in newly declassified papers which suggest British soldiers were allowed to escape prosecution.

The declassified British Ministry of Defence papers from the 1970s revealed an agreement which allowed British army officers to privately lobby successive Attorney Generals not to prosecute soldiers for serious offences, including murder.

The Detail revealed that DPP in the Six Counties Barra McGrory has already been asked to reopen the investigation of an unarmed IRA man shot dead by troops in 1972, after references from an army officer in the declassified documents suggested that the decision not to prosecute the soldiers who fired the fatal shoots had been borderline to say the least”.

The documents, uncovered by researchers from the Pat Finucane Centre, reveal:
• The Attorney General was always ready to receive representations from army officers to prevent soldiers being charged with serious crimes.

• Less than 10% of all cases submitted to the DPP, regarding shootings or assault incidents involving soldiers, resulted in prosecutions.

• MoD officials were assured that the Attorney General and DPP were all ex-army and by no means unsympathetic to the plight of soldiers.
• By 1976 the British army had paid out the equivalent of £5.7m in today’s money in more than 400 out-of-court settlements to avoid soldiers being convicted of unlawful shootings and assaults on civilians.

• The British army’s most senior soldier warned that any decision to convict soldiers would force the British army to review its entire operation in the Six Counties.

The confidential documents reveal repeated attempts by the army’s most senior soldier in the Six Counties, Lieutenant General Frank King, to prevent soldiers from being prosecuted by the courts, for a range of offences, including murder.

By January 1975 the British government had made 410 out of court settlements in cases in which it expected soldiers to be found guilty in court.

By July 1976 the British Ministry of Defence had paid £806,827 in settlements, the equivalent of £5.7m in 2013.

The documents reveal assurances given to army chiefs by then Attorney-General, Sir Peter Rawlinson, that his officials were not unsympathetic to the plight of soldiers in the Six Counties and would do all in their powers to avoid prosecutions.

In a letter to his Adjutant General Cecil Black in January 1974, General King wrote:
“He (Sir Peter) assured me in the plainest terms that not only he himself but also the DPP and senior members of his staff, having been army officers themselves, having seen active service and knowing at firsthand about the difficulties and dangers faced by soldiers, were by no means unsympathetic or lacking in understanding in their approach to soldier prosecutions in Northern Ireland (sic).

“Rather the reverse, since directions not to prosecute had been given in more than a few cases where the evidence, to say the least, had been borderline.

“The case of the shooting of Joseph McCann, a well-known [Official] IRA leader, in April 1972 was cited as an example.”

The confidential papers reveal how the Attorney General had assured the army officer that less than 10% of all cases submitted to the DPP, regarding shootings or assault incidents involving soldiers, resulted in prosecutions.

General King said he had been assured by Sir Peter that no soldier was ever prosecuted in these cases unless there was evidence the soldier had substantially”overstepped the mark.

“I am bound to say that my worst fears have been allayed, at any rate for the time being, by the Attorney General’s assurances and I feel I am in a position to reassure all soldiers in Northern Ireland on this question,he said.

However the MoD papers reveal that the army officer remained dissatisfied with the Attorney General’s assurances and instead argued that 20 soldiers accused of serious crimes, including the shooting dead of unarmed civilians, should be tried by court martial, rather than civil courts.

“My request is that all these cases be examined or re-examined in the light of our discussions; the basis of the examination or re-examination being whether the public interest really requires a trial at all or, if it does, whether it could not be served equally appropriately by the exercise of military jurisdiction.”

In a letter to Samuel Silkin QC, who had replaced Sir Peter as Attorney General in April 1974, General King warned that any decision to try and convict soldiers through civilian courts would force the British army to review its entire operation in the Six Counties.

“My apprehension is that if a series of prosecutions of soldiers in the civil courts, arising out of operational incidents, were to result in several soldiers being convicted and sent to prison, the effect on operational efficiency and morale of the army in Northern Ireland would be extremely serious.

“It would not be over stating the position to say that the whole method of the army in the province would need careful reappraisal. The public interest considerations in such event are clear.”

The papers also reveal the secret arrangement in which senior army officers were allowed to personally lobby the Attorney General not to prosecute soldiers, in his January 1974 letter, King wrote:

“I believe that the presentation of our worries to the Attorney General was an extremely valuable exercise. He was left in no doubt about the nature and extent of our anxieties; and the assurances which he gave me in return are as specific as they are strong. Furthermore, he made it clear that he is always ready to receive representations from me about any particular case and he undertook to give any such representations the most careful consideration.”

Later in the letter he added that the: Attorney General has now undertaken to invite my views on the public interest in aspects of the prosecution of a soldier arising out of an operational shooting incident before any final decision in the case is reached.”
In a follow-up letter one week later, he wrote: I think these meetings have been highly successful, although there still remains a danger of a soldier being tried as a criminal when the GOC (General Officer Commanding) considers that he was performing his military duty properly, or was guilty of no more than a bona fide error of judgement in difficult circumstances.

“It seems to me that it is only in these unlikely circumstances that ministerial intervention might become necessary. In the meantime there seems every reason to hope that there will never be a conflict between the Attorney General and the GOC as to what sort of conduct merits a criminal trial.”

Dr Huw Bennett is a lecturer in International Politics and Intelligence Studies at Aberystwyth University and has written extensively on the role of the British army in Northern Ireland.

In his 2012 academic paper Smoke Without Fire’,  Bennett argues that the criminal courts exercised a “weak restraint” on the army, often giving soldiers the benefit of the doubt.

“The Attorney General and the DPP refused to break the law in order to help the army avoid punishment for its crimes,” he said.

“But they were willing to cooperate and bend the rules in a manner hardly consistent with the demands of an impartial justice system blind to the identity of the accused.”
He concluded: Overt bias would not be tolerated by the legal authorities. They were, however, willing to err in the army’s favour on `borderline’ cases – including alleged murders.”


10. Judge to be given Finucane documents

ON April 26 it was reported that ‘sensitive’ British government documents are to be given to a High Court judge next week for a decision on whether they should be disclosed to the family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Due to security issues, some of the material will have to be returned to the British government as soon as the judge has read it. Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalists in front of his wife and children in February 1989.

His widow, Geraldine, wants full access to the minutes from British government cabinet meetings, and correspondence between Downing Street officials and MI5 and others, as part of her legal challenge to David Cameron's refusal to order a public inquiry into her husband’s murder.

The judge ruled that she had established a case for disclosure but said he wanted to examine the sensitive documents before deciding if they should be given to her legal team.

A lawyer for the British government suggested the handover of the documents next week could take place in the judge's chambers in Belfast.

Justice Stephens insisted he should be given the material in the courtroom. The British government's lawyer said some of the documents were at a level that they would have to be taken away when the judge had read them.


11. Thatcher and the UVF

THE Pat Finucane Centre said on April 12: “As Margaret Thatcher is laid to rest we thought it appropriate to publish two documents we found in the British National Archives. Both have been published before in the chapter we contributed to a book on loyalist infiltration of the UDR.

“The first document contains the minutes of a meeting between the then head of the Conservative opposition in 1975 (Margaret Thatcher) and the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, just weeks after the Miami Showband Massacre involving members of the UDR. At page three the following fascinating admission is made, the Secretary of State said:

“ ‘Unfortunately there were certain elements in the police who were very close to the UVF, and who were prepared to hand over information, for example, to Mr Paisley. The Army’s judgement was that the UDR was heavily infiltrated by extremist Protestants, and that in a crisis situation they could not be relied on to be loyal.’

“Let no-one claim that the levels of collusion between the RUC, UDR and loyalist paramilitaries was not known at the highest levels of the British Government and opposition.

“The second document also concerns the UVF, only by this stage, 1979, Thatcher is the Prime Minister. In a hand-written note she urged mention of the ‘Volunteer Ulster Defence Regiment (? Is that the name)’. Her officials clearly had difficulty reading her handwriting and the typed version of her comment reads.

(viii) The Prime Minister would also like to see some reference to the valiant work being carried by the Ulster Volunteer Force.

“Apparently neither she not her officials were fully cognisant of the difference between the UDR, (? Is that the name) the largest Regiment in the British army, and the UVF, a loyalist paramilitary group. On this point at least she found herself in agreement with the nationalist/Republican community.”


12. Thatcher on the Irish: ‘They’re all liars’

FORMER Northern Ireland secretary Peter Mandelson has said that the only thing Margaret Thatcher told him was that the Irish were “all liars” and could not to be trusted.

He revealed details of the 1999 exchange as he explained why he did not want to attend the former Prime Minister’s funeral.

Mandelson – who served as Tony Blair’s Northern Ireland secretary between 1999 and 2001 – told the BBC: “Although I helped to organise the Labour Party’s opposition to her policies throughout the 1980s, I only ever met her once. It was the day I was appointed Northern Ireland secretary and our paths crossed,” he said.
“She came up to me and she said, ‘I’ve got one thing to say to you, my boy…you can’t trust the Irish, they are all liars’, she said, ‘liars, and that’s what you have to remember, so just don’t forget it.

“With that she waltzed off and that was my only personal exposure to her.”
Baroness Thatcher’s funeral was attended by a number of Irish politicians.


13. Campaigners criticise Shell for failing to make incident public

ON Saturday, April 20 Shell E&P Ireland said it was conducting an internal investigation, following the inadvertent cutting of a gas pipe at the Corrib gas terminal earlier in the month.

The incident, which occurred during work on water pipes at the terminal site in north Mayo, resulted in nitrogen being released into the atmosphere.

As a precaution, all nitrogen was “vented off”, according to the company. The Ballinaboy terminal built to refine gas from the Corrib gas field is not yet active, as work is still continuing on the last section of the project – the onshore pipeline.
However, low pressure nitrogen has been pumped through pipes laid at the terminal to prevent corrosion.

The company was criticised by the campaign group Shell to Sea for failing to make the incident public after it occurred on April 8. It came to light when a resident alerted Midwest Radio.

The multinational told the radio station the incident posed “no danger to the environment”, and said it was investigating the circumstances.
It said it occurred during ongoing work to replace water surface pipes at the site, and that a supervisor was alerted.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told The Irish Times it had not been informed, but that there was no obligation on the company to do so as “licensable activities” had not actually started.

Shell to Sea spokeswoman Maura Harrington said “Shell, despite all their talk of being ‘good neighbours’, said nothing to anyone” until the radio station was alerted.


14. Property tax database to be used for new 180 levy

THE 26-County Administration is going to use the new property tax database to ensure that every family in the country pays the new broadcasting charge, according to a report on April 19.

It will replace the 160 television licence and will be issued to every household, even if they do not have a television.

The Department of Communications confirmed that all possible information sources will be used to track down households, including the property tax database, the ESB database of electricity connections and the An Post database of existing TV licence holders.

The new “public broadcasting household charge will not be introduced until "late 2014” due to the need to build this database with every household address.
The new broadcasting charge is being introduced because many households are now watching RTE and TG4 programmes on their tablet computers and smartphones and do not need to own a TV.

It is expected that information from the state body which regulates the rental sector – the Private Residential Tenancies Board – will also be used.

The Department of Communications said this was among the range of policy options that would be considered in the future.


15. OAP behind anti-property tax letter

THE pensioner behind a strongly-worded anti-property tax letter that went viral on Facebook earlier in April criticised the ‘apathetic youth’ who have left it to people his age to protest against austerity.

Billy Cleary said he was behind the letter which has a total of nearly 16,000 likes and nearly 10,000 shares on Facebook and now he wants to escalate the protest in a bid to grab even more worldwide attention.

The 73-year-old, from Mullingar in Westmeath, wants to let the world know “that the people of Ireland have finally woken up”.

In a letter written on March 8, Cleary said that he would not be paying the tax adding that he has “f*** all more to give or to lose”.

Speaking to The Journal.ie Billy Cleary said that people responsible for the financial crisis have been “getting away with murder” and said he had had enough of “the Paddy lying down”.

“If I can get people motivated to get behind this we can do something about it,” he said, explaining his plans to write another letter that he hopes will motivate people to oppose the property tax.

“This has got the attention of the world, it has gone viral as you well know,” he said. “Now, let’s let them know that the people of Ireland have finally woken up.”

The married father-of-five, who has nine grandchildren, hopes that this protest against the property tax will help swing the public opinion against the tax and get the government to reverse the measure.

He cited the impact the “grey brigade”, the thousands of old-aged pensioners, who descended on Dublin in 2008 after the previous government introduced controversial changes to the medical card eligibility, changes which the Fianna Fáíl-led coalition ended up reversing.

“I am disgusted at people not doing anything to get up… they’ll do everything when they are sitting at a bar drinking pints, this is an apathetic attitude. Why is it always left to us? The grey brigade as we’re called. We’re older and we’re bolder.”

Billy Cleary emigrated to Britain when he was 15 and said he came back to Ireland in 1969 and worked as a builder in addition to being involved in the Republican Movement during the Troubles up until 1994 and the IRA ceasefire.

He later worked with children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Belarus in 1986, organising holidays for children from the country, a project he stopped working for a few years ago.

“A lot can be done here without firing a shot,” he added of his protest. “We can’t wait for someone else.”


16. Welcome for all-Ireland study on smoky coal

IN A press release on April 24 the Friends of the Irish Environment said:

“Environmentalists have welcomed the announcement that Northern Ireland (sic) and the Republic (sic) are commissioning a joint North-South study on all-island air quality. In particular, the study will examine the issue of residential burning of smoky coal.

“The failure to develop an all-Ireland smoky coal ban has significantly hindered public policy,” according to Friends of the Irish Environment.

“While welcoming the extension of the ban in existing areas and the extension to 7 towns of over 15,000 on May 1, the environmental lobby group is highlighting the impacts of the failure to introduce al all Ireland ban on smoky coal.

“The welcoming decrease in smoky coal emissions in our larger towns and cites is not seen in smaller towns, where domestic solid fuel emissions are more significant than traffic emissions. Levels in smaller towns that do not have a smoky coal ban are often higher than those in Dublin City, despite the obvious difference in population and vehicle numbers.

“Because of cross-border issues, not only can dirty coal be purchased across border but the failure to cooperate extends to making levies, such as carbon taxes, impossible, even though these would also counter the financial incentive to use dirty fuels.

“The group is calling on Minister Hogan to include in the terms of reference this issue and that of peat as well as ensuring public consultation.

“Ireland (sic) is committed to reducing 2011 particulate matter concentration by 10% by 2018. Failure to address this could result in prosecution in the EU court of Justice.”


17. Councillors urged to seek right to be consulted over British nuclear plant

LOCAL authority members around Ireland were asked on April 24 to table motions requiring the Minister for the Environment in the 26 Counties to allow consultations over the proposed new British nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

In a letter to councillors, the environmental lobby group FIE explained that ‘The issue is that the British Government was required to notify Ireland (sic) (and any other neighbouring countries that might be affected) if there could be any transboundary effects under a convention named for the Finnish town it was signed in 1991 – the ESPOO Convention on transboundary environmental impact assessment.

“Ireland (sic) in turn is then required to ‘provide an opportunity to the public in areas likely to be affected to participate in the relevant EIA procedures regarding proposed activities and shall ensure that the opportunity provided to the public of the affected Party is ‘equivalent to that provided to the public of the Party of origin’.”

FIE says that this has not happened.

The British authorities have stated that the nuclear plant will not have any impact beyond the Severn Estuary on which it is located, in spite of the fact that simple modelling – and the Austrian Environmental Agency has done modelling showing that any severe accident may cause transboundary impacts (e.g. radioactive contamination) if necessary measures are not implemented.

“The issue here is not anti or pro nuclear – simply the right to be consulted,” said Tony Lowes, a Director of Friends of the Irish Environment.

The group’s own challenge to the consultation process failure on the proposed nuclear plant is to be heard before the Implementation Committee of the United Nations Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context [Espoo] in Geneva on 10 September, 2013.

The group is seeking the suspension of further development of the proposed plant until consultations are completed.


18. Celtic chieftain’s graveyard discovered in France holds key to unanswered questions

AN Iron Age graveyard was uncovered in France that experts believe will provide a fascinating insight into the life of the Celts.

French reports on the find, carried on the Irish website The Journal.ie on April 21, 2013, outlined how a muddy field located between a motorway and a meander of the Seine southeast of Paris is home to the graveyard.

Archaeologists believe the Celtic Age find will shed light on the great yet enigmatic civilisation of Gaul.

The report says the discovery will provide the key to many unanswered questions about how this Celtic civilisation actually lived, worked and played.

The site was earmarked for a warehouse project on the outskirts of Troyes.

It contains a stunning array of finds including five Celtic warriors whose weapons and adornments attest to membership of a powerful but long-lost elite.

Archaeologist Emilie Millet spoke to reporters at one of 14 burial sites that have been uncovered in recent weeks after a nine-year excavation of the 650-acre site.

Remains of a tall warrior, complete with a 28-inch iron sword still in its scabbard were placed at her side.

As Millet gazed at a metal-framed shield whose wood-and-leather core has long rotted away, she admitted: “I have never seen anything like it.”

Several women are buried next to the warriors. Their jewellery, including twisted-metal necklaces known as torcs, and large bronze brooches decorated with precious coral, also hint at their high status.

A woman was buried next to a man in one grave, separated by a layer of soil, which the report says speaks of a close but as yet unfathomable bond.

A spokesman for the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research said: “This graveyard is exceptional in more ways than one.”

The report says the jewellery suggests that the dead were buried between 325 and 260 BC, in a period known as La Tene.

Analysis of the scabbards, whose decoration changed according to military fashion will provide more clues.

Designs in this period typically had two open-mouthed dragons facing each other, with their bodies curled.

The name La Tene comes from an archaeological site in Switzerland and ran from about the 5th century BC to the first century AD, which marked the glory years of the Celts.

It was in this time that the Celts expanded from their core territory in central Europe to as far afield as northern Scotland, Ireland and the Atlantic coast of Spain.

The report adds that during their expansion, they clashed with the emerging Roman Empire, whose writers recorded the invaders as pale-skinned savages, dressed in breeches with bleached hair, who cut off their enemies’ heads, preserving those of high rank in cedar oil.

The report adds: “The barbarian image, though, has been dispelled by historical research in recent decades.

“It has laid bare a complex civilisation that had a mastery of metal and a trading system which spanned Europe and generated great wealth.


19. Fight against strip-searches reaches France

A TURKISH political prisoner is on hunger strike in a French jail since March 13, 2013, to protest against the inhumane practice of strip-searches against political prisoners in France. On April 20 Republican Sinn Féin sent greetings of solidarity to him and urged the French government to immediately cease the practice of strip searches.

Nezif Eski is a Turkish political prisoner with Arab roots who went on hunger strike on March 13. He was forced to go on hunger strike to demand the immediate ending of strip-searches against political prisoners. The Administrative Court of Melun, Seine-et-Marne, on Friday, March 29, suspended the full-body search for inmates which was established by the prison authorities in at Fresnes jail where Nezif Eski is held, though the prison authorities in Fresnes still don't accept his demands. No statement has been made from their side.

Nezif Eski had to suffer under the inhumane practice of strip-searching at every visit he received. This is a fundamental attack on his freedom and an illegal practice according to the Human Rights Convention.

In a statement RSF International spokesperson Dieter Blumenfeld said: “I want to express our solidarity with comrade Nezif on behalf of everyone in Republican Sinn Féin. We demand an immediate end of the degrading, inhumane and illegal practice of strip-searches by the prison authorities in France. We urge the French government to stop this practice.

“Furthermore I want to use the opportunity to once more urge the English government and the prison authorities in the occupied 6 Counties to end the same inhume practice against Irish Republican prisoners. Nezif Eski is not alone. The fight against strip-searches is as the same fight being waged by the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry.

“Nezif Eski is not alone. Republican Sinn Féin urges all supporters in France and internationally to support our comrade Nezif Eski and make his case known. Together we will win the fight for the rights of the political prisoners held in Fresnes and
 


20. ‘We are fighting for all Palestinians’

IN A statement carried in the Guardian newspaper on March 3, Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi said:

“In jail, my fellow hunger strikers and I are doing battle against the Israeli occupation that humiliates our people.

“My story is no different from that of many other Palestinian young people who were born and have lived their whole lives under Israeli occupation. At 17, I was arrested for the first time, and jailed for two years. I was arrested again in my early 20s, at the height of the second intifada in Ramallah, during an Israeli invasion of numerous cities in the West Bank – what Israel called Operation Defensive Shield. I was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges relating to my resistance to the occupation.
“I am not the first member of my family to be jailed on my people's long march towards freedom. My grandfather, a founding member of the PLO, was sentenced to death by the British Mandate authorities, whose laws are used by Israel to this day to oppress my people; he escaped hours before he was due to be executed.

“My brother, Fadi, was killed in 1994, aged just 16, by Israeli forces during a demonstration in the West Bank following the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in Hebron. Medhat, another brother, has served 19 years in prison. My other brothers, Firas, Ra'afat and Shadi were each imprisoned for five to 11 years.

“My sister, Shireen, has been arrested numerous times and has served a year in prison. My brother's home has been destroyed. My mother's water and electricity have been cut off. My family, along with the people of my beloved city Jerusalem, are continuously harassed and attacked, but they continue to defend Palestinian rights and prisoners.

After almost 10 years in prison, I was released in the Egypt-sponsored deal between Israel and Hamas to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. However, on 7 July 2012, I was arrested again near Hizma, an area within the municipality of Jerusalem, on charges of violating the terms of my release (that I should not leave Jerusalem). Others who were released as part of that deal were also arrested, some with no declared reason. Accordingly, I began a hunger strike on 1 August to protest against my illegal imprisonment and Israel's violation of the agreement.

“My health has deteriorated greatly, but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people.

“I draw my strength from all the free people in the world who want an end to the Israeli occupation. My weak heartbeat endures thanks to this solidarity and support; my weak voice gains its strength from voices that are louder, and can penetrate the prison walls.

“My battle is not just for my own freedom. My fellow hunger strikers, Ayman, Tarik and Ja'afar, and I are fighting a battle for all Palestinians against the Israeli occupation and its prisons. What I endure is little compared to the sacrifice of Palestinians in Gaza, where thousands have died or been injured as a result of brutal Israeli attacks and an unprecedented and inhuman siege.

“However, more support is needed. Israel could not continue its oppression without the support of western governments. These governments, particularly the British, which has a historic responsibility for the tragedy of my people, should impose sanctions on the Israeli regime until it ends the occupation, recognises Palestinian rights, and frees all Palestinian political prisoners.

“Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance.”

On April 23, the news broke that Samer Issawi had struck a deal with Israel and agreed to end his eight-month hunger strike in exchange for additional time served and his release.

As part of the agreement reached between Israel Prison Services and Issawi's lawyers, he will serve another eight months before being released to Jerusalem.

According to Addameer's most recent numbers, there are 4,812 Palestinians currently imprisoned or classified as administrative detainees. Of them, 178 are classified as "administrative detainees," who are detained without being charged or tried.

Often, these prisoners are academics, activists, intellectuals, journalists and other representatives of civil society who are simply seen as a threat to colonial designs on the fortified remnants of Palestine. They are tossed behind bars as part of the Jewish state's broader strategy of preserving hegemony at gunpoint.

Israel has stepped up the repression in recent months, launching mass arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank as well as injuring and killing a number of unarmed protesters. In response, the Palestinian street has joined their imprisoned compatriots in what has come to be known as the “Prisoner's Intifada”.

In February, detainee Arafat Jaradat died in the hands of Israeli secret service, prompting widespread accusations that he had been tortured to death. The following day, Israel Prison Services estimated that 4,500 prisoners engaged in a mass one-day solidarity hunger strike, and his funeral was turned into a 25,000-strong protest that drew the participation of every party across the Palestinian political geography.

On the morning of March 20, soldiers arrested 27 minors in the segregated West Bank city of Hebron. B'Tselem reported that 14 of those detained were under 12 years old.
In early April, accusations of medical negligence sprang up when Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a 64-year-old prisoner serving a life sentence, died of cancer. His lawyer claimed that the prison's medical services provided the terminally ill patient with nothing more than painkillers until he was belatedly transferred to a hospital and diagnosed with oesophageal cancer that had spread to his spinal cord.

Against this dramatic political backdrop, Samer Issawi's eight-month hunger strike brought him to the edge of death to secure his right to live.

The agreement marks a massive victory over the apartheid state, but it also restores dignity for those gripped in a struggle against the institutions of dispossession and occupation.


21 Republican Sinn Féin supports Dutch Republic

Statement by Dutch Republicans on coronation of Willem-Alexander

THE members and supporters of Republican Sinn Féin in the Netherlands want to use the coronation of Willem-Alexander as King of the Netherlands to stress their opposition to the Orange monarchy and pledge their support for a Dutch Republic.

Republicanism has a long and vital tradition both in Ireland and the Netherlands. We as Dutch Republicans and supporters of the Irish Republican Movement are Internationalists. While supporting the Irish struggle for independence and an All-Ireland Republic we are also staunch Dutch Republicans.

We believe in full democracy. What we seek to establish is a pluralist participative democracy with appropriate structures at every level in society. The future which we propose is designed to embrace and include all the people on the basis of “cherishing all the children of the nation equally”.

The Orange monarchy in its very nature is opposed to full and direct democracy for all people. Full democracy can only be established in a Republic. Hence we not just support a free and united Irish Republic; we support the establishment of Republics in all states currently ruled by monarchy and undemocratic parliaments. Only a Dutch Republic will provide the framework for the people of the Netherlands to decide on their future themselves.

Aware that economic democracy and political democracy are two sides of the one coin Republican Sinn Féin have also formulated a programme which would provide for economic democracy. While social equality is not achievable within a monarchy, this social equality will not automatically be followed by the destruction of the Orange monarchy and the birth of the Republic. Therefore we support a democratic-socialist Republic of the Netherlands.

There are many calling themselves Republicans who would be perfectly satisfied with the name of a Republic while leaving the present social, economic and cultural system unchanged – or worse still, integrating it with the rampant capitalism of EU imperialism. They are deluding themselves and deluding others. The EU, the Orange monarchy and the political elites serve the interests, above all, of big business and the super-rich. Both EU and Orange monarchy are undemocratic in their institutions and it is over-centralising; in this they run counter to the Republican aims of increasing the democratic power of citizens and decentralising decision-making to manageable units where all citizens can participate in a meaningful way.

We as activists of Republican Sinn Féin and Dutch Republicans want to use the coronation of Willem-Alexander as King of the Netherlands to call on all Dutch Republicans to renew their fight for the Republic. We as Republican Sinn Féin will support all these initiatives as we have done it over the past years. While we welcome all support for the struggle in Ireland, we say to you: The most effective way to support the Irish Republic is fighting for your own Dutch Republic!

ENDS

 

 


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