Ireland

After almost four years in jail without charge, Irish prisoner of conscience Martin Corey was released from custody on January 15. But he was only freed on condition he stay away from the media and his home town or face a return to jail. Corey was hidden from members of the press who had gathered outside the Maghaberry jail, in the six counties in Ireland's north still claimed by Britain, on the night of January 15. The 63-year-old was taken out in a blacked-out prison van directly to a train station, where he was released to his lawyer.
A police raid on a Roma settlement outside the rural town of Farsala in central Greece on October 16 made worldwide headlines. The raid was nothing unusual but, as Associated Press said on October 22, “one of dozens of raids they have carried out on Roma camps in the past few weeks in a crackdown on drug smuggling and burglary gangs”. For police, politicians and media in Europe, the link between Roma (or “Gypsies” to use the racist term favoured by the British press) and crime is self-evident.
“I am a gay, Irish, Catholic, alcoholic Pogue who is about to die from cancer — and don’t think I don’t know it,” Philip Chevron, who passed away on October 8, told the Irish Daily Mail in June. The 56-year-old Chevron was best known as the guitarist for legendary Irish folk punk band The Pogues. However, his music career goes back to the founding of The Radiators From Space in 1976 — described as Ireland's first punk band.
“Arthur's Day”, that ingenious marketing campaign thought up in 2009 to mark the 250th anniversary of the Guinness brewing company and to raise further sales of “the black stuff”, will be celebrated most of all by executives, sales teams and shareholders on September 26. According to Diageo (the British-based conglomerate that now owns Guinness), on September 26 every year: “Guinness fans around the world will come together at a series of exciting musical events to raise a glass to Arthur Guinness and celebrate those who like him, make great things happen.”
Towards the end of 2008, I joined thousands in Toronto to protest Israel’s attack on Gaza. At York University, where I was a student, we mobilised the campus to defend Palestinian rights. A few months later, bombs were falling on my own people ― in the predominantly Tamil Vanni region of northern Sri Lanka. And once again, we hit Toronto’s streets in protest. I realised then that even though our homelands are oceans apart, Palestinians and Tamils have much in common. Through the “war on terror”, the Israeli and Sri Lankan armies have waged war on civilian populations.
The predominantly Catholic and nationalist community of Ardoyne in north Belfast has been subjected to a campaign of violence as part of the sectarian “marching season”. In recent weeks, the six counties still claimed by Britain have been the scene of violence by “loyalists” — those who support ongoing British rule and the privileges given to the Protestant majority to ensure loyalty to British rule. The article below was published by Irish Republican News on July 19. * * *
Stephen Murney is a political and community activist who lives in Newry in the north of Ireland. He is also a member of Eirigi (“Arise”), a legal, registered Irish socialist republican political party. Murney has frequently documented, photographed and recorded incidents of harsh Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) stop and searches of people, house raids and other rough treatment in the Newry area. Murney regularly highlighted these issues in local newspapers and on the internet.
Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace Feargal Cochrane Yale University Press, 2013 368 pp, $38.00 Reginald Maudling, the Tory Home Secretary who oversaw the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland, perfectly expressed the British ruling class’s blend of condescension and indifference towards Ireland when he blurted out to his staff: “For God’s sake bring me a large Scotch — what a bloody awful country.” As his policies created mayhem on the streets of Ulster, he coined the cute phrase “acceptable level of violence” to describe what was going on.
Martin Corey is a 63-year-old man jailed in the six counties of Ireland's north still claimed by Britain. He has been held for three years without trial. On April 16, 2010, Corey’s house in Lurgan was visited by members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Corey was arrested. When he asked what the charges were, Corey was told that the police officers “did not know”. All they were told was to arrest Corey.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams accused the British government on May 24 of breaching commitments given during peace talks over a decade ago. Adams' comments came after the arrest of leading Donegal Sinn Fein member John Downey. The 61-year-old was brought before Westminster Magistrates Court to face charges over a 1982 IRA attack in London’s Hyde Park in which four soldiers were killed. Adams said an agreement forged with the British government at the 2001 Weston Park talks about republicans still pursued over outstanding prosecutions had been breached.
Irish Republican political activist Marian Price was released from jail on May 30 after more than two years of internment without trial, rish Republican News said. The decision to release Price was taken by the parole commissioners. Price was jailed in the otherwise all-male Maghaberry Prison in the six counties of Ireland's north still claimed by Britain. She was moved to the hospital wing of Hydebank prison in February last year.
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, veteran Irish civil rights leader, said in response to the case of Irish republican Marian Price, who was returned to jail in 2011: “It is a clear signal to everyone who is not 'on board' and who is not of the same mind as the government that no dissent will be tolerated. “No dissent will be tolerated and you challenge the status quo at your peril.”.
SinnFein.ie reported: Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams commenting on the death today of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said: “Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British Prime Minister. "Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies.
Plastic bullets were fired and water cannons were used as rioting erupted again in Belfast on January 12 at loyalist flag protests, Irish Republican News said that day. Belfast has been hit by violent protests and riots in the aftermath of a decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the flying of the Union Jack at Belfast City Hall to 17 days a year.
Thousands of people marched through Dublin on November 17 to protest against the death of dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died of blood poisoning after being refused an abortion. More than 10,000 people gathered for a vigil and march over the death and the country's draconian abortion laws. A minute's silence was held at Merrion Square by the crowd, followed by chants of “never again”. Irish doctors appear to have judged that leaving Ms Halappanavar for two days with a fully opened cervix did not present any risk of the infection from which she eventually died.
Thousands of people marched to the offices of Ireland's prime minister on November 17 to support a woman's right to choose. The protest was sparked by the death of Savita Halappanavar in hospital, after staff refused to terminate her pregnancy even though her life was in danger. The article below first appeared on the Irish site Sráid Marx. * * *

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