Rsf Chill Mhantáin
Today is the 32nd anniversary of the re-introduction of internment in the occupied six counties. In March 1971 Brian Faulkner was appointed prime minister at Stormont. That year had seen the conflict escalate considerably, and Faulkner soon considered using internment against Republicans once again. It had been used against Republicans many times over the years, creating serious problems for the movement each time. Internment had been used on both sides of the border during the IRA campaign between 1956 and 1962, and Faulkner believed it had caused that campaign to fail. However in 1971 the Republican movement had a few things in it’s favour when it came to internment. Firstly the 26 county government appeared unlikely to also introduce internment, secondly there was a much larger amount of IRA activists now compared to the ’56-’62 period, and thirdly most of the IRA’s membership was new, young and unknown to the authorities.
Despite such realities, Faulkner persisted and got his wish. It was a desperate last throw of the dice for Stormont. At dawn on August 9th, in an exercise codenamed Operation Demetrius, the British Army rampaged through nationalist areas and interned 342 men, all but one of whom was Catholic. No Loyalists were interned until February 1973, even though by then they had murdered over one hundred innocent Catholics. The brutality of the British Army during the raids soured relations between that force and the nationalist population. On the first day of internment, widespread rioting erupted and ferocious gun battles raged which resulted in the deaths of thirteen people. Up to seven thousand Catholics were displaced and many of them sought refuge over the border in the Free State.
‘Operation Demetrius’ was a catastrophe for those who introduced it. Most of those interned had no connection to the Republican Movement. It completely failed to curb the IRA, and only succeeded in doing the opposite. When it emerged that British forces had tortured internees, the nationalist population was infuriated. Paradoxically, internment had merely caused the ranks of the IRA to swell and subsequent British actions ensured that continued to be the case for years to come. Internment was the beginning of the end for Stormont, with Bloody Sunday in January 1972 being the final nail in it’s coffin. After that the British Government assumed full responsibility for governing the six counties and abolished Stormont.
As we remember the anniversary of the re-introduction of internment today, it is important to also remember that it is not a thing of the past. There are those who will say that internment is long gone, however we now that to be untrue as we look at the example of Martin Corey among others. Martin Corey has been in Maghaberry jail for over three years, without charge or trial. He was taken from his home and imprisoned and has never been told why. Martin Corey is a victim of internment, which is still being used today to silence Irish Republicans. Our enemies ought to know by now that such tactics may weaken us in the short term, but in the long term they will only harden our resolve to see our struggle through to the end. For further information on the case of Martin Corey and the continued use of internment visit: http://www.releasemartincorey.com
- End Internment – Release Martin Corey (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- About Martin Corey ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Stop the Internment Torture of 63 Year Old Martin Corey (getrealspin.com)
- The Internment of Martin Corey (fenianram.wordpress.com)
- Release Martin Corey Now !!!! 3 Years Interned Based on Secret Evidence Not Disclosed to the Courts !!! No Charges Against Him or Even a Reason Why !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Serious Cases of Misjustice Against Repulicans in the 32 Counties of Ireland (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)