Equality, Racism & Republicanism


Anne Waters

(A talk given at a recent session of the monthly 1916 Performing Arts Club, published by permission of the author)

I want to say a few words on the subject of ‘Equality’ in particular as it pertains to racism. It is a word that is bandied about quite a bit lately and it is in danger of being misappropriated by some factions with their own agenda.

          Now when we speak of equality, one of the most important points to remember is that true equality recognises difference but it apportions an equal value to all difference. Understanding equality therefore is an acceptance that we are not homogenous or in other words we are not all the same.

Also, Equality is not finite so granting rights to one group does not erode the rights of another or reduce their entitlements.

To achieve an…

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Family remember tragic death of three-year-old

Jim Dorrian was only a young Catholic child at the age of 3-year’s-old he was killed by a British Army armoured vehicle

The family of the first child to be killed by a British Army armouredvehicle have been recalling the tragedy, fifty years after it tookplace.

Innocent children murdered during the Troubles

Source: Family remember tragic death of three-year-old

James Connolly’s secretary and her UVF husband

The unlikely love story of Winnie Carney, founder member of Cumann na mBan in Belfast, and Somme veteran George McBride

UVF veteran George McBride (36th Ulster Division) and Winifred Carney founding member of the Cumann na mBan, Belfast

The writing box given to Rita Murphy, a nurse in the UVF hospital, and passed on to her daughter-in-law Allison Murphy, author Winnie and George: An Unlikely Union
The writing box given to Rita Murphy, a nurse in the UVF hospital, and passed on to her daughter-in-law Allison Murphy, author Winnie and George: An Unlikely Union
Allison Murphy

James Connolly one of the leaders of the 1916 rebellion

When I opened the writing box that warm June evening, I found two pieces of paper inside. One was a brown envelope on which was written in shaky cursive script: George McBride, 3 Whitewell Parade, Whitewell Road, Belfast. My mother-in-law explained that it was her favourite old gentleman’s address. He had lived there for more than 50 years and spent the happiest 15 years of his life in that house with his wife. He had wanted my mother-in-law to have a record of where the box came from.

Nora Connelly and Winfred Carney, from the Belfast, Cumann na mBan

The second piece of paper was a cutting from an unidentifiable newspaper that had the headline, “UVF pioneer and Somme veteran dies”. The opening paragraph stated: “Somme veteran, George McBride, a member of the old UVF, who married James Connolly’s secretary, has died in the UVF Hospital, Belfast, aged 92”.

While I was struck by the incongruity of a UVF soldier marrying Connolly’s secretary, my mother-in-law was horrified that her friend’s age was incorrectly reported. “He was only 90!” was her response as I read aloud. I should point out that my mother-in-law had no knowledge of history and, in fact, studiously avoided discussing anything related to the past. I was sure she had never heard of James Connolly and the fact that the article stated that George’s wife had been Connolly’s secretary would have been of no relevance to her.

The obituary continued by describing Mr McBride’s war record and his wife’s role in the Easter Rising of 1916. It included the following paragraph: “Speaking from Dublin, Mr McBride’s niece, Mrs Mabel Farrell, said the marriage was a strange alliance for the time and although they argued politics incessantly, they loved each other very much.” My mother-in-law asked me if, when I had the time, I would try to write about George’s life. She wanted him to be remembered by more than an address on an old brown envelope. She knew only that he loved his wife very much, although he told her that many thought it was an unusual marriage. She was emphatic that the story should be told for the general public – people like her – to read.

In 1912 in Belfast lived 24-year-old Winifred Carney and 14-year-old George McBride; she of a Catholic, republican background, he of the Protestant, unionist tradition. Belfast was a regional industrial city much like those in the north of England, but it differed in that it was, at times, polarised by politics and religion. While Belfast prospered, sectarian tensions simmered below the surface and, at times, erupted into bloody conflict. Workers had flocked into the city during the prosperous times, changing the demographics and leading to Catholics becoming one-third of the population.

At the same time, the political scene was changing, as unionism, once led by landed southern Irish unionists, came to be dominated by the industrial leaders and workers of the Ulster region. When it became clear that Home Rule may become a reality, such unionists directed their energies into keeping Ireland in the union with Great Britain and ensuring that power over the industrialised north remained with Westminster.

In the same period, nationalism in Ireland was also becoming more uncompromising, and movements to strengthen cultural nationalism were growing. In March 1912, on the eve of the introduction of the third Home Rule Bill to parliament, the Protestant-dominated Belfast Corporation was emphasising the link between prosperity and the union with Great Britain. Despite economic vitality and industrial prowess, these ominous political developments led to an increasing anxiety pervading the streets of the city.

From this time forward Winnie and George found themselves intimately involved in all the dramatic major events of the decade: the formation of Cumann na mBan and the Young Citizen Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme, the War of Independence and the partition of Ireland, the formation of Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State.

Despite these divisive events, Winnie and George met, fell in love and married. This is their story. In 2016 their medals were placed together in Belfast City Hall as a message of reconciliation. They belonged to Shankill Road man George McBride, a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force and a soldier in the 15th Battalion of the 36th Ulster Division which fought at the Somme; and Winifred Carney, a founding member of Belfast’s Cumann na mBan, secretary to James Connolly and his adjutant in the GPO during every minute of the Easter Rising.

With many thanks to: The Irish Times for the original story 

Winnie and George: An Unlikely Union (Mercier Press) tells the story of their lives and their love.

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4QG9tZP2pwcWCccgKbmSqSV/george-mcbride

(2)-: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winifred_Carney

(3)-: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/1916/rising-memories/the-orangeman-and-the-cumann-na-mban-typist-34399271.html

(4)-: https://www.irishcatholic.com/their-love-bridged-the-norths-divides/

Members of South East Antrim UDA (SEA UDA) ordered to pay £120k following National Crime Agency investigation

National Crime Agency (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Members of the South East Antrim UDA have been ordered to pay £120,000 following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

South East Antrim UDA (SEA UDA)

The investigation, carried out by the NCA and the PSNI’s Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF), relates to residential properties owned by an alleged member of the paramilitary group, his partner and associates.

South East Antrim UDA (2nd Battalion), UDA,

It is alleged the properties, in the Carrickfergus area, were purchased using the proceeds of illegal money lending, mortgage fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.

The defendants decided not to contest the case and agreed to pay £120,000 to settle.

An order was granted by Belfast High Court on January 15 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The defendants will now have six months to sell their properties and hand over the money.

NCA Branch Commander David Cunningham said: “The order we have obtained following our investigation is for a sizeable sum, and it demonstrates the NCA’s commitment to pursue assets obtained through unlawful activity, and denying criminals the proceeds of their crimes.

“As part of the PCTF we will continue to use the tools provided under the Proceeds of Crime Act to prevent those involved with paramilitary organisations from making financial gain from their activities.”

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

Follow these links to find out more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/UDA_South_East_Antrim_Brigade

(2)-: http://www.irishnews.com/paywall/tsb/irishnews/irishnews/irishnews//news/2020/01/06/news/south-east-antrim-uda-order-murder-of-carrickfergus-man-1806173/content.html

The Welsh assembly joins Stormont and Holyrood in rejecting Tory government Brexit bill

Mark Drakeford appears in front of a European flag. Photograph: CPMR/Flickr

Politicians in Wales have joined those in the North of Ireland and Scotland to reject Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill.

On Tuesday, 35 assembly members from Labour and Plaid Cymru rejected the Bill, while 15 backed it.

First minister Mark Drakeford told the assembly: “It is a bad deal for Wales because it would clearly damage our economy, above all our manufacturing and agri-food sectors.

“It is a bad deal for Wales because there are no legally binding commitments to maintaining employment, environment and consumer rights and protections.”

He added that arrangements for the North of Ireland would result in a “hard border in the Irish sea” and amount to “a huge breach in the economic integrity of the United Kingdom”.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price claimed that the politics of the United Kingdom had been “forced to the edge of a precipice by one of the most irresponsible, reckless governments that we’ve ever seen.”

“Instead of politics proceeding through cool reflection, effective scrutiny, what we’re having is politics working through bitter arguments and threats.”

He added: “It’s completely unacceptable”.

Welsh Conservative AM Andrew RT Davies said following the vote: “The people of Wales continue to get two fingers from the Labour-Plaid-Lib leftie establishment in Cardiff Bay.”

Though none of the devolved institutions have granted permission for Westminster to go ahead with the legislation, their actions cannot prevent Brexit from becoming law.

With many thanks to: The New European and Jonathan Read for the original story – Jonathan.read@archant.co.uk @jonoread

Follow these links to find out more: https://news.stv.tv/politics/all-three-devolved-parliaments-reject-pms-brexit-deal

(2)-: https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/stormont-assembly-to-reject-boris-johnson-brexit-deal-1-6473973

(3)-: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-51026014

PIRA bomber behind Falls Road blast was an RUC informer

Double agent triggered device that killed two as survivor sues Libya for supplying Semtex to the Provos

West Belfast man Gerry McGivern died in July 2014

An IRA double agent was at the centre of a notorious ‘own goal’ explosion that left two civilians dead.

Police informant Gerry McGivern — who died in exile in England — can be named as a member of the Falls Road Baths bomb team that murdered Eamon Gilroy (24), Elizabeth Hamill (60) and soldier John Howard (29) in a no-warning attack.

His name emerged after a survivor of the devastating 1988 blast lodged a High Court claim against the Libyan government for supplying the IRA with Semtex used in the west Belfast slaughter, when Muammar Gaddafi was in control of Libya.

This is the first time that a compensation case of this nature has been pursued through the Northern Ireland courts.

Victims are now questioning whether the bombing could have been avoided because of McGivern’s role as a double agent.

One told Sunday Life: “I want to know if Special Branch had prior knowledge of this attack through its agent Gerry McGivern.


Ex-IRA gunman Gerry McGivern with his unsuspecting partner Anne Mackey

“It was a massive own goal for the IRA and no one has ever been able to explain why the bomb was detonated.”

With many thanks to: The Sunday Life and the Belfast Telegraph and Ciaran Barnes for the original story 

Follow these links to find out more: