Oglach Tom Williams – Hung by Britain 2nd September 1942. R.I.P

Oglach Tom Williams

Rory Dubhdara and Liam Ohainnin

Before Williams was executed he inscribed some messages on the backs of some playing cards. On one he wrote “To ever who receives this to pray for me always & pray for the cause for which I am dying. God Save Ireland….”[1] Father Alexis who witnessed the execution spoke after to his friends in the prison chapel. “I met the bravest of the brave this morning”, he said, “Tom Williams walked to that scaffold without a tremor in his body. The only people who were shaking were us and the hangman. Father Alexis concluded by saying to the remaining prisoners, “I’ve one other thing to say to you. Don’t pray for Tom Williams, pray to him, for at this moment Tom is a saint in heaven.” [1]

His funeral held on 19th January 2000 was attended by thousands. Joe Cahill, Tom’s cell mate, and John Oliver, sentenced to death with Tom but later reprieved, as well as Madge McConville, who had been arrested with Tom, Greta McGlone, Billy McKee, Eddie Keenan and perhaps least known, Nell Morgan, Tom‘s girlfriend at the time of his death, were all present. Six senior Sinn Féin members including Gerry Adams were also present in St Paul’s Church on the Lower Falls Road for the mass. Unfortunately, Tom’s boyhood friend and the man who introduced him to the Republican Movement, Alfie Hannaway, was unable to attend the funeral due to ill health.<5> Tom’s funeral mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr Paddy O’Donnell, C.Ss.R., a Redemptorist Priest from Clonard monastery.

IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

    
 
    IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS
   http://republican-news.org   Friday-Wednesday, 17-22 June, 2011
1.  A HEROIC DEFENCE
2.  Clashes follows ‘Tour of the North
3.  Colin Duffy to stand trial
4.  US college battles to preserve history project
5.  Kingsmills victims may bring civil case
6.  Republican hardliners urged to unite
7.  Feature: Address to ‘Unite Ireland’ conference in Dublin
8.  Analysis: Debt freakshow run by phoney lion tamers
—————————————————————-
>>>>>> A HEROIC DEFENCE

 A sudden, unilateral and large-scale loyalist terror attack on the tiny
 nationalist community of the Short Strand was bravely fended off this
 week in an act of courage reminiscent of previous generations of the
 nationalist struggle.

 A three-pronged military-style invasion of the community by the UVF,
 with the apparent goal of expelling those nationalists who still live in
 the loyalist east of Belfast, was successfully resisted through the
 swift reaction of local residents.

 Republicans from nearby areas also rushed to the scene to help defend
 the enclave, which has been an easy and frequent target for loyalist
 violence throughout the conflict.

 Hand-to-hand fighting broke out between defenders and masked UVF
 paramilitaries, some of whom were dressed in black camouflage outfits and
 others dressed in full combat attire.

 Residents reported seeing “a sea of black” through their windows as
 paint and petrol bombs thudded against their homes.

 Amid a pitched battle, the homes of pensioners, many of them veterans of
 the famous 1970 siege in the same area, were engulfed in flames.

 Loyalists also tried to burn down St Matthew’s church, which is situated
 at the edge of the enclave and which again became a centre for the
 area’s defence.

 Determined resistance from local youths prevented the area from being
 overrun before sufficient numbers arrived from other areas, and
 eventually, the appearance of the PSNI.

 British television broadcasters deliberately played down the siege.
 Short strand residents were infuriated to hear it described on
 television and radio reports as a minor incident and a “mini riot” by
 one BBC broadcaster. However, the situation changed as details of the
 situation emerged through the internet. Subsequent confirmation by the
 PSNI that the UVF had organised the attempted pogrom, as well as
 simultaneous attacks along other ‘peace lines’, now poses serious
 challenges for the Six-County administration at Stormont.

 PSNI Assistant Chief Alistair Finlay said: “The UVF in East Belfast
 started this – there was no sense of anyone trying to finish that. Their
 hands are upon this, whether by direction, by omission or commission.”

 But the PSNI was also criticised for largely abandoning the Short Strand
 to their fate on Monday night, despite warnings that the UVF had massed
 nearby in preparation for an assault.

 PLASTIC BULLETS

 Trouble continued on Tuesday night, with hundreds of loyalists again
 showering nationalists with bricks, bottles, fireworks and petrol bombs.

 Outrageously, the PSNI at one point fired plastic bullets at nationalist
 defenders. And despite a large PSNI presence on the ground, at least one
 Short Strand family was forced to flee their home through a hail of
 missiles which included bottles, paint bombs, nuts, bolts and fireworks.

 Little confidence remains in the Short Strand that the largely
 Protestant PSNI will provide an effective defence for their community.
 Over the two nights of violence, only one person has yet been arrested,
 in sharp contrast to incidences of disorder in republican areas.

 Republicans are again preparing this evening [Wednesday] for a third
 night in defence of the enclave. In this regard, a PSNI attempt to link
 republican ‘dissidents’ to a gunshot which injured a press photographer
 on Tuesday night is being viewed as a likely propaganda exercise.

 Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has appealed for calm. The new Mayor of Belfast and
 Short Strand resident Niall O Donnghaile dismissed suggestions his
 decision to remove two royal portraits from his office at Belfast city
 hall could have fuelled the violence.

 He said there had been “a premeditated violent attack by over 100 masked
 UVF men on the community where I live.

 “It is my clear view that the PSNI could and should have responded
 better. And I think with the power of hindsight senior officers may well
 agree with this view.”

 He said he had been participating in a number of high-level political
 meetings to deal with the crisis.

 “But this issue will not be resolved unless there is a very direct
 challenge put up to those responsible for initiating last night’s
 incidents – namely the UVF.

 “There is a perception that unionist political leaders are not willing
 to address the very serious problem that the UVF is now posing to the
 everyday lives of citizens in Belfast.

 “It is no good for us simply to clean up the mess left behind by actions
 like last night. We all know where the problem lies and there is a
 particular onus on political and civic unionism to intervene and address
 them.”

 Prominent republicans have warned the UVF appeared set on reigniting
 conflict and sectarian tension. Former IRA leader Billy McKee, who
 fought an eight-hour gun battle with loyalists in the nationalist
 enclave in 1970, expressed solidarity with those defending the Short
 Strand.

 Now aged 89, the Provisional IRA hero said he
was sorry he could not
 travel to the area to support residents, as many older citizens did. He
 apologised that due to his frail state he couldn’t be there with them,
 but said he was praying for them and urged those who could to continue
 to defend the area if necessary.

 Politically, the sudden outburst of UVF activity has come as a shock to
 the Dublin and London governments and has sharply conflicted with the
 normalisation process. In the near term, it has also overturned
 widespread expectations of a quiet summer marching season.

 eirigi linked the violence to dissatisfaction within the UVF over the
 investigation of its senior members by the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries
 Team for sectarian murders carried out over the last 40 years.

 “Nationalists are sick, sore and tired of the fact that every time there
 are difficulties within unionism, this manifests itself in violent
 sectarian attacks,” eirígí national vice-chairperson Rab Jackson.

 “Ultimately, what we witnessed last night was the cranking up of a
 unionist mob – at the behest of the UVF – that simply doesn’t want a
 Catholic about the place in east Belfast.

 “The attack on the Short Strand is also an indicator of the total
 failure of what is called the peace process and those who police it to
 protect nationalists in vulnerable areas.”

 Jackson commended the people of the Short Strand for their bravery in
 confronting the UVF and eventually forcing them from the area.

 “The Short Strand community has a long and proud history of defending
 their area from British and unionist aggression, éirígí is confident
 that the current generation of residents will be no less determined.”

 Republican Sinn Féin said “the fact that the RUC/PSNI stood idly” had
 come as no surprise.”

 “Those who tell our people that the Orange State has gone and that
 British rule is nearing an end or that equality and peace reign need to
 draw back the curtains from their Stormont offices and tell the people
 the truth.

 “Republican Sinn Féin calls on all nationalists to be very careful and
 vigilant in the run up to the marching season.”

 Meetings between government officials and community representatives in
 east Belfast are continuing this [Wednesday] evening in an attempt to
 avert further trouble.
—————————————————————-
>>>>>> Clashes follows ‘Tour of the North’
 Members of the Protestant Orange Order and loyalist bandsmen clashed
 with the PSNI after a controversial sectarian parade was rerouted from
 the republican Ardoyne area of north Belfast on Friday.

 The PSNI said four of its members sustained minor injuries after trouble
 flared during the annual coat-trailing parade on Friday evening.

 Bandsmen tried to force their way past the PSNI to walk along a
 nationalist stretch of the Crumlin Road in defiance of a Parades
 Commission ruling.

 Nationalist groups maintained calm as a large crowd of republicans
 gathered at the flashpoint Ardoyne shops.

 Local Orangeman Stephen McAllister said the ruling had led to
 frustration, claiming the marchers were just “going home”.

 The loyalist confrontation may have been designed to increase pressure
 on the Parades Commission, which has ruled on the routes of contentious
 parades since 1998. The Orange Order is seeking to hold an even more
 controversial parade through the area on July 12th, the traditional
 height of the marching season, a parade that has lead to large-scale
 disturbances in the past.

 Joe Marley of Crumlin/Ardoyne Residents Association said loyalist
 bandsmen had ratcheted up the tension by staying out on the streets.

 “Community representatives from the loyalist community have refused to
 take calls from myself and other interface workers in the last few days
 and that doesn’t help the situation,” he added.

 The Tour of the North is the first contentious sectarian parade of the
 marching season in the Six Counties.

 The second — taking place on Belfast’s Springfield Road on Saturday —
 has again had restrictions imposed.

 Meanwhile, residents of Newtownbutler in County Fermanagh are holding a
 meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to organise a protest against a loyalist
 band parade in the overwhelmingly nationalist town.

 Around 500 loyalists are set to march through the 98% majority
 nationalist town this weekend in what residents have said is an attempt
 to intimidate them.
—————————————————————-
>>>>>> Colin Duffy to stand trial
 An attempt to have the case against Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers
 dropped has been refused by a judge.

 Mr Duffy, a prominent victim of state persecution in the North,
 continues to be held at Maghaberry jail pending trial on charges
 arising out of an IRA attack at Massereene British Army base in 2009.

 Mr Shivers, from Magherafelt in County Tyrone, is facing charges in the
 same case, remains on continuing bail on medical grounds.

 Delivering his ruling at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice McLaughlin
 said that taking the Crown evidence at it’s height, “the prosecution
 case…justifies putting the defendants on trial on all counts”.

 Lawyers for both men had argued that the evidence against them was such
 that “no reasonable jury properly directed” could convict them and
 urged the judge to throw out the case. They argued that it was not
 possible to find out when alleged DNA evidence was obtained or from
 where, submitting that it did not point to their involvement in the
 attack.

 Addressing the court pn Friday, Justice McLaughlin said that at this
 stage “it is inappropriate to carry out a detailed analysis of this
 evidence”.

 “I am satisfied that the proper approach to adopt here is to allow
 these cases each to go to trial so that the process of detailed
 scrutiny may be completed,” said the judge.

 CONCERN OVER MAGHABERRY, INTERNMENT

 Meanwhile, prisoners at Maghaberry were again placed on lockdown
 yesterday [Tuesday] following a reported disturbance at the
 controversial County Antrim jail.  The move limits prisoners to one hour
 outside of their cells and prevents them from receiving visits.

 Sinn Fein has this week called for the agreement reached between
 prisoners and the prison administration at Maghaberry last August to be
 implemented in full.

 Sinn Féin’s Vice-Chair of the Assembly Justice Committee said his party
 had continuing concerns about the treatment of prisoners being held in
 Maghaberry by prison staff.

 “It is important that prisoners’ rights are protected and that human
 rights are to the fore of the prison regime,” he said.

 “Carál Ní Chuilín and myself have met with senior prison management on
 numerous occasions to outline our ongoing concerns about the situation
 in Roe House and in relation to the prison system overall.

 He reiterated Sinn Féin’s position on the internment of Marian Price.

 “The revoking of Marian Price’s licence is completely unacceptable,” he
 said.

 “The move by Secretary of State Owen Paterson amounts to detention
 without trial. This runs contrary to natural justice. The justice system
 must be human rights based and the revoking of Marian Price’s licence is
 totally unacceptable.

 “Sinn Féin raised our concerns on this issue with the British Secretary
 of State at the time of Marian Price’s arrest and will continue to do so
 in the interests of justice and the human rights of the individual.”
—————————————————————-
>>>>>> US college battles to preserve history project
 An American university is fighting a British bid to get hold of
 interviews with members of the Provisional IRA, gathered as part of an
 oral history project.

 Boston College in Massachusetts has an archive of interviews in which
 former paramilitaries gave details of their role in the conflict in the
 North of Ireland.

 But the participants only took part on condition that the interviews
 would not be made available until after they died.

 Last month, on foot of a British request, US federal prosecutors served
 a legal document, or subpoena, on Boston College, demanding they hand
 over the interviews given by two former IRA members – Brendan Hughes and
 Dolours Price.

 The college has agreed to produce the archives relating to Brendan
 Hughes, who died in 2008.

 But Dolours Price is still alive, and the college does not want to hand
 over the audio recordings or transcripts of the interviews with her.

 So it has now filed a case with the US District Court, asking that the
 subpoena is quashed.

 A statement by Boston College said: “Our position is that the premature
 release of the tapes could threaten the safety of the participants, the
 enterprise of oral history, and the ongoing peace and reconciliation
 process in Northern Ireland.”

 Boston College has submitted a number of documents to the court.

 They include a submission by the journalist Ed Moloney, who has written
 a book based on access he received to the archives.

 Former IRA Volunteer Anthony McIntyre, who conducted the interviews with
 republicans, has also made a statement on the college’s behalf. In his
 affidavit, he said he believed there would be a risk to his safety if
 his interviews with Dolours Price were not kept confidential.

 A senior academic at Boston College, Professor Thomas Hachey, said in
 his submission that turning over the interviews would “endanger oral
 history projects everywhere.”
—————————————————————-
>>>>>> Kingsmills victims may bring civil case
 Relatives of those who died in a gun attack at Kingsmills in south
 Armagh in 1976 may take a civil action against those they believe to be
 responsible.

 The group of ten Protestant workmen were making their way home from a
 factory in Glenanne, south Armagh, when their minibus was ambushed by an
 armed and masked gang.

 The Provisional IRA denied involvement in the attack, which followed the
 massacre of six Catholic civilians by loyalists the previous day.

 Willie Frazer, from Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, said the
 families of those who died are considering civil court proceedings
 following a report on the atrocity by the police Historical Enquiries
 Team this week.  The HET blamed the IRA for the attac and said it
 had been sectarian.

 Frazer said: “It is possible this is an avenue we will take. There’s so
 much evidence that points the finger at those involved, not every one of
 them, but certainly four or five of them.”

 Sinn Fein has said it supports the relatives in their pursuit of
 justice. The party spokesperson on victims Mitchel McLaughlin said other
 killings in the area also needed to be examined.

 “I do not dispute the sectarian nature of the killings, it was entirely
 wrong and I have no problem in condemning what happened in Kingsmills,”
 he said.

 “What happened was not an isolated incident, what about the six people
 who were murdered the day before?”

 “The relatives of those killed in Kingsmills and the survivor are
 entitled to the truth,” he added.

 “Our approach is that we would like all of those who subscribed to the
 conflict and killing, and that includes the British government, to come
 forward, give the truth and provide answers.”

 Mr McMcLaughlin said he was prepared to accept the findings of an
 international reputable body that carried out an impartial truth process
 for everyone that had been involved in the conflict.

 “I am prepared to accept the evidence if I have access to that
 independent process, I am prepared, even though I believe and have
 believed up to this point the denials by the IRA that they were involved
 in it,” he said.

 “If someone has proof that the denial does not stand up to examination
 then I would be obliged to consider it as a republican and I would,
 because I do not believe republican principals permit people to be
 involved in sectarian activity,” he added.

 “There are many incidences of disputed claims of fact so lets have the
 British government and all sides coming forward at the same time.”

 LOUGHINISLAND REPORT DUE

 Meanwhile, a key report into the RUC (now PSNI) investigation of the
 1994 Loughinisland massacre this week is expected to focus on evidence
 that the police colluded with loyalist killers and missed opportunities
 to bring them to justice.

 Six Catholics, including an 87-year-old were killed when the unionist
 paramilitary UVF sprayed the Heights Bar in the County Down village of
 Loughinisland with bullets in June 1994.

 A report by the Police Ombudsman into the massacre is to be published on
 Friday. Ombudsman Al Hutchinson began his enquiries five years ago after
 the victims’ families criticised the RUC investigation.

 The report was due to be published in March but has been beset by
 delays.

 Mr Hutchinson is expected to look at claims linking at least one reputed
 informer to the murder gang.

 Concerns about collusion were fuelled after it emerged that a police
 informer inside the UVF, codenamed ‘Mechanic’, had supplied the car used
 in the shooting.

 Earlier this year an unnamed eyewitness revealed that the killers’
 getaway car was found at the home of a serving member of the RUC, despite
 police claims that it had been destroyed.

 UVF ACCUSED CLAIMS IMMUNITY

 A court heard on Tuesday that a man charged with the separate UVF murder
 of a Catholic woman 38 years ago should not face trial because of a
 peace process deal.

 Lawyers for Robert Rodgers have launched a legal bid to halt criminal
 proceedings against him for the killing of 19-year-old Eileen Doherty in
 Belfast.

 A judge was told that senior government officials indicated that those
 -accused of conflictrelated offences would not be prosecuted without an
 admission of guilt.

 Mr Rodgers’s legal team is now seeking notes from meetings between
 loyalist politicians and British officials in a bid to strengthen its
 case.

 Ms Doherty was shot dead after getting into a taxi in September 1973.
 She was on her way home to the Andersonstown area after visiting a
 friend when the vehicle was hijacked.

 Rodger’s lawyer said William ‘Plum’ Smyth, a former chairman of the PUP
 who took part in the talks, claimed loyalists, republicans, military and
 police were told they would not be prosecuted for offences committed be
 fore the peace deal was signed. Mr Devine pointed to the Bloody Sunday
 killings by British paratroopers in Derry and said a decision was
 reached not to prosecute any soldier.

 District Judge Fiona Begnall reserved judgment on the application.
—————————————————————-
>>>>>> Republican hardliners urged to unite
 The former head of Irish Northern Aid, Martin Galvin, has urged
 republicans of all factions to unite to draw up a new strategy to
 defeat the British, in opposition to Sinn Fein.

 Addressing a rally near Dundalk to commemorate IRA legend Brendan
 Hughes, the New York lawyer slammed the peace process as a sell-out of
 republican ideals.

 Known as ‘the Dark’, Hughes was the IRA’s Belfast Brigade commander
 during the height of the Troubles and led the first H-Block
 hunger-strike.

 Once Gerry Adams’ best friend, he died three years ago accusing his
 former comrades of betrayal.  At the weekend, republicans from all over
 Ireland gathered in the Cooley Mountains, where Hughes’ ashes are
 scattered, to honour him.

 Many of Hughes’ former IRA comrades attended the commemoration.

 In a hardline speech, Galvin said: “The British think it’s all done and
 dusted. David Cameron believes republicans are defeated just as Margaret
 Thatcher did.

 “But Brendan Hughes and the blanketmen weren’t beaten. They remained
 determined despite everything the British threw at them. Today,
 republicans can forge a unity and strategy to break through once more.

 “We can get back on the path to a united and free Ireland which
 unrepentant Fenians like Brendan, and so many others, sacrificed so much
 to win.”

 Galvin denounced the Sinn Féin leaders, who were once his close allies,
 for having accepted British rule: “Becoming Stormont ministers, serving
 on (policing) boards, and entering a partnership with the DUP won’t
 unite Ireland.”

 Galvin said Hughes was appalled at Sinn Fein’a compromises: “The very
 suggestion he repent or disown his part in the struggle to make himself
 politically acceptable to the British or to a Paisley or Robinson led
 Stormont would have been answered with, ‘Cop yourself on!’

 “Brendan was an IRA soldier whose courage and determination overflowed
 into those beside him, instilling confidence that the overwhelming
 military advantages held by the British crown forces would somehow be
 overcome.”

 Galvin also blasted Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Sinn
 Féin Assembly members for welcoming David Cameron to Stormont last week
 and for applauding his speech:

 “Republicans are expected to repent their past. But there was no
 repentance from Cameron for the Ballymurphy Massacre when 11 civilians
 were murdered by the Paras in 1971.

 “There was no repentance for shoot-to-kill, internment, collusion with
 loyalist death squads or the many other unjustifiable acts done in the
 name of British rule.”

 In 1984, Galvin – who was banned from British jurisdiction –
 dramatically defied the authorities by appearing at a Sinn Féin
 anti-internment rally in West Belfast. As Gerry Adams introduced him to
 speak, the RUC stormed the crowd, trying in vain to arrest him before
 shooting dead Sean Downes (22) with a plastic bullet.

 The former Noraid boss said he was horrified Sinn Féin were now “trying
 to silence” republicans who disagreed with them. He praised Hughes and
 others for “having the courage to speak out”.

 He pointed to the “brutality” being endured by republican prisoners in
 Maghaberry jail and said Sinn Féin should be ashamed of itself for
 backing Stormont Justice Minister David Ford.

 Galvin also lammed the authorities for revoking the license of Old
 Bailey bomber Marian Price who is being held in isolation in Maghaberry.
 It was “disgraceful” that Gerry Kelly – Price’s fellow bomber – now
 supported the system imprisoning her, he said.

 The American, who has been an outspoken champion of the republican
 movement for decades, said it was hypocritical that Tyrone republican,
 Gerry McGeough, was recently jailed on charges from over 30 years ago
 while Crown force members involved in “shoot-to-kill, collusion murders,
 or even torture” had received an amnesty.

 Former Sinn Féin South Armagh representative, Jim McAllister, also
 addressed the rally. He said Hughes’s disillusionment at Sinn Fein was
 growing among republicans.

 McAllister said that at Sinn Féin meetings, Adams had often compared the
 republican struggle to “a bus ride to Cork”, explaining how there would
 be “stops and reverses” as people got on and off.

 “Well, Gerry’s not on that bus to Cork now. He’s on the pig’s back while
 many of those who followed him are on the dole. Gerry and his pals have
 their holiday homes while unemployment in west Belfast is as bad as the
 first day he got elected,” McAllister said.

 He claimed Hughes had inspired a new generation of republicans: “Brendan
 believed in building an Ireland that would benefit everyone, especially
 those at the bottom of the pile.

 “Power for power’s sake, winning elections for the sake those fighting
 them, helping to administer partition – these weren’t his goals.

 “Gerry Adams’ u-turn was a betrayal of Brendan as a friend and a
 republican, just as it’s a betrayal of all who thought the whole thing
 was about getting rid of Stormont and British rule and creating a
 democratic, socialist Republic.”
—————————————————————-
>>>>>> Feature: Address to ‘Unite Ireland’ conference in Dublin
 —————————————————————
 The full text of an address by Sinn Fein President Gerry
 Adams to a conference in Dublin on the theme of Uniting Ireland.
 —————————————————————
 I want to welcome all of you here today.

 Ba mhaith liom aitheantas speisialta a thabhairt d’ár gcomhordaitheoir
 ar Éire Aontaithe, Lucilita Bhreathnach agus an foireann a bhí ag obair
 leí le roinnt míonna chun an comhdháil seo a chuir le chéile; an
 comhdháil i gCorcaigh ar an tseachtain seo chugainn agus atá ag eagrú
 comhdháil i nGaillimh i mí Dheireadh Fómhair agus sa tuaisceart níos
 moille i mbliana.

 [I would like to give special recognition to our United Ireland
 co-ordinator, Lucilita Bhreathnach and the team which has worked with
 her to put together this conference; the conference in Cork next week
 and who are organising a conference in Galway in October and in the
 north earlier in the year.]

 These conferences are part of a strategy by Sinn Féin to raise awareness
 and encourage a national conversation around the goal of a United
 Ireland and create inclusive platforms for an engagement on this
 crucially important issue.

 In recent years Sinn Féin has held conferences in London, in the United
 States and in Canada.

 These were part of a process of consciously reaching out to the millions
 who make up the Irish diaspora.

 All of the conferences were well attended and have generated activity
 and momentum around the Uniting Ireland project.

 Our friends in Irish America have been particularly successful and
 resolutions in support of Irish unity have been passed at State, County
 and City levels in many areas.

 Beidh ról an diaspóra, mar a bhí leis na céadta bliain anuas,
 rí-thábhachtach chun Aontacht na hÉireann a bhrú ar aghaidh agus a
 thabhairt chun críche.

 [The role of the diaspora, as it has been for centuries, will be very
 important in moving forward towards the Unity of Ireland and bringing it
 to a conclusion.]

 But of course, it is here on this island that the arguments and debates
 and persuasion must take place.

 This conference, and the one in Monaghan last November is a part of that
 process.

 And it is appropriate that it is held here in the Rotunda.

 This is in the heart of Dublin.

 Is ann sa chathair seo a bhí an Ghluaiseacht Éireannaigh Aontaithe ag
 pleanáil agus ag cumadh éirigh amach; an áit ar eagraigh Éire Óg agus na
 Fíníní agus an áit ar thárla Éirigh Amach 1916.

 [It is in this city that the United Ireland Movement planned and
 organised rebellion; the place that Eire Og and the Fenians were
 founded, and the site of the 1916 Easter Rising.]

 All around us are the streets and lanes and buildings that are the
 backdrop to the Easter Rising.

 A few yards away is the place where Tom Clarke’s shop was, and where the
 IRB leadership frequently met and planned the Rising.

 The GPO is a few minutes walk down O Connell Street, and behind it is
 Moore Street, where, after days of bitter fighting, the remaining
 leaders of the Rising met in number 16 and agreed the surrender.

 Outside these walls the Volunteers of that era defiantly paraded to the
 British held barricades and from there to prisons and prison camps in
 Britain.

 On the edge of the Rotunda is the spot where British soldiers stripped
 Tom Clarke naked after his capture in an effort to humiliate him.

 But Tom had endured worse in his 15 years in English prisons.

 And behind us is the Garden of Remembrance.

 A place of pilgrimage for those who wish to pay their respects to the
 fallen heroes of Irish’s long struggle for independence and freedom.

 It was here that the English Queen came a short time ago to lay a wreath
 in honour of those brave men and women who died for Irish freedom.

 Many of the heroes remembered there were executed by British crown
 forces.

 The laying of the wreath was a recognition that they fought in a just
 cause.

 The Irish Government and the other political parties in this state know
 that their sacrifices were not for a partitioned Ireland or a 26 County
 Republic, though they rarely admit it.

 But of equal significance was the Proclamation, read that Easter Monday
 by Padraig Pearse, standing outside the GPO.

 The principles and values, the philosophy and ideals which it aspired to
 are what inspire this generation of Irish republicans.

 It is a freedom charter for this whole island and all the people who
 live here.

 It guarantees religious and civil liberty and is avowedly
 anti-sectarian.

 It promotes equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens.

 And at a time when women did not have the vote it supported universal
 suffrage.

 The Proclamation sets the standard by which the modern Ireland of today
 must be judged.

 It was a Proclamation for all of the Irish people – not some.

 It was for whole of the island – not a part.

 Those who took up arms that spring week in 1916 knew of the danger posed
 by the threat of partition and where against it.

 Connolly in particular had famously warned against it. He argued that
 partition ‘would mean a carnival of reaction both North and South, would
 set back the wheels of progress, would destroy the oncoming unity of the
 Irish Labour movement and paralyse all advanced movements whilst it
 endured’.

 Ach ní raibh siad siúd a d’Éirigh Amach beo le cosaint a dhéanamh ar an
 Fhorógra agus ar neamhspléachas na hÉireann nuair a tharla an deighilt.

 [But those of the Easter Rising were not alive to defend the
 Proclamation and of the independence of Ireland when partition took
 place.]

 In the 90 years since partition it has distorted and infected politics
 and economics on this island.

 Partition established two conservative states ruled by two conservative
 elites.

 Corruption was soon rife and those in control ruled in their own
 self-interest and lined their pockets at the expense of others.

 On this small island of some six million people two states and two
 governments were created.

 There is a significant duplication of public and private services, two
 sets of currencies, and two tax systems, laws and regulations.

 It makes no sense politically, economically or socially except as it was
 at that time – part of a counter revolution.

 Much has changed since then and today, and at a time when every cent or
 pence is needed to rebuild the economy, this duplication of government
 and public services is wasteful and costly.

 The most recent live register figures for this state show that there are
 at least 443,400 people unemployed while in the north the figure is
 around 60,000.

 At the same time 50,000, mainly young people, will emigrate this year –
 1,000 each week.

 There is an opportunity to change all of this.

 It is inefficient that on an island this small there are two contending
 political systems; two health services; two education structures; and
 two economic systems competing with each other for jobs and investment.

 The Good Friday Agreement provides a roadmap to build all-island
 approaches.

 Already there are many who accept the logic of an all-island economy, in
 which all of our interests in health, the environment, education,
 agriculture, transport, job creation, taxation and strategic investment,
 are planned together.

 Uniting Ireland makes sense. Together is better.

 Sinn Féin is about building that new Ireland for the 21st century.

 Poblacht 32 contae a chumhdaíonn prionsabail féinchinnidh agus cearta,
 prionsabail comhionnanais agus daonlathais, prionsabail a spreag cuid
 laochra 1916.

 Sinn Féin seeks to erase the border and its adverse impact on the lives
 of citizens, through practical co-operation and imaginative policies,
 including the full utilization of the all-island institutions that were
 created by the Good Friday Agreement.

 In the negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement Sinn Fein
 succeeded in getting the British to scrap the Government of Ireland Act
 through which it claimed jurisdiction over a part of Ireland.

 This was a significant development.

 Last week in his speech to the Assembly the British Prime Minister David
 Cameron repeated this position.

 He said, ‘as the Agreement makes very clear’, the constitutional future
 of the north does not rest in his hands or those of his government but
 in the hands of the people.

 As a unionist Mr. Cameron made his preference clear but he was equally
 frank in his public declaration that the British government will always
 back the democratic wishes of the people whether ‘to remain part of the
 United Kingdom, as is my strong wish…or whether it’s to be part of a
 united Ireland’.

 Later when he was privately challenged on this by the leader of the UUP
 the British Prime Minister stuck by this position.

 The reality is that contrary to Margaret Thatcher’s claim many years
 ago, the north is not as British as Finchley!

 The Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements have mapped out a
 legislative and democratic route toward uniting Ireland.

 Is é an tasc atá againne mar phoblachtaigh ná tógáil ar an deis seo agus
 an neart pholaitiúil a chruthú i dtreo an Phoblacht nua.

 [It is our task as republicans to create at this time the political
 strength in the direction of the new Republic.]

 That means creating a national – all-island – conversation about the
 kind of new Ireland citizens want to serve the common interest.

 This debate shouldn’t be confined to the failed political boundaries set
 by partition.

 A new Ireland must be fully inclusive. That means reaching out to
 unionists and seeking to persuade them that their interests will be
 better served in a United Ireland.

 Sinn Féin wants a republic.

 Our belief is that the interests of citizens and society on this island
 will be best served by a republican system of governance based on the
 rights of people.

 But that is a matter for the people to decide.

 There are other models which can be considered, including federal
 arrangements.

 They could serve transitional measures or as governmental systems in
 their own right.

 It is also important that as part of this process of building a new
 future that there is an effective process of dealing with all legacy
 issues.

 In Sinn Féin’s view the Irish and British governments should invite a
 reputable and independent international body to establish the creation
 of an Independent International Truth Commission as part of an effective
 truth recovery process.

 A key part of the debate about the future must be a discussion with
 unionists about what they mean by Britishness and how a new Ireland –
 whether or not it is a Republic – can accommodate this.

 It also means mapping out the steps necessary in the time ahead to
 progress toward uniting Ireland.

 For example:

 The Taoiseach commissioning a Green Paper on Irish unity which would
 address all aspects of this national and democratic project including
 its political, social, economic, cultural, legal, administrative and
 international dimensions.

 A Joint Committee of the Oireachtas on Irish Unity to monitor, assess
 and report progress on its implementation should be established.

 And a new constitution – discussed and debated and agreed by all
 sections of people on this island, which would enshrine citizens rights
 in law.

 There is a yearning in Ireland today for a new way forward.

 Citizens north and south are looking for something new.

 Tá siad ag cuardach modh nua chun ár bpolaitíocht agus ár eacnamaíocht a
 bhainistiú.

 [They are seeking a new method to manage our politics and our economy.]

 Tá siad ag iarraidh saoránaigh a chumasú.

 [They are trying to empower citizens]

 They want a society which is equitable and just.

 The 1916 Proclamation is the template for this.

 It used language that was appropriate for that time.

 We need a new all-Ireland constitution that enshrines the principles and
 ideals of 1916 and gives expression to them for the 21st century.

 Real social, economic and political change is not easily achieved but
 all those who have a genuine commitment towards building an Irish
 Republic worthy of the name must work together towards that end.

 That work can start now.
—————————————————————-
>>>>>> Analysis: Debt freakshow run by phoney lion tamers
 By Fintan O’Toole (for the Irish Times)
 This week, the Government marked 100 days in office and zero days in
 power.

 The American writer Michael Lewis described the Irish bank bailout as a
 process of “normalising a freakshow”. This is still, at heart, the
 Government’s job. In the last year of the Fianna Fáil/Green
 administration, the freakshow was starkly evident. Everybody, including
 most of the cabinet, knew that the government was involved in a surreal
 pretence. The cries of “crisis, what crisis?” were Blatteresque in their
 absurdity. The only thing that’s changed now is that the absurdity seems
 normal.

 The effect of the general election was to send out the clowns and bring
 on the phoney lion tamers. The new Coalition has a whip in one hand and
 a chair in the other. It prods the bedraggled lion of State into doing a
 few half-hearted tricks of fiscal discipline while letting out the odd
 yelp of protest about punitive interest rates. But it’s still
 essentially the same circus with the same ringmasters from the European
 Central Bank.

 It is a relief to have a Government with some energy and decency and
 with good intentions in most areas. Fine Gael and Labour still get
 enormous public credit for the simple act of not being Fianna Fáil. But
 their complete capitulation to the ECB – the abject abandonment of any
 pretence at renegotiating the “troika” deal – makes good intentions
 largely irrelevant.

 Let’s remind ourselves what the big story is. Boomtime Ireland was a
 debt junkie and the international financial markets were the pushers who
 fed this country’s addiction to cheap money. Because they got greedy and
 bought into the Celtic Tiger hype, German, French and British banks have
 an exposure to Ireland of $510 billion (€355 billion).

 To put this into perspective, let’s look at another country that had a
 mad property bubble and is now in deep trouble: Spain. The Spanish
 population is over 10 times that of Ireland. But the exposure of those
 same German, French and British banks to Spain is $620 billion.
 Proportionally, the big EU banks are on the hook to Ireland almost 10
 times more than they are to Spain.

 If this is the problem, the “solution” is similarly disproportionate.
 The German, British and French banks want to escape the consequences of
 their own greed and folly. The primary purpose of the so-called
 “bailout” is to allow them to do this by turning the Irish State into a
 giant debt-servicing agency, regardless of the social or economic
 consequences for Ireland itself. In order to achieve this, each citizen
 in Ireland has to carry a share of this private debt that is vastly out
 of proportion to anything that has ever been attempted in a developed
 economy.

 Again, let’s remind ourselves of the figures. The State has mobilised an
 astonishing amount of resources to shore up a failed banking system and
 ensure it can meet its obligations to foreign bankers and investors.
 There’s €70 billion to recapitalise the banks; €33 billion to buy up
 their bad property loans through Nama; and €70 billion in liquidity
 borrowed on their behalf by the Irish Central Bank. That’s €173 billion:
 €96,000 for every worker in the State. Most of this – €10 billion of the
 recapitalisation and all of the Nama funds and liquidity – is expected
 to be repaid. The fact remains, though, that in the midst of a deep
 economic crisis, every worker is underwriting close to €100,000 for the
 banks.

 If anyone had suggested three years ago that this could – let alone
 should – be done, they’d have been awarded honorary citizenship of la-la
 land. Yet it is now almost beyond discussion. It is simply the way
 things are.

 In my most pessimistic predictions after the election, I suggested that
 the new government would be given the token concession of a 1 per cent
 cut in the interest rate on the so-called bailout and fobbed off with
 promises of a future review. It seemed unimaginable that the troika
 would not feel obliged to make some formal gesture of acknowledgment
 that there had been a democratic election in which people had voted
 overwhelmingly for a renegotiation.

 But it didn’t. The Government has now given up even on the pathetic hope
 of being given a sympathetic pat on the head and a lollipop to keep it
 from screaming. Its submissiveness has been rewarded with the contempt
 that utter subservience deserves and inevitably receives.

 The Government’s only response to this freakshow is to avoid talking
 about it – hence the panic when Leo Varadkar stated the bloody obvious.
 The new line is that the Government will wait patiently until 2013, when
 the Germans have promised a new regime for the resolution of banking
 crises. The problem is that by then we will have shelled out vast
 amounts of money we don’t have.

 By the end of this year alone, another €12 billion of unguaranteed,
 unsecured senior bank debt will have been repaid by a Government that is
 imposing obscene conditions on carers, the sick and disabled and
 vulnerable children.

 That’s what it means to be administering a country on behalf of the ECB.

———————————————————–

 

 

A FULL COPY OF THE REPUBLICAN NEWS AS IT WAS I ONLY ADDED THE PHOTO’s : Seachranaidhe1