Sinn Fein hits out at decision to allow Castlederg parade

‘It seems some are more equal than others in Castlederg in the eyes of the Parades Commission – Ruairi McHugh.

SINN Fein has hit out at the Parades Commission after it ruled an Apprentice Boys parade could march through a nationalist area of Castlederg this weekend. 

For Cod and Ulster

The Apprentice Boys will march through the Co Tyrone town on Saturday morning and evening. The commission placed restrictions on the evening parade, preventing it from marching through Priest’s Lane, Ferguson Crescent, Killeter Road and Alexander Park. But the commission has allowed the morning parade to move through the predominantly nationalist Ferguson Crescent area. The feeder parades are part of the annual Lundy’s Day parade in Derry on Saturday. Around 2,500 Apprentice Boys are expected to take part in the Derry parade. There have been heightened community tensions in Castlederg following several loyalist parades and a controversial republican commemoration over the summer. Sinn Fein Castlederg councillor Ruairi Mc Hugh said it is the first time a loyalist march has been allowed to pass through Ferguson Crescent,without restrictions, since 2006. He accused the commission of “double standards”. “There has been upwards of 20 unionist parades of one type or another in Castlederg this year alone, which is totally disproportionate given the demographics of the town,” he said. Mr McHugh said as far as he was aware, the parade’s organisers had not attempted to consult with people in Ferguson Cerscent about the march. This determination stands in stark contrast to the sole Republician commemoration this year in August which the commission blocked from even entering our own town centre, which made a mockery of the town centre being a shared space for all the communities in Castlederg,” he said. “It seems some are more equal in Castlederg in the eyes of the Parades Commission.”

With many thanks to: Claire SimpsonThe Irish News.

This is motion 22 at the Ard Fheis which was passed at This Ard Fheis notes continued absence of any political or societal consesus, North or South, on dealing with the legacy of the past !

295161_409874449090081_1003601203_nLoretta Franklin

We believe the past cannot be addressed or resolved in a partisan or one-sided way. Our future will remain contested for as long as we continue to contest the past.

Sinn Féin recognises that victims and survivors on all sides seek different outcomes.

We reaffirm our party policy on the establishment of an independent, international truth recovery process.

We accept that the development of strategies to assist in the management of the legacy of our past conflict poses complex political and human challenges. Discussion is clearly required to address the implications arising from any agreed strategies and processes.

This Ard Fheis renews it call for fully inclusive dialogue between all sides on how best to address the legacy of our past as an essential contribution to the peace process and development of reconciliation across the island.

This is Motion 23 This Ard Fheis commends Sinn Fein’s ongoing efforts to encourage cross-community and party support for the development of an inclusive reconciliation process.

We note that the public discussion which has occurred in the last 12 months has focussed mainly upon format, substance and participants. This is to be welcomed.

We further note that this public discussion has reflected the extent of disagreement within our society as to the causes and effects of the political conflict.

However, we believe that any acknowledgement that reconciliation is necessary, welcome and deserves to be built upon. We applaud those who have already offered strategic and far-seeing contributions to this discussion.

Sinn Féin recognises that there are many victims and much hurt on all sides. We acknowledge the pain and suffering of all non-combatants, combatants, and their families on every side.

We believe the development of an authentic reconciliation process is essential to consolidate and enhance our peace process and political stability. The unity of the people of this island is crucial to that enterprise.

Sinn Féin is committed to reconciliation in the here and now and the replacement of current divisions with new human and political relationships.

This Ard Fheis urges mature and strategic debate North and South on opening a new phase of our peace process based on reconciliation, the development of new relationships, and creation of trust among all our people.

THEN WE GET THIS Kelly slams Red Hand Defenders threat against schools

September 7th, 2013 – North BelfastGerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA for north Belfast Gerry Kelly has called on those responsible for issuing a threat of military action against school children, their parents and teachers at three schools in Belfast to immediately withdraw it and has further called on leaders within unionism and loyalism to condemn these threats in the strongest possible terms.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

“This is a disgraceful and sinister statement to come from any organisation or individual against school children, their parents and teachers. Those responsible have threatened violent action against children.

“People will remember the shameful scenes of school children at Holy Cross where primary pupils and their parents were left traumatised. We can never see a repeat of those scenes.

“Even the threat of this cannot be tolerated by society. One thing we can all say without fear of contradiction is that school children, their parents and teachers should never be targeted and threatened like this.

“The Red Hand Defenders is a flag of convenience that has been used in the past by mainstream loyalist organisations.

“We must now see unionist and loyalist leaders coming out and condemning these threats in the strongest possible terms, call on the Red Hand Defenders to withdraw this threat and actively support the rights of any child to attend any school of their choice where ever it may be situated and receive their education with without fear or intimidation.”

In other words they are saying lets forget the past be best buddies, while the other side threaten the lives of our children?

Gerry you have made a speech about the threat, but what are you going to do about it?



MANY observers were yesterday highlighting the irony of a party which includes the word ‘democratic’ in its name effectively blocking the overwhelming will of the assembly.


But we knew this was always going to be the outcome once the DUP announced its intention to lodge a petition of concern to veto an inquiry into the allegations of political interferance against Nelson McCausland. A measure designed to stop majoritiaranism – or blatant sectarianism – at Stormont, petitions of concern weren’t something that much occupied the thoughts of Joe and Joe Public until the assembly was recalled to address the Red Sky controversy. They may now be more familiar with its workings and how it can be deployed, but it’s unlikely the whole episode will enamour them to politics on the hill. A clear majority of assembly members – 54 to 32 – supported the motion calling for a probe into the actions of Mr McCausland and his special adviser Stephen Brimstone.

MLAs had returned from recess, albeit after a few short days, and the chamber wwitnessed some passionate and at times bruising debate. But it was all for the optics because no matter how heated and pointed the exchanges became, the predetermined outcome meant they carried no greater weight than a Sunday school debating contest. In political terms we were back where we started. Unfortunately that is the nature of the Storming beast. Power sharing may the concept of devolved institutions are built on but it seems power ultimately resides with the party that can consistently muster 30 signatures and lodge a petition of concern whenever it is unhappy with a particular assembly motion.

The upshot is therefore not democracy but an inverted form of majoritarianism. It’s a system that leaves the majority party in a position where it can overrule the rest of the assembly even when outnumbered two-to-one. As proved on Monday, the DUP as it presently stands in the assembly is unimpeachable and is only likely to see one of its ministers or MLAs censured when they have breached boundaries set by the party itself. Stormount’s recent dearth of legislation has been well documented and it’s believed this lack of determination and decisiveness has turned off many amount the electorate. The collective failure to demonstrate the effectiveness of the political system by making Nelson McCausland answerable to serious allegations can only lead to further disillusionment.

With many thanks to : John ManleyThe Irish News.


‘Their political policing strategy has had disastrous consequences over the past four months – John Wilson.

A GROUP set up by loyalist flag protesters has branded plans byconsequences the PSNI/RUC to hold talks in Wales with politicians and community represdestroyed s ahead of the marching sseason as evidence of “political policing”. The Ulster People’s Forum (UPF) last night said it had not received a request to take part in talks and would have turned down an invite if asked.


“The UPF view is that the PSNI have been clear their job is policing and we feel they shouldl stick to this remit as their political policing strategy has had disastrous consequences over the past four months with relationships in some loyalist areas almost detroyed to the point of no return,” forum chairman John Wilson said. It emerged this week that the PSNI/RUC in conjunction with Univeristy of Ulster academic Duncan Morrow, has invited representatives of pilitical parties to Cardiff next weekend to discuss policing issues ahead of the summer marching season. Tensions continue in parts of Belfast around loyal parades including Ardoyne and outside St Patrick’s church in Donegall Street.

Policing reached crisis point  during the winter as loyalists blocked roads and attacked police and Alliance politicians in the wake of the decision by Belfast City Council to stop flying the Union Flag every day. The UPF was formed weeks after the flag protests started in December with leading protesters Jamie Bryson and Willie Frazer emerging as spokesmen. This week PSNI/RUC chief constable Matt Baggott said the meeting was an attempt to build relationships “with a veiw to this summer’s parading”. It emerged last night that neither the Orange Order or represtatives of nationalist residents’ groups in flashpoint districts had been invited to attend the Cardiff event. Mr Wilson of the UPF conceded that the number of flag-related protests was well down compared to previously but blamed police tactics which he described as “political policing”. “There  are a lot of people out there with wives, familes and jobs and they can’t afford to be arrested or questioned.” Orange Order grand chaplain the Rev Mervyn Gibson confirmed last night he had been invited to attend the talks through a church group with which he is involved but he declined because of a prior engagement. He confirmed that the Orange Order itself had not been invited to attend the talks.

With thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.


Cost of local government reform payments expected to be more than £4 million overall


THE golden hhandshake being offered to councillors who resign their seats ahead of planned local government reform has risen by £5,000 – despite assurances from Alex Atwood that it would not increase. The environment minister last year proposed capping the lump sum payment for long-serving councillors at £30,000.

He said he would even consider the payment being lower. However, in fresh proposals published yesterday it emerged that the figure had in fact increased to £35,000. While the Storming legislation streamlining the North’s local government structures has yet to be passed, it is hoped to reduce the region’s 26 local authorities to 11. The first eelections for the enlarged council areas are expected to take place next year alongside the European elections. It will mean 120 fewer council seats. Ahead of the poll, councillors wishing to retire and avail of the severance payment must tender their resignations. Only councillors who have served a minimum of 12 years will be eligible for a payment, which will be tax-free up to £30,000. The overall  cost of the golden handshakes is expected to be more than £4 million.

“This scheme is designed to recognise the contribution of long-serving councillors who will not be standing for reelection, many of whom have served their communities during periods of political unrest,” the SDLP politation,said. “These councillors have made a significant contribution to the needs of the people in their areas.” In a statement in August, the minister said the severance payment would be “no higher than £30,000″. He wwent further to add that he ” may decide it should be lower”. Responding to queries about the figure had increased by more than 16 per cent, the minister said the reason was “simple”. “I strongly believe – and I think people understand – that those councillors who have served longest, whom worked fearlessly in demanding times for those in need and did so with only small financial recognition deserve recognition as they leave public life,” he said. “I consider a cap of £35k is the right and fair threshold for those who have served so long.” Mr Attword said it had been agreed there will be a bar on the council/MLA double jobbing and that last year he had cut the allowance of assembly members who were also councillors by two-thirds. “Across the range of issues, my approach has been to recognise long service but tackle decisively double jobbing and double incomes,” he said. The public is being invited to comment on the latest proposals in a consultation exercise at the end of May.

With many thanks to : John Manley (political reporter) Irish News.

Search Operation in Maghaberry: Bed and Blankets Covered in Excrement and Wet with Urine.

Gerry McGeough has just phoned from Maghaberry Prison following a massive search operation. While Gerry himself is not a protesting prisoner, he finds himself imprisoned in the middle of an escalating dirty protest. As in the past, a dirty protest involved spreading human excrement on the cell walls. Today, in 2012, the walls of the protesting cells in Maghaberry Prison are covered in human excrement. Having found it necessary to escalate the protest, the prisoners now throw excrement and urine out underneath the cell doors into the hallways.

When they entered today and carried out a search of Gerry’s cell, the dog had just completed a search of neighbouring protest cells. Already covered in excrement and urine, this dog was used to sniff through Gerry’s cell. His bed and blankets are now wet with urine, plastered with excrement and covered with dog hair. He will sleep in this tonight. These are the conditions a 54 year old man, who has already suffered two heart attacks and has five stents inserted, is expected to survive in. If your husband, father or any family member was found to be living in these conditions within a hospital, there would be outrage.

The protesting cells are cleaned once every six weeks. In the meantime, cat litter is spread over the floors. The guards wear protective suits and gas masks when they deliver food through the cell doors. Flies will be ever present and in hot weather, heating is turned up full. The smell is unbearable. In any cleaning operation, a mixture of excrement, urine, cat litter and chemicals will be washed back into the cells. When prisoners leave their cells, they will sometimes be forced to walk through this mess. The riot squad are on constant standby. If prison staff are seen becoming too friendly with a prisoner, they are moved.

This is allowed to happen today in Ireland because too many people are silent. You close their eyes, you close their ears and your mouths remain shut. What will you say if your own sons and daughters find themselves on a dirty protest? Who will you turn to when so many refuse to listen?

Libertad para Gerry

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : by Damian Herron 



    • Saturday, 21 July 2012
    • 12:00

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Invite-Only Event · By Mihall O’Cuinn