Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

Irish Republican Information Service 


In this issue: 6/30/12


 1. Provisionals are part and parcel of British administration in Ireland
2. Together we can build a nation’
3. Cynical attempt by British to normalise presence in Ireland
4. Fresh bid to clear Bloody Sunday victim's name
5. Creggan parents allege ‘heavy handed’ policing
6. British Armed Forces flag to fly for six days at Belfast City Hall
7. Conviction quashed because of forced confession
8. Ballymurphy massacre families are told probe not in public interest
9. Councillor resigns from Provos
10. Vandals cut off GAA goalposts
11. 26-County minister defends use of ‘London’Derry in Leinster House
12. Sentences appealed
13. Group seeks to restrain Eirgrid over power-link magnetic fields
14. Bord na Móna workers to stage a two-day strike
15. Protest in Manhattan at Queen’s Jubilee ‘celebration’
16. Protest in Manhattan at Queen’s Jubilee ‘celebration’
17. Unions complicit in job cuts at Pfizer
18. Turf-cutters protest in Galway as machinery is seized
19. Ann San Suu Kyi accepts Nobel Peace Prize 21 years late
20. Butcher’s Apron burned in Argentina
21. Marching for an end to Stop-and-Frisk
22. No to the European Union’s ESM bank bailout fund and the fiscal pact!
23. Amnesty raps Olympic ‘chemical’ sponsor
24. Google concerned by rising content removal requests

 


 

1. Provisionals are part and parcel of British administration in Ireland

 

IN A statement on June 22 the President of Republican Sinn Féin, Des Dalton, said:

“The upcoming meeting of British Crown Minister Martin McGuinness with the Queen of England is merely a symbolic confirmation of the fact that the Provisionals are part and parcel of the British administration in Ireland. The reality of British Rule on the ground for nationalists has not changed with arbitrary arrest and internment without trial still used to secure British occupation.

“The continued internment of Martin Corey and Marian Price tells us much about the true nature of British rule in Ireland. The fact that nationalist communities in areas such as Lurgan and Craigavon are under siege from the British colonial police force, the RUC/PSNI, again underlines the colonial statelet which Martin McGuinness and the Provisionals are prepared to administer under instruction from their political masters in Westminster. The next step for the Provisionals will of course be to sit in the British parliament at Westminster. Their protestations to the contrary ring increasingly hollow.

“Irish Republicans will be opposing the visit of the Queen of England to the Six Counties just as we opposed her visit to the 26-County State last year. The state of which she is head by its continued occupation of Ireland denies “the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland”. The only basis for a just and lasting settlement leading to a New Ireland is a British declaration of intent to withdraw which will create the space within which the people of All-Ireland can negotiate and debate the shape of a truly democratic Al-Ireland Republic.”


  1. ‘Together we can build a nation

ON Sunday, June 10 Republicans from all over Ireland assembled in Sallins village, Co Kildare for the annual pilgrimage to the grave of the Father of Irish Republicanism, Theobald Wolfe Tone, at Bodenstown Cemetery.

Led by the National Colour Party, Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna Éireann and the Pride of Éireann band from Co Armagh, the parade marched to the Cemetery in broad sunshine. Chief Marshall was Seosamh Ó Maoileoin, Iar Mhí.

Proceedings at the graveside were chaired by Frank Quigley, Fermanagh, who called on Tess Moten, Tipperary to lay a laurel wreath on the memorial on behalf of the Republican Movement. The Chief Marshall then called on the band for a roll of the drums while the colour party dipped the flags in memory of all those who died for Ireland.

An Cathaoirleach then called on Peig Galligan of the National Graves Association to say a few words and she spoke movingly of the sacrifice of the Forgotten Ten, including Kevin Barry who were hanged by the British during the War of Independence.

He then called on Ard Chomhairle member Cáit Trainor, Armagh to deliver the oration.

She said: “British Occupation is no more acceptable today than it was in 1798, time does not normalise occupation nor can it erase the natural injustices that go hand in hand with it. Once again we as proud Republicans stand here today at the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone, to honour and commemorate him and all the Irish patriots and to show our continued rejection and resistance to British rule.

“The normalisation of today stands in stark contrast to Tone's vision of what Ireland should be as a fully independent and sovereign nation. Tone's tactics did not include negotiating with the enemy or compromise, he had a clear message "break the connection with England". His tactics where to lead men to the hillsides with pike in hand, with a determination that Ireland should stand as an equal independent nation among the nations of the world. Tone's vision is our vision, Tone's desire is our desire, and
Tone's determination is matched with our own. Tone had an aim to unite Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter in the common goal of Irish Independence. To this end his venture was successful for people from all backgrounds did organise to end British tyranny. Britain, realising the power of Irishmen uniting, inflamed sectarian division to further their own imperial ends.

“The descendants of the Republican Irish Scots have been systematically robbed of their noble Republican heritage by a vile combination of British imperialism, unionism and Orange sectarianism, many of their descendants fled to America to escape British oppression and played an important part in the foundations of a Republican USA. It is sad indeed to see descendants of such noble people subservient to monarchs and imperialists, a notion so alien to their ancestors.

“Today we see the same age old tactics from the British invaders, who are bribing and intimidating the nationalist people of Ireland into accepting alien concepts, one such is the abominable UK City of culture moniker that has been bestowed on Derry for 2013. Using native collaborators to sell such an idea to the people, this shameful accolade has been supported by many traditional Irish cultural and sporting groups, the GAA and Comhaltas are two particular groups who have allowed themselves to be reduced to snivelling servants, banging the tribal drums for the foreign viceroy. The 'UK City of Culture' title in an Irish city is an insult to all Irish people. The British puppets who claim to represent Republicans and nationalists, who fought so hard to win this disgusting title, are no better than paid informers betraying the nation.

“Ireland today is one unrecognisable to the past, things we have never thought possible happen day by day, those in power seem determined to sell of our Country, be it to the acceptance of British occupation or the handing over sovereignty to Europe. Just recently the fiscal treaty that assures austerity for years to come and ensures the poor get poorer was passed in the 26 Counties. Republican Sinn Féin was at the forefront of opposing this treaty and indeed all the past European treaties that make Ireland nothing more than a piece of land controlled by the capitalist and banking elite.

“The treaty asked people to vote on economic measures not yet decided, rendering the people powerless to make changes in future that could see Ireland prosper. Ireland has lost control of its nationhood, Republican Sinn Féin through ÉIRE NUA points the way to regaining our independence including fiscal independence. ÉIRE NUA is the only positive alternative, a framework for the future of an Independent Ireland. We need to acknowledge that its concept is not widely known or understood. It is a working document that provides for how an independent Ireland should be. 100 years on from the rising we need to speak to the people in layman's terms on our vision for independence, Lets forget fancy words and political jargon and give the Irish Nation the confidence and knowledge it needs to realise that our vision and ÉIRE NUA is the only position that can create a peaceful and just Ireland for all.

“Recently a British minister in Stormont, Martin McGuinness, suggested he wants to enter into talks with Republicans. Republicans have always made it clear that we are not interested in engaging with puppets of the British State. The only time we will be interested in meeting representatives from the British government will be to discuss their withdrawal from our country. Former Republicans should understand they no longer hold influence among Republicans and we view them as contemptible cogs of the British Establishment.

“In May 2011 the 26 Counties had a State visit from the British Queen. Republican Sinn Féin led the way in opposing the subservience and fawning that was seen by national organisations. On June 26 the British Queen will once again visit Ireland; again we will see subservience and fawning. British Deputy First Minister in Ireland Martin McGuinness will undoubtedly greet her in another shameful act of capitulation to British imperialism. They have lost all claims to Republicanism even in the anti-monarchist sense. Again Republican Sinn Fein will oppose the British monarchy visiting any part of Ireland and I urge you all to join in our protests.

“The last few months we have seen an upsurge in harassment from State forces. House raids, arrests and communities under siege. This harassment has been met with great resistance and courage from the Republican people. These actions give truth to the lie that the people have been bought. The RUC/PSNI is a force of occupation and no amount of community outreach can change the basic reason they exist, their primary purpose is to uphold British rule in Ireland. Young nationalists are told times have changed, that you can join the RUC and still remain a Republican. This is a dangerous lie that must be exposed; those who promote it are putting the lives of young Irish people in jeopardy. As history has shown the British police force has always been an enemy of the Irish people and treated accordingly and they continue to be so.

“The ongoing arrests and trumped up charges amount to nothing more than internment by stealth. Two such cases are Martin Corey and Marian Price. Martin Corey's case is so blatant there is not even a known charge against him; he is simply interned for holding Republican principles. Marian Price is currently very ill in Hydebank. The refusal of the prison authorities to allow UN doctors into to see her is no surprise; they don't want the world to know the injustice of her detention. Scores of men are currently on a no wash protest in Maghaberry Jail in response to invasive strip searching and other barbaric conditions. Compassionate parole is used as a punishment against Prisoners of War. We must redouble our efforts to highlight their plight. The valued efforts by prisoners who are under lock and key to fight for their rights and thereby further the cause of Irish Republicanism, must be reciprocated by us on the outside

“The media has stepped up its campaign of trying to normalise us to British rule, protesters are vilified for using their voice, politicians use words like pathetic and disgusting when citizens stand up for themselves against harassment. Currently there is a British propaganda advert making reference to all the wonderful things the Brits have done for us. They state this is our place, our time! It's a good slogan, this is our place, its Ireland and this is our time, time for change, time for freedom. There can only be one winner in this war and that will be the Irish people, if our generation do not succeed there will be generations to come who will.

“We must realise that each and every one of us must work hard to end British rule. We are a Movement made up of individuals; your single action can contribute to the success of the Movement. We are all part of a bigger picture but that picture starts with you, our work or lack of, can have a detrimental or monumental effect. I have heard it said when people see injustice "why doesn't somebody do something about that?" Who is somebody? You are somebody, I am somebody and so we collectively are the somebody who must do it. The power of the individual is as important as the power of the Movement. We are all only as good as our last action, sometimes we may feel that what we do has no bearing in the larger scheme of things. I want to leave you with this thought. One person can make a difference, 100 people can make real change but together we can build a nation.

“Onwards to Victory.”

Following her well-received oration, the Cathaoirleach sung Bodenstown’s Churchyard and the Chief Marshall called the parade back to order for the march back to Sallins village where the National Anthem was played and the commemoration ended. 


  1. Cynical attempt by British to normalise presence in Ireland

 

ON June 5 Republican protesters gathered outside Páirc Esler in Newry, Co Down to highlight the Maghaberry prison situation.

Republican Sinn Fein said the protest held outside Páirc Esler on the night of the Olympic Torch visit was to “highlight the torture and ill treatment of political prisoners incarcerated in Maghaberry Gaol and in Hydebank Women’s prison”.

A spokesperson said, “A protest against the torture and ill treatment of political prisoners incarcerated in Maghaberry Gaol and in Hydebank Women’s prison took place at the GAA grounds in Newry, another blemish on the reputation of the Down County Board who have proved to be supporters of the British occupation in Ireland. Only last year Down was one of the only counties in Ulster to meet with, and welcome the Queen of England to Ireland.”

The spokesperson said it was called to coincide with the arrival of the Olympic torch from London. “The peaceful protest facilitated by Republican Sinn Féin was well attended with more than 70 supporters who braved the inclement weather.

“Republican Sinn Féin does not recognise that any area of Ireland is part of the ‘UK’. The Olympic torch, which was carried in the name of sport, is nothing more than a cynical attempt by the British establishment to normalise their presence in our country.”

“As a symbol of protest against the British Olympic torch Republicans lit their own torches of freedom as a symbolic gesture. Whilst there is no objection to the Olympics per se, it is the host nation and their human rights record in Ireland with which Republicans take issue. The assembled crowd carried banners and placards calling for the restoration of political status to republican prisoners currently incarcerated in Maghaberry and Hydebank.

“Currently POWs find themselves living in squalid conditions and having their human rights contravened with forced strip searching and controlled movement within the gaols, they have been forced on to a no wash protest as a result to the Prison authorities reneging on the August agreement of 2010.

“Martin Corey is currently being held in Maghaberry without charge or trial, he has previously served 19 years. Two years ago his ‘licence’ was revoked. Martin refused to sign a licence for his release after 17 years and was subsequently held for a further two years, so to say his licence has been revoked is a misnomer. Well known Republican activist Marian Price is also suffering internment and at present is seriously ill.

“It is most disturbing that a delegation of doctors from the United Nations have been refused permission to see her, this coupled with the torture endured by the rest of the prisoners needs to become a matter of urgent public attention and concern. Republican Sinn Féin call on all Republicans and those concerned with Human rights to unite and support the POWs.”


 

  1. Fresh bid to clear Bloody Sunday victim's name

 

ON June 15 the Bloody Sunday Trust said it was launching a fresh attempt to clear the name of a teenager shot dead in January 1972.

A report by Lord Saville found that Gerald Donaghey, 17, was “probably armed with nail bombs but was not a threat at the time that he was shot”. He was a member of Na Fianna Éireann, but witnesses said he did not have any bombs on him.

The Donaghey family have always insisted the devices were planted by the British army. They said they would not rest until his name was cleared.

Conal McFeely, the chairman of the Bloody Sunday Trust, said Lord Saville's conclusion did not make sense.

“How can he ignore the fact that the people who were with Gerald Donaghey on the day didn't see nail bombs? he said.Independent civilian witnesses that came to his aid, a doctor who examined him, a British soldier, the people trying to take him to hospital, all testified that they did not see nail bombs in his possession.”

Thirteen people were shot dead when soldiers opened fire on marchers at a civil rights march on January 30, 1972. Another man died five months later.


 

  1. Creggan parents allege heavy handed policing

 

IT was reported on June 9 that a group of parents held a meeting in Derry over what they describe as "heavy handed" policing.

The families said they intend to lodge nine complaints to the British Police Ombudsman and the Committee on the Administration of Justice.

They include a father who claims his 12-year-old daughter was manhandled by a member of the British colonial police at an anti-policing protest during the Olympic Flame celebrations.

Meanwhile, another parent, Seana Canning, claimed her 13-year-old son was also assaulted by n RUC/PSNI member in May.

“He was walking past the Creggan shops with his friends when they were stopped by the police,” she said. “They were stopped and he was put aside and put his arm behind his back


.”

  1. British Armed Forces flag to fly for six days at Belfast City Hall

 

IT was reported on June 22 that the British Armed Forces Flag will fly from Belfast City Hall for six days next week.

The British Ministry of Defence had requested that Armed Forces Day should be marked by flying the flag for a full week.

A motion to fly the flag for six days was discussed at a special meeting of Belfast City Council on June 21 and was supported by Alliance, DUP and Ulster Unionist members.

General Sir David Richards from the MoD wrote to councils across Britain asking them to fly the flag from Monday, June 25.

Although the letter was dated April 2, 2012, Belfast City Council did not receive it until June 11.

The full council had not been scheduled to meet before June 30.

In previous years, Belfast City Council flew the flag for one day only.


 

  1. Conviction quashed because of forced confession'

 

ON June 21 the last man to be handed the death sentence in the Six Occupied Counties had his conviction for murder quashed.

Liam Holden, 58, was sentenced to hang for the killing of a British soldier in 1972. But he said he was water tortured, hooded and had a gun put to his head by soldiers to extract a confession.

The Court of Appeal in Belfast made the ruling 40 years after his sentencing.

Outside court, Liam Holden said: “I am delighted after 40 years that the conviction has been quashed. I am just sorry the parents are not alive to witness it.”

The appeal was held against his conviction for the murder of Private Frank Bell, 18, who was shot dead on foot patrol in Springfield Avenue in West Belfast on September 17, 1972.

Liam Holden was found guilty on the basis of a confession that he maintains was made under duress after being subjected to waterboarding.

He claimed he was pinned to the floor, a thick towel was held over his face and the soldiers started pouring water on it.

The widowed father-of-two said he was also taken to another part of Belfast and a gun was put to his head, at which point he agreed to sign the confession.

His sentence was commuted to life in prison by then British supremo in the Six Counties Secretary William Whitelaw. He served 17 years behind bars before being released on licence in 1989.

Liam Holden said: “What the soldiers did to me ... water torture, hooding, putting the gun to my head, no one will ever get a real feeling of what it is like, it is like a slow drowning sensation.”

He said he was delighted with the outcome.

Patrick Corrigan, Six-County programme director of Amnesty International, said Mr Holden had finally received a measure of justice.

“But justice delayed so long is justice denied, and meanwhile Mr Holden has lost seventeen years of his life to the inside of a prison cell,” he added.

“A conviction, based on confession evidence apparently extracted under torture, should never have been allowed to stand.

“Torture is a crime under domestic and international law and we must now see action from the UK authorities to investigate and hold to account those alleged to have carried out and authorised the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture in Northern Ireland.

“The accepted but unlawful practice at that time for the army, rather than the police, to detain and question suspects, also casts doubt on other similar convictions of that period.


8. Ballymurphy massacre families are told probe not in public interest

 

On June 20 the British government told the families of 11 people killed by British troops in the case known as the Ballymurphy Massacre that there will be no independent investigation of the deaths.

The relatives slammed the decision of British Secretary of State Owen Paterson and pledged to continue their campaign.

The innocent civilians who died after being shot and beaten by members of the Parachute Regiment in 1971 included a mother of eight and a Catholic priest tending to the wounded.
The deaths occurred during a security operation in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast that stretched across August 9-11 following the introduction of internment without trial.

British army claims at the time that the victims were armed Republicans were discredited and the families have called for an examination of the true facts of the case - which has been linked to the killing of civilians by the same regiment on Bloody Sunday in Derry.

A spokesperson for the families said they are “deeply disappointed” by Owen Paterson's decision to turn down their request for an independent investigation.

“Mr Paterson, in his letter, has stated that it 'would not be in the public interest' that an Independent Investigation be established,” they said.

“We refute this assertion and believe that is clearly in the 'public interest' that the full facts relating to the circumstances of the deaths of our loved ones and the role of the British Parachute Regiment is fully established.

“This is especially so given the recent findings of Lord Saville in relation to the events of Bloody Sunday and the disclosure of official British Government documents which reveal evidence of immunity for British soldiers involved in the murder of innocent civilians.


9         Councillor resigns from Provos

 

IT was reported on June 10 that Ballymoney Councillor Anita Cavlan had resigned from the Provisionals in May. An article in the May 24 Belfast-based Irish News quoted her as saying her resignation arose over concerns it is failing prisoners and the failure of the party leadership to address those concerns. She felt the Provos should be doing more to represent the prisoners and that calls for the urgent release of Marian Price had been weak”.

She also criticised of the way in which the Provos had been incorporated into the British political structures in the Six Counties. The party, she said, had lost direction and this is what happens, when the guerrillas (become) the people in power”.

According to Cllr Cavlan, [Provisional] Sinn Féin in my opinion has been slowly sedated and now has been rendered unconscious by the intoxication of an illusionary power to govern.


10. Vandals cut off GAA goalposts

 

BALLYMARTIN GAC, Co Down was granted permission to use the pitches at a council-run facility in Kilkeel while the club's playing fields are upgraded.

However, on June 12 it was found that the pitches had been targeted for the fourth time and the tall metal uprights had been cut down sometime between Monday evening and Tuesday morning (June 11 and 12).

The word 'British' was also sprayed onto remaining part of the posts at the Carginagh Road pitch, which opened earlier this month.

A union flag was also placed on the posts and, in an earlier attack, sectarian graffiti was daubed on the clubhouse itself.

A spokesperson for the club said they were “disappointed with the recent intimidating action of others”


.

11. 26-County minister defends use of ‘London’Derry in Leinster House

 

ON June 14 26-County Justice Minister Alan Shatter defended his use of ‘London’derry in Leinster House by saying that it was the name always employed by the Unionist community.

The use of the controversial name of Derry provoked an online storm of criticism and on Twitter some posters called for his resignation.

“I would use either the term Derry or Londonderry interchangeably - it's used by the two different communities in Northern Ireland, he told the BBC. The Catholic community refers to Derry, the Protestant community refers to Londonderry.”

The reference to Londonderry was in the paper, electronic and verbal versions of the speech.

Derry was founded in the sixth century by St Colmcille and was a major monastic settlement for hundreds of years. After the Norman Invasion it was used as a port by both Gaelic chiefs such as the O’Neills and O’Donnells and the English administration, depending on the political situation.

Following the Flight of the Earls in 1607 planters organised by London livery companies through ‘The Honourable The Irish Society’ as part of the Plantation of Ulster, built the city across the Foyle from the earlier town, with walls to defend it from Irish insurgents who opposed the occupation. The aim was to settle Ulster with a population supportive of the English Crown.

In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and the “London” prefix was added, changing the name of the city to Londonderry, a name never used or recognised by Irish nationalists or Republicans. Derry city has a largely nationalist population and was the victim of widespread gerrymandering under the Stormont regime brought down by the people’s struggle in 1972.


 

12. Sentences appealed

 

ON June 18 it was revealed that the British DPP in the Six Counties wants the sentences of both men convicted of murdering RUC member Stephen Carroll, who was shot dead in Craigavon in March 2009, referred to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient.

Brendan McConville, 40, of Glenholme Avenue, Craigavon, and John Paul Wootton, 20, of Collingdale, Lurgan, were found guilty of the murder. McConville was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years, while Wootton was told he must serve at least 14.

At the end of May it was revealed that Wootton’s sentence would be referred to the Court of Appeal, but there was no mention of McConville’s.

However, in a statement the Public Prosecution Service said: “The Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC, today confirmed that he has sought leave to refer the sentences imposed on both John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville to the Court of Appeal on the ground that the sentences are unduly lenient.

“The director has exercised his powers under section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (as amended by section 4 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002).”

13. Group seeks to restrain Eirgrid over power-link magnetic fields

A COMMUNITY group in Rush, Co Dublin is taking a case against Eirgrid in a row over cables for the east-west interconnector going through the town of Rush.
The action by Rush Community Council was admitted to the Commercial Court for hearing during the month of July.

The link will connect the power system to the British grid via undersea and underground cables and it is claimed will supply about 350,000 homes. It is set for completion later this year.

The legal action centres on a section of the interconnector that comes to shore from under the seabed at North Beach in Rush to the Rogerstown estuary. The group says it is close to homes.

Rush Community Council is seeking an order restraining Eirgrid from operating the link in any way resulting in creation, production or emission of time- varying magnetic fields. It is seeking a declaration that if the link does create such a magnetic field, it is an unauthorised development.


 

14. Bord na Móna workers to stage a two-day strike

 

UP TO 1,500 Bord na Móna workers are to stage a two-day strike on June 27 and 28 in a dispute over pay, it was announced on June 12.

This latest stoppage follows a one-day strike earlier this month. The group of unions at the semi-state body – Unite, Siptu and TEEU – says the 3.5 per cent pay increase on offer from the company is not on the terms agreed at the Labour Court.

The company and unions were at the Labour Court in April over the company’s offer of a one per cent pay increase.

The court recommended the workers had a valid claim to a 3.5 per cent increase.
The company has, however, agreed to pay the 3.5 per cent only on condition that part of the increase be performance-related and that it be non-pensionable.

“This is a wholly new departure, said Oliver McDonagh, Siptu organiser and was rejected by the workers.


 

15. Protest in Manhattan at Queen’s Jubilee celebration

ALMOST 30 protesters campaigning for the release of Republican prisoner Marian Price gathered outside a Manhattan celebration marking the Queen’s Jubilee on June 7.

One of the protest organisers, Sandy Boyer, explained why the group decided to crash the Queen’s celebration.

“Marian Price is in prison in Northern Ireland at the Queen’s discretion, he told the Irish Voice. It’s very critical that we raise awareness here. If we can get some noise made, some progress made in the United States, it can have a big effect over there.”

A veteran Republican, Belfast-born Marian Price, 58, was jailed for the IRA bombing of the Old Bailey in London in 1973. In May 2011 Price and three Derry men were charged with encouraging support of the IRA after a dissident Republican rally in Derry on Easter Sunday.

British supremo in the Six Counties Owen Paterson revoked her license, claiming the threat that she posed to society had “significantly increased.”

Two months later she was charged in connection to the murder of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks. She is alleged to have supplied a mobile phone which was subsequently used in a gun attack in which two British soldiers were killed in March 2009.

The charges against Marian Price and three Derry men were later dismissed at Derry Magistrate’s Court in May 2012.

She was the only female inmate at Maghaberry prison in Antrim from May 2011 until she was moved to the hospital wing of Hydebank prison last February.


 

16. Lia Fáil monument at Tara vandalized

 

A NATIONAL monument that is said to have served as the coronation stone for the High Kings of Tara was vandalised, it was revealed on June 12.

The attack took place on the Lia Fáil (stone of destiny) Standing Stone, which is situated on the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.

The standing stone, which is believed to date from 3,500 BC, is considered an extremely important national monument and features extensively in ancient texts. The granite stone is associated with the inauguration rites for the Kings of Tara and was moved to its current position in the early 19th century.

The monument was reported to be damaged last weekend, but it is unknown when the attack occurred.

An archaeologist from the National Monuments Service examined the monument this week and concluded it had been struck – possibly with a hammer or similar instrument – at 11 places on all four faces of the stone. Fragments of the standing stone were also removed


 

17. Unions complicit in job cuts at Pfizer

 

ON June 6, pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced the elimination of 177 jobs at its operations in Cork, Ireland.

The layoffs will take place at two locations, Ringaskiddy and Little Island, and are being justified due to the ending of patents for several of Pfizer’s products, which will result in a drop in sales.

The announcement came as Irish unemployment reached a new high of 14.8 percent.

The Pfizer workers who will lose their jobs next year will be confronted with the near certainty of unemployment, as the Fine Gael-Labour coalition continues to intensify austerity measures that have led to the loss of thousands of jobs since 2008. Cork has been hit particularly hard.

The Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), which represents most of the workforce at the Cork plants, is doing all it can to aid management in imposing the job cuts.

After the 177 layoffs were ‘s position. SIPTU organiser Alan OLeary stated, These job losses result from the expiry of the patent on the drug Lipitor, which is produced at the Little Island plant, and dramatically reduced volumes at the Ringaskiddy Plant.”

No call was made for the workforce, which approaches 1,000 at the two affected plants and totals 4,000 at eight sites across Ireland, to take any protest action, let alone strike, to defend their positions. Accepting the redundancies as a fait accompli, OLeary stated, “Pfizer is a key employer in the Cork region and the union will be seeking support from all stakeholders, including the Government, to retain as many jobs as possible at both plants.”

SIPTU’s inactivity will allow Pfizer to impose cost-cutting at all its Irish locations. The existence of such plans was indicated in remarks by Séamus Fives, site manager at the Little Island and Ringaskiddy plants. “Much greater competitiveness is required to compete with generic medicines, meaning that the cost of manufacturing must be reduced,” he stated. “Within the Pfizer global manufacturing network, Ireland competes with much lower cost manufacturing locations and continuous focus upon competitiveness is critical for the future.”

The lack of any defence of the Pfizer workers by SIPTU is in keeping with the role of the trade union bureaucracy in the destruction of jobs since the onset of the economic crisis of 2008. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has blocked any resistance by workers to the onslaught launched against public spending by the previous Fianna Fáil-Green Party government and continued by the current coalition.

Through the Croke Park Agreement, the unions have facilitated a reduction of jobs in the public sector by over 10 per cent, with a further 37,000 jobs to go by 2015. The latest figures detailing the savings made under Croke Park were presented to Leinster House on June 14, with fully 1.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) in cost reductions made since 2010.

Conditions are favourable for an oppositional movement to develop within the working-class, and it is for this reason that SIPTU fears calling any action at Pfizer. In the local area there have been several high-profile layoff announcements in recent months, including at international games company Game. Cork was also the city in which 32 Vita Cortex workers launched a five-month occupation of their factory after the company refused to make redundancy payments. Lacking a political perspective and isolated by SIPTU, the occupation was brought to an end last month after 150 days with the workers failing to achieve their very modest demands.

The despicable role of SIPTU at Pfizer has a long pedigree. In 2010, Pfizer revealed a plan to cut its global workforce by 6,000, with 785 of those job losses coming in Ireland. The reductions saw the closure of nine of Pfizer’s 78 global facilities, and came in the wake of the takeover of Wyeth, a market rival. Then as now, no opposition was offered by the unions, who instead worked to ensure that as few of the cuts as possible would take place at its Irish sites. Pfizer’s 2010 plan stated that three factories in Ireland, two in Cork and one in Dublin, would close by 2015. Other factory closures were announced in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The global scale of Pfizer’s operations means the defence of workers’ jobs can only be guided by an internationalist and socialist perspective. But the unions made no call for Pfizer workers in Ireland to build solidarity with their colleagues internationally. Instead, SIPTU offered its services to Pfizer to aid in finding a buyer for the three plants slated for closure, and urged the then Fianna Fáil-Green party government to intervene on the side of the workers. OLeary stated at the time, While the news is not very good for people and there is a cloud of uncertainty, I think it is important to say there’s a bit of time for this company to sell these plants. We would be calling on the Government to use whatever means it can to support the sale.”

The sharp cost-cutting has allowed the company to maintain large profits even as some of its products come off patent. Close to $3 billion in cuts are being planned from the firm’s research budget globally, including the closure of a research site in Britain.

These latest cuts deal a blow to claims embraced by the whole political establishment that the multinational sector will form the basis for Irish economic growth. Pfizer’s layoffs are just the first in a broader wave of cuts across the pharmaceuticals sector, which has a large presence in Ireland. Other areas have not been exempt, with Hewlett Packard’s 4,000 workforce in Ireland expected to be reduced as part of proposals to cut global staff by 27,000.

www.wsws.org


 

18. Turf-cutters protest in Galway as machinery is seized

 

A STAND-off between up to 200 turf-cutters, gardaí and officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Services near Woodford in Co Galway ended on June 21. Turf cutters staged an overnight protest on the bog.

Representatives of the Turf-Cutting Contractors' Association, whose machine was seized by the NPWS yesterday, were allowed by gardaí to remove the vehicle from the bog.

Afterwards, Association chairman Michael Fitzmaurice said the local turf cutters had won the battle and would continue to cut turf on their own bog.

Over 200 turf cutters from all over the country had gathered at the bog which is located at Looscaun and there were loud cheers as the machinery was taken away by the contractors' representatives.

They mounted the action at Clonmoylan Bog yesterday in an attempt to stop the removal of turf-cutting equipment by gardaí.

The 26 Counties is required to protect and conserve important peatland habitats on raised bogs under the EU Habitat's Directive.


 

19. Ann San Suu Kyi accepts Nobel Peace Prize, Freedom of Dublin, 21 years late

 

IN Oslo on June 16 Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi formally accepted the Nobel Prize she was awarded 21 years ago while under house arrest by the Burmese military junta.

Awarding her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated: “Suu Kyi's struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression.”
The event was hailed as the “most remarkable in the entire history of the Nobel prizes”.
In her speech, Aung San Suu Kyi said that humanity must continue to search for peace “like a traveller in the desert fixes his eyes on one guiding star”.

Her wide-ranging and personal lecture touched on several themes, including her feelings of isolation under house arrest, the Buddhist concept of suffering, human rights, her hopes and fears for Burma's future, and the importance of the peace prize itself.
“[The prize] did not seem quite real because in a sense I did not feel myself to be quite real at that time. Often during my days of house arrest it felt as though I were no longer a part of the real world.

“There was the house which was my world, there was the world of others who also were not free but who were together in prison as a community, and there was the world of the free; each was a different planet pursuing its own separate course in an indifferent universe.

“What the Nobel peace prize did was to draw me once again into the world of other human beings outside the isolated area in which I lived, to restore a sense of reality to me. This did not happen instantly, of course, but as the days and months went by and news of reactions to the award came over the airwaves, I began to understand the significance of the Nobel Prize. It had made me real once again.

“And what was more important, the Nobel prize had drawn the attention of the world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. We were not going to be forgotten.

“When the Nobel committee awarded the peace prize to me they were recognising that the oppressed and the isolated in Burma were also a part of the world; they were recognising the oneness of humanity … The Nobel peace prize opened up a door in my heart.”

On June 18 she visited Dublin to receive the Freedom of the City which she had been awarded 21 years before.

Geraldine McNamara, Republican Sinn Féin Publicity Officer, said in a statement on June 16 that Aung San Suu Kyi was to be congratulated for her continued defiance against oppression, and her struggle to see Myanmar become a democratic society free from a government who imprison without trial those who dare to speak against their regime.

Geraldine said that while this was a wonderful event, it must be pointed out and highlighted that while the Dublin Administration welcomes Aung San Suu Kyi's achievements, the same administration stays silent when Irish Republicans are imprisoned without trial in the Occupied Six Counties of our country. Martin Corey and Marian Price are at present interned in jails in the Six Counties and have no charges put against them, they are interned simply because they have refused to accept that Britain has any right to govern any part of Ireland.

“Irish Republicans believe that England does not have any right to rule Ireland, nor will they ever have any right to rule Ireland. We follow the teachings of Ulster Presbyterian and father of Republicanism Theobald Wolfe Tone, whose goal was to break the connection with England. Martin Corey and Marian Price are interned here in Ireland because they will not accept a divided Ireland, and those who try and highlight this situation are continually harassed and cannot picket or march on the streets of the Occupied Six Counties without being charged with offences against the British regime.

“Aung San Suu Kyi has been an inspiration to oppressed people world wide and hopefully she will not now be used by imperialist countries who oppress those who like Aung San Suu Kyi continue to speak against tyranny in their native countries.”

Geraldine called for


 

20. Butcher’s Apron burned in Argentina

 

ANGRY Argentine protesters burnt the Union Jack flag outside the headquarters of the country’s oil company in Buenos Aires, calling for an end to the use of tankers carrying the British flag.

On Monday, June 11, a group of angry protesters gathered outside the main offices of Argentina's newly state-controlled energy company YPF to protest against the violation of rules which are designed to punish companies supporting offshore oil exploration near the Malvinas Islands.

In response to protests, YPF officials announced that they had no plans to continue to use tankers carrying the British flag in order to transport it energy.

“YPF only made an exception this one time, buying from a British ship to guarantee the supply of oil and gas in Tierra del Fuego ahead of the coming winter,said the company in a statement.

The protests come one week after Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced oil exploration by British-listed companies near the Malvinas Islands was illegal and clandestine”.

The dispute over the Malvinas archipelago between Argentina and Britain has become heated with Britain ruling out the possibility of negotiations.

On Monday, June 4, as the British Queen was celebrating her 60th year on the throne, the Organisation of American States (OAS), which includes the US, re-adopted a 2010 declaration which supports Argentina’s call for talks over the islands.

Britain has ruled the archipelago since 1833 and Malvinas is still one of the 16 territories on the UN Committee on Decolonisation's list of colonies awaiting liberation.

www.presstv.ir/


 

21. Marching for an end to Stop-and-Frisk

 

ON Sunday June 17, civil rights, faith and community groups held a silent march in Manhattan to protest the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, which permits law enforcement to confront people at will, question them and pat them down for weapons or drugs.

The march drew hundreds of diverse community and labour groups, faith organisations and elected officials. It re-enacted an earlier march in 1917, when the newly-formed NAACP silently marched down Fifth Avenue to protest race riots and to foment national opposition to lynching.

That march, a powerful symbol of justice and strength, was led by WEB DuBois. 95 years later on Father’s Day, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, together with 1199 SEIU President George Gresham and Rev Al Sharpton of the National Action Network lead thousands down the same avenue, calling for an end to racially-biased policing.
The NYPD has come under increasing scrutiny for this controversial policy, raising concerns of the discriminatory targeting of minorities throughout New York City.

In May, US District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that there was overwhelming evidence that the practice has led to thousands of illegal stops. She granted class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices as being unconstitutional and racially discriminatory; the ruling will allow anyone unlawfully stopped and frisked since January 2005 to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

In May the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) published a report underscoring the racial disparities that communities of color have long been confronted with: hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers are being targeted and stopped each year by the NYPD, the vast majority of whom are black or Latino.

Throughout the United States, discriminatory practices like stop-and-frisk are particularly alarming to immigrant communities in light of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) “Secure Communities” program, which identifies and deports undocumented immigrants.

For jurisdictions that participate in Secure Communities, local law enforcement is required to provide ICE with the fingerprints of anyone they arrest, regardless of how minor the charges are, and even if no charges are pressed.

The NYCLU’s analysis shows that between 2004 and 2011, more than 4 million New Yorkers were targets of street interrogation. 90% of all individuals questioned and frisked were found to be engaged in no criminal wrongdoing and were neither arrested nor ticketed. In 2011, about 85% of those stopped were black and Latino residents although they comprise only about 23% and 29% respectively, of New York City’s total population.

In recent months, the killings of unarmed teens Trayvon Martin in Florida, and Ramarley Graham in the Bronx have drawn national attention to the consequences of racial profiling of youth. Although young black and Latino men account for only 4.7% of the city’s population, black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for over 40% of stops last year. Nine of every 10 was found innocent. Even more alarming is that the number of stops of young black men exceeded New York’s entire population of young black men.

The NYPD’s policy of racial profiling violates the constitutional rights of New Yorkers — namely, the Fourth Amendment’s unreasonable search and seizure clause, and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The NYCLU, in alliance with Communities United for Safer Police Reform, are fighting to pass the Community Safety Act, a series of City Council civil rights bills that would strengthen the definition of discrimination and more effectively ban profiling based on race and gender identity. The legislation would also require NYPD officers to identify themselves and explain their cause when conducting stop-and-frisks or other related police activities.

In an effort to combat the practice NYCLU unveiled Stop and Frisk Watch, a free smartphone app that will enable passersby to monitor and report police activity in an effort to hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and-frisks.
Laurie Smolenski is a freelance writer and community organiser for immigrants in New York City. She has a master’s degree in international relations with a focus on women’s rights. http://www.commondreams.org


 

22. No to the European Union’s ESM bank bailout fund and the fiscal pact!

 

“WE are German workers and trade union members. We hold trade union responsibilities at various levels. Some of us are politically active in the traditional party of the German working class, the SPD, which in recent years, as you undoubtedly know, has lost a large number of members.

“With this invitation we are taking an initiative which is not customary. We are addressing all of our colleagues throughout Europe, to whom we want to send this simple appeal. For us, this initiative is a question of honour for German workers.

“We cannot remain inactive for a single day longer in the face of an organised campaign that aims to terrorise the Greek people. Pressure is being put on them to give up the demand for the cancellation of the memorandum imposed on them by the Troika (made up of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank). And yet the cancellation of the memorandum on the murderous program of cuts is the central demand, the mandate delivered in the elections on 6 May. It must disappear.

“We declare war on this campaign against the Greek people.

“We invite you to a European Meeting to be held in Cologne on June 30, with which together we will demonstrate our rejection.

“As German workers, we have our specific reasons for our rejection. Because this campaign against the Greek people is being organized in our name in a totally unjustified manner.

“Germany is being put forward as a wonderful example. The German people are being held up as a model of “virtue. Their spirit of sacrifice and the sense of responsibility of their trade union leaders are being praised to the skies and glorified in Europe. As if that sense of responsibility had not been imposed on us through a combination of pressure and deceit, and as if it has not led us to a social disaster that has affected the very heart of the most powerful economy in Europe: with an explosion of starvation wages and job insecurity, the spread of poverty in families and for children, and the financial bankruptcy of local administrations and hospitals.

“We state insistently: it is not with this result in mind that the German people pulled down the Berlin Wall twenty years ago. It is not with this result in mind that the German workers regained their unity by re-establishing the unity of their DGB trade union confederation.

“Let it be us, in Germany, who put out this appeal, we whose people are being presented falsely and with a deceitful objective as being supporters of Merkel  out of fear of having to pay for other peoples bankruptcy, as some people would have you believe. Let us organize a joint struggle throughout Europe: in defence of the people of Greece and against ratification of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty and the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG), which would subject the peoples of Europe to the dictates of the “debt brake”.

“Rest assured that they are lying to the peoples when they say that the German workers blame the Greek people for Greece’s debt.

– As if we did not know how and for whose benefit Greece went into debt!
– As if we did not know on what conditions Siemens sold its submarines to Greece!
– As if we did not know how to make the link with the debt that is crippling our own communities and regions for the benefit of the same banking institutions that are holding a gun to Greece’s head!
– As if the majority of the workers and people of North Rhine-Westphalia had not said in a loud voice on May 13, echoing the removal from office of Sarkozy Merkel’s most important and closest ally in Europe – by the people of France: Ten years of this policy enough’s enough!”

“A hope is being born and growing in Europe: the hope of a turn in the situation after 30 years of dictates from the EU. It is being born out of events that are almost simultaneous: in Greece, with the demand to cancel the memorandum; in France, where Sarkozy was driven from office; and here in Germany, where Merkel has suffered a resounding defeat. It is being born out of the general strike of 29 March that shook Spain, as well as the public services strike movement here in the Spring, followed by the strike movement by the metal workers.

“With this invitation, we want our colleagues in the various countries of Europe to know that the German labour movement has decided – despite the obstacles we are facing everywhere from among our own ranks – to once again take our place in the joint struggle. The German workers are present in the confrontations by the peoples to free themselves from the constraints of the EU treaties, which are nothing more than the expression of the dictates of finance capital in full crisis.

“We can say to you with certainty: the grand declarations coming from certain countries, like the ones we are hearing from the SPD leadership, will be met in Germany with absolute rejection; they would have us believe that the disastrous consequences of the ESM and TSCG treaties could be eliminated through a “growth pact”. Because the workers have had more than enough experience of measures presented to them as “favouring growth”, which in fact have resulted in a retirement age of 67, in the Hartz IV social welfare cutbacks, in widespread job insecurity and in more than 10 years of a systematic lowering of wages!

“When we inform you that over 1,500 signatories addressed an open letter to the SPD members of parliament to tell them to vote “No” to the ratification of the ESM and TSCG/Fiscal Treaty , we can also say that those colleagues, many of whom were strike organisers this Spring, many of whom are also fighting within their unions for a “No” to the dictate of the debt and competitiveness, represent the opinion of thousands more. They do not accept having the SPD leadership once again come to the aid of a Merkel government in its death-throes on the pretext of a growth pact, and agree to vote in favour of the ESM and TSCG.

“Let us organise together the common struggle against ratification of those treaties.
Let us support each other in our mutual struggles.
Support the legitimate demands of the Greek people!
Support the Spanish workers in their struggle against the “reform” of the labour market!
Say No to the ratification of the ESM and TSCG in France and Germany!

[The invitation is signed by representatives of many labour organisations].
The European Meeting will take place in Cologne at Bürgerzentrum “Alte Feuerwache”, Melchiorstrasse 3, starting at 11am on June 30, 2012.
Contact: Henning Frey, Gleeueler Str. 67, 50931 Köln
Jean Pierre Barrois: jeanpierrebarrois@gmail.com


 

23. Amnesty raps Olympic chemical sponsor

 

AMNESTY International says the British government should apologise for accepting Dow Chemical, which the Indian state minister for Gas Relief and Rehabilitation described as “murderous” in March, as an Olympic sponsor.

The American chemicals giant, which is sponsoring a £7 million decorative wrap that will sheathe London's Olympic Stadium, faces a £1.1 billion compensation lawsuit by the Indian Supreme Court over the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster in India, which is estimated to have killed 7,000 to 10,000 people immediately and another 15,000 in the past 20 years.

“Dow Chemical, a sponsor of this year's Olympic Games, owns the company responsible for the Bhopal gas leak which killed 7,000 to 10,000 people immediately, and a further 15,000 in the following twenty years,” Amnesty International said.

“But Dow has never addressed the ongoing human rights impact of the catastrophe it caused”.

The Bhopal disaster, the world’s worst industrial catastrophe, occurred on the night of December 2/3, 1984 at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in the capital of Indian Madhya Pradesh state.

The Union Carbide agreed a compensation settlement of £302 million with thousands of victims of the deadly gas leak in 1989 but survivors and activists say Dow Chemical legal responsibilities are far from over. The activists say the Bhopal gas disaster site remains to be cleaned and children born to survivors of the catastrophe are born with severe health problems including cancer.

India's Supreme Court informed Dow Chemicals in February 2011 that it is holding hearings on a government-backed call for an additional £1.1 billion in compensation for the victims.

Now, in the run-up to the Olympics, Amnesty International has set up an email campaign to call on the games organisers to review their unethical policy and boycott Dow.


 

24. Google concerned by rising content removal requests

 

On June 18 Google said it was concerned by the rise in the number of content removal requests it is receiving from governments.

The internet search company released its fifth semi-annual Transparency Report which provides information on take-down requests by countries around the world.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou said that since 2002 the number of governments censoring the internet has increased from four to 42.

“It is concerning to us because it's an issue of political speech. When it comes to political speech it's coming from countries that we wouldn't normally expect.”

She pointed to Spain, for example, where the company was asked to remove 270 search results.

Google’s report shows that the Irish government did not submit any removal requests. The US, Germany and Brazil top the list of countries asking Google to remove material.

ENDS

 


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